Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dissapointed but not Discouraged

What a great time we had in Daytona! We did not qualify as fast as we would have liked, but we had already set the truck up for the race so it was not quite as fast by itself. We ended up qualifying 28th out of 36 trucks. So we were basically starting in the back. But, everyone felt really good about the truck and Justin, our driver, felt confidant that he could hook up with another truck and get to the front. Ken and I arrived late Friday morning, and after lunch headed to the credentials office to get our pit passes. We had a little bit of an issue getting them because of the way they had been requested, but we got it all straightened out – and we saw Todd Bodine (who went on to win the race that night). After that we picked up Ken’s Uncle J.D. and headed to the track. First we went to the truck garage and helped everyone get ready – we had to get the pit cart, 3 cans of fuel, 2 sets of tires, air tanks, everyone’s gear (fire suits, aprons, helmets, radios, knee pads, gloves, jack, air guns, pit sign, pit crew suits, catch can), and the generator to Pit Road. Pit Road was NOT around the corner from the truck garage – it was waaaaaay far away (the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup cars get the closer (covered) garages. So, pushing/carrying all the gear that far took a while – so you really tried to make sure you didn’t forget anything. On one of our trips back to the garage, we went through the SprintZone in the infield where they had games, food and other booths set up. There was also a stage and Joe Gibbs was up on the stage giving his testimony. Then he gave an invitation and led the crowd in a sinner’s prayer! It was awesome - what a great witness. You often see “celebrities” write books or articles about their “faith” but you rarely see them act on it – so it was so neat to see him in person sharing his faith so openly and to be honest – very bluntly – no sugar coating! (Speaking of celebrities, Evander Holyfield sat about 5 rows in front of us on the plane ride down.)
Anyway, back to the race. It was really neat to see all the pre-race hoopla that they do – after each driver was introduced on the stage, they were picked up by a Corvette and taken to their truck. After the start of the race, we moved up pretty quickly but we ended up about a second or two back from the lead pack, luckily some debris on the rack brought out a caution so we were able to catch back up. We were moving up steadily and at one point we were as high as 7th. The truck was running great!! NASCAR has a new rule this year that you can’t get gas and change tires in the same pit stop, so they have to get gas and then go out and around the track and then come back in to get tires. We had a major problem with the gas and then didn’t have the materials to clean it up quickly AND then had to be ready to change tires very quickly. It dropped us back quite a bit, but again we were steadily moving up. Then there was a crash – but luckily, unluckily, luckily, well, I don’t know which – we blew the engine. We were out of the race. We were so bummed because the truck had been running so good. I think that we were fortunate because if the engine hadn’t blow we probably would have been in the middle of the crash and sustained significant damage to the truck and possibly to Justin. So, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, but it sure felt like the short end of the stick. Everyone worked so hard and to have engine problems when we were running so well was really disappointing. But, after everyone has time to settle down and think, I think they will be pleased with the way they performed in practice and early in the race. But as they say, “That’s racin’”.

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