August 1st, 2008
POCONO: Overheating Cuts Day Short

August 1, 2008: The TLM crew showed up at the “tricky triangle” with a number 59 on the door. The new number would end up being best “move” of the weekend. Contrary to early predictions, the field for the second Pocono race had grown to 45 entries. With Bill Gerhart’s number 7 already spoken for, I was able to find the owner with the highest available points, which was Mark Gibson. He was gracious enough to let us enter under his owner’s license.

With Chuck and Duane unable to get out of work, we all pitched in to help get the car through tech. We had Aaron, John Traphagen, Eric Bomboy, Rick Petrucco, Rex Helwig and Bob Cincotta all working on misc. new issues that the ARCA Officials found for us to do. The good news was that Dad was able to come down and “oversee” our efforts. Bobby Thurston was there to be my “eyes” in the spotter’s stand.

Although tech and practice went off smoothly, we never really got the speed out of the car that we expected. Our best practice time of 59.9 seconds was not going to get us into the show. Billy Gerhart came by our garage to give us some pointers. As we were getting ready to get into tech line for qualifying, we noticed that the left front seemed like it was way low. By the time we made some adjustments, we were at the back of a long tech line. Bill Kimmel came by and suggested that we might want to start asking favors to let us “jump line”. Everyone was very accommodating and we moved up quickly. During this whole time, Aaron was trying to get the sway bar hooked back up and Scott Ritter came by a couple of times to check the timing. We made it to pit road with about 5 minutes to spare.

Once on the track for my time trial, the car felt good and I knocked 1.1 seconds off our practice time. At first I was thinking that was going to be good enough to get us in the show in time, but as each car went out we could do the math and knew that we were going to be on the bubble. When it was over, we ended up 34th out of 45, but only 32 get in on time. We played the waiting game for about the next hour, until Bobby Thompson walked by and gave me the “thumbs-up”. We were in 40th on a provisional…thanks to Mark Gibson.

August 2, 2008: It rained hard all the way to the track on Saturday morning. The start time had been delayed 1 hour. With Chuck and Todd coming in to fill out the crew and Shari in the Scorer’s stand, we made last minute preparations and pushed the car to our spot on the grid. Once the pre-race activities were done, we rolled off pit road and immediately discovered an overheating problem. For the first 10 laps we thought that maybe it was just too much tape on the grill and we could fix it at the first caution. By lap 12, we had to make a green flag pit stop to pull some tape and I got busted for entering too fast…pass through penalty…too fast going out…pass through penalty…still too hot. At this point we decided to park it before we really blew the engine. Turns out that we had a radiator leak that developed during the time trial, but with impound qualifying, we never had a chance to diagnose it.

My biggest disappointment was not lasting long enough for the crew to go over the wall for a pit stop. Everyone (especially John and Eric) had worked so hard to get the ready, that I really wanted them to get a chance to experience the rush of a live pit stop. Special thanks to Bob Cincotta for allowing us to use his trailer.

Special thanks to Jeff and the gang at Odyssey Networks our Site Host ..::.. Special thanks to VFW Post 7686, Alamogordo, NM - The Best in the West!

..:: Web Site Design & Maintenance by: KING Design ::..