NEW EGYPT, NJ (May 20) -- World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate Chad Hillier drove the ...
NEW EGYPT, NJ (May 20) -- World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate Chad Hillier drove the #5C DIRT Inc. Maxim into 21st place Sunday at New Egypt Speedway.
The way Hillier saw it, "the greatest show on dirt" was lucky to run the show at all.
"We felt fortunate that the weather passed and we were able to get it in," Hillier said. "About 25 cars had qualified and we were one of the next ones to go out when the rain came. We stood around and talked and turned the Weather Channel on for a few of hours. Luckily, the weather passed and we were able to race."
Hillier's 121.204-MPH lap around New Egypt's semi-banked, ½-mile oval was the 22nd-fastest in the 32 car field. The only driver to win sprint car championships in all three divisions at Skagit Speedway finished sixth in the Second Heat Race, then qualified for the 30-lap main event with a fourth-place run in the "B" Feature.
"I thought we were going to be better in qualifying than we were," Hillier said. "The car felt really good; I guess we just didn't build as much speed as a lot of the other guys did. We put in another engine and it ran really well, but we were still fighting a few things. It ran really well from the corner out, but it didn't seem to rev as high as it should. We had some similar problems we had with it the last few nights, so we're going to change it a little.
"We had a really good start in the heat, but (Paul) McMahan got up on the cushion and I lost my momentum. I got up over the cushion a little and (Chad) Kemenah got by me, so we finished sixth.
"In the 'B,' we just held our own. We were tight all night. It was good that we were a little snug, because we had been fighting the car some. I think we found something that we can use Wednesday when we run Grandview.
Hillier started inside the 11th row and maintained his position throughout the "A" Feature.
"The feature was kind of funny," Hillier said. "There were a bunch of cautions at the start, but all the guys involved were on the outside row. We started on the inside, so we didn't change positions. We were stuck back there for a while but, when the cars got strung out a little bit, we got by the guys who had moved up on the outside row. We maintained our position and got lapped pretty early. Once a few cars lapped us, we started racing with (Jason) Sides and Steve (Kinser) a little bit. I didn't want to race with them, but I didn't want to slow down, either.
"I don't think we were too far off. We were having a little problem getting off on the bottom, but up on the cushion were a bit too snug. I don't know if that's because we couldn't get the engine to run all the way down the straightaway or we weren't racing the track right. You had to run the top hard, but you had to be patient on the bottom because (turns) three and four were pretty tight.
Hillier is looking forward to Wednesday's race at Grandview Speedway which, like his home track in Washington, is a high-banked, 1/3-mile oval.
"I went to Grandview with Selma Shell a couple of years ago," said Hillier, who was a crewman for the #11H team. "As I recall, it's not that big and it has walls around it. We're a little better on the smaller tracks than the bigger ones, so we're hoping for a better finish. With all the traveling cars and the Pennsylvania guys showing up, it will be a tough show again. Qualifying well is the main thing. You almost want to qualify between 10th and 16th any more so you can start on the front row of a heat race and get a shot at the dash.
"Skagit and Grandview are pretty much the same size and shape, but the surfaces are probably different. I grew up racing at Skagit, so I got accustomed to that track and style of racing. If you look at it that way, it would be an advantage to me, but we've been racing so many different tracks you have to drive every race track differently. We were running spec tires at Skagit so we ran the chassis different but, with these tires out here, you can use them to your advantage.
"It's really difficult out here now. With Steve (Kinser) running up front and (Danny) Lasoski and (Donny) Schatz running around the back, too, you know it's tough. Hopefully, we'll run well Wednesday and at Lowe's (Friday), too."