by Mike Buckley ARCA No. 48 At our last ARCA adventure, we broke our one and only motor at Toledo. This engine had broken the crankshaft behind the timing chain going into the turn at max RPM. The valve train and the lower end lost sync ...
by Mike Buckley ARCA No. 48
At our last ARCA adventure, we broke our one and only motor at Toledo. This engine had broken the crankshaft behind the timing chain going into the turn at max RPM. The valve train and the lower end lost sync and broke all the lifters, all the pushrods and every valve hit a piston. The cam was damaged and the lower end had been sharpneled by all the broken lifter pieces. It was a mess. Since then we have been working on getting the motor back together. It was fired in the car the night before we left for Kil Kare.
Kil Kare is my worst short track. I cannot seem to get the hang of the line that needs to be taken in turn 5 (or is it 7?). The car began with a large push on old tires and we began tuning in the setup. Practice went well for us. I counted at least 4 cars that hit either each other or the wall in practice. The tires were harder than we have ever run there. We ended up qualifying 17th.
At the start of the race, at the end of the first corner, things looked bad. Everyone started bouncing off one another. My line stopped. I moved to the outside about a half a groove to avoid rear ending the guy in front. The guy in back shot for the bottom, then lost it. My car was hit on all five sides and somehow mangaged to make it to the back straight. The rest of the night didn't get any better. The car made progress, was handling fair. We got lapped around lap 60, then the #19 car rear ended me hard and turned me around into grass. Lost two laps getting back on the track, another one because the leader was just behind the spin. We finished 13th in the final carnage of what they called a race. It was the worst race I'd been in for a long time. We had an easy top ten car if not for the spin. I was in about 8th place before the idiot took me out.
Same story, different night, same carnage of what they would call a race. I hope it was entertaining for the crowd. We did not practice well today. The car broke a power steering hose after the first session and we could not get it fixed until qualifying. There were 35 cars for the 28 spots and the last 4 were for provisionals, so you had to be in the top 24. It was a surprising tight field considering how spread it was the night before. We were 4 tenths off the pole and only got a 17th starting spot. Flat Rock is my home track. I had many family and friends there. We were doing OK, but not great after the race got going. There was an early caution. This is not good at Flat Rock since I had only gotten 2 spots at the start. The cars were in single file since they were all on the lead lap. This is a 1/4 mile oval and when I took the green on the restart, the leader was half way down the back stretch. We worked our way up but was lapped at around 50-55 lap mark. First through fourth place had passed me clean. I had given them plenty of room without running them up to the wall, etc. Well Mark Gibson was running fifth and felt we should just move over. In fact he let my crew know that I should just stop racing with the other 14 cars that were a lap down and let him by. My crew told his crew that when he reached us(he wasn't even there yet and they were bartering for us to move over), we would give him plenty of room without loosing positions. He couldn't pass us clean (in fact he hadn't passed anyone clean in two nights and had two tore up cars to prove it) and then used the bumper for a lap, then finally turned me around hard in front of Eric Smith. Eric had nowhere to go, hit the LF wheel and bumper, but no serious damage. Almost cut the LF tire down. It felt funny after the incident, there was about an inch wide gash in the outer tread to the cords. Don't know how the tire lasted the rest of the race. There was no yellow, I lost two laps getting the car back on the track. We again had about an eighth place car and were relegated to 15th. I was ticked, but not as ticked as one of my crew members who had to be retrieved from the Gibson pit after the race. A lot of shouting, some things that needed to be said, lots of ARCA officials, nothing more.
Our next race is at the Spingfield mile. We ALWAYS have an interesting story to tell about our dirt racing experience. Hopefully, this year we can brag about our great finish instead of the car totalling hay bale flying wrecks I've had at the last three one mile dirt races.