Alright...let it be said here and now that all our bad luck behind us. From here on out, it's going to be clear sailing.
Portland Oregon is in the left corner of the country, so instead of driving our motor coach, we decided to fly. It saved us a TON of time, and really makes the most overall sense. We had another Thursday afternoon arrival, and immediately went over to Biffle's Bar and Grill for a personal appearance. As you can tell by the name, the place is owned by Greg Biffle, since Portland is his home town. We had a great time, and look forward to going back next year.
Getting to the track Friday, we pulled out the truck that we tested extensively at Putnam Park. The truck was set up right, and we were ready to go... So we thought. We knew we had to put a fresh motor in the truck. The problem was, we got the engine a little late. It was nobody's fault but our own, so we had to do a bit of scrambling to get the engine compartment ready in time for practice. By the time the first practice came around, we had a screamer on our hands… We were sixth fastest at the end of the first practice session, we were looking forward to qualifying.
"...we were in the last five minutes of practice when the engine developed some sort of miss...it appeared we busted a valve spring. The decision was made to replace the entire engine...We basically replaced [it] in under two hours. Try doing THAT in your garage!"
Qualifying rolled around, and NASCAR went with a new format, called "European Style" qualifying. Basically, five trucks go on to the track at the same time, released in five-second intervals. Once the first truck crosses the finish line, all trucks have a five-minute period in which to run as many laps as possible, and their fastest lap is used for their qualifying time. We turned a good lap, and started 8th on the grid.
We had one last practice session on Friday, and this is when our luck started turning sour. With the fourth fastest practice time, we were in the last five minutes of practice when the engine developed some sort of miss. Looking under the hood, it appeared we busted a valve spring, but because it started to rain, we held off on the repairs until the next morning. When the valve covers were taken off Saturday morning, the news was not good. The decision was made to replace the entire engine. There was an extra engine in the hauler… It was the engine used the previous race in Martinsville. It was still a strong motor, and had more than a few laps left in it. Everybody on the whole team did an excellent job getting the truck ready to go. We basically replaced the entire engine in under two hours. Try doing THAT in your garage!
People were talking all weekend about the rain, and how rain tires might need to be used for the first time ever in a NASCAR-sanctioned event. Let's just say that I am VERY glad they weren't needed.
225 Race Stats
225 Contingency Awards
Volume VIII Pages: