Nashville Buckeroo Report

Last weekend the Buckley Racing (Buckeroo) crew headed for the new Nashville Superspeedway for the second ARCA race in our schedule. Our last race was at Michigan and we had broken a rocker arm that failed on the 3rd lap. We replaced the rocker...

Last weekend the Buckley Racing (Buckeroo) crew headed for the new Nashville Superspeedway for the second ARCA race in our schedule. Our last race was at Michigan and we had broken a rocker arm that failed on the 3rd lap. We replaced the rocker arms in the engine and got the car prepped for Nashville.

When ARCA raced Nashville in the spring, it was the first time we had raced our intermediate car. The track was brand new and was very slick. We were just looking to finish in the spring. This time we were here to race.

The weather was hot. But rain and clouds threatened all day Friday, our practice and qualifying day. The Craftsman trucks were running their race on Friday night....our race was Saturday night. After prepping the car all morning we were ready for practice which began at 11:00 and ended at 1:00. We hit the track about 11:30.

Immediately we had a problem. The rear gear was wrong. It wasn't up to what I thought was about 3/4 speed and the tach was buried at 8700 and I was lifting to keep the rpm down at the middle of the straights. I radioed in that I thought the wrong gear was in the car and we jacked it up and pulled it. Counting the teeth, sure enough it was a 4.86 when I was supposed to have a 4.11.

This was a gear that I had assembled back in the shop. The wrong ring and pinion went together and I was the one who goofed up. Problem was that we did not have anything else with us that was close to a 4.11. Talking with my competitors, that is the gear they also were all looking for. Just then Brian Keselowski showed in the pit. He is the son of Bob Keselowski who owns the #29 Craftsman truck. They had a 4.11 that they were not using in the truck.....however the supertruck garage would not open or allow anyone in it until 1:00 pm. So we did not get any real practice.

We put the borrowed gear in for qualifying. I did not want to qualify on new tires because the right side tires would not stick good unless they had some laps on them. I qualified on the tires that we ran the whole practice and race on in the spring. They had at least 175 miles on them. The gear however was the right one and we qualified 13th turning around 8450 in rpm.

Happy hour practice was next. We bolted on a new set of tires. I wanted no more than 20 laps on them (about ten of them were hard laps)...then the right sides would be good for the race. The car was handling real well. Just one minor adjustment and we were 9th in practice. Time to go to the hotel room...we were happy.

Pits opened Saturday at 1:00 pm. We prepped the car for the race. The weather was threatening and it was hot. A storm moved in and heavy rain fell at 3:30 and rained until just before 5:00. The track started drying activities...the race would start at 7:00. It was a little cooler and the cloud cover helped keep the track temp down.

The race began and the car handled well. It was stable in the corners and we made it to the 1st caution and gained 2 spots under green. We restarted on the green in 10th spot and after the 1st couple of green flag laps the engine went BAM going down the front stretch. I got the clutch in and the car wanted to go sideways getting into turn one without the engine to slow me down. Everyone behind got by and I was able to get it down on the back stretch apron. I let out the clutch and it had oil pressure and was popping bad like it did at Michigan. I thought we had broken another rocker arm. The guys in the pit removed the air cleaner and started by looking at the cap and rotor. The rotor was broken in the distributor. We had a spare in the pit box and we lost 15 laps or more under green changing it. Just as we got the work done and the car went back on the track a yellow came out. This was at lap 40.

For the rest of the 131 lap race the car was dialed and ran as good as in any race this season. I did not want to have to put on any more tires, so our one set needed to make it to the end. I did not push the nose or get off the corners to hard and could pass most cars at will. The leaders we let go by and fell in behind them and stayed out of the way. With attrition and making up laps on the real slow cars we were able to get back to 15th place when the race ended, 22 laps down but running strong. I honestly think the car was good enough for 4th place at the end. I did not put on any more tires, but after the race, the right rear was showing cords with the other corners not far behind. The crew did a good job finding and fixing the problem....we felt pretty good.

So the next race is at Springfield on the 1 mile dirt track. We will put this motor in our short track car and head for the dirt on August 19th. If you are in the area and have not seen the ARCA cars on the dirt track, you should make it a requirement to get to Springfield or will not be disappointed.

Mike Buckley
ARCA #28

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Buckley , Brian Keselowski