Time to Roll

It is finally time.

The race season in the North is upon us. 2016 will find the team once again following the Top Speed circuit. Our season opens up this Sunday May 1 at Springport Motor Speedway. This was our hometrack for many years, but it is the only race going to be there this season.

It is expected that the car count is going to be excellent. With that we are hopeful that our off-season improvements in the motor and suspension department, coupled with track experience, is going to propel us to the podium. We have high hopes – especially with the venue we are starting with.

There are 7 more races on the Top Speed schedule – including new stops (for us) to Baer Field (Indiana) and Toledo (Ohio). There are also returns to 2015 tracks Dixie, Auto City, Whittemore, and Berlin. We also have some extra races we intend on adding in as the schedule allows. We will publish updates to the schedule as it gets closer.

With that being said, we hope to see you out this weekend – or some point this season – to watch the Techman Sales/Engine Machine Service 12x.

-Michael

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Turkey Derby TQ Action

The annual “rite” at the conclusion of each year is the Turkey Derby. I headed east, as I do every year. The trip out was uneventful, which is always pleasing. Mom whipped out Gram’s mostaccioli recipe and after a sincere amount of work we feasted on that for the day. And Friday night. And Saturday night. I could have eaten it every day.

The weather was fantastic for Friday. I actually was warm in a long sleeve t-shirt. Took in the races and we got done at a reasonable enough hour to enjoy the evening away from the track. It has been awhile since been home so early on a TD day.

Saturday was go-time. The pits were packed. The surprise was that the TQ pits were packed too. There were 35 of us, which meant we actually pitted out in the parking lot. I once again ran a car out of Blu Metz’s fleet. Well, sort of – it was the old 01 which I have piloted many a time. But now it is owned by Fred, successful MicroStock campaigner. This was his first foray into race ownership. It was my first foray on the inner oval at Wall. Oh, and without a wing too.

With 35 cars and only 15 minutes of practice, time was precious. For the first time maybe ever I was in the first group out. It was enough that I was able to get a 2nd session in too. I acclimated reasonably well, following multi-time champion Ryan Tidman to learn the line. After practice I was in the top 24. This was key, because they locked into the main.

Time trials were group time trials. And, as per usual, I did not leave enough room. I caught the car in front of me and got held up. I backed off to try and get a clear lap, but it was not enough. I was 0.2 slower than practice, which meant I was 26th and had to run the b-main. If I had split the difference, even 0.1 would have gotten me in. Ready to go out for time trials:

I ended up starting on the pole of the b-main and I got jumped. I got passed, from 3rd, before I even really took off. That created a logjam in the first corner and it devolved from there. It was hectic with lots of banging and wrecking. I ended up falling back and missing the a-main. Coupled with the rain that came later and having to miss 2 of the features that were run on Sunday, it was a bad end to the racing season.

But, I will be back – always will be for TD. I look forward to getting the TQ down pat on the inner oval. I also look forward to firming up next year’s plans. There are lots of rumours about scheduling and rules, so it may be awhile till we have our schedule posted. Until then, enjoy the holiday season.

-Michael

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Season Summary – Short Form

The team logged more miles this year, easily, than in the last 2 years combined. We got to see tracks all over Michigan, and even ventured into the south (so to speak).

We ended up following nearly the entire Top Speed Modified Tour schedule. We were able to nab 8th in both the owners and drivers points standings. Interestingly, if we had received even show-up points for the race we missed we would have ended up 6th and 5th respectively.

It was a grind – our whole team will attest to that. But we learned a lot – and we know where we need to go to pick up those last few tenths so that we are consistently competing at the pointy end of the spectrum.

Thanks to Techman Sales and Engine Machine Service for supporting us through the year. The former did much to keep us awash in Hoosier products. The latter was a huge help – especially with the amount of replacement parts we needed to buy! Seriously though, we would not have been able to race as much as we did, as far away as we did, if they had not stepped on board.

For now we are waiting (impatiently) on some announcements regarding tracks/series/tires before we publish our 2016 schedule. For now we have begun the off-season work. Suspension upgrades are coming, and the engine will be getting freshened.

The team’s next race will be hopping in to something much smaller – a TQ Midget during Wall Stadium’s annual Turkey Derby. They are expecting 30+ cars this year, so it is going to be a good challenge just to get into the show. Next update will hopefully be from NJ!

Stay fast my friends,

-Michael

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Springport Motor Speedway – September 19

Michael ended his race season at Springport. It had not been the most successful season, but as the team’s home track, we wanted to support it in its last event of the year – Michigan Cup.

A decent field of cars showed up for the race, including some invaders from the Top Speed Tour. We ran with them all year, but once they come to Springport we feel at home and that they are the outsider. Anyways, we timed well – perhaps too well. We solidly made the invert and started the main with high hopes.

The start was the best part of the day. We once again had a rough start. We had some grip issues and just could not get into the corner. About 10 laps in we got spun out while running in the Top 10, and due to the lack of a tap out, restarted in the rear of the pack.

From there, the gauntlet was thrown. We were doing our best to hustle back to the front. The bottom was occupied, so spent much of the time on the top. We ran solidly mid-pack, which is where all the fun is. That was a true statement on a late restart. They came on the radio and said “green in 4.” We all began accelerating but there was no green flag. The leaders slowed, I slowed, and those behind us did not have a chance. We got run over. How it did not pop a tire I will never know.

From there we just managed as best we could with the damaged car to limp home with a top 10.

That right there was the result. It also caused a fair amount of work during the week to get the car prepped for Owosso. Last year’s sheet metal was bolted on, Cam did some welding and cutting, and it was out so Mike S. could turn some quick laps there. More time with the American Racers was definitely needed, but the car rolled in the trailer easily after the 50 laps.

-Michael

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Columbus Motor Speedway – September 13

Our voyage to Columbus was a fun trip. It was nice to venture out, even if on short notice, to a nationally recognized venue. (Granted we would have preferred Mansfield, but beggars can’t be choosers).

The weather was questionable leading up to race day. As such, we took some extra time to finish getting the car ready and meandered for the long trek to Columbus. We arrived hungry and weary, but like an oasis in the desert, a Quaker Steak and Lube presented itself adjacent to the hotel. We mowed through copious amounts of wings and things that make wings go down easier. It was relaxing before the big race day. And, QSL, if you are listening, we will gladly accept product sponsorship.

Sunday came and the weather cleared. We practiced and were a little off in the first session. We seemed to gain on it in the second session but the times did not indicate that. Our qualifying laps were maybe our best of the day, netting us a 14th place starting spot out of the 23 cars on the property.

After a wave to the good size crowd we took off to turn 1 with lots of confidence. Regretfully the tires were not up to pressure and skate up the track we did. The field passed underneath, and from there it was hanging on for dear life. In retrospect it would have been nice to have some more practice laps as we swung and went the wrong way. Such is life, but we got out of our backyard – to put it mildly.

-Michael

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Last Top Speed Show of Season

Tomorrow September 13th is the last Top Speed Modified show of the year. It is a combination north/south race, as well as having a lot of the locals trying to fend off us invaders. It reminds us of last year, when the travelers were coming to Springport.

It is being held at Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, OH. It is a long trek, and is somewhat of a bummer that we are not ending in the Northern region. That being said, we have plenty to race for as we can cement a Top 10 points finish, as well as race near our main sponsor’s (Techman Sales) headquarters in Mansfield, OH.

Wish us luck as we head down for this long journey. More practice would admittedly be nice!

-Michael

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August 29th “Race” Report

We woke up on the morning of the 29th and the forecast indicated there would be a quickly passing storm. The green blobs on the radar continued to grow as the day progressed, but that did not dissuade us from heading over to Springport for the final regular season race. We truly enjoy racing there, as it is our “home” track. We definitely wanted to support the track on a season where the word “modified” was quickly followed by “moisture.” The track was supposed to have 9 points shows. This would have been the 6th, and that is counting a night that was added.

Car was not bad in practice. It was very tossable, and behaving as expected for the age of the tires. We decided to try something new for time trials and just put new fronts on. They came in quickly, and we managed to time 5th out of 17. I was admittedly a tad timid, so I know there was more in the car. It should have been a top 3 car, easily.

The invert was 7, which meant that we were going to be starting 3rd in the feature. We excitedly dialed in the car, only for the drops to get larger as the drivers meeting approached. The cars went out on the track at 7 as scheduled, but that was to try and dry it. Regretfully it was a losing proposition, and the track had to throw in the towel.

We socialized for some time and then packed the car back up. The team will be busy for the rest of the season; we are just currently awaiting Top Speed to finish adding the “TBD” races. That will determine what “big” other season-ending races we go to.

Until then,

-Michael

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