What can be learned from Winchester? For our team the race could not have been scripted any better. In reviewing the previous Winchester race from 2002 and with Don Strait and Bob Bissinger, I learned what we did right and wrong. What I learned...
What can be learned from Winchester?
For our team the race could not have been scripted any better. In reviewing the previous Winchester race from 2002 and with Don Strait and Bob Bissinger, I learned what we did right and wrong. What I learned was the race doesn't even start until 30 laps to go. That is exactly what we did, letting the over aggressive driver pass and watch them spin early in the race.
We slowly started testing the lower line to see if our car would hold when it was time to start moving to the front. We needed a little more forward bite to be able to pass others clean so we waited for a caution to make an air pressure adjustment. The crew made a great pit stop and picked us up 4 positions under caution. With the air pressure adjustment we were ready to go. We raced everyone clean and moved to second position.
We were a little free off which everyone know is the fastest way around a track. We felt if Frank would make one mistake we might have a chance to win. Frank's car was great on restarts and it would take us a couple of laps to catch up. If Frank never made a mistake, I felt we would have to settle for second place. We were 2 car lengths in front of the 3rd place car before the caution with 10 laps to go.
Chase's spotter came over to our spotter and said they felt like they were faster and wanted to know if we would let him go. Our spotter said, "Big Boy ruled applies with 10 to go" and I don't know if that was the answer they wanted.
We continued to run the preferred line that we had run all night long and that the announcers talked about on lap 69. Billy Venturini Sr. said, "You got to make sure you got the position when you go to do it, otherwise your going to wreck 2 or 3 cars" and that is exactly what happened. Chase simply drove his car in to deep it didn't stick and he pushed up to the preferred line taking me, himself, Mark Gibson, and Andy Belmont out of the race. Chase simply made a mistake as we all have in racing.
I went over to check on Mark, Chase, and Andy to make sure everyone was ok. That was the most important thing. Mark seemed a little aggravated at us but he didn't know what was going on before the restart. Andy thought Bob Strait was driving our car and I took that as a compliment. As for Chase Montgomery, I was completely disappointed in his lack of concern in his fellow drivers' condition and his immature attitude about accepting any responsibility for the accident.
The most important thing after a bad situation is how one handles himself or herself. Knowing everyone was ok is the most important thing. It always hard to control ones temper during the heat of the moment but at the ARCA level one should already know how to act. Sponsors expect drivers to represent themselves in a professional manner because they represent that company's image. Ron Drager talk in every driver's meeting what it takes to bring ARCA to the next level and I think everyone needs to act professional at the track.
For the Crew Chiefs and team owners, it is important that when your driver is wrong you let them know so he or she can learn from their mistakes. Kurt Busch probably wouldn't be getting booed today if Jack Roush had corrected his driver's immature behaviors. They may loss they sponsor due to the behavior of their driver. I'm glad I have classy people like Bob Bissinger and Don Strait to tell me when I wrong.
A good example was at Michigan this year when I spun and thought Vern Slaugh had spun me. I was completely wrong and was glad I didn't accuse Vern of that until I saw the replay. I simply got to close to Vern and it took the air off the rear spoiler causing the car to be loose and I spun. Bob Bissinger looked at Vern's car and the replay and let me know before I made a fool of myself and my team. Thanks Bob for being honest so I would not embarrass our team.
- Mike Langston, Langston Motorsports