July 12, 2004 -- Topeka, KS. - The team arrived Friday morning to get ready for the slightly different Night race to be held later that evening and also on Saturday night. The temps in Kansas were in the high 90's and very high humidity.
July 12, 2004 -- Topeka, KS. - The team arrived Friday morning to get ready for the slightly different Night race to be held later that evening and also on Saturday night. The temps in Kansas were in the high 90's and very high humidity. (miserably hot)
The track looked fairly simply at around 1/2 mile in length, but turned out to be quite a challenging little track with the new owners of Heartland Park Raceway doing everything in their power to make the needed changes to the track and other operational things. They were very willing to do what it took to make a good race track and show for the crowd. It was a pleasure to be racing in that environment.
Friday practice went well, with only slight changes to be made to the truck. At race time (9 PM) the track had not dried out completely from the solid weeks rain in Topeka, but it was very tacky and drivable. Kevin was on the grid in the 4th slot outside. At the green, Kevin made his way to the first corner with little contact and there was a pile up with a couple drivers that cause Kevin to come out in 5th, with Taylor, VanDanHuevel, and Renezeder behind. After several laps, the sorting began, and Kevin found himself in a battle for the lead with Steve Barlow. The two drivers ran with no contact with Barlow holding the tight line and no mistakes. Kevin was trying every line available to try to pass Barlow, but the two were fairly evenly matched. The mud in Kevin's face was terrible, going through 35 tear offs, Kevin was driving with the helmet visor open around the half way point. 3 Laps from the end of the 25 laps, Kevin was making a move on Barlow in the back section of the track, and Barlow shot some mud that temporarily blinded Kevin in a critical area re-entering the infield. "When I got my vision cleared, I saw it coming" Kevin said, "there wasn't time to react." Kevin hit a implement tire protecting the entrance to the wall. By the end of the race, Kevin was in 4th at the finish. "I was surprised to see him moving after that hit" said Taylor. The truck was slightly damaged, but with enough spare parts, the team would be able to get the truck ready for the Saturday night race. Barlow finished 1st, Taylor Second, VanDanHuevel 3rd, Kevin 4th.
Saturdays practice went very well, as the truck had several change made to improve the performance from Friday. We changed shock valving and tranny converter as well as repairing the damaged suspension parts.
At the green, in Saturday nights race, Kevin was in the 4th spot again on the grid. With much better track conditions, Kevin found his way to 2nd by lap 2. The dampness of the track surface proved to be a problem later when Taylor and Renezeder eventually passed Kevin. Our groove was wrong for the conditions. We planned for a slightly dryer track then we ended up with. At race end it was Evans, Taylor, Renezeder, Kevin.
The Sunday morning practice went very good, and the track would definitely be dry for the afternoon race. The team made only slight changes to grooving and tire pressures. At the start (4th on the grid) Kevin made his way into 2nd with Baldwin leading and Evans, Taylor and the rest behind. Kevin made a pass on Baldwin for the early lead on lap 2 with Evans making a move in the 4th lap for the early lead. Kevin 2nd. The race progressed with Taylor making a move to 2nd around lap 8. Kevin ran a close 3rd to the end of the race.
We are currently 5th in the standings only 11 out of 2nd. Overall, a good weekend with 4th, 4th, 3rd. We will be working on the truck to make some headway to compete against the non-standardized chassis of Taylor and Evans. We are currently the fastest standardize Pro 2 and we are trying to do more to make this chassis better.
Bark River is Next up.