January 1st, 2010

After a 2 year absence at the World’s Center of Speed, the LaCross Motorsports crew pulled into the high banks of Daytona last weekend with high expectations. With a new engine and complete new front end suspension, the goals were to find the speed to get into a top 35 qualifying position. Billy Gerhart said “if you can run a 51.00 second lap in testing, then some new tires, thin oils and a few other tricks should result in a 50.50 second time trial in February”.

Friday was a complete washout with rain preventing all but about 25 teams from getting on the track. This gave Chuck Miller, crew chief, some extra time to fine tune our set-up and tie up loose ends before pushing the car to its limits.

Saturday was a much better day so we headed to the staging lane with the sun shining on us. Bob Cincotta, acting spotter, radioed down to me in the car wanted to know if there was anywhere else I would rather be. With an intentional pause, I replied “Hell No!”. About that time, ARCA sent us on the track for our first session of the test. After about 4 laps, we brought the car in for a thorough inspection. New crew member Chris Meddaugh informed the crew that ARCA timing/scoring had us at about a 52.00 second lap. That wasn’t what we were looking for, but over a second faster than the last time we were on the track in 2008. Aaron Cross went under the car and made some adjustments to the truck arm position and we tried again. Although the time was not significantly better, we kept adjusting and improving all day long. By the end of the day we were down to 51.38 seconds.

Billy Gerhart stopped by and gave us some pointers and we were excited that we still had more in the car to find. Scott Ritter was keeping an eye on the engine, and everyone was ready for Sunday’s final practice.

On Sunday morning, we went thru the tech station and found a couple of more places to make improvements. We got the car in the staging line and waited for our turn to go out (right behind Danica Patrick). Once given the signal by ARCA, I fired the engine and headed out for what we hoped would be our magic 51.00 second lap. Bob coached me on the radio to get it up next to the wall on the warm-up lap. Everything felt really good coming to the start/finish line when I noticed there was a vibration, so I shut the engine down and coasted back to the pits. Scott’s advice was to load it up and take it home to diagnose the problem. I will post a report when we get more information.

The team is extremely proud of our effort and received a compliment from 5 time Daytona winning crew chief Bill Gerhart, who said “for a bunch of guys who don’t do this full-time, you are doing pretty good. That engine is surprisingly strong.” How cool is that?

I would like to thank the following for their support at the track:

Chuck Miller, Crew Chief

Aaron Cross, Car Chief

Bob Cincotta, Acting Spotter

John Cross, Crew

Chris Meddaugh, Technical Support

Matt Sheerin, Crew

Paul Stevens, Crew

Jeremy Eckroth, Crew

Darlene Cross and Clara Ortalano, Crew Support

Bill Gerhart, Mentor

Scott Ritter, Engine

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