I don’t really know where to begin on this one. The writing was pretty easy the first couple of weeks, it’s become more difficult the past few. I am an engineer after all, not exactly prone to story telling.
I’m in the plane flying back to Denver. That’s a good start, no testing this week. We were in Indianapolis last Monday and Tuesday for a tire test. Testing is boring, long tedious days without any excitement. But Indy is just such a spectacular place. I got to spend about 20 mins by myself first thing in the morning on the second day just wandering around pit lane and the front straightaway, from corner 1 back to the yard of bricks. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I got to see my parents Wednesday on their way home from Arizona, and we discovered there’s a Bubba Gumps in Denver which makes me happy. And then Thursday afternoon we flew to Alabama. It’s never really been on my list of places to see, but the weather was beautiful the entire time so no complaints. Thursday night we went to a Japanese place and I had the first sushi that I actually enjoyed, a shrimp crunch roll.
We had two practies on Friday, although in typical for us speedway fashion we only ran one, and only about 20 laps in it. There just isn’t anything to learn really, so why put miles on the motor? Made it a good day to try and get ahead on some stuff, and I’m now almost 3 weeks ahead on some of the prerace documents. The car seemed ok in practice, so we buttoned her up in preparation for qualifying on Saturday.
Saturday was just qualifying at noon. Talladega is an impound race, which means that we aren’t allowed to do anything to the car after qualifying before the race. So saturday morning it had to be prepped and setup for qualifying and the race. And we didn’t run very well in qualifying. We knew we weren’t going to be great, but I at least hoped for a little more than that. But as Martin commented, ‘we made the field on time’ (not a provisional) so that’s a plus! And we were out of there before 2 pm which suggested possibilities…except that I was in a small town in Alabama. I ended up having a nap and working out before team dinner back at the same Japanese place. This time though we had hibachi apparently, the thing you see on tv where the guy cooks your food right at your table. And it was delicious.
A sunny raceday without any chance of rain was really all I could hope for today. We got everything setup and were ready to roll for noon. Today was my 2nd race catching the first empty gas can, and I was a little excited and a little nervous. It’s a pretty good adrenaline rush for me. I only ended up having to catch 1 can so that wasn’t to bad. We started 36th and worked our way forward the first stint, until we got a little bit hot and Martin had to find some clean air, which back us up to the mid 20s. And we just worked from there, and rode the wave Up to 2nd at one point, back to 20th, back up to the top 5, and back down again. Restrictor plate racing is really about hoping that the race ends when you’re on top of your wave. And that worked pretty well for us. With about 20 to go we got all strung out and we’re running 6th, and looking like we could stay out of trouble. I would happily have taken that, but with 2 to go it got exciting as we were expecting. For a second it looked like 3rd or better was possible, then it looked like we were headed for 12th, and we ended up 5th. I will take that any day at Talladega.
And the 22 had a bad day, so we’ve moved into 2nd in the point standings which is pretty awesome. To Kansas on Thursday…