Friday – Hays, Kansas
It was great to be back on the road again with Justin’s parents and Justin’s brother Nick flew out to help us kick off the season. This was our maiden voyage in “Redemption Rig”. The drive to Hays went smoothly although the headwind added an extra hour to our trip. The travel was surprisingly comfortable and allowed us to drive longer distances with the large fuel tanks.
We arrived at the race track and got settled in to our pit stall. It was thrilling to meet up with Billy Jack and Cathy after a year and a half of rebuilding! We also saw several other drivers from past seasons that were completely shocked to see us and hear our story. After we got the car fired up and went out for mud packing, a giant storm came in and sent everyone running for their trailers. It was a blessing to experience the new tall trailer being able to roll the race car quickly inside with the wing on. After a second try at getting cars back out, mother nature won and the night was called.
Saturday – Jetmore, Kansas
We headed to Jetmore to catch the local town Memorial Day parade. On the way there, we discovered that a tornado had touched down just a few miles outside of where we were the night before. Buildings and cars were scattered and we realized how fortunate we were. The tiny of Jetmore went all out for the Sprint car event including them in the parade along with the military and local businesses.
At Jetmore Motorplex the wind was raging none-stop. This race was our very first National Tour event which hosted many of the world’s best sprint car drivers…basically Nascar on dirt. We quickly got back into race mode and enjoyed the spacious trailer and April loved having the atv to zip around the giant pits and push Justin to staging. April’s mom, Aunt and niece came out from Colorado to show their support and cheer us on.
Justin was in the first heat and for his very first time being back on the track, he pulled the coveted inside pole position! Cool but crazy for just getting back into things. Learning the brand new race car and fighting the high winds was a huge challenge but he was thrilled to be back in the car. He placed 5th out of 8 guys. He missed the transfer to the A main by one spot but had a good starting position for the B main. Starting mid-row gave him a jolt when 4 cars shot for the same opening but he stayed on it and coasted out without any upsets. Two laps in and hauling…the coil wire broke and sent him to the infield to sadly watch the rest of the race.
After making sure that the car was working again, we were ready for another night of racing. In his heat race he was doing well but got a little too aggressive fighting the wind tunnel in turn 3 and spun out with two laps to go. The biggest disappointment of the weekend was the pit set up with no loud speakers for announcements and the lack of communication from the division leader. We were so far away from the staging area that it was hard to know what was going on and we missed the B main since we got down there too late. All and all it was a great first time out and exciting to be doing this when we never knew if we’d get this opportunity again. We were honored to be racing with some of the most talented drivers in the country and Justin looks forward to many more nights on the dirt with them.
Special thanks to God for keeping everyone safe and allowing us this opportunity. To Billy & Cathy continued support and friendship. To Nick for his support of my dream. To Mom & Dad for not giving up and believing in this team! And to all of our many friends and family members who have stood by us and pray for us. And to everyone who supported us through the silent auction. We love you guys!