RACE REPORT 5/4/13

Photo Credit Evergreen Speedway

What’s up everyone?  I hope you are enjoying your week.  I am bringing the race report from last weekend.  Been a busy couple days at the shop getting the race car prepared for this weekend at Evergreen Speedway.  The new car is spectacular.  It is also a bugger to clean!  However, my team from FINNISH AUTO SERVICES, LLC was on it first thing Monday.  We then had the team wiping down every nook and cranny of that beautiful white chassis.  Thank you to Andy and team from Superior Powder Coating for such great work (Yes, I had to put that in there this week for sure).

Listen, no jokes aside I’d like to start the report by confessing something, I cussed on the radio.  Here’s the backstory.  I had bet on Andy getting an earful from his spotter, and I drove into turn 3 way too hot.  I was hoping to get a “lookin,” and at least a half of groove.  Andy had been pushing up, so I thought I could pull it off.  HOWEVER, that’s not what happened at all; instead, I wrecked my friend.  Andy was clear and I wasn’t there at all.  He came down, as he should have. I got into him, and turned him.  Then I hit him again.  His night ended, my night continued, but I was bummed under caution, and told the team, “Sorry guys, I tried too hard….”  I ended with a profanity sigh.  It is now the running joke at the shop of my “sh..” word that came out.  I may be a pastor, but I am human, and that’s how I felt.  I was bummed to wreck someone who’s helped me so much this year already.  Sorry Andy.

Ok, enough of the stuff that caused me to swear, there was way more stuff that caused me to CHEER!  First off, an exceptional group of men and women came out to help me this year.  I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.  Secondly, I’ve got, in my opinion, the best setup man in the business helping me make the #70 fast.  Thank You John for your unending passion to not only build a beautiful racecar, but to see to it that it’s fast.  Finally, I couldn’t have done it this weekend without all my sponsors.  You know who you are:  National Guard, Sound Realty, Genesis Auto, SIR Construction, Bethneibert.com, Potentialcoach.info, Finnish Auto, Deyoung INC, JZ Motorsports, Monroe Autowerks.  It’s silly how much fun I get to have and how much support I’ve got to do it.  Super grateful for a great year lined up.

Super highlights:

Soldiers:  Taking photos with the soldiers present at Military Appreciation Night.  That was the most honoring thing I’ve ever done with a racing suit on.  Winning is good, honoring soldiers is better.

Photos:  I am building a new website for Knightrous Racing, LLC. It will feature really cool stuff.  My designer Michelle was at the races, and she took photos for the site.  Very Awesome.

Knightrous Apparel:  No kidding, in the first weekend I nearly sold out.  Ordered some more this week, should be here later in May.  Get some, because it’s cool.  And I am a tither, so your money goes to helping great causes!

Lead some laps:  Got to lead in the first race, and that’s always cool.  Had the weirdest thing happen.  My car shut off on the backstretch early in the race.  We think it was because of the switch extension, that was my diagnosis anyway.  I pulled it off and threw it out the window, then no problems the rest of the night.

Charged:  After getting the front end of a north bound…, aka. Lacrash, I started well back.  The race car was really charging.  I struggled a bit with the big motor cars and had some apologizing to do after the race, but for the most part the race car is really good in traffic and alone.  Can’t wait to get it dialed in even more.

THE WEEKS FAVORITE MOMENT:

Actually it was the Friday before.  I can’t describe to you all how cool it was to drive my race car.  The White Knightrous was not, “Jeff’s previously own by (Fred, Roger, or John).”  Nope, this car was built for Jeff.  It was just a great feeling knowing that a handful of men and ladies sacrificed so much time and energy to build something like this.  I am utterly convinced that if racing was easier we’d not have room enough in the pits for everybody that would do it.  Frankly, it’s probably the toughest “hobby/sport” you could ever set out to do because it’s impossible to do alone, and it’s impossible to do without the help and giving of a bunch of people.  So to all of you who neglected other things to give me that feeling, I am indebted to you.  You are incredible human beings, and I only hope to repay you in some small way, if by saying something of value to you in the future.  Thank YOU!

Finally,

We finished 5th.  Now I know for the most competitive out there that might not seem like a very good result.  However, if you look at my last two years racing, 5th is like winning!  The last two years I’ve been all but eliminated from the Championship on opening night, due to engine failures DNS, and crashing hard.  I’m not saying I wasn’t without incident last weekend, because there’s a lot of improving I need to do.  We’ve got work to do on the setup for the car.  We’ve also gotta tune the nut behind the wheel, but since my achilles heel is often opening night I was pretty tickled to be out of there with a 5th.  Now we can put our head down and get after the rest of the season.  Beginning this weekend with 75 laps on the 3/8′s.  Hope to see you all there.
Jeff Knight

The Final Race of 2012

Photo By Kyle Davis

This picture says it all!  The pinnacle of racing:  WINNING!  Winning is what it’s all about peeps.  We field race cars to win races, we field race cars to win souls.  It was great to do both last Saturday night.  My season ended with a dominate race car.  All in all it was an event filled night at Evergreen Speedway and we took home the prize.

However, the prize wasn’t what one may think.  The prize we took home this race, the final of our 2012 season, was character.  Here’s what I mean, for 2012 I had high expectations for racing.  I started the year excited about the prospective car counts being up, in fact, we averaged 19 per week for the season at Evergreen Speedway (kudos, to the High Road Promotions group).  I also had high expectations for my team.  With a whole new set of crew members, new setups for the race car and the same determination; I expected a lot!

There’s a scripture found in Proverbs, “A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.”  I planned on a lot of success.  If it were golf I would have expected a -3 under par after 18 holes.  What I ended up with was bogey, doubles and triples, and a birdie on 18!  We had ups and downs in 2012.  I made mistakes behind the wheel, I had crashes and it seemed that if there was something going down on the track I was involved.  From officiating, to black flags, to lappers it seldom went my way.  That’s what made last Saturday so satisfying.

We led 41 of 50 laps in the first race. After a few cars had a bad crash involving fire the low groove of the track was not race ready, it was wet and not even close.  I debated to go outside on the restart, but took my chances with the water on the track.  When I hit the water the amazing car I had got loose, the driver behind got up into me, and finished me off.  He didn’t have to do that, could have let me save it.  I finished 12th.  The car was phenomenal though, best we’d had this year!  We started the second race, and got the lead on lap 2.  We gave it up later in the race, but on lap 48 the leader was involved in a big crash.  We inherited the lead, and went on to win the race.  Pretty awesome night for us, after many challenging nights.

As I drove the final lap, I pressed the mic and told my guys, “This season has had high and lows.”  I told them, “Thank you for sticking it out with me, You deserve this win.”  I then said something I hadn’t planned on saying, “This season, with all it’s adversity, has made me a better man.”  And with that I crossed the finish line first, my 6th career win, and did my best smokey to date (see the black on the track in the pic, yep that’s it).  JZ, the smokey jedi master, has taught me well!

I so appreciate the people in racing.  It’s hard to put on paper my true emotions.  The people who got me started, those who’ve helped me over the years and moved on, those currently on my team, every sponsor who’s put their reputation in my hands on the track, and all the fans who love the sport:  I thank you!  I thank you for believing in me.  I thank you for encouraging me.  I thank you for giving me the time, the extra energy, and that morsel of faith.  I say thank you. And I want to repay you!

I want to repay you by offering you the only gift worthy of what you’ve encouraged me with over the years, 2012 included.  I want to offer you the gift of knowing the one for whom I race.  I want you to know the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I want to help you find him.  I want to lead you to that relationship.  I need you to know myself and The Rock Church where I pastor can help you get there.  Don’t turn me off yet, you stuck with me this year on the track, hang through this blog post.  Most people think of Church and they somehow believe, “They’re all the same.”  At our Church we don’t believe they are all the same.  We don’t do boring, we don’t do judgement, we don’t do legalism, we don’t do the things that turn most people off about Jesus.  I want you to meet God, find your destiny, celebrate your wins, and do life with you.  That’s the best, and only worthy way of repaying you for all the cheers, hours, dollars, claps, high fives, motivational speeches, parts, tires and everything you’ve given me.  I’d love to see you at a service this fall.

This hangs in our halls, we live by it.  2012 has been a great year.  On and off the track, highs and lows, ups and downs I want you to know your best days are ahead!

This LAST WEEKEND WAS JACKED!

Let’s talk Memorial Day Weekend; Church and Racing!

First off, as a son and grandson of veteran’s, like you, I take the time every Memorial Day to pause, reflect and thank my Father in Heaven that he chose the United States of America for me to live.  Unbelievable privilege we are given, earned by the sacrifice of sons and guaranteed by the Daniel Chapter 4 sovereignty of God.  ”God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men, and He gives them to whomever He pleases.”  Thank you soldiers.

JACK Night at the Races.

Thank you to my whole Jack team: Malinda, Dave, JZ, Chris, Jeremy, Jeff, Bob!  You guys put on one heck of a tailgate party!  The infield of the Sprint Cup aint got nothing on the Jack Night at the races.  And for the 300+ who showed up for the fun, THANK YOU!!!  Thank you for coming out and seeing what our TRC Racing Reach Team is all about!!!  Many of you put a few of us drivers under in the dunk tank, raising dollars to feed hungry people in Snohomish County. THANK YOU!  The catered food, warm company and exciting action on the track made for a great night.  So glad to be apart of this Church!  To make it even better I heard of two conversations between TRCers and people in the grandstand who were not only asking about The Rock Church, but about a relationship with Jesus Christ!!!  That’s what it’s about people!

Sunday Church.

Honestly, I thought it’d be a ghost town on Memorial Day Weekend.  The nice weather and big event on Saturday made a joker out of me.  CHURCH WAS PACKED!  It was packed so much we posted positive growth numbers for Sunday attendance again!!!  It’s a sign of HEALTH!  Healthy churches grow, and this spring TRC has been growing.  I am so unbelievably grateful to see the energy, passion, prayer and focus!  It is incredible, and I’m grateful to have had the Lord change me in so many ways to experience this new day in my favorite city of Monroe!

Don’t miss this weekend for Round Three of Supernatural Battlegrounds.  We are talking about the enemy; his plan and purpose for your life.  You’ll want to hear it straight from scripture!

Let’s talk Racing.

Yes, that’s gold flake vinyl on the front of the #70!  Last week JZ was inspired by a 1970′s Kenworth Semi truck, and the design scheme emerged.  Considering the fact that only one panel remained on the car from week 1, we did the whole thing up!  I like it, and think it’s the best scheme we’ve ever had.

Race 1.  We missed qualifying.  There was simply just too much work to do on the car.  At 2:00PM I made the decision to skip qualifying and make the car perfect, so that when we unloaded from the trailer we would be blistering fast.  Straight out of the JACK dunk tank I suited up, took 5 quick laps for safety, and buckled in for Main #1.  I started 19th out of 19.  The race developed really nicely.  My car wasn’t spectacular, but neither were my rivals.  Seems like everyone but the 1st and 2nd place car were ill handling.  I ended up 5th by driving a smart race.  Believe me, smart is success for me lately!!!

Race 2.  John watched the car during race 1 and saw some must needed changes.  #1. we needed to get the car into the track more.  #2. he made some shock changes.  Funny thing, I was walking by the pit cart when I saw him and Geoff playing rock-paper-scissors.  Seems they needed to make a decision that could go either way; meaning make me fast…or slow!  They made the call after the best two out of three!  Usually we’d test these changes in practice, but we didn’t have time for that, so a quick game decided our path.

The car was fast!  On old tires it was awesome into the corner.  Moving forward through the field I could run it in on guys getting into the turn.  Really deep into the turn.  Unfortunately, too deep!  The 5 car and I got tangled early in the race.  It was weird because it was like we got hooked together.  I went around, and had to start at the back of the field.  Coming back on through the field I gained on the 10 car.  Honestly, it looked like he let up midway down the backstretch and rolled out to the high side for me to go by in three, we call this rolling over.  I drove it in incredibly deep because I was trying to get back to the front.  At the last second he came down.  I tried to keep my car off him, but to no avail, around I went again.  There weren’t too many laps left.  I started last and came back through the field.  A couple green-white-checker restarts later and some three wide, I made it back to 6th for race 2.  All in all I had a great time driving the race car!

Finally.

This time of year, every year, I am reminded of how many people we can reach if we will just try.  When Jesus departed earth He met with His team and said, “Be a witness.”  When I think of those words I get motivated.  He could have said, “pray more, read more, give more, study more or teach more doctrine.”  But he didn’t.  He gave us a clear command to use all those things–prayer, our bible, study, and doctrine–to increase our witness.  That’s the main thing.

Go out this week and think about your witness in every situation.  There is a life inside of you screaming to be lived!  Go LIVE IT LOUD!!!

 

Pounded the WALL in Turn #1

Saturday night was my hardest hit in a race car in 4 years of driving.  I love racing.  I love the speed of the 5/8′s mile race track.  However, with that speed comes consequences.  Maybe I dodged the bullet for all these years, but Saturday I hit the wall like a freight train, destroying my race car.

It was after the half-way break in the Galloway Memorial 125.  We had a restart, where I started 4th after leading a bit in the 1st half.  It was a real cat and mouse 1st half because we were all riding trying to save our stuff for a late race duel with the #00.  The cat and mouse would stop as soon as the end of the first half drew near.  Naima moved to the front, I was second until the guys battling to stay on the lead lap started wrecking, I had to check.  I’d end up 3rd at the break with Lewis in 2nd.

On the restart my car was pretty terrible.  The handle was real strange, and Moore got around me.  I fell behind for a few laps while the top 3 moved out. After just 3 laps my car got some heat back in the tires and the handle came back.  I was able to close the gap back to third and with Lewis and Lang swapping positions we had a 5 car battle going, that was anyones race at that point.  The caution came out.

I restarted outside row 2.  Dan Moore inside.  Dan was strong, but so were we.  I was just not quite as good in the upper groove as I like.  I held Dan thru the center of three and got an awesome drive off of turn four.  Out of nowhere the turn 4 wall smacked me.  I hit the right front pretty good and thought I most likely knocked the toe out of the car, but left the throttle matted.  Somewhere between the exit of turn 4 and the start/finish line I realized I had a cut right front tire.  I checked up and started braking.

It wouldn’t stop.  It wouldn’t turn.  It barely slowed down.  In one display of sparks and awe I pounded the wall in turn one.  Hardest hit I’ve ever taken. Crazy part was I never closed my eyes.  I never looked away, so I can play it over and over in my head.

While sliding along the wall the noises are strange.  For a second I thought the throttle was stuck, so I shut the car off.  When the noise didn’t stop I reached up and shut the master switch off cutting power to the whole car.  Then I realized the noise was the wall and race track grinding on the race car.  It came to a stop.  It was eerily quiet.  The guys on the radio said, “Are you ok?”  I was, I replied, “I’m good.”  Truth is, I didn’t get hurt at all.  Some people think I’m bluffing because it is true that my whole life I’ve done dangerous things, and to mask the danger I sometimes would stuff the pain of injury in front of mom, dad and Melinda.  But this time for real, I’m NOT at all hurt.  Except my feelings for my car.

If this car hits the track again it will be affectionately named “Lazarus.”  It will be coming back from the dead.

I don’t know what the rest of the season looks like.  I have sponsorship lined up for the Fall Classic in October, so I want to race again, but not certain if I can pull off the repair of Lazarus or the acquisition of another decent chassis.  The funds are a little tight at the end of the season, and if I can race again in 2011 it will be because of the amazing people around me.  Many people came up and gave to me Sunday at church, which is amazing.  I love it that people want to be a part, and these kind people are my motivation right now.

Huge thank you to my sponsors:  Sound Advice, Snohomish Pie Company, Domino’s Pizza of Monroe, J’s Interiors on Main Street, JZ Motorsports, Streamline Automotive and Deyounginc.

Huge thank you to everyone who makes the #70 go fast!  I really can’t race and represent Jesus the way I want to without your support!