It was the curse of the double mains to many at the Bullring last Saturday night! Double Main night is always one that can either make or break a team, not only in the points hunt, but also the car itself.
My strategy has always been to survive the first and try to improve in the second. We were able to manage in an excitement filled first main, but failed on our goal in the second main.
Our qualifying strategy paid off again. We qualified 12th out of 22 cars and were on the cusp of the dash. Our qualifying attempt put us on the infamous outside in row 12. We had a very good start and were able to get into the groove after lap one, only being passed by two cars.
Being passed by only two cars starting on the outside at the Bullring is actually great because the track is known for only being one groove and if you get shuffled to the outside, sometimes it turns into a freight-train. As the first main progressed, we saw crash after crash, many becoming victims to the survival of the double-main night.
We ended up finishing seventh in the first main with the car in one piece, running and handling fairly well. We wanted to loosen the car up in the center just a tick for the second main, so we made a few adjustments and hurried to get to line up.
During the second main we became victim of the double main night curse. The invert was five for the second race, so we were able to start inside row four, our best start of the year. With the adjustments we made and a great starting position, I could actually smell our first top five finish of the year, only to have the favorable fragrance drowned out with the smell of burning tires. On lap number two, after we had another good start, I found myself in fifth, only to be taken out by somebody running behind me. We were coming out of turn two and someone got into the back of me, spinning me in front of almost the entire field. I was lucky enough to be able to control the spin and end up at the bottom of the track as everybody else went high causing the end of the night for a handful of cars, including teammate Jeff Bargerhuff in the No. 2 Late Model.
Because we were involved in an incident that brought out a caution, we were sent to the back of the field. No more smell of a top five. We tried our best on the next re-start but unfortunately the car was horrible! After the incident, we ended up with a bent rear end housing and some bent heims in the rear. We plugged along and ended up with another top ten and plenty to fix!
Boy how I love those double Mains!
On a high note, the Modified from H-Town Racing Inc. driven by older brother Pat Petrie was able to come from the back and win his heat race. I know it's not a main win, but we will take what we can after the season we had with that car.
We will be using the Final Points Night as a test ‘n' tune for the upcoming Fall Classic. All three cars will be working primarily on our qualifying set-ups, trying to hit the mark of what made the show last year, scuffing tires and fine tuning the engines.
We would once again like to let everybody know we are still seeking a primary sponsor for the 2009 season that includes the Race to Success Reading Program and all of our other business driving marketing opportunities! If you are interested please contact me at either email@example.com or 702-378-2363.
And finally, an extra special thanks to Findlay Chevrolet for all of their support for the last couple of years, check them out at www.findlaychevy.com. Thank you to Dr. Mary Ann Shannon, SFC USA Inc., and Black Mountain Graphics!
See you on the 16th!
Sometimes good things come in disguise! The cancellation of the August 30 races due to an electrical problem at the Bullring brought big fish, gorgeous weather and quality family time to the Petrie Family.
After I received the phone call from LVMS explaining that they had to cancel the races, I headed right up to Parawon, Utah for the Iron County Fair. As a family, we were able to take in horse races, a rodeo, a carnival, a fair, some great fishing, and the best thing of all, 70 degree weather! We enjoyed a great time and great family time!
See you at the Bullring these next two weekends as we try to finally qualify for a trophy dash and battle to remain in the top ten in points!
Thanks to, Findlay Chevrolet www.findlaychevy.com, Dr. Mary Anny Shannon at Las Vegas Orthopedics, SFC USA Inc., and Black Mountain Graphics. For more information on H-Town Racing Inc., go to www.htownspeed.com!
Don't get me wrong, we love racing at the Bullring, but having a weekend off every now and then is also nice.
The team and I spent the weekend working on the cars, getting them ready for the August 30th race this weekend as well as our week-long display at Findlay Chevrolet. The Super Late Model was not quite up to showroom quality, so a new door, nose, wear strip, and fender were installed. We are only making a few adjustments this week so we should have a pretty easy week and weekend.
This is the first week of school, so all of us at H-Town Racing Inc. have been getting ready for the new school year. My son, Jimmy started the first grade and my daughter Codi started the fourth grade. Pat's daughters Megan and Madi entered fifth and first grade. Joe, H-Town Racing's crew chief, is also an assistant principal at Las Vegas High School. So, he went back to school this week as well.
We do have some upcoming marketing and racing events:
Aug. 30 - Bullring Racing
Sept. 2-6 - Two car display at Findlay Chevrolet at 215 and Rainbow. For more information, go to www.findlaychevy.com.
Sept. 16 - Bullring Racing
Sept. 25-28 - Super Run Car Show - Three car display with Findlay Chevrolet who will host "Southern Nevada's Largest Car Show" with more than 100,000 attendees. For more information, go to www.superrun.com.
Oct. 25 - Car display at the Las Vegas Bike Race at the Regional Transportation Center. We will be helping out with one of community partners, the After-School All Stars from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 30 - Car display at the Freaky Fright Night at the Clark County Parks and Recreation Cambridge Center from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
If you are involved in a community organization and would like to book out cars for displays or driver appearances please contact me at 702-378-2363 or at www.htownspeed.com. We are very lucky to be able to do what we do and we love to bring the racing experience to others, so please don't hesitate to contact me.
We are still looking for sponsorships for the Race to Success Reading Program and for the 2009 season. If you want to bring your company the most possible exposure, contact me!
And like always, I would like to thank Findlay Chevrolet, 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!
This week, I want to talk a little more about what happened behind the scenes at the races instead of what happens on the Bullring track.
The race weekend started off with our crew putting the final touches on the Super Late Model and Late Model cars as well as loading up on Friday night. I was having dinner with a potential sponsor, so the crew really stepped up to the plate and made sure everything was ready to go. We think it is vital to be ready to go the day before we need to head to the track. Being prepared is a very important team function for us, so if we need to go to a test and tune on a Friday night, we are loaded by Thursday. For a Saturday race, we are loaded by Friday. So, while I was enjoying a nice rib-eye steak, the crew was hooking up trailers, pushing cars, going through tools, and getting everything ready. Man do I love this crew!
Saturday morning started out as usual. My son Jimmy and I were off to the grocery store to purchase all of the food and beverages for the guys to be prepared for the day. We try to eat healthy while we are out in the more than 100 degree weather, but at the same time, I have to get something that everyone will actually eat. I mean come on now, these are race guys. So Saturday's menu consisted of jalapeño cheeseburgers on whole wheat buns, fresh fruit, chips and a tossed salad. Come on now, I said we TRY to keep it healthy!
We arrived at the track at about 1:30 p.m. and met up with the other half of the crew. Half of the guys met for lunch at 12:30 p.m. while a few others, including myself, skipped lunch and met them at the track. The guys met a gentleman named Robin at lunch and now he is joining the crew for the night. Robin is a truck driver from Canada and was looking for something to do, hence a new H-Town Racing crew member. He was a great help, did whatever was asked and was able to jump right in. He was texting his wife Sally throughout the night and got himself in trouble. He was telling her how much fun he was having and she got a little jealous. So now, next time Robin is on a run to Vegas he is going to be bringing his wife Sally and we will have two new crew members. Robin is a great guy and we are glad we got to meet him. He is an avid photographer and took a bunch of shots for us, look for them to be up on www.htownspeed.com soon.
Later that day, we paid our entry fee and moved on in. Once we get into our pit spots everybody has a job. The whole team works like a well-oiled machine, and the cars are rolled off the trailers and the pits are set up. After setting up, we headed over to pre-race tech and check in. The Super Late Model was a little too short on the wheelbase and the Late Model's roof needed to be raised, but other than that we were approved by the tech crew. So back to the pits we went. The roof height was allowed to be fixed before next race (August 30th- Double Mains - Gates Open at 5:00 pm) but we had to fix the wheelbase before qualifying. I jumped in the car and the crew worked for about an hour. After plenty of measuring and degreeing up and down, and me falling asleep in the car, we were ready to hit practice.
The game plan that day was to practice on our qualifying set up and keep tweaking it to improve. We headed out and the car was very, very tight. I couldn't even turn the wheel enough to steer it left. I backed it down a little bit and was getting ready to come off the track when I went into turn one and the lower control arm broke completely off of the chassis. I stopped the car about five feet from the wall and waited for the tow truck to bring us the hook. We ended up back in the pits with the car on four stands, zero good practice laps and trying to figure out how we should proceed.
Crew members Pat and Sonny left to grab hardware and tools. No matter how much you think you are prepared, you never have everything you need! While Crew Chief Joe, John, and Jr. were hard at work tearing everything apart, I was trying to replenish my fluids while fetching tools for the guys who were lying on the 130 degree blacktop.
We got the car back together but had already missed qualifying. Las Vegas Motor Speedway was nice enough to allow us two laps to see if the car was going to hold together. It did, and we pulled back into the pits and loaded up all of the goodies for the on track autograph session. I love autograph sessions! It is always so nice to see all of the kids who are amazed by the cars. They treat you like a NASCAR star.
After the autograph session we sat and waited. Our feature was the last feature, and everything was ready to go on the cars. We were sitting around and noticed a huge lighting storm and some pretty ugly black clouds that looked like they could be heading our way. So we decided that we should get as much as possible loaded up just in case the sky opened up all of a sudden. Luckily, the races beat the weather.
Since we missed qualifying, we had to start dead last, in the 20th position. We worked our way up to the14th spot and in the final laps we were passed, however I was able to tuck back in behind the car that passed me and pick off three cars and finish 12th. Two cars refused a post-race inspection so we were moved from 12th to 10th, and we could possibly pick up a few other spots depending on what tech finds. I would rather earn the spots, but when we had a night like we did, we'll take those spots however we can.
We are looking forward to the week off. We will clean and go over each car with a fine toothed comb and see if we can improve on our performance of two weeks ago. The team also tries to keep a tight group off the track, so we are all playing in a fantasy football league together this fall. We will be having a nice barbeque and holding our draft on August 23, and will be getting the cars ready for the double main night on the 30th.
I also need to mention that August 29th is my 10-year wedding anniversary and my daughter Codi's ninth birthday. I have to thank my family, especially my wife Erin, for putting up with all of the long hours and missed meals for racing. If it wasn't for their support I could never achieve my dream of competing in a Super Late Model and trying to make a difference in the community. Their support means everything to me, thank you very much!
Labor Day Weekend is going to be very busy for me. My family and I are heading up to Parawon, Utah on Friday to celebrate our anniversary and Codi's birthday. We will head up early Friday morning and get some fishing in, have a nice dinner by the campfire and get a good rest. I will head back to Vegas on Saturday morning, race, and then head back up to Utah after the races to spend the rest of a wonderful weekend with my family.
Once again, I want to let everybody know that we will be featuring two of the H-Town Racing cars in the Findlay Chevrolet Showroom from Sept. 1-8. This is the best Chevrolet dealer hands down. Tell them that you saw them at the races, and they will take very good care of you. Come check out the cars! They are located off of 215 and Rainbow. For more information, go to www.findlaychevy.com. I would also like to thank Dr. Mary Ann Shannon at Las Vegas Orthopedics, Team Rivera Independent BeachBody Coaches, SFC USA Inc. www.sfcusa.com, and Black Mountain Graphics for their continued support! See ya on Saturday!
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!
After the month long break it sure was good to be back at the track. It was a very important night for us at the Bullring because of the double mains!
We started out the weekend at Test n' Tune on Friday night at LVMS. After the last race night on July 3, we knew we had to tighten the car up on exit. We did a little bit with some spring rubbers and shock adjustments which helped tighten the car up, however it also tightened it up on entry and through the center. It wasn't bad, but it could be much better. Regardless, we decided to leave it alone and put new tires on for Saturday.
Saturday began early so that we could make sure to get the tire sizes we wanted. After getting them mounted, we hurried to make sure we didn't miss any practice sessions. Our game plan was to hit as many sessions as possible in order to get the tires to grow and only make adjustments before qualifying. We had a total of three sessions. Before qualifying, we made one more spring rubber change to try and loosen the car up just a little on entry and through the center.
Once again qualifying was an issue. I REALLY NEED TO WORK ON THIS! We were two tenths slower than our practice times while everyone else was three to four-tenths faster than their practice times.
We started in 17th place for the first main, thanks to my sub par qualifying skills. On double main nights it has always been our team's strategy to be cautious so that we can survive and be able to start the second main. We worked our way up through the field and ended up finishing 10th. The car was still tight through the center, but we were happy with another top 10 finish.
The crew really went to work between the mains to try and make the car better for number two. Spring rubbers, sway bar adjustments, stagger adjustment, shock adjustments, and re-scaling the car were all part of the plan. We finished just in time to head over to tech before the second main.
After scaling, we headed to line up and waited for our race. During the wait I decided that I would rather have it be 125 degrees with low humidity, than the 95 degree heat and 80 percent humidity that I was experiencing out there. Talk about misery!
During the second main the car seemed to be a little better, but not good enough. We started 10th and finished 9th. We are on that edge of being almost as fast as feature winners, but not quite yet. We are going to be working hard on our shock and spring package to prepare for the upcoming weekend. Either we will be a little faster or a lot slower, but at least we will know which direction to head.
Hi everyone! During this month-long summer break from The Bullring we have been very busy at H-Town Racing, not necessarily on the cars themselves, but working behind the scenes on a variety of race team aspects.
It has been really nice not to be thrashing in order to fix any wrecked cars. I think this is the first time we have had a nice break, one without having to make any major repairs or rebuild any engines. We knocked out the maintenance aspect of the Super Late Model, Late Model, and Modified in the first week. The crew has been working at the shop part-time doing some spring cleaning, I know it is no longer spring, but I couldn't think of a better name for it! I have been working behind the scenes trying to land a new sponsor deal, networking with our current sponsors and trying to improve our marketing campaign. (I am always working on improving our marketing campaign!)
The break has also allowed me to spend extra time with my family, and I have loved every minute of it. The kids go to a 12-month school, so we can't spend the days together, but it is really nice to be able to go home after a day of work at my regular job, have dinner with the family and be able to tuck the kids in at night. During the season there are so many nights that I don't get to see them at all, either because of wrenching on one of the cars or sponsor commitments. I am very lucky to have such a supportive wife and kids.
We are looking forward to the Team Raucci event this Saturday at Carlucio's Italian Restaurant from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Vinny is a great guy and we are honored to be part of his team's event. There will be several Bullring drivers there with their cars on display and signing autographs. That is one thing I really enjoy about being part of the Bullring, it's like a big family. Don't get me wrong, like in every family, there are issues, but when help is needed it seems like everyone forgets about the little stuff and sticks together.
I also have to give a big thank you to the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program (SNHEP) for honoring me as the Diversity Champion. It makes me very proud to know that the Race to Success Reading Program is working to help students face the many challenges in life. I will hold the award as a great honor for a lifetime! The SNHEP helps with recruitment and retention of employees for Southern Nevada businesses and awards several hundred college scholarships to hard-working students, giving them a chance to succeed with a college degree. It was great to be a part of an event that included Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign, and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. Thanks again, it will always be treasured!
I'd also like to give a shout out to Findlay Chevrolet (www.findlaychevy.com), Team Rivera Independent Beachbody Coaches, Dr. MaryAnn Shannon, Black Mountain Graphics, and SFC USA Inc. for all of their support.
I'm looking forward to the double mains on August 2nd. We will be trying to survive the first one and get a top five in the second one. Talk to you soon!
Jim Petrie - #1 Super Late Model
Since this is my first entry to the lvms.com driver blog, I will tell you a little about myself and the rest of the H-Town Racing team. We currently have four cars that compete at The Bullring. The #1 Super Late Model driven by myself, Jim Petrie, the #2 Late Model driven by team member Jeff Bargerhuff, the #1 Modified driven by my older brother Pat Petrie, and the #1 Charger car driven by team member John Wright.
We have been very lucky over the last few years and have had great sponsorships, during that time I was able to move up to the Super's. We were able to build a new modified for Pat, add the Late Model for Jeff, invest into the Charger, and launch Jimmy Petrie's (my six-year-old son) racing career in a Micro-Kart that competes at the Las Vegas Karting Club track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After we realized how lucky we have been we decided we needed to give something back to the youth of the Las Vegas Valley while using our racing. We started the Race to Success Reading Program in September of 2007 at two local, at risk, low income elementary schools, Dr. C. Owen Roundy Elementary School and C.T. Sewell Elementary School. The program was more successful then we could have ever dreamed of and the results were astronomical. Between September 2007 and May 2008 the fifth grade students at the participating schools read over 1,300 books. The program helped bring the students back to being able to enjoy reading, which is especially important in today's computer, video game, and i-pod world. Not only did the students learn how to enjoy reading, but the program also helped raise reading scores, build confidence in students, and made them part of the greatest sport in the world, racing!
Fast forward to today, we are still running all of cars, but are unsure from week to week if we will be able to make it to the track the following week due to the loss of our primary sponsor. We sit down each and every week to see what the budget is and what we can afford to run the next week. We have found ways to make sure the Super, Modified and Late Model have been at the track every week. We have had to miss a few nights with the Charger, but John is doing alright for himself, currently ninth in points.
I have been working night and day to secure funding for not only our racing but for the Reading Program as well. If our current situation does not improve it looks as though we may have to cancel the reading program for the upcoming school year, since it is funded entirely out of our racing budget. This is where it saddens my heart, when we first implemented the program it was just a way of giving back, but as the school year went on and I saw the results, excitement and success it brought to the students, my outlook for the program changed. The Race to Success Reading Program became my primary focus and being on the track became secondary. However, as I always say to my kids, "Never give up!"
We would like to thank our 2008 sponsors Findlay Chevrolet, Las Vegas Orthopedic's Dr. Mary Ann Shannon, Cookie Rivera - Earn Extra Money and, SFC USA Inc.
The Night of Fire was exactly that for the H-Town Racing #1 Super Late Model, very, very, hot! We ended up arriving at the track with three cars: the Super Late Model, Late Model and Modified. We practiced the night before but were still unhappy with our lap times, especially myself in the Super Late Model. The team practiced for three sessions and then I decided I needed to rest to be able to make all 76 laps, even though we made the car better we still were not where we wanted on the stop watch.
We rested and tried to stay cool until the driver's meeting. We headed over and listened to our track director say, "Outside temperature is 118 degrees, and track temperature is 149 degrees!" All I could think is that everybody out here must be crazy!
We qualified poorly, as usual. I really need to work on that! We ended up in the 17th position for the beginning of the race. I always run faster in the race, so I always say it's racing not qualifying :). We were able to pass our way up to 8th, where we finished on the lead lap, without getting passed by anybody. By the end of the race we were running with cars that have won features and qualify for the dash every week, so I think during the break we will work very hard on our qualifying set up to see if we can't crack the top five by giving ourselves a better starting position.
I had a great holiday with my family, we are very lucky that we got to spend so much time together. We started out by having a great time at the track on July 3rd, both on the track and in the stockyard. We then had all three of our cars as floats in the Boulder City Damboree 4th of July parade. We had three of the nicest trucks out there, of course from the best Chevy Dealership in the world Findlay Chevrolet, and we decorated our trailers and had special guest Pit Boss and dealer Patricia with us. I walked the route handing out promotional stuff not only for H-Town Racing, the best Chevy Dealership in the world Findlay Chevrolet, but also to help promote LVMS. We ended up handing out over 5,000 promotional items! We then headed over to the family BBQ, ate and celebrated Independence Day for the greatest country on planet earth! All in all a great racing and family weekend, and isn't that what it is all about!