The guys had a 6.5 hour ride to Speedway 51 this past weekend, so they left on Friday night. They drove about 4 hours and stayed in Springfield, VT. This left them 2.5 hours on Saturday morning. In true racer fashion, they left at 9 am to head to the track. The gates opened at 2 pm, so they got there a bit early and were the first hauler in line. No one on the team had been to the track before, so they used the time to walk the property and the track. The track is a high banked 1/4 mile, very good midget track. Speedway 51 is a beautiful facility and if you have the opportunity, you should go!
Once the gates opened the guys readied the #19 Mach-1 Performance midget for practice. The first round of practice didn’t go well, as there was a mishap with the gears in the rear. The second round went OK, but Richie was lacking speed. The car performed well and all the changes and work the team has done over the last few weeks have made major improvements.
The handicapping put Richie on the pole for the heat race. It was a tale of two heats for Richie. He started on the pole and fell back to 5th pretty quick, however, with 3 laps to go, another car tried to get under him going in turn 1. Richie decided to drive in deeper than he had so far and the car went in and through. “I kinda went, wait what? That’s how we dive these cars,” Richie stated after the heat. He went in deeper in turn 3 and once again the car went right through the corner, but he dropped his lap time a half a second and went on to finish 5th, but moving forward and not backwards.
Since he finished 5th in the heat, Richie made the handicapping and it put him on the outside pole. “I was pretty nervous, since i had those 3 good laps in the heat, I knew i needed to do it again in the feature,” Richie explained after the race. When the green came out, he jumped out into the lead and ran his fastest laps in a midget this year. He lead the first 6 laps until a caution slowed the field. It would be the only caution of the race. Richie lost the lead going into 1 on the restart, and fell back to 4th. He would eventually give up another spot and fall back to 5th. Richie worked hard through lap traffic and crossed the finish line still in 5th!
It turned out to be a great night of racing as the NEMA Lites put on a great show for the fans. The lites are off this weekend and the team will be getting ready for our debut at the Waterford Speedbowl on August 12th for the Wings and Wheels show.