posted May 27, 2002 10:45 AM
Well we got the car fixed from last weeks wall riding. I was really nervous this time out. After hitting the wall 2 weeks in a row I was a little skittish. I had 3 goals going into the night. After 4 mains so far this year I had 1 finish and none on the lead lap. So I went into the night wanting to 1) Finish the race 2) Finish on the lead lap and 3) still looking for that elusive top 10 finish.
Went out for hot laps and it was not looking good. To be perfectly honest I was scared to death of turn 4. Every time I came into that corner if the back end wobbled just a little I let off the gas and had a death grip on the steering wheel.
Time for the Heat. Started on the pole for the heat (7 cars total). Got the green and fell back pretty quick. I was taking 3 and 4 way too low and slow. On the 4th lap the 96 decided he didn't really need all 4 tires and threw one of them off. Finished the heat in 6th place.
They had a "Faster Pastor" race. What that is, is a group of local pastors came out and borrowed some of the Econo cars and raced them against each other. Well I volunteered my car for the race. Pastor Dave Dyer of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church used my car. He stalled the car at the start and they had to push him till he got it started. The dropped the green sooner then he expected, but he worked himself to 2nd by the end of the heat. The guy is a natural. He said he had never raced before and he looked like he had been doing it for years.
Now the Main. Felt a little better going into this then I did at the start of the night. Started in 16th which is Outside row 8. That meant I had to go into 3 and 4 on the outside. on Lap 2 I tried to stay too low coming out of 4 and got the backend loose and lost 2 positions. On lap 3 a bunch of cars stacked up in 4 and I passed about 4 of them, as I came into turn 1 I got a shock. The current points leader, Chris Cox #48, was on his top. The 161 was inside me and slammed right into Chris's front corner panel. After a lengthy red flag and some caution laps I restarted in 12th. As we came around turn 4 I tried to go low and cut off the 56 and he got into my left rear and got the backend a little sideways. About 3 laps later he caught back up to me and as we started out of 4 he dived to my inside and then got into my left side and just stuck his foot to the floor. He drove me straight around and left me in the middle of the front stretch facing the stands. It took me a minute to get the car restarted and by that time the caution was out. Restarted 15 with only the 56 behind me (cause a caution and you go to the rear). Took me a lap and I was able to pass the 75 on the OUTSIDE going thru turn 4 (yes you read that right). Next lap about 4 or 5 cars got stacked up in turn 3 and the cautions was out again. At the restart I was in 10th with 14 cars left in the race. Now I am starting to get excited. I have a really good shot at my 1st top ten, all I have to do is stay out of the wall and finish the race. In the next 3 laps I got passed by the 18 but passed the 14 to maintain 10th place. Then the 75 blew a tire and brought out another caution. On this restart I am in 9th with 12 cars left. 2 laps after the restart the 24 broke an axle and lost the tire. The 5th caution of the night comes out. This time I restart in 8th with only 10 cars left. Man I can't believe it, my 1st top 10 is guaranteed. Now I just need to finish and stay on the lead lap. 3 more laps and the 34 slow on the front stretch and I move up to 7th. Next lap he is in the wall and caution # 6 is out. Now I restart 7th with 9 cars left. 2 laps and the 18 goes around and we have our 7th caution. I can't believe this at the restart I am 5th with 8 cars left. Now I am pumped as we get the white flag I am really getting excited. I am going to get a top 5. We go into turn 2 and the car in 4th (81) gets loose and I get passed in going into turn 3. I take the checkered Flag in 4th Place!!!!!! I am so excited. as we come around on the cool down lap I am banging on my helmet and pumping my fist in the air and yelling like a banshee. I come by the flag stand and Kathy is standing at the fence cheering me as I go by. The top 5 had to go to the tech area and we passed with no problem.
The Faster Pastor Main Event
Dave starts out and just as they get the sign for one more to go for the start the car slow drastically. I am panicked now. I have no idea what is wrong. He pulls the car to the infield and the workers down there take to hood off and I am on the other side of the track and not liking this at all. They get the car running again and Dave starts out on the outside of row 1. They drop the green flag and Dave takes off and never looks back. He leads all ten laps and gave the rest of the Pastors a driving lesson.
This was an awesome night for the Rollover Racing Econo #40 team and crew. I want to point out that none of this would have been possible with out my Crew. Shane Knopf and Brannon Preston are the 2 that makes all this possible. I will stack them against any other crew duo at RMNS.
Shawn Bagby www.Rollover-Racing.com
Rocky Mountain National Speedway
Econo #40 at Rocky Mountain National Speedway in Denver Colorado