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!
Now that racing is back at the Bullring each weekend, I'll give you a quick update on what I've been doing during the break. During the break, I worked with my friend John on my new car! I've been working on a new car after my last really big wreck on July 3rd at the Night of Fire at the Bullring. We've put a lot of hard work into the new car and I hope it's a fast one! I wouldn't be racing right now if it wasn't for John. I really appreciate everything he does for me.
The new car will also have a brand new paint job thanks to my Aunt Donna and Jerry. I'm very excited about the new look.
It's going to be pretty tough going out on the track and not knowing what this new car will be doing since I haven't ever driven it. But, hopefully it won't take long to get used to it on the track.
My Uncle Wayne has been taking a lot of his time to work with me to help me improve my racing. He has been telling me what I need to do and be working on to get ready for my next race.
When I wasn't working on my car, I was hanging out with my best friend Brianna. Even though she's my best friend, she's also my competitor on the track. She races the #2 Legend. Both of us are racing in the Legends class for the first time this year and we have improved so much. I'm very proud of her, and she's proud of me too! People never expected us to be such good friends off of the track but we are. My Dad even sees her as one of his own children.
My birthday is coming up in a few days and I am very excited. I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing to celebrate, but an idea will come to me sooner or later.
I really appreciate what everyone has been doing for me to help me out. This year has been one of the best. Thank you to everyone, especially my fans. I couldn't race with the confidence I have if it wasn't for them!
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!
Well, we just started what I hope to be a non-eventful week! The last two weeks have been sheer madness and Murphy's Law controlled it all. First, Johnny's 2006 F-350 entered the shop with serious fuel issues (as if the cost of fuel alone isn't already an issue). Of course, 2,000 miles out of warranty and it decides to stop running!
Then, my 5-year-old dog Mallory got extremely sick. Thank goodness for my veterinarian! After two days of serious, aggressive treatment, it looks as though she is pulling through. I could tell a difference after three days when she decided that her ball was still the most important thing on Earth to her!
Friday night was the first Test-n-Tune session we have had in weeks, so at least I had something positive to look forward to. Considering it was very hot, my car ran a decent 9.97 seconds at 131.4 miles per hour so I was happy.
On Johnny's first test run on our Sportsman Chevelle, the car launched fine but the run wasn't the best. It has been patiently sitting in our garage waiting to be unleashed at The Strip. Needless to say, it unleashed at about the 1,000 foot mark...literally, unloading just about every working internal part it had onto the drag strip surface!
It left the track crew one heck of a huge mess. It took the Las Vegas Motor Speedway crew nearly 45 minutes to pick up the pieces and clean the mess. At that point Johhny did not want to even attempt to run the Corvette for fear of a repeat, but he did and it ran great at 8.67 seconds at 152.00 miles per hour. By the way, the crew at LVMS did a great job cleaning the mess and re-prepping the track surface.
Saturday was a little less chaotic. After about four days without air conditioning in our house, the repairman finally made it out to fix it. By the afternoon, we had working air! Our friend Mike Niswonger was down from Sacramento, Calif. to compete in the King of the Track Race at the Strip, which he qualified for by winning sportsman at his last race. We are always happy to see him! Unfortunately, he red lit during his first round. This race is always a tough one. The King of the Track Race is always a tough one, and this year was no different. The race hosted eight very good racers competing for the trophy. In the end, it came down to two motorcycles competing for the win. Congratulations to Rick Newport for taking the win!
After the King of the Track Race, it was finally time for us to get our racing on! Finally some good luck started to come our way! Johnny's Mom loaned us her new 2008 Ford Focus to run in the sportsman class. He managed to drive that little car all the way to the semi-finals where he lost to Sal Cachia, another real good driver. Johnny dialed in at about 19.45 seconds and had a real good night. He got to the finish line on the brakes hard and broke way out running at 19.17 seconds. He almost had the car stopped on the top-end but took a loss. Despite some great runs, Johnny lost in the second round of the Super/Pro races.
I managed to make it to the semi-finals against Greg Hicks. We flipped to decide lane positions and I lost which put me in the right lane. I prefer the left lane of the track, but that is not the reason I lost. His light was great, timing .005 seconds to my .067 seconds and my car would not run the number. Even if it had run that fast, I still would not have won because of the hole shot on the starting line. Hicks is such a great sport, so I wasn't upset when my win light didn't come on. It's not so bad loosing to a nice guy!
Next week we leave for Sacramento, Calif. to do some racing and hopefully bring home so of their money! I'll update soon! See you at the races!
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.