Heavy rains across the province cancelled racing at both Delaware Speedway and Sunset Speedway on Saturday with the final race of the APC United Late Model Series season getting postponed until Sunday. Sunset would not be rescheduling their final points night of the season and as a result Jake would finish 5th in points and Samantha would finish 19th with her limited schedule due to a broken wrist suffered earlier in the season. With the APC Series race now rescheduled for Sunday the #86 pro late model team took advantage of the rainy Saturday to do a few last minute checks on the #86 including some touchup paint on the body as well as replacing some decals in anticipation of the autograph session that was planned for the last race of the season.
The team was a little nervous about how the car would handle after repairing the damage from the last race two weeks ago but they did get a chance to take the #86 out to Flamboro Speedway on Tuesday afternoon for a shakedown and to test their setup for Frostoberfest at the beginning of October. The car was fast right out of the trailer and Billy was quite happy with the handling so it was a short session as the team was only on site for just over an hour. With the Sunday schedule matching the same schedule that was supposed to be run on Saturday, the #86 team was up bright and early and on the road by 7:00 AM to head to Delaware. Billy took to the track for first practice and he was happy with the handling and it showed on the speed chart as he was 6th quickest overall. With a 20 minute break between practice sessions the team worked on some minor adjustments to help the car rotate through the centre of the corners. As second practice got underway Billy rocketed to the top of the speed charts and he would cut the session short as he was tied with the #83 of Dale Shaw for the second fastest time of the session. After bolting on their new tires and going through pre-race technical inspection, a full field of 28 pro late models lined up on pit road for an autograph session before qualifying got underway. Billy was the 20th car on track to make his qualifying run and he got the crowd talking on his first lap as he would put the #86 to the top of the board before laying down an even faster second lap of 18.255 seconds which was only 0.019 seconds off the track record. Billy’s time would hold up against some of the fastest pro late models in the province as he would get his first ever pole position in the APC Series. After the pill draw to determine the top-5 starting positions, it would be the #44 of Steve Laking that would start on the pole followed by the #22, Billy in the #86, the #83, the #81 and the #27 rounding out the top-5.
The field came to the green and the first caution fell early on lap 9 but not before Billy had dropped back to 4th. Stuck in the outside lane for the restart, Billy dropped back to 7th behind the #81 before he was able to get down to the inside lane. Billy picked up a position on lap 22 as he got by the #27 but the caution returned shortly after as the #83 and #44 got together in turns 3 & 4 causing Billy to go low to avoid and move up to the 3rd in the process behind the #22 & #81. As the field rolled under caution, Billy came over the radio and reported that the motor was starting to stumble and it was cutting out in the corners before clearing out down the straight-aways. The #27 was able to make his way past Billy on the restart putting Billy again on the outside line as the third caution came out on lap 28. At this point the stumble in the motor was getting worse and Billy dropped back to 6th where he was running until the next caution again involving the #44. As the #44 sat up against the outside wall the #17 inexplicably came around and drove right into the front of him ending his night. Billy lost two more spots on the ensuing restart and his frustration was starting to mount as the car was handling extremely well but the stumble in the motor was killing him coming out of the corner. At the halfway point the leaders pulled away and Billy ran back in 9th before eventually falling back to 12th as the laps ticked away with now only 30 laps to go. Multiple cautions fell over the last 30 laps and Billy made it very obvious how frustrated he was as he felt like he was going to get run over on every restart as the motor stumbled when he put the throttle down. With the team unable to do anything; Billy’s crew chief and spotter tried to calm their frustrated driver by telling him just to do the best he could over the final laps as we were having a good points night and all he could do was stay out of trouble and bring the car home in one piece. When the checkered flag fell, it was the #81 of Andrew Gresel taking the victory and the series championship as Billy came home in 11th. With the 11th place finish and the 5 bonus points for the fastest qualifying time, Billy was able to move up two positions from 9th to 7th in the overall standings.
Billy makes his first appearance in the #86 mini stock this season as he joins Jake and Samantha at Sunset Speedway on Saturday September 24th & Sunday September 25th for the Velocity 250 weekend. The front gates open at 1:30 PM with racing getting underway at 3:30 PM on Saturday while on Sunday the front gates open at 11:30 AM with racing getting underway at 1:00 PM.
With two weeks remaining until the APC United Late Model Series finale at Delaware Speedway; the #86 pro late model team was kept busy as they worked towards putting the #86 back together after heavy contact with the turn 1 wall at Delaware the previous weekend. The front and rear of the car were stripped down and the team took the chassis to Steve Laking’s #44 shop in Morriston where Steve and Randy went to work bending things back to where they needed to be and the car was quickly back in the shop to start the rebuild. On Saturday morning the #86 mini stock, the #81 mini stock and the #88 mini stock all sat loaded in their respective trailers as Carson, Samantha and Jake watched the radar as well as social media to see if the nights events would go on as scheduled despite the weather forecast. Flamboro Speedway cancelled due to the expected weather; however, Sunset Speedway saw a window of opportunity to get the nights events in and they called the cars to the track as scheduled.
Overall Jake did not have the night that he wanted in the #88 as he was looking to improve on his 5th position in the point’s standings. In the first heat of the night Jake lined up 2nd and would lose one position to finish 3rd. The ‘Dash for Cash’ was up next as Jake started 6th and he was able to pick up one position this time to finish 5th. In the feature Jake started 4th but as the field came around to complete lap 1 Jake got into the back of the #68 as they were running 3-wide with the #98. As Jake tried to avoid tagging the outside wall he hooked the #68 to his inside sending the #68 hard into the outside wall. Jake entered the pits to have the car checked over and despite having to restart at the back; he was able to drive his way back up through the field to finish 6th and maintain his 5th place position in the standings with only one race remaining in the Sunset season.
Samantha ran two practice sessions and her car was tight at first but after making a wedge adjustment it became a little loose on exit so a sway bar adjustment was made to try and tighten it back up. Samantha started 5th in the same heat race as Jake and she was able to move up one spot throughout the race to finish 4th. Before the ‘Dash for Cash’ Samantha took 3 psi out of the right rear tire to try and correct a loose off condition before she lined up in the 8th starting position. As was the case with Jake in the ‘Dash’ she was able to gain a position to finish 7th. The car was now tight all around so some more wedge was taken out for the feature. Samantha started back in the 14th, but was able to make some major gains over the course of the race to pick up seven positions to finish 7th.
Billy returns to Delaware Speedway on Saturday September 17th for the final race of the APC United Late Model Series season. The front gates open at 12:30 PM with racing getting underway at 2:00 PM. Jake returns to Sunset Speedway that same night for the final points night of the season while Samantha will be going to Delaware with her dad to help the #44 of Steve Laking. The front gates open at 3:30 PM with racing getting underway at 5:00 PM.
What was thought to be an easy work week for the #86 pro late model team turned out to be too good to be true as a piece of metal was found in the oil pain as the team changed the Lucas oil and Wix filter on Tuesday night. A picture of the fragment was sent to John Saunders Racing Enterprise where after review; John determined that a push rod retaining cup on one of the lifters had broken apart sometime during the APC United Late Model Series race at Sunset Speedway. Fortunately John had the parts in stock to fix the motor and better yet, he was willing to come to Guelph from Watford instead of the crew taking the motor out and driving to John’s shop. John came out Friday night and was able to get the motor fixed before the team headed to Delaware Speedway Saturday afternoon for the finale of the Late Model Triple Crown. While the #86 team headed south on the 401, Jake and Samantha headed north up the 400 with the #88 and #81 mini stocks as they were running at Sunset Speedway that same night.
Delaware Speedway: Despite having the same setup in the car as the previous race, the team found themselves chasing a loose condition throughout the practice sessions so they changed springs, adjusted the sway bar and added shims to the bump stops in order to tighten it up. Just minutes before time trials, the team replaced the left front bump stops with softer ones, added a shim to the left rear and after mounting up the new tires, lined up to qualify with 17 cars in attendance. Though Billy was on the edge of out of control for most of his two laps, he managed to pilot the #86 to the top of the board with a time of 18.717 seconds, however; he would ultimately end up qualifying in the 6th position with the #22 of Jamie Cox, who was only one point ahead of the #86 in the standings, taking the pole with a time of 18.490 seconds.
As the team waited to start their 100-lap feature, Billy’s brother Rich would run his #72 mini stock in the 75-lap invitational where he would start back in 14th out of 17 cars. Unfortunately for Rich the race would get off to a rough start as he got a flat tire on lap 22 sending him spinning in turn 1. The caution flew again on lap 27 as contact with another car sent Rich spinning again, this time in the middle of turn 3 & 4. With the combination of a small fuel cell, the larger track and the increased number of laps, Rich came in under caution to add more fuel and he put together an impressive run for over the duration of the race to bring the #72 home in 5th.
After the pill draw to invert the top 5, it would be the #83 leading the field to the green flag followed by the #21, #6, #22 and #10 with Billy remaining back in the 6th position. The last minute changes before qualifying seemed to do the trick as Billy moved up to 4th on lap 2 and then got by the #83 and into 3rd on lap 6 as the #21 and #22 led the way up front. Three laps later Billy was around the #21 and challenging the #22 for the lead as the first caution came out for the #33 spinning low in turn 2. Under caution Billy reported that the car felt awesome and he felt that the car was just as good on the outside as it was on the preferred inside groove. Restarting on the outside of the #22, it wasn’t long before Billy found out that the outside was not as good as he originally thought as the #22 pulled ahead bringing the #21, #83 and the #6 with him dropping Billy back to 4th in the process. After the next caution the #10 also made his way past Billy to put him back to 5th where he would run until the halfway mark and the #7 was able to make his way inside the #86 as the car started to get loose on corner exit dropping Billy back to 6th. As Billy continued to drift up the track with the increasing loose condition on lap 55, the #43 took advantage and passed Billy on the inside dropping him back to 8th. With just 25 laps remaining Billy made a bold move going three wide into turn 3 and came out in 6th. Falling back to 7th just five laps later, Billy reported that the car was now extremely loose and as he tried to pass the #7 on the inside, the two cars made contact cutting down the right front tire on the #86 sending up a shower of sparks and Billy to pit road. The team changed the tire, lowered the air pressure in the right rear tire and added a shim to the left rear to try and tighten up the car before sending Billy back out on track at the tail-end of the cars on the lead lap. As the field came around to take the green flag for the restart, Billy reported that the brake pedal was almost to the floor but he was already committed to going forward instead of jacking up the field behind him. As the field entered turn 1 the #82 spun in front of Billy and with the front brakes now gone from a broken brake line that was discovered later, the rear brakes locked up sending the #86 spinning hard into the turn 1 wall causing significant damage to the left front and rear of the car ending the night for the #86. Billy radioed the team immediately to let them know that he was okay and the tilt & load was brought onto the track to bring the mangled #86 to the pits. Ultimately Billy was scored in the 13th position with a DNF; however would finish 2nd overall in series points behind the #22 of Jamie Cox. With a lot of help, the #86 was wedged into the trailer and the team packed up to head home. Billy had taken a pretty hard hit and though he had complained of a migraine immediately after the crash that quickly dissipated into a slight headache, he insisted that he was okay but his spotter David drove him and his girlfriend Josee home so that she could take Billy up to the hospital to be checked over. Billy finally made it home to bed around 6:30 AM Sunday morning after getting checked out by the doctor and given the thumbs up.
Sunset Speedway: Jake’s day got off to an auspicious start as the #88 would not fire when he arrived at the track , however the problem was corrected and Jake joined Samantha on the track in time for practice. Jake said the handling on the #88 was pretty good over the course of practice with only a few minor adjustments required. Samantha was fighting a tight in and loose off condition which was corrected with adding some rear brake and increasing the wedge in the car. Samantha started second last in her heat race before making her way up through traffic to bring home the #81 in 2nd. Jake started 4th in his heat race but he wasn’t able to gain any positions finishing exactly where he started in 4th.
Both Jake and Samantha qualified for the ‘Dash for Cash’ with Samantha starting 4th and Jake starting mid-pack. Contact down the backstretch on lap 2 between Jake and the #28 resulted in Jake pulling off track with some heavy front end damage. Samantha was able to keep her nose clean however and she would finish where she started in 4th. Jake felt that something was definitely amiss with the front end of the #88 and it was determined that it could be the steering rack as nothing else appeared to be bent or damaged. Next up was the 25-lap feature where Samantha started up in the 6th position and despite having some issues with the front end of the car, Jake lined up one row behind Samantha in 8th. Again on lap 2, contact with the #28 sent Jake sideways while cutting down a left rear tire. Jake would have to pit again a short time later before restarting again at the tail-end of the field. The rest of the race would be uneventful for both the #88 and the #81 as Jake battled hard to finish 6th while Samantha was able to pick up a position in the closing laps to finish 8th.
Billy is off this coming weekend though he will be joining Carson as he returns to the #86 mini stock at Flamboro Speedway for a regular night of racing on Saturday September 10th. The front gates open at 6:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:00 PM. Jake and Samantha return to Sunset Speedway that same night for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 3:30 PM and racing getting underway at 5:00 PM.
The #86 team headed north to Sunset Speedway on Saturday for the eighth round of the APC United Late Model Series where they were joined by both Jake and Samantha though neither would be racing as the mini stock division had the weekend off. Billy had issues early with the #86 as the car was pushing going into the corners and then snapping loose on exit. Over the course of two practice sessions the crew made multiple adjustments to hit the setup they needed including the sway bar, bump stops (both in and out of various locations) and adjusting the pan-hard bar and the upper link, all of which didn’t help dial the car into where it needed to be. Running out of practice and thinking that it was the old practice tires that were causing most of the issues, the crew made their final adjustments and Billy lined up on pit road for time trials.
As the 13th car on track out of the 19 in attendance, Billy quickly found that the car did not react to the final adjustments as even with new tires, it was extremely loose when he got on the throttle. With the back end of the #86 sliding all over the track Billy ended up a disappointing 15th marking the teams worst qualifying position of the season. With the car now impounded, only air pressure adjustments were allowed before the feature so the crew came up with the best plan they could in order to tighten up the car as Billy lined up for the 100-lap feature.
After Billy straps himself into the car before the race, David always checks the radio to make sure that the lines of communication are nice and clear before Billy takes to the track. David checked with Billy to make sure he had a copy and Billy replied that he did but as the field started rolling Billy came back over the radio to say that he couldn’t hear his spotter, despite David trying to talk to him the entire time. Panic set in as David could hear Billy and the rest of the team clear as day but his radio seemed to be cutting out. Hags jumped in and took over spotting from the infield as David scrambled to unplug and plug back in all of his cables before ultimately getting a replacement radio. Hags did a great job spotting from the infield despite spinning himself from the start/finish line all the way down to turn 4 as he turned in circles to follow Billy around the track.
The field took the green and it looked like the pressure adjustments helped as Billy was starting to move forward and was up to 12th by the time the first caution came out on lap 25 for the #35 who had stopped on the track with mechanical issues that would end his night. Under caution Billy reported that the car was still very loose especially in the preferred inside lane. Being in 12th at the time, the crew decided against bringing Billy into the pits for an adjustment as they were at a loss as to what adjustment would work since the car did not react to any changes made during practice. A long green flag run would follow and Billy would pilot the #86 into the top-10 in 8th and then 7th on lap 72 before it was the #86 that would bring out the second caution of the night. Billy was desperately trying to hang on to the car by gingerly getting onto the throttle; however, the right rear tire was now overheated and abused from the long run and the rear end stepped out causing the car to spin coming out of turn 2 coming to rest facing the wrong direction. With the caution now out and Billy heading to the tail-end of the lead lap cars, he came down pit road for the crew to check tire pressures and lower the pressure in the right rear tire which had skyrocketed as it overheated. A shim was also placed in the left rear bump stop in an attempt to tighten up the car and Billy rejoined the field in 12th as much of the field also struggled with loose conditions and a number of cars had gone a lap down. Billy reported that the first few laps after the restart were much better as he moved by the #8 on lap 80 to move into 11th and then by the #10 into 10th on lap 81, however It wasn’t long before the loose condition returned but Billy battled through and picked up another position to move into 9th and then passed the #89c with just 10 laps remaining to take over 8th where he would run to the finish.
Despite a disappointing 8th place finish that moved the #86 back in points from 8th to 9th, albeit just one point behind the #44 of Steve Laking who had finished 6th, the team was happy that they were loading a car that was damage free into the trailer with their seventh top-10 finish in the first eight races of the series. With no damage to fix, the team can focus on the last race of the Late Model Triple Crown at Delaware Speedway where in the last event, Billy came close to finally picking up his first pro late model victory before getting a flat tire on the final laps. Billy is only one point behind the #22 of leader Jamie Cox and with a good night, the team is looking to take home the Triple Crown title.
Billy returns to Delaware Speedway on Saturday September 3rd for the third and final race in the Late Model Triple Crown where the front gates open at 6:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:30 PM. Jake and Samantha return to action that same night as the mini stock division is back on track at Sunset Speedway after a weekend off. The front gates open at 3:30 PM with racing getting underway at 5:00 PM.
Despite having the weekend off from driving the #86 pro late model; Billy was kept busy with the team as they displayed the #86 Late Model at Vinnie’s Mr. Fixit Great 2016 Pig Roast and Party before heading to Flamboro Speedway with Carson to run the #86 mini stock while Jake and Samantha headed to Sunset Speedway for a regular night of racing and Fan Appreciation Night. As the rest of the #86 team had the weekend off, Hags and his wife Shannon took the opportunity to visit another team sponsor as they made their way to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market where they took home plenty of merchandise from the many different vendors at the very busy and popular market.
Flamboro Speedway: When Carson was at the shop on Thursday night to prepare the #86, he discovered that the right-front tire had been damaged and was in need of replacement. The team was unable to find a tire that was the same size so the right-rear was put on the right-front and a new right-rear was installed which changed the stagger more than they would have liked. It became apparent pretty quick that the increase in stagger had made the car extremely loose on exit as Carson spun the #86 twice during the first practice session. The right side tires were swapped from front to rear and a spring rubber was removed from the right-rear to try and tighten up the car on exit and Carson reported that the car was handling much better in the final practice sessions.
In the first of two features, Carson started 11th out of 14 cars that included Billy’s brother Rich who was making his season debut in the #72. Carson made his way to 9th on lap 2 before picking up another position on the next lap to move into 8th. Rich had made his way up to 10th by lap 5 after starting at the tail-end of the field but he would spin by himself on lap 7 and with no caution, returned to the tail end of the field. At the same time Rich was going for a ride, Carson made a move on the #84 to put him into 7th before he would also spin with no caution and rejoin the tail-end of the field with the #72. On lap 15 Carson was running the same lap times as the leaders as he tried not to go a lap down but he would run out of laps before he could make any significant gains finishing 9th. Carson lined up 9th in the second feature of the night and before the field could really get going the #97 hit the wall hard in turn 2 bringing out the caution on lap 1. Restarting 7th, Carson moved past the #42 into 6th on lap 5 and by lap 10 he was digging hard on the inside of the #84 but was unable to complete the pass and get into the top-5. Over the final laps Carson would try again and again to get past the #84 but to no avail finishing in 6th. Billy had a good talk with Carson after the race and explained different tactics that Carson should be trying in order to get by a car that was basically running the same speed instead of trying the same move over and over.
Sunset Speedway: There was plenty of heat and sunshine up north as Jake and Samantha took to the track for practice where Jake was happy overall with the #88 with only air pressure adjustments and a spring rubber adjustment required. Samantha was not as fortunate and she and dad Randy had to make plenty of changes over the course of practice to chase the handling on the #81. It was Fan Appreciation Night and while Samantha was still getting her car worked on, Jake was the only car representing Spira Racing and their many sponsors as he made his way onto the track for the autograph session that took place right after practice. Cars from all classes took to the track and Jake handed out plenty of hero cards along with cold Icelandic Glacial and Activate Drinks to the fans that stopped by the #88.
Samantha was on track first for her heat race starting on the outside pole out of nine cars. At the drop of the green flag Samantha got stuck on the outside and by the halfway mark she had fallen back to 5th before dropping one more position to finish 6th. Jake would start on the inside of the third row in 5th out of ten cars for his heat race and after the one and only caution on lap 4 for the #95 spinning in turn 2, he restarted in the 6th position. Through the remaining laps, Jake was able to make his way back up to 5th on lap 7 and he would battle hard with the 6th & 7th place cars to maintain his position and finished 5th. Both Jake and Samantha qualified for the ‘Dash for Cash’ as Jake started back in the 10th position with Samantha one row behind him in 11th. The race ran caution free with Jake running 9th at the halfway point while Samantha was running 11th. Jake and Samantha were both able to pick up one more position through the second half as Jake finished 8th and Samantha two cars behind him in 10th.
In the 25-lap feature, Samantha started on the outside pole in 2nd while Jake started mid-pack in 11th out of 19 cars. The first caution came on lap 7 for the #17 who spun in turn 4 just in front of Jake who had to go high to avoid contact. Samantha restarted 2nd while Jake had lost a couple of positions restarting 13th. By lap 10 Samantha had fallen back to 6th while Jake was able to pick up a position and was running 12th. The field would slow again on lap 20 for the second caution of the night and then Samantha restarted 7th as Jake was still running 12th. Samantha battled hard towards the finish to pick up a couple of positions to finish 5th while Jake just missed the top-10 finishing 11th.
Jake and Samantha both have this coming weekend off but Billy is back in the #86 pro late model for the eighth round of the APC United Late Model Series on Saturday August 27th at Sunset Speedway. The front gates open at 1:30 PM with racing getting underway at 3:00 PM.
Despite the forecast for rain with thunderstorms, the track did not postpone the event so Billy and the #86 team headed to Flamboro Speedway for the seventh round of the APC United Late Model Series along with Jake and his #88 mini stock that would be running with the Flamboro regulars as the Sunset Speedway mini stock division was off for the weekend. After going through tech and measuring the team’s race tires, the rain started to fall and it would come down in buckets including a pretty good light show from the thunderstorms that moved into the area. Hours later the sunshine returned but the event was postponed to the following day due to some flooding in the infield. The team returned to the shop where they met up with the #44 of Steve Laking, the #44t of Cole Timm and the #6 mini stock team of Kyle Jackson from Sauble Speedway who used the shop to do some work on his car before going out to dinner with the other teams.
The teams arrived at the track at 10:00 AM on Sunday morning and found that instead of their usual two practice sessions, the pro late models were given one practice session that ran for 45 minutes. Billy took to the green track due to the previous day’s rain and he was quite happy with the handling of the car despite a small tight condition in the centre of the corners. With such a long practice session, the crew was able to work on improving the tight condition before parking the #86 and getting ready for qualifying. The mini stocks were up next and Jake felt the #88 was loose on exit but they were able to improve the handling with spring rubber and air pressure adjustments. Once the team pushed the #86 through pre-qualifying tech, Billy lined up for time trials where he would be the tenth car on the track. The APC Series officials gave the pro late models one extra warm-up lap for qualifying which paid off for Billy as he became the first car of the day to go under 15.3 seconds with a 15.251 second lap that put him on the pole with nine cars left to qualify. Only two cars would be able to best Billy’s time putting him in the 3rd position with the #81 of Andrew Gresel winning the pole with a track record breaking time of 15.164 seconds. The top-5 qualifiers made their way back through tech and once post qualifying tech was completed, the top five would draw numbers from a hat from 1-5 that would set the top-5 starting positions for the 100 lap race. Luck would be on Billy’s side as he drew the #1 putting him on the pole with the #81 to his outside.
The mini stock division would run their twin 25-lap features with Jake starting back in 12th out of 16 cars in the first one. By lap 2 Jake had moved inside the top-10 to the 8th before the first caution on lap 5 that ended with the #6 of Kyle Jackson sailing through the infield on the front straightaway to avoid contact and eventually regaining control and rejoining the field in 10th. Restarting in the 6th position, Jake would start to fall back as the #88 started to tighten up dropping him back to 10th with the #6 right on his bumper. Jake would be able to pick up a couple of positions before the checkered flag to finish 8th. After making spring adjustments, Jake restarted 9th in the second feature where he would stay until the caution would come out for the #71 spinning off someone’s bumper on the back straightaway. Restarting 7th with the #6 ahead of him in 5th, the two cars would run out of laps to gain any more positions with Jake finishing 7th and the #6 picking up a 5th place finish in his first visit to Flamboro Speedway.
The APC series hit the track for their 100-lap feature and the #86 was looking right at home sitting at the front of the field, however as they took the green flag, the #81 was able to get a jump on Billy on the outside of turn 1 completing the pass to take over the lead coming out of turn 2. Billy would settle in behind the #81 as the field stretched out single file until lap 18 when the first caution came out for the #5 spinning off turn 2. As Billy restarted outside the #81 he reported that the car was getting tight and he was afraid that it was going to get progressively worse, not allowing him to rotate the car as well as he would like in the corners. Ken was confident that the tire stagger would come in over the course of the race as they did at the previous event and that Billy should just hang tight and do what he could to stay near the front. With Billy stuck on the outside, the #81 pulled away bringing the #21 with him and then Billy battled with the #44 of Steve Laking before Steve also made the pass on the inside dropping Billy back to 4th. On lap 63 the #83 was also able to make his way around the #86 dropping Billy back to 5th before the second caution of the night came on lap 67 for two separate incidents with a spin in turn 2 by the #5 and the #17 hitting the wall outside turn 1. Restarting on the inside, Billy ran side by side with the #83 for 4th before the caution quickly came back out for the #71 spinning off turn 4 and then the two renewed acquaintances on the restart but it was the #83 that was able to make the pass dropping Billy back to 5th. After a couple of quick cautions Billy was able to move past the #21 into 4th on lap 75 and then he made his way into 3rd on lap 77 as the #44 went high into turns 3 & 4. On lap 82, contact between the #89c and the #44 sent the #44 spinning down the back straightaway and on the restart the #2 and #23 made hard contact on the back straightaway bunching the field back together. After the final caution on lap 83 for the #3 that hit the wall on the back straightaway, Billy restarted 3rd and challenged the #83 for 2nd before the #83 was able to secure the position dropping the #86 back to deal with the #44t of Cole Timm. As the laps wound down Billy had his hands full with the #44t all over his back bumper and as the field took the white flag the #44t was able to complete the pass on the inside of the #86 after a great battle between the two drivers with the tearing up of decals being the only damage to the two cars. Although Billy was not able to get on the podium, he would finish 4th behind the #81, #83 and the #44t and the team was extremely happy with the day’s results as it was a good points night for the team as they would move into 8th in the APC Series standings, only one point behind the #27 of Mat Box.
Billy is off this coming weekend though he will be joining Carson as he returns to the #86 mini stock at Flamboro Speedway for a regular night of racing on August 20th. The front gates open at 5:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:00 PM. Jake and Samantha return to Sunset Speedway that same night for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 4:30 PM and racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
The day following the latest APC United Late Model Series race at Sauble Speedway, the Spira Racing team gathered at the Spira home for a BBQ and pool party before taking the motor out first thing on Monday morning. Ken took the motor to John Saunders Racing Enterprise in Watford to see if he could diagnose the problem that kept Billy from taking the #86 to the front on Saturday night. John found a problem with a valve that had dropped the compression dramatically in one cylinder that required replacement and also found a bad spark plug that the team had just installed the previous week. After a 12 hr. round trip to Watford on Thursday thanks to traffic; Ken picked up the motor and it was installed Friday morning and buttoned up just in time to head to Delaware Speedway for the second race of the Late Model Triple Crown.
Delaware Speedway: With a threat of rain and extremely hot and humid weather, the team unloaded the #86 and Billy hit the track for the first of two practice sessions. The motor was back to where it should be and the car was handling well with the exception of a small loose condition in the centre of the corners. An adjustment was made to the sway bar and Billy reported that the car was now a little loose on exit but very drivable as indicated by his lap times that put him 7th quick out of the 16 cars in attendance. The right-rear spring was changed to tighten up the car on corner exit and the team pushed the car into line for tech before qualifying just as the skies opened up. The rain was relentless and after a long delay the track made the call to postpone the night’s events until the following day.
Feeling confident with their setup and the performance of the motor, the team returned to Delaware on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies with 0% chance of rain in the forecast. With the same schedule as the previous day, the pro late models had two practice sessions and again Billy was quite happy with the handling of the car with only some minor adjustments needed. For qualifying, Billy would lay down a lap of 18.500 seconds putting him on the pole with only six cars remaining, however the #10 and the #22 would best Billy’s time with the #22 of Jamie Cox winning the pole with a time of 18.478 seconds putting Billy 3rd. With the inversion Billy would start on the outside pole beside the #6. Billy would not waste any time putting the #86 up front as he would take the lead on the outside coming out of turn 1 followed by the #22. By lap 10 Billy had put together a sizable lead until lap 16 when the caution came out for the #79 hitting the wall in turn 1. On the restart, the #22 would take the lead passing Billy in turns 1 & 2 and after another caution on lap 17 for a multitude of cars spinning in turn 4, Billy would run on the tail of the #22 and they would pull away from the rest of the field putting a sizable gap between them and the 3rd place car. On lap 30 Billy was all over the back bumper of the #22 as he wanted the lead back and he took it just two laps later on lap 32. Lap 34 saw the third caution of the night as a few cars again got together in turn 4 erasing Billy’s lead over the #22. A long green flag run would follow with Billy again stretching out his lead but this time it was over the #10 who had taken over the 2nd position. By lap 60 Billy made his way through the tail-end of the field and the #10 used this to his advantage and closed the gap on Billy’s lead which had stretched to as much as a straightaway. With 25 laps to go the #10 was four car lengths behind and with 17 to go, closed the gap to less than two car lengths. Just when it looked like Billy was going to finally get his first pro late model victory; on lap 94, coming out of turn 4, the car suddenly shot up the track with a flat right-front tire. The team was in disbelief as the caution came out for Billy who slowed to avoid making contact with the outside wall. Billy was able to limp the #86 all the way around the track to pit road where the team made quick work of changing the flat tire. As Billy rejoined the field, he found himself in 6th as the front runners had lapped most of the field but with only six laps remaining he would be hard pressed to make his way back to the front. As the final green flag flew, Billy dove down to the lower groove taking the field three wide to move into the 5th as the new right-front tire allowed Billy to turn the car a lot better than anyone else. Billy was a man on a mission through the final laps as he took over 3rd with five laps to go but would run out of time finishing in the 3rd position.
Sunset Speedway: Jake and Samantha made their way north for a regular night of racing on Saturday night and as the mini stocks took to the track for practice, Samantha was fighting a really loose handling car while Jake was struggling with overall handling issues. Samantha and Jake would both be in the first heat race with Samantha starting 3rd and Jake starting back in 7th. By halfway Samantha had made her way up to 2nd while Jake was stuck back in 7th unable to make any headway. Samantha was able to hold on to finish 2nd while Jake lost a position to finish 8th. Samantha qualified for the ‘Dash for Cash’ where she would lineup on the inside of the second row in the 3rd. On the first lap Samantha would fall back to 5th and as the race ran green from start to finish she would end up finishing 7th.
In the main feature Samantha started 13th and Jake 14th out of an 18 car field. The first and only caution would fall on lap 5 for a car spinning in turn 4 that Jake was barely able to avoid and as they came to the green for the restart, Samantha was running 11th and Jake 15th. By the halfway mark, Samantha was still running 11th and Jake moved up to 14th. With the rest of the race running without a caution, Samantha would pick up a top-10 finish in 9th and Jake was able to pick up one more position to finish 13th.
With the mini stock division off this weekend at Sunset Speedway, Jake will be joining Billy on Saturday August 13th at Flamboro Speedway where he will be driving his #88 mini stock in the weekly Flamboro series as Billy is back in the #86 pro late model for the seventh round of the APC United Late Model Series. The front gates open at 4:00 PM with racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
Billy headed north to Sauble Speedway for the sixth round of the APC United Late Model Series as Jake returned to Sunset Speedway to continue his pursuit of the point’s championship from his 5th place position in the standings. With Samantha now well out of the points at Sunset due to the races that she missed with her broken wrist; she would be joining Billy with Carson who had been given the opportunity to join the team in the #86 mini stock for his first venture to another track other than Flamboro Speedway in his rookie season. Spira Fire Protection sponsored the event and with the #44 pro late model of Steve Laking and the #17 mini stock of Kevin Bridge also representing the company, five cars in total attended the event flying the Spira banner.
Sauble Speedway: The APC Series was first up for practice and as soon as Billy hit the track he felt that something was amiss with the engine of the #86 as it kept popping and burping whenever he would get on the throttle. After running a few laps Billy came back to the pits and the team went to work checking over everything they could think of that would be causing the motor to misfire. The team also borrowed a spare carburetor from the #44 of Steve Laking before heading back out on track only to have Billy report that there was still something wrong. After further investigation turned up nothing, the decision was made between driver and crew chief to go ahead with qualifying and then unseal the hood, sacrificing their track position but allowing the team to continue to diagnose and hopefully find the problem. Billy qualified with his fastest time of the day with a 14.849 second lap but it would ultimately put him well towards the back of the field qualifying 19th out of 22cars as the #21 of Matt Pritiko took the pole with a lap of 14.307 seconds.
Both Carson and Samantha were happy with the handling of the #86 and #81 mini stocks respectively before they hit the track for their heat races and after Carson reporting that the car was tight coming off the corner. Billy made his way over to the #86 and made a spring change which helped him pick up more than .3 of a second during the final practice. Carson started in the 3rd position in his heat race and in the first couple of laps he got hung up on the outside lane allowing the #6 and 10 to make their way through on the inside dropping him back to 5th where he would finish. Samantha was out next in her heat race and after starting on the outside pole she would battle side-by-side for the lead with the #34 for the first five laps but unfortunately once the #34 moved ahead, so did the #51, 17 and 87 as Sam also got hung up on the outside lane to finish 5th.
Carson and Samantha lined up behind each other in 17th and 18th as the mini stocks took the green flag for their feature. On lap 2 Samantha would get caught up in someone else’s issues as contact with another car in turns 3 & 4 would bend the steering rack ending her night early. Despite a few cautions that slowed the field throughout the feature, Carson was able to run some lap times that were just one tenth off those of the leaders as he started to make his way towards the front of the field. Unfortunately the leaders were just too far ahead of him but Carson was able to bring home a top-10 finish coming home 10th in his first ever feature race at the track.
While the mini stocks were on track, the #86 team was busy going over the motor under the watchful eye of the APC Series officials in the hopes that they would be able to figure out what had been causing the misfire that had been plaguing the car all day. The team went over all the wiring and replaced the ignition switch that was found to have a loose terminal and then Billy drove onto the front stretch for driver introductions with the hopes that it was the issue. Audrey Mast, mother of crew member Dave Mast and a big supporter of the team was asked by Ken to be the honorary starter for the Spira Fire Protection sponsored race and would climb the starter’s tower to wave the green flag to start the race. This was of course after Ken’s niece Amber and nephew Liam gave the command to start the engines and all three did a great job getting the race underway. Having to start at the tail-end of the field for working on the car after qualifying, it wasn’t long before Billy came on the radio to say that the motor was still stumbling and that it didn’t have any pull down the straightaway. Despite lacking horsepower Billy was able to keep up with the cars around him as the car was turning well through the corners but with the lack of power he wasn’t able to make a pass. After two cautions on laps 18 and lap 31 for cars spinning and making minor contact, Billy would get spun out on lap 46 as he checked up behind the #10 who suddenly stuck his hand out the window indicating he had some sort of issue. As Billy slowed to avoid contact, the #87 who didn’t see the #10, got his nose between Billy and the #10 resulting in Billy getting spun out. Billy was able to escape any real damage and would restart 16th. At the halfway mark Billy was able to pick up another position moving him into 15th before the #23 spun on lap 54 and then on the restart the #97 went around bringing out another caution. As the caution laps started to pileup Billy found that the car was much quicker running the outside lane as he was able to use the momentum to his advantage and not rely so much on the motor or lack thereof. Over the next few laps Billy would bounce between 13th and 15th then on lap 65, the #37 would get into the back of him after he had checked up to avoid a car in front of him, resulting in minor damage to the rear of the #86 while causing significant damage to the #37 resulting in him being towed off the track. Restarting 14th, Billy had his eyes on the top-10 before near disaster struck on lap 93 as contact between the #2 and #89c resulted in the #48 going sideways on the track and with nowhere to go Billy barely touched the #48; however he was bumped in the back by the #5 resulting in some damage to the front bumper. A few more cautions tightened the field with the final restart coming on lap 94. With only six laps to go there was a mad scramble coming down the backstretch as drivers tried to grab as many positions as they could in the final laps and with Billy digging hard, he was able to make his way up to the 7th but before he could get down into the lower groove, the inside lane made their way by bumping Billy back to 10th. Though the team was disappointed that they didn’t contend up front, they were quite happy coming away with a top-10 finish that moved them into the 9th position in the series standings with only three races to go.
Sunset Speedway: Jake was happy with the handling of the #88 over the course of practice so he decided to forgo the final practice session. Returning from the drivers meeting, Jake discovered that the right-rear tire was flat due to having run over a rivet and after plugging the hole, it appeared that the tire was going to hold up and Jake would be ready to go for his heat race. Jake lined up to start 3rd and by the time the field hit the halfway mark, he had fallen back one position to 4th. The last three laps saw a tight, hard fought battle between the top four cars and despite a late push to better his position, Jake would finish 4th. The ‘Dash for Cash’ was up next with Jake starting towards the back in 8th out of 12 cars. The race would be highly congested in front of Jake with the 5th to 9th place cars battling hard for position. On lap 7 the #68 took Jake high into turn 1 but he was able to maintain his position holding on to finish 8th. Jake started 6th in the feature that had a smaller that usual car count of 14. At the halfway point Jake was still running in 6th before the caution came out on lap 18 for the #6 and 76 getting together resulting in a cut tire for the #6 while the #76 would be black flagged. Jake moved up two positions into 4th where he would finish bringing home another top-5 finish.
Billy returns to Delaware Speedway on Friday August 5th for the second round of the Late Model Triple Crown. The front gates open at 6:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:30 PM. Jake and Samantha return to Sunset Speedway the following night for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 4:30 PM and racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
As the heat wave continued across the province, Jake and Samantha headed to Sunset Speedway with the #81 and the #88 as Carson headed to Flamboro Speedway with the #86. Along with Carson, Billy and Ken would also be helping out fellow team member Dave Mast as he would be shaking down the #72 of Billy’s brother Rich who had to work.
Flamboro Speedway: The #86 started the day pushing coming out of the corners during the first practice session and after changing the left-rear spring, Carson was pretty happy with the handling of the car as he picked up two tenths of a second in the final practice. Starting 8th in the first of two 20-lap races, Carson quickly moved up to 7th before he overdrove the car on lap 9 and spun into the infield. With no caution Carson quickly rejoined the field in 10th and would ultimately finish 8th after running some very quick lap times throughout the balance of the race. Carson proved that he can run the same lap times as the leaders but it appears that he has to be driving angry to do so. Brad Collison who drives the #13 thunder car noticed that Carson looked to be overreaching on top of the steering wheel as he was driving. After bringing this to Ken’s attention the steering wheel was lowered where it was hoped that it would give him more stability and control of the car as it may have contributed to him spinning out during the first feature. Starting 8th in the second feature, Carson again made his way forward early on making his way up to 6th by the halfway mark. During the final five laps Carson was all over the back bumper of the #3 but he was unable to complete the pass finishing 6th. Dave had a successful night in the #72 as nothing fell off the car and after fixing a slight loose off condition with a spring change, he was able to bring the car home in one piece with a 10th and 12th place finish respectively.
Sunset Speedway: Both Jake and Samantha were happy with their cars throughout practice with Jake running lap times that were comparable to those of the front runners while Samantha worked on a few small adjustments to try and coax some more speed out of the #81. Jake was in the first heat race of the night starting last out of eight cars and after working his way up to 6th he battled hard with the #6 to keep his position but the #6 would beat him at the line dropping Jake back to 7th and causing him to miss the ‘Dash for Cash’. Samantha was in the second heat race starting in the pole position and despite dropping back to the 3rd with a loose handling car, she was able to hang on to ultimately finish 3rd. Samantha would be in the ‘Dash for Cash’ starting 6th out of 12 cars and at the halfway mark she had dropped back two positions to 8th before the caution came out for the #6 who had spun. Restarting 8th, Samantha would drop further back where she would finish 11th with an ill handling car. After the race Samantha and dad Randy found that a weld had broken on the right-front strut causing the cars handling to go away and all they could do was over tighten the bolts and hope that it stayed in position throughout the feature. Jake started 9th while Samantha was two rows behind in 13th and on the opening lap as Jake quickly made his way up to 7th, another car tried to make it 3-wide on the outside heading down the front straightaway and as the two cars made contact, Jake was sent hard into the outside front stretch wall ending his night early. After being brought to the pits by the tow truck, it was found that the right-front spindle was broken leaving Jake and dad Wade with some work to do the following the week. Samantha struggled with her car throughout the majority of the race as the car was extremely loose and she would ultimately finish 12th.
Billy returns to Sauble Speedway on Saturday July 30th for the sixth round of the APC United Late Model Series and the Spira Fire Protection 100. Samantha will also take her car to Sauble along with Carson who will venture outside of Flamboro Speedway for the first time to run the regular point’s night of racing for the local mini stocks. The front gates open at 5:00 PM with racing getting underway at 5:30 PM. Jake will to return to Sunset Speedway that same night for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 4:30 PM and racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
The #86 pro late model was the only team car in action the past weekend as Jake and Samantha joined Billy and the #86 team as they made the long trip east to Peterborough Speedway for the fifth round of the APC United Late Model Series. After spending the week going over the cars set-up and doing a thorough bolt check, the team was looking to build off their momentum from the previous race at Delaware Speedway as they now found themselves back in the top-10 in the series standings.
Though Billy had raced at “Canada’s Toughest 1/3 Mile Oval” in the past, including the Autumn Colours Classic this past fall, he has made it known that the track is not one of his favourites and after a discussion with his crew chief, the game plan was to be patient, try to stay down low in the inside groove and try to bring the car home in one piece with hopefully a respectable finish. During the first two practice sessions the car was handling well; however it was not rotating as good as it could through the centre of the tight corners before breaking loose on late exit. The team made changes to the right-rear spring, left-rear bump stop as well as both front bump stops before heading out for one last practice session. Billy was now quite happy with the handling of the car and the team went to work getting ready for their two lap qualifying run. Pulling out from lucky pit stall #13 to hit the track 13th, Billy put himself in the top-10 with the 10th fastest time of 13.661 seconds. Though the team was hoping to start on the inside lane, they would find themselves moving up a couple of more positions after two of the top qualifiers had their times disallowed due to some creative taping of their spoilers awarding the #44 of Steve Laking with the pole position while Billy would move up to the outside of row 4 in 8th.
As the field took the green flag Billy and his spotter David were looking for the quickest opportunity to get the #86 down to the inside lane so they could start making their way towards the front as the track does not have an outside lane that works well for moving forward. On lap 5 the opportunity presented itself as Billy moved inside the #23 and up to 7th. On lap 18 Billy followed the #17 inside the #15 and up to 6th as the field strung out nose to tail. On lap 44, contact between the #17 and the #24, who was a lap down, sent the two of them spinning down the front stretch as Billy went high to avoid and move into the top-5. After the #10 locked up his brakes and ended up in the turn one wall bringing out the caution, the ensuing restart would see the third caution of the night as the contact between the #22 and the #89c who was running 2nd and 3rd sent the #89c spinning off of turn 2 causing the field to scramble behind them. Billy went right up to the wall managing to just squeeze by and would now find himself running in the 2nd position after the #22 was black flagged and sent to the back of the field. Starting outside of the #31 the #44 moved inside Billy dropping him back to 3rd where he started for few more quick cautions that would slow the pace of the second half of the race. Billy would soon battle alongside the #83 for a number of laps as the two fought for 3rd before the #83 would complete the pass on lap 55 dropping Billy back to 4th just before the #71 made hard contact with the turn 3 wall collecting the #3 and the #24. After the restart and as the field came into turns 3 & 4, there was contact between the #31, #83 and the #44 that would send the #31 around causing the field behind him to take evasive maneuvers to avoid piling in. With David perched at the top of the grandstand, he had a great view and told Billy to go as high as he could as the other cars wrecked below him and were quickly coming up the track. The #83 made his way to the pits and as a result, the lead position out front was given to Billy in the undamaged #86.
Over the next twenty laps Billy would continue to lead and after battling with the #27, he was able to pull away giving him a six car length lead before running into lapped traffic. With just 23 laps to go, Billy tried to make his way around the outside of the #23 who was a lap down, but the outside groove was just not working for the #86 allowing the #27 to hold off Billy’s pass. Contact between the #86 and the #23 would send the #23 spinning to the infield after Billy tried lap after lap to pass him, bringing out the caution. With the #89c now on his back bumper for the restart on lap 80, the #89c would nudge Billy from behind going into turn three and despite getting him sideways and making the pass, Billy kept on the throttle and was able to hang onto the 2nd position. The #81 was soon able to make his way by Billy putting him 3rd and left to battle with the #27 who finally spun himself out after trying to stick his nose underneath the #86 who was keeping the car as low as possible in the corners. As the #27 sat high in the centre of turns 3 & 4 the #10, #2 and the #24 all made hard contact with the turn 3 wall bringing out the red flag and a short delay for the cleanup and driver assistance. Running 3rd, Billy would have the preferred line starting on the inside with only six laps to go, however he spun his tires that normally would have cost him the position, however the 11th and final caution of the night would quickly come out giving Billy another chance at the restart as the #10 spun down the backstretch. Billy wasn’t going to waste another opportunity and he nailed the restart moving up to 2nd leaving the #81 to battle with the #22 for 3rd. The last six laps would run caution free as Billy put some distance between himself and the #81 to bring the #86 home in 2nd and obtain his best late model career finish to date. Billy and the team were ecstatic as they celebrated in victory lane behind the #89c as all of the hard work this season had finally paid off with a top-3 finish at one of the toughest tracks in the series. With their confidence at an all time high the team is looking forward to heading to Sauble Speedway for the Spira Fire Protection 100 on Sunday July 30th.
Billy has the next weekend off but he will be with Carson at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday July 23rd for a regular night of racing. The front gates open at 5:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:00 PM. Jake and Samantha return to Sunset Speedway that same night for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 4:30 PM and racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
With Samantha’s wrist fully healed, she and Jake made their way to Sunset Speedway for a regular night of racing as Billy, Ken, David and Hags loaded the #86 pro late model and headed to Victoria Park East Golf Course in Guelph for the annual Guelph Wish Fund for Children Charity Golf Tournament. Since the #86 team had the weekend off, the foursome would be competing in the tournament and arrangements were made to put the car on display at the golf course. During the week the spare hood was prepared to display the larger Guelph Wish Fund decal to match the hood on the #86 mini stock. Over the years that Billy drove the #86 mini stock at Spira Racing, all winnings were donated to charity including the Guelph Wish Fund for Children and that tradition continues this season with the winnings of young Carson Nagey who is now driving the #86 mini stock in his rookie season being donated to the Guelph Wish Fund for Children. With Billy’s only golf experience being at the driving range and Ken, David and Hags having played golf together for many years, the afternoon proved to be interesting and a lot of fun. Billy had trouble making consistent contact with the ball, however he accomplished his goal as he had the longest drive of the team on one hole as he crushed one that out distanced his seasoned teammates. A great afternoon was had by all and after draining some long distance putts the team came home with a respectable score of six under par.
At Sunset Speedway the mini stock class hit the track for practice and both Jake and Samantha were happy with the handling of their cars as they were fast throughout the practice sessions. The #88 required no adjustments while the #81 tried a few minor adjustments including air pressures to see if they could squeeze more speed out of the car for the heat races. Jake and Samantha would both go out in the first heat race with Jake in 6th out of 8 cars while Samantha would start on the pole at the front of the field. Samantha got a great start putting herself up front while the outside lane didn’t get as great of a start resulting in Jake falling back to the tail-end of the field in 8th. On lap 4 Jake had made his way up back up to 6th while Samantha battled with the #85 who finally made it past the #81 dropping Samantha back to 2nd. The race would run caution free with Jake coming home 6th and Samantha hanging onto the 2nd position. The ‘Dash for Cash’ was up next as Samantha lined up on the inside of the second row in 3rd while Jake started on the inside of the same row in 11th. At the green flag Samantha dropped back to 5th while Jake started to make his way towards to the front. By lap 7 Samantha had fallen back to 7th as Jake moved up to the 9th position where they would finish.
After a brief rain delay, the mini stocks took to the track for their feature where Samantha lined up on the outside of the second row in 4th while Jake started 12th. The feature was a quick one as it ran under green the entire race with Samantha dropping back a few positions to 7th on the 3rd lap while Jake moved into the top-10. As the laps continued to quickly tick by, Jake made his way past Samantha as the two ran nose to tail in the 10th and 11th positions respectively. Jake picked up a couple more positions to move up to 8th as Samantha slid back and was now running in the 11th as they moved past the halfway point. Both Jake and Samantha were able to battle back in the later stages of the race with Jake finishing 7th despite running on a broken spring that was later discovered back at the shop, while Samantha was able to bring home a top-10 finish finishing 9th. At the conclusion of the race the skies opened up again and rain cancelling the remainder of the night’s events.
Billy heads to Peterborough Speedway on Saturday July 16th for the fifth round of the APC United Late Model Series as Jake and Samantha have the weekend off. The front gates open at 4:00 PM with racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
After a late night returning from Delaware Speedway for the fourth round of the APC United Late Model Series, Jake was up early to head to Sunset Speedway for a regular night of racing on Saturday night with the #88 mini stock after having a week off. While Jake headed north, Billy made his way to Flamboro Speedway where Carson would return to the #86 mini stock for a regular night of racing. Without his mothers knowledge Billy also drove his own Honda Civic Si to the track as he was planning on running in the ‘King of the Hill’ event that was scheduled to run during the intermission. Sunset Speedway: With the regular series’ having the previous weekend off; the Formula Drift Canada series was at the track and according to Jake the track had a great deal of rubber build up on it and due to that, Jake was loose throughout the practice sessions that were spent doing the necessary adjustments to try and tighten up the cars handling. Jake started last in his heat race lining up in the 7th position and after running caution free, Jake picking up a couple of spots to finish 5th. The ‘Dash for Cash’ would be up next and Jake again started towards the back in 10th place out of 12 cars. With another caution free race, Jake was again able to pick up a couple of spots to finish 8th including a great battle with the #83 that saw them swap positions back and forth over the last five laps.
With 15 cars lining up for the feature race Jake started mid-pack in the 7th position. On lap 4 while running with the #84, the #84 got into the #88 spinning Jake and sending them both to the back of the field. Jake started to make his way back up through the field before they was slowed by another caution, this time for the #51 who had spun. After restarting in the 9th, Jake was involved in yet another incident as the #83 spun on the front stretch collecting Jake in the process. The damage was relatively minor with just some cosmetic damage and fender braces that will have to be replaced. Restarting back in the 10th, Jake was able to pick up one more position before the end of the race finishing a disappointing 9th.
Flamboro Speedway: Carson is showing some improvement each and every week in the #86 and this weekend would be no different. As he took to the track for practice he reported that the car was loose going into to the corner and after an adjustment and by the time the second practice was over he was saying that the car was loose coming off the corner. After adjusting the car to tighten it up on corner exit, the seasoned veterans at the track were running 15.3 second lap times while Carson was running consistent 15.6 second laps and he was quite happy with how the car was now handling. The team had a special guest helping out in the pits for the night as Scott Simmons, tire specialist for the #88 of Matt Crafton in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for ThorSport Racing was home for the Canada Day long weekend before heading to Kentucky Speedway this coming weekend.
Carson started on the pole for the first race as has been the case in the past few races and he did a great job holding off the front runners as long as he could but they were able to make their way by eventually dropping Carson back to 8th where he would finish. For the second feature of the night Carson started on the outside pole and again tried to hold off the front runners as long as he could, however they continued to be three tenth’s quicker, and the result was Carson would finish 6th although he ran very smooth and consistent lap times that were well ahead of the majority of the field behind him. During the intermission Billy hit the track in his own car for the ‘King of the Hill’ event. After making it through the first two rounds, he found himself in the finals facing off against a Ford Mustang which coincidentally, is the same Ford Mustang that went toe-to-toe with a Tesla last year at Delaware Speedway during their ‘King of the Hill’ event. Although he put in a valiant effort, Billy found himself losing in the finals but he had a lot of fun including taking the track announcer around with him during one of the races with a live microphone that was extremely entertaining for the fans.
Samantha makes her return in the #81 mini stock as she joins Jake at Sunset Speedway on Saturday July 9th for a regular night of racing. The front gates open at 4:30 PM with racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
Billy, the #86 team, Jake and Samantha all made their way to Delaware Speedway on Canada Day for some rare Friday night racing and the fourth round of the APC United Late Model Series. With only a six day turnaround between events the team was kept busy during the week to make sure that the car was ready to load in the trailer Friday morning.
The car was good in practice and Billy was unsure if he wanted to make any changes to the setup that he and the team had put into the car during the previous week; this was mainly based on the setup that was in the car during the 2015 season that saw Billy take home ‘Rookie of the Year’ honours at the track. The only issue seemed to be with the brakes as the pedal was a little softer than Billy would have liked. The team had a few issues with the right front brake caliper Thursday night at the shop so practice was cut short so that the brakes could be bled again. The second and final practice session was used to confirm that the brakes were good and a minor adjustment was made to correct a slight loose condition on the exit of the corner. With Billy happy with the handling of the car and the replacement carburetor working much better than the one at Sauble Speedway; the team prepared the car for time trials that would set the order for the 28-car field. The #6 of Adam Quarrie was the first car on track for time trials and he made a blistering run of 18.310 seconds to set the bar high for the cars that were to follow. Billy hit the track and laid down a lap of 18.422 seconds in the #86 that would put him comfortably into the top-5 until the #44 of Steve Laking edged him out by .008 of a second to put Billy back into 6th after which the #81 of Andrew Gresel took the pole with a time of 18.304 seconds barely missing out on the track record.
As the field took the green flag, the plan was for Billy to get into a good position to run some smooth consistent laps in order to save the tires for the end of the race as the team was confident that they had a good setup that would last throughout the 100-lap feature. Starting on the outside lane, it took a few laps of side-by-side racing before David was able to clear Billy down to the inside lane in 10th. A couple of early cautions in the first 20 laps would allow Billy to start making his way through the field putting him up to 9th and then 7th. On lap 23 Billy was knocking on the door of the top-5 as he battled hard with the #89c of Shawn Chenoweth. After a great battle Billy was able to make his way past the #89c and into 6th. During the next caution on lap 29 Billy came on the radio and reported that the car was running awesome and that he felt he could be running up front by the end of the night as long as he didn’t overdrive the car. That would be easier said than done as David had to come on the radio a couple of times to remind Billy to just take it easy and run some nice smooth laps in order to save his tires and that there were still a lot of laps remaining. As the field took the green flag Billy made his way inside the #71 of Dan McHattie and then followed the #27 of Mat Box to the inside of the #44 on lap 35 to get into the top-5 behind the #27, the #83 of Dale Shaw and the #81. Billy was able to hang on to the 4th position through multiple cautions until lap 57 when he got hung up on the outside lane dropping back to 6th where he ran until the next caution on lap 83. As the field took the green flag on the restart Billy reported a large vibration in the front end that felt like he either had a tire going down or a brake caliper hanging up. As he slowed to try and feel out where the vibrations were coming from, he dropped back into the 10th position with 7 laps to go after gingerly getting back up to speed as he was confident that a tire was not going flat and the vibration had lessened. Two cautions came out in the final laps that saw the race finish under caution and despite hearing something dragging underneath the front of car, the car handled well throughout the final laps and Billy was able to gain a position to finish 9th. Returning to the pits the crew jacked up the front end of the car to find what the issue was and it was quickly discovered that a large piece of heavy aluminum that was mounted below the oil pan to protect it when the car bottomed out through the bumps, had come loose and was dragging on the track only being held in place on one corner. The violent movement of the metal swinging under the car under high speed at the ½ mile speedway was definitely the issue and Billy did a great job in judging the impact to the handling of the car to bring it home with the first top-10 of the season.
The APC Series has the upcoming weekend off until round 5 at Peterborough Speedway on Saturday July 16th so the #86 team is putting together a foursome for the 29th annual Guelph Wish Fund for Children golf tournament on Saturday July 9th. Ken, Hags, David and Billy himself will be playing in the golf tournament at Victoria Golf Course in Guelph as well as proudly displaying the #86 pro late model on site in support of the charity and to provide some additional exposure for the rest of our valuable sponsors.
Samantha, who just had her cast removed and Jake who had the weekend off from racing at Sunset Speedway headed to Sauble Speedway to cheer on Billy in the third round of the APC United Late Model Series. The #86 team had a busy couple of weeks repairing some front end damage after the last race at Sunset Speedway including replacing the front bumper for the second time in as many races. The team also went over the entire car in fine detail as they would only have five days between the race at Sauble and the next round of the APC Series at Delaware Speedway on Canada Day.
With temperatures reaching the high 20s, Billy took to the track for the first of two 30-minute practice sessions where was very happy with the handling of the #86 St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market pro late model. The only issue that he had was being the choice of rear gears as the motor was not reaching the desired RPM that the team wanted. The gears were changed and Billy returned to the track for the second and final practice session where he said the car was better but still lacking RPM. Without a higher set of gears, the team hoped that with new tires, the car would pick up some additional speed that would ultimately help though they did not think that their gear selection would hurt the car as they were close to what they were looking for. If anything, Billy felt that the car was a little loose on throttle through the corner so he was instructed to come back to the pits so the team could put on a bigger left rear tire that would be closer to what they could have for qualifying and the feature. The practice tires from the last race at Sunset Speedway had 4” of stagger across the back and the biggest spare tire would put the stagger at 3½”; however, it looked like they would only get 3” of stagger on the new set. The staff from Grisdale Racing Products that select and mount the tires for the series were very helpful in trying to rectify the tire size problem at the track by un-mounting and mounting tires with Ken and Hags going through a number of tires from the tire truck trying to get the correct amount of stagger. Unfortunately there was a very limited amount of tires to choose from and the team would have to live with what they had. With their new tires mounted and the air pressures adjusted to hopefully help the stagger issue, Billy lined up 11th for time trials where he ran a 14.775 second lap that would put him deep in the field back in 17th out of 21 cars. Although the team were extremely disappointed with their qualifying run, they were more disappointed in the lack of tire selection as the lower stagger was creating a big push in the handling that was hindering the car from rotating and therefore not allowing Billy to get back into the throttle as quickly as he wanted. With the car now impounded, the only adjustments that could be made was to the air pressures and with the big lack of stagger the team was not confident that this was something they would be able to overcome. Last season the individual teams were allowed to go to Grisdale’s and pick out their own tires but some complained about an unfair advantage and a rule was put in place putting all teams at the mercy of the Grisdale staff and their tire selection.
As the field took the green flag it wasn’t long before Billy was on the radio complaining that the car had an even bigger push than in qualifying and that he could not get on the throttle through the corners dropping him back even deeper in the field. As the first caution came out on lap 25, Billy made his way to the pits for a quick adjustment that consisted of putting shims into the left front as well as taking more air pressure out of the left rear in the hopes of minimizing the push that Billy was experiencing. Upon returning to the track Billy was back on the radio complaining that push was still pretty bad and on top of that the carburetor started to act up with a big hesitation as he first got on the throttle. With a series rule in place that didn’t allow a car to come into the pits to change a tire unless it was flat, the team was not able to put on the smaller spare tire that would have corrected the stagger problem. With also not having a quick fix to correct the issue with the carburetor, Billy was told to do the best he could to stay out of trouble and bring the care home in one piece. David did a great job as his rookie season continues as Billy’s spotter to guide the driver through multiple cautions that happened right in front of the #86. Billy was able to bring the car home without a scratch although it would be with a disappointing 14th place finish.
Billy returns to Delaware Speedway for Canada Day on Friday July 1st for the fourth round of the APC United Late Model Series. The front gates open at 6:00 PM with racing getting underway at 7:30 PM. Jake returns to Sunset Speedway on Saturday July 2nd for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 4:30 PM and racing getting underway at 6:00 PM.
Jake was the only driver from the Spira Racing stable that would see the track this past weekend as he returned to Sunset Speedway for a rare Friday night event. With the NASCAR Pinty’s Series set to take over the track for the weekend the usual Saturday night showcase was moved to Friday night and with two consecutive top-5 finishes Jake was looking to continue his string of strong finishes heading into an off week. With their cooler packed full of ice courtesy of sponsor Northern Ice, Jake and his dad Wade loaded the #88 and headed north Friday afternoon.
With the sun high in the sky and the heat radiating off the pavement Jake took to the track for practice. The car continued to handle well right off the trailer as Jake was again happy with the handling only having to make minor adjustments through air pressures to keep up with the changing track conditions. With the temperature being very high, the track was very greasy resulting in the cars sliding all over the track looking for more grip wherever they could find it.
In the first heat race of the night Jake lined up in the 5th starting position out of 7 cars. By lap 2 Jake moved into the 4th while the last five laps were a battle with the #17 and the 76 for 2nd, 3rd and 4th , Jake would come out on the losing end of that battle finishing 4th. Due to time constraints there would be no ‘Dash for Cash’ so the team went to work prepping for the 25-lap feature.
With the sun setting in the distance, Jake lined up for the feature back in the 13th out of 18 cars and it didn’t take long for him to begin his march towards the front. As Jake cracked the top-10 just before the halfway point the caution came out on lap 12 as the #36 spun on the backstretch and the #6 and 76 came together on the front stretch simultaneously. Restarting in the 7th position, the caution would come back out once more on lap 22 before the rest of the feature would run caution free. Now starting 6th, Jake would pick up one more position before running out of laps to pick up his third consecutive top-5 finish. As the cars went through post-race inspection the 1st and 2nd place cars would be disqualified handing the win to the #17 for his first career victory while moving Jake onto the podium with a 3rd place finish. With two weeks off before their next race Jake and his dad Wade are looking to do their homework and see what they can do to finally put the #88 in victory lane.
Jake has a rare weekend off as Billy is back in the #86 pro late model at Sauble Speedway on Saturday June 25th for the third round of the APC United Late Model Series. The front gates open at 5:30 PM, qualifying is at 6:00 PM with racing getting underway at 6:30 PM.
Jake returned to Sunset Speedway for his second back-to-back feature and he was joined by Billy in the #86 pro late model for the rescheduled second round of the APC United Late Model Series. After a rough start to the Series, Billy and team were looking to build some momentum as the series started to pick up steam with four races in five weeks.
After almost picking up his first feature win the previous evening, Jake continued to be happy with the handling of his car with only minor air pressure adjustments required during practice. In his heat race Jake started in the pole position but he got caught up in the outside lane, ultimately dropping him back to 5th where he would finish. Due to time restraints the ‘Dash for Cash’ was cancelled and the cars lined up for their feature where Jake would start back in 8th. Jake had another great start and had moved his way up to 5th but that’s as far as he would get once again as he would finish there as the race ran caution free. With back-to-back top 5 finishes Jake continues his successful start to the season and finds himself 4th in the standings.
Billy and team struggled with the handling of the #86 throughout practice with Billy spinning out in turn 4 after drifting through much of turn 3 on the first lap due to a very loose handling car. Despite making numerous changes throughout practice, Billy felt like he was burning up the right rear coming off the corners as he wasn’t able to get on the throttle until almost halfway down the straightaway. At the conclusion of practice, the team threw a mixed bag of changes at the #86 hoping to tighten up the car before qualifying. Billy hit the track for time trials as the 15th car to qualify and laid down a lap of 14.330 seconds jumping up to 2nd on the board while also picking up almost three tenths of a second from his practice times. As the point leaders made their qualifying runs after Billy, he would ultimately end up in the 7th starting position picking up his second consecutive top-10 qualifying run.
As the field came to the green flag the #24 missed a shift causing the field to stack up behind him and for the second consecutive race, Billy would find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as when the field stacked up he looked to the inside of the #81 but launched the #86 off the left rear tire of the #81 as the two made contact sending Billy into the air before landing just past the start/finish line against the inside wall. The #86 was hooked up to the tow truck and brought down pit road so the crew could go to work. Unfortunately the field took the green flag before the crew was finished putting the #86 one lap down. A quick caution did come out shortly thereafter so after pulling off the hood, pulling back the front fenders and straightening out the front bumper thanks to a large pry bar borrowed from the #44 team of Steve Laking, Billy was sent back out to join the tail-end end of the field just as they were heading into turn 3 to take the green flag. The crew did a great job fixing the damage that including damage to the air box and with just the valence dragging on the track, Billy was able to get back to up to speed and was running lap times that were comparable to those of the lead lap cars. Despite being able to pass a few cars and avoid contact with others spinning in turn 4 late in the race, Billy would finish a disappointing 16th. As Billy brought the wounded #86 back to the trailer, the team was left to think about what could have been and what could they do to get a little bit of luck back on their side as this was the second straight race that they had suffered collateral damage after another car had trouble getting up to speed.
Both Billy and Carson are off this coming weekend as Jake returns to Sunset Speedway on Friday June 17th for a regular night of racing with the front gates opening at 5:30 PM and racing getting underway at 7:00 PM.
It was a busy week for the Spira Racing team as both the #86 mini stock, the #88 mini stock and the #86 St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market pro late model were all set to be in action over the weekend. Jake would be doing double duty as he would be racing the #88 mini stock at Sunset Speedway on both Saturday and Sunday while Billy would be with Carson running the #86 mini stock on Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway before joining Jake at Sunset Speedway on Sunday for the rescheduled second round of the APC United Late Model Series.
Flamboro Speedway: During the first practice session Carson thought that the car was handling fine; however, Billy thought differently after talking to Carson he determined that Carson was changing his driving style to suit the car instead of pushing the car to suit how he wanted to drive and then making changes to the car. After making air pressure adjustments to correct a loose in condition, Carson lined up on the outside pole for the first of two scheduled features. After clearing the pole sitter on the opening lap, Carson made his way into the lead pulling ahead of the field by more than six car lengths. The #97, 61 and 71 were gaining fast as they came through the field eventually moving past Carson by lap 7 dropping him back to 4th. The caution came out on lap 14 dropping the #91 and the 71 to the back of the field and moving Carson up to 2nd. Through the remaining laps Carson lost three positions while battling hard for position until he made contact with the #03 that caused him to lift off the gas resulting in losing two more positions bringing the #86 home in 7th. Prior to the second feature of the night the track hosted an on track autograph session for the large crowd on hand including approximately 80 children from the Help A Child Smile group that are currently receiving cancer treatment at McMaster Children’s Hospital. A big thank you goes out to Audrey Mast who supplied the team with more than enough teddy bears that were handed out by Carson to the kids in attendance as he signed hero cards for them courtesy of Dave Franks Photography. At the conclusion of the autograph session and before the second set of features could hit the track, the track itself was hit with a power outage that would eventually end the night early after a long wait for the power to return.
Sunset Speedway: Jake was very happy with the handling of the #88 during practice with the handling carrying over into his heat race where he starting 7th out of 9 cars. Jake was able to gain two positions to finish 5th as the race ran caution free. In the ‘Dash for Cash’ Jake started back in 11th of 13 cars again he was able to gain a couple of positions finishing 9th. Jake drew the pole position for the feature that saw 18 cars take the green flag. Jake would pull away from the field at the start and with a great handling car it looked like he was going to walk away from the field. On lap 18 the caution would come out for the #79 that had blown his motor. Jake continued to run strong at the front of the field until just four laps remaining when the #33 was able to make the pass and put Jake back to 2nd where he would finish while picking up his best ever feature finish and putting him ever closer to that elusive first feature win. Jake earned praise from veteran Warren Paxton who drives the #33 and stated “Shout out to that kid. He can drive and he ran me clean”.
Billy and Jake will be in action at Sunset Speedway on Sunday June 12th for the rescheduled second round of the APC United Late Model Series. The front gates open at 11:30 AM with racing getting underway at 1:00 PM.