A year ago this past weekend we had a rough crash and had cost us the 2016 Season. This past race was not just about making it out to the race, it was about taking back what 2016 stole from us. It was about pushing past our shortcomings and pushing through adversity.
The Metalcloak Stampede is the first short course race for the Ultra4 Race season. With tech and registration on Thursday we were ready for our practice trials and our qualifying later that afternoon. During practice we had made changes to the car in tightening up the suspension for tighter turns and better control. We came in on a turn and felt the car get very loose. Bringing the car in after practice we noticed the rear swaybar was completely destroyed. While spending the time between practice and qualifying the guys had fabricated new links and arms for the swaybar and we were ready to qualify.
Last year's qualifying was a mixture of cars with the fastest lap. This race we qualified one at a time. As cars went single file we were able to diagnose our lines and the fastest route around the course. With our spotter (John Snell) watching every turn of the track we had a great outside visual of what we needed to do. We started out hot off the line and powered through the course. Feeling out new adjustments with the rear sway bar we had a quick learning curve to feel the cars reactions around the course. After the dust had settled we landed a 9th in qualifying even with our sway bar issues to start our prelim. Working through the day on our issue, we were ready for the morning race to push towards the front!
While starting 9th for the morning race we wanted to push towards the front and keep the car in great shape for the main event. as we picked off car after car and batting for positions we kept the car together to hold a 6th position for the main event. We had a solid run with no issues on the course. This locked us in for the main event in the evening race with time to strategize and tweak the car for the main race. We adjusted some suspension components to tighten the rear up some and inspected our fix to the rear swaybar for any issues. Now that we made the main event we knew we would have to push the car harder than ever to gain positions.
After doubling over the car we were ready to rock! We had been helping friends through the day- Savvy Off Road , Poor Boy Racing , BOSRacing, and a few more in the pits and with tools and any needs. Needless to say we had a busy day for the crew and team!
Main event started and we were the 3rd pair off the line. We were ready. Hot off the line in the first rock section we had realized we had an issue with the T-Case that came out of 4hi..and wouldn't go back in. We took the full first lap in 2wd and part of the second lap until we finally slammed the shifter into place from being jammed.
We lost countless positions being in 2wd and had a battle ahead to catch the top racers. Our spotter was hot on the radio getting us back into the field and my Co-Driver (Sean Gill) got us back on race pace pushing the car to its limits. Hair pin turns, blind corners, watered down talladega burms and high speed jumps our race car took the beating. We made our way back into position and getting back to first. Picking cars off one by one, the car was smooth. Our car was clean with our Poison Spyder armor wrap and the rocks couldn't touch us. Our Rock Krawler Suspension was set in for the race and not one flat with our BFGoodrich Tires. We pushed the car hard and was able to pull off a 5th place, even with a full lap down due to our 4x4 failure early on!
A 5th place is great for our points and we will be in the top 10 for our series! We are incredibly thankful for this race, our sponsors, team, supporters, and everyone who followed along and cheered us on till the finish! Thank you for everything you guys do for our team, without you we couldn't do what we do!
We are thankful to make it out to this race for our first time and reach top five in our class! Next up is Fallon250. We will be ready!