First Foray to Ohio is Complete

The team has been looking forward to racing at Toledo for some time now. It is one of the fastest tracks in the area, and we would be able to stretch the ole legs a tad. Well, yeah, wow – fast track. It actually “feels” a bit fast, however the banking is more pronounced than from the stands. It is also very drivable in that you can change lines as a result.

The thing that stunk was once you “got out” for practice you could not get back in to pits. In other words, we were stuck in the infield, on the infield pit road, and could not make any adjustments. We went out for the first session and we were bottoming out something fierce. But we could not do anything at the time.

Since we are required to run scuffs, the 2nd (and last) session was close to useless – we did a few laps and then parked it to avoid ruining the new sneakers. We were admittedly way off the pace, over a half second from even being close to the invert.

For time trials we found a bunch of speed – about 0.4 seconds. The bad thing was we needed 0.49 to make the invert (as well as move up 7 spots – that’s how close it was). So we timed 16th and started 16th. The race was brutal, with many yellows and two red flags. We showed decent speed, and passed a few cars while keeping up with the 2nd pack. We would not have been able to hang with the top 3, but we were in the midst of the battle from about 7th back. Here is a picture of us on the inside, courtesy of R&S Racing Photos.

We ended up finishing 12th. An extra practice session sure would have helped a lot. Speaking of practice, we are off to Auto City on Friday the 8th so as to turn some laps prior to the race on Saturday the 9th. Thankfully the temperature will drop from then to Saturday (expected highs in the 90′s on Friday), but that is mainly due to the forecast of the r-word. We are hopeful we will get it in, as our season has already lost 25% of itself!

Until then,


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Berlin Raceway – Tour Show – June 11, 2016

It took seemingly FOREVER – but the Techman Sales 12X finally hit the track for a Top Speed points race. The season was supposed to start at Springport. Then it was Berlin. And it eventually did start at Berlin. There is something disappointing about not getting going until the 2nd week of June. As a result of that – the entire season is shoehorned into a 9 week window. Enough blathering – let’s move on to how the race went.

Last year we were the undercard for the ARCA/CRA race, with Erik Jones and Chase Elliott running. It was a weeknight, and made for a great atmosphere. This year they changed the schedule. We ran with the JEGS cars, two nights before the big show on a “normal” Saturday night. It was still a solid crowd, and lots of quality cars/equipment in the pits. We are happy to support this event.

We got some help from the “Wizard” Kevin Lincoln, and much of his handy bodywork or handiwork was on display. We (myself, car owner Mike Stenberg, and crewman Austen) got there for the Friday practice to make sure all was good. We were one of 6 modifieds that turned some laps. It was good that we did as we discovered some things (not the least of which was continued cooling problems – not a good development on likely the hottest racing day of the year with 90+ temps) and learning on the new shoes we hadn’t used yet. I can say it is the first time I ever practiced on sticker tires.

We arrived Saturday morning (before the gate opened I might add). This was despite an “autocross-approved” dinner at Logan’s Friday night. We had our standard scrambling to get ready but got out for the first session at 2PM. We were pleasantly surprised to make the Top 5 on the charts, despite the car being very free. We put on new shoes to scuff for the 2nd session, and dropped speed (which is a theme we need to work out of) and fell to 7th. We were comfortable with this as a minimum of 8 cars would make the draw for position. Making this draw was our goal, with the top 8, 10, or 12 picking.

Our time trial lap was a bit tentative. We managed to just hold on to 8th. This was clutch as we drew 2nd starting spot. After the initial start was called back we pulled out to the lead. This was our first lap led on the Top Speed Tour – and also was our fastest lap turned of the race. We were thus displeased to see the yellow come out immediately, and more so when we got the radio call “go to the pits or go to the rear.” Turns out this is the first time we have run our new fuel cell “packed to the gills” and its overflow is a wee bit sensitive. We were leaving a tremendous trail of hydrocarbon products. Knowing it was fuel and would dissipate after a few laps we tagged to the back.

Here is a picture taken before the fateful trip to zee rear.

The next ten laps were great – the car was hooked up and we were able to advance many positions with “careful aggression.” It apparently wasn’t enough as we went for a loopty loop off of the fourth turn after moving up to 10th. Back to the rear we went. We picked off a few cars, and that was all she wrote. The car started getting looser and we could maintain and go side by side by not get any more spots. We ended up in 8th spot, happy to complete the 51 tours of the facility.

There is limited work to do, we could use some additional cooling and a few other minor modifications. With that in mind we head to Toledo Speedway on June 24th to run our biggest track ever. We will be the support division for the Sprint Cars.

Until then, we shall be staying hungry. We have work to do,


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First Race Summary

Our first race at Springport – rain. Two weeks later, the second race of the season at Berlin – postponed due to cold / rain – multiple days in advance. The second one really got us thinking that we needed to get the car shaken down. Because of the notice we audibled and decided to run at Spartan Speedway. This was fine – but it required a gear change – and was on a Friday!

The weather for the day looked beautiful. It was temperate for mid-May with a decent breeze. After some travails in getting the vehicle to the speedway (you can ask the boss about that offline), we arrived and commenced getting the gear swapped. Team thrashed, with some external help. We got out for our first session with about 15 minutes to go.

Despite an off-season spent torn apart, the initial guess at the set-up was fantastic. The car ran well, turned well, and times were a tad off where we needed to be. Came in for a quick adjustment and headed back out. It was atrocious – a tremendous vibration was picked up in the RF as if something was broken.

It was then that technology came to the rescue. Cue Tom Stumpfig and his digital camera. He came over and showed us some pictures – and it was clear there was a camber issue. This was adjusted but there was no time before time trials. It was better but not all the way back to neutral.

And the time trial lap showed that. We timed a poor 11th out of 15. A plan was enacted by which we would test something in the heat race and then make a bigger change for the feature. That was a great plan until somebody in track management checked the radar. A storm had picked up steam and was headed east. They made the novel decision to essentially run the program backwards. Features would be first and then heats if there was time. So much for that idea…

The crew chief swung into action, as always. And swung he did with the following advice before we headed out on the track “It’s either going to be fantastic – or it’s going to be junk. If it’s junk in hot laps come in for adjustments because you are starting close enough to the rear anyway.” Hot laps found that, well, it wasn’t too shabby. The decision was made to stay out.

The initial start of the race found us in 10th…and immediately able to keep up. This was a positive development given the earlier performance. After narrowly missing a broken down car before 2 laps were even completed , it was time to do some work. The car came to life and worked on the outside and the inside. 35 laps, with some nicely timed cautions, were what we needed to gradual move up through the pack. With about 10 to go we were running 4th. After a pass on the high side, and a pass on the low side, it was time to try and catch the leader. There was no doing so on this night but it was a solid and most pleasing drive to finish on the 2nd step of the podium. Needless to say we were looking forward to the (eventually rained out) heat race. Below are some photos by Woody of the feature race.

We are in the midst of a month long break. We will light the wick again during a practice session on the 10th, with racing during the Battle at Berlin weekend on the 11th (support division to Jegs cars). We think you will like the improvements made during that month – and we are eager to prove that in the results.

Until next weekend,


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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.


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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.


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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,


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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.


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