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Lisa's Race reports

 

4/26/04

Sean wrote the update himself for this week.

Hello all,

I hope everyone’s weekend was better than ours. It was another rough Friday night for us, and our Saturday night luck seemed to run out, as we were involved in yet another accident.

We just can’t seem to get a good pill draw on the Friday night shows at Chico . And since they started giving out qualifying points to the Top 5, it has been hurting us in the points chase. We were the first car out to qualify, but this time the track wasn’t as greasy as it has been so we were able to hold on to 7th fast out of the 27-car field. We were then scheduled to run third row inside of the heat race, but a car scratched after the first start and we were able to move to the second row inside. We quickly jump into third on the start and were chasing my brother “Buckwheat” for second. Buckwheat got a good run down the front stretch on the leader and tried to make an inside pass but couldn’t quite pull it off. But with him on the bottom of the track, I was able to pass him on the high side exiting turn number 2. Then the new point leader, Blake Robertson, passed Buckwheat a lap and a half latter and it was a great three-way battle for the lead after that. Blake would go high, I would go low, then switch lines in the next corner, pulling three wide exiting turn four at one time. Then a caution flag came out and the current leader had an engine failure give up the lead to us. Blake pressured us the first couple of laps but we then pulled away the final few laps the take our second heat race win of the year. For the A-main event, we started front row outside. We didn’t get the jump on either of the two starts but by the second and third corner we had taken the lead. We quickly got into lapped traffic, but a caution on lap four bunched the field up again. When we resumed racing we pulled out to a comfortable lead only to have it close quickly when we got back into heavy lapped traffic. I was mostly passing the lapped cars on the bottom of the corners and passed one person high exiting turn four but he pulled even with us down the front stretch until we motored by him entering turn one. I realized then the high line was good enough to pass, but if a lapped car was keeping up with me coming off the corner, then I didn’t want to give a fast car behind me the line on the bottom. So I tried to stick to the bottom the rest of the race. This turn out to be my costly mistake. While trying to pass another slower car, he cut off my line on the bottom and nearly spun us out into the infield. I gathered it back up, almost hit an infield tire and still held onto the lead, but only by half a car length. We continued on, holding our own for the next two laps, but with the slower cars all running the low line, I was just following them, hoping they would make a mistake. I should have tried to pass them high, but fatigue started to set in and I just didn’t feel strong enough for it. Then exiting turn two, we pulled a wheelie and John Gray, who was running second at the time, passed us down the back stretch. But when the front end came down from the wheelie, after watching the video tape, it looked like the right front radius rod snapped and as we went into turn three the right front, now dragging the ground, dug into the track flipping us end over end for the second straight race. We think the contact with the lapped car a few laps earlier may have damaged the car and the wheelie finished it off. More disappointing then not getting the win was not finishing another A-feature.

The long haul to Santa Maria was a pleasant one. It was a beautiful facility and a great track you could really race on. Every time we got on the track, we got faster and faster. We qualified toward the end of the field and the track was dry but very consistent throughout the entire session, so we were pleased setting the 8th fastest time. We started second row outside of the heat race and got a great start jumping into third on the first lap and quickly into second two laps latter. We started to catch the leader who had quickly jumped to a straightaway advantage, but as we closed in, I began to overdrive the car and started making minor mistakes. We held on to second with a late charge by Jason Statler in third. For the A-feature we started third row outside. The track was very unique. It started to get very dry in qualifying, but then got heavier with more traction in the heat races, and by the time of the main event, the entire track was hooked up and fast. The fog from the ocean actually started to roll in. From our pits in the corner of three and four, you couldn’t see the cars coming off of turn two. It was cool. They gave all the drivers some practice laps to see if the visibility was okay. It was and we felt very fast during the session. I think we all felt pretty confident for a good finish and we got a great jump on the start battling for the fifth spot entering turn one. But coming off the corner, the driver on the inside of us just let his car drift up the track hitting us and putting us into the wall. Our car got about 15 feet in the air and spun a 360 on the wall popping all four tires in the process. Both wings were all right and some of the bars were bent, but really all we needed was four new tires. But the long tow to our pit area and the slow driving of the tow truck forced us to just miss the restart of the race. There was another red flag on lap four, so we pushed off being four laps down and just drove around on cruise control trying not to get in the leaders way and gain as many points as we could. In doing so, we gained 5 more points and finished in the 14th position. The really story was how fast we were with a bent car. We were still passing cars and could have passed more, but I didn’t want to force anything unnecessary, and settled behind the 11th place car. We had another possible podium finish but were ruined by a first lap incident.

We are all still reviewing the damage from the rough weekend and are in the process of reevaluating our race schedule. We’ve had some bad luck, especially on the Friday night races, so we might be forced to cut back our Friday night point race appearances. Our main goal is to run for the Golden State Challenge championship, and if running for the Silver Dollar Speedway track championship was to hinder our chases with Golden State , then we wouldn’t be able to run both. We will let you know when everything becomes final.

 Thanks 

Sean Becker
GP Motorsports

 

4/19/04

Well I don’t have much to tell you.  We did not race Friday because Chico was running a 360 show so we were just going to race on Saturday, but unfortunately it was rained out.  So we will be back in Chico again on Friday and down to Santa Maria on Saturday. 

Just in case anybody wants to follow the Golden State Challenge Series, the website is up and running again.

That site is www.goldenstatechallenge.com

Hope everyone had a great weekend and all of you have a great week as well.

See you at the races.

Lisa Wakefield
GP Motorsports

4/13/04

Sorry that I am late getting this out.  This week Sean wrote the update himself.  I think he is showing me up.  I would like to congratulate Brett Miller with the Care Free Pools crew for doing well this weekend in Carson City .  He ended up 4th in the A-Main after having to start in the back.  Good job.

Hello all,

Hope everyone had a relaxing and happy Easter and got plenty of goodies from “The Bunny.” The racing weekend wasn’t so laid back as the rollercoaster ride of bad luck and good luck rocked our spirits Friday night with a crash in Chico but got revived back to life with a podium finish Saturday night in Antioch .

I’d first like to welcome Mike Thain to the race team, as Friday night was hopefully his first of many nights of helping us out in the pit area. Our bad luck started early with an early pill draw for qualifying which foreshadowed a wet and greasy track for qualifying resulting in a 17th fast time out of 30 cars. We then started second row inside in our heat race and after the first two starts were called back for a jumped start and then a spin in turn one, things looked promising as we got great starts for both attempts. But on the third and final restart, the two front row starters made contact in turn one leaving us nowhere to go and we collided with a car in the process of rolling over. We kept the car going, but during the red flag, we needed to pull into the pits to make repairs to our wing, which forced us to start in the back of the pack. We restarted in 7th spot and had no trouble climbing to 3rd place by the end transferring us directly into the A-Main.

I’d like to congratulate Daniel “Buckwheat” Becker for winning his second ever heat race start by holding off the current points leader and winner of both points races at Chico . Buckwheat is impressing and improving at a rapid pace and is sure to be scoring top tens in no time at all.

We then started 12th in the A-feature and were quickly moving through the field. On a lap 9 restart, we were sitting 6th. We were fast, but our car was really tight, but that just meant that if I could hold on during the early portion of the race, the car would get better and be really fast at the end of the race. On the restart we pushed in the first turn and a car got back by us. After the next corner we got a run on him down the front stretch and tried to pass on the inside. The driver then tried to block his line and moved a little to his left and we made contact and flipped end over end. It was a rough ride and I was seeing stars for the next couple of hours. I lost my stomach on the way home and had a migraine headache until noon the next day, but was all geared up to go racing again after that. It was a hard start to the weekend and we now had a lot of work to do to get the car ready for the race in Antioch the next day.

Once in Antioch , our luck seemed to turn around. We went out late in qualifying but the track was actually starting to dry out a bit, but we still managed to qualify 9th out of the 26-car field. We then had a stacked heat race, but our odds looked bright when they announced they were transferring five out of the heat races. We started second row outside and about came out in 3rd place around the first corner, but the car was very tight and fell back to 5th within two laps, and Brent Kaeding was next in line and hot on our tail. The 3rd to 6th place cars were running nose to tail and any mistake from anyone would have cost them at least a position or two, but we managed to run a smooth race at the end and hold off Brent for the final transfer into the A-Main event.

We were the 9th fastest car out of the heat races and Tim Kaeding drew the 10-inversion pill, which put us front row outside. The outside groove was getting very dry coming off of turn 4, so we knew the start was going to be tricky. On the initial start, Jim Skinner got a good jump on the bottom and although we pulled along side him on the high side in the middle of the first turn, we couldn’t find any good traction coming off the turn and Skinner pulled ahead. But a huge 6-car pile up entering turn three erased the first start and we were going to do it again. On the second restart, I tried holding the car lower in the middle of the corner and as we took off, Skinner hooked the inside berm and got out of shape slightly then recovered, but I had already pulled several car lengths ahead to take the lead. There were two quick cautions early in the race to bunch up the field, and Brent Kaeding was now sitting in the 2nd position. We held our own early on and then we got into lapped traffic to make the race more interesting. We both weaved in and out of traffic and I could never get and lapped car in between us. Brent was on my tail the whole time. He tried a couple times to make a high line pass in turn 1 and 2, actually pulling along side of me down the back straight away once. But with nothing to grab onto on the top of three and four, I still held the lead. Then a yellow came out with 8 laps to go. I caught Brent sleeping and got a great start and pulled three car lengths ahead. I moved to the bottom of turn one and as I exited, Brent came out of nowhere and raced past us on the high side. He then pulled away and we could not get close enough to challenge. We held on to 2nd, which could have been disappointing, but ending up being a great end to a rough starting weekend.

3/29/04

Good Morning Everyone,
Hope everyone had a great weekend.  We did great.  Sean broke the track record in Placerville , the only bummer was that Tim Kaeding and Dennis Moore Jr. were faster than us.  Sean turned a 9.984 which is amazing, the former track record was a 10.447.  We ended our heat race in 5th place which put us front row outside of the B-Main.  Sean got the start and he won by at least ˝ a lap ahead of 2nd place finisher Brent Kaeding.  Since Sean qualified so well and he won the B Main, he got his time back behind the inversion in the A-Main.  This gave him a starting spot of 6th.  Placerville is a small track so lapped traffic comes to the leader very quickly.  It was a very exciting race and we ended up finishing in 6th.  This keeps Sean 6th in the point standings and he is only 36 points out of the lead.  The points are really close up to the 10th place so it is going to be an exciting year.

This weekend we are in Chico Friday night for Silver Dollar Points and Saturday night for Golden State Challenge. Hope all of you can make it.

If anyone wants our schedule let me know and I can send you one so that you always know where we are.

The Outdoor Channel is going to start televising this Wednesday so if you get that channel, Sprint Car Racing starts this week and goes through November.  Our first appearance will be Las Vegas which is going to be aired on April 14, at 8:00 eastern time.  I know that DirecTV it is channel 606, and Dish Network is Channel 153. 

Have a great week.

Lisa Wakefield
GP Motorsports