Last weekend was the 4th annual Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway. So now it’s time to review our weekend. This one may get lengthy.
This weekend kicked off Thursday, with a practice day. We showed up mostly just to get our pit stall set up and use the day to shake down the car, making sure we didn’t have any serious issues. We hadn’t actually run the car since the 2014 Summer Showdown, so it had been almost a full calendar year since I had been in the car and the car had been on the racetrack. So there was a lot of concern, you just never know what is going to go wrong until you put it on the track at speed. However, mechanically everything seemed fine. The handling was another story. The car was very tight at first. After putting some laps on it and then running our tires we found that we had basically no stagger. Stagger is the difference between the size of the inside tires compared to the size of the outside tires, it also helps the car turn. After shuffling tires around to get the desired stagger we went back out to try again. This time the car was very loose. We chose to start from there and start making adjustments to tighten the car up. But we didn’t want to chase it too far on Thursday because we really only had one set of practice tires that needed to last us the entire weekend. So burning them up on Thursday would be detrimental come Friday. So at some point we chose to just call it a day. It can be a frustrating thing watching your competition buy 8 sets of tires for a Thursday practice session knowing that you have 1 set that needs to last two days. But, that’s the name of the game these days. How fast can you afford to run?
Friday was when the action really ratcheted up. We had a couple practice sessions early on, the car was just not very good. We were way off the pace and the car was just not handling well at all. We got to bolt on a fresh set of tires for qualifying, which can be good or bad. Often times we find that we chase the car on old tires in practice, then when we bolt on fresh tires the car is totally different and our adjustments are totally wrong. This time the car was not greatly different, but it wasn’t much better either. It did lay down the best lap we had run all weekend, but still way off the pace we would need to make the show. This would put us in the last row of heat #2. After qualifying the guys decided to throw a ton of changes at it for our Heat Race. At some point you just have to swing big, so that’s what we did. Starting 15th in a field of 15, I knew I had a long way to go. Only the top 8 would be transferred into the 200 lap Main Event. So the order was tall at best. But to be honest, I really had another goal in mind; just finish the race and see what happens. Once the green flag flew I settled in and started laying down laps, trying to be as consistent as I could. The adjustments the crew had made proved to be much better. We didn’t transfer into the 200, but we did finish every lap, and we did so still on the lead lap. To be very honest, that was a major accomplishment for us. I hadn’t actually finished a race since 2010, not to mention that our Heat Race was stacked full of a line-up that would make an A-Main on any given night. After our Heat Race we would head to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) on Saturday to try and race our way in one last time.
We kicked off Saturday with what we thought would be some easy repairs. During my Heat Race I started losing the clutch pedal. We found that the hydraulic throw-out bearing was dumping all the fluid on the ground. So the guys set about to replace the throw-out bearing with a new one. I have to give my brother Tommy a huge thank you, as he drove all the way back home Friday night to pick up a spare from the shop and bring it with him Saturday morning. After the guys replaced the throw-out bearing they still couldn’t get the clutch to operate properly. After several attempts to readjust the throw-out bearing they finally pulled the transmission completely out of the car. It was then that we found that the transmission was completely locked up. We’re not real sure what happened since it worked up until the point where I pulled the car in the pit after the Heat Race and shut it off. But something was terribly wrong. So we pulled the back-up transmission out and they set about putting it in the car. Once in the car they struggled once again to get the throw-out bearing adjusted properly. Nobody was real sure what was wrong, they just knew it wasn’t right.
We had already missed all of the practice sessions on Saturday at this point. As time was running out they finally got it working and we scrambled to the tech line to get lined up for our LCQ. We made it through the tech line with no issues and put the car in the starting lineup. Pushing the car out on the grid we felt good about our chances. We were supposed to be starting 12th, but once on the grid there appeared to be a couple cars missing. This meant that instead of needing to pass 6 cars to make the 200 lap Main Event, I only needed 4 spots. I climbed in as driver introductions were taking place and went about getting ready for this LCQ. It was game time and I was feeling good about things. Then everything went horribly wrong. The command to start our engines was given and I fired the car up. It roared to life and I stuck it in gear to roll off. When I let the clutch out reality set in, it wouldn’t release, so the car wouldn’t move. Our day was done right there. We were pushed into our pit and I got to watch the LCQ that I was supposed to be in unfold in front of me.
It’s easy to say that we were running times that should have put us in through the LCQ. It’s also easy to say that the cars that we were lined up next to raced their way in, so we should have been able to as well. But you really can’t say that. If you don’t actually run the race then you don’t know how it would have played out. In the end, mechanical problems ended our day right there on the starting grid. That’s all I am 100% positive of. I’ll move on knowing that we had a great run in the Heat Race. We finished on the lead lap and within sight of two guys who have a combined 5 championships between them. I say that’s fairly good company, so I’m proud of that run. Hopefully we can put together more of those runs in the future.
In closing, I have to give a shout-out to Jeremy Doss. His crew was quite possibly the most asinine, self-centered, egotistical bunch I’ve ever run across. As I was trying to load up my car after the event was over, these guys chose to pull their trailer right across in front of my open trailer door and then park the truck and get out. Never in my life have I seen another racer block a trailer that had the door open and the crew loading things in it. When I confronted them about it and asked why they would choose to do that the reply I got was, “Why don’t you go write a f&%king article about it!”
So, Jeremy Doss, that is exactly what I’m doing! If you choose to align yourself with these kind of people, it is my sincere hope, Jeremy Doss, that when you are looking for sponsors to take your racing career to the next level that the potential sponsor will run across this article. And when they do, I hope with every fiber of my existence that your potential marketing partner decides that if these are the type of people you associate with then maybe Jeremy Doss is not the kind of person they want to be aligned with. I may not have an awesome car like you Jeremy Doss. I may not have the money backing me that you do Jeremy Doss. But the one thing I will walk away with is the fact that somewhere down the road this article may end up being a thorn in your side Jeremy Doss. Treat other people the way you want to be treated, that goes for your crew as well. In the end, they represent your brand Jeremy Doss. And this time, they made it clear that your brand, Jeremy Doss, is not a very good one.