Winning and Learning…

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote.  And let me tell you, it’s been a few WEEKS.  The big win in Darlington was apparently just the beginning…

The next week we were in Richmond, running a red and black car which made me really happy.  And it was a fast car too, we finished 3rd after leading almost half the race I think.  We just got beat on a restart at the end, nothing new there.  But that was the last race before the chase, and a first and third were good for momentum heading in.

And Chicago did not disappoint.  Qualifying was rained out, so I believe we started 8th or 9th.  And the car was really good, we drove up to the front.  And then something happened, and at this moment I can’t remember what it was.  But we ended up a lap down, and battled to get the lucky dog and get back on the lead lap.  And then we slowly moved back towards the front.  Eventually we got a late caution and came off pit road first.  And then Martin just drove around the guys on old tires, for a huge chase opening win!

So that guaranteed we would get through to round 2 (each of the first 3 rounds is 3 races).  So we were playing with house money for the next two weeks, which were Loudon and Dover.  Loudon historically hasn’t been a good track for us, but we were good there in the spring and were optimistic.  Oh, and the big new was that, for the first time in Furniture Row Racing’s history, we were first in points.  Which meant we were in garage stall 1, which is rather symbolic, and huge confidence for us.  And we took that and lead about 180 laps, and had a real shot at the win, until the 20 blocked us a bit and then pulled off a questionable restart that really killed our chances.  We ended up 7th, which was a bit disappointing but we were still in good shape.

And then Dover.  Now Dover is a place we’ve run well, lead the most laps there in the Spring of 2015, and we though we were going to win the spring race this year, until the 48 botched a restart and we ran into him.  And the Dover race win trophy is a concrete monster (named Miles), in honour of the track being called the Monster Mile.  And we all really wanted our own Miles.  As has become traditional at Dover, it was soggy.  Friday rained almost all day, we got some of practice 1 in and that was it, quali was rained out.  Which was fine with us, P2 in points so we lined up P2 for the race.  Saturday was more of the same, about half of second practice in before it rained, and that was it for Saturday.  Sunday didn’t look much better, and when we got to the track it was at least 220% humidity, but miraculously the race went off on time and we got all the way through.  And our car was good, we took the lead on lap 6, and lead about 200 laps I think the rest of the way.  We battled at times with the 18, who eventually fell off, and the 48, who had a pit road penalty and ended up a lap down.  For the last run of the race after a green flag stop we had an 8 second lead, and Martin just cruised from there.  What a great feeling that was, a great way to end the first round!  And we got our Miles!  So of course we celebrated a bit last night, but back at work this morning.

This afternoon (currently) I am flying to Martinsville for a Tues/Wed test, and then we will drive to Charlotte from there for the race this weekend.  No rest for the wicked…

In the meantime, I climbed my first mount a few weeks ago, at St Mary’s Glacier.  And I also discovered probably the coolest Wednesday night out in Denver.  There’s a yacht club on the Cherry Creek Reservoir that sets up a stage on their beach, and they have a band and a camp fire and a bar.  What more could you ask for?

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