Made it to Minot
Wow, what a busy 14 days, I finally have enough time to sit down and write. I ended my last blog entry right before the Ironman 55 at I-55 Speedway in Pevely, MO. Right now I'm camped in the pit area of Nodak Speedway in Minot, ND, the home of the "Minot Missle" Donny Schatz. I arrived today Aug 19th around 4:30pm and attended the Meet & Greet at the Sleep Inn, SLS tries there best to make their 2 day events just that, an event. They have these Meet & Greets and pit parties, something I wish all the traveling teams would attend, that way we might be able to attract more fans to the races. Thanks SLS for thinking out of the box for your events. Now its time to catch you up on what I've been up to for the past two weeks.
Friday and Saturday at I-55 was hot, not as hot as last year, but still when its over 90 degrees, its hot. My good friend Todd came to the races and stayed with me, Todd and I were stationed together in Guam and we cruised together a couple times, he lives in Missouri and has been coming the races in Pevely the last couple years. I was really looking forward to getting to the track, because I knew Jim & Luci would be back after spending a few weeks back in OK City with their family. We all really missed the two of them out here and I especially missed my big hugs I get from Luci every race day. It is great to have you two back out here with us. Friday started like any other race, I went to go to work at Noon, but when I started Woody, he sounded like crap and was only running on 7 cylinders. I borrowed a laser temp gun from Jason Meyer's crew and figured out that the #5 cylinder wasn't firing. After letting him cool down, I pulled the plug and changed it, it fixed the problem, the plug looked good, but I don't know too much about engines and changing it fixed the problem so I didn't worry about it too much. This year only 31 cars showed up for this event, one car shy of running a four heat program, I was a little dissappointed more cars didn't show up, oh well, we still put on a hell of a good show with a three heat program. I-55 is one of my favorite tracks, the racing is awesome, and the fans are really great. The racing was good and fast, Tim Shaffer put a good ass whoop'n on the WoO boy's and took home the cash, Dollansky put on his typical I-55 race and challenged for the win running right up on the fence, I don't think he knows how to run I-55 on the bottom. During the B-Main, I noticed Woody started running on 7 cylinders again, I didn't have time to change the plug again, so I just ran him on 7 cylinders for the rest of the night. After the races, I borrowed the temp gun again and it was the same cylinder as earlier. After talking with Bill Rose, he thought it could be a plug wire, Todd then looked at the wires and found the #5 plug wire resting on the header. After I moved the wire away from the header, he started running on all 8. Thank god it was a simple fix.
Saturday, Todd and I were up around 10am and went out to breakfast to the Bob Evans in Festus, MO. On our way back to the track, we stopped at the parts store and picked up a plug wire, not exactly the right one, but one I figured would work if I couldn't find and MSD wire. After we got back to the track, I walked to the pit area where barry Jackson was working on the Casey's General Stores car, he was kind enough to give me an old plug wire he had in his trailer. Now that I got Woody fixed, I was looking forward to the $20,000 to win Ironman 55. Again only 31 cars showed up, come on, I can't believe only 31 cars showed up for $20,000, Oh well, again we put on a great show. The race was an instant classic, Tim Shaffer took off from the pole and lead the first few laps, Hafertepe Jr challenged Shaffer for about 10 laps and even lead a couple laps. After Ray Marler and his track crew re-worked the track, I thought the track was in too good of shape and we would have a follow the leader fast race, man was I wrong, Shaffer and Hafertepe Jr swapped the lead with slide jobs while running 10.5 sec laps, simply amazing. Sam's car failed on him and then Meyer's took up the challenge of passing Shaffer, which he did and then kinda started to run away from the field. That's when Lucas Wolfe started to make his move from 5th, Lucas was really fast and after he got back to second, he just patiently reeled Jason in and then waited for the white flag lap to make his move in turns 3 & 4, Lucas threw a big slider under Jason and a lapped car and i thought hell ya, Lucas is going to get his 1st win, but Jason had enough room to turn under the lapped car and Lucas and beat Lucas to the finish line by a nose wing. What an amazing race, if Lucas wasn't such a clean respectful driver, he could of took out Jason's front end and won, but Lucas is a clean driver and that gave Jason the room he needed. What a great race. After the races, I met a couple more fans who are readers of my blogs, I'm glad I'm getting to meet some of you, keep on coming up and introducing yourself's.
Sunday, Todd, Selena and I were up around 11am and went to breakfast again at the Bob Evans. After getting back, Selena and I were off to Oskaloosa, IA for Terry McCarl's races on Monday & Tuesday. After a couple days of not stressing out over my RV's transmission issues, it was time to start stressing again. It was a hot day driving to Osky, my tranny ran warm all day and everytime I stopped it felt like the converter wouldn't disengage properly, but we made it to there. We arrived at the track and parked in my normal camping spot, after getting settled in, we watched our normal Sunday night shows (Big Brother, Ice Road Truckers, & Top Shot). I knew a big storm was coming and stayed up to make sure wwe would be ok. Man, it wasn't a very violent storm, but man did it rain, 5 hours of steady heavy rain. I woke up about 9am to find a 2-3 inch lake surrounding the motorhome, every year it has rained in Osky, but this was the first time a lake formed around me.
Monday, after walking around in my new lake, I wasn't sure if the track, infield & pits would be usable for racing, but the sun was out and man was it intense and hot. The track was the least of Terry's worries and the pits and infield dried out enough to actually be usable. The pit area was too soft for any of the big rigs to get in, but Terry got permission from the local authorities to allow the teams to pit out in the local streets around the track and then most of them cooperated and brought in all their equipment in with their mules and pitted in the normal pit area. The track was a typical one groove fast as hell track with all the rain they got, but when it came down to the final of the "King of the Hill" races to determine the pole sitter, man was that a great two lap race. Probably the best two laps I have ever seen, Joey Saldana & Tyler Walker raced side by side for both laps, I mean neither one of them ever led by more than a nose wing, they raced about 3 feet apart from eachother the entire race. It was crazy good, Joey ended up winning, but both of them deserved a standing ovation. Joey took the challenge and started last for a chance of winning $50,000. That put Sammy on the front row, making Joey's challenge that much more difficult. At the drop of the green, Sammy was out front and gone, Joey picked off about 7 cars in the first 3 laps, but he was going to need a bunch of yellows or reds to get to Sammy. Then the yellows started coming, by lap 10 Joey was up to 10th, after a couple more yellows, Joey was up to 8th, I thought maybe Joey could do it, then the next restart was horrible and Joey got punted from the rear when the car running 3rd didn't take off and caused an accordian effect causing Joey to spin out, ending his chance and he parked it for the rest of the night. The rest of the race turned into a Sammy benifit race as he took the checkered flag. Selena and I got back to the motorhome around midnight and the tide had rolled out of our lake and we didn't have to walk trhough water to get to our front door. Well, that didn't last long, because about 30 min later, here came the torrential rians came again, as it rained again until 5am, another 5 inches of rain.
Tuesday I was up around 11am (after finally getting to sleep around 5am when the rain stopped), again our lake was back and it gained another inch of water. Selena & I drove Woody downtown to the laudramat (we found out that the laundramat had just opened around 11:30am due to flooding) and washed our clothes. Man was that a hot and miserable laundramat, 93 degrees 68% humidity = 110 degrees heat index, and the laundramat had no A/C. We ate lunch/dinner at Tasos and then headed back to the track. Again, I have to give it to Terry & Lori McCarl, them and their crew did an amazing job getting the track even close to race on, Turn 4 was almost completly under water and they were able to get 7/8ths of the turn usable. Again all the big haulers pitted out in the streets and brought their mules and cars into the normal pit area. I have to give it up to all the push trucks that came over from Knoxville for both nights of Terry's races, they all did a great job packing the track and pit area to make them usable, great job to everyone. I like working the USAC Non Wing races, mainly because when I push a non wing car, I can actually see where I'm going, it isn't as scary pushing them off, and the other reason is I grew up watching NARC races at Calistoga when they were non wing races, they normally put on a great race. There wasn't any disappointment this night either, the track was fast, making it kinda trecherous for the non wing cars and it showed, there must have been a total of 10 red flags during the night. Bud Kaeding started 6th and quickly got to 2nd where he chased down Brian Clausen (I went to high school with Brian's dad Tim in Carmichael, CA) and ran away with it in between all the reds. If you sat in the grandstands, you should have seen the donuts Bud did when he stopped to collect all his winnings, trophy, & weight belt. After the race I could feel the storm coming, so I bailed early and loaded Woody on his trailer, happy that I beat the storm, but just as I was locking Woody down with the last strap, here comes Mike Roberts to get me, because Bill Rose's car wouldn't roll to his trailer (he flipped earlier and went to the hospital), so i had to unload Woody and go help out. Just as I was bringing Bill's car to his hauler, it started sprinkling, after I got the car in the trailer, I hauled ass back to my RV to load Woody back up before the big rains came. Well, I got Woody on his trailer, but that was it before I got his with a huge rain drop, I ran into the motorhome just as the skies unloaded again for the 3rd night in a row for 5 more hours and 5 more inches. 15 inches of rain in three nights was crazy.
Well, its getting late (1:30am) time for me to get to bed, i will continue this tomorrow night and hopefully get you all caught up with all my fun at Knoxville.
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"