Where's Dave? Dave's not here, man.
It has been a busy 2016.
Really busy. And here's the story.
I raced in the early part of
2016 and then backed the car into the wall between the turns at
Canandaigua and used up the car. Then we ran the back up
car at Fonda. I planned to run more races during the season, but
as it turned out, I had more projects than time and racing had to
be set aside for a while, anyway.
After the crash I ordered a new
Triple X frame and painted it. Greg and I started
working on stripping the crashed car and getting the new car
ready. We had a spare car sitting there but it also
needed some work and to be honest it is a chassis that we've
always struggled with. The car I crashed was the
Maxim that worked best for us but the rear torsion tubes were now
moved over about six inches and it would cost as much for LPS to
fix it as buying the new XXX. I really wanted to try
a Mach 1, like cousin Tommy has been using but I had a connection
to get a good deal on the XXX and get it quickly so I went that
The reason I didn't get the car
race ready really starts 40 years ago. Back when I
started racing at Port Royal, Jim Nace's uncle introduced me to
Teresa. We've been together ever since.
When I moved from Pa back to Brewerton, NY in the late
80's,to help my father with the family business, Teresa came
along and spent the next half of here life away from her
family. Four years ago, she said that she wanted to
move back to Pa when I retired, so we searched for a house in the
area between Harrisburg, Carlisle, Gettysburg and York.
The place had to have a nice house, some land and a shop.
After looking at about 50 houses we found a gem in Hanover.
Teresa got her historic brick colonial and I got a big shop and
the two acres has a barn to boot.
We rented out the house for the
past 4 years with 2016 being the year of the big move.
A year ago, I bought a 24ft
enclosed trailer to race with, also intending to use it to
move. In April I notified the tenants that they would
have to move out by July and gave them to the 8th.
They found a place and did a great job of leaving the place in
clean and excellent condition.
We started packing and moving
stuff out of our house in NY and transporting it to the barn in
Pa in early May. We made five trips just to empty the
house. It' amazing how much stuff we had
accumulated after 30 years. We are both savers
and realized that we've got a lot of good things we no longer
need so next year will be the beginning of The Big Barn Sale!
The pack and move cycle started
with the first load in early may and the last load in late
July. I spent the entire month of June and half of
July doing fix-up and painting the whole inside of our house in
NY. Using all my vacation time, I worked my
full time job half days in the morning and then went home to work
on the move/fix/paint project for the rest of the day.
August 1st was the last day of my full time job.
Teresa moved to the Pa house
July 8th and was able to continue working her same job, now from
home. The things she complained about most in NY was
the winter weather, the traffic getting to work and the office
politics. We made one of the bedrooms into her office
and now she doesn't have to deal with getting to work or the
Meanwhile, I worked 7 days a
week on the move/fix/paint projects and by mid August had our NY
house ready to rent out. After an open house with the
leasing agent we found a great family and they moved in starting
the first of August.
The next project was moving the
race shop. Along with two race cars was all of my
shop equipment, tools, spare parts, and a second floor of stored
parts. All together it was another 5 trailer loads.
The milling machine, large bandsaw and lathe were lifted and set
into the bed of the pickup to be moved and lifted out at the
Just about the time I finished
the last pack/load/move from the race shop, another unexpected
project came my way. I had another house to
clean/fix/paint. My mother inherited her
parents house (where she grew up) many years ago and she had
rented it out. Now the tenants were leaving and she
wants to sell it. It needed some fix up on the inside
along with paint and the outside needed to be completely scraped,
primed and painted. This eight week project was a
scramble to finished before the weather got too bad to paint
outside. Teresa's sister's husband Dave came up from
PA and helped for a week. Greg helped with the outside and
I finished in early November and we put the property on the
market. It will probably be after the holidays before
there is any sale so that is one more thing to me to take care of
until it's gone.
My mother is 89 and still going
strong in her house, next to my old NY house (which was my
father's parents house). I still have a couple
of other rentals nearby, so along with my mother's to do list, it
looks like I will be going back and forth between NY and Pa for a
So where does that leave
racing? Well, I still like to race, have a
bunch of stuff and I'm healthy enough to do it so as long as I
can, I guess I will.
All the race shop stuff is
packed along one wall inside of the shop behind the house in
Hanover. First job is going to be to get everything
set up in the new shop. But first I have to help the
contractor who is renting that space to move all of his stuff out
and into the space at the other end of the building.
Then when I get the new shop
operational, I need to assemble the Triple X and strip, clean,
reassemble the Maxim. The crashed Maxim frame is on
the long term repair list. Two of the 360 motors are
fresh and the other only has a few races on it.
As far as where to race... that
is a good question. Central Pa has lots of racing
options but with 360 motors it's limited. I can
run Selinsgrove weekly. That track is all motor
and crashes are nasty. All around, it would be the
easiest weekly deal for me right now.
Another 360 option in Pa is
URC. They run all the Pa tracks and some in New
Jersey and Delaware. I probably wouldn't do the
Jersey races or much of the traveling outside of Central Pa.
The other 360 option is to
schedule trips to NY when there is a cluster of racing that I
could do with the Patriots. This would be familiar
territory and there would be help from Greg. I
could pack up a bunch of spares and stay in NY for several weeks
at a time. I wrote off ESS last season because
they started handicapping heat lineups based on hot lap times.
It is a scheme that puts the faster cars at the front of the
lineup and puts anyone not in the top 20 in time at the back of
the heat. I've struggled to be competitive as it is,
and based on past records from transponder timing it was pretty
clear I would have even more difficulty qualifying.
So ESS is a writeoff.
I could do any of the above
with material on hand. Other options would require
buying different motors.
If I could find a 358 that I
could afford, and pick up a 358 wing, then I could run
Trailways weekly. This would be a good option as it
is about 20 minutes from the house, just on the other side of
Hanover. They have only been getting fourteen to
eighteen cars so I could race and get some pay back every week
pretty much guaranteed. The track is small and tight but
I've raced on lots of smaller tracks in NY.
The last option is to find a
good 305 at a reasonable price and run with the Pa Sprint Series
(PASS). This series runs most of the Central Pa
tracks. There would be some traveling.
This series is also competitive and has had a surplus of cars in
the past. Qualifying could be tough and the series
doesn't pay much (by design).
So that's my
2016. I've got a ton of stuff done but a lot left to
do. If anyone is in the Hanover area and wants
to help with the racing project, send an email (dave1w @
a-znet.com -eliminate the spaces-) and lets get together.
Also contact me about any 358 or 305 engines that are for sale.
I’d heard the stories about racing
there from car owner Pete Gillette back
in my paper route
days as a boy and I’ve raced there on and off since the
‘70s with URC, ESS and Patriots.
Last fall the
track was fast and the car worked good. I made the ESS
from the B and had a good feature run. This was the first time
Patriots were scheduled at Fonda. There was a full 24 car
field that would
It was hard to guess
what the track would be like. One year recently,
river put 6 ft of water over the track on Tuesday and by Saturday
race time, the track was dry and dusty. Last year there was
bite all night
as we ran flat out from hotlaps through the
Bmain. This year there was a new promoter
and no telling how
the track would be prepped.
By hot laps the middle groove
was dry with some bite on the bottom and a
cushion developing. We were using the original and older of
two Maxims (2010) after using up the 2011 Maxim at
A bad draw started me last in the heat and
there was no headway to be made.
The bottom worked for me
but I tried the top and found it no faster. The
slicked up so running in too hard on the bottom made me wait for
the throttle as the car drifted up to the slicker line.
It's our typical problem of not
enough side bite.
at the back of the heat put me at the tail of the feature. The
first turn had some bad holes on the center line at entry
that had gotten
worse for feature time. Large areas of the
packed clay had been lifted off
the hardpan below making a
two or three inch deep rut about the width of
a RR tire and as
long as a car.
There was a lane on the inside just one
car width wide that was smooth if you
made the entry early
and tight to the berm and tires lining the inside edge. A
slightly wider line
dropped the RR in the ruts and slammed
the frame hard, I found out.
The top of one had a smooth
lane but a dusty loose cushion that could suck you to
wall. Top entry had to be done on the moist margin, just below
or with the LF in the ruts. The track really dried
out but didn’t slick off to ice. There
tire wear and we were on a used RR.
Gray dust rolled up
into the lights. The drivers could see but not so much for
I tried top and bottom but would gain and then lose
on the car I followed all race.
At one point I was passed but
raced back to get the spot back next lap.
much passing in the whole field, I was told. Several cars broke,
likely due to
turn one roughness but we finished 17th from
23rd and in one piece. In
the end, Fonda was Fonda... black
clay, quirky shaped, uphill and down
and still an active
fairgrounds with exhibit buildings, horse barns, a track
the original covered grandstand. Classic fairground racing.
of the season for Greg and I. Our test session at Fulton got
back in step with the pit routines of a race night and things
Rainy days have been common over
the past few weeks and this Saturday had a
wet forecast. By
race time the 80% chance of rain at 6pm had been moved
to midnight but radar showed globs of color headed our way early
the night. The overcast at the track blocked the sun and
the cool wind had
the smell of rain.
The track was wet
for hot laps and had a nice cushion about two lanes up.
car worked good against it and made for some flat out laps.
were in the first heat and the second class out so we left the
alone expecting a similar track and started the race in
fourth, taking six.
I felt pretty good about our chances
and raced into one on the cushion. I
held on to forth and a
few laps in got into three a bit too hard or wide
and got over
the edge of the cushion and into the loose stuff. I pedaled the
banking and got back in the groove by the front straight but
it was too
late as three cars passed. I tried to pass one back
a lap latter and ended up
in the same place in the loose
stuff. The car just didn’t have side bite
bottom or middle and it was even a struggle on the cushion.
rain showed up on radar but there was only an occasional raindrop
the air. We were in the Bmain and starting sixth out of
twelve taking four.
I thought there was a shot with some of
the cars starting in front of me,
but there were some very
good cars behind me. Greg mounted an new tire
for the RR and
we changed stagger, offset, shocks and weight to try and tackle
the now black slick track.
When all the cars were
started on track they told me to catch up to the
pack on the
other side of the track. So I buzzed one and two and three
four at speed and got a good feel for what the car could
do, and it felt better.
Once lined up, the radio said “
...it has been sprinkling. Clean them out
and come back to
white” so everyone stood on it to clear the motors of fuel
coming out of four and into one. I drove into one on the
throttle and in
the middle of one the car just took off !!!!
No warning, no sense of
being loose, it just turned sideways
and headed backwards for the outside wall.
The car hit the
concrete between the turns, on the back right rear corner,
bounced off and spun left side first, dug in and tipped over.
It was a
hard impact that gave me a sore upper back, bruises
on arms and elbows.
They righted the car and I got out more
bewildered by the suddenness of the
spin than by the impact.
I never felt it coming like when the back end
and starts to slide.... NO, it just took off.
It must have
looked bad or maybe it was just standard procedure at
Canandaigua but they made me ride the ambulance back to the
Where I hit has been the target of many serious
incidents and part of the
black heart of this tracks
notorious first turn.
This is the turn where so many bad
things have happened over the past few
years. Two weeks ago a
sprint clipped an inside tire in the middle of one
with a broken front end into another car and the two flipped hard
into the outside wall between the turns, with one impacting
the wall hard
before he went over the top and landed outside.
That driver had two
breaks in his back, one in his neck, a
dislocated arm and broken sternum.
This is the turn where
Michael Parent broke his back in a bad sprint car
was helicoptered out, a couple seasons ago and where Tony
“biggest crash in sprint car history”
wrecked eighteen of the twenty two
starters with two broken
backs occurring in that crash.
But the worst history of
this corner occurred when Kevin Ward hit the
between the turns that flattened his right rear and then
out into the path of Tony Stewart’s car to complain to him
about his slide
The first turn at Canandaigua has
some history and I have to admit that,
that thought had
crossed my mind during the week. Canandaigua is a fast
mile and the first turn has nothing in its design or the racing
that makes it the point of so much trouble but that
piece of ground has
created more than its share of
For me, I was sore for a few days but the car was
a mess from the back of
the cage on back. The rear tubes were
moved over 6” to the left, the rear
end housing was
broken in two, the rear axle bent, suspension and shocks
damaged, fuel cell bag torn and leaking and some wing
The frame needs more work than it’s worth.
There’s not much to save from
the rear and the fuel
cell bag is probably toast. All are the expensive
the car other than the motor.
I have to say that this is a
2011 Maxim that I bought new from the factory
and the welding
looked good when I received it. This crash proved to me
it was done correctly as everything bent or kinked but
One point broke but it was the point of
impact and received the most force.
I know there is a lot
of turnover with welders in the frame shops and that
will be some variations in welds but when my car broke up like my
Maxim of some ten years ago did, and Chuck Merrill of Maxim
just blew it
off with no attempt to make it good, that leaves
a bad taste for a long time
and questions the quality of the
product. It also got the company 13645 hits
of bad press on
my Maxim Disaster page.
I will update the page with the more
favorable frame reactions of this
another car together as a spare but it’s never good to use
It will probably be cheaper to get a new frame
than repair this one.
The rear and bag will have to wait. I
have spare rears but bags are
usually not repairable and
expensive to buy new.
It looks like the LR torsion arm
broke at the spline. This may have let
the left rear move
ahead some, steering the rear of the car to the right
loss of LR weight, instantly spinning the car. Even though I
just clearing the motor, it was high speed and I probably
hit the wall at fifty
This sucks and brings
me back to something that I had mentioned back at the
the Kevin Ward incident.
Why is there a wall there at
Below is the letter I sent to the promoter.
writing you to talk about the concrete wall in turns one and two
Canandaigua. I think this matter deserves some serious
thought and that’s
why I decided to send you my
thoughts on paper instead of something that
would get lost in
the noise of the internet.
Saturday night my left rear
torsion arm spline broke open and spun my car
in turn one and
I backed it into the wall between one and two. This was
clearing motors during lineup of the Bmain.
There was lots
of damage that destroyed the frame, rearend, driveline,
suspension, shocks, wheel, new tire, tore the fuel cell bag,
and I’m still
pretty sore on Monday.
there walls in turns one and two at the speedway? Or anywhere not
needed for fan protection?
Is there a property line
that creates the boundary?
If not can the wall be removed or
set back further to the edge of property?
Can trees be removed
if that’s the issue?
Can a larger run off area be
created on the outside of the track?
around this sport since before I was born and for decades have
raced at lots of tracks in many states.
thoughts on walls.
Walls are expensive to build, maintain
It costs to put up walls, paint them and maintain
them. I think the money
could be better spent by filling and
grading a runoff area outside of the
track that would give
cars a place to go when they get off track.
When a car
hits an immovable wall, the wall wins. Damage to the car is
severe and expensive.
The damage may keep the car from
the race track for a week or two or may be
enough to end the
With car count always an issue,
minimizing wall contact will always help
the race teams afford
to come back.
Wall contact slows the show. Cleaning up and
towing a car in after a
crash into the wall takes time and
drags the night out.
If a car spins into a runoff area, they
can be restarted and rejoin the
race or If they just get off
track they can race back on track and not even
bring out the
Wall contact is dangerous. Unlike hitting another
car that moves when
hit, the wall doesn’t move and
impact forces are very short duration which makes
high. You have raced enough to know that this impact hurts and
can injure drivers.
Racing is difficult and expensive
enough and having things around the track
that break cars
just makes it more difficult and expensive for everyone.
tracks I like best are the ones that have a raised smooth berm at
inside of the turns (infield tires damage front ends)
with open runoff
areas outside of the turns and back straight.
This give the cars some place to
escape when things happen in
front of them or a place to collect it if they
just lose it.
If cars are hitting a wall, then it’s too close or
be there if not necessary.
all the times the walls have been hit and all the damage and
injuries that have happened because of them.
I hate to
bring up a very, very sore subject for you but if there was no
wall in one and two, Kevin Ward would have just spun out and
Please take a look at the outside of the
track and what could be done to
minimize the “impact”
that walls have on a race night, the cars, the
drivers and the
Hope your race season goes smoothly,
Fulton Test Session
the few entries in this year’s blog but it’s been a
So here’s the spring racing
motor we ran last season had a problem at the last race at
Wheels and I pulled in when it went flat. The problem
was some small
amount of debis in a couple nozzles that
restricted the fuel to those
cylinders and they ran a bit
The lean mixture created more
that softened the heads of the valves on those
cylinders just enough that
(cupped), making the valve length longer, taking the lash
of the rocker and then letting the valve stay open by a few
Bottom line was that I pulled in before it
blew and had to replace all the
valves and pistons as part of
the rebuild of that engine. While we had
things apart, Jimmy
D found a very good injector that would improve the
over what was on it.
So over the winter Jimmy did the
rebuild and in March we dyno’d the motor
new dyno installation and then Greg and I put the fresh motor
the car we ran last season. A fine filter is now installed
on the fuel line
going to the injectors.
with everything ready to go, Greg and I headed to Fulton Speedway
the rest session in late April. We set the car up the same
as we had left off
last season after our good run at Fonda.
We knew Fulton would be slick
but were surprised to find a
reasonably good bottom groove with a nice cushion
a car and a
half up the banking. There were only four sprints at the test
session which was good and provided a lot of track space.
the first session I tried the bottom and after a few laps moved
cushion where the car hooked up well. I tried some
different corner entry
things that Greg and I had talked
about and stuff I had tried on the
computer sim. Driving it
in was letting the front end push over the
cushion but a
little toss to hook up the right rear on entry seems to help
lot. I could run flat out if I got the corner entry right.
second session the track was slicker and the cushion had moved
another lane from other classes running. I tried a couple
laps around the bottom
and then attacked the cushion. The car
felt good but I knew that leaning
on the cushion was the easy
way around and the real trick here was going to
the bottom and the black middle.
For third session we put
on a soft shock package and I run just the bottom
to see what I could learn. It was slick and slow and I wish we
had about four more sessions to try some other stuff.
was a sunny cool Saturday and the track stayed good with no dust
you got over the cushion. Aside from a small water
leak that was fixed
with a hose clamp, it was a good test and
we are ready to go for our first
race at Five Mile
Five Mile Point
I haven’t raced there
since about ’05. I’ve had some good runs there but
lot has changed in eleven years. There have been some changes to
track and the quality of competitors.
But the weather
didn’t cooperate and the 100% chance of rain up to
time was sufficient for the promoter to pull the plug
So it’s on to the next race at Dundee (Black
Rock) with a new owner.
Always trying to improve.
Going through the cars and have one motor at the shop for a
rebuild and some upgrades. Progress happens a little
at a time.
Working on the driver too with
exercise and time in the simulator.
Planning to run the Patriot tour