Weekend Update 10/17-10/18

Hello Everyone!  I was supposed to go to Lindas Speedway in Pennsylvania to attend the Micro Sprint Nationals over the weekend but that race got rained out so I got the Micro Sprint ready and headed to Paradise on Saturday night.  The cold conditions were anything but favorable however Paradise ran a good quick show and had the racing over by 9PM.  Overall, it was a decent evening for myself but I just was not able to hook the car up to the track as well as I would have liked to.  I drew an average starting position for the heat race, and I was able to hold onto my 4th starting position for the 8 lap qualifier.  This set me up to start 7th in the feature event and I was hopeful to move up a few spots in the order.  However, as good as the car drove a couple weeks ago at Paradise, you never would have believed it, as I fought a major loose condition throughout the entire feature event.  I kinda got bottled up at the start of the race and lost a couple positions, but from there on I was not able to make an headway towards the front.  For the most part I stayed right in the pack of cars that I started with and ultimately ended up 9th when the checkered flag flew.  Certainly, I would have liked to have finished up a little higher in the finishing order but on this night it wasn't meant to be.  I'm going to work this week to try to figure out why I missed the setup on Saturday night and hopefully I can make the proper corrections for the Paradise Season Finale this weekend.  This will be my last race for the 2009 season so I will definitely be trying to end the season on a high note.  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 10/10-10/11

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend I had the opportunity to run my first ever Super DIRT Week "Win And You're In" event at Rolling Wheels.  Over the past few years we have had car issues that have prevented me from attending this race, but this year it worked out so that I could compete.  I was a little disappointed when they moved this race to Rolling Wheels from Weedsport, as I have a much better track record at Weedsport, but on Saturday night I ended up having a great handling car.  However, the night did not go off without a hitch, as I was involved in a crash after practice had ended which sent us scrambling to fix a broken right rear spindle before the heat race.  Luckily, there were a lot of sprint cars in attendance so their practice and time trials gave us ample time to make the necessary repairs.  During practice there was huge water puddle sitting right off of turn 4 and what I believe happened was that another car drove right through the puddle and splashed water all over turn 4 as he spun down the frontstretch.  Even though practice had ended we were still rolling around the track at a pretty good pace and when the cars around me and myself hit the water in turn 4 we all lost control of our cars.  I slid sideways, but was able to stop without making any contact with the outside wall.  Just as I was about to fire the car back up, I got slammed in the right rear portion of the car by another competitor that I'm sure suffered the same fate as I did and could not steer or stop.  I drove back to the pits, but we then discovered that the rear spindle was broken.  Although it was a little tense because we did not know how much time we had, it ultimately was a relatively easy repair and we got on with our evening. 

In accordance to the last couple months, I drew a terrible number in the draw for heat starting position.  I ended up having to start 6th in my heat, and I thought there would be no way to find my way to the front in just 8 laps.  So you can imagine my surprise when I took the lead on lap 5!  The track was tacky enough that it would hold the car if you went into the corners with a lot of speed, but I actually was making better time than my competitors by slowing down a little bit and staying in a lower groove.  I was picking up 3 or 4 car lengths a corner and I had the lane all to myself which made it very nice.  Once I picked up the lead on lap 5, there was no looking back and I cruised to the win in heat number 1 which landed me on the pole for the 25 lap feature event.  I was not exactly sure what to expect in the feature as the track had changed dramatically since the heat race, but the car drove great right from the drop of the green flag.  I jumped out to an early lead and even survived a couple early restarts and everything was going great.  Then as I came out of turn 4 on lap 12 Chad Brachmann flew right by me on the outside.  Evidently he had found some better bite on the extreme outside of the speedway and he snagged the lead from me just before the halfway point.  I went to the top where he was running but I was unable to mount a serious charge to get the lead back.  I made one last effort on a late race restart with 3 laps to go, but on that night he had the better car and I had to settle for 2nd place at the finish.  So, I ended up 1 spot short in my effort to get the last qualifying position for the Rite Aid 200 at Syracuse, but overall it was a great night of racing for myself and the team.  This was the last Modified race for me in 2009 and it was great to end the season on such a high note.  Now we can go back and regroup and rebuild over the winter and hopefully come out in 2010 with the same momentum that we ended 2009 with. 

I am off from racing this weekend as I am going to the Lindas Speedway to watch the Micro Sprint Nationals, but my plan is to be back in the Micro Sprint on October 24th for the Paradise Speedway season finale.  This is looking like it will be my last race of 2009, so I hope to see you all at the track!  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we will get in one last run before we have to pack it up for the winter. 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 10/3-10/4

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend Paradise held their first annual "Fall Classic" race and I had the opportunity to be a part of it.  I had toyed with going to Fulton for the 200 lap Modified race, but ultimately I decided to save my equipment for this coming weekend at Rolling Wheels.  This left me open to run the "Fall Classic" in the Habeck Racing micro sprint.  In recent trips to Paradise I have struggled, but this past Saturday went a little better.  The first goal was to make it into the feature of 24 cars, as they had a really good turnout of 33 cars.  Luckily, I drew a good number in the heat race draw, which landed me on the pole for the third heat race.  With the wet weather conditions the track was pretty tacky and I was pretty much able to hold the throttle right to the floor all the way around the track for the entire 8 lap heat race.  Ultimately, I was uncontested for the win and I was quite relieved to have such a good starting position for the feature event.  Paradise really did a decent job with this event as they did a starting lineup with driver introductions on the frontstretch before the feature, along with the traditional sprint car 4-wide salute to the fans before we went green.  I think it was just the kind of show that was needed to spark some interest back into Paradise.  After all of the pre-race activities it was time to tackle the 50 lap feature from my 3rd starting position.  The car was still really good in the early parts of the race, as I was able to maintain 3rd for quite a while.  However, as the first 25 lap segment wore on my car just got looser and looser.  At the halfway break I had fallen back to 6th place, but I had a much needed break to try to fix the handling.  The only adjustments you could make during the break were fuel and tire pressure, so I dumped all of the fuel that I had in the car in an effort to tighten the car up for the second segment.  The car was much better after they dropped the green to start the second half, but I knew that once the fuel burned down I was going to be fighting a loose racecar once again.  I did catch a little bit of a break at the mid-race redraw as I was able to restart 5th, instead of 6th where I was running before the break.  I was able to make a move up to 4th once we went back racing, but the last 10 laps were a struggle and I lost two positions late in the race.  However, I was able to finish the race in the 6th position for an overall good evening of racing.  With the caliber of competition that showed up for this race, I was quite pleased with my result considering I am down at least 20 horsepower to some of the top micro sprint teams. 

The next time I will be back at Paradise will be on October 24th for the season finale.  In fact, it looks like there will only be two more races for me this year.  The one at Paradise, and this coming weekend at Rolling Wheels with the Modified.  Saturday night the Modifieds are the support show for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, so it should be a really cool event to attend.  And since it is the Win-And-You're-In event for Syracuse, you never know...I just might be headed to Syracuse on Sunday to start 45th if I can find a way to pull off a win on Saturday night.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 9/26-9/27

Hello Everyone!  I was back in the Modified this past Saturday for the World Series of DIRT at Rolling Wheels.  Weather threatened the event the entire day, but they were able to get to lap 68 before the skies opened up and cancelled the event.  Overall, I had a pretty good day at the track.  Ultimately, another parts failure cost me a decent finish, but I was really pleased with how the car ran in the qualifying events.  I was not immediately good right out of the trailer though, as I was only 7th fastest out of my group of 10 in hot laps.  I was lacking side bite in the car, so I decided to put the Weedsport shocks on the car to try and help the problem.  Immediately, when I went out of time trials I could tell the car was handling better and I laid down some pretty good laps.  In the end, I was 4th fastest in my group and 14th fastest overall of the 40 cars in attendance.  Next up was the heat race where I quickly jumped to 3rd on the start and seemed to have a good shot at finishing there.  Then there was a caution with 3 laps to go and I decided to dial a couple turns of front brake in the car to help my corner entry.  As it turned out, I adjusted myself too far and I ended up pushing down into turn 1 on the first lap after the restart.  With that one small mistake, Pat Ward drove around me on the high side and I was relegated to a 4th place heat finish.  I was a little disappointed because I wanted to get into the top-3 for a spot in the feature redraw, but it wasn't meant to be, and I headed off to the feature with a 15th place starting position.  The car wasn't quite as good as I would have liked it to be in the feature, but I was still holding on around the 13th position when the engine started acting a little funny.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but it just seemed like it was running rough.  As the laps went on the problem got worse and worse until I felt like I needed to pull off on lap 48.  20 laps later the rains came in and halted the show, but my night was already over.  Officially, I was credited with a 20th place finish.  When we got the car home and checked everything out, we discovered that the magneto went bad and was not allowing the engine to fire when it should have been.  So, unfortunately we got bit by another parts failure that I'm not sure we ever could have anticipated.  The good news is that we have already replaced the magneto and I will be ready to go for the Win-And-You're-In event at Rolling Wheels during Super DIRT Week on October 10th.  This coming weekend I will be back in the micro sprint for races at both Paradise Speedway on Saturday and Limerock Speedway on Sunday.  Hopefully the weather will hold off and the racing will be good.  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 9/18-9/19

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend was another big Micro Sprint weekend where Ransomville held a double-header on Friday night for the NYMM Series, and I also ended up at Paradise on Saturday night.  First up on Friday was the regular NYMM Series show.  I will be the first to admit that Ransomville is not one of my favorite Micro Sprint tracks and I knew that I was definitely going to struggle with my stock engine, but I was determined to make the best of the situation.  I did not draw very well for my heat starting position, which has been par for the course as of late.  I don't know what I have to do differently, but recently my luck of the draw has not been very lucky.  So, I started 5th and finished 5th in the heat race as the track was still pretty tacky and there was not a lot of passing.  So, I lined up 14th for the feature event and thankfully it went pretty smoothly for me.  I was able to drive through a couple wrecks that happened up in front of me and I was able to pick up a few positions in the first 15-lapper to finish 11th.  Next it was off to the make-up feature from May which got rained out after the heats.  I was supposed to start 14th in this race as well, but a couple cars in my outside row did not start moving me up to the 10th position.  By this time the track had slicked off quite a bit and I was much more competitive.  I was moving toward the front and picking up a position here and there when disaster struck.  As I followed a car into turn 1, it hit a hole which upset the car and proceeded to spin right in front of me.  I had nowhere to go and I collided into the left side and actually ended up stuck on top of the other car's front wing.  They pulled us apart but the car did not feel right afterwards as I made some pace laps, so I pulled off and called it an evening, ultimately finishing in the 14th position. 

I had full intentions to go to Limerock on Saturday night but with the damage from Friday and nagging transmission issues, I decided to go to Paradise.  I wasn't exactly sure that the transmission in the engine was going to hold up and I didn't really want to spend the money to go to Limerock if I wasn't going to even be able to run.  So, I loaded the car on Paul Habeck's trailer and headed to Paradise with him.  Paradise had a little better field of cars this week, 14 in all, which was much better than the 7 that showed up the week before.  Another poor draw put me in the back again for the heat race, where I once again started 5th and finished 5th.  Even with the slick conditions, horsepower was still a factor on Saturday night, so I was never really a threat in the feature as I started 9th and finished 9th.  I still had a pretty good time though as it was a lot more competitive at Paradise this week. 

So, that concludes my two week stint of micro sprint racing, as it is back to the Modified this coming weekend for the World Series Weekend at Rolling Wheels Raceway.  This will be the first World Series Weekend that I have attempted with the Modified, as they have shortened the race from 200 to 100 laps making it much more manageable for a team the size of ours to compete.  I'm definitely looking forward to it, as this weekend is where I had my biggest Pro Stock victory back in 2004.  Hopefully we have erased all of the issues with the car as we had flywheel and driveline issues on Labor Day.  Everything in the driveline has been replaced except the engine, which I think will solve our problems.  Hopefully I can turn my luck around and have a good finish!  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 9/12-9/13

Hello Everyone!  With the Modified regular season over, I had a weekend filled with micro sprint racing this past weekend.  Saturday night I headed to Paradise Speedway where the car count was down due to a NYMM race at Genesee Speedway.  There were only 7 600cc Pro cars in attendance so the racing was not very intense.  I started 4th and finished 4th in both the heat and feature events as the track was really slick and there was not a whole lot of passing.  Having a stock engine is really starting to hurt me at Paradise where other teams have found a lot of horsepower.  I felt like I had the 4th best car on Saturday night, and that is right where I finished up so there really is nothing to complain about there.

Sunday brought on a brand new experience for me as I took the micro sprint to Limerock Speedway for the first time.  Over the years I had heard a lot about this track but I had never gotten a chance to race there until this past weekend and I actually enjoyed it a lot.  The track is a fun little bullring where laps seem to click off at a lightning pace.  There were actually a few times when I wanted to pull a tearoff but simply did not have enough time on the straighaway to do so.  One unique thing about Limerock is that they also run a 600cc wingless class.  Since I went to race, I also signed up for this class and I'm glad that I did.  I had an absolute blast running wingless as it really puts more of the driver into play.  I actually did not think that taking the wings off the car would make that big of a difference but I was definitely wrong.  It was really easy to overdrive the corners and scrub off a lot of time by getting too sideways in the corners.  Of course, my day started by drawing terrible starting positions and I had to start last (7th) in the heats for both classes.  Passing is tough at Limerock and I was only able to move up to 6th in each heat.  The first feature of the day was the wingless feature, in which I started 6th.  I was able to pick up a couple early spots and during the middle of the race I passed for 3rd.  I was about a straightaway behind the lead duo but I was able to catch right up to them.  Both of the competitors in front of me ran a solid race and did not leave me an opening to make any more progress.  I had hopes that a late race restart would give me an opening but it didn't work out and I had to settle for third.  The first 3 cars were bumper to bumper and it really made for some intense racing as we slid through the turns and even on the straightaways without the wings on.  I wish we could have gone longer because the 30 laps went really fast and I was having a lot of fun.  With more cars in attendance for the winged 600 feature, my 6th place heat result only earned me the 16th starting position for the 30 lap main event.  The car ran great and I was able to maneuver through a lot of cars.  With 20 cars on the track it got really crazy when lapped cars started getting in the mix of things.  All I could do was keep passing as many cars as I could as I had completely lost count of where I was running.  When the checkered flag flew I had moved up to the 9th position.  I was pretty pleased with earning a top-10 and staying on the lead lap in this race as I was buried in the starting lineup.  Overall I had a really fun time at limerock and was very pleased with how the car ran.  With the track's short configuration, the big powerful motors really don't make a difference and it was nice to be in contention to win the wingless feature.  I will definitely be going back to Limerock when my schedule allows, which might be as soon as this Saturday night.  As you can imagine I'm a little bit intrigued with the 40 lap wingless feature that is on their schedule for this weekend.  However, the first stop this weekend will be Friday night at Ransomville Speedway where the NYMM series is having a regular event plus the makeup feature from when we got rained out in May.  I will first see how Ransomville goes before I decide whether or not it is Paradise or Limerock for Saturday night.  I will update my schedule as soon as I decide where I will be racing.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 9/5-9/7

Hello Everyone!  I guess I should start off by saying wow what a crazy Labor Day weekend of racing.  I think I might have experienced almost every emotion you can feel in racing in a three day period.  There were points where I was on top of the world and then points where I just shook my head in disbelief.  It all had to start somewhere, and that was at Canandaigua on Saturday night.  The car once again handled great all evening.  I have stumbled across a setup for Canandaigua that really works well with my driving style and it has showed in the last few weeks.  From the drop of the green in the feature event I started making my way towards the front of the field.  While I had nothing for Matt Sheppard I did make my way into 2nd and stayed there for the majority of the race.  In the closing laps I feel like I totally misplayed the lapped cars and it cost me, as I lost 2nd place on lap 28 and 3rd place on lap 34.  Overall, a 4th place run was still a great finish for myself and the team in the season finale.  Missing the feature last week with rearend troubles definitely hurt me in the season point standings but I still ended up tied for 6th which is a vast improvement from last season.  For the most part I was able to run a lot better this season at Canandaigua and I'm especially excited about the fact that I was able to get 3rd and 4th place finishes there in my last two starts of the season.

Running on the high of a good run on Saturday night, the team and I headed off to the big doubleheader at Weedsport on Sunday.  A 100 lap Super DIRT Series race followed up by the 35 lap make-up feature from the previous week.  I took my trusted Weedsport setup in the car and it did not disappoint.  I was able to time trial 3rd in my group of 9 cars and finish 4th in the heat race to earn the 16th starting position for the big feature.  The feature started on a black, slick racetrack and it just got slicker as the laps clicked off but a little bit to my surprise the car stayed strong throughout the race.  I have been known to struggle in the 100 lap races but on this night I was moving forward.  I was able to have some restarts play into my favor where I picked off some cars and near the end I found myself breaking into the top-10.  After a late race caution bunched the field up I found myself battling with Brett Hearn for the 8th position.  A couple times I got side-by-side with him, but I just couldn't make the pass.  On the last corner I tried one last ditch effort on the high side but it was for naught and I took the checkered flag 9th overall, scoring my first ever Super DIRT Series top-10 finish.  I was pretty excited about my finish in the series race and even more excited about my chances in the 35 lap make-up feature.  I actually saved my best set of tires for the second race as I knew that I would be starting up front in 4th and that I had a good chance to have a really strong finish.  It took me 3 laps to make my way to the front of the field and I began my attempt to run away and hide.  Everything was going just the way I had planned it until the caution flew on lap 30.  Instantly, I knew that my job just got a little more difficult with Steve Paine and Jimmy Phelps lined up right behind me.  I got a good restart and was determined to hold on to the lead for the last 5 laps when disaster struck!  Going down the backstretch on lap 31 out of nowhere the car started vibrating and before I knew it I was spinning into turn 3.  I sat there for a minute in complete disbelief as the potential win had gone away.  As it turns out, the left rear hub broke, allowing the tire to fall off the car and end my evening.  To make things worse, I got collected by the oncoming pack of cars but there was not much they could do as I was spinning right in the middle of the track.  It was certainly a tough pill to swallow but I was very happy with how the car ran in my last race at Weedsport for this season.  While the final result was not what I was looking for, I think a lot of people took notice as to what our team has become and what we are going to be capable of next season.

So we took a broken and wrecked racecar home Sunday night and started thrashing to get it ready for the traditional Labor Day Super DIRT Series race at Rolling Wheels.  We went to bed late and got up really early but we got the car all fixed up and ready to go.  Unfortunately, my bad luck was not over yet as I experienced a vibration in hot laps which got worse in time trials.  When I went to start the car up to go back to the pit area after time trial tech, all I heard was grinding as something went wrong with the teeth on the flywheel.  So, my night ended pretty much before it ever got started as I was forced to load up after time trials.  I always like racing at Rolling Wheels so that was pretty disappointing to have to end the night early.  Hopefully I will have better luck when we go back there in 2 weeks for the World Series Weekend. 

So, that pretty much sums up what ended up being a wild and crazy Labor Day Weekend for myself and the team.  We ran great all weekend but simply ran into some bad luck and misfortune in the end.  The plan right now is to go back and fix up some of the issues that have plagued us over the last few weeks before we head to the World Series Weekend and then the "Win and You're In" events at Rolling wheels in coming weeks.  In the meantime I will be playing around with the 600cc Micro Sprint at Paradise on our off Saturday nights.  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 8/29-8/30

Hello Everyone!  Well, it turned out to be a rough weekend of racing for myself and the team.  Despite going to both Canandaigua and Weedsport, I ended up turning only about 20 laps on the track for the entire weekend. Unfortunately, Saturday night was pretty much over before it started.  In the heat race, just as I had moved into 2nd on lap 2 from my 4th starting position, I felt the driveline break going down the backstretch.  I initially thought that we broke yet another driveshaft universal but that was not the case.  This time the main shaft in the rearend twisted off.  After such a strong race at Canandaigua last week, it was a heartbreaker to be done for the evening after the heat race.  I guess the only positive that comes out of the situation is that it should help my handicapping status and give me a good start for the season finale this coming Saturday.  However, it did ruin any chance that I might of had of finishing in the top-5 in points this season.  It was definitely unfortunate, but without the funding to have a second car on hand, every once in a while a parts failure is going to end your night early.

So, we stayed up late to the early hours of Sunday morning putting our spare rearend in the car for Weedsport on Sunday evening.  It is always a little nerve racking to make major driveline changes overnight for the fear that something didn't get tightened up, but everything did work out fine.  The track at Weedsport stayed tacky all night due to the wet weather and overcast conditions of the day.  Luckily I hit the setup right on the mark for the heat race and I was able to take the lead in the first turn and never look back enroute to the victory.  I was pretty confident that I was going to have a good run in the feature event as well.  However, as we rolled out onto the track to start the event, the skies opened up and washed out the races for the night.  So, for the 2nd time in a month, it will be double features this coming Sunday night at Weedsport.  I am slated to start from the 4th position and I think there is potential for us to have a really strong run. 

With the feature rainout on Sunday, that just adds more racing to an already huge Labor Day Modified weekend. The regular show on Saturday at Canandaigua just starts the action, followed by the Super DIRT Series and the make-up feature on Sunday at Weedsport compiling up 135 laps of racing.  Then on Monday the annual Labor Day Super DIRT Series event at Rolling Wheels adds another 100 laps to the action.  If everything goes to plan, that means it will be 270 laps of feature action for me this weekend.  That should certainly make up for the 20 laps total that I got from this past weekend.  It is certainly going to be an exciting and busy few days.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 8/22-8/23

Hello Everyone!  I only got one race in this past weekend as the rain put an end to Weedsport on Sunday before we even left for the track.  However, Saturday's weather was better and I had a really good evening at Canandaigua.  I had some early success this season when Canandaigua was dry and slick.  In recent weeks the track has remained tackier and I have definitely struggled.  In fact it has been almost 2 months since I posted a top-5 finish at Canandaigua.  Like most racers, I've been trying different setups to try to get the car working better.  Fortunately, this past Saturday I found a setup that I liked for the current track conditions.  Whether or not it will work more than one week is yet to be determined, but I was definitely able to have a strong night last week.  I ran most of the heat race bottled up in 3rd place, but I was able to move into 2nd and catch the leader on the last lap.  While I wasn't able to score the win, I could tell that the car was driving well, and I was excited about the feature event.  With the way the handicapping fell I was able to start 4th and I started making my charge to the lead immediately when the green flag dropped.  I was able to take the lead as I crossed the line for lap 3 and I attempted to set sail on the field.  Unfortunately, Matt Sheppard has been virtually unstoppable this season and he made quick work of my lead and put me back to second on lap 8.  I remained in 2nd for most of the race but lap traffic became an issue for me around lap 25.  I caught two cars that were running side-by-side and I just could not find a way to get by them.  Finally, they got single file and I was able to sneak past them but Gary Tomkins had already made his move on me for 2nd.  Looking back I'm not sure if there was a better way to play those lap cars or not but it definitely cost me 2nd place.  Maybe next time it will play more in my favor.  In the end I was still able to hold on to a strong 3rd place finish, the first time that I have finished that well at Canandaigua since Memorial Day.  After struggling for a few months I really needed a strong run like that to kickstart the team back up for the last few weeks of the regular season.  I certainly hope that we can build on the momentum of Saturday night as we head back to Canandaigua and Weedsport this coming weekend.  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 8/15-8/16

Hello Everyone!  Well, it ended up being a pretty tough weekend for myself and the team.  I just had one of those weekends where I couldn't do anything right and luck was just not on my side.  Everything was going really well at Canandaigua on Saturday and the car was driving really well in the heat race.  Unfortunately, another competitor got sideways and crossed over two lanes before slamming into the side of my car and driving over my front end halfway through the heat race.  I was able to limp home in the last qualifying spot, but there was significant damage to the car.  We had to do a complete front end swap before the feature, but things were still not completely squared up by the time we went out.  I fought a terrible push in the car for the entire feature, but I tried my best to change my driving style to adapt to the car.  It ended up ok, but I was certainly off the pace to where I would have liked to have been.  Luckily, I was able to snipe a couple spots right at the end by running the outside of the track to finish in the 9th position.  For as much as we struggled, I was pretty pleased to come home with a top-10 finish. 

So, we repaired the car on Sunday and headed off to Weedsport for double features.  The first feature was the make-up event from last week's rainout after the heat races.  I had to start 15th so I went with a tacky track setup in hopes to gain as many spots as I could early in the race before the track slicked off.  Thankfully, it worked and I was able to march forward through the field up to the 7th position shortly after the halfway point.  By this time the track was starting to slick off and I knew that I was going to be in trouble for the remainder of the event, but I moved to the bottom of the track and did the best I could to hang on to the leaders.  I lost one spot on a late race restart, but I was able to hold on for a respectable 8th place finish and had a good start to the evening.  Unfortunately, it was all downhill from here as the night continued.  As I went out for the heat the car would not start and I had to be push started.  This didn't really matter as I had to start last anyways due to missing the All Star Weekend with the blown engine.  The car just did not sit well with the track conditions and I was not able to move forward into a qualifying position.  After having to get push started again for the feature, I lined up in the 21st position for the second feature.  I made several adjustments and the car was a lot better in the first few laps of the race.  I had passed three or four cars before I came out of turn 4 to find chaos breaking loose ahead of me.  I still don't know exactly what happened but everyone was crashing and the track was blocked when I got there.  I had no way to stop and I slammed into the pile.  I did my best to pitch the car and go in sideways but it was still a hard hit and it did a lot of damage.  I was done for the night and ended up finishing 23rd.  It was definitely a tough ending to the night as we went home with a severely wrecked racecar. 

This weekend I will be back at Canandaigua and Weedsport in the modified, and hopefully this time I won't be so unlucky.  Taking out two front ends in two days definitely hurts, but we have already started to rebuild the car.  I have replacement parts on order and we should be back running as good as ever for the weekend.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 8/8-8/9

Hello Everyone!  It was a pretty big weekend of Modified racing in the area as the Super DIRT Series made its annual August stop at Canandaigua.  39 Modifieds signed in the pit area and it was quite a strong field of entrants.  As timid as I was to do it, I felt like I had no choice but to put the gear to the new engine and twist it up for time trials if I was going to be competitive and post a good time.  As it turned out, I don't think that this really helped us that much as the engine flattened out at high rpm.  After talking with Campbell's engines, we think that the carburetor jetting may have been off which hurt our top end power.  I guess that is one of the downfalls of having to rush to rebuild the blown engine, as we were not able to fine tune on the dyno before we had to put it in to race.  Even with this slight issue, I was still able to post a decent lap, which was good enough for 6th in my group and 20th overall.  I thought it was going to be a struggle to get into the top 5 and qualify through the heat race, but everything went to plan as I was able to move up 2 spots to finish 4th.  This put us comfortably in the feature event, and it is always nice to get in without having to run a consi.  My heat finish got me the 16th starting position and I was pretty confident that I was going to have a decent run in the 100 lap feature event.  However, things didn't really work out like I was hoping.  I don't know if I went with the wrong shocks or not, but the car was just a little bit off for the feature.  I was loose in the center off the corner and tight on the gas coming off.  I have fought that for the last two weeks there so I think the different track conditions we have seen lately have thrown us a little curve ball.  You can be sure that I'll be making an adjustment to correct this for the coming weekend.  While the car wasn't perfect, it wasn't terrible either and I was able to run a competitive race and finish in 20th.  I was really hoping to be a little further up in the finishing order but hopefully I can learn from what happened and be stronger when the series returns in September. 

On Sunday it was off to Weedsport, but the weather was threatening all day. During the afternoon, showers rolled through the area and watered down the track pretty good.  Even when the heat races rolled around, the track was still extremely tacky.  After hot laps I scrambled to get the normal Weedsport shocks and springs off of the car and it drove 100% better in the heat race.  The two races that I missed due to the blown engine are still haunting my handicapping, as I had to start 10th in a heat race that qualified 6 cars.  The conditions made it very difficult to see and pass cars, but I was able to pick up a couple spots to finish 8th.  After the heats concluded, the skies opened up and washed out the remainder of the event.  This means that I will be running double features at Weedsport this coming weekend.  When the green flag drops on the first feature, I will be starting from the 15th position.  Hopefully the conditions will be better and I will be able to make some decent headway to the front of the pack.  Before the rains came I was able to participate in the ice cream tossing contest.  I have to say that it was quite an experience to say the least.  While my team didn't win, I think we all had a pretty good time and it was a good break from the usual routine at the track.

So this weekend is going to bring another two day Modified weekend at Canandaigua and Weedsport.  I feel like I have struggled at Canandaigua the past couple weeks, so hopefully we can make the necessary changes in the shop this week to turn things around on Saturday night.  The double features on Sunday make things a little more difficult since I only have one car, but I'm sure everything will work out just fine.  I'm thinking that it is going to be quite an exciting weekend of racing!  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 8/1-8/2

Hello Everyone! Well we were able to get the Modified going once again for this past weekend.  We got the new engine on Friday and got it fired about 2PM on Saturday afternoon.  It was a little bit of a rush to get to Canandaigua, but we managed just fine and everything went well.  The new engine ran well all weekend and it appears that we are back on track for the remainder of the season.  While there are no guarantees in this sport, we did make some changes that will hopefully prevent another engine failure in the future, including a new oil pump, and extra oil evacuation lines out of the engine.  Amazingly, with the help of a little rain and an interesting race schedule, I was off from Modified racing for 4 weeks but never missed a race at Canandaigua. 

Unfortunately, the track at Canandaigua was probably the worst it has been all year.  Early on it was tacky and rough but then it pretty much went to a slicked off lane and a half with a huge, rough cushion.  It certainly made for some interesting racing.  Luckily, there wasn't as much carnage in the Modified race as there was in the Sportsman race.  Since I have been doing pretty good at Canandaigua, my high handicap value started me 12th in the feature.  I went with a little different shock package to try to adapt to the track conditions, but the car was off just a little bit.  I was tight on both the entry and the exit of the corners, but loose in the middle, which put a damper on how far I was going to be able to charge to the front of the field.  In the end, I had moved up 5 spots to finish a respectable 7th.  While I would always like to do better than that, I was ok with the finish because the track conditions did not play into my favor and I did learn a little bit about the shock package I decided to run.  Hopefully next time I will be that much more prepared for the track that we saw on Saturday.  I'm sure that the track surface will be in much better shape this week as the Super DIRT Series is coming to town.  It is always fun to see how our team stacks up against the top tour regulars.

Since we got through Saturday night without any engine issues or car damage, I decided to give Weedsport a try on Sunday.  I was undecided about going back, but I did want to try my new Integra shocks that I had built specially for Weedsport.  I had to start in the back of the heat race since I missed the last two races there, and unfortunately I wasn't able to get into a qualified spot through the heat race.  So, it was off to the consi, but the car was running great and I easily went on to score the win.  This earned me the 19th starting position in the feature event, and I knew that it was going to be a struggle starting that far back in the field.  I was making a little progress until lap 9 when I got together with another car in turn 4 which ended up sending me on top of the inside wall.  When I landed both left side tires were flat and they had to tow me in.  I thought I was done and I got out of the car because there was no way we could change the tires in time to get back out on the lead lap.  As luck would have it, there was a huge crash on the restart and a red flag, so I quickly got back in the car and headed back out on the lead lap.  I restarted 17th and by the end I was able to work my way up to the 12th position.  Sunday's race was definitely a weird one, but for everything that happened I didn't end up finishing too bad.  The car drove great, I was just behind on track position all night long.  Unfortunately, I have to deal with that for two more weeks until my handicapping gets back to normal. 

Overall I guess I had an average weekend.  I struggled a little with setup on Saturday and then got in a jingle which wrecked some tires and wheels on Sunday but the finishes still weren't terrible.  For the first weekend back in the Modified I would say we did okay.  There is certainly enough to to build on as we go into the stretch run of the season.  This weekend it is off to Canandaigua and Weedsport again so I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/25-7/26

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend I was back at Paradise with the Habeck Racing 600cc sprint car.  I've had pretty good results at Paradise over the past couple weeks, posting 3rd and 4th place finishes.  I was hoping to have a similar result once again on Saturday night.  The track was extremely slick for the heat race, which played into my favor since I don't have a professionally built engine like most of the competitors now have.  I was able to get a 4th place finish in the heat and get myself into the feature handicapping.  This set me up for a 6th place starting position in the feature and everything was going to plan as the car has been getting faster for the feature events over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, weather was once again a major threat, and there was a half hour rain delay before the feature.  This completely changed the consistency of the track as it went from dry slick to extremely tacky.  I still thought I was going to be ok, but within the first couple laps I know that it was going to be a tough race.  I had the throttle completely to the floor but I was still getting passed on the outside by the cars with the bigger engines.  The little rainstorm that passed through made it a complete horsepower track and I struggled a little bit with that.  It was still a lot of fun, and I was able to do some really good racing, but by the end I had slid back to 11th place.  While I would have liked to have finished better, I still enjoyed my night at Paradise. 

As much fun as Paradise is, I hope that this past saturday was my last night there for a while.  The modifieds are finally back at Canandaigua this Saturday after over a month hiatus and if everything goes to plan, I will be in the field.  I have received word that my new big block engine should be ready in the next couple days, so I have been getting the modified ready to go for the weekend.  With the help of some rain, we did not miss a race at Canandaigua, so I'm poised to get going right where we left off.  I haven't decided whether or not to continue running Weedsport this year, so I will make my decision after I see how Canandaigua goes on Saturday.  I hope to see you all at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/18-7/19

Hello Everyone! I apologize for being late with this weeks post. This past weekend didn't go exactly as we had originally planned, but overall it was a still a good weekend of racing for us.  Our weekend started early with the annual Fair race at the Monroe County Speedway. I started 4th in the heat and quickly began my charge to the front. Shortly after I took the lead, another car ran through part of the infield in turn 1. This caused a massive dust cloud to engulf both turns 1 and 2. Approaching turn 1, I hoped no one was sitting hidden in the cloud as I passed through. That time by was fine but unfortunately on the next lap, I still wasn't able to see and ran through a huge hole on the bottom of the turn. When the car bottomed out, the chain kicked off the motor and I promptly came to a stop, putting an end to my heat race. I was slated to start 7th in the consi, which would start me at the tail of the 24 car feature. Although I'm confident that I could have made the top 4 and qualified for the A-main, I decided to load up the car for the night. The racing surface was far from ideal and I didn't want to risk damaging my car and jeopardizing my ability to run Saturday's race at Paradise. Monroe County is a racy little track but technical issues kept the surface from being race ready. As a result, the program kicked off 2 hours late as they were still configuring the track with equipment when we got there. I was content to watch the feature from the stands. It turned out to be a pretty wild race, with only half of the original field running at the end.
Next it was onto Paradise for their normal Saturday night program. During hot laps I quickly discovered that 2nd and 3rd gears were damaged. I ran Monroe County in 3rd gear and I'm pretty sure that when I kicked the chain, it whipped up and hit the motor, causing internal damage. I was able to make an adjustment to the car that would allow me to run the whole race in 5th gear instead. I didn't notice much difference in how the car ran, but I wasn't able to jump on the restarts as quickly as I would have liked. I finished 4th in the heat, which was the last qualifying spot for handicapping. This earned me the 6th starting position. The feature went well and I was able to come home solidly in 4th.
On Sunday I headed to Weedsport and took over as crew chief for Paul Habeck. The inaugural All Star race turned out to be quite a success for DIRT, as it has been a while since I've seen that kind of crowd at Weedsport. I was really looking forward to the challenge of qualifying and running this 100 lap event but unfortunately we weren't able to have the big block back together in time. As of right now, we are planning on an August 1st return to Canandaigua in the modified. I will be sure to keep you posted of our progress and give updates often. Hope to see everyone at the track this weekend!
Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/10-7/12

Hello Everyone!  Since Saturday was looking like it was going to be rain I decided to take the Modified to CanAm on Friday night.  The Super DIRT Series was in Canada so I figured that there wouldn't be too many regular CanAm competitors in attendance.  My theory was correct, however there were about 15 other guys just like me that decided to show up and the track actually had a bigger field of Modifieds than they normally do on a regular Friday night.  I had never raced at CanAm, and hot laps went really well.  The track was still a little wet, but the car handled good and I thought that we were going to be in good shape.  However, when the heat race came around, the track had turned extremely tacky from its earlier wet condition and my car did not respond well to that at all.  The handling turned extremely tight and I definitely fought the car for the entire heat race, finishing 9th from my 7th starting spot.  Once back in the pits I went to work at loosening the car up for the feature.  I made just about every adjustment you can make on a modified to get the car to turn and I hoped that this would allow me to make a charge up through the pack since I now had to start 17th.  The car was a little bit better at the start of the feature, but my race was to be short lived.  As I completed lap 5, the engine started to labor and before I could even do anything the engine expired at the end of the front straightaway.  Just like that the night went from bad to worse, and although my night was done, I was officially scored with a 20th place finish.  So, you can definitely say that my first trip to CanAm didn't go so well, but in racing you are going to have those nights where you can do absolutely nothing right.  The bigger problem that I am facing now is that the bottom end of the engine is a complete loss, and with only one engine I don't have a lot of options.  The engine is now at Campbell's Engines where they are trying to find out the cause of the failure, as well as what it is going to take to put another engine back together.  However, as of right now it is looking like I might be on the sidelines for Modified competition for at least the near future.  This is really unfortunate as I've had a really good season going, but I'm confident that we will rebuild and be stronger than ever.

On Saturday night, we all headed off to Paradise Speedway with the 600cc micro sprints.  Canandaigua rained out early, so Paradise was filled with Canandaigua regulars.  Paradise did a great job to get their show in, as the lighting was cracking all around the speedway, but they managed to fend off the rain until about 20 minutes after the races were completed.  I had a great run in my sprint car as I started and finished in 3rd in the heat race, and then followed that up with 3rd place finish in the feature after starting 5th.  Track conditions were prime with the rain that had fallen in the afternoon and there were multiple grooves to race in.  I worked the extreme bottom with my car and was able to pick off a few of the other competitors as they slid up in the corners.  As always, Paradise was a lot of fun, and you might be seeing me there a lot until I can get my Modified engine situation figured out.  I will keep my schedule updated as to let everyone know where I'll be heading.

This weekend is the DIRT All Star event at Weedsport.  I see that over 80 drivers have already thrown their name in the hat for this event.  I was really looking forward to trying to race my way in, but as of right now it looks like I'm going to be a spectator.  I guess I'll have to wait until next year.  If everything goes to plan this should be an outstanding weekend of racing, so I hope everyone can make it out to the track. 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 7/4-7/5

Hello Everyone!  I hope that you all had a great 4th of July holiday.  I ended up having a pretty laid back racing weekend as both Canandaigua and Weedsport were off for the Modifieds last weekend.  I had planned to go to CanAm on Friday, but unfortunately it got rained out.  However, it was nice that it got rained out before we left and drove two and a half hours to the track.  So, the only place left to race for me was Paradise on Saturday night with the 600cc micro sprint.  The car was really good right off the trailer, but Paradise is a little bit of a struggle this season because of their new handicapping system.  I had to start 8th in the heat race, and despite having a good handling car, I was only able to make it up to the 6th position by the end of the 8 lap race.  This meant that I had to start in the 12th position for the feature.  I didn't make any changes to the car because I thought that it would be set up really good for the feature.  Thankfully, I was correct.  Right from the drop of the green flag I started making my charge forward.  I've always said that if you can pass 5 cars in a feature at Paradise, then you have done well for yourself.  On Saturday night, I was able to pass 6 cars in the the 30 lap event so I was quite pleased to come home with a 6th place finish.  All of us had a great time at Paradise, and I look forward to going back there on July 25th when Canandaigua once again has the night off for the Modifieds. 

This weekend is another one-race weekend as the Modifieds are off from Weedsport on Sunday.  Saturday night at Canandaigua should also be an interesting night because the Super DIRT Series is in Canada.  This might just breed a new winner so I hope that I can bring my best effort and be in the running for my first Canandaigua feature win.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/27-6/28

Hello Everyone!  Well, I only got one race in this past weekend, as Weedsport ended up raining out on Sunday.  Mother Nature waited until we were pulling into Weedsport to unleash the rain, so we ended up taking the modified on a trailer ride for nothing.  However, the weather was nice on Saturday, and I had a pretty good race at Canandaigua.  I tried a little different shock setup than I normally run, and I think it worked pretty good.  I was very competitive in the heat race, leading the first 6 laps before slipping back to 2nd at the finish.  The more important thing was that I was running the top side of the track and the car still drove well.  While we have been running decent all season, I have struggled when I get off the bottom of the speedway, so it was nice to finally have a car that was capable of running the high side.  The car remained good in the feature as well.  I used my 6th starting position to jump into the top five early in the race and I was able to stay there until the end.  I was in a pretty fierce battle for third up until lap 30 when I got bottled up with some lap traffic.  Before I knew it, I had been shuffled back from 3rd to 5th in a lap.  On the last lap, I made one last ditch effort to regain the fourth position, but I came up about 6 inches short at the finish line.  While I feel like I had a better car than where I finished, I certainly can't complain about a top-5 at Canandaigua because they are hard to come by with the caliber of cars that show up there weekly.  Overall, I was pretty happy with the result of the evening and the changes we made to the car.  I am looking forward to going back to Canandaigua on July 11th when the series drivers are out of town.  I think we will have a really good shot to contend for a win that night.  It should be a lot of fun!

This weekend is a little different, as both Canandaigua and Weedsport are off for the 4th of July Weekend.  So, my current plans are to take a little road trip with the Modified on Friday to Can Am Speedway.  However, it is going to be a gameday decision, as I don't want to drive 2.5 hours up there only to get rained out.  For Saturday night, I am preparing the 600cc sprint car for Paradise Speedway.  I look forward to going back and trying to improve on my 7th place finish from a few weeks ago.  I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend and I'll see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/20-6/21

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend definitely started off rainy and wet, but the weather cleared up and we were able to get some racing in on Sunday at Weedsport.  Saturday night at Canandaigua was a complete wash out and I dont think there was any track in our immediate area that got any racing in.  However, we had great weather for Sunday and our night started off pretty well at Weedsport.  The car ran good early in the night as I was 4th fasted in hot laps and then used my 3rd starting position in the heat race to grab the lead on lap 1 and never look back to score the qualifying race victory.  I was pretty excited about how well the car was running and I thought I had a pretty good shot at maybe getting win #2 at Weedsport.  However, things didn't go as I had planned.  I got bottled up early and ended up making contact with a couple cars in turn 4.  Then a few laps later the car handling really went away.  The car started picking the left front off the ground all the way down the straightaway and I knew that something was not right.  I was 95% sure that I had a right rear tire going soft, so I attempted to slow down and stop up in turn 4 so I could get a caution and pit.  However, as I slowed down to get out of the way I got hit from behind and spun into the outside wall in turn 3.  The contact with the wall was minimal and I was able to continue.  When I pit to change the tire, I was informed that the tire was fine.  I went back out and had to finish the last 25 laps with a very ill-handling racecar because at this point I knew that something had gone wrong.  As it turns out, the heims on the rear panhard bar came loose and the vibration of the car was lengthening the bar and moving the rearend to the left.  This allowed the car to lay way over on the right rear, which made it very difficult to control.  However, I made the best of the bad situation and was able to climb up to 14th at the end of the race after having to restart around 25th.  It is unfortunate that we had some mechanical issues because I think the car would have been easily capable of a top-5 finish.  All we can do is learn from what happened and go back and try again next week.  As of late, it is really exciting to go back to Weedsport each week because we have been really running well there, and I feel like we can contend for more wins there before the season is done. 

Hopefully this weekend the weather won't be so bad on Saturday and we will be able to get back to Canandaigua.  I still haven't gotten a chance to try out the new shocks that I had built specifically for Canandaigua, so I am optimistic that they might put a spark in my Canandaigua program as well.  Also, on Sunday we are back at Weedsport for a normal Sunday night show.  It should be an exciting weekend so I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/13-6/14

Hello Everyone!  I'm a little late getting this weekend recap written, as it has been a busy week so far.  Last weekend was a little different weekend for me as I was able to return to Paradise Speedway on Saturday night to run the 600cc sprint car.  There were no modifieds on the schedule at Canandaigua so I was able to go have a fun night at Paradise.  I knew going in that the new handicapping system at the track was going to make things a little difficult for me, but overall it worked out pretty good.  I had to start last in my heat race, which was 7th, but I was able to make up a couple spots to 5th by the end of the eight laps.  Passing is always very difficult on the slick Paradise surface, so I was actually pretty happy to be able to pick up two positions.  Unfortunately, I missed the handicap qualifying by 1 spot, so I had to start 10th in the feature.  I made a few adjustments on the car before the feature event, including a gear change, but I think I may have hurt the car more than I helped it, as the track actually seemed like it got faster as the night went on.  Despite not having perfect gearing the car still ran pretty good.  I had a very competitive car and at the end of the 30 laps I had moved up a few spots to the 7th position.  While I would have like to have done better, with the current level of competition at Paradise, I was actually relatively pleased to come out of Saturday with a top-10 finish.  All in all I think we all had a nice, relaxing night at Paradise, and I look forward to the chance to do it again at the end of July.

Sunday was back to business as usual with the Modified at Weedsport.  Coming off my big win there last week, I was pumped to go back and make a run at victory #2.  However, it wasn't meant to be, as I ended up in a night long struggle.  In the heat race I made minor contact with another competitor and I was unlucky enough to come away from the incident with both right side tires flat.  I had to pull off with a few laps to go, which relegated me to a 9th place heat finish and a 25th place starting spot in the feature.  Sunday was the warmest day that Weedsport has seen all year, and the track did not respond well to the early start time and the hot sun beating down on the surface.  Come feature time, the track was a complete ice rink and visibility was limited due to the sun and ample amounts of dust.  There weren't many people making any good headway toward the front, and I certainly wasn't one of them stuck in the back with guys running side-by-side in front of me.  As the race went on I felt like I had a much better car than most of the guys in front of me, but just couldn't maneuver my way up through the pack.  In the end, I had to settle for a 19th place finish.  While the finish was a little disappointing, I knew that the car still felt pretty good, and hopefully this coming week I will be able to show it as my handicapping position will be greatly improved by last week's finish. 

This weekend everything is back to normal, and I'll be in the modified at Canandaigua and Weedsport once again.  I have a new shock package lined up for Canandaigua, so hopefully that will put a spark in our program there.  The weather is looking a little scary for the weekend, but hopefully it will work out and we will get in another full weekend of racing.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 6/6-6/7

Hello Everyone!  Well, this is the news release that I've been waiting to write for the past 4 years.  I can now call myself a Big Block Modified Feature Winner!  It was probably the toughest weekend I've had so far while racing Modifieds, but it had a storybook ending on Sunday night when I pulled into victory lane at Weedsport. 

Saturday night at Canandaigua started off pretty good with a solid 3rd place finish in the heat race.  My feature effort was short lived however, as I had a massive driveline failure early in the event.  It appears that a universal broke in the back of the driveshaft, which sent the driveshaft whipping around loose underneath the car.  The rear guard got bent so bad that it still allowed the driveshaft to climb up over the torque arms and take out the battery.  The damage was quite severe and we had a long night ahead of us to get everything fixed up.  The last time this happened to us, it was due to a rearend failure, so when we got home we decided to change both the rearend and the transmission in order to be on the safe side.  However, I do believe that issue was isolated to just the driveshaft universal.  Nonetheless, we didn't get much sleep on Saturday night, as my dad and I finally decided to go to bed around 5am when the sun was coming up.  Within a couple hours we were back up returned to replacing the entire driveline behind the engine.  Luckily, I had all of the spare parts that we needed except for a rear guard, which Jim and Mike Mahaney graciously brought to the track on Sunday night.  Time was tight, but we did get done just in time to leave for Weedsport on Sunday afternoon.

Even once we got to the track on Sunday we still had some work to do to put the rear guard in the car.  Because of this, I had to miss hot laps which made things a little more tense.  Now I had to go right out into a heat race after a major repair.  All we could do is trust our work, and as it turned out everything was fine.  The car was actually really quick in the heat race, as I was able to march up from 5th to 1st and take the win.  With the handicapping procedure, I had to start 9th in the feature.  While this was quite a ways back in the pack, I was pretty confident that I was going to have a pretty fast car.  On lap 2 the entire pack checked up in front of me and I nailed the guy in front of me with the right front wheel.  I could see that it was bent, but surprisingly, the tire didn't go flat.  This was just the first of a few lucky breaks I got, as a few laps later I got forced down into the turn 4 inside wall.  Instead of hitting the wall and bending the front end, the left front tire ramped up the wall and the car did a little wheelie down the frontstretch.  I expected the left front tire to go flat, but again luck was on my side.  Before I knew it, I found myself up into 2nd place, but Steve Paine was over a half a straightaway ahead of me in the lead.  There wasn't much that I was going to be able to do to catch him until 2 quick cautions put a whole new spin on things on lap 24.  On the first restart I was able to say right with Steve Paine, and I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had a chance to overtake him.  On the next restart, I literally had my best lap of the race.  After going side-by-side for over a lap, I was able to take control of the lead on lap 25.  I was actually quite shocked at this point, but I did my best to hit my marks and low and behold I pulled away from the rest of the field for the last 10 laps.  It was a pretty awesome feeling as I took the checkered flag for my first Modified feature win.  The excitement was incredible, but I also felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders as this has been something that I've been working so hard to accomplish for almost 4 years now.  The victory lane celebration is one that I will never forget and nor will I forget how good it felt to have nearly every driver, official, media personnel, along with several of the fans in attendance come over and congratulate me on my accomplishment.  It was rather overwhelming to know that I've become respected enough by my peers where they were all happy for what I had done.  This was a classic case of hard work pays off.  We hardly slept the night before and had to really dig deep to get the car ready for Sunday night.  However, we were paid off handsomly for our efforts.  I couldn't have scripted it any better. 

This coming weekend, the Modifieds are not on the schedule at Canandaigua on Saturday, so I will be heading off to Paradise Speedway with the 600cc micro sprint.  It is always fun to go back to Paradise, and hopefully I will have a good showing.  Then on Sunday it is back to business as usual at Weedsport, where I will be attempting to go for two-in-a row.  Hey, ya never know!  I hope to see everyone out at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/29-5/31

Hello Everyone!  Well, I made it through what on paper was the toughest stretch in my 2009 schedule, where I competed in 6 races in 9 days over the Memorial Day week.  The second weekend in this tough week of racing started off pretty rough, but by Sunday I had things once again back on track. 

Friday night I headed out to Ransomville Speedway for the NYMM race with the 600cc sprint car.  Ransomville is not one of my favorite stops on the sprint car schedule, but I did pretty good there last year so I was pretty excited to go back and try to get my first NYMM series win.  However, my night quickly went bad in the heat race when I was attempting to make a pass for the 3rd position.  I made a move to the outside of a car on the backstretch, and apparently he didn't know I was there because he ended up turning into me as he was setting up his entry into turn 3.  We got locked together and we both slammed into the outside wall.  The impact popped my car up into the air, and when I came to rest the car was upside down on its wing.  I'm still not exactly sure how he didn't know I was beside him, but if you race long enough I guess things like that are going to happen.  It's been several years since I've been on my roof in a racecar, which is pretty impressive for me since there was once a time where it seemed to happen to me several times each year!  Let's hope it is several more years before it happens again.  I actually got pretty lucky and I didn't really have a lot of damage on the car.  A broken radius rod, a bent wheel, and a destroyed top wing were pretty much the extent of it.  With some help of my friends in the pit area, we thrashed and got the car ready for the feature.  Just as we were finishing up, the skies opened up and soaked the area with what seemed like a monsoon.  The racing was done for the evening but we sure did have fun playing in the abundance of mud in the pits before we headed home.  When we go back in September, they are going to run twin features for the sprints, the first of which I will be making a charge from the back of the pack.  It should be an exciting show!

On Saturday night at Canandaigua, I took a little different setup in the car in hopes of gaining some ground on the top running cars.  It worked really good in the heat race, as I was able to drive from my 5th starting spot up into a 3 car battle for the lead.  I made a last ditch effort for the win on the last lap, but it didn't work and cost me a little bit, as I ended up coming home in 3rd.  I was still pretty excited about the feature, but the track ended up getting extremely slick.  I didn't think that it could get any slicker than it did on Memorial Day, but it was, and the new setup that I had in the car did not adapt to it very well.  The car was extremely tight getting into the corners, but I did the best I could with what I had and was able to come home with a solid 9th place finish.  I have yet to finish worse than 9th at Canandaigua this season, and I've been quite pleased with our performance there, especially against the caliber of teams that have been showing up each and every Saturday night.

Sunday was a normal 35 lap event at Weedsport and the car just ran great all night long.  Even in hot laps the car was fast as I was able to post the fastest lap.  Too bad they don't pay a cent for that!  I got bottled up a little bit in my heat race, but the car was still very competitive and I was able to battle my way to a 4th place finish, which easily earned me a spot into the feature handicapping.  I was supposed to start 8th in the feature, but the car in front of me didn't start on the grid, so I was lucky enough to move up a row and start 6th.  This may not have been all that lucky though as the car that started in 4th place nearly spun in the first corner which ended up costing me several positions.  I was able to work my way back up through the pack though, and by the last caution on lap 29 I found myself in 5th.  I wish this caution had not come out though because it ended up hurting me.  I decided to play it safe and stay on the bottom of the track on the restart, while the 2 cars behind me had other ideas and went to the top.  They chose correctly and were able to dash around me in the last 6 laps.  That part was a little disappointing, but overall it was another good run for me at Weedsport and I really feel that we might be in a position to "steal" a feature win there sometime this year. 

This coming weekend will be a bit of a break for myself and the team as we are back to just two nights of racing after two straight, three race weekends.  The Super DIRT Series for the Modifieds have out of town races both Saturday and Sunday evenings which should lead Canandaigua and Weedsport to have slightly shorter fields of cars.  Hopefully we can be one of those teams that rises up to the occasion and contends for a win or two over the weekend.  We are certainly capable and I'm hopeful to what this weekend might bring for our team.  I hope to see you all at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/23-5/25

Hello Everyone!  I certainly had a busy Memorial Day weekend of racing with three Modified races, including one extra distance 50 lapper at Weedsport on Sunday.  The weekend started off as a little bit of a struggle, but by the time Monday rolled around, the team and I had the car back up to the caliber of where I feel like we should be running. 

Saturday night at Canandaigua, that track was surprisingly tacky all night, and it almost felt like the Canandaigua Speedway of 1999 when it was tacky every single weekend.  The car ran good in the heat race, which was a relief since we had been struggling with engine issues all season.  After almost winning Weedsport last Sunday night, we discovered water in the oil, and finally found the crack in the engine block that our engine builder had suspected all along.  So, last week was a little bit of a struggle as we had to find a new engine block and basically rebuild the engine in 4 days.  We got the engine back at 8:30PM on Friday night, so when everything worked out nicely in the heat race, we were all able to breathe a little easier.  I was pretty excited about the feature event, but my hopes were quickly dashed on lap 1.  As I went into turn 3 for the first time, the brake pedal went right to the floor and I realized that I had lost my brakes.  Fortunately, I didn't drive into any of the cars around me as I sailed into the corner way too fast.  I could see some sparks coming from the left front wheel, so I figured that was where the problem was.  I spent the remainder of the race attempting to dial rear brake into the car, but it was still a major issue.  However, I did the best I could with what I was dealt, and I still was able to come home with a solid 9th place finish.  As it turned out, a piece of clay from the track must have broken the pin that holds the brake pads in the left front caliper.  One of the brake pads fell out and the caliper pushed the piston out and proceeded to leak out all of the fluid. 

On Sunday, we fixed up the brakes and headed off to Weedsport for the Hall of Fame 50 lap special event.  I drew a bad number at the gate and right then I knew that it was going to be a tough evening.  I started last in a stacked heat race, and could only manage to pass one car for a 7th place finish.  Due to the heads-up starting procedure for this event, I then had to start 21st in the feature.  For whatever reason, the car wasn't quite as good as it was the week before at Weedsport, but it was still decent.  However, by the end of the 50 laps, I was only able to move up 5 spots to finish in 16th.  While the finish wasn't really what I was looking for, the car ran good and starting 21st at Weedsport makes for a tough night, so I wasn't all that disappointed with the finish. 

So then we got up on Monday morning and turned the car around for a special Memorial Day event at Canandaigua where we were the support show for the World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series.  To my amazement, the track on Monday was completely opposite to the tacky Canandaigua track that we had on Saturday night.  In fact, I think that Monday was the slickest that I've ever seen Canandaigua Speedway.  There was just no grip anywhere, and if you got off the bottom of the track it was treacherous.  In fact, I started on the outside of the front row in the heat race and couldn't even get the car going as the initial green flag flew, and I dropped back to 4th by the time I was able to fall in line and get down to the bottom of the track.  Luckily, I was able to hold on for a 4th place finish, which put me into the feature redraw.  I managed to pull the 4th starting spot for the feature and with the help of some Bicknell representatives in attendance, I made some pretty significant adjustments to the car.  When I went out of the hot lap session before the feature, I knew that we had stumbled onto a decent setup for the conditions.  As the feature got underway, I quickly drove up to 2nd, and started to settle in and made sure to hit my marks every corner.  I lost a position halfway through the event, but in the end, I was able to come home with a 3rd place finish, which ties my best ever finish at Canandaigua to date.  This was a pretty nice ending to my weekend to run and finish strong in front of a packed house at Canandaigua.  Hopefully it got a lot of exposure for myself and my sponsors and I was very pleased with how it turned out. 

This week is actually the busiest week on my 2009 schedule and we are only halfway through a 9 day stint in which I am running 6 races.  This Friday I will be back in the North Eastern Pool and Spa 600cc Micro Sprint for the NYMM event at Ransomville Speedway.  I ran pretty good at Ransomville last season, so I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to contend for my first NYMM series victory.  I've been close a couple times now, so that first win has to be right around the corner.  Then, Saturday and Sunday I will be back in the modified for a standard weekend of Canandaigua and Weedsport.  It's going to be a busy weekend, but I'm definitely sure it will be an exciting one.  I hope to see everyone out at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/16-5/17

Hello Everyone!  Well, I probably had one of the best weekends of racing that I've had in a long time this past weekend.  Ominous skies turned into to heavy showers on Saturday afternoon, which cancelled out Canandaigua.  However, I made the quick decision to load up the 600cc sprint car and head off to the New York Modified Midget race at Genesee Speedway in Batavia.  We got there 15 minutes before the first heat race went on the track, so I missed the pre-race draw.  Due to this, I had to start at the back of the third heat race.  It actually wasn't that bad though because there were only 7 cars per heat, and the rookies start at the back, so I only had to start 6th.  The last time that I was at Genesee, the car that won ran right around the top side of the track, so that was my plan of attack from the drop of the green flag.  I caught a little bit of a break when the inside lane stumbled on the start, and I was able to come out of turn 2 in 4th.  Then, I set my plan in motion and started making my charge to the front.  I got a run off the top and pulled a slide job on the 2nd place car, then tracked down the leader and drove around him on the high side of turns 1 and 2.  I took the lead on lap 7 and led the remaining 3 laps to score the heat race victory.  Ever since I completely stripped the sprint car and put it together with all new bearings and suspension components, the car has just been a rocketship.  I've never been able to mow through a heat race field like that before, and it left me very excited for my chances in the feature event.  The redraw for the feature event didn't quite go to plan, as I drew starting position #8, while some of the heavy hitters in the field drew spots right up front.  However, I was confident that the car was good enough to get to the front, and that is exactly what it did.  When the feature started, I went from 8th to 4th within the first 2 laps, when all of a sudden a strong rainstorm dumped on the track and we entered into a two and a half hour rain delay.  Finally, the race was restarted and I went right back to the top of the track.  I thought the rain would have helped this part of the track, but instead it was all greasy and slick.  So my best laid plans were destroyed and I started working my way to the front using the bottom side of the speedway instead.  I was able to make quick work of the 3rd and 2nd place cars, which put me right behind the leader on lap 7.  I threw everything at I had at him over several restarts, but I just couldn't find a way around eventual winner, Jim Radney.  Jim actually drove over an hour to spend an evening at my shop this past spring helping me get my sprint car engine running when I was having motor issues, so if I had to lose, I'm glad it was to one of my friends and one of the true "good guys" in the NYMM series.  All in all, I had a blast getting to run the sprint car on Saturday night, and I can't wait for our next event in the car at Ransomville on May 29th. 

I was hoping to take some of the momentum that I gained from Saturday night and carry it over to the Modified event at Weedsport on Sunday.  Fortunately, that is exactly what happened.  I started the heat race out from the outside of the front row, and narrowly beat the polesitter back to the finish line to complete the first lap as the caution flag flew.  This allowed me to restart on the bottom of the track which was a huge benefit.  I don't know what it was about Sunday, but Weedsport was as slick as ice, so you definitely wanted to get to the inside of the track in the heat race.  From there I was able to successfully lead the remainder of the 8 lap race and score the victory.  This set me up for a 5th place starting position for the feature event, due to the handicapping procedures.  I made a few changes that I don't normally make to the car for the feature, and a little bit to my surprise they really worked.  Immediately from the drop of the green flag, I was able to rocket forward and I took over 2nd place on lap 5.  A caution on lap 7 allowed me to restart next to the leader, and I took advantage of it to grab the lead.  I led until lap 20 when I got in a side-by-side battle with Rob Bellinger for the next 7 laps.  I would take the lead off of turn 2, but he would get it back in turn 4 and lead the lap.  This continued until lap 27 when he slid up and hit the wall in turn 1.  One lap later I caught lapped traffic, and just as I went to drive around the lapped car, he pushed up and slowed me enough where 3 cars drove underneath me in one corner, dropping me back to 4th.  I thought for sure that with 7 laps to go I was sitting pretty, but it just goes to show you how perfect you have to be to win a Modified race.  I think my side-by-side battle for the lead allowed the rest of the pack to catch up with us, and all it took was one mistake in traffic to hand the race away.  All in all, it was still a great run for myself and the team.  Top-5 finishes at Weedsport are hard to come by and Sunday was by far the best race that I've ever run there.  If we can keep running like that, there is no doubt in my mind that we will get a victory in the near future. 

The unfortunate news from Sunday night is that we had yet another issue with my engine.  We spent all night last night diagnosing the issue, and finally found a crack in the #8 cylinder.  This is why I had to wait until today (Wednesday) to write this, as I spent last night taking the engine back out of the car and we dropped it off at Campbell's Engines.  The current plan is to put a sleeve in that cylinder to seal off the leak, but unfortunately it requires almost a full engine rebuild to do so.  They are going to try their best to get it back together for this weekend, but my modified racing plans may be up in the air for this week.  Let's hope that everything goes well, because it would be devastating to my good start to the season to miss some races.  Right now it is a waiting game, but I do know that it is going to get very hectic once we get the engine back.  Well, I hope to see you all at the track this weekend so we can keep the momentum rolling!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 5/9-5/10

Hello Everyone!  Well there isn't a whole lot to report this week since the rain prevented me from doing any racing this past weekend.  Saturday was looking good for Canandaigua until around the time when were going to leave.  Then the skies opened up and washed out the night's events.  Paradise also cancelled on Saturday night so we couldn't even go there with the 600 sprints.  Then, with Mother's Day on Sunday, we had the day off from Weedsport as well.  Overall, it was a pretty relaxing weekend off.  Although, I would much rather have been at the track since the Modified has been running well lately.  I did head out to Utica Rome on Sunday to watch the Victoria 200 and it was a pretty good race.  There were a lot of great cars in attendance and I thought the racing was superb for as slick as the racetrack got.  It's too bad they run American Racer tires, instead of the Hoosiers that I have, or I might have taken the car and given that race a shot, as it pays quite a bit just to start. 

The Modified is ready to go for this coming weekend, so we are taking the opportunity this week to put together our slingshots that we run on occasion at Paradise Speedway.  They are almost done and we will be taking them to practice night on Wednesday to shake them down.  Due to the fact that there are no Modifieds at Canandaigua on May 23rd, we will be taking our cars to Paradise that evening, so this will be a good chance to get everything in order a week before we are scheduled to race them.  If it had to rain, this was the perfect week to do so in order to give us time to get all of our Paradise stuff ready to go for next week.  This weekend I'm back at Canandaigua, and Weedsport returns after 2 weeks off.  I will also be involved in the autograph session from 5pm-6pm at Canandaigua on Saturday so make sure to come out early and say hello.  It should be an exciting weekend of racing, and I can't wait to get back to the track.  I hope to see everyone there! 

Take care fore now!

Weekend Update 5/2-5/3

Hello Everyone!  Yet another week of racing in the books.  It sure seems like the first 3 weeks have flown by in an instant.  Thankfully, I had another solid weekend and our third straight stong run at Canandaigua.  However, it wasn't without some drama with our engine that made for some very stressful times. 

I went back to Canandaigua on Saturday with pretty much the same setup that had worked so well the week before.  The car was extremely fast again in hot laps. I feel that I've really got a tacky setup down with the new car.  It is too bad that hot laps are the only time when I get to see a tacky track.  Of course, I'm sure that there are a lot of competitors out there that would make the same statement.  However, I've logged the setup and you can be sure that I will be bringing it out for the time trial sessions when the Super DIRT Series comes to town.  I drew a pretty difficult heat race, and it I knew that it could go either way with regards to making the top 5 to qualify for the feature handicapping.  However, I caught a lucky break and was able to make a move from 5th to 2nd on lap 2 which solidly put me in a qualifying position.  By the end of the heat race, I did slip back a couple of positions as the car started to get pretty loose.  This happened because I was experimenting with running quite a bit more stagger than I normally do.  It worked well for a couple laps, but after that the car started getting looser and looser.  However, I was still able to hold on to 4th and move on to the feature event.  The handicapping system put me in 9th for the start of the main event and I made a quick move up to around 6th in the first few laps of the race.  I was committed to running the bottom of the track and I ran up behind the 5th place car who was also on the bottom.  As I pulled out to pass, I quickly found out that my car did not like the outside of the speedway, and I slipped back several positions as the heavy hitters were making there way to the front.  I got back to the bottom as quickly as I could, and I knew that I was stuck running there for the rest of the event.  I actually made some pretty good forward progress from this point on, until the caution flag flew on lap 28.  While checking my gauges under this caution period, I noticed the water temperature guage climbing at a quick rate as we drove around slow.  I decided to finish the race, as there were only 7 laps left, and when I took the checkered flag I was in the 8th position.  The temperature had gone down after running laps at high speed, but as soon as I let off the throttle the gauge started climbing again.  We cooled the engine down as best as we could in the pits, but it was quite troublesome since we've never had an overheating problem.  Come to find out, we had a water pump belt go bad, which was no longer allowing the water pump to turn and circulate the fresh water through the system.  Thankfully, the race wasn't any longer than it was, and I think that we narrowly escaped major problems.  I was pretty happy with the 8th place finish as there were a few invaders at Canandaigua on Saturday and the cars that beat us were all top notch touring teams.  The car has been running good and I'm pleased that I've been able to finish in the top 10 for the first 3 weeks of the season, especially with the caliber of cars that are now running weekly at Canandaigua.  I still have a little bit of work to do however, as the car didn't work well if I went to the top of the speedway.  That will definitely be a focal point in the shop this week, as the cars that win are capable of going wherever they need to go, either high or low.

We fixed the water pump belt and headed off to Rolling Wheels for the DIRT Challenge Cup on Sunday.  Although this race wasn't billed as a Super DIRT Series race, it might as well have been one because all of the major players were in attendance.  So began the struggle of qualifying for the feature event.  Then things became even tougher when we found out that they were only going to start 26 cars instead of the usual 30.  While I had my work cut out for me, the car was as good as I have ever had at Rolling Wheels in hot laps, so I was optimistic about my chances.  I started 4th in the heat race and quickly dropped to 5th as Brett Hearn went flying by.  I settled in and started working on the two guys battling in front of me.  With 3 laps to go I took over 4th, and made my move for 3rd on the last lap.  Unfortunately, I came up about 2 feet short of snagging the 3rd position, but a 4th place finish was more than good enough to get myself into the feature event through the heat race.  It was such a relief to get qualified through the heat race and it is a testament to how good the new car is running as of late.  So, I had to start the feature from the 14th position due to the heads-up qualifying format of the event.  When they dropped the green flag, it was a typical Rolling Wheels race and we all stormed off into a huge dust cloud.  It is really nerve racking to have to race into a huge cloud of dirt and not being able to see the cars in front of you.  However, it wasn't nearly as bad as the "Dust Storm" race of 2006 and nobody got crashed this time which was nice.  The 50 lap feature actually went pretty smoothly for me.  By no means did I have the best car, but I had a good competitive car.  I was able to stay out of trouble for the entire event, but the car did start to fade after the halfway point.  I decided to run a soft compound left rear tire, and after analyzing the tires following the race, it was evident that this was the wrong choice.  The left rear tire was completely worn out and I think this heavily contributed to the loss of handling as the laps built up.  At the checkered flag, I was in the 16th position, which is still a pretty good effort for our team considering the level of competition that was in attendance.  The main thing was that I was able to get more seat time in the new car and I definitely came out of Rolling Wheels with a better idea of which things worked and which didn't.

Overall, it was another good weekend for myself and the team.  The car ran good both days and we have been seeing some promising results, especially at Canandaigua.  I will only be running one race this weekend at Canandaigua, as Weedsport is off due to Mother's Day.  However, I am planning on being in attendance at Utica Rome on Sunday to watch their version of the Victoria 200.  The weather has been great for the first three weeks, and hopefully that won't change this weekend either.  I hope to see everyone out at the track!  Take care for now!


Weekend Update 4/25-4/26

Hello Everyone!  Well the second week of racing ended up being a much better week for myself and the team.  In fact it was one of, if not the best weekend of racing that I've had since I started racing Modifieds.  I had solid runs both nights and there was a point on Sunday where I thought we might be able to steal a win.  While that did not come to fruition, I did get my best ever finish at Weedsport, and I feel like we made some major gains on dialing in the new Modified at both Canandaigua and Weedsport. 
I took a vastly different setup to Canandaigua on Saturday night, and I actually liked it.  Normally when I do something different like that, it doesn't work very well, but this time I thought it did.  The car seemed a lot more "stable" to drive and it had good side bite and decent forward drive up off the corners.  While the car felt good, I drew a pretty stacked heat race and struggled to make any headway toward the front.  I finished 7th in the heat race, but I was lucky enough that they were qualifying eight into the feature handicapping, so I was safe.  After making a few small adjustments, I headed off to start 10th in the feature event.  The car was decent early on in the race, but it really came to life around lap 10 when the tires started to get heated up.  I spent the remainder of the feature tracking down cars and working my way to the front.  On the last lap, I got side-by-side with the 5th place car, only to catch up to a lapped car running in my lane in turn 3.  Unfortunately, I had to lift off the gas and deal with the lapped car, which blew all hopes of grabbing the 5th position.  I followed right behind in 6th, which was still a very good effort for our team.  I didn't have the best results at Canandaigua last year, so I'm pretty happy to start off the new season there with 2 top 10 finishes.  Hopefully I can keep up the consistency throughout the entire season.
I took the momentum from Saturday night's good finish into Weedsport on Sunday.  I also took a very similar setup to the one that I had run the night before.  Of course I still made the necessary shock and spring changes to handle the intricacies of Weedsport, but the general idea of the "new" setup was still there.  To my surprise, the car worked even better at Weedsport than it did at Canandaigua!  For the first time ever in a Modified, I set the fastest time in hot laps, which was kinda cool.  Ultimately it doesn't mean anything, but hey, it's always good to be the fastest car whenever you hit the track.  I started 4th in the heat race and quickly started making my charge to the front at the drop of the green flag.  On lap 4 I took the lead and never looked back.  It was a pretty satisfying heat race win, as it is pretty difficult to pass cars early on in the day at Weedsport.  At this point I was really looking forward to seeing what I could do in the feature event.  Based on the handicapping, I took the green flag of the feature from the 8th starting position.  Just like in the heat race, I started making a quick move toward the front of the field.  When I got to 4th, the traffic ahead got very tight and I made a minor mistake in which I ended up bouncing the car off the inside wall in turn 1.  I lost two spots while I gathered the car up, but it definitely messed up the front end a little bit.  However, I was still able to gather everything back up and regain the charge toward the front.  I was able to get up to 3rd, but by then the two cars ahead of me had stretched out enough of a lead where there was no catching them.  I didn't get the help of a caution, so when the checkers flew, I finished in the 3rd position.  I was quite pleased with my finish, although I was a little frustrated with myself for hitting the inside wall early on in the race.  I would like to have seen how things might have played out had I not made that mistake.  This was the best finish that I've ever had a Weedsport, so overall I thought it was a really good effort. 
As a whole, I was quite pleased with the weekend's events.  I felt like the car ran a lot better than the first weekend and I'm confident that we're making gains on getting the new Modified figured out.  My Canandaigua finish matched my best effort there for all of last season and as I mentioned earlier, it was my best career finish at Weedsport on Sunday.  These results coming in only the second week of the season leads me to believe that we might be making some good progress and I definitely think that the new Bicknell car is making a difference.  This weekend is a normal race at Canandaigua, but then on Sunday we are headed to Rolling Wheels Raceway for the DIRT Challenge Cup.  I always enjoy racing at Rolling Wheels, and I've had good success there over the years.  So, I can't wait to get the weekend started and see if we can't build on our successes from last weekend.  I hope to see everyone out at the track!

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 4/18-4/19

Hello Everyone!  Well, opening weekend 2009 is in the books and it sure was a busy one for myself and the team.  I got the big block engine in the car on Wednesday and took it to the Paradise Speedway open practice to get some easy laps on the motor.  There we found out we had some pretty major starter and flywheel issues which forced us to take the engine back out of the racecar on Thursday.  We received the replacement parts on Friday and had the engine back in the car and running Friday night.  It certainly made for a busy few days. 

Saturday's opener at Canandaigua Speedway saw a ton of cars in the pit area.  In fact it was probably the most cars that I've seen for a regular show at Canandaigua in a long time.  33 modifieds were in the pits, and making the feature field of 24 was not going to be an easy task.  I was lucky enough to draw the pole for the fourth heat and was able to hold on for a 3rd place finish.  I really missed the setup, and the car was really loose, but my starting position helped me and I was able to solidly qualify for the feature.  I was still pretty loose in the feature, but I was able to hold my own and run right around the top ten all race long.  With the help of a last lap caution that took about a couple lead cars, I was able to finish in 9th, even after losing a position during the one lap dash to the finish.  All in all, it was a pretty good start for me at Canandaigua.  With all of the heavy hitters that were in attendance, it was a pretty good effort for our team to come out of there with a top ten finish.

The Weedsport opener on Sunday ended up being quite a bit of a struggle.  I just wasn't really happy with the handling of the car all night long, and the fact that I drew a heat race with several of the top drivers in it made things very difficult.  I started 6th in the heat race, but couldn't quite hold on to a qualifying spot.  I ended up finishing 8th and I was headed to the consi for the first time in two years for a regular show at Weedsport.  I made some pretty major adjustments to the car and it got quite a bit better for the consi.  With only 6 cars slotted to make the feature, I knew that I was going to have to make a charge to the front from my 6th starting position.  I figured that everyone was going to drive around the bottom and try to protect their position, so I decided to go for it and run the top of the speedway.  I was able to make good ground up on the top and I was able to pick off the competitors one by one to earn the victory in the consi.  It was a big relief to get the car a little bit better and solidly put myself in the feature event.  It is always a little nerve racking knowing that if something goes wrong, you could be loading up on the trailer and watching the feature from the stands.  The feature event went green the whole way, which is quite unusual for Weedsport.  However, the track was really slick by this time, and I again didn't quite have the setup I needed to make any kind of real progress to the front of the field.  When the dust settled after 35 laps, I had only moved up 2 positions to 17th place.  So, that was a little bit of a disappointing start of the season for me at Weedsport.  I really expected to run better there, especially after our decent performance at Canandaigua the night before.  The good news is that it was only the first race and we have a lot of time to work on things to get better. 

Overall, everything went pretty smoothly over the weekend races.  I was fortunate enough to not get involved in any incidents and the only damage I received was to a wheel cover, which is about as minor as it gets.  I wasn't really able to get the car dialed in to my liking on either Saturday or Sunday but I will keep working at it and I'm sure that I'll get it figured out.  The weather forecast is looking really good for this coming weekend, and I'll be back at Canandaigua and Weedsport to give it another try!  I hope to see everyone out at the track! 

Take care for now!

Weekend Update 4/4-4/5

Hello Everyone!  This past weekend was supposed to be the start of my 2009 racing season, but it just wasn't meant to be.  Due to the weather conditions that we received on Friday and Saturday, both Paul and I decided to leave our 600cc sprint cars at home when they finally did run the race at Black Rock on Sunday.  We thought that the track conditions would not be favorable and we did not want to waste all of our effort over the winter months on a track that was not ready for racing.  As much as it pained me to leave my car at home, I stand by our decision after seeing the events at Black Rock as a spectator on Sunday.  I was actually surprised as to how dry the facilities were at Black Rock, but the track conditions left a good deal to be desired.  I've been to many races over the last twenty years and I can't say that I've ever seen a dirt track in such bad condtion.  After watching eight hours of racing, I don't think I have ever seen so much carnage, and I felt sorry for the guys that ended up destroying their new equipment.  So, the good news is that my 600cc sprint car is race ready and is still in prime condition for the next event.  As much as I would have liked to race on Sunday, I truly believe that the track wasn't ready and we made the correct choice to leave our cars home. 

The next micro sprint race isn't for almost another month, so now my focus switches to the start of the Modified season.  We are still waiting for our engine to be finished, and it looks like we won't be ready for the practice session this Saturday at Canandaigua.  However, the weather doesn't look good for the weekend, so it is quite possible that nobody will be practicing.  As of right now, there should be no problems being ready for the openers at Canandaigua and Weedsport on the 18th and 19th.  I'm really looking forward to getting back to the track and getting back to business as usual for the summer months.  I'll keep everyone posted as to our progress over the next week.  Take care for now!


Micro Sprint Update

After many hours and the help of Jim Radney and Tom Keyes, my 600 motor is running again. It turns out the computer was shot so once that was replaced and we changed a few connections around, the motor quickly fired and is running great. It was a beautiful sound in the shop at 10:00pm when it finally started up!

Unfortunately the weather forecast for this weekend has taken a turn for the worse. Friday night's practice has already been cancelled and Saturday's 30% chance of rain has now jumped to 70%. However the team and I are still planning on doing the final preperations on the car tonight just in case we catch a break and the weather clears up for Saturday.

Take care for now!

2009 Season

Hello Everyone!  I hope you all had a great winter!  The racing season is upon us again in New York, and myself and the team are excited about our chances in 2009.  For those of you who have kept up with the site over the winter months, you know that I purchased a new 2009 Bicknell chassis.  I'm very excited about the prospects of the new Bicknell car, as it has already produced several wins in the early season races in the southern states.  This is the first time that I've had a brand new Modified, and I can't wait to see how well it drives.  I'm really hoping to come out of the box strong this season, so hopefully everything will go to the plan and we can get the strong finishes that I think we are capable of.  As of right now I'm planning on running the full schedules at Canandaigua, Weedsport, and Rolling Wheels.  We are still waiting to receive our Big Block engine for the Modified, but I'm still planning on being at the Canandaigua Speedway practice on April 11th.  I'm really hoping to get some practice in before having to start the season since I'm going to have to get used to the new Modified.

I've posted my tentative schedule on my schedule page, on which you will also see that I'm again going to be running several 600cc Sprint Car races for Paul Habeck and the North Eastern Pool and Spa Racing Team.  I was supposed to make my season debut in that car this Saturday at Black Rock Speedway, but we've had some electrical issues with that motor that may need to be looked at by a motorcycle engine specialist.  Wiring and electrical problems on the 600cc engines can be a nightmare, one of which we are experiencing right now.  So, I may have to miss this weekend's race while we sort out the electrical bugs.  However, I will be at Black Rock crewing for Paul Habeck should the inclement weather that is forcasted hold off.

I'll keep everyone posted on our progress of the next couple weeks, and I will also post pictures of the new cars as they become available.  I've been making good progess on the new website and I'm also hoping to have that up for the start of the new season.  There is a lot of new and exciting stuff on the horizon for myself and the team, and I can hardly wait to get back to the track!  It is shaping up to be a great 2009 racing season! 

Take care for now!

Archive News
News Updates from 2010
News Updates from 2008
News Updates from 2007
News Updates from 2006
News Updates from 2005
old news -->