I arrived in California late on Friday afternoon, making it to the BMR shop for about an hour to do a little bit of work on the car. We finished everything up on Saturday morning and headed to the racetrack.
Last week, which was an off weekend for us, All American Speedway held an "Enduro" race, where the track is watered and soaped for a 200 lap street stock race. This made for a much different racetrack when we arrived this weekend. Even though we won the last race, we made some significant changes in practice. Using some of the data from our Aim Sports MXL System, we made a few Penske Shock changes that helped a great deal.
When I went out for qualifying, I felt really confident in the racecar. My first lap felt so good that I decided to not run a second lap and our lap time of 14.133 put us in the third position. This week's invert was a 3, meaning that I would start on the pole. I think this is the first time that the invert has actually helped me!
When the green flag dropped on the 19 car field, I spun the tires (Damn, that Willy's Carb has some throttle response!) on the start, allowing Lindsay Barton, my BMR teammate who started on the outside pole, to get a slight edge as we headed into the first turn. I had to work hard for the first three laps to hold her off, but once I cleared her, we stretched out a 6 car length lead before settling into a more conservative rhythm. The caution flew on laps 10 and 19, and each time I would start opening up a significant lead when we went back to green. Ryan Precher, my spotter, would let me know when we had a 6 car length lead, which is when I felt comfortable slowing down a bit to conserve tires and brakes.
Around the halfway mark, we began having some brake issues. They still stopped, but the pedal began traveling much further than usual. I was forced to run even more conservatively to ensure that I would have brakes left at the end of the race. I reverted back to many of the lessons that I learned racing Briggs and Stratton Engines in go-karts, using as little brake and carrying as much momentum as possible. With 10 laps to go, I began to lap cars, which was extremely difficult with the weak brakes. This allowed second place John Moore to catch me. Our car handled exceptionally well throughout the entire race, allowing me to stay glued to the bottom grove despite some braking problems and preventing Moore from having any opportunity to get around me. To have a win percentage that's now 60% is something that our whole team, Ryan, Herman, Travis, Alex, and I, is extremely proud of. We'll look for our fourth win at All American Speedway's sixth race of the season this Saturday, May 24.