Rd. 5 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA didn't goes quite as planned... The event started off strong with a good setup right off the trailer thanks to the guys at ASD and Team Falken Tire! With Thursday practice being cancelled due to rains and poor track conditions it was very important to have the car dialed in quickly so we had more time to practice and not spend it in the pits making changes.
After just a couple runs we had a good line down and started to lean on the Ford Racing engine under the hood putting down some of the fastest speeds of the weekend while still dragging the rear bumper on both the outer clipping zones.
With practice coming to an end we felt confident with our setup and got ready for qualifying. Our first run out we put down a solid run being the first driver of the day to get into the 90's scoring a 93.5 jumping into the #1 spot! We held that position until fellow Falken Tire driver Tyler Mcquarrie put down an amazing run scoring a 94 bumping us into second. Coming into our second attempt we decided to take it easy and save the car for competition putting down a conservative 87 point run.
Practice during Friday night continued to go well until the differential input shaft took it's last clutch kick shearing off and ending our night early. While my mechanic Opi handled swapping out the piece I took a chance to watch the rest of the drivers and take some mental notes on their lines. I also had a chance to snap some pics for wreckedmag.com!
Saturday morning I woke up feeling confident and ready to get on track for our first practice session. We had our line down and it was time to dial in some following runs and get ready for some battles! Everything was going as planned until we headed out for top 32, where we would be matched up against Dennis Mertzanis in his Kenda Tire s14, as we were rolling out to grid I tried doing a burnout to get some heat in my 615K's and felt the clutch slipping... My heart sunk.. Knowing we didn't have the time to swap out the clutch before we would be lining up, I just hoped it would last two runs so we could swap it if we moved on. Unfortunately that wouldn't be the case... As I headed down the straightaway towards the bank I could feel the clutch slipping and not putting down the power. As I grabbed a handful of ebrake to initiate, and then a quick clutch kick to get the smoke rolling off my Falken's I felt the beginning of the end of my weekend. The clutch slipped putting me straight, I tried clutch kicking again, but still nothing... Finally I rolled off the throttle and back into it finally getting the tires spinning, but it was already tool late, I had made two major corrections. Heading into the follow run I knew it would take a miracle for me to move on, but I still tried to do all I could to salvage this battle. As I followed Dennis into the bank I could feel the clutch slipping really bad and again went for entry but the clutch was gone, along with my chances of moving on. Dennis put down two clean runs and got the win, ending my weekend early.
Trying to make the best out of the situation I grabbed some hero cards and took a chance to greet some friends and fans, signing autographs and taking pictures, until heading up to the judges stand to jump on the live stream to interact with fans via the web. This was definitely an interesting experience to say the least.. I never knew so many people love to hate so much.. lol.... However it was very refreshing to see I did have a lot of support from fans, that despite what happened on the track, were genuinely excited to see me online which was really cool... Big thanks to all those people out there for their support and kind words!
With this event behind us I'm definitely looking forward to RD. 6 later this month in Vegas... I'm re-focused and ready to lay it down in the muzzy.. See u there!