08 Aug 2013

Well hey race fans, first out, lemme apologize for not taking good care of this blog the past while. I promise I’ll get better and especially with this new app on my Z10, I ain’t got no excuse!

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This summer has been…strange…and…wet. And with that said, there hasn’t been too much goin on. We race when mother nature let’s us, and I hit the shop when work is around. I’m still full time on the trains, and our ole’ 1908 spec home is sure keeping Erin n I busy…so lemme get you up to speed on the dirt scene.

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First off, despite the rain, the support we’ve gotten from ya’ll has been outstanding. It’s not easy to race when the weather is funny, and it’s harder to support our sponsors, naturally. When we do race, you come out, cheer from the stands , get yer shoes full of mud and make us feel awesome.

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For everyone that comes out, sends notes, and high 5ives us…it means the world. Thank you.

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It has been a bit of a tough go out there though. Seems like every race, the car comes in looking like this:

I guess since we can’t race too much, the boys get rough out there. Well, hey, it is dirt racing, and what would that be without a couple dings here n there. Or dents. Or smashed braces. Or blown tires…

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The Canada Day double header was especially rough…on the sunday we went into the wall pretty hard but got the car back out, then Monday blew up the motor. luckily, there was a spare engine back at the DSR shop and Dave and Simon worked all week to get her re setup. Just in time for another rain out that coming Sunday.
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We’ve been in the top 3 position a few times, but the beloved checkered flag has still yet to come our way. As of now, we’re in 12th in points and working hard for a top ten points finish for the year. Which, considering the luck we’ve had, would be welcome sight.

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When there is rain like this, it really limits us. Since we don’t have standard practice days as in other racing, we rely on actual race day in order to perfect the setup, dial in the wedge/stagger/pressures…etc. So when we can’t get out, it’s a struggle to get better. I’ve never had race sheets so random in my book. Humidity levels completely opposite from one race to the next, track conditions are unreadable as per recording the history and tire wear is so random that at times…we’re just unsure.

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For the most part, the car is fast, a couple times we’ve been fastest in the heats, but come the feature, after mods and sportsman’s have been out, the track has changed so much that we just go out on a wedge and a prayer. Stagger is playing a much bigger role than it normally would and really…in order to get the traction…it’s gotta be spot on.

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All this being said, I believe we are doing pretty good. We’re a dedicated team and work together really well. We’re just lacking track time.

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We are definitely due for a win, and I’m positive we will get it…we just gotta wait for Mother Nature to commit a few more sunny Sundays for us and we’ll be all set!

Aug 08th by Bannon

As most of you know, over the winter there has been a lot of changes over here at the WR/CS camp.
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Some good, some bad, but as the story goes, we just gotta mash our right foot through the firewall and keep going. And that is exactly what my crew and I are doing.
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To start things off, one of the biggest changes to me and my racing, was not in the WR shop, but on the other side of my life.
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Racing, being as seasonal as it is, and it being a tough industry, I moonlight with a rail company switching trains and driving locomotives in the Montreal rail yards.
For the last 8 years or so, I’ve been working weekends there, save for vacation and some race weekends, and this allowed me to hit the race shop full time.
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In October of 2012, the company decided to remove the “Weekend Shift” and blend all 26 of us into one schedule. So from here I had a choice, either quit the trains and hope racing pays… (right? lol I know…) or see what I could manage working both.
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Since this economy is it what it is, I went the adult safe route and chose a nightshift Tuesday through Friday in 10 hour shifts.
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I’ll be honest, with some cool car projects in mind, and our new to us circa 1908 home which is in renovations, a straight out paycheck every 2 weeks with a full pension and benefits was smellin’ pretty good.
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What this did was limit my shop time from mon – fri to basically just, Mondays. Saturday, since I punch out at 7am is more of a recovery day than anything, Sunday either being in my shop , another shop or a racetrack pretty much leaves me only Monday before heading back to the yards Tuesday night.
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It’s a lot of stuff to pack in just one day, but I do my best to make it work.
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The next thing that was a major change was buying the house. As I mentioned up there it was built in 1908, it’s wonderful, but as you know me, nothing I own goes unmodified so Erin and I ripped the kitchen to the bare bones and have been working on that for awhile.

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(Huge thanks to a WR crew member Randy for makin it work for us!)
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As the fall and winter came, news started coming in about some of the race teams I was working for. Fastco Motorsports closed the 3 car hyundai line up in trade for a single mustang racer. Martin, my buddy and crew chief over there headed off to tour the world and all its racetracks with some other teams and since their entire race operation has changed, this really scaled down my involvment.
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Some of the other cars that I was taking care of either got sold, or crashed, or the owners had kids…etc.
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With all this stuff, the shift, the house, the teams, really either kept me insanely busy, or decreased the things I had to blog about and I let this site kind of slip.
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Well this is no longer. I’m back, and better than ever. I’ve found a way to divide my time between earning a living and doing what I love. Racing.
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I have huge support around me between Erin, my family, friends and drivers that I’ve worked for, and oh yes, when Dave offered me to fill a position on the DSR 7x team, the timing couldn’t have been better and I jumped in with both feet.

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This is an organized group with new sponsors, funding, a solid team and a plan. That plan is to win and I’m going to do my best to help them get it.
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It’s a busy schedule starting for me in May and ending in September including in that every sunday, and as Erin and I talked it over I started to have flashbacks to my roots in oval racing.
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I blame my dad really, cause he was the one that took my brother and I to Delaware Speedway on Sundays where we would watch Steve Robblee rip up the oval behind the wheel of a late model stock car…

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Everything I’ve ever done in racing started there, and years later… im about to spend a summer getting oil and dirt plastered all over me.
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I can’t wait.
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In the last few years, I’m not sure why I got away from oval racing. First it was drag, then road course and of course drift were the ones that took most of my race time. In that whole time I was sponsoring Dave but never really thought about me being on the team. Right now, I can’t even begin to comprehend not being on that team. And I love it. I’ve watched and helped him come up from mini stocks into winning rookie of the year in Prostock and I couldn’t be more proud to have myself, or my companies names involved in it.
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This dirt oval series is true to the form and is all balls to the wall racing. There is naturally some politics involved, but not nearly as much as some of the other series has and especially less than Drift since it’s a judged sport. Over the past few years while working in the drift scene, it seems that it’s been a struggle with this, a problem with that and all the while, Dave was out there kickin’ ass every sunday and more importantly, having fun.
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He had hard times of course and it wasn’t always easy, but he had the right attitude and right people behind him to help him go forward. He used all the tools and people available to him in order to keep up the good fight in front of sell out crowds every week.

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He never gave up, never lost focus and never forgot where he came from.
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Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not slamming the other forms of racing. I absolutely fell in love with drifting and giving up the chance to be a Crew Chief in Formula Drift for this season was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do in my racing career. And considering the offers I’ve received in the past week, I’m sure I’ll decide to hit that scene again at one point. Road racing, has this technical side that is so unique and tests so many different sides of drivers, cars and crew. Drag racing will always be my outlet when I need a rush that you can’t find anywhere else, but oval racing is where I started and I’m glad to be back.
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These racing world’s are so different. From the rough’n'tumble dirt drivers to the upper class lappers to the X games style drifters. I guess that it’s natural that one who loves the sport as much as I do goes out and tests themselves against it all. I’m proud of what I’ve done, and I’m gonna continue to etch more lipstick marks on my racing headboard… see you at the dirt track!

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Apr 05th by Bannon