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Race 18 - September 14, 2002 - Ventura Raceway - Final, final 2002 Race!

I woke up saturday thinking we were going to win this race. I hoped the track would stay tacky and we would be set-up perfect for it. When we got to Ventura it was cold and foggy. Perfect for the track. I qualified the car to the best starting spot I could get as a first time in 2002 racer at Ventura. I could feel the win in our parade lap. The green flag flew, cars starting wadding up in turn one, and I got caught in it. Most of the damage came from the cars behind me. The body was basically destroyed, and the spindle arms were so bent the front wheels had 8" of toe-out. Since the corner workers had to pull on the body panels, they stuck me in the back of the pack for the restart. I figured that's where I'd be with the front-end so messed up anyway. The green came out again and the car took off. It wouldn't go down the straights, into the turns or out of the turns, but everywhere else it handled great. Within 4 laps I was up into 4th place. Then turn one happened again. This time they kicked me off the track for being 'involved' in 2 incidents even though they weren't my fault. I guess next time I'll know to just drive through all the crashes. Thanks to Chuck & Paula for almost getting us a win.

Race 17 - September 7, 2002 - Final 2002 Race!

Chuck and I put the sticky tires on the back for this open race. We also tweaked the chassis in a little better. The pretzle shape it took on during race 15 didn't seem to help it much. When we got on the track the car was really hooked. The track was so tacky it was bogging down the motor. I guess we need to work on an open show motor for next year. My little claimers don't cut it. In the heat I felt like I was going faster than I ever had. I was. Unfortunately everyone else was going fast too. We left everything the way it was for the main. The car was hooked and fast in the main, but a little underpowered. I was bogging off the turns. I only managed 5800 rpm when I usually get near 7000. Everything was going ok, we were running midpack and moving forward as cars fell out. Then some nimrod decided he couldn't pass me so he'd try to drive over me. He ruined a brand new $100 tire and sent me off the track for a spare. I got back on the track several laps down and 2 cars behind the nimrod. The spare really worked well and I was faster and catching him. The car was flying but had a horrible howling noise. As I was about to catch nimrod, he made a mistake and I flew by him so fast I didn't have time to wave goodbye. A yellow came out and they threw the red for our mid-race fuel stop. When I got out, the car smelled like it was burning up. Looking underneath I could see the gear oil pouring out of the rear-end. Our season ended on the wreckers hook, but we were fast all year and ended up bringing home 4th in the points. Not too bad for an old, heavy car and 2nd year crew and driver. Thanks to Chuck, Robert & Paula for the entire season.

Race 16 - August 31, 2002

Most of the noises we thought were coming from the motor were actually coming from the transmission. Jim called that one. Chuck and I changed out the trans Saturday morning and headed to the track. We didn't pull the car off the trailer until they called us for our heat. We got a lot of strange looks. I guess we confused everyone. During the heat the car just wouldn't hook up. The main was pretty much the same. The borrowed right rear tire just didn't seem to work. We held on as much as possible and got 6th. Thanks to Chuck, Robert & Paula for all the help.

Race 15 - August 24, 2002

The overheating ended up being a pin hole in the radiator. We put the old, previously damaged, motor back in. Aside from making horrible noises, blowing oil everywhere and smoking like an addict, it ran great. We started in the 14th position and were in the top 5 by the beginning of the 2nd lap. A car nailed me from the side and pitched my car into the air while flatting the right rear. It was a bit slippery since the track was dry slick and all the oil was coming from the motor and spilling onto the flat right rear. About halfway through the race I was blackflagged, but since I didn't know if it was for the smoke, the flat, or the rough driving of nearby competitors, I decided to go around slow and see if I got the flag again. I didn't so I stayed out. I did lose one position to the guy I was battling with. On the last lap I had to avoid a spinner and another car got around me. We got 5th for the night and moved into 4th in points. Thanks to Chuck, Robert, Paula and Dave for all the help.

Race 14 - August 10, 2002

The new motor ran great... in hot laps. It overheated in the heat. We jetted it up and it seemed to run fine until we got back on the track. I had to pull off the track track before the race started to see if we could do anything. It wouldn't run, was coughing and sputtering, and overheating. We drove around the outside groove for most of the race and got 13th in the race. We stayed pretty good in the points only losing one spot. Next race should be better. Thanks to Robert, Jim and Paula for all the help.

Race 13 - July 27, 2002

This race was going pretty good. We were running strong in the top 5. About 2/3 into the race the motor decided I had abused it way too much and lost power and overheated. I salvaged a 10th place but by the time the car got to the trailer it was 'hot and knockin'. Thanks for the help Robert and Paula.

Race 12 - July 20, 2002

No power steering in hot laps and I couldn't drive the car at all. I told the crew that we had to get it fixed or kiss off the night. Robert jumped right in and changed the steering pump. No change, so he dug in and change the steering box. That worked and we went out and had a decent heat. The main was pretty rough. First I was spun out from the car behind me in turn 2. I got my spot back and we kept going. Then I got spun going into turn 1. Again I got the spot back but this time there were no brakes. I milked the car around the track and ended up in 6th place. Thanks Robert, Paula, Chuck and Dave.

Race 11 - June 29, 2002

Maybe a $35 head gasket will seal the cracked head. The $5 gasket sure didn't work. The car was running good in hot laps until the end when it overheated again. Robert and Chuck refilled the radiator, tryed to make sure the system had no air in it, and we went out for our heat. We got 2nd behind Gary and that put us outside front row for the start of the main. Starting in front is nice because you get to avoid all the 1st turn accidents. We took the lead on the 2nd lap. A few of the fast, newer cars got by eventually and we ended up in 4th place. So far we have top 5's in every race we've finished. Now we just need a few top 1's. Thanks Robert, Paula, Chuck and Dave.

Race 10 - June 22, 2002

Maybe the cracked heads aren't as good as I thought. The motor got hot during hot laps. We jetted up and ran hot in the heat. After checking everything out and adding water we cooked the motor to 260 in the main and had to pull off. We later discovered the head gasket was bad in the area of the crack in the head. Thanks Chuck, Robert, Paula and Dave.

Race 9 - June 8, 2002

We put some cracked heads on the car. They are the only heads I had left. They seem to work great even though they still leak after the plumbers paste and Alumiseal. The heat started strange with the flagman never throwing the flag. After 2 false starts it was me and Jim on the front row. Finally we got started and I tried to pass Jim on the outside. We rubbed a little but I couldn't make it work. After another restart I went down low and made the pass for the lead. Now that I had clear sailing I was waiting for the checkered. I could hear cars behind me and was trying as hard as I could to keep the lead. Finally the white flag came out and I ran a slightly different line to throw off anyone behind me. It must have worked because our team finally got it's firts heat win. I was hoping to keep the streak going into the main but a spinner took me out and totally thrashed the car. We have a lot of work and expense to get ready in 2 weeks. Thanks Paula, Chuck, Robert and Dave.

Race 8 - June 1, 2002

New Engine + Old heads = Bad combination. About 3 laps into the heat the motor lost all power and started making noise. After getting it back to the pits we discovered it broke 3 pushrods. We replaced the pushrods and started the main in the back. As soon as the green flag dropped, so did more pushrods. We milked the car around the track for 20 laps for a 5th place. Thanks Chuck, Paula and Robert.

Race 7 - May 11, 2002

With a new beadlock, tire and carburetor I thought our car problems would be over. Wrong again. The chassis was really starting to hook-up too. About halfway through the race the old Black Widow decided she had enough. I guess 16 races was too much for a bunch of old used, stock parts thrown together, although Dave Brunson did an awesome job with what he had to work with. From what it looks like the harmonic balancer broke and took the crank with it. The crank decided to take the block, pistons, rods, geardrive, etc. We should have our primary motor back by the next time we race. Thanks Chuck, Paula and Dale.

Race 6 - May 4, 2002

The new carburetor worked great. Too bad we flatted a right rear when the green flag came out. After the leaders lapped me, and Ronny blackflagged me, we changed the tire but lost 6 laps in the process. We would have been in contention if we stayed on the lead lap. The race was a 50 lap (2-25's) feature event and Chuck and Robert were there to fuel the car and bring me water and tearoffs. Paula made a great lunch and did a superb job of videotaping the race.

Race 5 - April 20, 2002

If it's not one problem, it's something else. The car felt great in hot laps until a transmission line came loose. No problem, a wrench and a quart of fluid and we were ready for the heat race. We decided to adjust the carburetor becuase it was spitting fuel. Everything seemed great until the green flag came out and the car fell flat on it's face right at the flag stand. Rick C. had nowhere to go so he just drove over the top. I went off the track and went back on to try to get a feel for what was going on. Same thing so I brought it in. At the time it felt like the carb was running out of fuel. We tryed to get the adjustment back to where it was before the heat, but there is some problem in the floats. Luckily??? we started on the last row of the main. Green flag, carb problem, yellow flag. I took the car to the hot lane where Chuck, Robert and Dale got the hood off and Chuck adjusted the float level up. I got back on the track right in front of the leaders of the the lead lap. I went about a lap and a half and decided it wasn't safe so I brought the car back in. Luckily another yellow came out and after Chuck adjusted the floats up again, we got back out on the lead lap again. Now the carb only worked on full throttle. Combined with the dry, slick track we had, the car was a handful. After seeing that I was running at least as fast as the cars in front of me, and leaders didn't seem to be catching me, I decided to stay out and try to hang on. We ended up 11th out of 21 starters. Next race is a 50 lapper. Hopefully this race will run smoother than they have been. Chuck, Robert and Dale did an awesome job in the pits. Paula did a great job with pre-race prep and videotaping.

April 13, 2002

Now that we're starting to work some of the bugs out I have to figure out how to stay away from some of the inexperienced drivers. I thought I was pretty good at accident avoidance, but they seem to be coming after me. After taking the lead on the first lap of my heat from 5th starting position, one of the new guys took me out big. Cut the tire off the rim and ripped off the passenger door and nerf. After changing the tire and bailing wiring the door back on the car, we had to start 13th in the main. In about 2 laps we were in 6th and people started crashing again. This time the left rear tire went down and the car was a handful to drive. I finally got a yellow flag and went to the pits. Robert and Chuck did an awesome job and got me back out on the lead lap. Then as a car was spinning in front of me and I was slowing and turning away from the spinning car, someone nailed me from the rear and sent me over the spinning car into the infield. This bent the right rear enough to cause another flat a few laps later. Chuck and Robert changed the tire great again, but the starter wire had pulled out in the accident and we couldn't get the car started again. We learned a few things. Next week will be much better. I love you Paula, thanks for the cookies and the videotaping.

March 30, 2002

Well, the season has started with a bunch of bugs again. The motor just doesn't seem to want to work properly. We'll get that fixed though. The race was mostly just holding on and hoping the motor stayed in one piece. It did. Then about 4 laps from the end the right rear suspension broke. Luckily we held on to our 5th spot. A DQ later moved us up to 4th. The suspension will be easy to fix. If we don't get the motor worked out, there is always the old backup motor. Paula did a wonderful job getting the crew and me ready for the race and she did her usual great job of videotaping as well as her pit support. That's why I love her so much! Thanks Chuck and Robert for the help. Thanks B&R Graphics for the decals.

March 16, 2002

The day started bad, and proceded to get worse. We couldn't get the car started for anything. It took Chuck, Dale and I two hours to get it started. I finally had to choke it by hand while Dale hit the starter and Chuck stood by to put out the fire. That seemed to be the beginning of our problems. We had no fuel pressure at the track. Hot Laps confirmed it. Robert changed the fuel pump. No better. So we bought a $135 fuel pump at the track and Robert installed it. We tryed to run our heat. Still no change. I pulled off the track in last place when the leader started to catch up to me. Thinking there may be an air leak or air bubble we bypassed the fuel filter and that finally solved the problem. Now we had the problem of way too much fuel pressure. My car does not like Big Garbage fuel pumps. We started in dead last in the main out of 23 cars. By turn one we passed 5 or 6 cars. Then we got hooked with a very unlucky car. We both drove into the wall and the wrecker had to lift my car off his. The front was toed-out about 1" but no big deal. So we restarted in the back again. We were passing cars pretty good until about halfway when Bill and I got together in turn 3. The scorers put me back in my position, but the officials decided to put me in the back, again. Back on the gas, passing cars, passing crashes, and when all was said and done, we ended up 5th. Not too bad considering I wasn't sure if we would be able to run at all. The new transmission worked great. Chuck and Robert did another outstanding job. Dale helped some. Maybe when we get all the bugs worked out, we'll go even better.

March 2, 2002

We started the season with a bang again this year. Unfortunately it was the transmission. We had a 26 car field and I was running around 5th halfway through the main when the car just stopped going forward. It ended up being a broken input shaft. We'll get it back together and try again in 2 weeks. Thanks Chuck and Robert for the help. Thanks Rusty's for the great pizza!

2001 News

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