March 6, back at home in Milford, OH (instead of Dallas)
I'm finally back online. Being that computers love me so, just before I leave for El Paso my lap top decided to eat itself - the processor quit processing - NOT GOOD! Because of this wonderful little glitch I've not been able to keep this page updated during my travels. Sorry. The lap top is now back and running, so I'm back in business for the last three races.
A lot has happened since San Diego. El Paso was VERY good to me - well, sort of. The track was extremely sandy. I finally had an advantage over most of the other cars. The Pilot is happy in the sand, especially with ATV tires on it instead of regular DOT approved tires. Also, luck was on my side, and I've been needing all the luck I can find. During practice I discovered that I was one of three cars that was consistently quick on the track. I could go anywhere I wanted and was clearing the double jump with no problem. Many of the other cars were able to get over the double, but the landing was pretty "iffy" for them. This was the kind of track I needed to gain some points on Joe. I did managed to roll over on the cool off lap of the first practice (Hey, I have to roll at least once at each race, right?). It was entirely my fault, as I managed to mess up over a set of rhythm bumps, and suddenly saw the world turn over and then go back right side up. I drove away without hurting anything other than my pride - hoping nobody noticed!
As everyone that's kept up with this page knows, Joe Price is always in the first heat race and I'm in the second. So, there I sat in the tunnel to the track watching Heat One. To my surprise, Joe gets tangled up at the beginning of the race and drops back in the pack. He starts working his way towards the leaders and then in the turn right in front of me, he gets punted into the wall! Joe is now in last place! He manages to pass one person before the checkered flag drops. I'm thinking "here's my chance to make some ground on Joe!" - well, it WAS a good thought....
I'm on the pole for my heat. I pull the holeshot and lead the pack into the first corner, with Bob Briggs right on my tail. He passes me over the table top and I settle into second spot. Denise Wittman is right beside me and she and I begin to battle for the second place honors. I hold her off for two laps and then boom - someone pulled the hand grenade pin for me. I slid the car into a tight left hand turn (the same one that snagged Joe) and caught a rut with the back tires. Now, if I had been on the gas just half a second earlier, everything would have been fine, but you know my luck. The rut grabbed my right rear wheel and before I could even begin to react, I was upside down. "NO! NOT NOW!" After what seemed to be hours, the track workers got me back on my wheels, but it was too late. Bob and Denise were coming around and about to put me a lap down. I ended up taking LAST PLACE in my heat. But, you have to remember, Joe was second to last in his...Joe has gained one point on me.
We line up for the main, three rows deep, five cars wide. Joe and I are on the back row right next to each other. This is kinda weird, as even with my bad luck this year, I've never been in the back row. The green flag drops and we're off and racing. I decided to use my head and drive smart instead of just keeping the gas nailed. I went wide in the first turn and just as I hoped, there was a pile up. Joe managed to get around it also (darn). We ended up being somewhere in the top ten by the end of the first lap. I stayed on Joe's rear bumper for the first half of the race and then there it was, the golden opportunity that I've been looking for all year. Joe left the door open in a corner, I tucked down inside of him and PASSED HIM! I then proceeded to pull away from him and now had my sights on the cars in front of me. I don't know what position I was in when I passed Joe, but I gained two more and began a battle with Peter K. Peter and I swapped positions at least three times with me coming out in front of him going into the last corner. Peter and I pitched the cars into the last corner, just before the start finish line and I managed to tangle with Todd Wittman's mother Dee (yes, you read that correctly, Todd's MOM!). When I hit Dee, it blew my drive and Peter was able to duck under me in the corner. He beat me to the line by less than half a car length. I ended up loosing fifth place to Peter, but the thrill of the race, doing well even thought I started from the back line and the fact that I passed Joe made it the best race so far. Joe ended up seventh and I was able to gain that one point back from him that he gained on my in the heat races, so I am still ninety points behind him.
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