Saturday, August 13, 2016

7/5-6/2016 – 305 - Loving A Race Car Driver

On August 5th, we raced in Holyoke, CO. Some of April‘s family have a farm near Holyoke so they made it out to the race and had their first adventure in sprint car racing.

Justin started out the main feature fighting through traffic. After that, he was on a rocket mission! He was a full straightaway behind the race leader but he was able to chase him down! Each lap he gained on the red 17. Justin was super smooth and screaming fast! They both eventually caught lap traffic and had to split around a lap car...Justin went high and the lap car jerked up, crashing into Justin, catching the left front of the 05. Thankfully Justin kept the car from flipping the wall and getting thrown upside down but they started him at the back with only a couple laps to go. 
We were extremely frustrated knowing that he had this race won as he was the fastest car out there. But it was a blast to watch him rip it up! We tried again the next night in Ft. Morgan but missed the set up. Justin had to battle through the back pack but the track was super greasy so he was not able to make it happen.

Our hearts are heavy for Bryan Clauson’s family as they deal with losing him in a horrific midget crash. He was a legend in the world of racing and the community grieves for him.
Some thoughts from April..
Loving a race car driver is an experience that many people will never understand. Big dreams come with extreme highs and massive lows, with much thrills and much loss. There are times of great excitement, heart pounding moments full of celebration and so much fun. There are also times of frustrations, brokenness and lost hope. Sprint car racing specifically is always right on the edge of disaster or success. 
I knew that when I married Justin that I would be in for an adventurous journey and I would also be marrying into the racing world and needed to be fully committed. I decided that I was not going to sit at home while he traveled to tracks so I made a commitment to learn about racing and fully support him. I became his PR person and eventually learned how to help in the pits and drive the push rzr. His dreams soon became mingled with mine and I found myself passionate about the sport and chase his dreams by his side instead of following behind.  
I absolutely love it and I also hate it.
Growing up with brothers, I am naturally competitive but more than that, I am protective. Dirt racing is scary and every race makes my guts hurt, my teeth grind and my heart beat out of my chest.
It scares me every time that Justin gets in to a race car but I refuse to live in that fear. Every day things can harm us, freak accidents can happen and even daily driving (as we know) can almost kill you. We can't allow that fear to control or consume us or we will never do anything outside of our comfort zone nor will we go after dreams that God has placed in our hearts. I tend to get all twisted up before a race weekend and have to lay my worries down and give each one to God.  Each preparation, each sponsor, each dollar, each trip, each mile,  each and every time Justin straps into the race car… is fully covered in prayers. Crazy things still happen but with each one, we become stronger, learn new things and give God glory through each lap.
We are on this journey together, through the bumpy tracks and the through the checkered flags.
My heart goes out to the Clauson family and Bryan’s fiancĂ© and even his beloved doggies for even though they knew the risk of loving a race car driver, they never imagined or could be prepared for something so tragic. 
By his side

Friday, August 5, 2016

7/30/16 – Colorado Motorsports Park – 305 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Covered in mud!

After a few weeks off, we headed back to Byers for the weekend. It felt great to get back in the car again and meet up with friends. We also enjoyed having a pit crew including our friends Brandon and Iustin along with April’s nephew.

We’d like to announce Brandon Leathers as the new newest member of our team who is in charge of Shadow Racing Team Motorsports Marketing program. He has been supportive of Justin’s dream since the beginning and is a prayer warrior that we welcome with open arms.
Welcome Brandon!

This race was the first official URSS National Tour race that we took part in and we have to say that we appreciated the professionalism of the Rick Salem and his crew. 24 cars checked into this race and Justin was in the second heat. Justin knew that he would have his work cut out for him, starting second row outside and knowing that these guys were extremely competitive but looked forward to the challenge. Justin was patiently aggressive and pulled off a solid 3rd which gave him enough passing points to make the A main feature. This was a major accomplishment as the track conditions were challenging and there were many heavy hitters in his heat.

Stretching it out

After gaining some knowledge from watching the B feature, the team made adjustments accordingly and then got Justin saddled up. He started second row, inside and was off to a great start for the 30 lap feature. Many drivers were overly aggressive which caused Justin to stay on his game, having to avoid several near misses of disaster. After restarting after a red flag…on the restart, heading into turn 1, full throttle, a very large rock jammed itself under Justin’s gas pedal!  He managed to keep the car off the wall but lost several car positions while trying to remove the rock with his foot while maintaining high speeds to avoid being rear-ended. So we were content with the 10th place finish after surviving what could have become a very bad situation.

We are looking forward to the BST weekend ahead with 2 nights of racing. Thanks to everyone for your support and following this journey with us as we chase this God given dream.

Fun video that our friend Iustin took while riding along in the push rzr after the red flag. Cool view of what the track looks like and a neat feel with the sprints passing by us. Thanks to Iustin for the great photos and videos!
305 Sprint Car - Push RZR Ride-A-Long