(Ed. Note: This story is from Mike Buckley, driver of the No. 48 car in the ARCA series.) Where to start..... Last week, and the week before I spent in the engine builders shop putting a "killer" motor together. After Memphis, it was time for...

(Ed. Note: This story is from Mike Buckley, driver of the No. 48 car in the ARCA series.)

Where to start.....

Last week, and the week before I spent in the engine builders shop putting a "killer" motor together. After Memphis, it was time for a rebuild, and we ended up replacing our 23 degree motor with a 18 degree cylinder heads, and new everything else except the block.

The motor finally fired at 10:30 pm on Friday. My neighbors were not happy. After the motor ran, it was time for the setup. We finished up around 2:30 am. Up at 7:00 am to load the car and equipment....again the neighbors (who moves in next to a racer anyhow?). We finally get on the way about an hour behind schedule towards the Shady Bowl Speedway in Ohio. Made it as far as Toledo (40 miles south of Ann Arbor) and a tire came apart on the trailer. As we are getting off on the exit ramp, an accident occurs in front of us. We spent an hour there, including changing the tire.

After we arrived at Shady Bowl late, we had some things to do on the car. In practice the car was drivable but needed some work. One of the header collectors came off the car and it took the rest of the practice session to fix the problem. We could not scuff in our tires. On our qualifying lap, I about knocked down both walls. Could not get the car to turn at all. Started 24th of 26th. I was not happy. Lack of sleep and frustration were taking a toll.

We threw another spring and shock at the car, then prepared for the race. I started out excellent and passed a bunch of cars before the handling started to fade. We lost a lap way too soon. When you start that far in the back, the leaders catch up way too fast. Missed a bunch of wrecks that I was way too close to. The car lost some power during the 2nd half which we found later was a couple of Jessel rocker adjusters backing out. Cars kept spinning and breaking and we kept passing a few here and there to finish 9th. A big improvement from our qualifying spot. I have to learn how to qualify better.

Drove the trailer home to arrive back in Ann Arbor at 3:30 am. Ahh....sleep.

Up at 9:00 a.m. to head for Toledo. This isn't very far from our shop. We started working on changing the setup. At Shady Bowl, I lost most of the front brakes. I spent quite a bit of time changing a master cylinder and balancing the brakes.

Practice starts and the car still has little brakes. Come back to the pit and rebleed the front and rears. Now the car is plowing up the track on corner entry, and is very loose on exit. Some more springs, a shock, sway bar adjustment...getting better, but now where near where we were here last year. I again qualified 25th towards the back. They did send a few cars home however because they had more than a full field.

The race began and after a few laps they started stacking up in front of me in turn 4. I missed the spinning cars and headed to what I thought had to be caution flag. We all slowed down but no caution. I must have lost a straitaway on the next car. We then got lapped. The outside line was no where near what the inside line was running. The car was still pushing but was getting better on the corner exits as the sun was setting and the track was cooling down. Then it happened...

Lap 82 I went into turn 1 and felt a large vibration. The motor stopped and the oil pressure light was on, gauge at zero. I coasted in and reported to the crew that the motor was gone. They saw the oil pump belt drop out at the same corner entry when it let go. Finished where we started, 25th with engine failure.

I took Monday to relax...this is now Tuesday evening and I'll be pulling out the motor to see what happened and what kind of damage there is. This was an expensive piece..and the wallet is thin from this last go around, so we'll have to see when we will be racing next.

Mike Buckley ARCA #48

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Series General
Drivers Mike Buckley