This past weekends racing at Thunder Road was a mixed bag; especially for the owner. The weekend got started with the Oval track on Saturday. After some quick consultation, the majority of the fast boys decided to run Stock Class, rather than SPEC NasTrucks. SPEC had been the big class the past few weekends; and with a thin field, the majority feeling was that the Stock cars needed exercise.
Big Clay managed to leave some vital bits and pieces at home; and he asked to borrow an L4 off the “For Sale” shelf. At the time, it seemed like an okay idea. Little did I know….
Throughout the heats, Big Clay was trying to get the L4 handling to his liking. Harold Ruckle, after missing the past few weeks taking care of domestic obligations, was uncharacteristically off the pace in his Hyperdrive; and I was thrashing around, trying to fix a bad “loose off” condition with my L4. That left Jesse Bean with an easy time of it. But, by the time the third heat was run, Clay, Harold and I were feeling a lot better about our cars; and looking forward to giving Jesse a run. No one else was in the hunt, so the Main looked to be a four-car contest.
At the buzzer, Jesse simply checked out. Harold had some sort of a problem and missed a couple of laps. Big Clay spun, no one else was close, and suddenly, there I was in second place. I remember thinking that I could probably hold off Clay; but that was about as far as things went. I spun in the middle of one and two, with the nose hard against the pipe. Well, at least I was out of the way, right? That’s about the time Clay arrived, with my loaner car. Why Clay was running so close to the wall is still a mystery; but the results were pretty predictable. After I finished collecting all of the bits and pieces, I had almost enough to start building a race car.
Jesse just breezed to the line, Clay nursed the L4 home without any one else getting in his way, and Harold recovered for third. A fun time, but I really have to rethink this loaner program thing. Just kidding, Big Clay. <g>
The Spring Smoke road course race on Sunday was much better attended, as the out of town crowd showed up to collect their share of the $500.00 purse. Despite my misgivings from the day before, Big Clay talked me into loaning him my spare TC4 for the race. I was too busy with the shop and running the computer to race myself; and there was no good reason to leave two good cars sitting on the bench, right? Little did I know…
The heats pointed toward some exciting racing in the Mains; as Jesse Bean spent all day running near the Stock TC record. Eddel Veloso seemed to be just a tick off his normally blazing pace; and Charlie Johnson was still working the teething problems out of his new T2. Clint Withrow just keeps getting faster and faster in his XXX-S; and Clay was looking pretty racy in his borrowed TC4.
In the 19-turn Class, Billy Spence was looking very strong with his T2. He and Jesse had some real battles in the heats, with Eddel and Jon Laster struggling to match their pace.
In the Stock Touring Car B Main, Mack Anderson managed to hold off a much improved Grey Flora, with Jason Smith trailing in third.
After the heats, Jesse Bean looked to have things all wrapped up with his T2; but some one forgot to tell Eddel Veloso the plan. Eddel had done some tweaking on his TC4; and when the A Main started he simply glued himself to Jesse’s rear bumper. At the buzzer, the two of them quickly started stretching a lead on Big Clay. Charlie Johnson was running in fourth, with Clint Withrow all over him. Eddel kept the pressure on, all the way to the finish; but Jesse ran less than three seconds off the track record to take the win. Eddel was exactly three second back in second. After doing a lot of position switching, Charlie Johnson managed to be in front of Clint Withrow at the finish. Big Clay turned in a fine performance in my spare car… until a wire came loose. By the time he got it fixed, the race was almost over; and he wound up fifth. Not a bad performance from an oval racer, Clay!
The TC 19-turn Main promised to be a real shootout between Billy Spence, Jesse Bean and Eddel Veloso; but Billy ruined it. When the race started, he simply checked out; leaving Jesse and Eddel to fight over second place. Billy turned in a spectacular performance to break Paul Lemieux’s lap record, set during the JACO/SMC Snowflake Classis roar course race, back in January. Jesse and Eddel did some swapping around, but Jesse was a lap up on Eddel for second at the finish.
As a special note, this was one race with no shortage of turn marshals. Plenty of spectators showed up to help out; and one lucky volunteer went home with an SMC 6 cell 4200 battery pack as a reward. Jaco, SMC and McAllister all donated much appreciated door prizes for the race, and we thank them for their generosity. Thanks; Ernie P.