Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grand Nationals - Wythe

Sorry for the was a long night at Wythe, then with the trip home and everything, I got a little behind.

After Friday's practice session and qualifying was rained out at Wythe, the crew spent most of the afternoon and evening getting the car ready to run the complete show on Saturday. We drew a #8 pill, which would have been more to our advantage at Friendship when the track got slower as qualifying went. As our luck would have it, the track at Wythe got faster as qualifying went on, so Butch timed in at 33rd fastest in the 53 car field.

For the heat event, he started in 7th position and jumped up in to 4th almost immediately. As the laps went on, the car in 5th place turned him sideways, not once, but twice, and the second time Butch almost spun out, letting 2 cars by. He finished the heat in 6th place, with only the top 3 advancing to the feature event. He then started the 1st of 2 b-mains in 5th place. He quickly moved into 4th and jumped into 3rd on a restart, but could not hold off a hard charging Max Blair. He ended up finishing 4th, just one spot shy of qualifying for the Feature event.

They did run a 12 lap non-qualifier's feature, which Butch started on the pole of. He eventually drifted back to a 4th place finish, but at least we earned a little money for our trip back home.

Overall, Butch finished 31st in the Grand National Points Standings, just one point shy of 30th place, which was the last paid position.

While we would have liked to have run better and at least make one of the features, we feel that the trip was well worth it, as we learned so much about our car, and our race program. We know now what we need to do to step-up our program and we are more aware of what the different adjustments do to the car. The practice sessions were really beneficial - it was great to go out and get more than 1 or 2 "hot laps" for once.

Now it is time to prepare for 2009! Plans are already being set in motion for a new engine and we definitely have alot of work to do over the winter! Check in often to see what is new with the team!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rained Out!!

Practice and qualifying tonight for Night #3 of the FASTRAK Grand Nationals at Wythe Raceway has been rained out. We will run everything tomorrow - thankfully! We were afraid they would make us all stay and race on Sunday.

As I type, the crew is finishing up working on the car and then I guess we are headed out for some food and maybe a few cocktails!

Cross your fingers for nicer weather tomorrow!!!

Grand Nationals Night #2 - Heats, Consi's, Features

Well, we certainly didn't have the results we would have hoped in the finale of Night #2 of the FASTRAK Grand Nationals. After starting deep in the field of the first heat race (9th) Butch was more like a pinball than a racecar as he was hit on pretty much every panel of the car throughout the race. The 15 lap race had 5 cautions in the first 6 laps and Butch just couldn't get a break. The top 3 finishers of the heat transferred to the feature, but Butch's 7th place finish relegated him to the first of 3 b-mains later on in the night. He started the b-main in 7th place and again, it was a wreckfest. At the end of the 12 lap event, he finished 9th, just 1 spot out of making the "non-qualifiers" feature - so we thought. Apparently, the rules were changed once again, and anyone was eligible to run the non-qualifiers race. That information would have been helpful before the race was pulling onto the track. Although, with the price of the fuel they FORCED us to buy there at $8.50 a gallon ( we have been running 93 pump fuel all season at $4 something a gallon) we really didn't need to waste our fuel running this race.

We are in Wytheville, Virginia now and will be at Night #3 at Wythe Raceway tonight and tomorrow night. Butch is in 24th place overall in the Grand National Points Standings, only 8 points out of 10th place.

Tonight is a new night and hopefully we will have some better luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grand Nationals Night #2 - Qualifying

After three sessions of hot laps, Butch went out 46th out of 68 cars. He ended up qualifying 50th, which is not as good as we hoped after turning some pretty quick times in practice. He is slated to start 9th in the 2nd heat race.

It's been a long day and most of us have been up for almost 22 hours, so it's time to get some shut eye.

Keep your fingers crossed for us for tomorrow and send those good luck vibes!

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Grand Nationals Time!

Butch put in a great performance this past Saturday at Mercer Raceway Park for Night #1 of the FASTRAK Grand Nationals. After a dismal 17th in time trials, he started 3rd in his heat event, which he went on to win. The race format was a little different than we were used to and they lined the feature up straight up on time trials, if you qualified through you heat - IE finished top 6. With 4 cars that time trialed better than Butch not qualifying through the heats, he took the green flag of the 30 lap feature event in the 13th starting spot.

From the drop of the green he was a man on the move, working traffic and missing crashes, including a 10 car pile up that he barely got through. When the checkered flag fell, it was Max Blair taking the win, followed by Dick Barton, Tommy Snyder, Dennis Lunger & Butch in 5th place!

The top 5 finish has put us in a strong position heading into Night #2 of the Grand Nationals at Friendship Speedway in Elkin, NC. The team will head out the morning of 10/15, with practice and time trials that night, followed the next night by heats, consolations & the 50 lap feature.

I plan on updating the blog each night from the Grand Nationals, so stay posted! I hope to know soon where we stand in the points right now and will post any information I can, once I get it.

Good racing!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Although I still am a little bit in shock, it's true - Butch won his first FASTRAK Crate Late Model Feature! Not just a regular show either, but a Northeast Region Touring Event! It was so exciting. Starting on the front row had alot to do with it, but Butch really ran a flawless race to lead all 25 laps.

We went into the Fall Classic weekend (9/26 & 9/27) at McKean County Raceway pretty excited. The last time we had been there, I think it was our third or fourth outing with the car and he picked up a top 10. We have learned so much since then. The schedule for the weekend was the FASTRAK NE Race on Friday and a regular FASTRAK show and $2000 to win Emod show on Saturday. We dodged raindrops pretty much all weekend too.

Butch started his heat on Friday in 5th and finished 2nd (I think). He re-drew the pole for the feature and once he beat Dick Barton into turn 1 on the start, it was all over. He started pulling away as the event went non-stop. I was so nervous the last 6 laps. Madi slept through the whole thing but when I woke her up she was SO excited! She was clapping and laughing. When we got to Victory Lane she laid a big lip lock on Butch and it was so cute! Hopefully I will have some pics to share soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

On to "The Pittsburgher"

Most of this weekend's racing action was washed out, including the FASTRAK Northeast Tour event at Mercer Raceway Park that was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 13th.

That, combined with the previous weekend off allowed the guys to re-group, re-organize and get re-energized for the rest of the big end-of-season shows.

Up next, Butch will be piloting the Wexford Racing, Chuck Neely owned #27 Emod at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway for the UEMS portion of "The Pittsburgher". The team will head down Thursday (9/18) for practice on the big half-mile, as Butch has to work on Friday and will likely not get there in time for hot laps. Friday will see heat race action and Saturday will be the B-mains and Feature.

Our FASTRAK Crate Late Model will stay parked for the weekend - we decided not to spend the money on the tires that we would need to run at Pittsburgh. The next event will be the final FASTRAK Northeast Tour Event of the season at McKean County Speedway on Friday, September 26th. We will follow at up with a regular $750 to win FASTRAK event the very next night (9/27). It will be a busy race weekend as part of the McKean Co. "Fall Classic" as Butch will also compete in the emods on Saturday for a $2000 to win event.

FASTRAK has finally announced that Friendship Speedway in Elkin, North Carolina will host Night #2 of the FASTRAK Grand Nationals. We have our rooms booked - just need to come out of Night #1 at Mercer Raceway Park with a good finish and we will be on our way! More info on the Nationals will be forthcoming.

That's all for now - see you at the track!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We made it through the weekend!

Well, I think it's safe to say that we had a pretty successful weekend at Tri-City Speedway for the Oil Region Labor Day Classic. One of our main goals for the weekend was to make it in to all three feature events and Butch did that in convincing fashion.

On Saturday, he ran a full show with the emod. It was exciting to see him lead the first 8 or so laps of the heat from his first row starting spot. He had to settle for a second place finish but that was good enough to make the pill draw for the first 12 starting spots in the feature. Typical of our luck, he redrew 10th. He ran a solid race in the feature to finish in 10th place. Considering there were over 40 top-notch emod teams there, we were very happy with our performance. The FASTRAK Crate Late Models only ran their heats on Saturday for the $2,000 to win FASTRAK Northeast Tour race. Butch started the heat in 6th place and quickly moved into third, securing himself a top 12 feature starting spot.

On Sunday, the emods ran another full show and Butch charged from him 6th place starting spot in the heat to challenge for the lead, but the leader got too low in turns 3&4 and threw mud onto the track taking Butch's line away. With almost 50 emods on hand, a 3rd place finish in the heat was good enough to make it into the feature with a 14th starting spot. He ran well in the feature and was racing for 10th when another driver made contact with Butch giving him a flat right front tire. Needless to say, Butch was pretty upset. I'm not going to name any names, but apparently there is one driver in particular that just can't stand to get passed by Butch. This is not the first time he had ended our night for us.

The FASTRAK Crate Late Model feature was an exciting one. Butch started in 8th place and was on the move from the drop of the green. At one point he was up to 4th place but as the 30 lap event went on (caution-free) and the got into lapped traffic he eventually dropped back to a 6th place finish. Still, pretty darn good considering the stout competition. We really must congratulate our friend and neighbor Carl McKinney on his first FASTRAK win. He ran a flawless race and I don't know anyone else that is more deserving than him.

We have decided to take a much needed weekend off, although I expect we will end up at a race track somewhere this weekend as spectators - we just can't stay away! Next up for us is a FASTRAK Northeast Tour event at Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday, September 13th. The emods will also be racing there that night, so Butch will pull double duty.

We are still up in the air on running the Pittsburgher at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway. We will definitely run the emod there, but it is doubtful that we will take the crate. While we can run our Goodyear tires for this event, we fear that we would be at a huge disadvantage, and buying 4 new tires for one event just doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now.

I think I have written a book now, so I will leave it at that...see you at the races!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Specials, Specials & More Specials

The season is starting to wind down and it's that time of year for all of the "Special Events". This weekend, we will head to Tri-City Speedway for the Oil Region Labor Day Classic. The FASTRAK Late Models will run for $2000 to win, with heats on Saturday and B-mains & Feature on Sunday. Butch will also compete with the e-mod both days, with complete full shows on Saturday and Sunday, each paying $1000 to win under the UEMS sanction. It's always fun to race when the World of Outlaw Late Models are in town, and this event will be no exception. There is always a huge party and bonfire Saturday night, so as long as Mother Nature cooperates, it should be great!

Butch is heading into the weeked on a high note after finishing 3rd in the FASTRAK Northeast Tour race at Eriez Speedway in our first ever trip there on Sunday, August 24th. It is a career best Tour finish for him, and considering I started him out in a hole by drawing the last pill available for the heat race (#66) that's pretty good. He also put in a strong performance Saturday night at Mercer Raceway Park, charging from his 10th place starting spot to a 5th place finish.

The emod should be back together in time for this weekend's race. We debuted a new engine last week at Tri-City, but a lifter came apart and junked the cam, so the motor had to be pulled this week to be repaired. We hope to have it back tonight.

Points are over at Tri-City and Butch finished in 7th place in both the Emod and the FASTRAK Late Models. That's pretty good considering he missed opening night in the crate and 2 nights in the emod due to engine failures in hot laps. He is currently sitting in 41st in the National FASTRAK Weekly Points but they are a little confusing and he is actually a little higher up than that. Despite only having run a handful of shows at Mercer Raceway Park, he is 1 point out of 10th place. Since we will be running there the rest of the season, he should easily move into the top 10 in points there as well.

That's all for now - have a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I don't know what to do...

these road trips lately have all but killed our racing budget, but it sure has been worth the experience.

This last trip to Eldora was probably the best and the worst. First, we got to do a fundraiser at the local WalMart Supercenter for the Children's Miracle Network. That was very cool to be a part of.

Then we qualified 23rd out of 49 cars - pretty good for a first year FASTRAKer with a low-budget team. The worst was that he didn't even get to make a lap in the heat event because someone got sideways or something and all hell broke loose. Guess who was right in the middle of it? I saw the guy that was above him (how did he get up there if Butch started on the outside??) get sideways, Butch checked up and then got hit. After that, he was a like a ping pong ball! We tried to get the car put back together for the b-main, but to no avail. I was literally begging the official to give us one more parade lap but they threw the green flag just as Butch was pulling to the track entrance, so no dice - Load it up boys, we're going home.

Oh well.

So, the trip only cost us like $2500 with nothing in return - they did not give tow money. I guess that is the price we pay. At least we can say we raced at Eldora! Needless to say, I have two new missions - finish our website redesign, and start looking for sponsors for the 2009 season! If we are going to do this thing right, then we are going to need some serious financial backing.

The next couple of weeks will be the calm before the storm as the regular season winds to an end and the specials start up. We will be at Mercer Raceway Park and Tri-City Speedway this weekend. Next weekend we will be back at Mercer and make our first ever trip to Eriez Speedway for a FASTRAK Northeast event. Labor Day Weekend we will be at Tri-City Speedway all weekend for the Oil Region Labor Day Classic, featuring the World of Outlaw Late Models, emods, stocks and a $2000 to win FASTRAK Northeast Tour race. There is always a monster party there Saturday night too! Should be a fun one, but all it really means is more work for me....more on that later!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Taking the Green!

The lights are out, the flags are up and I have a new blog!

I have lots of things that I think about saying, but don't, ALOT. Here I can, and will, talk about these things. It might have to do with racing or family or work, who knows!

We had a helluva a weekend - packed the whole fam up in the motorhome because Mercer Raceway was having an event in support of the American Cancer Society. Needless to say, we didn't make it far before the motorhome overheated. We sent Butch ahead with the racecar and headed back for home and plan "b". We eventually made it, but the excitement didn't end there. Let's just say the racing was good and we were happy with our finish. I'll have more to add on the night later. As Liz said, we always find new ways to define adventure!

This week I am stoked that we are racing at the famed Eldora Raceway! Yee haw! Let's hope we fare a little better than we did on our last road trip!