Can you believe it? Dallas was CANCELED!!! No body has ever been able to give the real reason. There were rumors of all types floating around El Paso, but how much truth in them is a mystery. I guess on the bright side, it gives me another week off. Pontiac is next and then the LONG trek out to Vancouver and Seattle begins. I'll be back to update next weekend.
Round 9, Pontiac, MI - Pontiac Silverdome
Friday, March 12 - Happy in my Hotel room!
Today was a total blast - except for the cold. I miss the weather we had out west. The track is extremely tacky but still pretty fast. The outside loop has one table top and the other side has a fairly large double jump. After the double, the track turns left into a choice of two lanes. For practice today, the right side lane is the faster of the two. Turn right out of either of these and there is a wide open section that has rollers that you can just banzai over. Turn left after that and you're back to the table top.
I'm having a killer time here. I can run pretty much anywhere I want to. I'm hooked up so well around the large sweeper that I'm actually carrying the inside front tire off the ground! I keep the speed out of the corner and have no problem clearing the double. I've tried to roll my car in the corners a couple of times - but so far so good because I've been able to keep the rubber side down instead of redenting my roof. The only problem I'm having is that in the sweeper between the table top and double jump there is a small divot that I've caught a couple of times. This divot is sitting right in the middle of my line through the sweeper and when I catch it the car unloads and makes me slide outward towards the hydro barrier. I managed to tag the barrier twice, but I just kept on the gas and went ahead and cleared the double. I think I scared the flag man standing by the table top one time because he was backing up pretty quickly! Both practice sessions went great and I was told that I'm running two seconds faster than anyone else. Tomorrow may be a little different, though, because I've heard that a couple of the SODA guys are supposed to show up. I think there are eight of us here right now and adding a few more tomorrow should be nice.
Sunday, March 14 - Back at home in Milford
I do believe that the picture to the left should sum up my weekend! I FINALLY WON THE MAIN!!!
Saturday morning's practice went quite well. The car was working great and the track still seemed pretty fast. The Pace crew changed the faces of the double jump and the table top. The double was easier to clear, but the table top became a bear. It pitched you up quite drastically and the landing was pretty rough. When we left the line for practice, Paul Sutton was ahead of me. I couldn't catch him, but he couldn't shake me. If this was a clue as to what could happen for the heat and main, I was going to have my hands full. Paul and I were roughly two seconds faster than anyone else on the track. Originally, we had eight cars for our race, but due to loosing a wheel bearing, Curt Callahan - who was substitute driving for Joe Price for points - had to drop out. Because of this, we ended up running one heat race instead of two. I was put on the pole with Paul on directly to my right. As we left the line, I tried to head out around the fingers in the sweeper and Paul was able to tuck in under me. As we exited the sweeper and lined up for the double jump, Paul pulled ahead of me and drifted into my line. He seemed to loose his drive a touch and as we went over the double, I thought that I was going to land on him. Fortunately, I was able to land beside him and we headed off into the corner. Paul had the better line for the corner and I was forced to settle for second position. I pushed as hard as I dared and bicycled through a couple of the corners but as I feared - from what I had seen in practice - I was not able to gain on him or pass him, but he wasn't able to leave me either. When the checkered flew, Paul had taken first and I had taken second. Add nineteen points for a second place in the heat and I was now seventy one points behind Joe Price.
Time for the main! As Paul and I had discussed after the heat race, we figured that who ever managed to pull the hole shot would probably win the race if we could stay clean. Because Paul won the heat, he had the pole position and I was set to the right of him. This was perfect for me as it put me right in position for the line I took through the sweeper. I knew I could pull the hole shot and when the green flag went up, I was off over the table top and as we hit the sweeper I was able to take the faster line and Paul was stuck on the inside going over the fingers. I was first over the double jump and then shut the door on Paul going into the left hander. I could hear Paul behind me, but that's where I wanted him to be - behind me. I tried to drive as hard and as smart as I could. The sweeper was absolutely torn up, rough and rutted. I fought the car all the way around it every lap and worried that if Paul was able to get a good drive around it that I may loose my first place position. Another part of the track that was torn up was the rhythm section. I managed to get very sideways a couple of times, but it didn't give Paul the chance to pass me. I kept telling myself to breath and drive smart. The table top also began to deteriorate as the race went on and I found myself getting more and more sideways as the race wound down. I tried different lines over it each lap, but none of them seemed any better than another. I think that Paul may have hit me once in the beginning laps, but the race was very clean and we had no incidents. I lead the race from flag to flag and FINALLY won my first race of the season.
Pace wants each winner of the main to take a victory lap and show off a bit. I took half a lap waiting for the other racers to clear the field and began my victory lap. The first thing I did was head for the triple jump that the quads and motorcycles jumped. I didn't intend on clearing the triple, so I let off just a hair, but I still managed to land on the top of the triple! This is about a seventy five foot jump! I did a couple of donuts in a corner, one on the face of the double jump and jumped the table top one last time. My night was complete.
I leave for Vancouver on Tuesday morning. I'm not looking forward to the two thousand plus mile drive, but I'm going there with a twenty nine point LEAD on Joe for the championship. Life is good!
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