It was tough to pass up making the trip to Hilltop on Saturday night, but with Mike Miller strapping back into a car for the weekend I knew where I'd be. With all the major improvements made to Barberton and Midvale this winter I was looking forward to checking these places out anyway. Friday night it looked like Mother Nature might take over Barberton's race night but she let up early and it was quite a night. NASCAR may add a more professional touch to the facility in many ways, but security and porta pots sure as hell aren't on that list. With so many pretty "NASCAR Official" uniforms walking around the place it's hard to understand how the brawl in the pits was ignored. I reckon some things are gonna be hard to change. It's nice to see that Helen Keller is still able to find work making calls at a race track once again though. ;-) Anyway, the racing action was pretty good and the new track surface looks great. Miller struggled a bit with his borrowed ride but for this guy struggling means qualifying 4th. A pretty ugly start would take away his plans for a win in the Dash but second ain't all bad. The heat race was another chance to try some more changes to the car and he pulled off a strong 3rd place finish. Minor changes were made for the feature where he'd be starting towards the back of the strong field. Surviving this wreckfest would turn out to be quite a challenge but that's something Miller has been very good at for decades. Slowly he worked his way to the leaders rear bumper and things were looking pretty damn good. Well, until the fella in the outside lane decided he wanted to put his car in the 1 inch gap between Mike and the leader. Needless to say it didn't fit but Helen Keller decided that it must have been Miller's fault so he was sent to the tail. Alright, shit happens I guess but now he'd have plenty more wrecks to avoid on his way back to the front. He managed to work his way back up to 5th when the checkers flew. Best of all the car came home in one piece so it was onto Midvale for Saturday night.
Randy Smith and the crew at Midvale have been making huge improvements to the place since buying it, and this is one damn nice race track folks! A stout field of 21 Late Models were on hand for the season opener as well as a nice group of Mods. Practice times had Miller 3rd on the charts but qualifying didn't go as well. That didn't stop him from picking up the heat race win but he'd start deep in the field for the feature once again. This race looked alot like the wreckfest from Barberton at the start and I wondered if they'd ever get the 30 lapper in before Sunday morning. Once things finally got settled down the laps clicked off pretty quickly. Miller brought it home in 5th with only minor damage so not a bad night I guess.
I had another reason to make the trip to Midvale this week to be honest. I was eager to see a certain Modified in action. After dealing with one cocky Mod driver that wanted to buy one of my carbs so his "good" carb didn't get claimed, I had a new interest in this division. This particular driver not only insulted me with his attitude but he also damaged one of my best carbs before I took it back from him. As luck would have it though another Mod driver had recently borrowed one of my carbs and wanted to buy one. When I told him of my dealings with this other driver he insisted on buying the one that wasn't good enough for that fella to prove a point. I can't tell ya how big my grin was Saturday night when that point was proven in a big way. Not only did my "cheap carb" turn the fastest laps in practice, it just plain spanked that other fella with the carb that cost over $1000 more than mine when it came to feature time. These Mods run crate motors so it's clear that every little bit helps I guess. It also shows that more money doesn't always bring better results. I don't really want to brag about my carbs, but on Saturday night they had some decent results including 2 Late Model heat wins, 2 top fives in the Late Model Feature, and a very impressive win in the Mods just to name a few. Not too shabby for "cheap" carbs I'd say. This sure as hell isn't the first time my stuff has been matched against carbs that cost over $1000 with the same results so it's got me thinking. Guess who's prices just went up!