Race 8, Memphis
After getting our motor
coach out of the mud in St. Louis, we had a pretty uneventful week. We
caught our breath at home, then packed up the coach again, and headed
off for Memphis. It's a quick 7.5-hour trip from Indianapolis, and there's
a lot of nice scenery along the way.
Sticking to our standard
routine, we arrived at the track on Thursday before the race, and this
time, we didn't have any appearances to make. This allowed the team, as
a whole, to concentrate strictly on the task at hand. As a result, I had
a clear mind and a good mental focus for the upcoming race. I can honestly
say that I had a vibe about this weekend… too bad that it turned out the
way it did.
For the first time this
season, our truck was a little sluggish out of the trailer. In the first
practice, we were only on the track 4 or 5 laps before I spun out and
ran into the infield. Luckily I didn't hit anything, or tear up the tires
too much. Tires are a valuable commodity, because in an effort to keep
costs down, NASCAR only allows teams to use 4 sets of tires the whole
weekend. That includes practice time, qualifying, and racing. In addition,
you're required to start the race on the tires you qualify on, making
things even more interesting.
out on the track and went for broke. After hanging on and driving the
thing "elbows up", we clicked off a great lap, and started fourth on the
grid. Our best qualifying effort this season."
We used a drop-snout
truck in Memphis, which seems to do well in tracks with fairly flat banking.
It's a good truck, but it was pretty obvious that we needed some extra
After spinning the truck
in the first practice, we got back out, and ended up with the 23rd fastest
time. A far cry from where we've been performing at earlier races this
season. For whatever reason, Jerry (our soon-to-be-famous crew chief)
and I couldn't find a good combination. The front end kept bottoming out
in turn one, so we put a different spring package in… That didn't seem
to help much either.
By the time qualifying
came around, Jerry and I decided to put an entirely new shock package
in the truck. We weren't sure what it was going to do, so I went out on
the track and went for broke. After hanging on and driving the thing "elbows
up", we clicked off a great lap, and started fourth on the grid… Our best
qualifying effort so far this season. It appeared we got lucky in qualifying..
Now if only we could get some luck for the race.