HAMILTON, ON – After a disappointing weekend at Jukasa Speedway, Billy Schwartzenburg and the #86 team headed back to Flamboro Speedway for a regular night of racing and Fan Appreciation Night which included a free corn roast and hotdogs for the fans and race teams.
The team spent the week going over the #86 in the shop after it did not handle well at all at Jukasa nor did it respond to any of the adjustments that should have improved on the handling.
It took a few days but the team found that the ball joint in the left-front upper control arm was bent and although that corner of the car was checked numerous times, it did not show up as the control arm would go up and down fine and the wheel would turn fine, but when turning and going up and down at the same time, the wheel would bind up making it hard to find when sitting in the shop. Relieved that they had finally found the gremlin that had messed with the setup not only at Jukasa but at Sunset Speedway, the team spent a considerable amount of time going through the numerous changes they made at Jukasa to get back to a setup that should work at Flamboro Speedway.
The car was very good over the course of the first practice session and although the team breathed a sigh of relief, they were concerned about the ride height being below the minimum allowance and their suspicions were confirmed when it was measured on the pit pad. The ride heights were adjusted with the hopes that the handling would not change and Billy went out for the final practice with instructions to head to the tech shed as soon as he came off the track just to have the tech official confirm that they were above the legal minimum height as well as to scale the car. With everything good to go and Billy still happy with the handling, the #86 lined up in the 10th position for the first of two 30-lap features.
As the field took the green flag, the inside lane stacked up going through turns 1 & 2 with the #36 spinning as a result, but with no caution and with Billy starting on the outside, he quickly found himself in the 6th position as the field headed down the back straightaway. With all of the calamity going on behind him, the #89c had pulled out to a considerable lead as everyone else behind him strung out into single file with Billy marred in a group of five cars running nose to tail trying to get an edge over each other under very tight racing conditions. The #02 was the first to blink and he soon found himself on the outside going backwards on lap 7, putting Billy up to 5th.
The #27 got inside the #63 on lap 14 and it looked like Billy was going to follow him to get into 4th; however, the caution came out before he could secure the position and Billy would restart 5th behind the #89c, 97, 27 and 63. Just two laps later on lap 16, Billy got by the #63 into 4th as the #27 took over 2nd from the #97 before the caution returned on lap 18. On the restart, the #97 regained the 2nd position by getting under the #27 and Billy was able to follow, putting the #86 into 3rd.
After another caution with just 10 laps remaining, the #89c would move back into the lead, followed by the #97 and Billy following behind in 3rd. The race took a drastic turn with just five laps to go as the #97 got into the back of the #89c in the middle of turns 3 & 4 sending them both into a spin that Billy avoided as he drove to the high side to take over the lead. With the #27 restarting on his outside, Billy soon took over sole possession of the lead with just two laps remaining to put the #86 back in victory lane.
Both driver and crew were very happy as they headed back to the pits after Billy’s interview in victory lane and his trip through post race technical inspection to celebrate the defeat of the gremlin that had haunted their last three races. With a minor adjustment made to help a very small loose condition on corner exit, Billy readied to start the second feature, but a light rain had arrived at the track during the mini stock race that saw cars spinning due to the moisture so the rest of the night was cancelled due to the rain.
Putting your car into victory lane on Fan Appreciation Night is never a bad thing as Billy signed a lot of hero cards as he also helped many kids that came into the pits into the #86 to get a firsthand look at the car. The team loaded the car into the trailer and joined the rest of the teams and the fans that were being treated to free hotdogs and a corn roast as part of the night’s festivities.
Billy returns to Flamboro Speedway on Saturday September 9th for Flamboro Memorial Night and triple 30 lap features. The front gates open at 5:00 PM and racing gets underway at 6:30 PM.