TRUCKIN' WITH TWISTER - PART TWO, READY TO RACE by Mike Twist
If The Weather Cooperates, We'll Be On Track This Week!
Rain has been pretty much the story of New England racing, and life in general up here, for the past month or so. Between their three different nights of weekly racing, Oxford has seen their last four events washed away. The forecast for this week is iffy as well. There is currently a 50% chance of rain for race time tomorrow night. However, the optimist in me knows that there is also a 50% chance of no rain tomorrow night. At this point, I’ll gladly take those odds. It’s been that kind of spring.
Whenever it is time to race, the truck is all ready to go. The oil is changed, the bolts are all tightened and it is
ready to be loaded onto the trailer.
One last minute task was lettering the truck up in its 51 livery. Dale Averill at 51 Designs worked from photos of the painted, but otherwise nude, truck and he designed a cutting edge graphics scheme. Vinyl decals were then made by Chase Graphics [click here for more] and shipped out from their shops in Iowa to mine in Maine.
I do know that the truck will be solid. The Lynches built a strong truck with a solid rollcage underneath it. In fact, I had to cut out a few frontal bars out to adapt the truck from White Mountain to Oxford rules. I also have the benefit of a Saturday Night Special seat from the Joie of Seating. With proper harnesses and mounting, this seat is the best out there to protecting your rear end no matter if you’re in a four cylinder truck or a Super Late Model. It’s the most comfortable thing that I’ve ever sat in as well.
Even the small details on the truck are well attended to. For example, the battery had to be moved from the bed
With patience and a spray bottle of water, the application of the lettering went pretty smoothly. I must admit to being a little bit out of practice when it comes to the job, so the first few decals have a few little bubbles and “oops” marks on them. That was solely due to operator error though and everything looks killer from just a few feet away.
The lime sherbet paint scheme will no doubt stand out on the track. The previous owners of my truck, the Lynch family who race at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Speedway, did such a good job with the paint itself that I couldn’t stand to sand it down and repaint it
with the John Deere yellow hue that I usually run on a race truck. The green has grown on me though, reminding me of the #46 City Chevrolet car from Days of Thunder.
I have no idea how quick the truck will be. I’m hoping for something that is capable of finishing somewhere between the bottom half of the top five and top half of the top 10, but to be honest, I’m pretty clueless. Rules for the class keep competitors to a mostly stock set-up and there’s no a lot of horsepower that can be had out of a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine from General Motors. This truck is a first in my racing career to have a computer. No, there is not any traction control or data recorders on board, but there is a stock ECM unit due to the fact that the truck has factory fuel injection. I’m not sure that I trust a little black box…well actually it’s a little silver one…in my race machine, but if it was good enough to go 100,000 plus miles on the street, it must be good enough for a summer of 20-lap feature races.
The #51 truck will compete in the Sport Truck class at Oxford Plains Speedway. (OPS Photo)
The Speed51.com/51 Designs Truck is ready to race.
The graphics from 51 Designs and Chase Graphics sit ready to apply.
to under the hood to meet the Oxford rules. The stock battery tray and system of mounting it was a little flimsy for beating and banging on a short track, so my father Craig went to work to engineer an alternative. He used angle iron and square stock steel, a welder, a sandblaster and a sheet metal brake to fabricate a home for the battery that is probably on par with my seat. Overkill? Probably, but my father tends to go overboard on the quest to do things right. I can’t claim the same about of dedication to detail myself, but I also know that I won’t have to worry about my battery coming loose now either.
For a racecar driver, there is nothing like the opening day of the season. It ranks right up there with Christmas.
Unfortunately, unlike Christmas, opening day can get rained out and that is exactly what happened last week to the scheduled start of the Summer Racing Series at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. That is where I’ll be on most Wednesday nights this summer, wheeling the Speed51.com/51 Designs Sport Truck…which is numbered #51 (did you expect anything different?).
Some of my fellow competitors have already competed this year. In addition to the Wednesday night series, Oxford also has a handful of Motor Mayhem events, where the Sport Trucks can race, on Sundays throughout the season. Due to being on the road covering races, I will probably not run any of the Sunday shows, but there are plenty of competitors who will. There were 28 trucks in the pits for that race. That’s nothing compared to the Outlaw (Street Stock-type) and Runnin’ Rebel (Min-Stock type) divisions which each had over 50 entries in each class.
And even more racers are planning to show up on Wednesday night. If the weather cooperates, it
The office of the #51 truck.
promises to be one heck of a show for one low price.
The Summer Racing Series continues every Wednesday night through August 23. Racing starts at 6:30pm sharp and grandstand admission is only $5 for adults.