August 11, 1999 Wow! What an incredible nine daysâ€¦five states, six cities, and eight races. A special thanks to Ed Pink for getting our engines built in time for all of these races. Also a special thanks to Truck Air Transfer, for lending...
August 11, 1999
Wow! What an incredible nine days…five states, six cities, and eight races. A special thanks to Ed Pink for getting our engines built in time for all of these races. Also a special thanks to Truck Air Transfer, for lending their truck driver, Keith Barker, to help transport our race cars all over the country. Our journey started in St. Louis, Missouri. . . Friday, July 30th: Due to an engine crunch in our Silver Crown car, we drove Bill O'Connor’s car in St. Louis. Practice went well in the 103+ temperature until a gear miscalculation damaged the engine and put us out of the race.
Saturday, July 31st: We practiced early Saturday morning at Road America in Elk hart Lake, Wisconsin, in the Formula Mazda, for the Sunday morning race. With seldom driving both left and right on a track, the practice went quite well.
Saturday night took us to Anderson, Indiana for the pavement midgets. We qualified 5th and were running 3rd in the semi feature. Then, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my career. The track was slick from oil. Driving too hard and fast into the corners overheated the tires and we spun out with only a couple of laps remaining. The mistake was unfortunate because it would have been our best start of the year, outside the front row. Having to race the Ford Mazda in the morning meant we could not dwell on the mistake. On Sunday, we faced serious gearbox problems that left us stuck in 4th gear. We had moved up the field well and were able to finish the race, though.
Tuesday, August 3rd: We qualified 14th in Lincoln Nebraska. Immediately following qualifications, the mag broke in the engine. Instead of fixing the car, we withdrew it and went with the backup car. One of our new mechanics assured us the car was ready, when it was really nowhere close to that. The backup car battery was not hooked up and the wheels were not tightened. We had to make some personnel adjustments.
Wednesday, August 4th, Silver Crown series, DuPont 100, Indianapolis Raceway Park: We drew an early qualifying spot and were actually happy with our qualifying time. Then, the clouds rolled in and the temperatures dropped. The cooler track temperatures increased qualifying speeds putting us in 27th.
We anxiously awaited the start of the race during the 2½ hour rain delay. We finished 8th in our heat race and qualified for the 100 lap feature, starting 27th in the 30 car field. An over anxious driver behind me ran up the back of my car on the first lap and almost ran me into the wall, but I saved it. The car was fast and handled well. We were able to get in a few good passes until the throttle began sticking. What ever position I would put the throttle in, it would stay there. It definitely was a handful all night. We amazingly finished the race in 21st position, unscathed.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Belleville Kansas: Our final 3 races of this intense nine days were awesome. On this high banked dirt track, you just put the pedal to the metal and hang on. There is absolutely no lifting and in order to be competitive, you drive the car right next to the guardrail. Thursday, we qualified 3rd and finished 2nd in our heat. We started 18th in the feature and finished 7th.
Saturday we won our heat race!! We started 12th in the 40 lap feature and moved up to 5th. During one of the red flags, caused by somebody flipping out of the racetrack, we made an improper adjustment to the car, and fell back to 9th. Several people commented they hadn't ever seen a rookie run that well the first time on that track. It had been a long week, and that definitely was a confidence builder for all of us.
FUTURE RACES: SATURDAY, AUGUST 14TH: New Castle, Indiana, Midget Series
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18TH, Indianapolis Raceway Park 7 PM, Midget Series Tape Delayed on ESPN2 8:30- 10:30PM EDT, Saturday, Aug. 21st (7:30PM IN Time)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21ST, Springfield, IL, Silver Crown Series
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28TH-29TH, Pikes Peak Colorado, Midget Series