Shake n’ Bake

As some of you may have noticed, I don’t usually post anything on the weekend. That’s mainly because its jam packed full of activities like getting the new house organized (painting, sanding, cleaning), watching Netflix or RACING. Most of the time its racing, sprinkled with doing house stuff on Sundays and watching Netflix on the long car rides to the race track.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about…….I race cars as a hobby. I started when I was 7 and raced Quarter Midgets, then 3/4 Midgets until I was a sophomore in college and for the last 3 years have been running a Supermodified. Its an open wheeled, winged car, weighing in at 2000 lbs, has about 900 horsepower and averages about 160mph. For all you motor heads its a 454 Chevy big block motor.

Β This past week I started the New England tour of my racing season. My dad, mom and I left for New Hampshire on Thursday for my race in Lee, NH on Friday night.

The week before a race is usually consumed by getting the car ready. Sundays are for unloading the trailer and getting the car in our garage, along with the toolbox, spare tires, new tires and all the parts we may need to maintain or fix the car from the previous weekend. Monday’s are spent recovering from the long weekend before. Tuesday’s have been deemed “Super Tuesdays” which means my dad, my fiance, our friend BJ (my unofficial crew chief) and myself spend the night after working in the garage doing normal maintenance on the car or fixing anything that happened in the previous race. Changing the oil, cleaning the car, checking the valves, changing gears, changing tires, resetting the wing, cleaning nozzles and the fuel filter and “nut & bolting” the car. Wednesdays are for scaling the car. Thursday are for loading the trailer and Fridays are for traveling. I think I figured we travel over 15,000 miles a season in about 8 different states and Canada.

So, Thursday we packed up and headed north for a lovely 5 hour drive, all white listening to the GOP debate and eating not-so-delicious turnpike food. Got a decent nights sleep and headed to the track bright and early Friday morning.

All the teams usually get about 2 hours to prepare their cars before practice. We all get 2-3 rounds of practice and then heat races. I race with ISMA (International Supermodified Association) that’s been around longer than I’ve been alive. The heat race line ups are determined on how fast you went in practice. I think I was 9th fastest out of 24 on Friday night. Didn’t have a great heat race run. Car was too loose. Started 14th out of 24 and after 75 laps ended up 6th. Car was good, but tough competition and it was all about saving your tires for the end of the race. Lee is a tricky little bullring and guys that have been running there for 10+ years still struggle with finishing well. Last year I finished 6th also, so at least I’m consistent!

We got done around 11pm and had a 2 hour drive back to the hotel in Auburn, MA. Saturday morning we got up and headed to New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut for our Saturday race. Last year I wrecked in practice after the axle broke going into corner 1 and it destroyed the car. It took us the rest of the season to sort out the “bugs” from the wreck, only to blow the motor at the last race of the season.

Trying to get the car down the driveway afrer Waterford.
Axle broke at the left rear hub- sent me into the wall.
Aftermath of the wreck- trying ti get it in the trailer!

Practice went well at Waterford, 4th fastest over all. Started 2nd in the heat race and got wrecked taking the green flag. The 3rd place car ran into the first place car, who then turned into me and bent a few things on the front axle. I pulled in to check things over and the car was fine, but they send you to the back if you pull in the pits. So i started 6th and finished 6th. My rear fuel tank got crunched, so that will need to be fixed this week. Where you finish in the heat race- lines you up for the feature and Saturday night was all about starting position. I started 17th out of 19 and finished 12th. I passed 4 people on the start and then hung out in 13th for 48 of the 50 laps. On the second to last lap a car in front of me almost spun out and I was able to get around him to finish 12th. No one passed anyone the entire time, so I wasn’t the only one that didn’t really move. We basically completed the 50 lap race green to checkered- taking only 15 minutes to complete the race. THAT NEVER HAPPENS!. Quick race, but felt like forever because it was so hard to pass people and extremely frustrating.

Not an awesome weekend, but I’ve had worse. The car is in one piece and its pretty good to go for a week and a half from now when we head to Delaware, Ontario.

Tonight’s task is to get the fuel tank off and get it fixed. Solid 2 hour project. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world though!