Madd Maxx: Driver Disappoints in Victorville with 4th place finish

It might seem odd to say that we are disappointed with a 4th place finish with our Street Stock Madd Maxx 29 – campaigned out at Victorville Raceway in Victorville, California. 4th place is a tech pad “Top 5″ finish – our 4th this season so far out of 10 races. Not bad for a driver, car, and crew that had never won a heat race, or finished Top 5 in any race PRIOR to 2010. However, sometimes your expectations for yourself and your car can become too overwhelming.

For Madd Maxx, we’ve had a great car the last two races, but we’ve had really bad luck and we have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Race 8, we got spun twice, run over, and tore up the right rear tire in the process. In Race 9, we were in second place challenging for the lead, when the right front tire rolled off the rim in Turn 2. After quick tire change, we were at the back of the back. We moved up pretty aggressively but then I spun over driving the car trying to make up positions on the leaders. At that resulted in two finishes outside of the top 10 and an unhappy crew and driver. Not to mention the damage. Lots of it.

Repairs after the last 2 races have included a ring and pinion, bent axles, rear end bearings, bent control arms, bent steering components, and 3 cut tires and 2 bent rims. Ouch. If you want to see video of the carnage, here is a link to our coverage or Race 8 and 9. However, coming up to race 10 this weekend, we were optimistic because the car has been really dialed in and has been performing great.

We were also optimistic because our friend Ken Warner at Mickey Thompson Tires helped us with some fresh tires - the Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/T tires. They are very close to the Cooper Cobra's, in fact they are made off the same tire footprint, but there are some improvements and changes in the S/T that Ken felt would be beneficial for a Dirt Track stock car. We are happy to report that he was right. With the Mickey Thompson's, the car felt more hooked up, and the tread design seemed to shed rocks and dirt somewhat better than the Coopers. Score.

So crew member Tom Bobolts and myself were feeling very good on the drive up to Victorville. Perhaps too good. Ever felt like it was ‘your time’? Well, we did. And we were wrong.

Race 10: Victorville – Heat Race 1

This is not what you want your rim to look like after a heat race. Getting loose in turn 2 because I was taking too high of a line, I smashed the rear end, and then the front right wheel, into the Victorville concrete retaining wall.

Coming into the Heat Race, I always tell myself this isn’t the main event. So, in other words, don’t crash, don’t get too aggressive with passing, and don’t over drive the car. Since there were only 12 entrants in the class this weekend, there would only be an A-main. Plus, there are no points or trophies in the heat race. No glory, no guts needed – right?

The track was moist and heavy in our Heat, which was the first heat on the board. Starting in my heat were Mike Malcolm (15), Tricky Ricky Lee (16), JR Steele (91), and the two top current points leaders, Curtis Dietszch (25) and Mopar Mike Miller (44). We were starting in the 2nd row inside. The car felt great, and I was experimenting with a mid-high line trying to ride the top cushion. The car felt great and I was slowly reeling in Ricky Lee each lap, but he was doing a nice job running the mid-line, while I was slightly higher at the mid/high line. Too high. In fact, instead of just having my right rear riding the cushion I had 2 or even 3 tires up there for a few laps. And it hurt me, coming out of turn 2 I drifted a little high and had a beautiful encounter with the wall. The rear hit first, then the front wheel, trashing the wheel and cutting down one of our tires. And that was it for the heat – I piddled the car off the track with a last place finish and torn rubber. It would mean starting at the back of the pack in the A-Main.

Race 10: Victorville – Main Event

The main event video is here. Basically I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I didn’t drive the race I needed to. We knew the car worked best in the mid line given the track conditions and the way we had the car setup tonight. We needed to put our right rear on the cushion and we knew the car was fast. This old 29 was really moving, but it didn’t like to run low. I got hung up low trying to pass, and I’m not sure if was just the crash or losing my game plan, but I flat out screwed this race up. I ran the low line and a really bad line the majority of the race trying to get around two drivers: a very game JR Steele (91) and Joe Louis (6).

The car was much better than the driver, I’m afraid. The results showed that we started in 10th place, and finish on the tech pad with a #4 finish, but the car had more in her and I let her down. Finishing ahead of us was Mike Miller (44), Mike Malcolm (55), and Ricky Lee (16). Let’s hope next time, the driver does his job and lets the car do her thing a little better next time!

Special thanks as always to our supporters Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels, and VP Racing Fuels for all of their support this season.

To add insult to injury - or injury to insult? - our post-race inspection demonstrated only 10 lbs of oil pressure. Time to figure out a way to make the next race!

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