Race #2 of the 2008 season was my best finish yet! I had a great car. As things played out in the main I had the chance to have a bunch of “first time” racing experiences.
TOP 10 Firsts of APRIL 26
1. It was the first time I’ve ever had what drivers call “feel” in the car. During the heat race I was able to stay with some really fast guys, but not drive the car to the edge. That was amazing and I was hollering on the radio all the way around the track, THIS THING HAS FEEL! It’s a big deal in racing lingo.
2. It was the first time I’ve ever bumped wheels with another car at full acceleration. I started 2nd row outside with the 12 car in front of me. Going into the first turn he got loose or I helped him get loose, I’m still not quite sure. As he slid up the track I went low to go around him, but he recovered quickly and we came off corner 2 side by side. Well, the 31 car, who was fast time, ducked underneath me. WE WERE THREE WIDE ON THE FIRST LAP, AND I WAS IN THE MIDDLE! It’s never good to be the meat in the sandwich, and before I could check up enough to let the 31 clear we hit wheels, his right rear to my left front. It resulted in his car turning right (not good on an oval). He went across my nose and tagged the 12 car who was on the outside of me. Surprisingly my car was undamaged. Although I didn’t do anything wrong I learned a lot in the situation. It’s one thing to watch it through the in-car camera on tv; quite another to smell the tire smoke and see the action in front of your bumper at speed.
3. It was the first time I’ve ever done a double file restart after a caution. The first one was after the caution between the 31 and 12. I was 2nd row inside and moved to second by the end of the first turn. the next one I started 1st row outside and got a good jump on the restart, but couldn’t make the pass, I learned a bunch though…
4. It was the first time I ever passed the leader to take the lead on the outside of the 3/8′s! On the next restart I got a great jump and went into turn one with the advantage. The car stuck on the outside and coming off of 2 I was almost clear. Through 3 and 4 I gained a little more and then cleared the 11 going into turn 1. It was super exciting!
5. It was the first time I ever lead on the 3/8′s! I stayed in the lead for quite a while. I ran my fastest lap of the race the second lap I was in 1st.
6. It was the first time I got to race the fast guys and be competitive through the checkered flag. Kelly Mann eventually passed me and put me to 2nd. I held my own, but the double file restart would bite me on the final restart. I missed a shift coming off of turn four and the 11 got by.
7. It was the first time I finished on the podium! I was 3rd!
8. It was the first time I was ever accused of causing a wreck after the race. The 31 team was pretty mad at me for their wreck on lap 1. That wasn’t too fun, but we wear helmets for a reason. The only thing I did was try and get out of a bad situation by checking up, if I hadn’t I think I would have been the wrecked one, three wide doesn’t work for long on the 3/8′s. It did damper my night a bit. I talked with Jason (31-driver) today; as he said, it was just one of those “racing things.” Nevertheless, I hate it when others get tore up real bad as I know the time it takes to get the car back to fast.
9. It was the first time people asked me how I did and when I said, “I got 3rd” their response was like, “Wow, that’s good!”
10. It was the first time I’ve ever been asked to pray over the pit meeting with drivers and crew. That was the highlight of my day, but I have to admit passing Mike Holden on the outside to take the lead was almost as good! LOL!
Next week we are at it again. I am really excited about Saturday. The car is good, and my setup guy is going to be a the track with me. We should make it just a tick better and who knows maybe it will be the night!
Big thanks to Short Track Enterprises, Ellensburg, WA; MTS Construction; Rock of Ages Plumbing; Taco Del Mar of Monroe; and TNT Mechanical. These are my faithful sponsors and I appreciate their belief in the 70 team. Our guys are fired up and ready to get back at it next week!
Here’s Scott Whitmore of the Everett Herald’s take on the night of racing.