August 9th, 2010
TLM HAS ANOTHER GOOD RUN AT POCONO
7/31/10: Even though a 29th place finish was not as good as the team had hoped for, it is always a good day at the track when you can see the checkered flag with the engine running and all four tires still on the car.
The team went into the weekend with high expectations due to the recent completion of a new SB2.2 engine by Cummings Auto Machine. With a new set of heads from Bobby Gerhart, the team was hoping for 800 hp and came within 10 hp of achieving that goal. 790 hp is pretty good and almost 50 hp more than we have ever had.
On thursday, the team got a big suprise when ARCA informed us that the 2005 Monte Carlo body style needed to be updated to the newer 2007 Monte Carlo SS style. So we stayed up late and put a new bumper cover on, in the infield. The guys put in some extra effort to get that done. Thanks to Bob Cincotta, John Traphagen, Aaron Cross, Eric Bomboy, Wade Camenga, Grant Cross for burning the midnight oil.
Friday went smoothly as we got through tech with no major issues. Unfortunately, we ran into some difficulty getting the engine started on the new distributor. After missing about an hour of practice, we finally switched back to the old one. We ended up getting about 1/2 hour of track time. I drove very cautiously as I wanted to give the new engine a chance to "break in". Also, the car was too low and was scrubbing on the track in the first turn, hard!!! That is no place to be bottoming out. For time trials we raised the car and it was much better. We ended up with a 59.15 second lap, which was good enough for 26th out of 40 cars.
Race day started out on the upswing. After avoiding wrecks on the initial start and restart, we passed some good cars and moved up to 23rd position. While still running on the lead lap, on about lap 20, the engine started to "lay down" on the straightaways. In an effort to diagnose the problem, I slowed my pace and ended up getting lapped by Kimmel and the lead pack. At about lap 30, I had to pit under green to go under the hood to check for problems. Unfortunately, if we could have stayed on the track a lap or two longer we would have caught the caution that came out while we were on pit road. Having lost a couple more laps, we went back out and "rode around" to finish the race. It was good to get to the checkers, even though it was 29th, and 4 laps down.
As usual, I would like to thank the crew for helping us "run with the big dogs". In no particular order:
John and Darlene Cross
Bob Thurston Jr.
Cummings Auto Machine
Ritter Performance Machine
Gary's Used Engine Parts