by Mike Buckley ARCA ...
by Mike Buckley ARCA #48
Well, we had another one of "those" weekends:
We actually did not race the Springfield race itself. After a day of travel, blown trailer tire in Michigan and watching the Nascar race at the hotel room, we were ready for action at Springfield. Let me begin by saying that, currently in the car, is the best race motor we have ever had. Lots of horsepower, lots, dyno proven. Springfield would be the track we could open it up and see what it would do.
Practice began and the track was sticking great. On the first practice we warmed up the car. One of my earplugs had come out when I cinched the belts as I entered the track. I did a couple of laps and pulled off. I didn't drive the car into the corner hard but did test the motor, wow. It launched down the straights. I fixed my earpiece and the crew checked the shock travels, we had an amazing amount of rear shock travel. Went back out and turned some hard laps. The car was loose in the center of the corners but felt fast. On the last couple of laps the motor rev'ed high on the exit of the corner. I thought it could have been a few things: excessive tire spin (it was already loose off, looser than normal at a dirt track), slipping clutch or the rear end was slipping (I run a torque sense type differential). The crew checked the shock travels and the rear shocks were bottomed out. I thought then that it could be wheel spin. We stiffened up the rear a bunch and got ready for qualifying.
On the qualifying lap, as I entered the track, the trans would not find 1st or 2nd gear. I started out in 3rd and when I up shifted to 4th the clutch started to spin...bad. I watched the tach and kept the motor at 8200 to 8400 rpm and let the car go as fast as it would with the clutch slipping down both straights...which was slow.
Came in, jacked up the car and began changing out the clutch. We were helped by a big wreck in the sportsman race which gave us the time to change it out. The old one was red hot, warped, broken plates and was junk. We borrowed one and installed it by jacking the motor from the bottom, removing the trans from underneath. No easy job in the heat. We got it done and put together and in time...but we were told that we were not in the race. We qualified 40th of 43, they took 36 on time and 4 provisinals which we did not have the "owner" points to get in. Not the first time that the ARCA owner points system has bit us, driver, number swapping and all. Was not happy.
Our practice times would have qualified us at least in the top 10.
Dejected, we loaded up, watched the race and went home.
Next race is DuQuion for us. We'll take the trans back out and make sure the clutch is right, return the borrowed parts. Hopefully, our next event can lift our spirits.