What a great weekend for weather. Sunny and seventy-five degrees all weekend long made for some great off-road racing in Bark River, Michigan. Federico started off the weekend Friday morning at at White's Marathon again. With WGLO Magic 97.1 FM...
What a great weekend for weather. Sunny and seventy-five degrees all weekend long made for some great off-road racing in Bark River, Michigan.
Federico started off the weekend Friday morning at at White's Marathon again. With WGLO Magic 97.1 FM and TJ's morning drive show Team Federico dominated the airways of the UP. White's featured gas for 97 cents a gallon for the three-hour show and customers showed up in droves. We spent the night in White's parking lot and when we woke up there was a line of vehicles as far as the eye could see. Between interviews we pumped gas, washed windows, and signed a lot of autograph cards. Friday afternoon we had the chance for two-test sessions. We wanted to use that time to try and improve the handling of the P.F. Chang's, Ingles Markets, Mountain dew Toyota Tacoma. We tried different shock valves and pressure and also had Phillips 66 race fuel guy Dave Resnick install a data acquisition system to monitor fuel mixture, wheel speed, throttle control and a whole lot more. We are trying everything possible to go faster. Some of the information gave us some direction in making some changes to the truck. We went out for Saturday morning's practice but the changes actually made things worse, so we went back to the old setup.
SATURDAY'S RACE, ROUND #11
Saturday and it's race time. A field of sixteen Pro-Lite trucks enters staging with one thing in mind. How to get through the first turn in good position without damaging the truck. The green flag flew and sixteen trucks raced to the first turn. Steven got a little sideways, but held the throttle to the floor and came out of the first turn in the forth position. With Art Schmitt right on his tail, Steven went into a defensive diving mode. Schmitt tried every move waiting for Federico to make a mistake. As Schmitt is one of the racers challenging Federico for second in points, it was crucial for Federico to keep Schmitt behind him. Dicing it up lap after lap, Schmitt tried every move to rattle the rookie with no success. Federico held him off to finish forth with Schmitt right behind. "I realized that Art was back there and I need to drive a smooth race so I could finish in front of him and put a little distance in the point spread between us".
SUNDAY'S RACE, ROUND #12 The truck during Sunday morning's practice session felt great. With a new set of specially grooved Goodyear MTR's and a little re-valving of the shocks, we seemed to have much better traction. Steven was excited for the race. At the start of the race Federico had his eyes peeled at the starter. As they went into the five second to go stage, Federico took his foot off the brakes and shifted into first. As this was happening Federico's truck started to roll forward. Steven had to get back on the brakes to prevent a black flag for jumping the start. Caught in-between gas and brake the green flag flew and Federico got a bad start. Steven was heading into the first turn in seventh position. Art Schmitt turned rookie Chad Hord around and literally drove over the top of him. Federico saw this and held the inside line making it through the second corner in third position behind the two Crowders.
Trying everything to overtake veteran Jimmy Crowder, Federico finally made a great move on Jimmy going into the rhythm section to slide into second position. During this dice, Jason Crowder, son of Jimmy just checked out and ran away with the lead. At this point Federico was just trying to drive a smooth race. Going over the three jumps right in front of the fans, Federico felt a gigantic thump from his transmission. "We lost third and forth gear and, on a high speed track like Bark River, it really hurts". Steven was trying to hold on to second but Art Schmitt was pile driving Federico in the rear end time and time again. You would think a racer with all four gears and the experience of Schmitt could simply just drive around Steven. Federico wasn't going to give in. Art was going to have to go to the outside to make the pass. Art eventually got around Steven along with Rick Huseman and Steven had to settle for a forth place finish. "This was very disappointing for the team". "They worked their butts off this weekend but I think I missed a shift which I think caused me to lose third and forth gear".
Well here we go. With only four races left in the season we hold a small lead over five different drivers for second in points. It's going to come down to the final race and the final lap to determine the Pro-Lite division this year. We still have a good shot at the championship chasing last years champion Jeff Kincaid by only sixteen points. Federico is still leading the Kumbo Tire 'Rookie of the Year' over Larry Gurlie who races in the 'Pro Two' division and seven other drivers.
We would like to thank all our sponsors for their support. P.F. Chang's, Ingles Markets, Mountain Dew and Pepsi-Cola, Italian Village, All Tune and Lube, Racing Optics, Mechanix Wear, Wilmette Auto Body, Goodyear Tire Company, Phillips 66 Racing Fuel, Phil's Inc.com, Exxon Mobil, Precision Gear, American Racing Custom Wheels, Toyota, and my family.