Yea, I know I'm a bit behind but blame it on that asshole boss of mine again. He was nice enough to let me get to the tracks last week and I even got to sneak over to Barberton Speedway this Saturday for their Main Event Late Model show. He just didn't give me any free time until now to post an update so here's the abbreviated version.
Last Friday night brought a pretty exciting night for at least one young Late Model pilot at Lakeville when Matt Irey picked up his first career feature win. This kid has come a long way in just a few short years and he sure as hell had to earn this first victory. The field behind him was filled with folks with many feature wins and many more years of experience but the youngster seemed determined to prove that he was the best of the class on this night. Restarts that would have shaken many veterans didn't shake Irey from his goal of bringing home the trophy, and the stands went wild once the checkered flag flew. Congrats to the entire Irey team!
Saturday night started out pretty well with Mike Miller running away with the heat race win. It looked even better with an unusually good starting spot in the feature but we'd soon find out that the car just wasn't up to the task this time. In the opening laps Mike went to work on the outside and it looked like another win was on the way but that didn't last long. From there it was up to the veteran to hang on to take home the best finish the car would give us. 7th place isn't what we were expecting by any means but the car came home in one piece with an extra week to track down the problem and do some regular maintenance. With next week being double points we'll be trying to go over any little thing to ensure another strong run.
Miller got a bit of a surprise call last week with a last minute offer of a ride for the Main Event show at Barberton Speedway this weekend. Mike's not one to turn down a chance to wheel a decent car in a big event so of course he jumped at the chance. This would bring a new challenge though as he wouldn't even get a look at the car until race day and that's not usually a good idea. The car was pretty much out to lunch when they unloaded it but when the driver knows this track like the back of his hand he can let the crew know what he needs and with a good crew alot of problems can be overcome fairly quickly. The result was picking up roughly one and a half second from the first laps to the qualifying run. The car still looked pretty uncomfortable in qualifying but Miller hung it all out to qualify third fastest. These feature races are pretty uneventful (that's putting it nicely) but they can also be brutal with a car that you're not comfortable with and rides alot like a buckboard wagon. That wouldn't stop a seasoned old timer like Miller from running a very smooth and smart race to finish 4th for the best finish for that car this season. Not bad for a "fill-in driver" huh? ;-)
Since this is Fathers Day and all I have to send out a special thanks to my own dad. If it wasn't for him getting me into this racing stuff at such a young age, who knows what fun I would have missed out on over the years. I've enjoyed this sport now for many years and met some great people along the way. I've won races and championships, but I've also struggled plenty too. His support over the years (even while I was drag racing!) has been what kept me hooked on racing even when times were tough. He taught me how to handle damn near anything including winning AND losing with class, and above all that racing should be about the fun, not the money or fame. Now that he can't make it out to the tracks any more I still look forward to those weekend morning phone calls from him as much as going to the track itself. The first words I hear when I pick up the phone are "who won?" Tonight I'd have to say that I feel like I won because I was pointed in the right direction by one hell of a dad. THANKS Pop!