Parked at Grays Harbour Raceway in Elma, WA
Today, Sunday Sep. 5th, I was up around 9am and on the road by 10am. I left Skagit and headed for Port Orchard, WA, over by Bremmerton to visit with one of my wife's best friends (Stephanie) and her husband Juan and their son Jaden (7yr old). I hadn't seen then since Christmas 2007, they moved from the Pensacola area in 2008 to WA. I made it to their place around 12:30pm. They were kind enough to let me do some much needed laundry (it has been since Minot), I was wearing my last clean pair of whitey tighties. Stephanie & Juan cooked up some great tasting steak & shrimp taco's, some good stuff, I managed to wolf down 4 of them, and she made me a plate to take with me for lunch tomorrow. I had a good time hanging out with them for a few hours, I left their place around 5:30pm and headed for Grays Harbour Raceway in Elma, WA. Since Bremmerton is on the otherside of the Sound, I took a new way to Elma, I took HWY 3 (a nice two lane hwy through a pretty country) to HWY 101 to HWY 108, and finally to HWY 8 to Elma. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to drive about 60 miles. I arrived at the track and got parked for the night. Now, lets go back to last Monday, where I left off on my last blog entry.
Sunday Aug 29th Luci got a call from Lynda for an update on Bill, Sunday night in Bellingham, WA Bill started feeling worse and they called 911, he was transported to the hospital where he had 3 stints installed in his arteries to relieve all the blockages he had going on. All of us were a little worried about Bill & Lynda, so we were all waiting for a call from Lynda to let us know Bill made it through surgury in good shape.
Monday Aug. 30th, the agreed takeoff time was 8:30am between me, Jim & Frank, which I knew they would be ready to go by 8am. I was up and almost ready to by 8am, I just still needed to eat a bowl of cereal, Frank 7 Jim were itch'n to go, so I ate my cheerios as fast as i could and we were on the road by 8:15am. Right out of Kamloops is the worst climbs, a good test for my tranny, well I made it to the summit (about 20 minutes behind Jim & Frank) without any problems and my tranny ran great, so I'm not loosing anymore sleep over my tranny, I think its running pretty good. We all stopped in the town of Hope, BC for lunch, and then we split off from eachother, I headed for the border at Sumas, WA and they headed for Frank & Cathy's place near Vancouver, BC. During lunch Luci let me know she got a call from Lynda to let us all know that Bill's surgury went great and they were hoping he would be released Monday afternoon. When Jim found out Bill had 3 stints installed, he got jelous, because last year when he had his heart attack, they only installed 1 stint on him, but everyone was relieved and happy for Bill that he was going to OK. I made it through the border without any issues and I was back in the good ol' US of A around 2:30pm. I drove into Bellingham, WA and I called Eloy to find out if Bill had been released, well Eloy told me they were still at the hospital but hoping to be released soon. I was going to stop and say Hi, but I really didn't want to hassle with the hospital parking, so I told Eloy to pass my well wishes to Bill and that I would see him at Skagit on Thursday. I pushed on to Tulalip, WA (about 25 miles north of Seattle) and parked at the WalMart for the night. I got there around 4pm and I just didn't want to fight Seattle traffic, nor did I want to drive at night, so I decided to camp for the night.
Tuesday I was up around 9am and on the road by 10am, I was hoping that the traffic wouldn't be that bad that late in the morning. As i got closer to Seattle, I decided to take I-405 (the Seattle by-pass), bad idea, I was in stop & go traffic for 20 miles, it took me about 2 hours to finally make it south of Seattle. I stopped at the old Flying J in Tacoma (it is now a Loves) to get 30 gal of diesel (enough to get to Portland where diesel should be cheaper). I stopped in Vancouver, WA to visit with my cousin Lisa and her son JT, I only planned on being there a couple of hours, but ended up staying there until 7pm, her son JT seperated his shoulder at football practice, so we spent about 3 hours in the emergency room, JT will be fine, sore but fine. I left Vancouver and drove through Portland via the I-205 by-pass and stopped at the WalMart in Salem, OR for the night.
Wednesday I was back on the road around 9am and on my way to Cottage Grove, OR for tonights race. I arrived at the track around 11am and got parked at the RV park at the track and met up with Jim & Luci and Walt & Gaye. Well, all the teams and other officials all made it out of Canada OK, and ready to race at the tiny bull ring of Cottage Grove Speedway. 30 cars showed up, I was a little dissappointed, I figured we have 35-40 cars, but we put on a good show with 30. Cottage Grove is always an unpredictable race, that is where Donny Schatz & Kraig Kinser got their first WoO wins, and I was there for the both of them. I also like coming to here because they have a good crew of push trucks & officials, I need to say hi to Ernie & Rose, thanks for a great night and Rose, thanks for saving my ASS. As for the race, Lucas Wolfe started on Pole and took off in the lead, he looked like the Cottage Grove good fortune for first time winners would hold up again, but Lasoski was charging hard from starting 9th. On lap 5 Donny ran right in the back of Kemenah in turn 2 spinning both of them out. I think that pissed Donny off, because he drove his ass off and charged all the way to 2nd at the checkers. Lasoski blew by Lucas and built a big lead, Dollansky fought hard with Lucas and got to 2nd with about 10 to go, but with 7 laps to go, I seen that Dollansky was running out of fuel and 2 laps later he stopped on the track (very unprofessional move when you know your out of fuel and you also know that you can't add fuel in the work area), almost ruining Lasoski's chance at a much needed win, but saving saldana's butt. On the restart, Lucas & Joey were fighting for 2nd when Joey's engine coughed for fuel causing Lucas to drive over his wheel and flip, bringing out a red flag, which turned into an open red, allowing Joey and everyone else to add fuel, Joey's engine kept running until the red flag was thrown, saving his point lead. Lasoski was able to keep his lead for the green, white, checkers and score a very big win for himself, and his team, Lonnie Parsons, it was nice to finally see Barry Jackson smile for once this year. Schatz passed Joey & Sammy on the last lap in turns 3 & 4 to grab 2nd, what a drive he made.
Thursday me & Walt decided to leave at 7am so we would arrive at Skagit around 4pm to go out to eat at the Chuckanut INN, a Bed & Breakfast place right on the Chuckanut HWY overlooking the Puget Sound. We have made it a tradition eating there every year before we race at Skagit. I filled up with diesel at the Safeway it was $2.96, and we were on our way North by 7am. What a picture perfect day for a 350 mile drive through some nice country side. We got to Portland around 9:30am, perfect time, no traffic and a very beautiful sight, Portland was post card perfect when we got to the bridge, absolutely no smog, blue skies no clouds, Mt Hood & Mt St Helens in the background in all their glory, driving over the river and seeing the whole city of Portland just took my breath away, it was a once in a lifetime picture perfect sight (and I didn't have my camera ready, dumb ass). It was a nice drive all the way to Skagit, we stopped 3 times to once to piss and stretch our legs, once to troubleshoot why my altenator wasn't working, and once to dump our sewage tanks, our drive through Seattle was pretty much easy going with just a few places where we got slowed down for a bit. We arrived at Skagit Speedway around 3pm, we made pretty good time. Bill called and asked if we wanted to meet them for dinner, it was good to hear Bill's voice (it was the first time I spoke with him since he left Edmonton). At the track Frank & Cathy arrived from Vancouver, BC and after we all got settled in, we took off for dinner. We had perfect timing, as we drove up to park at the Chuckanut INN, eloy, Bill & Lynda drove in from the other direction. All of us, me, Walt & Gaye, Frank & Cathy, Eloy, and Bill & Lynda had a great evening of great food, great conversation, and a lot of good laughs. Man did Bill look good, a lot more color in his skin, as i think back, he hasn't looked this good for a couple of weeks prior to him noticing his condition. All of us headed back to our RV's and called it a night with full belly's.
Friday, I just kinda relaxed for the day, Walt took me into town to pick up a few supplies (beer & ice), and I just waited to go to work. It was a gorgous day for racing, the tempature was around 78 degrees and blue skies. Steve Beitler has made some changes at his track, he made new opening to the track from the pit area, but I couldn't get Woody under the billboards, I was about a foot to tall, so I had to get on the track either by the old gate on the back straight or at the track exit at turn 1. With the new motorcross track in the infield, there wasn't room to qualify from the infield, so we had to push the cars on the track one at a time and only use one push truck for qualifying, since I have radio contact with the officials, I was asked to push qualifying. I had a great time pushing all the cars, I don't normally get to push qualifying because my normal job is to help get the cars in proper line-up and paired with a push truck during qualifying. So, I have to thank Larry and his awesome push truck crew at Skagit for not being upset that I got to push qualifying, thanks Larry. 35 cars signed in, we had heard rumor that we were only going to get around 25 cars, so 35 was a great number. The feature started with a very exciting front row pair, TK & Haud, the two of them waged a great battle for the 30 laps, they both led for a couple times each, before Jac kinda pulled out a small lead, TK fought hard and on the last lap he blew up big time and Schatz passed him on the front stretch to get 2nd, TK stopped in front of me as the his fire went out on its own, then I noticed his left side muffler was missing, the officials found it in turn 4, which means it fell off during green flag racing, which by the rule book, disqualify's him to last place. What a bummer for that team, but what a great night for the R19 team, they won in there Chassis builders (XXX) home track.
Last night, Saturday Sep 4th, the final night at Skagit, the weather forcast was for chance of showers all day and night, man was i praying for some good fortune and no rain. Well, we got the night of racing in, again I got to push qualifying, that was fun, 34 cars tonight. Tonights race was scheduled for 40 laps with the winner taking home $20,000 big ones. Steve jumped out to a big lead at the start and looked like he was going to stink up the race and drive away. But Joey had an answer for him and around lap 15 he blew by Steve like he was standing still on the high side of turns 1 & 2, Steve immediately jumped up high and stayed with Joey as they waged a battle through lapped traffic. McMahon was on a charge, he started 11th and by lap 20 he was up to 4th and gaining on the front 3 fast. Around lap 30, all of a sudden, they all decided to start running into each other, of course just as it started to sprinkle, the first red came out, it never rained hard enough to affect the track surface, on the restart, Steve got past Joey and McMahon powered past Meyers for 3rd and looked like he might have something for Joey & Steve, then another red flag, this time Schatz was involved (bent one of his down tubes, but it still rolled to the work area) and was able to rejoin after fixing it in the work area during the open red. The final green, white, checker was a good battle, I still thought Paul had something, but when he was going to pass Joey high in turn 1 & 2, Joey blocked him big time allowing Steve to get a good size lead and Paul decided to settle for 3rd. It was a good race and Steve now has the point lead of Joey's down to 7 points, with Jason Meyers only another 26 points back, Schatz took a big hit in the points, but he is still close enough if everything goes his way for the rest of the year. It is great point race this year. It never did rain, thank god, I loaded Woody up on his trailer around 1am and my head hit my pillow around 2am after i showered and watched Sportscenter.
I'm pretty sure I've got you all caught up, tomorrow night we race here in Elma (mother nature, please cooperate) and then we have two days to get to Chico for the biggest race on the West Coast, the Gold Cup.
Again, I want to thank all the fans for supporting me and Work 'N Woody and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. So, until my next blog, stay safe and keep all four wheels on the ground.
Work 'N Woody,
"Just Push'n Off"