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.