08/26/14Heading into Championship Week, Budzo Racing Holds Inside Track to Thunderhill Title
Photo courtesy of Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
Coming into this past weekend, we sat 15 points out of 1st place and 3 points out of 2nd place in the standings at Luxemburg Speedway, chasing Andy Kleczka and Troy DeGrave, respectively.
At Thunderhill Raceway, we held a 7 point lead in the title chase over Ryan LeMieux with Randy LeMieux another 7 points behind Ryan in the standings.
On Friday at Luxemburg, I started 5th in the heat race and quickly made my way through the pack to the front. After taking the lead from Brandon Tegen, I hit the throttle a touch too hard and went sideways in front of the field. I was able to save the car from spinning, but I sent the rest of the field scattering to bring out a caution.
After being put to the tail on the restart, I was able to salvage a 5th place finish to at least start near my normal position in the night’s feature.
Rolling off 13th in the feature, the middle of the pack had some tight battles and good racing throughout. Several three and four-wide battles ensued and advancement through the pack proved to be difficult. After the lone caution in the race, I was able to pick off a few cars in the waning laps to end up finishing in 9th place.
Kleczka went on to win the feature, increasing his lead by 8 points to put my deficit at 23. DeGrave wound up suffering a flat right rear tire late in the contest and finished in 18th place. That puts us in 2nd place in the standings with a 6 point cushion on DeGrave.
On Saturday night at Thunderhill, the heat race went without a hiccup as I safely made passes from my 6th starting position, finishing in 3rd place to secure my feature invert position.
Rolling off 7th in the feature, Randy LeMieux’s left rear trailing arm bracket broke off of his rearend while we were under pace laps. That moved me up a row and into the 5th spot for the start of the feature.
After a couple of tries at starting the feature, we finally were able to get underway. I stuck to the bottom groove early on, getting by Bernie Reinhardt and sticking right with Ryan LeMieux. Shortly after making the pass, I clipped an infield tire off of turn 4, but luckily it was only a slight tweak to the front suspension and I was able to continue on.
A caution flag set me up on the outside for the restart, and I would fall back a position to 6th with a few laps remaining. On the white flag lap, Todd Wiese hooked an infield tire while battling for the win, bumping everyone up a spot as the checkers flew. LeMieux would finish in 4th place and I would finish right behind in 5th.
As a results, our points lead has shrunk by 1 point, giving us a 6 point cushion heading into championship night at Thunderhill. We hope everything goes well enough to be able to secure our first career track championship.
With that, our schedule is Luxemburg Speedway this coming Friday night and Thunderhill Raceway on Saturday night. Should either night rain out, it’s a strong possibility we may end up racing Seymour Speedway on Sunday night.