So this has turned into 3 day tape delay again. I apologize. It’s been a tiring week, we didn’t land in Denver until after 1 am local time Monday morning. And Tuesday turned into a 6 am – 9 pm work day. Better late than never?
I wasn’t really sure how the 600 (last weekends Charlotte race) was going to turn out, given that we didn’t run great the week before in the Showdown (also at Charlotte). It was a bit of an odd weekend schedule wise, we practiced and qualified on Thursday, Friday was a day off, and then a regular practice Saturday and race Sunday weekend. Thursday practice was dedicated to qualifying setup for us and pretty much everyone else. And it worked out well for us, we ended up qualifying 10th. We had a good setup, it was just really hard to keep the car on the bottom of the track after it ‘landed’ in turn 1. Thursday night we went to a bar close to our hotel for a couple beers (turned out they had Yuengling for $1.17/can).
Friday we had tee times for 8 of us at the golf course beside our hotel. It ruined out to be a beautiful day, so why I chose to waste it playing golf is beyond me. Friday night the World of Outlaws sprint cars ran at the dirt track at Charlotte. I really enjoy watching them race, and it turned out to be a good show, if incredibly dusty. It occurred to me that working in that series for a couple years would make Nascar seem like the easiest job in the world.
Saturday was a pretty regular day at the track, we worked on the race setup and the car was very good on long runs. I was encouraged, though the race was a 6 pm start and it would be much cooler and the sun would be down. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. We started 10th and went forward pretty much right from the word go. We knew it was going to be tough to pass at Charlotte, and that you would mostly have to wait for a mistake or for someones tires to go off. So we just worked our way forward, and ended up taking over the lead sometime in the 200s of laps. The 41 was probably the co-best car with us, but they peaked early and fell off both on each run, and in the race overall. And then fuel mileage happened again.
There was a caution when we were about 10 laps short of making it to the end, so no benefit to us to pit. A couple of cars pitted, thinking they could stretch. And they were right. We pitted again with about 20 to go, and were about a second faster than everyone over the last 20 laps. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to make up the gap. If it had of been the Coke 590 or the Coke 610 we would have won. As it was, we climbed back up to 5th. Another lap and we would have been 3rd. What can you do?
The car has been fast, the pit crew has been good, Cole has been calling good races. We just have to keep pushing on. I am on the plane to Dover at the moment, this is the track Martin won his first cup race, and we ran well here last year. Hopefully the stars will align for us…