Bristol Motor Speedway… The last great colosseum. Bristol is a track that is filled with excitement each time you walk into that place. This past weekend I had the privilege to be one of he gladiators to battle for 300 laps! Thanks to car owners Derek White & Carl Long, I was given the opportunity to once again race the #13 Toyota and represent Braille Battery and GRAFOID.
Bristol has been a race track where I have had great results and finishes. In last years race I was able to bring home a solid 21st place finish. Each time you have success at a racetrack you always want to go back and try to better yourself to the next level. So going into the weekend, that was where my mind was at and we looked to come out of Saturday night’s race with a top 20.
Friday was our first day at the track, NASCAR has given us two rounds of practice to prepare our cars for the 300 lap race on Saturday. We had our own schedule that we wanted to follow to try two separate setups for the car and decide which would be best for the race. We get through the first practice on setup #1 and decide that setup #1 doesn’t look to be the route that we need to take for the race.
As the second practice session is about to begin, we realize that we were having issues with the oil pump. This was a serious matter that we had to fix. However the issue was going to cost us our second practice session. We were left with a lot of decisions. We had to decide if it was still worth throwing a completely new setup at the car to run qualifying and the race was worth it or not.
After careful thinking we decided as a group that setup #1 was not going to work so we had to give setup #2 a try even with having no laps on it. Qualifying was next for us and knowing this would be our only chance at figuring out how our car would drive, we decided to keep the car in race trim for this session to attempt to better our car for the race. In result we would roll off 37th for the race.
Knowing how treacherous Bristol is, we knew we would get chances to continue to work on our #13 Toyota through out the race to get it faster. So as the green flag dropped we fell in line and raced as hard as we could. Not getting the chance to perfect our car in practice, left us struggling to start the race. However cautions did fly and we made changes throughout the race to get our car better and it was working! However trouble struck us again right around the 200 lap mark. The engine started to cut out and ultimately shut off all together causing us to not finish the race.
Its disappointing for myself and everyone on the team. We all know that Bristol would be a great track for all of us to try to show what we are fully capable of. However I can’t be to bummed out because I had a great time once again racing around one of the best tracks in the world! I will be back next week to run Richmond in the #13 Braille Battery/GRAFOID Toyota and we will have to rebound there. Thanks everyone for the support and tune in next week to see how our weekend goes at Richmond!
It was a great feeling headed back to the Texas Motor Speedway! This past weekend was my first race of the year for me and I enjoyed every bit of it! I was driving the #13 Dodge representing Braille Battery and GRAFOID.
The weekend started off really well. We clocked in our fastest lap of practice on our 4th lap on the track, so I knew we were going to have a racecar that we could work with and fine tune as we got closer to the race. That was exactly what we did the rest of day 1 was fine tune the car and made small gains going into day two of qualifying and the race.
On day two we prepared the car for qualifying trim. We had focused completely on race trim in practice to save a set of tires for the long 300 mile race. We decided to run 1 lap of qualifying and call in quits to save the tires, motor, and car for the race. That 1 lap of qualifying had us rolling off in the 32nd starting position in the race.
Having raced many of races here in both the Xfinity Series and the Sprint Cup Series, I knew exactly how to attack this race. From the drop of the green flag we picked up 4-5 spots running just outside the top 25. Knowing that Texas was really abrasive on tires, we fell in line and ran a conservative pace where I knew I would pick up even more spots when the other drivers burned threw their tires. This strategy worked really well but problems struck us at the half way portion of the race.
The car began to lose power and we quickly figured out we had a fuel pickup issue. Unfortunately this was a costly problem because we would have to pull behind the wall to fix the issue. We eventually got the issues all fixed and brought our #13 Dodge back to the racing surface to finish the race. However the time behind the wall cost us a solid finish and instead we finished 35th.
The finish doesn’t reflect our performance on track but it was a great feeling being racing my first race of the year. A lot of people helped out to make this weekend possible and I want to give a huge thanks to Carl Long, Derek White, Braille Battery, and GRAFOID. I am excited to announce that we will try to redeem ourselves at the next couple races. I will be driving the #13 car at Bristol & Richmond and hopefully we can get some more scheduled as well. Stay tuned for the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 this weekend!