Monday, May 17, 2010

Race 4 - 3rd

It was our first race on the big 5/8's mile track. This track is awesome. It's fast, it takes courage and for the record my crew chief, Steve, has always delivered a bullet at this place. I really feel like I can win on the 5/8's. Saturday night proved I only need to make small changes to my driving style to keep the car under me the whole race. We were close, real close.

Awesome car. I have to admit, I love the new "two tire rule" at Evergreen Speedway. It saves us money on race tires, but not only that it saves us from having to buy practice tires too often.

However, like most people I'd rather role a new set of 4 skins on the car for the 5/8's. For those who've only had the opportunity in life to spectate, racing tires are a HUGE deal. When you get a chance to drive one of these things ask for fresh tires. We put on fresh doughnuts for practice and it was hooked up! I could hold it to the floor board the whole exit off the corner, "Yeah buddy, that's what I'm talking about!!"

The 2008 and 2009 champ, Naima Lang, came out to race the big track. He is super fast on this track, so I was aiming to beat him in qualifying. I know without a doubt it was the best qualifying effort I have ever had on the big track. I was pumped. Naima went out and got me by like .035 seconds. I qualified 2nd.

Main Event.
I started outside row 3 in the 6th position. The car was awesome. We made a few passes early and settled in behind the 12 and 11. I found some grip off of turn four and the 11 seemed to be getting tight in the center. We got him and set sail for the leader. I pulled up on Tom after a few laps. He's a cagey veteran so he may have been saving his car a bit, but when I got to him we were racing. I challenged him for quite a few laps.

After some time my car started changing. It was getting a tick tight in the center. Naima caught me and we had an awesome battle. With the 12 right ahead of us Naima and I went door to door for several laps. It's awesome to race against super fast guys who drive clean because you know they won't wreck or mirror drive you. They test every ounce of your cars setup and talent. Naima and I were having a fun battle that would have lasted at least another dozen laps if the 16 hadn't pulled in front of me when he was getting lapped. Naima set the pick, I had to check up and fall in line behind the 00.

As Naima caught Tom they began to battle. My car had struggled a bit in the center, but I changed my line up a little and found some bite. With the 12 and 00 going at it I started to catch them both. Coming to the white flag, one lap to go, I got a huge run off of turn four and knew I had a head of steam going down the front stretch. Without hesitating I threw it to the outside and rolled up to Naima's door, racing for second. We went side by side down the back stretch, but my car wouldn't hold for turn 3. I finished third.

I was a great night as all three of us were close at the finish. For me, going 75 laps green-to-checkers, without a single caution and be nose to tail at the finish with two of the best drivers at Evergreen, and arguably in the Northwest, I was pumped. It was a great night.

I spent some time debriefing my line. I learned a little "somethin-somethin" that we will try next week. I can hardly wait.

Remember, go eat some pie and lunch at Snohomish Pie company. You eat pie, I get new tires! Thank you.