Saturday, September 3, 2016
Loaded up for another dirt race, this time in Mohave Valley, Arizona. The drive is just about 2 hours south of Las Vegas and is one that has changed quite a bit over the years. Better, divided highway has made the trip quicker and safer for sure. 15 cars on hand were divided into 3 heat races. I lined up 5th in the 3rd heat. The track was in interesting shape. Dry in spots, sloppy in others, and tacky in a few areas. At the green I used the low line to take over 4th place and rode there for several laps. Coming out of turn 4 the cars in front of me would disappear completely in a cloud of dust. A tacky spot had peeled up to uncover a rather dry area in the track. I didn’t do much in the heat and at times I feel like I was over driving the car. Wound up finishing 3rd in the heat. They watered and re-packed the track prior to our feature. I started 11th and slipped off turn 4 early in the race. The car was a little free entering the turns and it was affecting the exit pretty badly. However I was still running around 8th or 9th when the temperature gauge lit up. Overheating. When I found a way to get safely to the topside of the track, I exited. Entered the pit and got the car cooled. Loaded up and headed home. Not a great outing but I was still out there giving it a shot. Trying my best to make a go over it after being in a rather dark place for a while. Still have some work to do and some things to work out. Hoping for the best. Thanks to mom, Blake, and John for their help.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
It’s the last weekend of my summer vacation as school starts back for teachers on Wednesday. So I loaded up the modified for our 2nd dirt race of the season. Tonopah Speedway was hosting its last even of the season and it’s their annual Wounded Warriors fund raising event. It’s a shorter drive than it is to Delta (3.5 hours instead of 5) so we figured it would be a quicker trip. The track was in really good shape for the heat race but probably a little too quick for any passing. I started 4th and moved into 3rd in the first set of turns. 2nd place jumped the cushion in turn 4 and I slipped by into that spot behind the leader. The leader was running the high line and I figured there was no getting by up there so I started changing my entry to the turns in hopes of slipping by underneath. I was able to get my nose up to his door but never had a good enough run to drive alongside down the straight away. The momentum carried the leader by me every time. I settled for a very solid second place. The track had slicked off quite a bit for the feature. Not having a lot of cars in the feature line up and the fact that the higher line was a little “marbled up” meant that I was going to have to sneak by on the bottom. Within the first 5 laps I had worked my way into the 2nd position in a repeat position of the heat race; same leader. Working hard on the bottom and working hard to keep the pressure on I was right there lap after lap. Just after half way I gave the outside a few peeks but it just wasn’t there. I needed some help cleaning off those marbles and I wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. So I resorted to follow the leader around the bottom. My best shot was in turn 2 and I got a few more small chances to get my nose alongside. However it was never enough to justify driving it down into turn 3. The white flag waved but was negated with a spin in turn 2. I chose inside row 2 for the Outlaw restart. It was going to be a “green-white-checker” finish according to the update on the Raceceiver. As we excited turn 2 the leader slipped a little higher and missed threading the needle between the low line and a rut. I had the momentum and drove alongside, wheel to wheel, door to door. We dove into turn 3 and made a little bit of contact coming off four. The white was in the air as we raced mostly side by side into turn 1, myself a nose ahead. Coming off turn 2 I was in the lead when the yellow waved again. The 2nd place car spun in the outside lane and a few cars spun into him trying to avoid. That led to a one lap scramble to the finish. Green and white together, followed by the checkered. I was able to hold my line and make it across the finish line first for our first win in over a year and our first win of the 2016 season. Thank you to mom and Blake for their help and support. All of our winning were donated back to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
After a busy week dealing with pilot bearing and transmission issues the car was all ready to go by Friday afternoon. With two different race options I chose to head up I-15 to Millard County Raceway in Delta, Utah. It’s a 312 mile trip from my driveway to the pits so about 5 hours of travel time with stops here and there to get fuel, rest, etc. Essentially it was a year to the weekend since my last race on the dirt in the modified so I was a little apprehensive. Not to mention the last time I raced at MCR I was almost lapped. The car seemed mechanically sound as I drove it around to pack in the racing surface so that made me feel a little better. I’m not specifically known to be an outstanding mechanic. The 18 car field was divided into 3 six car heats. I lined up 6th in the 3rd and final heat. Used the outside line to move up to 3rd pretty quickly and followed in that place for several laps. Probably a few too many laps in hind sight. Planned my use of the low line in turns 1 & 2 and made it stick. Slipped into 2nd place and while I gained slightly on the leader, I finished 2nd. The point average invert landed me 12th in the 18 car feature. The butterflies were huge! Seemed like I was choking on my own air as I waited in line up. Once the green flag waved there was no time to think, I had to just go. Again used the high line to move through the field, 9th, 8th, 6th, then 5th. The line was moving closer and closer to the wall and it wasn’t all that comfortable. There aren’t many tracks that I race on where the line is around the wall, inches from impact. The rust was there as I found myself making little mistakes here and there that kept me from putting together a good run. But I was hanging in there. On a restart a car on the low line wiggled and chased the car up the track. I followed my outside line and squeezed by as another car split his inside. The yellow waved and both of us were docked two spots for jumping. It was an unfortunate call as I had only followed the line I was in. But, stuff happens, it’s not a perfect science. So I went back to work and picked up those two spots before slipping by one more to get into the top 4. I had fallen back from the top 3 but was slowly catching back up before a yellow waved. After the yellow I was unable to make any ground but stayed in 4th. Not a bad run at all. The car was probably, ok it was, better than the driver. I overcame quite a few obstacles to get back onto the track. Sometimes our journeys require us to move sand, sometimes they require us to move rocks, sometimes they require us to move hills, and sometimes they require us to move mountains. I owe a big debt of gratitude to my mom for sweating it out with me in the garage all week preparing and loading the car. Also thank you to Tim, Blake, Carly, and Brett for their help and support at the track. If you’ve never raced at Millard County Raceway, you should. Great place to race.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Thanks to Tim’s generous offer, I loaded up his second stock car and headed to Rocky Mountain Raceway in West Valley, Utah ( a suburb of Salt Lake City). Greg from the Lucas Oil Modified tour was nice enough to offer us track time at the top of every hour during their Friday night practice sessions. I hadn’t been on the pavement in 15 years, about 25 years since I’d been in a stock car on the pavement, so I was a little nervous beforehand. However things went smoothly and the car handled pretty well. Neither car had a lot of speed compared to what the locals were running time-wise, but they felt good and under control. Although we tried a change here and there, the speed remained about the same. I qualified 10th out of the 13 cars in attendance about 0.5 seconds from being competitive for a top 5 finish. Was lined up to start on the pole of the heat race and decided to tag the field to just get a feel for how everyone raced. I started and finished 5th in the heat race but ran a very consistent race with similar lap times throughout the race. Again the invert put me on the pole and I decided to stay there this time. Was able to slide up into the outside groove into second place as we exited turn 2. Rode there for a couple of laps before the train went choo-choo-ing by on the bottom. Missed a couple of wrecks here and there and got up as high as 5th at one time. Wound up finishing in the 6th spot on the night. Not too bad after qualifying 10th. Overall I had a great time and am very grateful for the opportunity. I appreciate everyone’s help and hospitality during the weekend. It felt great to get back into a stock car. So much fun!
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Really needed to get the car on the track just to run it. Probably should have just run the car the race before at Pahrump Valley Speedway, but hindsight is always better than the original view. So I loaded up and headed over to Tonopah Speedway. It’s usually slick, and there is a two night show coming up there in August therefore a race there would double as preparation for the bigger race coming up. Took a different route there traveling on the “Extra Terrestrial Highway” to get there. Didn’t see anything out of the ordinary though. As expected the field was small. I started 5th in the heat and ran 4th. The track was pretty slick and dusty. With not many cars the groove wasn’t very wide either as the top had a layer of dust and marbles. Came in and changed a few things for the feature to tighten it up. Unfortunately they watered the track and it stayed pretty heavy for the feature. At the green I went from 5th to 2nd in the first turn and set my sights on the leader pretty quickly. However a yellow came out and the start was null and void. I wasn’t as fortunate on the 2nd start and had to work my way through the field. The car was good, but again the bottom of the track was best and the top wasn’t worked in very well. I was making what seemed like a ton of mistakes going in too high, picking up the throttle too late, then too soon, I was a mess. However that’s why I was there, to get back in the driver’s seat. Racing twice in the last 10 months doesn’t bring out the sharpest driving skills in me. I was never able to get too far alongside the leader as he was running a masterful race. On the last lap he slowed a bit and went pretty low into turn 3. I gave it one last try going in high alongside. Just missed the entry and got into the marbles taking me up the track and I would finish 2nd. A sharper version of myself might have done a better job of trying to pull off that last lap pass. But it wasn’t to be. Afterwards the winner didn’t report to the tech area and was subsequently DQ’d, handing me the NOT-deserved win. Although it was a benefit night for the Wounded Warrior’s Project and I advised the track to simply donate any of my winnings to the foundation. Overall a fun time with quite a few rusty moments. Thanks to Mom and Blake for being there to help, as always.
Saturday, June 6, 2015 – Only 4 cars, never unloaded.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Family emergency.
Saturday, May 9, 2015 – Truck broke down 6 miles out of town.
Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Rained Out
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Pahrump Valley Speedway, Pahrump, Nevada
After a rough week of dealing with the loss of Jim O’Hanley and the work required to get the clutch and left front suspension repaired I decided to head over the hump to Pahrump Valley Speedway for their opener. I have never been much of a mechanic but with the circumstances since my father’s passing, I’ve had to make do. I needed to see if the clutch repair had gone well and if the front end geometry was still correct. Lined up outside row 2 for the heat race and jumped into 3rd early. Slipped by the outside of 2nd place going into 3 and was right with the leader. When he chose to go low, I moved up a lane and slipped by 2 laps later on the top side. Led the final 5 laps to take the heat win. The field was completely inverted for the feature and I kept taking peeks at the track hoping to get the right set up for the main. Seems I missed a little as I couldn’t get the car to turn through the middle of the turns 1 & 2 very well. However I did manage to drive up to 2nd. By the time I got there I was about a straight away behind the leader. As the leader encountered lapped traffic I was able to erase the lead and get to his bumper. When the white waved I was right there but still struggling in 1 & 2. As the leader exited turn 2 he pushed a bit higher and I was able to drive alongside. Just before we entered turn 3 we ran out of room and both of us spun, ending both of our runs. Darn it. Of course everyone has their view on what happened, that’s how it always works. If you are really concerned, I’m sure you can find the video and make your own decision.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Mohave Valley Raceway, Fort Mohave, Arizona
Headed out to Mohave Valley Raceway for the season opener and our first race of the 2015 race season. A large field of visitors crammed the pits full of modifieds creating talk of a possible B main for the first time in a very long time. Lined up inside row 2 for my heat race and the track was heavy and fast. I had joked that I thought I saw fish jumping on the front straight away while packing the track in and was told that the track doesn’t cater to the crate motored cars. Point taken. The car was handling very well although I was wishing I had a few more horses under the hood. Was a bit behind the leader for most of the race but managed to slowly reel him in. Peeked inside going into 3 as we came to the white but couldn’t get by. As we headed down the back stretch the leader moved down so I moved up and was able to pull off a cross over move to steal the heat win. Back in the pit my crew of two worked hard to get the mud cleaned off and the car ready for the main. I redrew 11th for the feature. As we roar off turn 2 for the first time my car lost all of its forward power. I waved my hand and tried to move out of the way but wasn’t successful as another car had nowhere to go and climbed up onto the side of my car. Our night was over, but luckily his was not. Back at home it turned out that I had pulled the center section out of the clutch discs taking away all forward drive. DNF, 1/2 lap completed, 22nd place finish.
*It was also during this race that I found out that our family friend and longtime gear sponsor Jim O’Hanley had passed away. It was crushing news and made it tough for all of us to get through the evening. Our thoughts were elsewhere, with his family and friends.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Pahrump Valley Speedway, Pahrump, Nevada
Spent my last weekend of summer vacation on the road and at the track over the hump at Pahrump Valley Speedway. It was a “topless” race where you could run without the roof on the car and run for an extra $200 bonus. I decided that no one wanted to see this guy run topless so I went with the top on. The track was pretty wet and wasn’t packed all the way to the bottom for the heat race. That left for a little bit of a narrow racing line. I lined up 2nd row inside and the inside didn’t go as we spun the tires in the grease like mud. Got to the outside and slipped into the 3rd spot. A couple of laps later I was able to slide into 2nd and ran up to the leader. I was impressed that the little crate engine was hanging tough on the very fast surface. Was right with the leader but didn’t really have a line to run to get by. Looked low a time or two but finished a close 2nd. Lined up inside row 4 for the feature but when a car didn’t make the car it moved the line up placing me outside row 3. The track looked pretty heavy and I was set up for that. However as I got to staging I saw that the track was going away quickly. Quickly headed back to the pit to change as much of the set up that the team could in 3 minutes. Really needed some suspension changes, but it was too late. Totally misread the conditions. At the green we raced off turn 4 and then the field was stopping quickly. I got on the binders but hit the car in front of me and turned him sideways. Restart. Got caught on the outside early and fought hard to keep my position. Finally got myself into 3rd and was about a straight away behind the leaders. Couldn’t find a great line and was only able to make up a little bit of that lead until we hit lapped traffic. But then I was caught behind a lapped car and lost ground. Yellow. Under yellow I surveyed the track and realized I could run lower on the track without getting into the really wet stuff. So I gave that a try on the restart. Slipped by 2nd coming off turn 2 as he pushed high. As I drove off turn 4 I was surprised to see the white flag in the air. Drove into 1 low and got a good drive off to get door to door with the leader. We squeezed into turn 3 and were door to door. Got a nice shot off turn 4 and jumped ahead slightly to take the win at the line! Crazy. Saved again by a late race yellow. Thank you to Mom, Blake, and John for their help and support in the pits.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Tonopah Speedway, Tonopah, Nevada
Two $1000 to win IMCA All-Star Invitational qualifier races were on tap at Tonopah Speedway Friday and Saturday nights. With my only help, mom and Blake, having to work I was unable to make it up for the Friday show. Instead we left on Saturday morning for the one day show. A great field of 17 cars was on hand with quite a few from the northern end and several from the southern end of the state. Lined up 3rd for the heat race and fell back 1 spot to 4th early on. The car felt like it was on ice and I really wasn’t going anywhere. Found a way to catch and pass for 3rd but would make no progress on catching the leaders. Made a lot of changes (for me) in the pits prior to the feature. Really needed to find some traction. Lined up 8th for the race and the track was looking pretty good. We circled for a few laps before the stopped us to say they would be watering. Oh no. My biggest pet peeve. Set up out the window now. The water truck there doesn’t mist, it waters like a massive thunderstorm. We packed for quite a while before getting the 1 to go. For the first 10-15 laps the race was really a train race. Nowhere to go to pass and everyone was fast on the sticky surface. I started to see that the line stacked up and slowed going into 3 so I made a few mini slide jobs on the bottom of 3 & 4 to move up a spot or two. When the leader hit a bumper and slowed down the front stretch cars slid and spun everywhere creating quite the maze to maneuver. Made it through and lined up 5th for the restart. Under caution the track began to show signs of black up top. That’s what I had waited for. So I quickly jumped up top and into 4th. The next lap a car slipped off the top of turn 2 and I was into 3rd. Followed third for a couple of laps unable to make it by so used the very low line in 3 to get side by side. Got in a little too hot and knocked doors with 2nd. We both continued on with me getting the spot. Once into 2nd the leader was well out in front. I was staying even, maybe gaining some. Then we hit heavy lapped traffic. Was right up to the leader’s bumper as we bobbed and weaved our way through. The leader got by two cars just before the door shut and I was now behind further. Yellow. For the outlaw, double-file restart I chose the outside with the 3rd alongside me, leader out front. At the green I cleared the car inside and moved high in turn 1. Off turn 2 I got a good run as the leader was in the middle. I squeezed way high against the wall and got a wide run at turn 3. Drove it in hard on the outside and took the lead coming off turn 4. The next time by the white was in the air and one lap later we were in Victory Lane, $1,000 richer. Awesome! Thank you to mom and Blake for always being there to help. The skeleton crew makes me look good again.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Great Basin Raceway, Ely, Nevada
Got to the track pretty early on Saturday so I could work on the car before the afternoon heat got there. Wanted to change the gearing in the car and it wasn’t the greatest of times as the jack stands weren’t stable on the dirt and rolling around in the dirt was just not the best way to do things. Buttoned up the car and ordered take out from the Mexican restaurant from down the road. Went out to pack the track and when we were just about done, the car lost fuel pressure and almost died. I shot off the track to the pits. After some checking we discovered the car was out of fuel. Seriously?! Put fuel in and the fuel system had lost its prime. So we tried to pressurize the tank to get it to prime and finally did. Meanwhile they are lining up for the heats. Got the car to fire only to have it blow through the carburetor dumping fuel into the engine. Had to pull the plugs to get the excess fuel out. Wound up replacing the needle and seats and readjusting the floats. Missed the heat. Asked for two courtesy laps and they gave them to me. At the end of those the car started blubbering again as the floats were still too high. Came in and adjusted those. But had no time to make any changes to the set up for the different track conditions. Lined up 12th in the feature and the car was running well but was not turning at all. It was a handful. With about 10 laps to go the throttle started sticking and I was having to pull it back with my foot. Made it up to 5th and had to play it safe. Might have gotten another spot or two if I could have feathered the throttle but better safe than sorry with the sticking throttle. One of those miserable days at the track, but the ending was fairly positive. Thanks to Blake, Don Baisch, and Brian Wordelman for the help in the pits.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Great Basin Raceway, Ely, Nevada
Loaded up the car and the dogs and made my way up to Great Basin Raceway in Ely, Nevada for the Wild West Modified Tour event. Spent most of the day getting the car ready by myself as mom couldn’t go and Blake was driving up after a full day of work. Blake made it right after packing the track and we worked on cleaning up the car for the heat race. Lined up 5th for the heat race and raced my way up to finish 3rd. That finish put me in a redraw position for the feature and I when I went to draw there was a #1 and a #6 in the bag. I felt around and pulled out #1. Started on the pole for the feature and led the first 7 laps before getting passed on the high side. I moved up to try it but was geared too low and wound up hitting the rev chip way too much. Moved back to the bottom and took the lead again as the leader slowed with transmission woes. However soon after I was passed again for the lead and was never able to get it back. Finished 2nd although I do not think I was a 2nd place car. Overall a good night. Thanks to Blake for making it up to help.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Tonopah Speedway, Tonopah, Nevada
Although many modified drivers were taking the weekend off saving their cars for the Sam Stringer Memorial Race next weekend in Pahrump, I decided that I would stick to my schedule and head up to Tonopah Speedway. A shorter field of cars was on hand but I felt it would be good just to get out of town and run the car. Lined up outside front row for my heat race. At the green the inside car got the jump and was slightly ahead going into turn 1. I lifted early and cut back under as the leader slid up high on the slippery surface. Slipped into the lead and held on to it for the remaining 10 laps. The feature line up put me back in row 4. Made an adjustment to the right rear suspension, added some fuel and did some grinding on the tires before heading to staging. The track was pretty slick and dusty based on what I could see of the Super Stock feature on the track before us. I just hoped I could find a way around everyone. At the green I stuck to the bottom and was battling for 3rd a couple of laps into the race. The leader had gotten away a little bit and I battled side by side with another car right behind 2nd place. I was trying to get by on the low side and the other car was trying the high side as the 2nd place car ran the middle of our two lines. Yellow. The “outlaw” style restart puts the leader up front alone and everyone else double file behind. I got the outside and got a good run off into turn 1. Used the outside to get a good bite off turn 2 and took over second as we raced into turn 3. Used the very bottom to turn under the leader and took the lead coming off turn 4. The car was pretty good and I got myself into a decent pace and waited for pressure. Could hear cars but never saw any. Yellow. I had to endure several restarts during the race, something that is always puts a driver in the lead on edge. However I managed to stay ahead and pick up the win. My first ever at Tonopah Speedway. It was a great night. Thanks to Blake who was the only one able to make it as my mom stayed home to take care of a dog we recently rescued. There’s now just one track in Nevada where I have yet to win a feature. Just one.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Pahrump Valley Speedway, Pahrump, Nevada
With skies threatening rain we loaded up and headed over the hump to Pahrump Valley Speedway for a regular local show. A shorter field was on hand and I was a little late so we missed the driver’s meeting. The track was going to be a fast one so I quickly went to work trying to loosen up the set up on the car. Lined up last in my heat and the car was a little too stuck into the track to do anything. I was able to get alongside the car in 2nd but just couldn’t get by. The car was really tight and wanted to just go straight. Wound up finishing the heat in 3rd place. Really went to work moving bars on the suspension for the feature. I lined up 5th and knew that if I didn’t get the car up out of the track and running on top of it I would be smoked by the more powerful open motors. At the green the car felt great and I jumped quickly into the 4th spot coming out of turn 2 and was into 3rd soon after coming off turn 4. Made the move to get into 2nd and the leader was already out in front with a healthy lead. Tried running him down only to get passed on the inside coming off turn 2. Settled into third and we quickly got into lapped traffic. The track was so fast you really had to remind yourself to breathe. Suddenly as we raced through traffic another car clipped my left side, hopping wheels, sending him into the air and me spinning to the outside coming into turn 3. Yellow. I was restored to the third position and we restarted single file. After it went green it got intense. The two leaders were faster than me but with them racing each other so hard I was able to keep pace with them. At times I could get alongside the 2nd place car but would lose it to the momentum of the higher groove. As the laps wound down the tension mounted and the leaders began to rub a little bit. I had seen the story they were writing and was hoping to get myself into a position to capitalize if and when it happened. I moved up going into the turns so I could cut down low coming off. Entering turn 3 the 2nd place car tried high and his left front caught the rear bumper of the leader making the leader push up and slowing 2nd place. I had the car turns and slipped by them both coming off turn 4. Knowing they were faster I was running like crazy. However coming off turn 4 the next time by the white flag was waving. Just one more lap to hold them off. I did it! We won the feature. Such an exciting race. So fortunate to be in the right place there. Thanks to mom & Blake for their continued help and support. Jon Broughton’s video of the race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSogDkHAl6Y&list=UUuB_xIvJydP8AF04hbOQGSw
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Millard County Raceway, Delta, Utah
Was up and at ’em early on Saturday morning and on the road by 9:00am for the just over 300 mile trip to Delta, Utah”s Millard County Raceway. It was a pretty decent 5 hour drive up although a few construction zones on I-15 reduced travel lanes down to 1 in a few places. The track was more wet than it usually had been in previous visits and my car was a little tight in the hot lap session they gave us. Lined up alone in the last row for my heat race and we ran in a tight bunch for the first few laps. Finally managed to pass three cars using the bottom of turns 1 & 2. From there I ran 2nd the rest of the way as the leader checked out on the field. The track was drying out pretty steadily as the night went on and I tightened the car up some before heading to line up. I lined up 6th for the feature. As the Sport Mods raced the track was looking slick and I was pretty confident in my set up. However just before they called us on the track, the water truck took 2 laps around the track. Uh oh. They gave us time to work in the water but it was obvious to me that the track had much more traction than I had anticipated it having. Darn it. At the green I was able to race into 5th and raced there for several laps. Was racing pretty close with the top 5 but was struggling with the car being a little too stuck into the track. On a double file restart I was able to use the outside to slip into 4th and stayed there the rest of the race. As the race went on my car got better but by then I was already too far behind the leaders to do any damage. However the car had no damage and everyone had a good time. Win, win, just without a trophy to take home. Thanks to Mom & Blake for their continued help and to Carly & Brett for making their way down from Stansbury Park to help out and visit.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Pahrump Valley Speedway, Pahrump, Nevada
As the thermometer swelled to over 100 degrees, we decided to make our way over the hump to Pahrump for their regularly scheduled show. A shorter field of 12 cars greeted us in the pits. Lined up inside row 2 for the heat race and found out really quickly that I was set up way too loose for the conditions. Looked around for a better line but the leaders were side by side so I had to sit back and wait for them to settle their battle. Tried to sneak inside off turn 2 and made contact with the left rear of another car. Backed off to let him gather it up and the leader had gotten away from us. A couple of laps later 2nd place did a 1/2 spin into the infield and I tried to run down the leader. Made up some of the ground but not enough to take the heat race win. Lined up 8th for the feature but the outside pole sitter did not report so our side moved up. On the first start the car on the outside pole spun so they sent him to the back for the restart. That moved our side up again and I was up to 4th starting. I worked to tighten up the car for the feature and it seemed pretty good early as I moved into the 2nd spot fairly quickly. However I could do nothing with the leader. My car was a handful and a little unpredictable. Pushed one lap, loose the next. I just wasn’t finding the line and/or wasn’t really driving it the way I needed to. I certainly had my chances as the yellow flags waved frequently. In hindsight I probably didn’t run up the track high enough in turns 1 & 2 which was the toughest end of the track for me. But a 2nd place finish is good. We’ll do some work and try again in two weeks. Thanks to mom & Blake for the help. Also thanks to Derek F and Shannon K from school for making the trek out to see the race. Watch video of the race here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WssI3uho4R0
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Tonopah Speedway, Tonopah, Nevada
Made the 222.6 mile trek from my house to Tonopah Speedway for their annual Jim Butler Day’s event. The track is all volunteer so the money brought in goes right back to the pay. A solid 17 car field was on hand. I started 4th of 5 in the last heat and the car wasn’t really that great. A little loose and I over drove it a little bit, finishing 3rd. Wind was again a factor as it was at least 30mph most of the night. Watched a few races to get an idea of what the track would be like and made some changes. Started 9th in the feature and had a good line going early working the bottom. Just as I broke into the top 5 a car hit a puddle at the bottom of turn 2 virtually ruining that line. So I had to move up and make that work. Finally broke into the top 3 and that’s where I would stall out. The top 2 were working the top line and I had to follow or try the bottom. I could make the bottom work to get alongside 2nd but couldn’t pull it off with the water off turn 2. I settled for 3rd, which still paid $500. Not too bad. Thanks mom & Blake for making the trip and for helping out. Jon Broughton video Tonopah feature, 5/24/2014, by Jon Broughton
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Pahrump Valley Speedway, Pahrump, Nevada
Had the weekend off from my new 2nd job and decided to head over the hump, to Pahrump. A solid 16 car field was on hand. I ran a solid 2nd in my heat race which lined me up 11th in the feature. The car was loose in the heat race and with the 50 mile per hour winds whipping around, the track was becoming very dry, slick, and dusty. Made a few last minute adjustments and headed out. While sitting in staging I was talking to myself (not out loud) about what I’d need to do to get to the front. I decided that I would probably have to go high as the bottom would involve beating and banging. Sure enough as the race went green everyone fought for the bottom as we all tried to see each other through the dust. As we got to racing the dust wasn’t as bad and I began to drive in on the outside. After a few laps I figured out the line and was moving forward fairly quickly. As the yellow waved just past half way I was up to 5th. On the restart I again went high and was 3rd as we completed that lap. 2nd a lap later and was on the tail of the leader. Just as I made the move to pass for the lead off turn 2, the yellow waved for a 4-car pile up in turn 3. The long yellow was rough as my mind was beginning to make me nervous. However I quickly got back to business as the race went back to green. Fell back a bit on that first lap but jumped alongside coming off turn 2 and was in the lead the next time around. Held on for the win. It was an amazing run, one of those nights where everything is just 100% right. The planets aligned! Thanks to mom and Blake for their continued support. Times haven’t been great lately but they stick with it. Jon Broughton video: Pahrump feature 5/10/2014, by Jon Broughton
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Mohave Valley Raceway, Fort Mohave, Arizona
Finally had both the time and the motivation to finish getting the car ready to race. Jerry Jr & Sr had fixed the damage from the wreck at LVMS and the rest was up to me. Had to change the gears, do a little body work, and the normal maintenance. Lined up last row for my heat race and had a rough go getting by a car that was having a hard time keeping it straight. Wound up caving in the body on the right side. By the time it all worked itself out I was about 2/3 of a straight away behind the top 3. As they battled I ran them down and joined the battle. I didn’t really have anywhere left to go, but wound up 3rd. Started 9th in the feature and was up to 3rd on the first lap. Moved into 2nd soon after and was beginning to move my line around in hopes of running down the leader. Yellow. As we went green I went into turn 1 and the car acted like it went into neutral followed by a really bad clunking sound beside me. I pulled to the infield to let the race continue on. As I sat there I looked under the car to find the drive line tore up and not connected to the gear. After getting it home it appears the torque link failed which let the rear end fall forward causing the drive line to get a too extreme of an angle, eventually causing it to break. Parts to order and work to do.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada
After a long couple of days during the early part of the week, I taught my full schedule, my after school tutoring group, and made it home in time to jump in the truck and head over to LVMS to compete in conjunction with the World of Outlaws event. 40 cars, top 4 in each heat advanced to the A-main. Lined up 5th for the heat race and the line was up high so I got trained at the jump. Finally got up high in 8th place. Managed to work my way up to 5th at the finish. That put us on the pole for the B main with 3 advancing on. The line was still up high but I was hanging tough with the leader early on and decided to stay there. The car was a little tight but I managed to stay in 2nd to transfer. Started 20th in the feature and was running somewhere in the mid teens when a car lost it coming off turn 4. A large group of us was running really close and had nowhere to go. A huge collision that wound up flipping a car numerous times, destroying it. My car sustained substantial damage to the upper frame rails, body, and brake system. Done for the night and out for a while. Not good at all. The positive side is we all walked away. I, however, am not going to run on 1/2 miles anymore. Just too much speed and I don’t think these cars are built for it. Thanks to mom and Blake for their help.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Mohave Valley Raceway, Fort Mohave, Arizona
The team took the previous weekend off so that my mom could take care of her 12 year old lab who had to have surgery. Dogs have been a big part of what’s going on around here lately, but things appear to be going better now. We headed down to Mohave Valley Raceway for our second event of the season. The car count jumped up a little as several visitors joined us from different tracks. A slight delay in the action occurred when the track lighting on the front stretch went out. However the track improvised with some borrowed pit lights from racers. About 90 minutes later we were racing again. I lined up 3rd for my heat race and jumped inside to take over 2nd going into turn 1. Coming to complete lap two I slipped inside of the leader and took the lead going into turn 1. From there it was all about hitting my marks and keeping the car under me. The heats were shortened to 6 laps so it wasn’t too much longer until we picked up our first heat win of the season. With newer cars in the pits my invert position for the main was only 5, putting me fairly close to the front. Other than adding 2 jugs of fuel, we had made no changes to the car before the feature. The track was really fast and the action was very exciting early on as cars tried to find ways around one another. I was up to 4th, then back to 6th early on. A big wreck in turn 3 put the field under red for about 10 minutes as cars were pulled apart and off the track. Once back to green I tried making the top side work and while it was tough finding room, I made my way into the top 4. Slipped under third and then drove by 2nd on the outside a few laps later going into turn 3. Had a great side by side battle for 2nd behind the leader as we were both right on his tail. Coming out of turn 4 I was high and the leader spins. The car in third narrowly missed the car and I inherited the lead. Managed to lead a few more laps before finally getting passed with two to go. We stayed tough and held on to second, our best finish in a while. Cannot thank Mom, Blake, John, and his friend enough for their help in the pits. The car was a mess, hence the nicknames Mud-have-y and Mo-Heavy. Really pleased with the direction things are going. I think I raced pretty well, better than I have been lately.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Mohave Valley Raceway, Fort Mohave, Arizona
The date was a rough one. It marked 6 years since burying my father and exactly 1 month since having to put down my dog Daisy unexpectedly. That coupled with many things going wrong in the garage, I was beginning to think I should take a pass on the weekend. However all was saved by Jim O’Hanley and a little determination by the team. I have been backing out of going racing a lot lately and decided that if I stayed home again it would only get worse. So we loaded up and headed to Mohave Valley Raceway for the season opener. With it being the first time there with the crate motor combination and a lingering issue with the J-bar not aligning the rear end in the car 100% correctly, I was a little nervous. Lined up inside row three for the heat race and it was a wild start. Cars fighting for position and bouncing off one another before we hit the flag stand. I jumped to the outside and slipped by one car into 4th. A lap later I got into third and was battling for 2nd. I was able to get under the 2nd place car a couple of times but was unable to make it by. Finished third. Came into the pits to work on an issue I had in the heat, my throttle was sticking. Seems it was hitting the bottom of the air cleaner and hanging up. Good thing for the fork type throttle pedal so I could pull the throttle back when I let off. The crew of family and friends went to work and had the car 100% ready for the feature where we rolled off 5th. Fell back a spot or two early in the action while I tried to make the bottom work. Soon after I began picking off cars using the high line or a high low cross over. Overall the car was good and I wasn’t driving too bad either. Was running right with the top 3 cars in 4th although I really didn’t have anything more than they did. Third slipped off the top of turn 3 and I slid by for the position. A couple of laps later my driver’s side door slammed up against the window next blocking all vision out the left side. Scared the you know what out of me. I half expected the black flag but I kept racing and they never waved it. I must say it was a little unnerving to have the door blocking my view, especially knowing that the car I just passed was going to be pressuring me back quickly. Made a decision to keep the same line so I didn’t cause a safety issue for those trying to get by. Normally you want to try other lines hoping to catch the leaders, but I also wanted to race fair. I figured if I was consistent they could find a way around safely. Finished the laps and ran a solid 3rd behind two young, talented drivers. Congrats to them. Thank you to my mom and Blake for their help and support as well as to Zach, Michael, John, Walter, Nicole, and little Blake. Overall a great night.