BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – As good as our Torco Racing Lubricants / JCM Motorsports Dirt Late Model was at the last Crate Race’n USA (CRUSA) race, we were on the other end of the scale when we ventured over to Senoia, GA to tackle one of the trickiest tracks in the southeast.
From its first race back in 1969, this fabled 3/8-mile track has hosted some of the sport’s biggest stars and having gone from clay to asphalt and back to clay (in 2009), the tracks clay-surface is known for being as slippery as they come. As we found out ourselves, this is not a place that you can just show up with your “normal set-up” on the car and run well. We knew the reputation of the track but as the saying goes, “seeing is believing” and now we know what a slick race track feels like.
With a good car count of nearly 40-cars, we ran our Hot Laps and to be fair, we weren’t all that bad. Being my first time to this track, we didn’t expect to be the fastest so when our times put us mid-field, we felt ok. Once qualifying started and the track began to “slick off”, reality started creeping in. While during our 2-lap run, the car felt pretty neutral, we didn’t have the forward-bite that we needed and our slow-time showed in the overall Results slotting us in at the bottom-end of the field.
For the Heat Race, I started 6th and at the drop of the Green Flag, my rear tires spun-up like a Top-Fuel Dragster warming-up their tires with a half-track “burn out”. I managed to hold my position throughout the short-race but a surely wasn’t moving forward and with them only taking the Top-3 to the Feature Race, I could see the B-Main in my not so distant future.
The Track & Series Managers had a close eye on the weather-radar and because of this, they were really hustling the night along so we could get in the full event before the inevitable rains came. Normally I like this approach but tonight this meant we didn’t have time to make as many chassis adjustments that we needed. So as I lined up towards the rear of the field, I felt like a T-bone Steak laying on the floor of the Lions Cage.
As the Green Flag dropped I took the mindset to hold my position as best that I could, take advantage of any opportunity that came my way and if I couldn’t move forward, not make a bad situation worse by damaging the car fighting for a non-transfer spot. As luck would have it, some drivers did make some mistakes, we past a few cars but in the end, we finished the race, 1-spot out of the transfer spot that would have got us to the Feature race.
Normally I tend to look for the silver-lining in things but to be honest, had we made it one more spot getting us into the Feature, I’m pretty sure we would have not made a lot of forward movement since the race did go mostly Green with very few Caution Periods. As the late-great Kenny Rogers said, “You got to know when to hold’m, know when to fold’m”.
With all of that said, I really did like this race track. It’s a very nice facility and everyone there was super helpful. I’ll just make sure the next time we go, we’re a good bit better equipped to run on that “Georgia Ice Pond”…
As always Colten, myself and everyone at JCM Motorsports want to thank Torco USA for their support. Without them and all of our other marketing partners, even these “not so good nights” don’t get to happen. I guess nights like these make you appreciate even more, the races you do that do go your way… At least that’s what I told myself as I drove all the way home in the pouring rain… lol
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