Go Fast Turn Left By Bruce St. James

 

Back to the track, hoping for better results. We'll see where "hope" gets me... 

 

 

USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Cars - 5/30/04

Perris Auto Speedway -Lake Perris, California

33 cars

 

 

5 hour drive from Phoenix to the track, thanks to Ryan and Ben for coming along to make the trip a bit easier. Those of you that have been following along, know we have been struggling as of late. We worked on the car for 2 weeks, and it ran fine last week at the shop. That gave us the confidence to go to L.A.

 

 

Qualifying (2 laps on the clock)

 

We went out 3rd and the track was pretty good. I screwed up the first lap and almost tagged the wall. Lap 2, the trouble started. The engine began to sputter and pop, just like it had two weeks ago, and I shut it off early. Ugghhh.

 

Everyone went to work on the car. We had help from a lot of my friends in the pits, and I truly appreciate it. We took apart everything we could, replaced everything we brought a spare of and hoped for the best.

 

 

Heat Race #1 (10 Laps, Top 4 to Main)

 

I started 9th (last) due to my qualifying time, or lack thereof. The engine was a bit better, but seemed too be struggling to gain Rpm's. I could stay with the cars in front of me, even with the engine laboring in the corners. On about lap 6, the cars running 4th through 8th decided to wreck. The crash seemed to last forever, and I'm still not sure how I got through without hitting anyone, or stalling the car. Either way, now I'm running 4th with a few laps to go and even though the motor isn't crisp, it's enough to get down the straights. On the restart, it began to pop and sputter again. I felt a "tap" from behind and knew it was a matter of time before the fast guys behind me would run up, over or through me. Without the confidence in the engine to get myself out of trouble, I pulled to the inside and let the others go race. (I doubt I'll get any credit for not just holding them up.) I was credited 6th in the Heat (3 didn't finish) and we went back to work on the engine.

 

 

Semi Main (12 laps, Top 4 to Main)

 

We changed to ignition (Magneto) and a variety of other stuff in an effort to get the car running for the Semi Main. In the end, we ran out of time and missed the start. We eventually pushed the car off anyway and it was still popping and missing. UUUGGHHHHH.

 

 

I need to thank Billy W, Gale F, Dwight C, Mike K and a few others who pitched in to help. I also wanted to thank the Patyk's and Wilcox's for coming out to cheer me on, if not for very long. Thanks also to Chris Holt, pit reporter for Perris Auto Speedway, for interviewing me in my "crash test dummy" fire suit in front of the crowd. Not much I like more than racing, then maybe talking about racing in front of a crowd. I just need to get faster so they have more reasons to talk to me!

 

Congrats to Damion, Mike, Rip and Steve for an awesome A Main! I stand on the side of the track, and imagine someday having the skill and know-how to race lap after lap, inches apart at that speed. Someday...

 

I'm not giving up! Below is the schedule, plus a cool picture Ben took at Perris last week. See, I can go fast enough to get the car sideways!

 

 

Next Race

6/12    ASCA 360 Sprint Cars - Canyon Raceway - Phoenix

6/19    USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Cars - Perris Auto SpeedwayLake Perris, CA

 

 

Go Fast, turn left,

Bruce St. James

#7k