BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Nov 28, 2022) – For those of you that have been following this “dirt program” of ours, you’ll remember that we went to The Gobbler at Boyd’s Speedway in 2021. It was only our second race in this car and unfortunately we “missed the show” by one position but it might have well been by a mile as we had to watch the Feature Race from the sidelines. Going back this year, we now have a good many races under our belt and our results were much better.
Having not seen Boyd’s Speedway since last year, I was more than a bit concerned about not getting much practice. As it turned out, we my thoughts were justified as the promoters had agreed to run so many different classes, that there simply wasn’t enough time in the schedule to allow for any practice at all.
So after taking a quick look at the track, I buckled into my Torco USA / JCM Motorsports #19m Rocket XR1 and rolled onto the track for 4-laps of Qualifying. We knew we were “rolling the dice” a bit as thanks to a missed-delivered part, we were running with a bent Right-Front Suspension and trying out a completely new shock and spring combination thanks to our friend Brian Green and the quick-acting guys at Integra Shocks.
As it turned out, our car wasn’t too bad and while we clocked-in in the 23rd (of 31 cars) position, even though we were only 6/10’s of a second off Pole so it was encouraging. This would line us up 7th on the Grid for our Heat race and going in, we knew that only the Top-7 would advance to the Feature Race.
For the Heat, I managed to clear one-car at the start and then looked for opportunities to move up. The track was already becoming very “bottom dominant” so everyone was being very careful.. I considered trying a run on the outside but there just wasn’t enough grip up there so I held my ground a safely secured my spot in the Feature.
As one could expect, the Feature was pretty aggressive and starting back in the 22nd position, I could see cars bouncing off of one another all the way up to the front. The track had become even more “bottom dominant” and everyone was stacking up on the inside. With my friend Jason Davis running just in front of me, I looked for a clean & decisive way by him so as to not have one of those “uncomfortable conversations” after the race. Just short of midway in the race, with another car beating on my rear bumper, I saw an opportunity to get by Jason’s #52 going into Turn-1.
Now for those of you that have never driven one of these enormous Dirt Late Models, know that when you’re right in behind someone, you really can’t see past the back of their car because these cars are so wide and so tall. I say this because, unbeknownst to me, right when I was making a run down Jason’s inside, another car was to Jason’s outside getting pinned-up against the wall by a car that he was trying to pass.
So there we all were, on the very-narrow Front Straight at Boyd’s Speedway and we were going 4-wide! Not the best scenario is a pretty major understatement to be honest. As the two cars on the outside began to crash into the wall and each other, Jason turned his car dead-left to avoid them as they were trying their best to embed themselves into the outside wall.
At this exact second, I was now up Jason’s inside and his car was completely blocking the mayhem that was going on to his right. All I was thinking about was, “get the power down nice and smoothly” so I could draw far enough up to his inside that he would see me before the next corner and give me just enough room to get by without us crashing into each other. To me, in this moment, this was a really good idea. Little did I know that 1) Jason was about to crank his steering wheel my direction to avoid the ensuing wreck (that I couldn’t see was happening). 2) Because his attention was understandably pointed elsewhere, he had no idea that I was not only alongside him but I was actually nearly completely by him.
Thinking I was in the clear, my eyes were now completely fixed down to the inside of Turn-1. As I got just past the Start/Finish Line I got a massive-slam into the right-side of my car. As I was gathering up my car and trying my best to prevent it from spinning out, I couldn’t understand what had just happened. I mean, I was sure I gave Jason enough room… Didn’t I? As I made it down into Turn-1 the Caution Lights came out and the Race Director called for everyone to stop asap as the track was completely blocked on the Front Stretch.
Everyone slowed going down the Back-Straight I really had a bad feeling, that after Jason had bounced off of me, he had lost control and piled the field up. I might be “that guy” and had just caused a big crash…. As I turned my car very sheepishly through Turn-3, I scanned the piled-up cars for Jason’s #52. Luckily he wasn’t sitting there on top of another car like some others were and I thereby assumed he was behind me… but now maybe really mad. That I would have to put aside for now and know that he and I would have “a talk” later.
When the race got going again, I took the opportunities as they presented themselves. Our Torco Racing Lubricants- 19m was too-snug to be good around the bottom of the track and there simply wasn’t any good dirt up on top to allow you to try making it by someone going the long-way around. That’s the thing with these “Crate Cars”, because they don’t have the power of the Super Late Models, for the most part, you just can’t build up enough momentum on the outside to get by good cars.
So making moves when I could, by the end, we found ourselves in 17th place and thanks to the aforementioned excitement, we exited the track with only a pretty-well caved-in right-side. Again, not the finish that I was hoping for but considering we didn’t even make the Feature here last year, I felt like we held our own and improved in what was a tough field of cars.
After the race, I got the race rundown from my crew and I was relieved to find out that I had not caused my friend Jason to get it the “big wreck”. With that great bit of information in hand, I set off to Jason’s hauler to have a quick chat and also to return a part that his team was nice enough to loan us for the Feature. Wouldn’t that have been a great way to say “thanks for loaning me the part, here’s a wrecked race car for your trouble”. How do you like me now?
We all shared some great stories and had a big laugh about what had happened vs. what I thought had happened. Jason’s car wasn’t any worse damaged than mine so all was good and we’re still friends…
This past Thanksgiving weekend we had hoped to have raced over at Magnolia Speedway but as has happened so many times this season, the rains came and caused every track in this area to cancel their holiday races.
We still have “The Hangover” race on our schedule that will take place at 411 Speedway on New Year’s Eve so until then, please continue to check our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest event updates and pictures as we get them. Thanks for reading…