Thursday, August 11, 2011

WERA Nationals Rounds 4 & 5

Coming off my first win at Miller, I was really excited about the back to back race weekends at Summit Point and VIR. Both new to me tracks and I knew it would not be easy, but I was up to the challenge.

First came Summit Point where I entered the weekend with a 19 point lead in C Superstock and tied for second only one point back in C Superbike. Summit is a nice track with a fun layout. With limited track time during the Nationals every session counts. The first couple sessions we worked on setup, a slipping clutch and learning the track. The afternoon sessions combined the 600 experts and novices which helped me find some speed. The weather was hot and hydration was hard to obtain. On race day, Ryan Haddock and I had two really good races. With one of the local fast guys checking out in C Superstock the battle for the two remaining podium spots was ours. We traded spots a few times in the 12 lap race, with me finally taking the second spot from him and increasing my lead by a few points. I knew the C Superbike race would be even better because we were battling for the lead in the Championship in that one, plus we got a chance to see each others strengths and weaknesses. We both got a good start with me following him for a few laps then swapping positions a couple times. We were actually in third and fourth but when I noticed we were gaining on second I stopped trying to fight for position and we worked together to get back to the leaders. Headed down the front straight we seen a lapper in turn 1. Ryan went inside and me outside, which ended up costing me big time. The rider stood the bike up when Ryan went inside and I was caught out and had to pretty much come to a stop to avoid runnig off the track. That allowed Ryan to get away and two other riders to get in front of me. I rode like a mad man the final two laps and tried to pass both riders back down the front straight but just didnt have the ponies to do so. I left Summit Point with a 2nd and a 6th. I really wish I could have switched those finishes, but thats what God had in store for me and I never second guess HIM.

With only one week in between races, and a little stretch of bad luck for Tim Hunt, we had some travelling to do. We left Summit headed to VIR, dropped off the trailer, then shot down to Atlanta to drop Johnathan Boswell of Mousebox Racing , and finally steered the truck towards the sunny palms of West Palm Beach, Florida.

We arrived at the track early Wednesday afternoon and was ready to unload, setup and head back to the hotel to get some rest. Thursday brought three rounds of practice. It took the first two sessions for me to learn the track. VIR ended up being my favorite track, but the most physically demanding and toughest to learn. I would not fully get comfortable until my last race of the weekend. Lenny Albin at Race Tech really helped me all weekend. We finally rebuilt the forks and had them replaced with Race Tech parts which would help me go fast. I only had two sessions to practice on the new forks but right away I felt the difference. The front didn't nose dive on the brakes, nor did it move around like it used to. I was excited to line up on the grid for C Superstock. Maybe even too excited, because I over-revved it on the start and the bike overheated and lost power. It was running so hot I thought it was on fire because I could feel so much heat coming from the engine case. I backed off as I had a decent lead in points and just made it to the finish line. I knew the next race is the one where I had to make it count. My entire crew worked their butts off to get the bike apart and fix the problem. When that was done and it was time for me to race again, I had the confidence that God would give me the speed I needed. I originally planned to put a fresh set of tires on for this race to give me every advantage I could, but time didn't allow for it so I went out on tires that had 5 sprints and one practice day on them. I was still able to put in my fastest lap time and follow Ryan around for a couple laps. I finished on the podium for the third weekend in a row and now look forward to the fantastic Barber Motorsports park, where the C Superbike Championship will be on the line!

I also want to say congrats to Curtis Murray for bumping himself to expert! I wish you the best buddy! And kuddos to Ryan Haddock who is a great competitor and a super good guy! I wish you the best these next two rounds as we go head to head for the C Superstock and C Superbike National Championships!

I have to take a moment to thank all those who make my racing a success:
First and foremost GOD has been working in my life and although it's not always easy to follow his path for you, I know in the end he knows whats best!
Tim Hunt-Apex Race Services Thanks for all your support and help I could not do it without you and Leigh! Tim is consistently one of the fastest guys in the paddock and truly a great friend!
Larry Ray-Track Junkie Racing-Thanks for everything! You helped me when no one else would!
Laurie Eckhart and Pam McCoy-Malavicious Ent. Thanks for the support! Riders helping riders!
EBC Brakes

2nd in C Superstock and 3rd in C Superbike
My Number 1 Fan! LOL
Me and Kevin Schwantz