Guelph, ON (May 31, 2017)- It was a fairly quiet week for Spira Racing with the #86 pro late model team only having to touch up some damaged paint from the previous weekend at Flamboro Speedway.
Billy Schwartzenburg and Samantha Shaw with her #81 mini stock made their way north to Sunset Speedway for the first round of the APC United Late Model Series while Jake Watson headed to Flamboro Speedway with the #88 mini stock for a regular points night of racing.
Sunset Speedway: With a threat of rain in the forecast, Billy piloted the #86 onto the track for the first of three 20-minute practice sessions. Despite being ninth quickest in the first session, Billy complained about a push in the centre of the corners that then caused the car to become loose on exit. Despite making multiple changes for the second session and after a rail delay before the third session, the team was unable to get the push out of the car.
The team went to work making more changes before the new five car group qualifying hoping to improve on the handling as the car was steadily getting harder and harder to drive as it would not rotate through the corners. Shortly after Billy took to the track for his group qualifying session he found that nothing that the team did to loosen the car was working as he ran a disappointing qualifying time that would put him back in the 18th starting position out of 24 cars.
With a few other cars heading to the pits to make last minute adjustments because they were already at the back of the field, the decision was made to pull Billy out of the car impound area and the team went to work making even bigger changes to the setup hoping to give Billy a better handling car for the feature.
Samantha missed her first practice session with the #81 mini-stock due to a work commitment; however, she did arrive in time for the second and third sessions where the car handled well with only a minor air pressure adjustment needed before the first of her two heat races. Samantha started third last in her first heat race and despite the car tightening up quite a bit she still managed to gain a few positions and finished fifth. After making a wedge adjustment Samantha lined up third in the second heat where she would finish as the car was progressively getting tighter over the longer runs. More wedge was taken out of the car and Samantha started 11th out of 28 cars. There were numerous cautions over the course of the 25-lap feature, mainly for cars spinning out on their own and Samantha seamed to always struggle behind the slower cars running two and three wide in front of her, holding up her run towards the front of the field.
Getting visibly frustrated inside the car, Samantha took it four wide towards the end of the race to pickup a few positions before the checkered flag to finish ninth.
Billy only lost one position for working on the #86 after qualifying and lined up 19th after going through pre-race tech a second time. Before the first lap was completed cars started spinning heading into turn 1 and Steven Simmons, who was filling in for Billy’s regular spotter David who had a wedding commitment, guided Billy through the spinning cars to restart in 18th. Billy made his way up to 17th on the second lap and then up to 15th on lap 23 as the #24 made contact with the #2 sending him into the inside wall on the front stretch.
Under caution Billy reported that the car was handling the best that it had all day despite a very small push that remained in the centre of the corner. Billy gained two more positions by lap 33 but it was all for naught when he got spun by the #3 bringing out the caution and sending the #86 to the tail-end of the field along with the #3. Billy pulled the #86 down pit road to notify the team that he had pulled the wires out of his push-to-talk button as has he tried to get the #86 under control during the spin and while in the pits the team made an adjustment for a loose condition coming late out of the corners.
Although the team could not hear their driver, Billy could still hear his spotter so he went back out on track to rejoin the field in 19th.
Billy made his way back up to 13th before the next caution on lap 46 and then cracked the top-10 on lap 61. Billy hung inside the top-10 in 9th but over the last 14 laps the #32 and the #22 got past him dropping him back to 12th where he would finish. Although they didn’t get the finish they wanted the team came home with a clean car and plenty of notes on setup for the next time that they return to the track.
Flamboro Speedway: Jake Watson took to the track for practice and was happy with the handling overall as only minor changes were needed such as changing shims, removing a spring rubber from the right rear and some air pressure adjustments. Jake lined up in the 11th position for his first 25-lap feature and on lap 2, made contact with Billy’s brother Rich coming out of turn 2 sending Jake into the infield.
Jake pulled the #88 to the pits as the right front fender was pushed in and rubbing against the tires preventing him from being able to steer. Jake came back out on track and was able to finish the race incident free in 12th. Before the second feature the toe had to be reset and the right front fender had to be pulled out again before Jake lined up to start 12th. Jake was on a mission at the drop of the green flag and made his way up to second by lap 3. At the halfway point Jake took over the lead heading through turns three and four, and despite the #71 trying to keep it close Jake maintained his lead bringing home his first ever feature win.
Billy and Jake return to Flamboro Speedway on Saturday June 3 for a regular night of racing. The pro late models will be running their second 30-lap feature from Saturday May 20th that was rained out so they will now be running three 30-lap features on Saturday night.
The front gates open at 5:00 PM with racing getting underway at 6:00 PM. Samantha returns to Sunset Speedway that same night for a regular night of racing and Fan Appreciation Night.
The front gates open at 3:30 PM with racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.