Monday, July 27, 2009

Outlasting the Bounty Hunters

After having buttoned up three wins at Pageland Dragway, in Pageland, SC, including two in a row, SMACdownracing posted a $100 bounty for the first driver to trailer the Duck Tape Volare in the 3rd round or later. Saturday, July 25th, marked the first race for the team at Pageland since the announcement. The program sparked some extra excitement in the stands and the staging lanes, and the Volare has a new #1 fan -- the wife of the bounty sponsor!

After seven rounds of eliminations, the Volare once again found its way to the winner's circle, on the strength of three dead-on runs, and the holeshot in all but the final round. It marked the third straight Pageland victory and fourth of the year. It was also a notable 140th career victory. Mrs. SMACdown's money was safe for another week.

Team supporters include Duck Tape brand duct tape, CAM2 Blue Blood Racing Oil, Mickey Thompson Tires, K&N Filters, Bradley Auto Parts, Bearden Oil - Sunoco, Finished, Macy Motorsports, Sloan Racing Engines, Billy Nees Race Cars, Stephen Beard, Matt Zapp, Terry Knott, Johnny Fisher, and Jill Beard.

What I Learned This Week

Just because a bunch of killer runs at Bristol were rendered virtually useless by even better runs in the other lane, that does not dictate a change in how you approach the race. I tried to drive the same at Pageland, and came away with much better results.

Pay attention to hunches. Don't let a hunch overrule common sense, but use all of the information at hand to predict an outcome, while being prepared for the case where the hunch doesn't play out. Situation: I made my first time trial in the left lane, and came up with an .016 light, and a 6.968 E.T. I switched to the right lane for the second and final time trial, and although I knew I missed the tree, the scoreboards showed a later-than-expected .051 bulb. While going through the gears, I thought that the late light may have been the result of a longer rollout, which would also yield a faster E.T. It did run a surprising 6.930. I've raced at Pageland quite a bit, and hadn't run across that variance before. I elected to hang out in the left lane as much as possible, but instead of dialing off the 6.968, I dialed it hard, and adjusted the shift points to speed the car up enough to hit the faster dial-in. When plunked in the right lane, I went back to my regular shift points. Sure enough, the car ran within thousandths, from lane to lane and round to round.

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