5th Place! Wow, what a day. A very tough day at that. Everyone at the track battled the heat fans included! I saw thermometers at 109 degrees and the track temp must have been at least 120. I know we were all suffering from the heat when we were fully geared up in our race suits. Brutal! Lots and Lots of water.
Other than the heat, we were battling some other issues. We had a constant radio communication problems throughout the whole day. Practice session 1 the car was still a little tight so after the session we made some adjustments to loosen her up and slapped on a new set of tires in hopes by practice session 2 we could get the car dialed in. We ended up missing the 2nd session, we were rushing to get the radios to work with no luck and we missed our window to practice and did not get the chance to fully dial in the car. Next up came Qualifying, still no radio communication but we didn’t need it at this point just to qualify. I ended up qualifying last but we were able to make the adjustments we needed that we missed during the 2nd practice session.
Before the main event we had a heat race. For those that don’t know, a heat race is a short 8-12 lap race, broken into groups of those racing in that class…Kind of like a warm race and quick action. During the heat race my front right tire had a huge amount of tire rube, so bad that if I was to make another lap or two, I may have had a tire blow out and could have ended up into the wall… Luckily, the heat race is never our main focus as our priority is always the main event and this gave us the opportunity to identify the problem and make the adjustments by replacing the tire with less of a stagger and adding a wheel spacer….
Main Event time! Stands pack now, energy to the max and hotter than a fire pit and I’m starting at the very back. We were able to able to get the radios working briefly, but after 10 laps or so we ran into the same issue, no communication. I decided to keep going and just hold my line and do my own race. At this point it’s very hard to compete when you have no eyes or ears. With 77 laps to go a red flag came into play when a couple cars were involved in a wreck, one flipped over, everyone was okay. We sat on the track for a good 20 minutes while the crews clean up the track. This is when the heat really starting affecting me and I’m sure every driver was feeling the same pain. It’s 120 something on the track and we are in multiple layered racing suits, head socks and strapped tight into the car with no air flow. Once we got moving it again it wasn’t so bad, but once you overheat you are in for a rough ride. When we went under caution after the red flag, I decided to get into to the pits and make another attempt at getting the radios fixed, no luck and I lost 4 laps as they went green in the process. I made the decision to just go for it, I came all this way, and I’m not giving up. The race goes on and eventually I see 15 laps to go and I am bumper to bumper with the 08 car and exhausted from the heat with cold chills. I give him a few bumps to let him know I was right behind him and I made an attempt to pass, but now at 5 laps to go, the smartest thing to do is, just finish the race in one piece, it has been a long day, bumper to bumper, the killer heat and we were almost done, and we finished the race side by side…Finished the race in 5th place, a great victory with the challenges that were against me and with only having a few NASCAR races under my belt.
After the race the fans charged the pits, I was burnt out, dehydrated on the verge of passing out. I went straight to the truck, removed my race suit and had the AC on blast. It took a good 30 minutes to recuperate and started to hydrate myself…After the 30 minutes of sitting in the truck I was urged that there are fans that have been waiting for me since I got into the pits. I dressed back up and went to their attention. NASCAR fans are the best. I love their dedication and how they patiently waited for me. What a day! Special thanks to my crew Kent, David, Dylan, Melissa and to Meridian Speedway. Getting a few pat on the backs from the NASCAR officials, the fans, my wife and friends really gives you the energy and motivation to keep working harder and harder.
Next up race, NASCAR K&N Pro Series @ Evergreen Speedway in Washington. Don’t miss it on NBC Sports Network.
HUGE Shout out to all my sponsors that make my racing possible! Hubble Foundation, Sentry Studios, Hemirace.com, Signarama, Georgia Garage and my newest addition Infinite Wireless! All my Teammates for the non-stop practicing and Patriot Motorsports Group!