All day Wednesday, it looked a rainout was going to be in the cards for this week’s Summer Racing Series at Oxford. I kept glued to the forecasts all day on the internet and television and figured that racing was a lost cause. But a funny thing happened in the middle of the afternoon – there was hope the rain would stop and the show would go on. Instead, it was just Mother Nature teasing all of us racers again.
So after waiting until the last minute to leave on the 75-minute ride to the track, my father and I hit the road and drove through showers along the way. The weather looked a little more promising once we got to Oxford and
with some track drying, there could possibly be a race after all.
First up for me was a trip through tech to show the inspectors all of the things that I had to change on the truck since week one. I actually had a little bit of confusion cleared up as well as the issues that they found wrong my first time out. It turns out that an actual 2006 version of the rulebook was not printed, nor were the rules on the track website updated. There were some changes that were made to the rules and they were probably even discussed at a pre-season rules meeting that I was not able to attend. I worked off of last year’s rules and had a few things that were not correct.
I was not trying to get away with anything exotic. I’m just in this for fun and an extra degree of camber, a rollbar that is not the right length or a different way of mounting the rear springs is not going to make my experience any more or less enjoyable for me. I just want to race.
On the other hand, the tech inspectors have a tough job. They were enforcing rules that they did not know I had no idea about. They weren’t trying to make rules up along the line, there was just a lack of communication somewhere along the line.
So I finally got a green light in tech, but a bigger problem was found at the same time. When putting my rear springs back together, I used a bolt that was too long. By just driving through the pit area, it rubbed against the spring perch and caused some major problems were the rear end was mounted. I can only image the mess that it would have caused on the track. Some surgery had to be performed on the #51 truck and it needed to be done quickly.
Not having the right tools at the track was not going to allow that to happen though. As luck (and lack of preparation on my part) would have it, a ¾” wrench and socket was needed and my largest one on hand was an 11/16”. However, there was a knight in shining armor to be found. The #99 truck team of Jerry Goss saved my bacon when they lent me the proper tools for the job. With those tools, the rear end was able to be fixed and a camber adjustment was made to the left front as instructed and I was ready to hit the racetrack.
Unfortunately, my time on the racetrack only consisted of about a half dozen laps to help dry the surface. At that point, it started raining hard and the night was over.
Well, the good news was that in those half dozen laps, the rear end did not fall out of the truck. The other good news was that once again, I was reminded of how great of a community racing is. Not only did the Goss team help me out when I needed it, but the #52 Running Rebel of Maurice Martel, Jr. stopped by my pit to return a tie-down strap that had fallen out of my truck two weeks before. It turns out that I was lucky enough to have had them following me at the time. Thanks guys!
And I really need to give credit to the management and track crew at Oxford for working to get the show in. The weather was awful, but they tried everything possible to get some racing in. Against impossible odds, they almost succeeded. But then again, you can’t control Mother Nature.
So what’s next? Oxford Plains Speedway officials have set tonight as a raindate for the Summer Racing Series, but I am already committed to heading to Thompson International Speedway (CT) to cover the NASCAR Busch East Series/Whelen Modified Tour doubleheader. However, both tracks have a 50-60% chance of showers tonight so if it rains to the south, but not the north…or vice versa, I’ll be all set. Or I could miss a Truck race…or both events could get rained out.
Chances are that my truck will head out of the driveway later today with something hooked to the back of it. Will it be a racecar trailer headed to Oxford or a camping trailer headed to Thompson. We’ll just have to wait and see.
If things fall into place right, the #51 truck might roll off the trailer and race Thursday night. If not, at least it is ready for next week. (51 Photo)
You have got to love the Oxford race fans. It doesn't matter if it is raining, they'll still come out to see a race. (Trudy Marshall / Jarracing Photography Photo)
The Boston Red Sox have won their last 11 games. Cassius Clark is three-for-three in PASS North and I have a little record of my own going with the #51 sport truck at Oxford Plains Speedway.
So far this year, I’ve been to the racetrack twice with my little truck and both times have turned into a rainout. I could make it to the first raindate, so this week was supposed to have been race one.