The Spira Racing Team continued to work well into the night before their first night of racing for the 2012 season, to install decals and make adjustments from the practice sessions the previous week. One of the main reasons for being later than usual completing the cars, was the completion of the #44 Conestoga Roofing Mustang for the newest member of the Spira Team. Scott Simmons, a 19 year old from Cambridge, joined the team after 4 years of go-karting and his project was a major rebuild from a car that was in very bad shape. The rebuild consisted of stripping the car to the bare bones and rebuilding it almost from scratch.
Scotty, some family members and the Spira Team put in many, many hours over the winter on the project and it was completed only a week ago. Joining Scotty in his rookie year is the return of Samantha Shaw in the #81 Lucas Oil Mustang, Billy Schwartzenburg in the #86 Chetty’s Hot Sauce Machine and Wade Watson in the #22 RNR Custom Cycle Ford. Wade and the team have set up the #22 so that Wade’s son Jake can get some seat time throughout the season during practice sessions before hopefully taking over the ride for his rookie season in 2013.
Prior to leaving for the track, pictures were taken for the hero cards that will be made up by Jeff at Infinite Images Graphics Centre in Guelph. Jeff should have no problem getting the cards ready well before the first autograph session of the season. After the photo shoot, the cars were loaded and the team headed to Flamboro Speedway where it was very cold with cloudy skies and a slight chance of rain, for their season opener.
After the first practice session, Billy was not happy with a loose off condition in the #86, Scotty and Samantha had a push in the centre of the corners and Wade started with a push, however it did fade at the end of the session. Tire pressures were adjusted for the #86 and sway bar adjustments were made to the #44 and #81.
Wade was happy with the handling of his #22 machine in the second and final practice session, however Samantha complained that her car was not handling consistently from corner to corner. Scott was now a little on the loose side so the sway bar adjustment was moved back closer to where it was and a sway bar and stagger adjustment were made on the #86 in an attempt to tighten up the car. The crew looked over Samantha’s car and found that the upper left strut mount was damaged allowing it to move and thus upset the car. A temporary fix was rigged up and it looked like she would be fine for the night.
Wade lined up the #22 Process Group Ford in the second starting position of the first 10 lap heat race, followed by Scott and Samantha in second and third. After running side by side with the #64 for five laps, Wade took over the lead with Samantha still in third and Scott falling back to 6th. The #64 remained on Wade’s tail with two laps to go and on the final lap, got beside him to edge him out for the win despite the team seeing Wade ahead by a nose as they crossed the line.
Billy was the lone Spira car in the second heat where he started 5th. During the first lap, Billy moved up to 3rd and then into 2nd on the second lap, well behind the #31 who had pulled ahead for a 10 car length lead. Billy managed to hold off the #37 to finish second in his Nuco sponsored machine.
22 mini stocks lined up for the feature race, with Wade in 3rd, Billy 4th, Samantha in 5th and Scott in 15th. On the second lap, Wade settled into 5th, followed by Samantha as Billy maintained 4th and Scott gained a position into 14th. Billy made a move inside the #64 to take over 3rd on the 3rd lap where he remained as the #37 took over the lead from the #31 on lap 8.
As the field rounded out lap 16, the #61 spun in turn two bringing out the caution and bunching up the field for the restart. The #37 led the field to the green as Billy ran 3rd, Wade 5th followed by Samantha in 6th and Scott in 15th. Samantha got stuck in the outside lane that saw her fall back to 9th before the second caution on lap 21. With just 4 laps remaining, Billy ran side by side with the #64 where he took the position to remain 3rd to the checkered flag as Wade lost a few positions to finish 8th, followed by Samantha in 9th and Scotty gained a position during the final laps to finish 14th in his maiden voyage as a mini-stock driver.
Next up for the Spira Team is the second race at Flamboro Speedway. Pit gates open at 4:00pm, spectator gates at 5:00, qualifying is set to begin at 6:00 and the feature races are set to begin at 7:30.
From Ken Spira