ATLANTA, GA :: After getting things settled from the Myrtle Beach 400, we decided to venture back to our home track Caraway Speedway.  Caraway has started a two tire deal this year in an effort to save the racers some money and it would work well if we had enough committed cars to run there on a weekly basis.  For whatever reason, the people who asked for the two tire deal aren’t showing up to race and hopefully Caraway goes back to foyr tires as it would allow other cars to show up instead of having to buy two track scuffs and two new tires.  The reason I am explaining this is because, since we haven’t raced at Caraway since March 10th, we did not have any scuffs at the track and I don’t know of a single driver that would buy two tires out of the “stock pile” the track has.  So I headed out of Atlanta at 5:30am and started the trek to Caraway and arrived at the track at 11am to buy two tires to scuff for the night’s race.  Darren Hackett was in attendance as we purchased and mounted the new tires we had to scuff for 50 laps for them to be eligible to race that night.  Caraway rules state that you must run 50 laps under 18.50 seconds for the laps to count and we ran 53 laps on our tires with lap times ranging from 17.85 to 18.50.  After we were done, the track scanned the tires and impounded them.

The reason I went into detail about the tires is because some teams thought we had an advantage with our tires and we did to an extent as our tires we have run under race conditions but instead under less stress than running full speed.  Call it what you want, but we did everything by the rules the track had in place and I understand if others thought we had better left side tires.  There were two other teams who did the same thing we did that morning and they ran their tires as easy as they could and still be within the rules.  Was there a major advantage?  Absolutely not, and trust me, it’s not what won us the race.

Stacy Puryear and I talked earlier in the week about a new setup for Caraway since I have struggled with forward bite with this car.  We made some pretty big changes and put a setup under the car that I thought was nuts….but as Puryear says, “Shut up and Drive, I’ll handle the setup”.  The man knows his stuff as the only thing we changed all day was the camber shims and my crew chief Dale made some stagger tweaks and reset our toe after the camber adjustments and that was it.  The car was absolutely flawless all day running solid and consistent laps during practice on tires from Myrtle Beach.  I knew, after practice, that we had the car to beat and, with Dan Moore starting sixth, we would have to move quick as he has been the man to beat at Caraway this year.

Qualifying went well with us winning the pole with a lap of 16.991 as the car was pretty sporty.  Next up was 50 laps with seven cars in the field… I know some people say “only 7 cars” but, folks, these cars are solid drivers and most of which have won numerous races and are tough competition on any given night.  Caraway does a redraw of the top 6 qualifiers and, after the draw, we were fourth.  On the start of the race, we quickly moved up to second position after three laps and quickly set our sights on the 12 car of Ryan Wilson.  I knew Ryan was hungry for a win and he is one of the tougher drivers to get around at Caraway… DP Performance builds some stout motors and Ryan was driving the wheels of his ride to stay out front and, once I reached his bumper, it took me about 10 laps to get around him.  We had a good battle there and, once I figured out where I was better, we set him up and made a clean pass for the lead.  At this point I knew the car was perfect….honestly; it was probably the best car I have ever had there.

I got out to a five car length lead and just rode as I knew we would probably have a competition caution.  As a fan, I love a caution to bunch the field back up but as a driver with a dominant car and a nice lead it’s your worst enemy.  Here is where I got really nervous… coming around to get one to go, the brake pedal is gone… no brakes!!!  I have no idea what happened but the pedal just went to the floor and I was worried as we were coming to the green.  I pumped them several times and nothing… As we approached the restart line I go and as we fly down into turn one I barely have any brakes but clear the 12 car off of turn 2 and for the next 23 laps I race with about 10% of my brakes and the car was so good it didn’t matter about the brakes as it just continued to dig and take us to our first win of the 2013 season.  One extra twist to this diary is we have the in car video on my Facebook page and on YouTube.

I was so proud of all my guys for working all week to get the car ready and sacrificing their time.  We are a small team and don’t have any paid or full time employees and it really means a lot to me to reward my guys with a pole and a win because, without their time and effort, we would have never been there Saturday night.  I would also like to thank the fans who came to support us and Caraway Speedway Saturday night and look for us to be back at Caraway Speedway on Saturday April 20th!