USAC Eastern Swing An Important Week Of Races For Chris Windom Weather, Mechanical Woes Continue To Plague Team in Beaver Dam (INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- June 6, 2007): 16-year-old Chris Windom, of Canton, Ill., in the thick of the USAC...
USAC Eastern Swing An Important Week Of Races For Chris Windom
Weather, Mechanical Woes Continue To Plague Team in Beaver Dam
(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- June 6, 2007): 16-year-old Chris Windom, of Canton, Ill., in the thick of the USAC National Sprint Car and Midget Car schedule, is headed to Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Maryland for USAC's first multi-race trip to that part of the country in 30 years.
Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville hosts the Wednesday night, June 6th opener. The "Thunder on the Hill" program concludes with a 35-lap Sprint feature on the 1/3-mile clay oval. On Thursday night, June 7th, the series makes its inaugural visit to Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, where a 30-lap Sprint feature caps the action on the .384 mile dirt oval. The ARDC Midget Series is also in action at both Grandview and Big Diamond. The 60th Anniversary of Hagerstown Speedway concludes the three-race swing on Saturday night, June 9th. The Sprint car feature on the 1/2-mile banked dirt track is 30 laps.
"It's really important for me to do well during this Eastern swing," Windom said. "It would bring the team's confidence up for the year, and give us an opportunity to add to our points in each series, which have been slipping the last month because of our constant mechanical troubles. It would be a good deal all the way around for our whole team to get good finishes all week -- that could set us up for a really productive summer."
Windom can only guess what is ahead this week as far as these new tracks, but he's ready for that challenge.
"I heard one of the tracks is a fast, high-banked track like Kokomo, which is the kind of track I really like to run," Windom said enthusiastically. "Since I have not been to any of these tracks on this Eastern swing, we just have to guess. However, no one else has been to those tracks either, which means we could do well based on what I know I can do. A good draw and a tiny bit of luck might not hurt us at this point in the season, though. I'm really excited to run these new tracks, but especially the half-mile at Hagerstown -- I am comfortable on the big, half-mile dirt tracks, as I love the speed."
Aside from the normally tough USAC competition that Windom faces each week, these upcoming races may showcase some of Pennnsylvania's best winged racers who might decide to join the non-winged party.
"The winged guys will be just as competitive as we are, because they are used to those tracks," Windom explained. "A race car is a race car, no matter if you have a wing on it or not, and if they are good with a wing, they'll be good without a wing, most likely. They are pretty competitive, though. They usually are because they are just good race car drivers, regardless of what they are driving."
Last week's string of races in Wisconsin proved to be another exercise in frustration for the Windom Motorsports Team. Two rain outs and a mechanical failure were the end result for the weekend.
"It was very frustrating," Windom stated emphatically. "After the Friday night rainout at Dodge County, we were really looking forward to a good night at Charter Raceway Park. We started out pretty bad, which got us behind the eight ball right off the bat, and then we wrecked in hot laps (Windom "biked" the car, and when the car fell back on all four tires, it broke a lot of parts on the #17). Then we were just scrambling the rest of the night. We were good in the feature, and after starting 17th, we were slowly working our way up and were probably in the 8th or 9th position when a bolt fell off of the radius rod and it slipped off -- a really bizarre situation. Too bad for everyone on our team, though, because the car was really good before that happened. Another dose of bad luck.
"But the good news is that I'm pretty sure we've got our mechanical problems under control with both of our dirt sprint cars that we'll need for this week's races. I think they are fixed for sure after the Haubstadt race last week."
Deciding to stay in Wisconsin and take in the Badger Midget Series race at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie on Sunday, the team was looking forward to racing with some of the best dirt Midget car racers in the country at one of the most competitive racing facilities anywhere. However, that was a fruitless pursuit, as Mother Nature once again ended their chances of racing by pounding the region with an insurmountable amount of rain earlier in the day.
"Rain is just something you have to assume might happen every race, regardless of the weather forecast. I can't do anything about it. The best way I've dealt with it is to just plan to race, and when it looks like it might happen, plan to take the time to just hang out with my friends and relax a bit since we're usually already in the town we're racing in that night. It's not good, but you usually know that it's potentially going to happen, so the best thing to do is to plan for an option."
The team decided to make the most of the day in Wisconsin by traveling south to Milwaukee and the legendary Milwaukee Mile, where the Indy Racing League was staging an IndyCar Series event. They watched the entertaining 200-lap race before heading back home to their shop in Frankfort, Ind. for just a single day's worth of preparation before loading back up to head East for USAC's week of races in Pennsylvania and Maryland.