Friday, November 14, 2008

ASCS Rocky Mountain Banquet

We had our banquet in Denver which was nice for us only being an hour away. It was at Splitz where we watched the World of Outlaws while hanging out. It was good to catch up with everyone since we had not seen them since September. It was also strange seeing people out of their race gear and in normal clothes, cleaned up.
They also gave out door prizes. We won a hat, a drop work mat that goes under the car, and some tear-offs. Then they took all the names of the top ten drivers and drew their names for high-end prizes. Justin’s name was called first so he chose... a Triple X Axle.. Sweet!

Justin, me and his parents.

The rookies of 2008 including Danielle. You go girl!

Justin getting his trophy.
Link to more photos on the ASCS website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aztec, NM: Last '08 Races

I’ve been meaning to update about our last 2 races of the season. They were at Aztec, NM which also was our second track of the season. What a difference this time around after having many other tracks and experiences under our belts. This is such a great track with professional owners. We got their early on Friday afternoon and set up the rig. Since not too many people were there yet, I let Tazzer run and play ball in the open pits. He had a blast!

The Wolf Parents came out for the weekend to watch their very first sprint races ever. They have been very supportive and have invested in us from the start. It’s been a blessing to have them praying for us and knowing they are excited about this opportunity. The first night they sat in the stands and then on Saturday they hung out in the pits with us.
Friday night was crazy for us. Justin did incredibly well in his heat and would have started at the front row of his main event. But when he got back to our pit stall we discovered that the break caliper was shot. There was no time to fix it and we did not want to risk his safety. Sadly we had to sit out the main event and it was such a bummer because he was doing some of hin best driving ever.
The next day, Justin scrambled to find parts to fix the car. Thankfully we are a part of a series of people that are awesome and so very helpful. Derrick let us borrow the needed parts and we got the car back together just in time. Whew! My parents came to help out and be part of the Shadow Racing crew. Dad helped keep the car clean while mom help organize with me. They were thrilled to be a part of it but were completely overwhelmed. They were shocked at how much work when into everything.

That night we did ok, still having issues with the car. Justin hung with the mid-pack but finished 5th in his main which was one step away from the A main. Bummer! At first we were heavy-hearted but then began to look back at our season. We originally would start at the back of each pack and now Justin confidently competes with the best of them. He has learned so much from the other drivers and the veterans of this sport. Our goal was to finish in the top 10 and he took 9th place out of 36 teams. Starting this season we were fish out of water, struggling to learn, understand the car and complete on a low budget. We are also very thankful to Justin's parents for the help and knowledge Hank has brought to the team.
I think we did great and now we are getting ready for next season. This first run was the learning curve and now we will be a team to keep an eye on. We are excited to start with the knowledge we have gained, the friends we have made and the gifts God has given us.
Go #05!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Casper & Rock Springs, WY

This trip was full of many majestic sunrises and sunsets. Gorgeous!
When we first got to Casper, the track promoter had asked for volunteers to display their cars throughout Casper to stir up interest and bring the fans to the track. We thought this was important for the racing series so agreed and they set us up at a busy intersection in front of one of the sponsor’s businesses.
We passed out flyers and gave away some free tickets. It was fun to talk with some of the fans about the sport, the car and how we got into racing. Many people driving by honked and screamed their racing excitement.

Afterwards, we packed up and headed to the track to set up. Casper Speedway is a half mile track which is the biggest track that we had raced yet. Lots of passing room and long straight-aways which mean super high speeds.

Justin finished 4th in his qualifying heat so he started 16th in the A main. These guys were FLYING around the track and many drivers were wrecking and breaking. Our friend Chad, during his heat, jumped the cushion, rolled twice and flipped over the wall! He walked away from the crash but his car was destroyed and he was done for the weekend.

In our main event, Justin was doing so awesome, moving from 16th place to 6th and gaining! He was even avoiding other wrecks and hanging with the front pack. Then 2 crashes happened in front of him and he had nowhere to go. Hank and I jumped in the Yukon and tore out onto the track to the jumbled cars. Justin yelled at me to run back and find a tire from someone. So I ran all the way across the big track, jumped the fence and asked Todd if we could borrow a tire and wheel. He ran to his pit car, unloaded the wheel and jack while we waited for Justin to be pushed off track. Several guys came over to help remove the back smooshed tire. It took 3 guys to pry the metal off the spine to get to the lug and remove the tire. We were freaking out trying to get it off in time before deadline of the next lap completed. These guys were so great and so helpful but once the tire was off, they noticed that there was a lot more damage that was not fixable at the moment. Bummer!

The back right wheel and tire were completely destroyed and bent beyond recognition. Smashed wheel and wing.
He was out for that race but was able to try the next day in Rock Springs. They were able to piece the car back together for the next race. Justin just finished 11th on the last lap of the race just as the car died and had to be pushed off track. We thought that we had blown the entire engine and were really worried. But after we got home, we found that the magneto in the engine was broken. We now know that it was strong angels that protected him and held his car together. After taking the car apart to find out how much damage was done, we were in complete shock. Our first reaction during this weekend was frustration and upset because we were so close to finishing in the top 5 only to be stopped and broken. But the more we looked into the car, the more we found. 3 of the 4 gas tank mounts were completely broken, the bird cage mounts were cracked, the wing holders cracked plus the wing itself had been taped together by Justin's dad to get us through and much more.

We are now ready for Aztec and are using this opportunity for God to shine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hollywood Hills, NM: Round #2

We headed out after work on Thursday night and stayed at one of our favorite RV Parks in Raton, NM. It was gorgeous night with a full moon. The next morning we headed out and met up with Justin’s family at the Hollywood Hills track. His brother had flown out from DC to hang out with us for the weekend. His sister was also there and we were looking forward to the race. This is the most comfortable Justin has been since we have raced at this track before.
It was a nice day as we set up and got the car out. We all chipped in getting everything ready. We noticed the clouds start coming in and when Justin got ready to do his mud laps, the skies opened up. The track turned instantly to mud soup and as soon as Justin drove out onto the track, he slid down into the middle and had to be pushed off track. Meanwhile the rest of us hightailed it back to the rig since the rain was coming down, drenching everything. I was grabbing stuff we had left out and trying to cover the rest in tarps. Tazzer and I were soaked in seconds! We waited for things to clear and they finally sent everyone out for their heat races. Justin pulled outside pole and was doing awesome! All of the sudden he started dropping to the back of the pack. When he came in I was shocked to see him covered from head to toe in thick mud. You could not see the color of his helmet or car. He told us that half way through his heat, a mud glob attached itself to the side if his helmet so when he went to grab a tear-off, ALL of them came off in one shot. Ugh! So half the heat, he was blind eventually having to shove his visor up and wiping the mud from his eyes. Scary stuff!
We all worked like crazy to get the mud off the car, tires and Justin. It was so thick and sticky. We scraped, dug and clawed off the mud. When he went out for his main event, he ran out of tear-offs thanks to all the mud. Needless to say, it was very frustration because we are finally understanding how to set up the car. Plus Justin is really getting a hang of driving and trusting that the car is going to do what it was built to do. So it was a very wet and muddy night. The next day our friends Brandon and Karla showed up to help out and encourage us. While the guys took the car to the carwash, Tazzer and I hung out with Karla. We then met them at the track and set up lunch for them. It was a beautiful morning but just like the day before, the clouds came in and unleashed on us. The ez-up protected the guys while they worked on the car but there was so much rain that it flooded the grounds. We all cramed into the rig and waited for a clearing. It finally stopped raining but by this time it was too late for the track. The officials decided to cancel the race so that we would not have to endure another muddy, miserable night of racing.
So we packed up, headed back to the hotel and then a group of us went to Albuquerque for dinner. It was nice to relax with friends but a bummer to not race after everyone came in to see us.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

North Platte Nebraska

Justin’s good friend Tim and his family live 10 minutes from this track so they invited us to stay with them. We had such a good time hanging with them out plus Tim and his dad are drivers themselves. Both have raced all sorts of race cars but sprints are one of their favorites. So their knowledge and help was so very appreciated.

Tim also is a professional photographer and owns Tim O’Neill Studios. It was so cool to have him at the track with us as he took many incredible photos for us. The following photos were all gifted to us from us. Thanks Tim!

This track was very flat with just a slight bank to it. It was really dry which resulted in many spin outs and people driving off-road. This also created a lot of dust and made it hard to see in some turns. But Justin says that this is the best his car has handled and was thrilled to be able to get on it and actually challenge himself and the car.

Justin right after a spin out. Thankfully he didn’t hit this guy who spun out first. It was great to see J right in the action and getting aggressive for positions.

Tim set it up for me to ride with one of the push cars. I had a blast!! This also allowed for me to hangout in the middle of the track since the push cars waited there until needed. When a car spun out or people had to stop under a caution it was our job to get everyone going again. The car I was in always beeline it for Justin. I would then get to encourage Justin and sometimes rock the car into gear. Here I am all ready to push J out for his heat.

Justin and his dad walking the track. Such a great photo!

Justin talking to Bob, who is a sprint car veteran. He has gained great knowledge and information from these guys and is thrilled to be driving next to some of these pros. Bob also taught Justin a valuable lesson while on the track about holding his position and not giving up his spot. This photo also shows me and Tazzer hanging with other drivers and crew. They all love Tazzer!

When the track was ready to get the Sprints out for their main event they had all the drivers sign a Frisbee. They then threw them into the crowd and if you had the Frisbee of the winning driver, you won some money. Cool!

Justin and Chad during their heat. Go guys!!

Getting ready for the heat and then the main event.

Receiving some encouragement and advice.

After the race. Tired but excited about the day. We are now 9th in points and ready for Hollywood Hills!

Friday, August 1, 2008

An Update from Justin

Hey fellow race fans this is the one and only Justin Wolf Medlock. I figured it would be a treat for everyone to hear about the racing from the drivers seat. This season has been a total learning curve. As many of you know, I raced 10-horse power go-karts for about 8 years and made the transition into a 700 horsepower sprint car. The first couple races of the season took some getting used to. The amount of horsepower is helpful and tricky at the same time. I’ve learned throughout the season how to use the horsepower to get me through the corners and how throttle control can advance me down the straight-aways without spinning my tires. Each race I’ve become more confident in myself and the other racecar drivers.

I am looking forward to the second half of the season. We are 9th in points, which is a huge confidence booster! I am more aware of how my car reacts on different racetracks now. We have raced all of the tracks on our circuit except one in Casper and I am looking forward to returning to all of them with gained knowledge. My goal is to stay in the top 10 in points for the rest of the season. I also want to finish in every A Main.

The last track we were at (which April will soon post photos from) was North Platte Nebraska. I felt the most comfortable in the car than I ever have. My dad had the car set up perfect. I started the A Main middle of the pack turning 17-second laps and half way through I advanced to the 13th position turning 13-second laps. It finally clicked…I can do this job! It was also very helpful having 2 sprint car veterans helping pit for us. My good friend Tim and his dad Bob were a huge encouragement and believed in me more than I believed in myself. I left N. Platte with a new outlook on the rest of the season. I am going to being more aggressive on the track in order to advance in points.
Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers.

Great big thanks to Tim for his amazing photography and artistic skills. We now have trader cards! These are a huge hit with the kids and race fans at the track. Check them out!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hollywood Hills, NM

We left in Thursday night (6/26) and headed to Raton, NM. We’ve discovered that leaving the night before and going half way is so much healthier and less stressful. We stayed at a wonderful little resort called Ceder Rail. It was a peaceful little place which allowed us to relax and enjoy the morning.

We also practiced with Tazzer’s new Mutt Muffs which he got the hang of pretty fast. Thank goodness for hand commands. He’s looks so funny!

The drive to the speedway was smooth. This has probably been the easiest trip so far since there were no major passes to stress out the truck and Justin. When we got to Hollywood Hills Speedway we were amazed at how professional the track was. They even had concrete pit stalls complete with power. Awesome!! The stands were huge, the bathrooms nice (no porto potties! Ya!), and the track officials were really on top of their game. There was even a casino next to the track. The night was gorgeous with an amazing sunset. Justin did incredible! He learned how to off-road in the car when he got bumped from behind. He took 5th in his B event which was such a bummer because they only took the top 4 to the A event. If he would have had just a few more laps he could have caught the forth place guy because his car was hooked up! But he had a chance to really push the car and had it completely floored. Sweet!
The next day we set to cleaning up the car. It was pretty muddy from the night before so Justin’s mom and I got out the sponges. It started out as a hot day so we put up the ez-up and the guys got to work on the car.

Our good buddies Karla and Brandon came down to for the weekend to watch the races and help out. We are so thankful for these dear friends who mean so much to us. Brandon’s strength came in handy when Justin had problems getting a bent wheel part off. And Karla volunteered to take me to the store so we could get lunch. God has blessed us with great friends! We had a professional photographer take a photo of Tazzer in his Mutt Muffs so we could submit it to their website. I had him get up on the sprint car tire and wave to the camera. Everyone was amazed at his obedience but little do they know…he’ll do anything for a cheeto. ;o)
That night it was very windy with intermittent rain. Not a fun way to race. Ugh! The races still went on and we had to fight the elements, which was a little new to us. Everyone had dirt in their eyes, ears and nose. I dug out my dirt goggles. But after much prayer and hope, when Justin went out for his heat, the wind finally died down. Whew! Justin placed 11th in his feature after surviving some bumps and aggressive drivers. Some of the drivers were out for blood and it showed in the A event when half the field either crashed or dropped out from something breaking or not working right.