08/12/14Budzo Racing Notches 3rd Feature Win at Thunderhill
Photo courtesy of Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
Coming into the weekend, we sat in a tie with Troy DeGrave for 2nd place in points at Luxemburg Speedway, just 6 points back of Andy Kleczka for the lead. Our points lead over Ryan LeMieux at Thunderhill Raceway shrunk from 5 points to a mere 3 point advantage last weekend.
On Friday night at Luxemburg, I started 7th on the grid in the heat race with the top 4 finishers making the feature invert. I looked to go high on the track early on, but went back down low to jump into the 5th position. I looked for an opening for several laps under Jacob Zellner, and finally was able to sneak under him on the white flag lap to finish in 4th.
Starting 11th in the feature, I didn’t make much headway on the low line in the early going. A caution flag put me on the outside for the restart, and I found a good line through the middle of the track to move into the 7th spot. As I approached the top-5 cars, an incident occurred just ahead, which sent me through the right rear quarter panel of DeGrave’s car. Luckily, I only suffered slight body damage and restarted in the 6th spot. I looked to make a run through the middle groove again, but 3-wide traffic in front of me didn’t allow for an opening. I slipped back down low for the final few laps, finishing the night in 6th place.
On Saturday night at Thunderhill, I started in the 5th position in the heat race, with the top 5 cars making the feature invert. Trouble on Martin Kelsey’s car stacked up the inside row on the start, leaving both Bernie Reinhardt and myself with damage. I was able to continue without pitting, and restarted on the pole due to Kelsey and Reinhardt going down pit lane. I grabbed the lead and held it for the first half of the heat race, but damage to the LF spindle caused an erratic handle on the car. I surrendered the lead to Jarred VanLaanen as a result, but still finished in the 2nd spot.
In the feature, I was slated to start in the 4th row, but due to a couple cars not being able to make the start of the race, I was moved up into the 3rd row of cars. In the early laps, I was caught up in an incident in turn 2 with several other cars. Once again, I was lucky enough to continue in the race without visiting pit lane. Restarting 5th, I shot past Rick LeMieux for 3rd and looked to the outside to track down Reinhardt and Randy LeMieux. I was able to make the pass on Reinhardt to move into 2nd, and followed the same line as LeMieux up high for several laps.
Once I was close enough, I made my move down to the bottom of the racing surface to pull even on lap 12. I took the lead away on the following lap, as a caution flag flew on the lap thereafter. I had a great restart, hitting my marks on the bottom groove and was able to pull away from the field for my 3rd feature win of the season at Thunderhill.
With 3 weeks remaining now in the points season, I sit 3rd in points at Luxemburg Speedway, just 9 points out of the lead. At Thunderhill, I have now increased my points lead to 7 points over Ryan LeMieux.
Our schedule for the rest of the season will be Luxemburg Speedway on Friday nights and Thunderhill Raceway on Saturday nights. We will also be at Luxemburg on Thursday, August 21st for a $750-to-Win special as the support class to the Corn Belt Clash late model series.