Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Month of May

    Lots of exciting opportunities came about in the month of May. It all started with our win the 05 Honda Midget at Santa Maria. After that race the K24 PBH Honda was pulled out so that Tres and Stew Van Dyne could fine tune the fuel system on the dyno and make it perfect. Unfortunately, some problems surfaced themselves over the course of the run and we were forced to park that engine for the time being until we are able to get the proper items from HPD to continue with the program.
    Tres and Stew Van Dyne stepped in and offered for me to drive their blue #5 Edmunds chassis with the next USAC midget race being at Ventura less than a week away. I was of course extremely thankful to have an opportunity to jump in the seat.
    We had a pretty decent go at Ventura in the #5 Van Dyne entry. The car was a bit different being a four coil car it reacts much different than anything I've ever driven before. It proved to be a pretty good car though with plenty of horsepower. I started in the main 8th but was collected in a second lap altercation. The contact bent the RF shock along with a few other parts. After pushing into the pits for my guys to check out the damage it was clear nothing could be done in time as far as making repairs. I pushed back out and tried to adapt to the wounded race car. I went from the back of the pack to finish 6th. We were all pretty satisfied with the results considering the circumstances.
    The following weekend was a USAC/CRA 410 Sprint car race at Perris Auto Speedway. Thanks to some generous support from George Blacker and Ram Bull Racing, I was able to drive for the Roa Family. Brett and Brody Roa own two Spike's. HD Industries, Burris Racing, and Biker Bruce Fischer help make it possible for these guys to have these two cars and a shop full of good equipment. I also had help from Larry Henry and Tony Jones, owners of the #41 sprint car I normally drive, to be able to run a green 91R car at the Salute to Indy Perris Auto Speedway Sprint Car race.
    It was pretty neat to be teammates with Brody. I can't thank the Roa family enough for giving me such a great opportunity. Those two guys put all of there time and effort, not to mention every dime they have into these race cars, so to trust me with their baby was very cool and definitely appreciated.
    This was my first sprint car race for 2013 and it was nice to be back. I had my usual crew chief, Tony Jones, on the wrenches. He never stopped working all night, giving me the best shot possible to have a good run.
    I qualified 11th, which was good considering the front wheels weren't on the ground much! It was pretty well hooked up. In the feature Brody and I started next to each other; I 11th and Brody 12th. After a fun and eventful race I finished 9th and Brody ran 10th. It was a good night for everybody, both cars rolled on the trailer with a top 10 finish. Obviously we both would have liked to finish further up in the pack, but I think all of us learned a lot about these cars that was beneficial for both parties.
    After this race, my next show was up in Northern Ca in Placerville. For this race I was back in Tres and Stewart's blue #5. These guys have really given me a great opportunity here. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be able to keep chasing the points championship since our other program is still on pause at the moment. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to drive for them.
    We had a good heat in Placerville, bringing home win. That put me starting 8th in the feature due to the invert. Two laps into the feature, I got knocked up the racetrack and way out of shape. The yellow came out due to another incident on the other end of the track and because I kept the car running, I should have got my position towards the front back as they revert back to the last lap. However, that wasn't the case tonight. For some reason they put me at the tail of the 20 car field. I definitely had my work cut out for me. The track was one-laned dry slick around the bottom and the points leader was running in the 3rd position. Through the race I marched forward, finally reaching 5th spot with a few laps to go. On the white flag Ronnie Gardner and 3rd place tried to rail the massive cusion to gain some ground but it didn't work and I moved into 3rd spot down the back straight just as the yellow flag came out. They reverted back to the last lap which put me back to 5th. On the restart I knew the bottom was the way to go, but they did too this time so we brought it home 5th. It was definitely a good night. I wish we could have stayed up front from the beginning, but at least after what had happened on the start I was able to get back to the bumper of the points leader Ronnie Gardner. Right now I'm just 23 points back to him.
    Once again a huge thanks to the Van Dynes for giving me this awesome opportunity. I think we can keep up the momentum this season and keep the strong finishes coming. I'd also like to give a very big thanks to long time friend and supporter Alex Frazin. Alex lent us his gigantic RV bus  for our long traveling races which saves us money on getting hotels for us and the team. He's always been supportive of me and helps in any way he can. Also thanks to my sponsors for their extra support; George Blacker and Ram Bull Racing, Goodwine Glass, Lucas Oil, DC Racing Cams, HPD, Eibach Springs, Swanson Inspections, K&N Filters, Simpson Race Products, Oakley and One Day Signs.
    We have this weekend off, but our next event is in Norcal again in Petaluma with the USAC Midgets. I'll be once again piloting the Van Dyne Chevy. Stay tuned!