Weekend Update 10/18-10/19

Hello Everyone!  I ran my final races of the 2008 season this past Saturday night, and it sure was a cold evening.  Paradise Speedway did their best to get the races in a quickly as possible, but they still had a full evening of events.  Thankfully, we had our propane heater with us to keep the trailer nice and warm between events.  The heater also came in handy for warming up the engines and rear tires before the races.  The cold weather also threw some curve balls at us with the track surface.  Instead of the track tightening up as the night went on, I thought the surface actually made the cars get looser.  I know that it definitely caught me a little off guard in the 600cc sprint car feature event.  However, first up was the Slingshot event.  I drove my dad's #19 car again this week and we put Tom Rae in the #91.  Tom's son Tucker is the 3rd member of the DigTrack.com slingshot team and this was his night to shine.  All night long Tucker was fast and he drove great in both the heat and feature races.  In the heat race, I started on the outside of the front row, and it was a drag race between myself and Tucker, who was on the pole.  I was able to edge ahead of Tucker going into the first turn, but I wasn't able to clear him and get to the bottom of the track.  I lost my momentum on the high side of the turn and he was able to beat me out of turn 2.  I followed close on his heels for the remainder of the 8 lap race, but I was unable to make a charge for the win.  This set up a repeat of the front row for the feature, and now I knew that I had to throw out all the stops and win the race out of the first turn.  At least that was my plan anyways.  As we came to the green flag, I made sure I got a good start and I again started pulling ahead down the front straightaway.  By the time that we got to the start/finish line, I knew that I was again not going to be able to clear Tucker down into the turn.  So, I went to my backup plan, which was to slowly pinch him down until he had to left off the gas and hand the lead over to me.  I thought for sure this was going to work, but as we got to the turn, I could hear that Tucker was not going to lift, as his engine was still at full RPMs.  At this point I had no choice but to give him room as we both probably would have crashed had I kept pinching him down.  With him in the preferred line, I lost the race out of turn 2 and began my pursuit of the lead.  However, Tucker ran a flawless race out front and I had nothing for him.  At the end I think he was even pulling away a little bit.  So, I had to settle for 2nd again in the slingshot race.  Over the last few weeks, I feel like our competitors have made big gains and have caught up to us.  I certainly haven't been getting the easy slingshot wins like I used to.  I guess that means I'm just going to have to go to work this winter and raise the bar a little bit higher to try to gain back our advantage.  The slingshots have been more fun to drive over the last few weeks due to the heightened level of competition.  Even with the smaller fields that the slingshot division has been getting, you now really have to earn the feature win. 

The competition has also been stepped up on the 600cc sprint car side of things.  Not only has there been an influx of DIRT drivers like myself, but now it appears that there are enough engine enhancements out on the market where money is really starting to have a factor.  This is really unfortunate, because the class has been booming over the last couple of years, and I think that some teams might get priced out if some rules are not put in place to curb the spending.  Only time will tell the path which the class takes, but as of right now, the days of winning with a stock 600cc engine are over.  As for Saturday, I started the night off with a terrible draw for my heat race position, having to start 8th.  I was hoping to be able to move up to 4th in the heat, but I got blocked several times in the first couple laps, and could only muster a 5th place finish.  This meant that I was going to have to start 10th in the feature, but I was comforted by how well the car handled in the heat race.  Plus, just one week ago I was able to drive from 9th to 4th in the 30 lap feature.  So, I was confident that I could repeat that performance and drive to the front of the field.  However, it didn't quite work out that way.  I think the cold conditions threw me for a loop and I didn't get the car tight enough.  I did catch a break and got to start 8th due to a car not being able to start the race.  However, despite trying everything that I could, I just wasn't tight enough to move through the field.  In the end, I did still have a pretty good race, finishing where I started, in 8th place. 

So, this ends my 2008 racing season, and now begins the rebuilding phase for next season.  My plans are still up in the air for 2009, but I really hope to be back in a DIRT Modified at Canandaigua and Weedsport.  My race team is in desperate need of a sponsor for the 2009 season, so hopefully something will come to fruition soon.  Before I wrap this up for the week, I do want to take the time to thank Paul Habeck and North Eastern Pool and Spa for allowing me to be a part of his racing team for 2008.  It has been my pleasure to be behind the wheel of The Backyard Place 600cc sprint car, and I look forward to our future success in 2009.  There are a few more racing related events left for 2008, including the Canandaigua swap meet next weekend and the National Parts Peddler trade show in November.  I'll be sure to keep you all posted on the happenings of my race team as the winter months unfold.  Thank you all for making my 2008 season a successful and memorable one!  I couldn't do it without all of you that support me each and every week.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 10/11-10/12

Hello Everyone!  I think we all had a fun time at Paradise this past weekend.  The weather wasn't too cold, and the racing went pretty well.  The Tobias Slingshot National Tour was in town for its annual event at Paradise, and this year it drew 22 entries.  Last year I was able to start up front and have strong runs in both the heat and feature.  This year was a little bit more difficult, as I didn't draw as well, and had to start buried in the middle of the 2 heat races.  The slingshot tour is a little different in that it runs two heat races and your average finish determines the starting lineup for the feature.  You run with the same group of cars in each heat race, but the starting lineup is inverted for the second race.  So, if you start first in the first heat race, you will start last in the second heat race.  I had to start 7th in my first heat race and it was very difficult to move up through the pack.  Everyone seemed to be equal, and I was quite pleased to move up to the 5th position by the end of the eight laps.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capitalize on my 5th starting spot in the second heat race either.  The field got jumbled up on the start and next thing I knew Bob passed me (He was driving my usual #91 slingshot and I drove my Dad's #19).  I got beside him once late in the race, but had to back out of it, settling for a 6th place finish.  I knew that 5th and 6th place finishes were not going to earn me the best starting spot for the feature, and as it turned out, I had to start 11th.  However, when the dropped the green flag, things really worked out nicely.  A lot of the cars in front of me didn't stay down in the low groove for the first few laps and I was quickly able to move up to the 6th position by driving underneath them in the turns.  There was a quick caution, and I was hopeful that I could repeat this move and grap a few more spots.  However, I had moved far enough forward in the field where the cars were handling a lot better and things got quite a bit more difficult.  I did have a fast car though, and I was able to dispose of two more competitors.  However, by this time the leaders had checked out.  I could see the 2nd and 3rd place runners about 10 car lengths ahead of me, but we were all single file and there was no way to run them down.  The race was actually pretty tame and other than one quick caution early, it went green the whole way.  At the end, I came home with a nice 4th place finish.  Bob also finished a solid 7th place finish, so it was a good day for our slingshot team, getting our two cars in the top-10.  There was great side-by-side racing in the slingshot race, and there wasn't hardly any slamming and crashing like there was in the race one year ago.  It was a lot of fun to be out there dicing it out with a lot of cars, since they don't normally get large fields of slingshots at Paradise.  Maybe the race this past weekend will once again spark the interest in the class around here.

I had a little better draw for the 600cc sprint car heat race, but it all went for nothing when the polesitter never really got up to speed, leaving me trapped behind him.  Instead of jumping to the lead from my 3rd starting position, I fell back to 4th.  On a restart I was able to drive around the original polesitter for 3rd, but was unable to reel in the top 2 cars.  Being a heads-up start for the feature, this was a little bit frustrating, as I would now have to start 9th, with most of the contenders for the win starting in the top-5.  So, I knew it was going to be tough to get to the front, but when the dropped the green flag I just kept trying to pick them off one at a time.  I had a great handling car all evening, and about halfway through the event, I found this low line off of turn 4 which was giving me a huge launch down the frontstretch.  Normally, I make all my moves going into turn 3 at Paradise, but last Saturday I was gaining so much momentum out of turn 4 that I made all of my passed going into turn 1.  It was a little strange as that is not the preferred passing area on that track.  However, it was working and with 2 laps to go in the race, I made the pass for 4th.  I could see the other 3 leaders, but simply ran out of time.  It was still a good run though, as I consider it quite an accomplishment if you can pass 5 cars in a feature at Paradise.  Passing at that track is not easy, so I was quite pleased to move up from 9th to 4th by the end of the event.

It was nice to leave Paradise with two solid top-4 finishes, and also no damage to the cars.  This weekend marks the end of the Paradise fall season, so as of right now, I believe it will be my last race of the year.  I will again be in both the slingshot and the 600cc sprint car, and I look forward to getting to Paradise on Saturday for one last hoorah for the 2008 season.  It should be a lot of fun.  I hope you all can join us!  Take care for now!



Weekend Update 10/4-10/5

Hello everyone!  I ended up having quite a busy Saturday night of racing this past weekend.  I ran in both the slingshot race and the special Pot of Gold 600cc sprint car event.  Between the two events, it felt like I didn't have a moment to spare during the evening.  The slingshot races were just a struggle all evening.  At the start of the heat race, I started 3rd, behind my dad who was on the pole.  I pushed him down into turn 1, where he ended up making contact with the 2nd place car.  This spun him around and I had to do an evasive manuever to the right to avoid hitting him.  He did a 360 and kept going, but we had both lost a lot of ground on the two other cars.  I was able to catch up a little bit and grab the 2nd position before the end of the eight lap heat race.  I was still pretty confident that I was going to have a good chance at taking the win in the feature.  I knew that I was going to have to find a way to win the drag race down into turn 1 at the start of the feature event.  I actually did get a really good start, but I wasn't able to clear the polesitter and get to the bottom in the first corner.  So, I elected to stay up high and keep my momentum up and finish the pass down the back straight.  However, as I was coming out of turn 2, my car started bogging down.  As it turned out, the car on the inside had driven up into my car and it slowed me down enough where he was able to get back by.  Somehow this slowed me way down, but allowed the other car to keep his momentum up.  Quickly, I lost 10 car lengths.  I spent the rest of the race trying to catch up, but all I could do was get the gap down to about 5 car lengths.  So, it was a little disappointing not to get the win in the slingshot, but I guess you can't win them all.

The 600cc sprint car race ended up being a very interesting event, to say the least.  This past Saturday was the much anticipated Pot of Gold event, which was supposed to pay $1000 to the winner.  36 cars entered the pit area to compete for the money.  Of course, I drew just about as bad as you can draw for my starting position in the heat race.  They had 6 heats of 6 cars, so I had to start last in the 4th heat.  Three cars qualified out of each heat, so I knew that I was going to have my work cut out for me to not end up in the B-main.  As luck would have it, things would work out pretty well.  At the green flag, the 3rd place car didn't get going very quickly and I was able to take two cars before we even got to turn 1.  Then, another car slipped up off of turn 2 and I was able to get under him to get to 3rd before we even finished the first lap.  As the race continued, I tried to get 2nd, but just wasn't able to make the pass.  However, I was still able to hold on for 3rd and earn the 16th starting position for the big feature event.  Normally I would be a little upset about starting so far back in the feature, but the format of the event was a little bit different.  The 40 lap event was broken into two 20 lap segments, with the top-10 after 20 laps going into a redraw to shuffle up the field.  I had a really good car in the first 20 laps, and I was able to move into 10th at the halfway point.  My plan was to get into the top-10, then draw the pole for the sprint to the finish.  However, it didn't quite work out that way.  Being the last person to draw, there was only one position left for me, which was 5th.  I was still pretty happy with this, as I was able to jump 5 positions without actually having to pass them.  The car was so good in the first session that I didn't make any changes for the second session, other than adding the necessary fuel to make it to the end.  Even from 5th, I thought that I was going to have a good chance at getting to the front of the field.  However, as the second part of the race began, something seemed to be amiss with the engine.  It just wasn't running as crisp as it did before the break.  I was still able to run well, but there was no chance for improvement.  About 5 laps into the second segment there was a caution, and on the restart the engine never came back to life.  I tried shifting down through the gears to clean the engine out, but there was just no power.  So, unfortunately, I was forced to retire from the event, finishing in the 22nd position.  Upon further inspection, I had a fuel pump go bad, and it just couldn't supply the necessary fuel that was required to run the engine at full speed.  This was an unfortunate set of circumstances, but I was still pleased with how well the car ran all evening, and how well I was able to move up through the strong field of cars in the feature.  Based on the performance of the last two weeks, I'm very excited about my chances in the sprint car for the last two weeks of the season. 

This weekend at Paradise will be another busy event, with the slingshot tour coming to town.  Last year, I was able to lead a bunch of laps before fading to 4th at the end of the event.  Hopefully, this season I will be able to improve my fnishing position and get the win!  In addition to the slingshot tour, the 600cc sprint cars will again be in action, so again I'll be doing double duty.  Let's hope we can all celebrate Saturday evening with two huge wins!  I hope to see you all at the track!  Take care for now!



Weekend Update 9/27-9/28

Hello Everyone!  I finally got to make my fall series debut at Paradise Speedway this past weekend.  The rain and the Super DIRT Series race at Canandaigua had delayed it for a few weeks.  I actually thought that rain was going to wash out the events of last Saturday as well, but by the time we headed to the track, the sun was out and everything went off without any problems.  I was scheduled to run both the Slingshot and the 600cc Sprint Car, so it was a little bit of a busy night.  Thankfully, I avoided having any major issues, and didn't have to rush between my races.  There were only three Slingshots in the field Saturday night, so there was a necessity to get out front early, before someone could get a lead since traffic wasn't going to be an issue.  I had to start 3rd, in the last row by myself.  My Dad had to start 2nd, so I lined up on the outside behind him.  As we came to the green flag, I positioned my front bumper squarely on his and started pushing as hard as I could.  Over our time running the slingshots, we've found that when you get two cars hooked up together, they go quite a bit faster.  I quickly pushed my Dad out to the lead, but I was a little shocked that I also cleared the polesitter going into turn 1.  So, when I let off of Dad's rear bumper, I quickly turned hard left and dove under him going through the first turn.  Coming out of turn 2, I assumed the lead and never looked back, easily winning the heat race.  My Dad held on to finish 2nd, which created an interesting scenario for the feature.  We would have to start side-by-side on the front row.  We had to figure out a way to get him down from the top lane on the start before he got passed by the car in the 2nd row.  I was a little surprised that I didn't get pushed from behind at the start, and as it worked out, Dad was able to drop in line behind me as we came out of turn 2.  Once again I found myself out front, and the car was driving really well.  I focused on hitting my marks and was able to hold on for the feature victory. 

However, that was only half of my night, as I also had to deal with a very tough 600cc sprint car field.  We went to the practice session last Wednesday and did some testing with the cars and I found a little adjustment that really helped the handling of my car.  Due to the wet conditions of the day, Saturday's track surface ended up being very similar to what I had seen on Wednesday night, so I was excited about how my car was going to drive.  When I went out for hot laps, I could tell that the sprint car was right on.  I was supposed to start 5th in the heat race, behind my teammate, Paul Habeck.  However, as he went to go up to the staging line, he had a throttle issue which prevented him from competing.  This moved me up to his 3rd starting spot, and I now knew that I was going to have a good chance to get to the front.  At the start of the race, I was able to jump into 2nd coming out of turn 2 and I started my assault on the leader.  He drifted high off of turn 2 on the 2nd lap and I dove underneath him down the backstretch.  I made the pass and set sail out front.  The car was absolutely perfect and before the 8 laps were over, I had reached the end of the pack.  Being the winner of the first heat race, this earned me the pole for the feature event.  However, I knew that winning the feature was not going to be an easy task.  As I mentioned earlier, the field was full of tough cars, including my teammate Paul, my uncle Charlie Donk, and ex-Modified racer Darryl Ruggles.  Darryl won the 2nd heat race, so we shared the front row for the feature.  At the green flag, I took off as fast as I could, but somehow I got beat down into turn 1.  Darryl got out to almost a straighaway lead on me until we caught the lap traffic, when the real chase started.  He had a little trouble getting through the traffic and next thing I knew, I had the gap down to 4 car lengths.  Unfortunately, the caution flag flew at this point, which ultimately won him the race.  I feel that the Paradise lap traffic rules need to be addressed as they have a single-file restart, but they leave the lap cars in the front of the field, mixed in with the lead-lap cars.  This put a 2 car barrier between me and the leader, ending most of my chance to make a run for the win.  During the restart, the car ahead of me got loose in turn 1, slowing me up enough to allow Charlie to drive around the outside of both of us.   The whole situation was a little frustrating, but I guess the breaks can't always go my way.  I was not contested for my position from that point until the checkered flag, and I rolled across the line in 3rd.  That was the best finish that I've had at Paradise in a sprint car all season, so it was hard to be disappointed with it.  However, I really thought that I had a car good enough to win and things just didn't go my way.  Fortunately, I have a few more shots to get the job done this season, including this week's special "Pot of Gold" race with one of the highest purses that we've seen all season. 

Overall, I had a very positive night of racing on Saturday.  I have the Slingshot running well, and the sprint car is running better than it has been all season.  I only think that it is a matter of time before I am able to revisit victory lane.  This weekend I will be back at Paradise, again doing double duty.  If you haven't been to Paradise Speedway you should really check it out.  I hope to see you all at the track!  Take care for now.


Weekend Update 9/20-9/21

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend marked the end of the 2008 Modified season for myself and the team, and I think we ended on a pretty good note.  I missed the setup a little bit in the feature but the car was probably the best it has been all year early on in the evening.  After watching the 358 race at Canandaigua on Friday night, I was a little worried about what condition that track was going to be in for Saturday.  However, the track was nice and smooth all night which made for great racing.  The surface was a little on the slick side based on the racing that it had seen from the night before, but there were still multiple passing lanes to use.  Our car was quick right out of the trailer.  In hot laps I posted the 6th fastest time, then backed that up with an 11th place time trial run.  I have been very pleased with the improvement in our time trials this season.  I don't know if we have gotten the car better, or if I am driving better laps, or maybe it's a combination of both.  What I do know is that time trialing has been a thorn in my side for the first two seasons of Modified racing and this season 4 of my 6 time trials have been inside of the top 11, which is a major improvement.  It just makes the night so much easier when you time trial well, and I'm very glad that we've been able to step up that part of our program.  On Saturday night the invert for heat races really worked out in our favor, putting me on the pole for the 3rd heat race.  The car was pretty much perfect for the entire heat race and I was able to pull away from the field and take the win.  I have to admit that I was a little shocked that I was able to do this, due to the level of competition in the Super DIRT Series.  Nonetheless, I was quite pleased to get my first Super DIRT Series heat win, and even more excited to not only be able to skip the consi, but to be entered into the feature redraw.  I think that some people took notice of the heat win, as I received a bunch of compliments afterwards.  Unfortunately, the redraw didn't go as well as I would have liked.  With the top 12 positions available, I pulled out the 10th starting spot.  I knew this was going to make the feature a little bit more difficult, but I made changes to tighten the car up and prepared to go out and run as hard as I could for the 100 laps.  Right from the start of the feature, I was a little surprised at how slick the track had actually gotten.  The car was decent for about 10 laps, but then it started getting looser and looser until I had lost almost all of my forward grip off of the corners.  I struggled with this issue for the remainder of the feature event, but I still remained pretty competitive.  I would gain a couple positions, then lose a couple positions, then gain them back.  In the end, I was pleased to make it cleanly to the end of the race, but I had fallen back to the 20th position.  Although I would have liked to have finished a little higher up in the order, I had a good positive night.  Seeing that I had never run a 100 lap race at Canandaigua, next time I will be more prepared for the conditions. 

So, my Modified season is now over, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as my equipment is getting pretty tired.  Now we can start regrouping and rehabing our parts for a successful 2009 season.  I really thought that this year would be the one where I would get my first feature win in the Modified, but I guess that will have to wait until next year.  I really feel that we have been running strong enough to win, but just needed to have a few more breaks go our way.  That just goes to show you how difficult the Modified competition is in this area. 

However, just because my Modified season is over, doesn't mean that my racing is done for the year.  Paradise Speedway is going to be running every Saturday night right through October, where I will be running both my Slingshot and the 600cc Sprint Car for Habeck Racing.  I hope all of you come check us out at Paradise, as they put on a great show every Saturday night.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 9/13-9/14

Hello Everyone!  There really isn't a whole lot to report as I didn't get any racing in this past weekend.  I was prepared to double duty at Paradise with the slingshot and the 600cc sprint car, but the rains moved in around 5PM and cancelled the evenings events.  However, we did get a bunch of the Paradise racers and friends together for dinner and bowling.  You can be sure that the competitive spirit was alive and well even though we weren't at the racetrack.  I think everyone had a great time and it made for a fun substitute.  Although, if given the choice, I think everyone would much rather have been racing at Paradise.  This weekend I will be back at Canandaigua with the Modified for the Super DIRT Series event.  I had a pretty good run going there in August before a flat right rear tire put me out of contention, so I'm excited to have another chance.  There should be a strong field of cars, so it will be interesting to see where we stack up against the competition.  This will be my last Modified race of the season, after which I will be focusing on 600cc sprint car and slingshot racing until the end of October.  The Modified plans for 2009 are still up the in air, so I'll keep everyone posted as I figure out what we are going to do. 

The weather looks good for the weekend, so it should be a nice couple of days for racing at Canandaigua.  I'll be in the grandstands watching the 358 and street stock series races on Friday before the big day on Saturday.  It's going to be a lot of fun so I hope you all can make it out to the track.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 9/6-9/7

Hello Everyone!  With the regular season of Modified racing over with for 2008, I had the opportunity to add another new track to my racing resume last Saturday night.  Genesee Speedway in Batavia held the NYMM Series Empire State Invitational race.  This was billed as the biggest NYMM race of the season, and the $1500-to-win payout was pretty unheard of in this region.  The big purse brought a lot of cars out of the woodwork and they had a very strong field of 42 cars.  This was the first time that the NYMM Series had ever done time trials, and I think it went very smoothly.  I thought that I put down a good lap, but it was only good enough for 25th when everything was said and done.  So, I had to start 5th in my heat race, with only 3 cars getting a direct transfer to the A-main.  I was able to get a nose under the 3rd place car twice, but I just wasn't able to keep up my momentum long enough to make the pass.  So, it was off to the B-main for me.  Luckily, my 4th place heat finish gave me the pole in one of the B-mains and I was able to make quick work of the field to win.  I was told that at one point I had a 5 second lead before the caution came out on lap 9.  I guess I had the car working really good at that point.  The win earned me the 19th starting spot for the feature.  I was happy to be in the race, since they sent 18 cars home, but I wasn't pleased to be starting near the back of the pack.  I had a bad feeling that things were going to get crazy when the green flag dropped.  It also didn't help that they decided to water the track right before our feature.  Turn 1 on the initial lap was pure chaos, but I was able to get through it, and actually gain a few positions.  I might have had the car a little bit on the tight side, but it was working for me.  There were a couple quick cautions and next thing I know I was up to 12th.  I was starting to get excited because I really felt like I had a car that could drive up into the top-5.  Then disaster struck.  As I was making a pass for 11th, the other car went high into turn 3 and spun right down into the right side of my car.  We got hooked together and did a synchronized spin.  When we got unhooked I tried to drive away but I could tell that the car was injured.  As it turned out, the contact pushed the right side nerf bar back into the right rear tire, which ended my night.  As I was being towed in, I noticed that Paul was leading the feature, so at least I was glad that our team was out front.  When the field came back around, he was gone.  His bad luck continued as he had a battery cable come loose to end his race as well.  We did have a 3rd car in the field, which Scott Kruetter drove to a 10th place finish.  It ended up being another one of those nights where we had really fast cars but didn't produce the results that we were looking for.  The good news is that they are running another NYMM race this weekend at Paradise Speedway, so we'll have another try at it.  It felt good getting back into the sprint car this past weekend, as that car always handles really good.  I'm looking forward to Paradise this weekend where I will be doing double duty with the sprint car and the slingshot.  It is going to be very busy, but also a lot of fun.  I hope to see everyone out at the track.  Take care for now!



Weekend Update 8/30-9/1

Hello Everyone!  I'm coming off of an extremely busy Labor Day weekend in which I ran the Modified on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  The weekend was a lot of fun, but I'm glad that we don't have to be that busy every weekend.  I think that everyone on the team was worn out by the time we headed off to Rolling Wheels on Monday afternoon.  Nonetheless, we all rallied together and had some pretty good runs each day. 

Saturday night was championship night at Canandaigua and I was primed to make a run at jumping into the top-10 on the last night.  I had a good car in the heat race and finished 4th to lock me into the handicapping for the feature event.  From the drop of the green flag in the feature, I knew that I was going to have a good handling car.  I started making my move toward the front of the pack when on lap 12 I exploded another right rear tire.  I'm a little confused as to what has been happening with my tires at Canandaigua as of late.  The car seems to be running a good bit faster, but the setup in the car seems to blister right rear tires to the point that they explode.  Luckily, the crew got me back out on the track on the lead lap and I started my charge from the back of the pack.  On the last corner of the race I was able to make a pass for 8th place.  I would have liked to have seen how far up I could have gotten had the tire not blown, but I was pleased with the way car handled and how we rebounded from the tire situation.  The good news from the evening was that the finish was enough to vault me into the 10th position in points.  I had a very difficult first half of the season, so I was pretty happy to be able to work my way back into the top-10. 

Unfortunately, the opposite happened at Weedsport on Sunday.  I spent all season in the top-10 in points, but by the end of the night on Sunday, I found myself outside of the top-10 by one single point.  It is pretty ironic because I felt like we ran a lot better at Weedsport all season, but at the end we ended up finishing better at Canandaigua.  I guess you can never tell what is going to happen.  Even though I got bumped back to eleventh in points, we still ran decent on Sunday.  I drew the worst possible number for time trials and had to go out last.  I thought that I was doomed, and when I got done with my laps I wasn't all that confident with them.  Both laps were not as smooth as I would have liked them to be, but when I came in I was told that my first lap was good enough for 11th!  I was pleasantly surprised with that result and it set me up for a good start in the heat race.  Weedsport was a little strange on Sunday as that it stayed tacky right up until the first Modified feature.  Due to the conditions I was thrown for a little bit of a loop when it came to the setup, but I was still able to hold onto a 5th place finish in the heat race, to earn the last automatic birth into the feature.  As it turned out, running the consi probably wouldn't have been a bad thing on Sunday because everyone qualified, and it would have given me a closer look at the track surface before the feature.  However, I didn't get that chance so I had to guess a little bit at how fast the track was going to slick off.  Unfortunately, the track got slicker than I thought it was going to in the first feature, so I didn't run as well as I would have liked to.  I did make it to the finish however, earning the 24th finishing position.  During the second feature, there was chaos right from the start as the entire inside lane from 20th on back crashed in turn 4 before they even got to the green flag.  Thankfully I had a starting spot on the outside lane, and I was able to sneak by and continue with no damage.  I had a pretty good car in the second feature, but my starting position just put me behind the 8-ball.  By this time the track was extremely slick and you just couldn't work your way through the field that quickly.  Even still, I did move forward a little bit, finishing in the 17th position.  I wouldn't say that this was exactly how I wanted to end my Weedsport season, but I feel like we had a strong car there all season, and I look forward to racing there again. 

Monday marked my first trip to Rolling Wheels for the 2008 season.  The last time that I ran there was the "dust bowl" race in the Spring of 2007.  When you go to Rolling Wheels you always worry a little bit about how dusty the track is going to get, but Monday wasn't too bad.  There were a couple times after restarts where you couldn't see much through the dust cloud, but it was only for a second and then the cars blew all the dust out and away from where we were running.  I imagine that the fans got pretty hammered with dirt though.  I thought that it was going to be very difficult to qualify for the feature on Monday, but things ended up working out quite nicely.  I drew another bad qualifying number and had to go out 30th for time trials for the second day in a row.  I ran two laps about as good as I could run them, and they were good enough for 24th.  This set me up to start 6th in the heat race, where you had to finish 5th to avoid the consi.  Luckily, I was able to do just that, after making an inside pass of Willy Decker a couple laps into the heat race.  I was very happy to qualify through the heat race, as it took a lot of pressure off me not having to run the consi.  So, I was able to spend a little more time focusing on the feature setup, and it really paid off.  I wasn't the fastest car on the track, but the car was very competitive for the 105 laps that I ended up completing.  I was a little surprised that I was able to move forward from my 20th starting position, as I don't have a lot of endurance racing experience.  I was trying to save my tires and still able to pass a car here and there, which was pretty exciting.  As the race went on I was able to work myself well within the top-15.  I did have one concern though, which was fuel mileage.  During the first 25 laps of the race I bet that we did 40 caution laps that didn't count.  While this was going on in the back of my mind I started wondering if I would have enough fuel to make it at the end.  I started with a full tank of fuel, but the quick math that I was doing in my head had me a little concerned.  Unfortunately, I did have a reason to worry as my engine started sputtering on lap 105 of the scheduled 110 laps.  Just as I ran out of fuel, so did several others.  I believe that 6 of us ran out before making it to the checkered flag.  It was a very weird ending to the race because I don't think that anyone thought that there was going to be a fuel issue going into the event.  The problem was that we ran so many caution laps early in the race that it put a lot of us out of our fuel window.  From the driver's standpoint it was pretty frustrating, but it had to make for a very exciting finish for the fans.  Despite not finishing the last 5 laps, I still did earn the 15th finishing position, which I was content with.  Monday was the first time that I've had a Modified that was handling well enough to really compete at Rolling Wheels and I qualified for the features through the heats on both Sunday and Monday.  I'm really happy with the progress that I've been able to make in time trials as well, which had been one of my major weak points over the last couple of years.  I really think that we are headed in the right direction.  Unfortunately, we are peaking just as the season is wrapping up, but hopefully we can carry the momentum into next season. 

I'm down to just one more Modified race for this season, which will take place on my birthday (Sept. 20th) at Canandaigua.  That day will be the 100 lap Canandaigua Super DIRT Series event.  I ran good there during the last series event before running into tire trouble, so I'm looking forward to giving it another shot.  In the meantime, I'm going to wind down my season by running 600cc sprint car and slingshot races.  This coming weekend I will be making my debut at Genesee Speedway for the $1500 to win NYMM Series championship race.  Paul Habeck and North Eastern Pool & Spa Racing is going to give me a car that is capable of winning this event, so I'm going to give it everything I have to win this race.  There will be a lot of good cars entered so I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out.  Even though the regular season is over, there is still a lot of racing to do, so I hope to see you all at the track!  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 8/23-8/24

Hello Everyone!  Another weekend of Modified racing is in the books for 2008.  The weekend started off well for me at Canandaigua, but I ended up having my Sunday ruined by early jingle in the feature.  The team fought hard through our struggles at Weedsport to salvage a decent finish, but the highlight of the weekend had to be our performance at Canandaigua on Saturday.  In fact, it was probably our best race there all season.  In the heat race, I set sail from the pole position and never looked back.  The track was still pretty tacky and I was able to turn some really fast times.  I could tell once I got out front that it was going to be very difficult for anyone to drive up and challenge me for the win.  The heat race win set me on the pole for the feature as well, and I was very hopeful that I could turn this good starting position into my first Canandaigua top-5 of the season.  The feature was kind of a roller coaster race, as I didn't get off to the greatest start.  The top of the track was place to be early on, and by the time that I could get up there, I had already lost a few positions.  However, once the top started going away, and I moved back down to the bottom, I really started making up lost ground.  I caught some of the guys that had passed me earlier and before I knew it, I was back up to the 5th position.  I'm pretty sure that I would have gotten that top-5 had the caution not flown on lap 33.  This set up a 2 lap mad scramble to the finish, in which I was edged out for 5th by about a bumper.  I sure would have liked that top-5 finish, but I was still pretty pleased with the result.  As it turns out, there were only 7 cars on the lead lap, so to be in that small group was a pretty good accomplishment since I have struggled for most of the season at Canandaigua.  With one more race left in the regular season, I'm in a pretty good points battle for the 10th position.  Hopefully, I can get a repeat, or improvement, of last Saturday to sneek into the top-10 in points on the very last week.  I never thought that I would have a chance at it when I was sitting in 16th just two months ago.  I guess we will have to see how it all plays out.  It should be exciting.

On Sunday we headed off to Weedsport with the modified, which turned out to be another battle against Mother Nature.  The rain did hold off until after the feature event, but the overcast skies left Weedsport tacky all evening.  These conditions led to really fast lap times in the feature.  Unfortunately, it also created a few wrecks.  At the start of the race I was quickly able to move from my 10th starting postion to 5th and everything was going well.  Then after a restart, someone spun out in turn 1 and a bunch of us piled in.  I thought I had the wreck missed, but as I turned to the right to avoid it, I got hit from behind and spun right into the pile.  When the dust cleared, Jimmy Phelps was actually on top of the left side of my car.  We were able to get separated and I was able to pull away.  Other than body damage, the car wasn't hurt all that bad.  The front axle was bent back a little bit, but the car was still driving ok.  So, I went to the back of the pack and started my charge back to the front.  While working my way through traffic, I slammed the 10 inch cushion in turn 3 and my car started to shake really bad.  I had to continue like this for a few laps until another caution flew.  I ducked into the pits to find that a big pile of mud had blown right through my right rear wheel cover and packed the wheel full of clay.  The clay was removed and I went back out to start my charge for the second time.  With only a few laps left, I only got from 17th back up to 12th by the time the checkered flag flew.  It was definitely a tough night, but the good news is that I had a fast car all evening.  Early on in the race I really thought that I was going to be able to contend for the win, but unfortunately the breaks didn't go my way and I didn't get the finish that I was looking for.

It is hard to believe, but we have reached the final weekend of the regular season of DIRT racing.  The Summer sure seems to have gone by quickly.  Maybe it is because I have stayed extremely busy doing a lot of racing this year.  Anyways, I have plans to run three more races this weekend with Canandaigua on Saturday, before the two big Super DIRT Series Shows at Weedsport and Rolling Wheels on Sunday and Monday.  It should be an exciting Labor Day weekend of racing, so I hope to see everyone at the track!  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 8/15-8/17

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend was yet another exciting 3-race weekend for myself and the team.  On Friday I headed up to Brewerton Speedway for the annual Super DIRT Series race.  I figured that it was going to be a tough evening before I even went, but I had to go because I had a little bit of a vendetta against this race.  The past two years, I have barely missed qualifying for this race, so this year I was determined to make it in the show.  Things took a little bit of a turn for the worse when I drew a late time trial position.  I ended up going out 30th, and the track was well past its prime.  However, I was still able to qualify in the 23rd position.  I think that was about as good as I could have expected considering the conditions.  I didn't expect the track to be as slick as it was for the heat race, and I was really loose.  However, I was able to hold on to finish where I started, in the 6th position.  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to run the consi, which ended up being for like a Super DIRT Series event in itself.  The way it worked out, there were 6 of the top 12 series point earners in the consolation event, which vastly limited the amount of qualifying positions due to their guaranteed starting status.  I was able to get 6th in the consi, but it wasn't until a few minutes later that I actually found out that I had made it in the race.  Those were definitely a few tense minutes while everything got sorted out.  When it was all said and done, I had earned the 26th starting spot for the feature event.  The next problem was coming up with a setup that was going to keep the car underneath me for all 100 laps.  I made quite a few guesses at the setup, as I had no knowledge of previous 100 lap events to fall back on.  When I got out there I realized that I had gotten the car a little too tight, and I didn't have the front grip that I would have liked.  I wasn't too far off the pace though, so I settled in and tried to run consistent laps and make it the entire distance.  My goals for going to this race were to qualify for the feature and finish the race, and I was able to accomplish both, finishing in 23rd at the end of the night.  I would have liked to have been able to climb up the order a little higher, but overall I was pleased with the accomplishments of the evening. 

On Saturday the Modifieds were off the schedule at Canandaigua, so we headed over to Paradise Speedway for the evening.  I wasn't able to get either of the 600cc sprint cars repaired, so I had a nice, relaxing night running the slingshot.  I ended up running my dad's slingshot, and Bob Dreste ran the one that I normally drive at Paradise.  The car was really fast in the hot laps and the heat, but for some reason it got really loose come feature time.  I am a little confused as to why this happened because the track normally tightens up for the feature events when the sun goes down.  Nonetheless, I was bigtime loose in the feature and Bob ended up driving by me for the win.  I didn't let him have it easily though, as I was told that we put on a pretty good show at the front of the field, racing side-by-side for several laps.  Bob ran a solid race and if I couldn't win, I'm glad that we were able to get a 1-2 finish for our team. 

On Sunday evening I was back in the Modified at Weedsport.  I had a good car there all night long.  There wasn't a whole lot of passing in the heat races, so I had to settle for a 3rd place finish.  They qualified 6 out of the heats, so 3rd was more than enough to get us locked into the handicapping for the feature.  I ended up starting 6th for the main event, but lost a couple spots right at the start, as I got shoved into the outside wall coming to the green flag.  Luckily, the car was not injured, and I was able to gather it back up and start my charge to the front.  I really think that I had a car good enough to finish in the top-2, but I kept getting caught up behind some of the guys that I had to pass, which allowed the lead trio to run away and hide.  At then end I came home in 4th, with which I was pleased.  One of these weeks the gaps in traffic are going to work out my way and I'm going to get a feature win at Weedsport.  I have had a good car there for most of the season and results are really starting to show on Sunday nights.

This weekend I'm back to the normal 2 Modified races on Saturday at Canandaigua and Sunday at weedsport.  Things have been looking up for myself and the team lately, so hopefully we can get two good finishes and continue our improved performance as of late.  Canandaigua is having their autograph night this Saturday, which should be a lot of fun meeting and talking with everyone.  I hope to see all of you out at the track.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 8/8 - 8/10

Hello Everyone!  Despite the best efforts of the rain, I was able to get in all 3 of the scheduled races over the weekend.  The weekend did not start out very well for me, but it progressively got a little better by the time the last race was finished on Sunday.  On Friday I was scheduled to run the 600cc sprint car in the NYMM race at Black Rock.  I am still very surprised that they got this race in.  There was a huge rainstorm just as hot laps were supposed to go out, but then it cleared up just long enough for them to get the evenings events completed.  Due to the track conditions, there wasn't a whole lot of passing in the heat races, where I finished 4th.  This was 1 position out of the redraw, so I had to start 11th in the feature.  When the feature rolled around, the track was in a lot better shape and I was excited about the chance to make a run towards the front of the field.  They dropped the green flag and we all rushed down into turn 1.  Then I noticed someone near the front start spinning and others followed trying to avoid him.  When I came into the scene, the track was almost completely blocked and I unfortunately slammed right into the pile of cars.  To my surprise, the safety crew told me that my car looked ok.  I didn't want to believe them because I had just taken one of the harder hits that I've experienced in the last few years.  Nonetheless, I fired my car back up and drove into the pits.  This is where I was told that the rear frame of the car was messed up, but all of the bolt on suspension parts looked to be ok.  My wing was knocked off of the wing tree, but we wedged it back on and I started back out on the track.  This is the point where I realized that my one-way radio was missing.  Apparently, I crashed so hard that the radio flew out of its holder, unhooked itself, and fell out of the car.  I did continue on in the race, but I could definitely tell that the car was messed up.  Due to the attrition, I actually did end up with a 13th place finish, which wasn't bad considering that I had a pretty severely damaged car.  The unfortunate part of the whole thing is that my sprint car frame is messed up pretty bad and it is going to have to be taken back to Stallard for frame repair.  I was scheduled to run this Saturday at Paradise, but that is now going to rely on whether or not I have time to put a motor in the third Habeck Racing sprint car.  I guess I'll see how it goes and play it day-by-day.

Saturday night marked the annual August stop of the Super DIRT Series at Canandaigua.  The night actually started out really well.  The car has been really good there in the heat races as of late, and it didn't disappoint last Saturday.  I laid down a really good time trial lap, which ended up being good enough for 10th out of the 36 car field.  I followed that up with a 4th place heat run, which earned me the 14th starting spot for the first 50 lap feature.  The car remained good for the start of the feature and I was comfortably holding my position in 14th.  My plan was to follow Alan Johnson as far up through the field as I could.  Early on, I was able to stay right with him, so everything was going to plan.  Then as I started lap 10, I had yet another right rear tire explode as I went into turn 1.  By the time that I got to my pit, the race was already restarting, so I decided to call it a race.  I just didn't think that it was economical enough to go back out and drive around when I was already down laps.  I ended up finishing 27th in the first feature, and therefore had to start there for the second feature.  The car got really loose on me during the second feature and I was never able to make a legitimate charge through the field.  I went down a couple laps, but didn't have any problems or damage which was good.  When it was all said and done, I came home in the 24th position.  So, it was a little bit of a disappointing end to what started out as a really good night.  I was pleased with how well I qualified, so I'm going to be much more confident when the series comes back around in September.  Back when I started racing in the Modified division, I went 6 straight series races without qualifying for a race.  I have solidly qualified for the last two so I'm happy with our qualifying progress this season.

Sunday evening I was back at Weedsport for another run in the Modified.  The rain threatened to cancel this event just as my heat race went on the track.  They ended up pulling us off the track for about a half hour rain delay, but they did get the show in.  There was really only 1 groove to run in during the heat race, so I finished where I started, in the 4th position.  For the feature, I was handicapped to start 12th, and there was pure chaos in the middle section of the field.  I'm actually quite surprised that I made it to the end of the event without getting wrecked.  I had a car spin directly in front of me, I got hit from behind and sent sideways down the frontstretch, and even had one competitor try to run me in the wall under caution because he was trying to steal a spot from me which obviously wasn't his.  With all this going on, it was really hard for me to make any charge to the front, so I was content to survive the race and come home with a 13th place finish.

This coming weekend is shaping up to be the third three-day race weekend in a row.  As of right now I'm planning to run the rain-delayed Super DIRT Series event at Brewerton on Friday night.  Then on Saturday, the Modifieds are not scheduled to be at Canandaigua, so I will be at Paradise with the Slingshot and possibly a 600cc sprint car.  Finally, on Sunday I will be back at Weedsport with the Modified.  It is shaping up to be an exciting weekend, so I hope to see everyone at the track!  Take care for now!



Weekend Update 8/1-8/3

Hello Everyone!  I had three big nights of racing this past weekend.  I ran good all weekend, but unfortunately didn't get the finishes that I was looking for with the Modified on Saturday and Sunday.  The good news is that we had a very competitive car each night, which leaves me optimistic for the upcoming events.  On Friday night I headed off to Ransomville with the sprint car.  This was the first time that I have ever run a race at Ransomville, and it was a lot of fun.  It would definitely take some getting used to the track if I raced there every week.  We were using up all of the room on the straightaways with the little sprint cars, so I can imagine how conjested it would get driving the Modified around the track.  I only got one hot lap due to a stopped car, so I went into the heat race not knowing if my car was even close to being fast.  I started 5th in the heat and quickly moved up to the 3rd position.  I dogged the leaders for the remainder of the event, but I didn't push the issue because I knew that the top 4 were going to the feature lineup redraw.  As the checkered flag flew I got a little high on the frontstretch and my right rear tire dropped down in the moat.  The sprint car bottomed out and it spun me around so fast that it even surprised me.  Thankfully the car did not dig in and start flipping, but it did kick my chain off and ruin my starter.  It is a little embarrassing when you crash by yourself after the race is over, but nonetheless it happened.  I was lucky to get away from it as easy as I did.  Back in the pits I quickly repaired the car and prepared for the feature event.  I drew the 7th starting position, so I knew that I was going to have my work cut out for me.  The feature started out pretty rough with two cautions and two red flags within the first 4 laps.  I actually fell back a little bit on these 1 lap dashes because it seemed like every lane I chose kept getting bottled up.  When we finally did get a long green flag run, my car was really fast and I was able to grab the 3rd spot on the last lap.  I could see the leaders getting closer to me, but I just ran out of time.  I think that a caution and 5 more laps would been what I needed to get the job done but as it turned out I was pleased with a solid top-3 finish.  I'm on a little bit of a streak in the NYMM Series as I haven't finished outside the top-5 in my last 4 events.  I don't know how much closer I can get without actually winning a NYMM feature event.

On Saturday we were greeted at Canandaigua with yet another 5 o'clock rainstorm which created a muddy mess.  I don't think that a weekend has gone by without a major threat of rain in the last 3 months.  The rains did eventually stop which prompted a 40 lap packing session.  To my surprise the track actually came around pretty decent.  It was still pretty treacherous in the heat events, but it got racy for the feature.  I had a really good car at the end of the night and I thought I had a legitimate shot at a top-5.  In the middle of the race I got bottled up trying to make a pass for 3rd and next thing I knew I was back to 9th.  I settled in and worked my way back up to 7th with 6 laps to go.  As I went into turn 3 the right rear tire exploded.  To make things worse, the rubber started whipping around it ripped off my rear fender.  They didn't give us a lot of time to change the tire due to the impending curfew, so I lost a lap in the pits.  I went back out and rode around for the last few laps, but I was stuck with an 18th place finish.  The result was pretty disappointing, but I can't control a flat tire.  The main thing is that I had a good handling car, which is good going into this weekend's Super DIRT Series event.  I'm going to need to be at the top of my game to have a good run in that race.

Sunday marked the first Modified event at Weedsport in over a month, and it was good to get back to the Sunday routine.  I had a good car all night long, starting off by scoring a 2nd place finish in the heat race.  The 4th place finish that I had there a month ago hurt my starting position for the feature, which ended up being 10th.  The track didn't really take rubber like it normally does, which made passing very difficult.  I felt like I had a good car, but just couldn't navigate myself through traffic like I had hoped.  So, by the checkered flag, I was in 11th.  Again, I would have liked to have been up a good bit further in the standings, but I feel that I had a car capable of winning given a little better track position.  I came out of Weedsport without any damage or problems, so I can now focus on the big events for the upcoming weekend.  Again I'm planning on doing 3 nights of racing, as the NYMM Series rolls into Black Rock Speedway along with the usual Saturday and Sunday at Canandaigua and Weedsport.  As I mentioned earlier, the Super DIRT Series is at Canandaigua this Saturday, so that will add an interesting twist to the evening.  The weather forcast doesn't look all that great, but I hope that we can get all 3 nights of racing in.  It should be a lot of fun.  I hope to see you all at the track.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 7/26-7/27

Hello Everyone!  I ended up having a change of scenery for my racing this past weekend as the Modifieds were not on the schedule at Canandaigua or Weedsport.  So, we loaded up the Slingshots and the 600cc Sprints and went off to Paradise Speedway on Saturday night.  I ran in both divisions and had pretty good success in both of them.  The Slingshot event started out a little on the rough side as there was a mix up in the sign in process so I never got put in the starting lineup for the heat race.  The solution to the problem was to make me start last (8th), which I thought was going to make things very difficult.  I knew that I had to find a way to get to the front of the pack quickly, so I laid back on the start and tried to time the green flag with the rush of my momentum.  Unfortunately, my judgement was off and I jumped the start.  However, it actually worked in my favor as there was a crash going into turn 1, which I avoided by attempting to pass cars on the outside.  One car was knocked out after the crash and another car was put to the back for causing the accident, which put me now in 6th for the restart.  This time I went low and most of the field drifted up in turn 1, allowing me to leave turn 2 in 2nd place.  I trailed the leader by about 5 car lengths until two laps to go when we caught lap traffic.  The leader decided to go around the lap car but chopped down on him before he was clear to enter turn 1.  They both slid up the track and I went low to grab the lead, which I held onto for the remaining couple of laps.  It was pretty neat how that heat race turned out, as I would never have believed that it was possible to come from 8th to 1st in 8 laps in a Slingshot.  Apparently it can be done!  Due to the heads-up start, I had the pole for the feature event.  I got a good start and ran the feature pretty much uncontested after the first couple of laps.  It was a pretty satisfying slingshot win, as there was a bigger field than normal, and I had to battle from the back of the pack at the start of the night.  It was one of those events where everything went perfectly. 

I also ran the 600cc Sprint race on Saturday night, where I ended up finishing 6th in the feature event.  In the heat race, I started 6th and got to fourth by the end of the 8 laps.  With 2 laps to go it started raining, which made things a little interesting, but it didn't hurt me very much.  My 4th place heat finish set me up for a 10th place start in the feature.  By the time the feature rolled around, we had endured an hour and a half rain delay, and the track was quite tacky instead of the usual slick Paradise surface.  At the start of the feature, I was able to make some quick moves, and next thing I knew, I was up to the 5th position.  About 10 laps into the race my car started getting really loose, so from that point on I couldn't make any further charge to the front of the field.  I got bottled up on the last restart and fell back a position, but I was able to comfortably hold on for a solid 6th place finish.  After the race I discovered that my right front shock had broken off the car, which was probably the reason why my car got so loose in the middle of the race.  I would have liked to have seen what I could have done if the shock had not fallen off, but overall it was still a good run. 

This week is a 3 race weekend for me.  Friday night I am going to run the NYMM Series sprint car race at Ransomville Speedway.  This will be my first ever event at Ransomville, but I think that I should have a very competitive car for this race, so it should be a lot of fun.  Then we are back to the regular Modified schedule at Canandaigua and Weedsport to round out the weekend.  It should be an exciting 3 days of racing so I hope to see everyone at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/18-7/20

Hello Everyone!  I ended up having a couple pretty good days of racing this past weekend.  I even got my first 600cc Sprint car feature win of the season Friday night at Thunder Alley Speedpark.  The management at Thunder Alley put together $500 to win micro sprint races for both the 270cc and 600cc Sprint cars.  So, Bob and I both took our cars up there to see if we could sweep the races and come back with $1000.  I ended up getting the feature win, but it was not without having to work through some issues.  When I went to warm up the car, the engine wouldn't turn over and the battery was dead.  Come to find out, I left the ignition switch on all night after starting the car the night before.  Then with two laps to go in the heat race, the engine started smoking.  I kept going and held on for the heat race win, but most of the car was covered in oil.  I had changed the oil the day before and appearantly I had overfilled it enough where it blew a good bit of it out of the breathers.  So, once I drained a little out and cleaned off the car, that problem was fixed.  The final issue that I had to deal with was that I went to fill up the fuel cell before the feature and it started leaking around one of the mounting bolts.  So, I had to quickly rush to drain the fuel down below the bolt.  I ended up making it to the lineup grid in plenty of time, but there was a lot of rushing around and stress that I didn't need.  As for the racing on Friday night, my car was pretty much flawless.  I could go right around the bottom of the track while holding the throttle right to the floor.  It looked like a lot of my competition was having trouble staying low on the track where the good bite was.  I can't really explain why I wasn't having this issue, as I only had the stock 600 setup in the car that is right out of the Stallard book.  Whatever it was, it worked perfectly and I was able to sweep the heat and the feature for the night to pick up $500 winner's purse.  To top things off, I then won the $50 Best Appearing Car bonus.  It was a lot of fun getting back into the winner's circle, as it has been over a year since I last won in the sprint car.  Bob also had a good run in his 270 and finished in the second position.  With our winnings added together, we left Thunder Alley with $800, which was not bad for a night of Micro Sprint racing.

Saturday night we headed off to run the Modified at Canandaigua.  There were threatening skies in the area, but they got the show in before any storms dropped rain on the speedway.  Just as in the last couple of weeks, I had a really good car in the heat race.  I was able to go from 4th to 2nd by the end of the eight laps.  The track stayed pretty tacky all night long due to the wet weather conditions.  I left my heat setup in the car for the feature and it actually worked pretty well.  There were two incidents on the first lap of the feature that were pretty chaotic.  The first one resulted in me bouncing off of the inside wall in turn 4, but luckily nothing was damaged enough to prevent me from continuing.  Then, two turns later a bunch of guys started crashing and I narrowly made it through, this time bouncing off of the outside wall.  Once we got back to green flag racing, the car remained good for the entire event and I was able to say within the top-10 for all 35 laps.  At the end, I came home in 7th, which ties my best Canandaigua finish of the season.  We are starting to run better at Canandaigua, after struggling to get in the top-15 for quite few weeks.  Now I'm on a 4-race top-10 finishing streak, so hopefully we can keep it up for the remaining few races. 

Sunday we were all set to get the car ready for Rolling Wheels when we discovered oil in the radiator.  As it turned out, we had blown a head gasket in the engine on Saturday night, so we spent all of Sunday pulling the engine out of the car and getting it ready to go to Campbell's Engines.  I was pretty bummed out that I was going to miss Rolling Wheels since it was going to count towards the Weedsport track points, but as luck would have it, the rain washed out yet another Sunday night event. 

This weekend, the Modifieds are off at both Canandaigua and Weedsport, so I will be racing the sprint car and the slingshot at Paradise Speedway.  It should be a lot of fun, so I hope to see everyone at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/12-7/13

Hello Everyone!  I ended up having another pretty good couple of races this past week.  Last Wednesday night I had the opportunity to run in the NYMM race at new Monroe County Fair Speedway.  For a track that only has a few races on it, the facility is really coming together.  For a small track, it was actually a competitive race.  The night started off pretty hectic, as I had a radiator issue before hot laps.  I missed hot laps, but the officials were generous enough to give me a couple laps by myself to try to sort out the car and get a feel for the track.  The car was fast right out of the box, and I was fortunate to draw a good number at the sign in booth.  I was able to turn my pole starting position into a heat race win which was pretty cool.  By feature time, the track had slicked off quite a bit and passing became very difficult.  In the redraw, I drew the fifth starting spot, which pretty much decided my fate before the race even started.  I knew that the drivers starting ahead of me were going to be tough, and they were.  I was hoping to get into lap traffic to try to make a move towards the front, but the way that the cautions fell never let that occur.  So, I ended up finishing right where I started, in the fifth position.  I was pretty happy with fifth though, considering that I felt like I had a car that was good enough to win given the right track position.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad they got a really good turnout for their second annual Fair race.  I hope that I have the chance to run there again next season. 

On Saturday night we headed off back to Canandaigua.  I was hoping to have a strong run with the three top point leaders away running the Super DIRT Series.  I went back with a very similar setup to last week, which again worked out well for me early in the evening.  I was able to make quick work of the front row of my heat race, and lead the last 7 laps to score my second Modified heat win of the season.  With the handicapping, I had to start 9th in the feature. By the time the feature rolled around the track was an ice skating rink, and I have really struggled to get the car to hook up this season when Canandaigua gets slick.  I didn't have a bad car, but I just didn't have one that was good enough to drive up through the field.  As it turned out, there wasn't a whole lot of passing anyways.  I got in a little jingle on the first lap, which knocked the alignment of the front end out right from the start, but the car still was ok.  At one point I fell back to eleventh, but I was able to fight my way back up to 9th at the end of the event.  Overall, I was able to hold my own and at least we are back to consistently running in the top 10 at Canandaigua.  For a few weeks we struggled to get into the top 15, so I can't really complain too much about 3 straight top 10s. 

Sunday was a complete washout, so Weedsport got cancelled again.  We are already in the middle of July and there have only been 4 Modified races at Weedsport.  It has not been a good year when it comes to the weather on Sunday nights.  Now we have another couple of weeks off at Weedsport due to the scheduling.  It is pretty disappointing because I seem to run well at Weedsport, but it is hard to keep the momentum going when we only race there once a month.

This coming weekend should be another action packed few days.  It looks like I'm going to have the chance to race on another new track on Friday, as Thunder Alley Speedpark is having a 600cc Sprint Showdown.  I drove by that track for several years while going to college, but I never did stop and see a race there.  I think it will be an excellent micro sprint track due to its size and layout.  Canandaigua is running a regular show on Saturday, and then I will be making an appearance at Rolling Wheels Raceway for the first time this year on Sunday.  It should be a busy but fun weekend.  I hope to see you all out at the track.  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 7/5-7/6

Hello Everyone!  The original plans for last weekend were to run Paradise Speedway on Saturday night, but the Modifieds ended up back on the Canandaigua schedule for a special July 4th weekend race.  Overall, we had a pretty solid evening on Saturday night.  I took a very different setup with me to Canandaigua, and I think it worked pretty good in the heat race.  My car is normally very tight during heat races, but the changes that I made gave me a very good car for the heat race.  Although I didn't get the win, I ran a close second and felt a lot better about our heat race setup package.  I left the same setup in for the feature, where it was ok, but not as good as it was earlier on in the evening.   I got off to a decent start, but on the first restart I got bottled up behind two lapped cars that were running beside each other.  For two laps it seemed like whichever way I went to pass them, I would get blocked and another lead lap car would go by me.  So, in a two lap period I dropped from 7th to 14th.  That was a frustrating set of events but I knew that I had a better car than a 14th place car.  I spent the remainder of the laps catching back up and picking off a position here and there.  By the end of the race, I had worked my way back up into the 9th position.  So, I scored my 2nd straight Canandaigua top-10 finish, which is a vast improvement over our finishes earlier there this season.  I also felt like the soft tires didn't give up on me as much as they had in past weeks.  Maybe the setup I had in the car was a little move forgiving on the tires.  Most of the teams have already given up on the soft D200 tires, but since I've started running them, our finishes have improved.  So, for the meantime I'm going to keep putting them on the car each week.  Overall, I feel that Saturday night was a step in the right direction for our Canandaigua program.  We have the series race coming up in a few weeks, so it was a good time to stumble upon a good qualifying setup.  Hopefully we can build upon the basis of it and get closer to a setup that is going to keep us in the hunt for a win one of these weeks. 

This week we will be back at Canandaigua and Weedsport for our regular Saturday and Sunday night races.  Also on tap this week, on Wednesday, July 9th, I'll be running in the NYMM race held at the new Monroe County Fairgrounds track.  Last year I was a spectator for this event, so I can't wait to try my hand at the new track.  I'll see you all at the races! 

Take care for now!


Weekend Update 6/28-6/29

Hello Everyone!  I only got one race in this past weekend due to bad weather that rolled in on Sunday evening.  I was really hoping to get to run Weedsport again after my 4th place finish from two weeks ago.  I guess it will have to wait until we go back there on the 13th of July.  The way this season is playing out with scheduling and weather, it seems like we haven't gotten many races in at all.  However, we did get one race in on Saturday at Canandaigua.  I finally had a Saturday night where nothing broke and the car handled ok.  We still have a long way to go to be in contention for a feature win, but for the last few weeks, I have not been happy with the car at all at Canandaigua.  I managed to get off to a good start for the night by winning our first heat race of the season.  The track was pretty tacky from afternoon rain, and I was pretty much able to hold the throttle wide open, only letting off for a second to set the car into the turns.  To grab a heat win certainly helped my confidence, as there were some pretty heavy hitters in the race as well.  For the feature I was able to start 3rd due to the handicapping procedure, so I went with the D200 soft compound tires with hopes of launching out to an early lead, and trying to hold on late as the tires faded.  Most of the plan worked, but for the strategy to really play out, I needed the race to go caution free.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of ill-timed cautions during the race on Saturday night.  The first one came early in the race, just as I had taken the lead.  Due to the fact that they revert back a lap on the scoring system, I had to go back to second place.  I did eventually take the lead after the restart, but by this time the point leaders had reached the front of the pack.  I would have liked to have seen how I would have made out if that first caution hadn't flown.  Maybe I would have been able to stretch out a lead big enough to hold on for a better finish than I actually ended up with.  In racing you have to be prepared for whatever sequence of events are thrown at you, but I think the cautions definitely hurt me because I didn't have a car that was handling as well as others.  All in all, I did hold on for a pretty decent 8th place finish though.  Compared to my recent finishes that have been outside the top 15, I will take an 8th at Canandaigua.  We were pretty competitive all night, led some laps in the feature, and won the heat race.  I would say that is a positive night for our race team at this point. 

We were supposed to have this coming weekend off from DIRT, but as of Monday, they decided to put another race on the Canandaigua schedule for this weekend.  I was kind of looking forward to running the 600cc sprint car and Slingshot at Paradise on Saturday, but now we will be at Canandaigua.  To be honest, I'm not really sure why the modifieds were off of the schedule this weekend anyways.  With all the rain that we have had, it only makes sense to add this race in to fill out the season. 

Despite the fact that I will be back at Canandaigua on Saturday night, I am going to get a chance to do come extracurricular racing in the coming days.  This Thursday night I'm going to be running in the NYMM show at Black Rock Speedway.  I had a pretty good run going there in the spring before the right front kingpin broke on the car, so I'm looking forward to having a good run there tomorrow evening.  Also, next Wednesday I will again be running in the NYMM Series for the Monroe County Fair week race.  I was a spectator for this race last year, so it will be a lot of fun to get out there and see how the new track is. 

It should be another busy, but fun, week of racing ahead.  I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend and I'll see you all at the track!  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 6/20-6/22

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend ended up being one of the busiest yet for myself and the team.  We had three straight nights of racing which kept us on the move from Friday afternoon until late Sunday evening.  I didn't have great results early in the weekend, but I was able to rebound for a pretty strong finish at Weedsport on Sunday.  At least we were able to end the weekend on a positive note, which we can hopefully carry over into this week's upcoming races.

On Friday night we took the Slingshots and went up to run in the tour show at The Dirt Track at Oswego.  Basically what they did was carve out a really small go-cart track behind the backstretch at Oswego.  Having never seen the track, I was a little shocked as to how small it actually was.  Needless to say, I wasn't even close to having the right setup.  The handling of the car wasn't all that bad, but I missed on the gear by probably a minimum of 5 teeth.  We put the largest gear that we had on the car, but it just wasn't enough to be a factor in the feature event.  In the end, I came home with a 10th place finish.  I still had a pretty good time, and it was definitely an experience.  If I ever end up back there in the future, I will have a much better idea of what I need to take there to be competitive enough to go for the win.

Saturday night at Canandaigua started out ok, but ended in disappointment.  I got a good start in the heat race and found myself out in front of the pack.  The car was pretty tight due to the tacky track conditions, but I knew that it was going to be pretty tough for anyone to pass me since there was only one practical racing groove around the track at that point.  As I exited the fourth turn to complete lap 3, the right front of the car suddenly dropped.  I thought that I had broken a shock as I slowed to a stop in turn 1.  Just then, my right front tire passed me as it bounced off the track.  As it turned out, the right front spindle broke in half for no apparent reason, which caused the wheel, hub, and brake rotor to fall off the car.  Thankfully, we were able to fix the car for the feature event, but I had to start in the 23rd position.  I just wasn't able to get a good handle on the car for the feature event, and I was only able to move up to the 17th position by the end of the race.  The car has not been to my liking as of late at Canandaigua, which Saturday's finish showed.  I think the plan for this week is to go back to the basic Bicknell setup and shocks, as I feel that it is time to start over from scratch on the Canandaigua setup.  Hopefully it will work and we can start to get back into last year's form on Saturday nights.

Following two average runs on Friday and Saturday, I really needed to rebound and have a good run at Weedsport on Sunday.  Thankfully, I had one of those nights where pretty much everything worked out as planned.  I tried a little bit of a new setup during the heat race, which made me pretty loose.  Even still, I led the first 6 laps, before getting shuffled back to 3rd at the end.  The main thing is that we qualified without having to run in the consolation race.  For the feature I started in the 4th position, and was able to jump to 3rd in the first couple laps.   I drove around the bottom for the next ten laps or so, before I was forced to move to the high side.  This actually worked out well as I was then able to drive to the front of the field on lap 16.  My lead was short lived though, as a caution put Jimmy Phelps and Matt Sheppard right on my bumper.  I held them off as long as I could, but they were just a little bit better than I was on that night.  I thought I had a solid 3rd place going, but with 3 laps to go, Steve Paine passed me for that spot.  I did hold on for a 4th place finish, which is our best of the season.  I didn't think that it would take this long for me to get my first top-5, but thankfully we at least got one.  For as unhappy as I have been with the car at Canandaigua, it has been really good all year long at Weedsport.  We definitely needed that 4th place finish to boost our spirits, so let's hope we can carry that momentum into the upcoming weekend.  I will be there to give it another shot, so I hope to see you all there!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/13-6/15

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend turned out to be quite a unique few days of racing for me.  On Friday night I had the opportunity to take the 600cc sprint car to Brewerton for the first-ever NYMM Series race at the track.  I definitely think that having some experience running there in the Modified helped me, as 95% of the drivers had never even seen Brewerton Speedway before.  Other than having to make a couple gear changes to keep up with the track, my car ran flawless.  I was able to move from 3rd to 2nd in the heat race, which got me into the feature redraw.  Luck was on my side, as I drew the pole for the event.  The start of the feature saw 3 quick cautions after a lap of competition.  By the time we went green for the final time, I was followed by Chuck Hebing and Charlie Donk.  Unfortunately, as it worked out, it didn't pay to be leading early in the event.  As the leader, I thought I was running in the fast lane, but what I didn't know was that Hebing had moved to the extreme bottom of the track.  The bigger racecars were not able to get that low and use up the good bite that was down there.  You almost had to stop in the corners in order to use it, but it was definitely a case where slower is faster.  I didn't realize this until he showed it to me as he passed me for the lead.  I immediately started driving his line, but it was a little too late.  I could stay with him, but there was no chance for me to make a pass back for the lead.  I was able to hold on for a strong 2nd place finish though, which is my best in a NYMM Series race.  The sponsors for Paul's 600cc sprint cars were in attendance as well, so it was nice to get a good showing in front of them and for the Habeck race team.  I guess if I have to lose, there isn't a whole lot of shame losing to Chuck Hebing in a sprint car, as he is about as good as they come in this area. 
As of 3PM on Saturday, I was getting ready for my night off from racing due to all of the rain in the area.  Around that time, Paul called me and told me to come over and get the sprint car ready because Paradise was still planning on running.  I quickly went over and loaded up the car and we headed to the track.  To my surprise, it looked like it hadn't even rained in Geneva.  I didn't get a very good draw for the heat so I had to start 6th.  I was able to get to 4th at the end, but this only earned me a 11th place starting spot for the feature.  I knew that I had my work cut out for me, but I was confident that I could move up quite a bit.  However, my good fortune turned on me during the middle of the race.  As I was preparing to pass the 8th place car, he had to check up for the car in front of him and I hit him with the left front tire.  The contact broke my left front radius rod and crippled the handling of the car.  As I was trying to make my way to the pits from the front straightaway, a car that was attempting to pass me, hit my front end and shoved me into the front stretch wall.  I lost control and started spinning underneath the flagstand.  During my spin, the car attempted to do a backflip, but settled back down after standing up momentarily on its tail tank.  Unfortunately, this was the premature end to my night, resulting in a 19th place finish. 
On Sunday night, we headed off to Weedsport and I thought that everything was going to be fine with the weather.  As I was strapping in for hot laps, the rain started falling, despite the sun still shining all around.  They were able to get the track in pretty decent shape, just in time for another rain shower to fall.  After another break, the third shower cancelled the event.  So, we ended up travelling to Weedsport again for no racing. It is now starting to seem like forever since I've been in a Modified race.  Hopefully next week that will change. 
This weekend is going to be another busy weekend.  On Friday night I'm planning on running in the Slingshot tour event at Oswego Speedway.  Then we are back to the regular schedule of Canandaigua and Weedsport on Saturday and Sunday.  I hope the weather stays good and I see you all at the track.  Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/7-6/8

Hello Everyone!  The much anticipated Paradise Speedway event is now behind us, and I would call it a successful night of racing.  I very much wanted to win both the Slingshot and 600cc Sprint features, but I came up a little short with the sprint car.  This was the first time that I've ever run two classes in one night and it was a little hectic.  Luckily, I didn't have any major mechanical problems with either car to make the evening stressful.  We just barely got the slingshots ready in time for the races on Saturday, but they both ran well all evening.  We didn't get the slingshot car count that we were hoping for, but we made due with the 3 that we had.  I did have a small throttle issue in the heat race, which was preventing my throttle from opening all the way, but that was easily corrected for the feature event.  Without full throttle , the heat race was really close.  Tucker Rae was working over my back bumper pretty hard, as he was clearly faster, but I was able to hold my car down and keep the bottom lane blocked to hold on for the heat win.  In the Slingshot feature, my engine was running a lot better, and I was able to get out to a good lead early on in the race and cruise to my first feature win of the season. 

The 600cc sprint car event also went pretty well for me.  I drew a decent number and got to start 3rd in the heat race.  I was able to follow the polesitter through on the start to grab the 2nd position by turn 1.  From there, I never really had any pressure from behind, so I settled in for a 2nd place finish in the heat race.  The top 3 in each of the 4 heat races went into the redraw, so I was pretty excited about the possibility of starting up front for the feature.  Unfortunately, luck was not with me, as I drew the 9th starting position.  I think that if you pass 5 cars in a feature at Paradise you have done well for yourself, so I knew that winning from 9th was going to be a tough task.  I had a decent car throughout the feature, and I was actually able to pick off more cars than I thought I was going to.  I was a little on the loose side, which ultimately hindered my effort to get all the way to the front of the pack.  I was able to escape a late crash, which took out a couple of the lead cars, and I found myself sitting 4th with a couple laps to go.  I got a run on the 3rd place car going into the last corner, so I drove in pretty hard to get beside him.  I drove in a little too hard though, and my car slid up the track, not only preventing the pass, but allowing the 5th place car to slide under me to grab 4th at the line.  So, I was a little disappointed with myself that I got greedy at the end of the race, which cost me a spot.  However, overall it was a really positive finish.  I feel like a ran a good race, but I just didn't quite have the car setup good enough to get the win.  The good news is that I get to try again this Friday night as the NYMM Series travels to Brewerton Speedway.  I have a few laps around Brewerton in the Modified, so hopefully I can adapt my experience over to a NYMM Series win at the track. 

This weekend the Modified racing also starts back up, as we have a full weekend of races at both Canandaigua and Weedsport.  It was good to have a little break with the Modified, so now we can regroup and hopefully get back to up to where I think we should be in the finishing order.  It should be an action-packed weekend of racing for myself and the team, so I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/31-6/1

Hello Everyone!  I guess there isn't a lot to report from this past weekend because I ended up making only 3 hot laps all weekend due to the rain that just wouldn't seem to go away.  Saturday ended up being a total loss as a quick, but heavy, shower passed over Canandaigua Speedway around 5:30PM.  For whatever reason, the track would not pack in and they ended up cancelling the races around 9:45PM without ever holding a single race.  I think everyone was ready to go home by 7PM as most of the competitors, including myself, were not willing to risk our equipment on a sloppy track. 

Sunday looked promising from a weather standpoint.  When we left for Weedsport, the forcast only said that there was a 5% chance of rain.  Well, that 5% was enough to soak Weedsport immediately following hot laps.  I did get a chance to try the new D200 tires during hot laps, which I think had a major effect on the handling of the car.  I was able to drive a lot harder into the corners than I ever was able to do before.  The car definitely felt more comfortable on the new softer Hoosier Tires.  My only concern is how well they are going to hold up under dry/slick conditions.  This new rule could make for some interesting racing in the near future.

So, now we have made it to our week off with the Modified.  I've been looking forward to this Saturday's race at Paradise Speedway for a while now.  My plan is to run both in the 600cc Sprint Car NYMM Series race and the Slingshot race.  Based on the Wednesday night practice sessions, I'm pretty confident that I'm going to have a fast sprint car for this weekend.  I won this race one year ago, but I have yet to win on the NYMM Series, which is one of my goals for this season.  I have been close several times, so hopefully this will be the one that I breakthrough and get the win.  I haven't been able to get the Slingshot out for any practice sessions, but based on the success I had last year, I should have a pretty decent chance at a good finish in that race as well.  Dad is also going to make his 2008 debut in the Slingshot race.  Hopefully he will be able to get a good finish in the car that I won the 2007 Fall Season Championship with.  We always have a lot of fun going back to Paradise, and this time shouldn't be any different.  For those of you that haven't been there, you should check it out because it is quickly becoming the place to be on Saturday nights.  I hope to see you all there!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/24-5/25

Hello Everyone!  The Memorial Day weekend is now in the books for 2008.  My weekend started out pretty rough at Canandaigua, but ended on a more positive note Sunday at Weedsport.  Right from when we unloaded at Canandaigua on Saturday the car was not to my liking.  After hot laps I knew that we were in for a tough night.  For whatever reason, the setups that used to be competitive at Canandaigua are no longer.  I don't know if it is due to changes with the track, or just something we are not doing correctly, but the car is extremely tight every Saturday night.  The entire evening was a struggle, and to top it off, something happened to the transmission on the cool down lap after the feature.  So, we were forced to change a transmission on Sunday morning.  I guess that it was actually a good thing that we had the problem on Saturday night, so that we didn't have issues with it during the Super DIRT Series Race on Sunday at Weedsport.

After my poor run on Saturday night, I didn't think that my chances were too good to even qualify for the Series race on Sunday.  Luckily, things were quite different on Sunday.  Overall, I still wasn't happy with the car early on in the evening, but thanks to a good time trial draw, I got to go out 6th.  The track was still pretty good then, so I was able to lay down a decent lap.  Normally I end up qualifying around 30th during time trials, so to come away with a 10th place effort was pretty exciting.  It actually worked out where I didn't have a very difficult heat race either, so I was able to hold on for a 3rd place finish.  I was pretty amazed that I actually qualified for the top-12 redraw.  I had to draw near the end, and it came down to where I could pick either 2 or 6.  I was lucky enough to grab the 2nd starting position, which set us up for a good feature run.  The car was actually pretty decent in the feature.  I was a little unsure about how good the car would be at the end of the race, since I had never gone over 53 laps in a feature.  As it turned out, the car did tail off at the end, and got pretty loose.  However, I think we were as fast as anyone in the early stages of the race.  I was pleasantly surprised to still be in the top 5 at lap 25.  If it weren't for some late race cautions, I think I had a legitimate shot at a top 10.  My biggest problem was that I had a good car in open track, but it wasn't good enough to dispose of the lap cars as quickly as the other top runners.  Therefore, when we got a couple late cautions, with lap cars on the inside, I wasn't able to keep up as well and ended up falling back to 15th.  Overall, it was a pretty good run for us though.  Especially since we weren't even really competitive on Saturday.  To turn around and run as a good as we did on Sunday was nice surprise. 

So, we are going to work on our Canandaigua setup this week and hopefully we will be better there this weekend.  The Weedsport run got my confidence back up a little bit as we showed that we can compete with the big money teams that have the new equipment.  We are also going to test the 600cc sprint at Paradise on Wednesday, followed by the Slingshots next Wednesday as we prepare for the big June 7th Paradise show.  I will be doing double duty in those two classes, which should be a lot of fun.  I've always run well at Paradise, so I look forward to going back and defending my sprint car and slingshot wins from a year ago. 

I hope to see everyone out at the track this weekend!  Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/17-5/18

Hello Everyone!  Well, this past weekend turned out to be a little disappointing for myself and the team.  Saturday's rain and overcast conditions created for a very fast and tacky track at Canandaigua.  Considering that we only see these track conditions a couple of times a year, I wasn't very prepared for them.  Due to this, I struggled in the heat race and failed to qualify for the feature handicapping.  Therefore I was forced to start in the 20th position for the feature.  By this time, the track conditions were a little more manageable, so I was looking forward to moving up through the pack.  Once the green flag dropped, I actually thought the car was decent, and I starting passing cars.  By lap ten, I had moved up into 14th position and I came off of turn 4 tucked up right behind the 13th place car.  All of a sudden, the car ahead of me took a hard left and directly ahead of me was a slowing car.  I tried to avoid it, but couldn't totally miss it.  I slammed into the car with the right rear portion of my car, and I immediately knew that I had messed it up pretty bad.  When I went to get on the brakes in turn 1, the brake pedal went right to the floor.  I made one more lap, but then decided that I needed to pit because the brakes were just too bad to continue.  When I got into the pit area, the site wasn't pretty.  A lot of the body had been ripped off of the right side of the car, and the brake line was pulled out of the rear caliper.  The car also wasn't sitting correctly, which ended up being that the right rear shock mount slid 4 inches up the shock mount.  Very surprising was the fact that none of the major parts were broken.  I would say that ultimately I got pretty lucky considering how hard I hit the slowing car.  When we got home we spent several hours fixing the car before calling it a night.  Then we got up really early and continued fixing the car.  By 2PM on Sunday we were back in race condition, but the weather once again became an issue.  Despite all of our hard work overnight, Sunday's race was rained out.  The good news is that it gave us time to completely fix the body work that was ripped and mangled.  The bad news is that it is never good when you are making new body panels after 4 races.  However, if you get caught up in a wreck, there is nothing you can do.  So, we will have some new body panels for this weekend, and hopefully we can turn our luck around with another Canandaigua race on Saturday and a Super DIRT Series race on Sunday.  See you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/10-5/11

Hello Everyone!  The rain stayed away and we finally got a race in last Saturday night at Canandaigua.  During the week we had found that our right front shock was bottoming out, so we fixed that for last Saturday.  The good news was that we found the problem.   The bad news was that by making the change to the right front shock, I believe that it also let the rearend travel more.  So, all night we fought the car trying to pick the left front about a foot or more off of the ground.  To say the least, the car was not balanced at all.  I thought that the problem was the right front diving too much, now that we had given it more travel, so I put a heavier right front spring in the car.  That helped a little, but I think I should have also changed the rear shocks.  Even when the track got slick for the feature, the car was still picking the left front up off of the ground.  So, this little issue made the car a little more difficult to drive than I had hoped for, but we still ended up having a decent evening.  I was able to hold off Steve Paine and Matt Shepard for a 3rd place finish in the heat race, and followed that up with a solid 7th place finish in the feature.  I think that we were able to turn fast laps, but with the car handling like it was, I just wasn't able to achieve more than one or two fast laps in a row.  I fell back a little bit during the middle stages of the race, but I was able to take advantage of some late race cautions to work myself back into the top 10.  All in all it was a decent night.  The car didn't take much damage and we got our first top 10 finish of the season, so it all worked out ok.  This weekend Weedsport reopens, so I will be racing both Saturday and Sunday.  There is only one more week before the Super DIRT Series arrives at Weedsport, so hopefully I can use this week to get the car setup dialed in for the big series race.  I hope to see everyone there!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/3-5/4

Hello Everyone!  This weekend turned out to be a non-event on the racing front for our team.  I made a total of 3 hot laps at Canandaigua before the rain came.  Unfortunately, the track was extremely wet, so we didn't even get to learn much for going out for hot laps.  After the rain hit Canandaigua, we rushed over to Paradise, in hope of getting to see some racing.  When we got there, the 600cc sprint car feature was out on the track, but the sprinkles had started to fall.  They got the remainder of the feature in, but then the rain got hard enough to wash out the rest of the event.  So, we didn't get much racing in on Saturday, but we also didn't hurt the car, so it turned out to be an easy week for us.

On Sunday we went to Rolling Wheels, but decided not to race in order to save our equipment for the remainder of the season.  The racing was pretty decent, but the track still got pretty dusty by the end of the day.  I guess Rolling Wheels will always be the same Rolling Wheels. 

This weekend we will be back at Canandaigua on Saturday night, but we have Sunday off due to Mother's Day.  We haven't had much luck with the weather on Saturday nights as of late, but hopefully we will have a good night and I'll see everyone at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 4/26-4/27

Hello Everyone!  Well, it didn't turn out to be that great of a racing weekend for myself and the team.  On Saturday, the rain set in just as we were getting ready to go racing.  I even had a backup plan in case it rained out early at Canandaigua, but those plans were thwarted by Mother Nature as well.  I figured that if it rained a little bit, Canandaigua Speedway would cancel almost instantly.  Sure enough, a massive downpour ended the events there around 4PM.  In the meantime, Paul Habeck agreed to take my 600cc sprint car along with him to Paradise, just in case Canandaigua rained out.  So, we headed over to Paradise, but the rain had already started there as well.  They tried to wait it out, but 2 hours later, they were forced to cancel because the rain just wouldn't quit.  Ironically, we drove 5 miles down the road and the skies were clear.  So, my master plan of finding somewhere to race on Saturday night just didn't work out.  It was ok though, because it made for an easy Sunday morning.  Unfortunately we didn't have a great day at Weedsport either.  The weather was great, but we just never got the car working very well.  The car had no forward bite at all, which I was quite surprised about, because it had driven well the week before.  Starting 8th in the feature, I slid backwards for most of the day, ending up in the 18th position at the end.  When we got the car home, I noticed it sitting funny in the shop, and I found out the the torsion bar stop had broken, taking all of the spring rate out of the left rear of the car.  My guess is that this broke either in hot laps or early on in the heat race, but unfortunately we did not catch it before I went out of the feature.  So, we pretty much threw a race away, but I guess the good news is that I will start close to the front when we go back there in two weeks.  Weedsport is off next week due to a race at Rolling Wheels, and also the following week due to Mother's Day.  So, our focus for the next couple of weeks is going to be on getting the car running for Canandaigua.  I also think that we are going to do a little Wednesday night 600cc Sprint Car practicing at Paradise to get dialed in for the NYMM race there during the first week in June.  We are also getting my Slingshot powder coated this week, so we will also be getting that ready for the first week in June as well.  I will keep you all posted on our progress.  Take care for now!

Weekend Update 4/19-4/20

Hello Everyone!  We made it through the first full weekend of the DIRT season.  I had a pretty promising couple of days.  The car drove well on both Saturday at Canandaigua, and Sunday at Weedsport.  Unfortunately, the conditions were less than favorable at Canandaigua, which was the dustiest that I can ever remember seeing it in the last 20 years.  A fourth place finish in the heat race gave me a 12th starting position for the feature, but it was still too far back in the field to see anything.  After a half of a lap, I had already made up my mind that I was going to pull in and save my equipment for Sunday at Weedsport.  So, I made a lap to make sure that I got scored and then I pulled in and called it an evening.  It took everything that I had to pull in, but I feel that it was the best thing that I could have done for our race team.  A lot of Sportsman cars and a handful of Modifieds got completely destroyed, and I really couldn't take that chance with my car.  The visibility was so bad that I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to find pit road.  Luckily it all worked out and I was able to escape Saturday with little to no damage.  Hopefully next week the track will be in better shape and both the racers and the fans will get the conditions that they deserve.

Sunday was a completely different day.  The track was in great shape and the program was run quickly and smoothly.  You would never have thought that it was the same organization.  I had a really good car on Sunday.  I bobbled in the early laps of the heat race, which I think cost me a shot at the win.  Even still, I was able to hold on for 3rd, to earn the 9th starting spot in the feature.  I moved up a couple spots at the start and thought that I was going to have a really good race.  Unfortunately, on lap 13 I made a small mistake and tagged the inside wall coming out of turn 4.  I did about a 3 foot high wheelie down the front straightaway.  I had to get completely out of the throttle, and ended up falling all the way back to the 15th position.  I started working my way back up through the field, but with about 10 laps to go, the car handling really started to fade.  Come to find out, the contact with the wall put a small hole in the sidewall of the left front tire, which had now gone flat.  Considering the circumstances, I was able to finish the feature competitively, earning a 12th place finish. 

Overall, it was a pretty good weekend.  I didn't tear up a lot of stuff, and we had decent speed all weekend.  I suppose we could have had a better opening weekend, but nonetheless it was still a pretty solid one.  I'm a little disappointed that we are sitting 27th in the points at Canandaigua, but that should change as long as they get the track in reasonable condition.  We ended 2007 running strong at Weedsport, and I think we are right on track for good success there this season.  We should be in good shape for next weekend, so I hope to see all of you there.

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 4/12-4/13

Hello Everyone!  Despite the threat of rain, I did get some racing in on both Friday and Saturday with Paul Habeck's 600cc Sprint Car.  Ironically, Weedsport cancelled the race on Sunday, which turned out to be the best day of the weekend, in my opinion.  Getting back in the sprint car at Black Rock was a lot of fun.  Friday night we were able to get 4 practice sessions in on the track, which I think was a big help in getting the cars set up for raceday.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get all of the mechanical kinks out of the car on Friday night, which made for a tough Saturday.  In the heat race, the track got a lot slicker than I thought it was going to, so I ended up missing the correct rear gear by a tooth.  I had to shift into a higher gear in order to keep the rpms at a reasonable level, but it slowed me up enough that I wasn't able to advance from my 7th starting position.  This meant that I had to start 17th in the feature, but I made the change to the correct gear, and I was pretty confident that I was going to have a fast car.  As the green flag dropped, I found out that I did have a good car and I made my way up to the 9th position within the first handful of laps.  Unfortunately, this is when the mechanical bugs started hitting me.  First the engine started cutting out erratically, and I looked over and saw that the air box had come loose on the fuel intake.  This problem hindered my speed a little bit, but I was still able to continue at a decent pace.  Then, my race came to an end as I was coming off of turn 2 around the halfway point in the race.  All of a sudden, the right front dropped and the car darted toward the outside wall.  I jumped on the brakes and thankfully I was able to get the car stopped about 6 inches from the outside wall.  When I got out, I saw that the semi-rough track conditions had broken the right front kingpin, and allowed the spindle to fall off the front axle.  So, my night ended a few laps short, and with a 14th place finish.  My teamates Paul Habeck and Jim Radney also had some issues of their own.  Paul was running in the 5th position when a late race spin forced him to the rear of the field.  He was able to rebound for a 9th place finish.  Jim Radney had an electrical issue which forced him to retire from the race early, earning a 16th place finish.  Despite having some mechanical issues all three of us had fast racecars, and I am encouraged that we could have some very good success this season.  My next scheduled 600cc Sprint car race is June 7th, at Paradise Speedway.  Last season I was able to get a win at Paradise, so I am looking forward to going back and having another opportunity to do so again.

This weekend should mark the start of the Modified season.  I think everyone is a little apprehensive about going to Canandaigua, with the fact that they have put down a lot of new clay on the track.  Hopefully it won't be as rough as everyone thinks it will be, but I have a bad suspicion that the track is not going to be easy on equipment for at least a few months.  I had the Modified ready for Weedsport on Sunday, so this should be a fairly easy week for us.  The weather should be a little warmer this weekend, so I hope to see everyone out at the track! 

Take care for now!

Update 4/10

Hello Everyone!  Well, the season is now pretty much in full swing.  Technically the season doesn't start until this weekend, but I did get a chance to take a few laps last night at the Cayuga County practice session.  Nothing fell off the car, so I think we did our job in that department.  The car drove ok, but we just didn't have the speed that I was looking for, so over the next couple of days we are going to rethink our rear torsion and shock package before we head back to Weedsport on Sunday.  We had a little bit of a scary moment last night when one of the sprint cars that were there lost control coming in the pits and bounced off our left side rub rail and then took out the front end of the modified parked behind me.  Luckily everyone was ok, and we were able to continue with only minimal damage to the side bumper.

It looks like there might be a rain and snow problem for the weekend, but we are also trying to get the 600cc sprint car done for the first race at Black Rock on Saturday afternoon.  I will keep you posted, as we are having trouble getting some of the parts that we need to finish the car up.  Thanks to Paul Habeck and his race team, I once again have the opportunity to run select races in his sprint car.  This year he even lettered it up to look like my car, which I thought was a really cool gesture on his part.  We should have a lot of fun running those races this season.

Unfortunately, my March 1st deadline for the new website has come and gone, but I am still trying to finish it up.  I've run into some problems with browser compatibility, which has severely slowed up my progress.  It's going to be a little tougher to find time to work on it now that racing has started, but I'm going to work on it every spare second that I get, and I will get it up as soon as possible.  I apologize for the delay, but I think it will be worth it when I get it up.

Hopefully the rain will hold off and I will see you all this weekend.  Take care for now!


Team Update 2/14

Hello Everyone!  I apologize to those of you that check the site regularly for my lack of updates over the last few weeks.  I've been working hard on developing the next version of this website.  It will have a new look, but all of the same elements will still be here.  It is my hope to modernize the site and really have one of the best looking driver sites out there.  Hopefully you will all like it as much as I do.  I still have a few more pages to build, and a few bugs to work out, but I'm hoping to have it up and running by March 1st.

On the racing side of things, most everything has been going smoothly.  Last Wednesday we put our big block on the dyno and it delivered some very good numbers.  We basically have 7 more horsepower and 12 more ft/lbs of torque throughout the entire rpm range.  Campbell's Engines is doing a final look-through on the engine and we should have it by this weekend.  I can't wait to see what it will do on the racetrack! 

Last weekend I finished up the body panels for the modified, so that is ready to go to Pilat Design in the coming weeks.  We have invested in some sheet metal tools, which are really going to save us a lot of money by making a lot of the body panels ourselves.  In addition, we will be able to make new ones should we run into trouble during the season.

So, in a nutshell, the modified is almost finished.  We have to install the engine, but after that, all we have left to do is to start organizing and preparing our spare parts for the season.

We also are in the process of rebuilding our two Slingshots for the 2008 season.  We have been held up for a while on those due to the fact that we can't seem to get a copy of the 2008 body style.  It has been a frustrating process because the we ordered the body pieces on November 10th, and we have been told that it will be at least a couple more weeks.  We needed to purchase one body in order to make copies, but the turnaround time has been a little ridiculous.  I certainly enjoy racing the Slingshots but getting parts from Speedway Entertainment has been more than difficult.  I hope we can get our parts by the end of February, which would still give me a month to build the bodies for our cars. 

We are a little under 60 days until our first race, so time will start to fly by now.  Before we know it, we'll be back at the track again.  Stay tuned for the new website and my tentative 2008 schedule, which should be coming shortly.  I'll keep you all posted on the team's efforts as we work toward the start of 2008 season. 

Take care for now!

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