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July 18, 2015 – Saturday Night Races – Heat Win #5 – Finished 2nd

Heats: Started 2nd, Finished: 1st (of 8 cars)

Feature: Started 4th (of 22 cars), Finished 2nd (Finishing Order: 13, 51, 78, 6, 88, 36, 25, 72, 04, 7, 98, 44, 1, 66, 77, 85, 4, 3, 17, 27, 47, 43, )

Comments:Morning weather was overcast and passing showers plus 2 weeks since regular Saturday night racing sets the stage for a “green” race track for tonight. This type of conditions normally takes away the outside groove until late in the evening when rubber is put down during prior races.

Practice rounds were actually pretty good. We made small adjustments through 3 rounds of practice and looking to see how they work in the heat race coming up. Heat race was uneventful and Rob won. I was quite surprised about the handling though and changes were made after before feature as there was definitely room for improvement. Rob gained a new fan – the daughter of 38 Late Model Driver, Joe and Shannon Curioso stopped in to our trailer to congratulate Rob for the heat win!
Heat Win 5

Feature race was great. First, a chassis issue got solved and we can turn further so that’s very encouraging. First caution came with about lap 4 Rob restarted 5th as he got taken backwards as the 72 couldn’t make any forward progress. Two more restarts happened and only 1 lap got completed and Rob restarted 5th both times. With about 25 laps to go Rob restarted 2nd. Another caution came with 23 laps to go when 27 and 47 both had heavy damage. Rob indicated the car was free but it was fast. With 22 laps to go Rob restarted 2nd again when the 17 had made hard contact with the turn 2 wall. With 21 laps to go Rob cleared the 72 and then the 72 got spun on the back chute by the 7 bringing out a caution. That setup a restart with the 13 of Christopher on the outside in 2nd and Rob in 1st. The first attempt for a restart the 13 jumped the start and it was called back. Then next restart was good and the 13 captured the lead in one lap. The final restart was with 13 laps to go and the 13 was the leader and Rob was 2nd. They checked out by a few car lengths and raced to the checkered.

In final laps, the 78 of Diego Monahan was plain ugly (running behind Rob in 3rd) as he ran the 88 of Rocco who was running the outside groove. The 78 pushed the 88 up high in the marbles of turn 3 and 4 and it was the worst driving I’ve seen out of the 78 all year. Don’t get me wrong, I like Diego when he’s out of the car, but when he puts his helmet on, I’m not sure what he’s thinking. When he’s in the low groove in a pack of cars, he runs half a groove higher than others entering turns. The “Mr. Nice Guy” posture of the 78 after the races and saying “dude, sorry, my car was tight” or “ya gotta do what ya gotta do” is not going to work out so well as the season wears on since that card might be playable once max. twice. I predict he’ll need to clean up his act quickly or he and his team will be working a lot more on a wrecked race car.

Here’s Robs podium finish interview:

Here’s 51SK GoPro in-car camera view of race:


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July 4, 2015 – Saturday Night Races – Finished 6th

2-for-1

Heats: Started 3rd, Finished: 3rd (of 8 cars)

Feature: Started 5th (of 23 cars), Finished 6th (Finishing Order: 88, 13, 6, 77, 78, 51, 04, 27, 36, 66, 47, 17, 7, 98, 49, 49, 4, 15, 1, 44, 85, 72, 20, 3)

Comments:Nice promotion for the fans tonight with the “2 For 1 Night”. Overcast and cool, but that sure beats rain which is nearby. First round of practice was good… 3rd quickest

Screenshot_2015-07-04-15-29-33

Heat race was fun. Initial start was bad with the 98 on the pole taking Rob back to about 5th, but Rob ran hard to get back to 3rd before caution flag flew. Rob was working on the 77’s bumper and the 13 of Christopher got an inside advantage on Rob coming out of turn 2 so Rob settled for 3rd place. Car was good overall so we’re optimistic for the feature.

Feature was up and down, then back up again. First caution came when the 17 spun to the infield off turn 2 with 30 laps to go after being taken back to 11th early on by the 15 on the inside row and Rob restarted 6th. One lap later Rob restarted 5th after caution flew for about 5-6 cars all piled up in turn 2. Rob raced hard to follow the 88 who took the lead from the 27 and got to 2nd and raced side-by-side with 27 for about 4 laps. With 18 laps to go, Rob spun to the infield coming out of turn 4 after making contact with the 27 on the front chute and Rob had to restart 13th. Next caution came with 14 laps to go and Rob restarted 9th. The car was actually pretty good at that point – Rob just had to be selective and try to dodge the wrecks. Next caution came with 12 laps to go when the 66 spun of turn 4 and Rob restarted 7th. With 8th laps to go Rob restarted 6th. The car comes home in one piece and we’ll take it.

NOTE: We’re off next weekend due to Fireworks so we’ll see you in 2 weeks!

Here’s Sid’s Video of the race:


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June 27, 2015 – Saturday Night Races – Red/Checker (Rain) Finished 8th

Heats: Started 5th, Finished: 4th (of 10 cars)

Feature: Started 9th (of 20 cars), Finished 8th (Finishing Order: 36, 43, 77, 27, 21, 72, 6, 51, 04, 7, 98, 1, 4, 66, 15, 78, 44, 47, 17, 85)

Comments:WOW – Carbon copy of last week’s weather this weekend so it appears that the odds of us getting in tonight’s races is a coin toss. Despite the rain out last week, Rob and I found some items to attend to on the 51SK and they should enhance the on-track performance so we’re dying to find out how the car is in race conditions. Stay tuned for updates later this afternoon and evening!

Heat races are done and Rob was uber loose – but adjustment made for the feature which is coming right up (trying to beat weather). During the heat race, the 78 was warned for repeated contact with Rob’s rear bumper and yet he never tried to go to the outside which he had a lane available there if he could have made the outside work.

Feature was actually able to start early despite the occasional rain drops. First caution came with 27 laps to go and Rob had gotten up to about 5th before the 47 came backwards in the outside lane. It was a close call with the inside cars darting by – luckily, Rob held his lane and finally got an opening to clear to the inside. With 15 laps to go the 78 got spun to the infield and Rob restarted 8th again. The 21 made some hard contact with the left front and pinched Rob off into the front chute wall (“my car was tight”) and we’re not sure if it knocked the toe in. Rain came and the race was called due to rain with 15 laps to go. Car was free on entry so we’ll check things out at the shop.


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June 20, 2015 – Saturday Night Races (Rain Out)

Heats: Started #, Finished: # (of # cars)

Feature: Started # (of # cars), Finished # (Finishing Order: #)

Comments:Overcast weather today with increasing chances of rain by early evening will put pressure on the racers and officials to keep the show moving along at a good clip tonight.
6-20-15 Forecast
Passing shower now so that puts practice “on hold” until the showers pass….still looks like we will get racing in tonight:
Practice_on_Hold 6-20-15
Mother nature ended up winning – races got cancelled for the evening. See you next week!


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June 13, 2015 – DOUBLE SK Feature Night – Feature 1: 6th, Feature 2: DNF (16th – Broken Torque Arm)

6-13-15 sk-doubleHeats:None – Lineup Set By Handicapping

Feature #1: Started 8th (of 23 cars), Finished 6th (Finishing Order: 13, 88, 72, 78, 47,51, 27, 36, 17, 21, 6, 59, 77, 43, 7, 98, 04, 66, 15, 01, 49, 4, 3)

Feature #2: Started 8th (of 23 cars), Finished 16th DNF (Broken Torque Arm) (Finishing Order: 88, 21, 27, 6, 7, 59, 78, 43, 77, 15, 49, 3, 66, 47, 4, 51, 36, 72, 13, 17, 04, 01, 98)

Comments:Partly cloudy but warm day and it should be cooler for the 2nd feature which will be run last tonight. The first feature is the first race of the day after outside introductions. Practice rounds and lap timeswere OK (1st run free, 2nd run too tight, 3rd run pretty good), but we made an error in not realizing there were no heat races. We didn’t scuff our new feature tires like we would have wanted to so it will be interesting to see if I can hit the stagger correctly. Starting lineup is as follows:
72 – 7
47 – 36
6 – 27
78 – 51
13 – 88
4 – 17
49 – 15
43 – 77
59 – 04
01 – 21
3 – 66
98
First feature was not very impressive. Rob got taken backwards on the outside by the 7 who started outside pole as the inside row was stacked up and no openings were there. We got bit by our starting on sticker tires as the stagger grew a lot more than expected. Caution came with just 7 laps to go and Rob restarted 10th. Rob got an opening to duck into on the front chute of the 1st lap and he made the best of the car he had – driving it hard into the turns dirt track style (sideways) and brought the car home in one piece with a 6th place finish. After the race was over my eyes popped when I saw how big our stagger was – made quick changes to the chassis and we’ll see if we can find the sweet spot for feature race #2. Starting lineup for race #2 tonight is as follows:
7 – 36
72 – 47
6 – 78
27 – 51
88 – 13
4 – 49
43 – 15
17 – 77
59 – 01
14 – 21
66 – 98
3
Second feature started out OK and the car was pretty good. First caution came with 28 laps to go and Rob restarted 5th. Before the next lap completed, the 13 of Christopher went airborne off the 72 and ended up hard in the turn 4 wall bringing out a red. The root cause of that wreck was the 78 getting into the 72 coming out of turn 2. Next caution came with 27 laps to go and Rob restarted 4th. The 78 was just not able to hold a lane and kept pinching Rob off going down the chutes. Under caution, I told the 78’s spotter to tell his driver to stop blocking and give us a lane. The next caution came with 23 laps to go and Rob restarted 4th again. With 22 laps to go Rob restarted 3rd. It was looking like we had a chance for another podium finish, but then Rob pulled down to the low groove with a problem then went to the infield on the back chute and a caution came out. We were done for the night when we found the Torque Arm (a part that controls the rear end pinion angle) broke in the car with about 21 laps to go. That’s our first DNF of the season and at least the car is really in one piece – just need to replace our torque arm.


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June 6, 2015 – Saturday Races – NEMA Lites – Heat Win #4 / 2nd In Feature Race

Heats: Started 1st, Finished: 1st (of 7 cars)

Feature: Started 5th (of 22 cars), Finished 2nd (Finishing Order: 88, 51, 13, 47, 27, 6, 78, 59, 36, 7, 98, 15, 66, 77, 3, 49, 22, 72, 43, 17, 20)

Comments:Overcast and 70 degrees at noon – sun should break out in the afternoon after the cold front passes. Track conditions should be different this week given NEMA Lites – I have my thoughts on what they will do to the track and we’ll see if I’m right later.  Some GREAT photos were taken by Don’s wife Jen last week and you can see them on Facebook HERE.

Rob Getting In

Car was surprisingly bad during practice. Very tight on entry which is a carry over characteristic from last week, but not the earlier weeks. We made some changes to reverting back to a setup we had prior to last week which should free the car up.

Heat yielded great news – we did the right changes and got our speed back. Rob took the lead on the back chute of the first lap and never looked back taking down heat win #4 of the season – beat the dominate 88 of Rocco:
Heat Win 6-6-15
Feature starting lineup is as follows:
47 – 7
72 – 36
51 – 27
6 – 78
88 – 43
59 – 13
77 – 49
15 – 66
22 – 98
17 – 3
25 – 4

Feature race was a hairy race with lots of close calls. Early on the 72 who was running 3rd I believe was losing some kind of fluid and Rob’s windshield was getting covered – 72 got black flagged which solved that problem. First caution came with 14 laps to go and Rob restarted 3rd. The car was better – a tick free though. The front 3 cars were checked out for a while with an 8-10 car lap lead before the rest of the field. The 88 was coming hard and got to the front using the outside groove (very strong run for Rocco). Rob was running hard but couldn’t catch Rocco. Next caution comes with 2 laps to go and Rob restarted 2nd. On the restart the 47 was 3rd and the 13 of last week’s winner Christopher was 4th behind Rob. The 47 got into Rob’s right rear going into turn 1 and that got a little scary, but Rob saved it. The 47 got VERY crossed up coming out of turn 4 twice and I have no idea how he saved it. We’ll take the podium finish and look for a better run next week. Wish co-owner John Volpe’s father could have seen tonight’s run – he would have loved it. I’ll post Sid’s video later this weekend. Lap times were good and Rob was 2nd quickest turning a 14.209 second feature lap (Rocco turned a 14.066 lap)
Lap Times 6-6-15 Feature

 

Don’t forget, next Saturday, we have DOUBLE Features for SK Modifieds!!
June 13 - Double Features


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May 30, 2015 Saturday Races – Heat Win #3 Mr. Rooter 161, Modified Tour Night, Finished 6th

rooter-161Heats: Started 3rd, Finished: 1st (of 7 cars)

Feature: Started 8th (of 20 cars), Finished 6th (Finishing Order: 13, 88, 27, 6, 36, 51,78, 44, 98, 66, 15, 43, 49, 17, 3, 72, 47, 4,7, 1)

Comments:Another beautiful day for racing! Weather is decent with it being partly cloudy – tad cool with temperatures just 68 degrees at 12:30pm. Wishing our driver Rob Janovic, Jr. a happy birthday today ! Should be interesting to see how the track changes with the mod tour here today. I suspect they will lay a lot of rubber down on the inside groove making it tight but that will leave very little grip on the outside groove. That will be a challenge for the chassis setup since one needs to be able to run the outside to move forward but then a setup that makes that possible will likely make the car tight when running the inside groove.

Practice rounds were really odd. The track had something on it in turns 3/4 and it made ALL cars get crossed-up loose on corner exit. It got better after rubber got put down on the racing surface. We made changes to the chassis for 2nd round of practice and it was still free (not typical for this chassis). We made even bigger changes for the heat (springs/shocks/stagger) and were hopeful for a good run in the heat.

Heat race showed we made the right adjustments as Rob drove under the leader coming out of turn 2 on lap one to take the lead and run out to a 6-8 car length advantage and pulling down our third heat win of the season. This are important points earning events that will help make up for the 11 points we lost in the 2nd race of the season for the tire registration error (see below).

Feature lineup presents a challenge right away as the Mod Tour impact on the track is there will be no outside groove. Here’s the lineup
5-30-15 Feature Lineup

Feature race wasn’t that good. First caution came with 4 laps complete when the 78 spun on to the infield of the back chute and Rob restarted 7th. Next caution came with 27 laps to go involving the leaders and Rob restarted 2nd and the 13 of Christopher was on point. With 23 laps to go Rob restarted 3rd after the 98 spun. With 14 laps to go Rob restarted 3rd. The car was finally doing something different after all the changes, but we went too far and the car was really tight through the turns. This shaves speed off the car and it gave competitors an edge to the inside and many got by. A final caution came setting up a green white checkered and Rob restarted 6th.

Fans in Stands 5-30-15Here’s Sid’s video of the Mod Tour race – it was awesome to watch as a fan and not to have crew duties during the race:


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May 23, 2015 Saturday Races – Heat Win #2, 6th In Feature

Heats: Started 4th, Finished: 1st (of 8 cars)

Feature: Started 8th (of 21 cars), Finished 6th (Finishing Order: 88, 78, 6, 27, 13, 51, 38, 72, 44, 7, 98, 36, 1, 47, 66, 62, 15, 49, 3, 85)

Comments:Beautiful but chilly (51 degrees at 8 am) weather for this Memorial Day Weekend. THANK YOU to all of those who have served and sacrificed for our country! Severe clear skys and sushine during the day and that means it will cool off quickly and the engines should make a lot of power. Practices were great and we were 2nd fastest of the first 2 rounds of practice – sat out the 3rd round.

Keith Rocco brought his son “KJ” over since he heard there was a race day opening on the 51SK team. KJ jumped right in like he’d been part of our team for years :)!!
New Crew Member - KJ RoccoThe heat race had 2 cautions. Rob got to 2nd ahead of the 36 of Lutz before the first caution (72 was leader). We found the outside groove isn’t there on that restart and Rob lost 2nd to the 36 who ran hard inside.  The next caution came with 5 laps to go and positions were reversed with 36 outside pole and Rob inside in 3rd. Rob ran hard, cleared the 36, and he worked on the 72 who was fast. Rob got the inside advantage with a strong move coming out of turn 2 and completed the pass coming out of turn 4 to win the heat with a 1-2 car length lead on the field.  Here’s the starting order:
7 – 6
72 – 78
27 – 36
1 – 51
88 – 44
38 – 13
66 – 47
15 – 62
98 – 85
17 – 3
49


Feature was a challenge with 2 cautions and the cars up front bunched up tightly. When race was over, I couldn’t believe there was a big wreck with the group up front getting ugly. It appeared the 7 was having his hands full as he was in the middle of the track for a while before dropping back from his pole starting position (finished 10th). The first caution came with 25 laps to go and Rob restarted 8th and there was really no where to go. Rob favored following the inside row and that didn’t work out as the outside had some openings that 88 of Rocco took advantage of. The 78 of Monahan was maintaining 2nd place, but at the expense of leaving a lane for those behind him to fill – plain ugly from where Rob was sitting. I’ll try to post some video later if there’s anything that’s interesting. There was a final restart and Rob started 6th. The car was pretty good for most of the race, but got free late – we’ll fix that this week at the shop. Here’s the current points picture (51SK is 3rd in points):

5-23-15 SK Points


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May 16, 2015 Saturday Races – Finished 6th of 16

Tags : 

Heats: Started 8th, Finished: 5th (out of 8 cars)

Feature: Started 10th (of 16 cars), Finished 6th (Finishing Order: 13, 88, 38, 78, 72, 51, 36, 44, 47, 1, 7, 98, 27, 6, 66, 3)

Comments:Overcast day after morning showers – chance of rain increases to above 50% after 5pm so it will be interesting to see if we get the races in today. Radar looks good right now

5:21pm – So far weather is cooperating as rain is in NY so we should be OK for tonight’s feature events. The practice sessions were pretty good. Our issues tonight will be we’re running left front tire with 160 laps on it (due to last’s week’s penalty (see last week’s update for details) and we just found out that we were also given a handicapping penalty (see rule 1.5.2.c) where we are given a win for last week and that puts us dead last in top tier of cars. Rob will have his hands full trying to get up into 4th or better for a top tier handicap (which should mean a 12th place starting position in the feature). Here’s the lineup for both SK Modified heats:
Heat lineup 5-16-15

6:30pm: Heat race was uneventful and there was really no where to go. We’ll hope for the absence of bad luck and with a stable fast car like we have had, Rob should be able to battle and race his way up into the top 5 or better despite running older left front tire than others have.

8:41PM: Feature was really a challenge since the outside lane had speedy dry around most of the track from when someone blew a motor during the race before us. Early on, the car was tight. There was really no where to go with cars stacked up in front. First and only caution came with 19 laps to go and Rob restarted 9th. After the green flag came out, the car was oddly loose in and out – not sure why. Rob ran hard but we didn’t have the handling tonight to get by the cars up front. On the last lap, the 6 got into the 27 putting the 27 into the turn 3 wall – the 6 was then penalized. The 13 of Christopher pulled down his first SK modified win here at Waterford in 11 years. Next week, we’re looking for a better run and for the playing field to be leveled with us being on same quality tires as the rest of the field. It will take 2 more weeks for our handicap to be back to normal.

Here’s unofficial SK points and handicapping after tonight’s race:
5-16-15_Points_and_Handicapping (Small)

Don’t forget about THIS week’s special for General Admission tickets – just $5 for folks who live in towns starting with the letters R – Z – that’s a great deal since it’s a tour race event!!:
sat-promo-5-23


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May 9, 2015 Saturday Races – Finished 2nd (Scored 13th After Tire Registration Error – See Below)

Tags : 

Heats: Started 7th, Finished: 5th (out of 9 cars)

Feature: Started 8th (of 18 cars), Finished 2nd (Finishing Order: 47ct, 51, 13, 88, 27, 36, 7, 78, 3, 43, 17, 98, 48, 15, 66, 72, 4, 44(DQ))

Comments: Partly cloudy day, but nice enough without the threat of weather. Practice rounds were great and we’re glad to say our carburetor or ignition issue that persisted last weekend is now solved. Rob laid down the 2nd fastest SK Modified practice lap time with the 88 of Rocco being at the top of the speed charts.

Heat race should be a challenge as Rob needs to finish in the top 5 to get his handicap. After last week’s 2nd place finish, our handicapping is going to put us starting near the end of the top tier of cars (around 11th or 12th). Heat race lineup is as follows:
Heat Lineup 5-9-15

Feature race was tough with outside row 8th place starting position and the cars that had the worst finishes last week starting up front (due to handicapping rules). The first caution came quickly on lap 1 and Rob restarted 8th with some damage to the front bumper. Next caution came and Rob was up to 5th. There was some hard racing up front between the 47CT and 13 – instead of laying back, Rob staid tight running with the leaders and that forced the 13 of Christopher to run the outside trying to get around the 47CT but he just didn’t have the car to take the lead. The final caution came with 4 laps to go and Rob restarted 3rd with the 41 of Jordan in the lead and the 13 of Christopher in 2nd. Jordan was able to hold off the 51 and take down his first SK win at Waterford.

Rob set fast time again in the feature event – here’s the top 10’s lap times:
5-9-15_Feature_Best_Lap_and_Top_10_Finishing_Order

Post race interview:

Sid’s View Race Video:

Update 5-11-15 Tire Rules Infraction: During post race inspection, an unregistered tire was found on the left rear of our car. Officials and I as the crew chief checked the registration slips, I then invited the officials to our trailer and inspect ALL of our tires including unused inventory and even shared our team’s track notes with them. It was found that instead of registering 8 new tires on opening weekend, I made a clerical error and only 7 new tires were registered (instead of 8 new) and the 8th tire I submitted for our initial 2015 season inventory was in fact an old 90 lap tire used in the 2015 racing season finale/used in practice on the previous day Friday May 1st. The old tires were dismounted Saturday May 2nd so we could mount our new tires. Somehow, when I was recording our 8 new tires, I recorded one of the old tires and I left off our registration slip 1 of the new tires! Since 8 new tires were legally purchased, the 8th new tire showed up as an “unregistered” tire during last Saturday’s post-race inspection creating a rules infraction.

We understand that “rules are rules” (excuse my sarcasm, but the race officials can’t really apply common sense since a rules violation did in fact occur) so the 51SK was given a 1 lap penalty and the unregistered tire was taken….Talk about a kick in the balls after a great run. We might as well flush the 51SK’s season down the toilet for my stupid clerical error.

For the record, there was:
1) No competitive advantage (all teams had access to new tires being just the 2nd week of season),
2) No illegal part being used in competition (i.e. an acid dipped intake manifold used by the 13 team in the opening event),
3) No misconduct by the driver or any team member on or off the track,
4) No intent (i.e. unapproved tire change during a race) and the paper trail clearly shows there was no attempt atcheating
5) There was an abundance of evidence proving the team only registered 7 new tires and 1 old 90 lap tire in error after legally buying 8 tires to begin the season

We’re supposed to “understand” and appreciate the ruling – I wish I knew how to not let my error and subsequent penalty bother me. We’ve been doing this for 28 years as a team and this is the first time we’ve had a rules violation penalty. To all of the 51SK modified fans, I’m sorry for the error and thank you for your support.


New Speedbowl Website is here: