This week was much better for H-Town Racing Inc. We worked very hard all week on both the Super Late Model and the Modified and our lap times showed it.
As I have mentioned before, we have been struggling with the qualifying set up on the Super Late Model ever since we have moved up to this division from the Charger Division in 2007. We regrouped as a team and worked every night on tweaking a little here and a little there, on the scales, off the scales, weight jack in, weight jack out. Let me just say that my arms were tired from jacking the car up so much. We made some cross weight, shock rebound, spring rubber, sway bar and tire pressure adjustments, and it actually worked. We picked up six tenths on our qualifying run and were only four hundredths of a second from the trophy dash. However, we didn't think of how all the changes would affect our race set up. We adjusted the race tire pressures, but didn't adjust anything else. We realized this was a huge mistake as soon as I got on the gas coming out of turn two, the rear was very loose.
I was able to get a very good initial start only to have it taken away by a caution and a full restart. The restart wasn't as good as the initial start, but we did not lose any positions, so we were fine with that. After fighting the loose condition on exit for the first few laps, the rear tightened up right along with the whole car. Very tight! We knew there was nothing we could do except hope for a caution and try to get the tires to cool off a little bit. Just our luck, this was the first feature I can remember in a long time that went caution free. So we did not get the break we wanted with a caution, but we did catch a few breaks when three cars running in front of us seemed to have lost their engines but they all pulled to the center of the track, thus no caution. Like I said, we could not get a break. Three engine problems and still no caution. We held on to make it our ninth top ten finish of the year and were bumped up to ninth after the third place car was disqualified.
We built a brand new modified over the winter and have been working out the bugs ever since. We were having some transmission troubles that were killing us on starts, so we switched it out and went to a whole new setup, only to have the throw-out bearing fail. The clutch would not fully disengage so we took it out completely. Our crew chief (and my brother) Joe Petrie has been trying a lot of non-conventional things with this new modified, and his latest had to be his craziest. We did some stuff with springs and shocks that was a "little out there." But, guess what? It is the fastest the new car has ever been! The car drove so deep into the corners that Pat lost his brakes and had to ride them so much to keep from hitting the rear of the car in front of him. We ended up sixth, but that was because we had to start at the back, our crew chief did not want to take any chances with the new setup and no track time.
Behind the scenes we still are plugging away trying to secure a sponsor for the upcoming school year for the Race to Success Reading Program and the 2009 season. We had a very good meeting yesterday with a potential sponsor, probably the best lead so far. However, we are not going to count on anything until the deal is signed. I just want to let everybody know that we are working day in and day out trying to secure the funding needed to continue the program.
On another note, I want to let everybody know that we will be having two of the H-Town Racing cars in the Findlay Chevrolet Showroom September 1-8. Findlay is the best Chevy dealer, hands down. If you tell them you have seen them at the races they will take very good care of you, so everyone should come check out the cars. They are located at the 215 and Rainbow. For more information, go to www.findlaychevy.com. I would also like to thank Dr. Mary Ann Shannon - Las Vegas Orthopedics, Team Rivera Independent BeachBody Coaches, SFC USA Inc. www.sfcusa.com, and Black Mountain Graphics for their continued support! See you on Saturday!