Well…this past weekend brought out a side of Timmerman Racing that hasn’t been seen in quite a while. We have become accustomed to qualifying in the top 5 and racing up front all night. Last weekend was everything but that.
We struggled. Our pace was almost a second of what we normally run. The entire crew worked feverishly all night long in search for some explanation. The only thing we could come up with was the tires. We were already behind the 8 ball because we didn’t buy brand new tires; however, the tires we had were only about 60 laps old, but we never took into consideration how many heat-cycles they had been exposed to. Along with the 60 laps, the tires sat in the garage for almost a month and were subject to temperature fluctuations during the day and at night. However, we’re not 100% certain this was the problem.
We qualified 17th out of 19 cars, by far our worst qualifying effort all season long. We “scratched” our qualifying time and elected to start at the tail of the field. For those of you that might not understand what that means, there is a “three tenths” rule that prevents drivers from laying back during qualifying and hoping to catch the invert. If a driver’s time is faster than their qualifying time by three tenths of a second, they are black flagged and sent to the rear of the field. We scratched our time and elected to go to the tail because we were worried that we would run over our time by three tenths or more in the feature.
Other than being slow, we had another issue. The shifter broke right as we were pulling into the staging lanes for qualifying. Anybody who has driven a manual transmission knows it’s really difficult to take off and get up to speed in 4th gear. This problem didn’t slow us down any, but just made for a major inconvenience that couldn’t be fixed immediately at the racetrack.
So…we started last in the feature. My mentality was to stay out of trouble and be able to load the car on the trailer in one piece at the end of the race. As soon as the green flag dropped, the 09 headed to the front. I was able to put together everything I had learned about this car from driving with the big dawgs up front all season long. Passing 11 cars in 30 laps isn’t something that normally happens at Baer Field Speedway. Oh yeah, not one scratch was on the car after the race! Since we typically start in the front of the field, this was my first time racing some of these slower cars at the back. I was very impressed with how clean and smart these racers are.
I have to admit, it was probably one of the most fun races I have had all season long. The ending was especially exciting for everyone as we put pressure on the #51 and beat him by a nose as we came to the checkered flag to take 8th place. I’ve always been on the loosing end of that battle, so it was nice to be able to finally win a position like that.
It’s Thursday already, and we’re still unsure if we are going racing this weekend. We are all working very hard to gather funds for tires this weekend. If it’s meant to be, we’ll be there. If not, there is always next week.
As always, thanks to everyone for your support! Until next time…