Mike Buckley survives Nashville

Nashville took a quite a few prisoners last Saturday, and we left on parole. Our Nashville experience had its high and low points. We began with a practice that saw our car pushing just as bad as it did in Atlanta. We were a full 2 seconds ...

Nashville took a quite a few prisoners last Saturday, and we left on parole.

Our Nashville experience had its high and low points. We began with a practice that saw our car pushing just as bad as it did in Atlanta. We were a full 2 seconds slower than we were last fall in practice with the same setup. We started searching for a problem, and softened up the front of the car. In qualifying, I nearly wrecked 3 times and only salvaged a 35th quick time. The car was terrible. ARCA was taking 34 on time....we got one of the provisionals.

After qualifying, we found our problem. The sway bar geometery was wrong. Under full bump in the right front, the hiem would rotate the sway bar under the control arm...then would run out of travel causing the front end to bind... literally trying to bend the sway bar arm......like having a million pound spring. We did not get it solved during the happy hour. We basically were going to start the race without a practice on the original setup.

Like everyone else we knew tire wear was going to be an issue. Our original plan was to run as little as possible before the race as to not use up tires that we couldn't afford. We did not run any laps in happy hour, however, the RR tire was half gone just with the few laps of practice and qualifying that we did do. We bought one set to practice and qualify on. We purchased a second used set from another team, and mounted a third new set from Hooiser and hoped we didn't need them.

The car was much better during the race. It was still tight on entry and I used more brake than normal as to not wear the RF tire out. I got stuck behind a car that I thought had a flat RF tire, and was lapped early by Frank. It was the only lap we lost all day. We changed our 1st set of tires at lap 47. The RF was on cords, the RR was better. I had the crew crank out a little wedge and adjusted the track bar to help the tight situation. The car was starting to come around.

At lap 86, the engine decided that the 86th time it went to 8600 rpm it was time to lay down and take a nap. An exhaust valve broke on #8 cylinder, turned sideways, and ended up shoved into the exhaust port.....our day was done. After the car fell out of the race, we looked at the RR tire......it was on cords big time...it would not have made it to the next yellow. On the good side, we only used 8 tires for the weekend, and 4 of those were used.

So we still have a good race car that we can take to Salem. There was a lot equipment tore up at Nashville, and at least we didn't have fix the body. That's the good news. Bad news: we need to come up with the funding to get our next motor out of the engine shop so that we can go to Salem and have some fun. Salem is a lot of fun to drive, and has treated us well in the past......it has bit us a few times too, but I love the way the fans support us there. Short track racing at its best. See you there.

Mike Buckley
Owner/Driver - ARCA #28
www.goddessfiona.com/buckleyracing

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Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Buckley