Rachel Finishes Her Career with a Win & Championship!
On September 24th, I had my last Legends race of the year and my career. I went out and practiced and the car felt okay but not great. My dad made an adjustment to the toe and loosened the car up a little bit and the car took off in the next practice. I qualified fifth out of eight cars but I had a pretty good time and all of the cars qualified close on times. In the heat race I started in the fourth position. On the green I was able to get down in line to maintain my fourth spot. My car was fast and within one lap I was up to third and by the third lap I took over second place. With about three laps to go I caught up to the first place car. He blocked and took away the center of the racetrack for the last few laps and I wasnít able to get around him. I finished a very close second. In the main I started second on the outside pole. On the green I dropped down to the bottom of the track behind the leader in second. I maintained second for about ten laps before I got passed and dropped to third. About five of us cars were all racing pretty much bumper to bumper. For about ten laps the two Master drivers ahead of me were racing nose to tail and side by side. I had a great view but I was a little worried about getting caught up in their mess if things went bad. As I predicted, the two cars in front of me touched tires sending the outside car up the track. I was able to take advantage and took over the second place position. There wasnít a caution because his car didnít hit the wall but he dropped back into the fifth spot. Now, each lap I gained little by little on the first place car looking for a way to get around him. The laps ran out and I ended up finishing second overall and first in my division. This was only the second main event division win this year and the best my car felt in quite awhile. This race really meant a lot to me and my dad because we worked so hard on the car for this last race. This was a great year for me, finishing with this win and becoming the Semi-Pro Champion of the Hi-Line Homes Legends Series at South Sound Speedway. I also finished second in overall points which includes the Master's & Pro Divisions. Last year I finished second overall and second in my division. I want to thank all my sponsors for their support this year and especially to Randy from Randyís Ring & Pinion who has been there throughout my whole career and stepped up again this year knowing it was my last year. I also need to thank Clint Schlotfeldt from My New Home Team that came on board this year as a second primary sponsor knowing that we were short on racing funds and being able to compete. Without all my sponsors, especially this year, I would not have been able to finish off my racing career this way, thank you. I also want to thank all my family and friends for supporting me over the past eleven years, it has been quite a rideÖ
A Struggle of a Night
On Saturday, September 10th, I had my second to last race. For qualifying, I placed seventh out of nine cars. It wasnít the best qualifying time, but everyone was pretty close in times. For the heat, I started in fourth. On the start I got hung out a little bit and lost one spot back to fifth. By the second lap I had made a couple passes and climbed back up to third place. My car wasnít handling that well and the fourth place car was right on me. With about two laps to go, coming out of turn four, the car behind me tried to pass me but came up on my left side and ran up over my running board and hit my left front wheel. This upset both of our cars, his a lot more than mine. I was able to keep control but he lost it and headed across my front bumper and straight into the wall on the front stretch. After the caution we went green for a couple of laps and I ended up finishing third. In the main event I started in fourth again. On the green I again got hung out a little bit and lost a position back to fifth. Within five laps I was back to fourth and racing hard with the other cars. The car felt like something was wrong and maybe bent. I kept thinking about when I got together with the other car in the heat race. After a few laps the caution came out. We went green again and a couple of the cars got together and brought out another caution. When we went green again I got a good restart and went from fourth up to third. My car still didnít feel right and with about five laps to go I fell to fourth and then to fifth when the checkered flag came out. After the race I told my dad that the car felt terrible. Upon looking closer we found that my rear pan hard bar was bent pretty bad, moving my whole rear-end over and causing big problems. My last race of the year and of my racing career will be on September 24th.
Labor Day Weekend Race
Saturday, September 3rd I had one of my last races. During practice all the cars were very loose. It was about 85 degrees down there at South Sound Speedway. Anything above 80 in a three layer race suit with fireproof clothing underneath is not very fun. My dad tightened up the car a little and I went out for qualifying. When I went out to qualify, I didnít know if the track got cooler or was still hot, so I went out there and just went for it. After the first lap, I knew it was really loose but I had to get a good time. Coming out of turn four on the second lap I got on the throttle a little too hard and I almost spun out killing my lap time. I ended up with a time of 16.15 and came in 7th out of 9. Most of the cars were only a couple hundredths away form each other so it wasnít a bad qualifying time considering the track conditions. In the heat race, I started in second on the outside row. I wasnít able to get around the pole car but I was able to cut down and get to the bottom row after getting passed by another car. The car behind me was faster, and I was faster than the car in front of me. Coming out of turn four, I cut down to pass the car in front of me, but I accidentally clipped the car behind me as he was also trying to pass me. I spun and he hit my left front tire breaking a tie rod. I wasnít able to finish the heat and they had to take my car off the track with the hook on a tow truck. We got the car fixed for the main. Once again, I started second. The green flag waved and I got down on the bottom. I passed the car in front of me and led a couple laps before the caution came out. When we went green again I led a couple more laps before my car got really tight and I couldnít hold the bottom in the corner. I got passed by three cars. My car got tighter and tighter as the race went on and it was all I could do to stay ahead of the car right behind me. I ended up finishing 4th overall but 1st in my division. My next race is on September 10th.
On Saturday, I had my twelfth race at South Sound Speedway. This weekend, we put on new tires and I had to scrub them in so they would be race ready. Unlike NASCAR, new tires arenít very good until they get about 50 laps on them. For qualifying the tires were still a little twitchy and I qualified 6th out of 9 cars. I started the heat race in 3rd. On the green we took I was stuck behind the 2nd place car with someone else racing me on the outside. With about three laps to go I passed the second place car. During the race the #2 car behind me bumped me about three or four times trying to spin me out. On the last lap he hit me hard enough to upset the car and passed me at the checkered and I finished 3rd. I gave him a little tap after the race. He had to replace his bumper after that. He also got a warning from the track after the race. In the main, I started fourth. We went green and I knew I was faster than the two cars in front of me. On the back stretch, one car went low and one went high. I went into the middle but the car on the bottom couldnít stick it and came into me. I hit my brakes but he still hit my left front wheel pretty hard and then he spun up the track in front of me hitting the concrete wall really hard. Thankfully he was okay and I was able to keep my car going. The track had us restart the race with me on the pole. Once we started to line up, I knew that my steering was off and something wasnít right. I wanted to get a good start but I got loose and spun out on the front straight down low and didnít get hit by anyone. I got it going quickly and not caution flag came out. Now I was half a lap down. Once I was back on track, the car didnít feel right. Every time I would go into a corner my steering would catch and then release. I thought the car was going to snap loose sending me spinning or straight into the concrete wall. I came off the track two laps later because the car wasnít safe to drive. We discovered that my steering rack was messed up and it needed to be replaced. Without being able to finish the race I was the second car off the track so I finished in 8th. Points wise I actually ended up finishing in 7th because the #2 car ended up getting disqualified in techÖ karma...
August 20th was my eleventh race of the season. I qualified 6th out of eleven cars. For the heat race, I started on the pole. I lead the first six laps and then I missed the corner and my car pushed up the track. Two cars went below me and we bumped wheels coming out of the turn. With only two laps to go se were racing bumper to bumper. Going into the last turn on the final lap the two cars in front of me got together. The first place car spun out and the second place car pushed up the track. I punched the gas and took the checkered finishing 1st!
In the main, I started fourth in the outside row. Going into the first turn my car popped back into 3rd gear. I lost several spots while I was trying to figure out what happened. I shifted back into 4th gear and kept going from the back of the pack. My car was fast and I started passing some cars. I was in 6th bumper to bumper with the lead cars when the cars in front of me got together. One car spun and everybody was checking up not to get wrecked. I hit the car in front of me with my bumper and I got hit in the left rear. On the restart, I went to the outside row. I forgot that the leaded got the front row to himself so I was started behind the leader on the outside of one of the fastest cars on the track; not good. We went green and I ended up dropping back to 7th. My car wasnít that good anymore after taking a few of those hits earlier. I got up to 6th and then a caution came out when a car spun going down the back straight. On the restart I started on the inside row. The race was really physical and my car had lost its speed. After several laps I get hit coming out of turn four and got spun out. I had to go to the back of the pack for the restart. With only about five laps left, I passed a couple cars and I ended up finishing 5th overall and 2nd in my division.
10th Race of the Season
On Saturday, August 6th, I had my tenth race of the year at South Sound Speedway. In practice the car handled pretty well. I ended up qualifying 6th place out of thirteen cars. Because of the car count, we ran two heat races. They split the field between the fastest qualifiers and the slower qualifiers. I started second in the fastest heat of seven cars. As we went green I stayed on the outside to try and get around the leader. Going into turn three I dropped in behind the leader to get to the bottom of the track for a better run, but someone spun out behind us and we had to restart the race. On the restart I took off on the outside and got around the leader going into turn one. I maintained the lead for most of the race but with three laps to go I got passed by one of the Master drivers. It was a good race and I finished on the bumper to the leader finishing in second.
In the main event I started sixth, which his one of the worst positions you can start in racing. When you are in the middle of the pack on the outside, you really donít have anywhere to go and you can easily get freight trained by all the other cars. You can either look for a gap on the bottom row or stay on the upper row and try to race side by side. When the green flag waved, I didnít get the best start and I got freight trained and went to the back by the second lap. After that fiasco I started to pass some cars. At about lap five or six, I was setting up to pass the car in front of me when all of the sudden I was spinning down the front stretch. I wasnít really sure what happened until I watched my in-car video and saw the car behind me in my rear view mirror come up out of the turn and hit me on my left rear and spin both of us out. As we were both spinning, his car came back down the track and hit me in the rear again causing my rear bumper to be bent down. As I came around the track the track officials were pointing at me to see if it was going to fall off. I was thinking they wanted me to stop next to them on my next time by, but coming around towards them the flagger through the green flag and restarted the race. I was so mad because there was no indication of one lap to go. So while I was on the back stretch thinking I was going to stop in turn four for the techs to look at my car, the car behind me took off, so I did too. I caught up to several cars and started passing them. With only a few laps to go I was looking for a way around the car in front of me. He was racing me really hard, but on the last lap I passed him and ended up finishing eighth.
I felt good about how hard I drove and how good my car was, but it was really disappointing how they restarted the race costing us a good finish. My next race is on August 20th at South Sound Speedway starting four straight weeks of racing.
Fast car, so so finishes, but fun close racing
On July 23rd, I had my ninth race of the season. I started out in practice and the car felt really good. I qualified second fastest and missed first place by one-hundredth of a second. I was excited to start racing. For the heat race, I started fifth. All the cars up front were racing real close together and I was now in fourth on the fourth lap. Going into turn one the third place car pushed up and I was able to get under him going through the corner. Coming out of turn two, that car came down on me and we hooked bumpers, spinning both of us.
I went to the bottom of the track and avoided getting hit. The other car wasnít as fortunate. He spun into the middle of the track and got hit pretty hard by another car. Fortunately he and the other driver were okay but their cars were not. As we restarted, I had to go to the back of the pack because I was part of the caution. The car I was behind was a new driver and he stayed about a half a straightaway behind the pack on the restart, which was not good for me. My car was fast, but I ended up finishing fifth, which isnít the best position but considering how far back I was and how quick I caught up to the pack was good.
For the main event I started in fourth. I went to fifth place pretty fast trying to get to the bottom row. But a lap later, me and the fourth place car were directly behind the third place car trying to pass him. Throughout the entire race, we tried to pass him. The fourth place car and I raced side by side for several laps as we tried to get around the third place car for about 25 laps. I ended up finishing fourth. I feel like my car was good enough to win the entire thing. I realized that my biggest weakness is figuring out how to pass cars that run a low line. Something I need to work onÖ I want to thank my sister Haylie for celebrating her 16th birthday at the track so I could race. She was able to be in the pits with me for the first time and it was great! My next race is on August 6th.
U.S. Legends Regional Qualifier at South Sound Speedway
On July 9th South Sound Speedway held a Regional U.S. Legends event. The winner of each division automatically qualifies for the A-main event at the U.S. Legends Asphalt Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada in October. I was very excited for this race and we were sure to have a large car count. We got there and began practicing. My dad had fixed the brakes since my last race and now they felt normal. Throughout practice the car felt pretty tight so we loosened it up some. I qualified eighth out of fourteen cars. I wasnít that happy with my performance but it was okay. Because of the car count we ran two separate heat races. I was in the first heat and I started fourth. On the start, I got a good jump but the car in front of me missed a shift. I had to go on the outside of him going into the first corner and I was able to get a good run off of turn two right behind the leader. By the second lap I made the pass for the lead and I checked out by half a straight away for the win! For the main event I started in the third spot. I got a great start and was able to take the lead by the end of the first lap. On the third lap there was a spin and the caution came out. Normally we restart double file but for this weekend they restarted our races single file. On the green I didnít get a very good jump and I got passed on the back stretch. After a couple more laps I was running in third and I got spun out by the car behind me. I now had to restart the race at the back of the single file line. I passed a couple of cars right away and as the laps counted down I was gaining positions towards the front of the pack. Once I got up into the eighth spot another caution came out. We restarted the race with about eight laps to go. I climbed up to fifth place and I was gaining on the lead cars when the checkers came out. Unfortunately the laps ran out before I could gain more spots and I finished the race fifth overall and first in my division qualifying for the A-main at the Asphalt Nationals! I would love to race in this event but we are going to need some help with sponsorship to get there.
This race was canceled by South Sound Speedway due to a scheduling conflict.
During practice this weekend the car set up seemed good but I felt like I didnít have much for brakes. We checked the pads and they were fine but my dad found that the right rear brake line was leaking. My dad had to unhook from the trailer and run to an auto parts store to get a new brake line. He got back and fixed it just in time for me to go out and qualify. The brakes still didnít feel right and I ended up qualifying fifth. We looked at the brakes again and realized that they were still leaking and that it was the t-fitting that was bad. We couldnít fix it right and I had to just deal with it for this weekend. For the heat race I started third and I stayed right behind the pole sitter before I started to lose my breaks and I pushed up in the corner and got fright trained. I was now in fifth place. On the last lap I got one spot back and finished in fourth place. We tried to tighten the brake fitting a little more and bled the brakes again before the main event. For the main I started third again. The green flag waved and we all took off. I was still pumping my brakes in the corner and I dropped to fifth place by the end of the first lap and was about half a straight away. Throughout the race I gained on the fourth place car but I couldnít find a way to get around him and I ended up finishing fifth place overall and second in my division. I was happy this weekend was over after dealing with my brake issues.
Memorial Weekend (Sunday)
On Sunday, we came to the track a little early to work on the car because it still didnít feel quiet right. My dad discovered that the rear end of the car wasnít square and he made the adjustment. I was able to get out on the track for practice and shake down the car. The car felt right now, but a couple of cars were still faster and I wanted to be as fast if not faster than them. We had group qualifying again and this time I qualified third with a time of 15.884! That is the fastest Iíve ever gone that has been recorded. I started sixth in the heat race. Once again it was a crazy race and I finished with a disappointing seventh. In the main, I felt pretty good about the car and was excited for the race. I started sixth again, and automatically I was fast racing hard with the pack of cars. We raced close the whole race. I ended up finishing fifth overall, a half car length behind the fourth place car and second in my division.
Memorial Weekend (Saturday)
Over Memorial weekend, South Sound Speedway put on a two day race show. During Saturdayís practice the car just felt weird. Dad and I tried to figure out what was wrong but we didnít come up with anything. I then went out for group qualifying not knowing what the car would do. I ended up placing sixth with all the cars within two tenths of each other. Since all the qualifying times were so close, we knew it was going to be a good, close race. For the heat race I started third. From the green flag it was crazy racing, sometimes three wide! After the eight laps, I ended up finishing fifth, which isnít a very good position, but that racing was very close and I had a lot of fun. In the main, I started third again. The race started the same as the heat race did, with cars going three wide. But this time we had way more laps to race which always helps me a lot. I kept my position for a few laps as all the cars were bumper to bumper. In the middle of the race, I passed two cars and started to go back and forth with the third place car. My car started to tighten up and the third place car slowly started to get away from me. I ended up finishing fourth over all, but I won my division and I had a blast in this race!
May 14th Race - Rained Out
Fun Run at South Sound
Saturday April 30th was my second race of the season. Practice went good and I ran some pretty fast laps. Qualifying didnít go as well as practice. The car was tight and I didnít hit my marks as I should have. I ended up qualifying eighth. Since we had twelve cars this time, they split our heats into two. I started on the outside pole in my heat. The green flag waved and we all went for it. I passed the pole car on the back straightaway and took off. The race stayed green the whole time, I led all the laps and got the win!
In the main event, I started on the outside pole again. This time I didnít get the best start and was quickly surrounded by cars. On the back straight, I couldnít get back down in line and I got freight trained, ending up at the back of the pack. Little by little I made my way up through the cars and into the sixth position. Just as I was passing the fifth place car, the caution came out and the yellow flag was waved. On the restart I started in the fifth position with about ten laps to go. The sixth place car got a good start and got down in front of me. Within a few laps I passed him and the fourth place car. By this time the top three cars were about a straightaway ahead of me. Unfortunately, with the laps winding down I was about two or three laps away from catching them. I ended up finishing the main in fourth place overall and second in my Semi-Pro division. Since our first race was rained out, South Sound Speedway added a race on September 3rd. My next race is on May 14th. I looked forward to telling you all about it!
2011 Season Starts off with a WIN!
On Saturday, April 16th, I had my first race of the season! I was so excited it didnít rain out like our first scheduled race. Due to the weather we did not get in any practice sessions before race day. Thankfully before the race I was able to put in a few laps and shake down the car before we went green. I was able to run some pretty good times and practiced hitting my marks, and the car was handling very well. Qualifying came and I didnít perform my best, and I qualified 6th out of nine. I think the car count was low because we were threatened with rain for the last few days. For the Heat race I started on the outside pole. When the green flag flew, we all took off but I shifted too soon before I reached the right rpmís and I dropped to 3rd place before we hit the back straight. My car was set up perfect and I got my rhythm quick and passed both cars within a few laps and took the checkered for the win! It felt great to start off the year with a win and I couldnít wait for the Main.
Once again I started on the outside pole for the Main. Again, I didnít get a very good start and went to 5th right away. Lap after lap the top five cars were nose to tail all trying to pass each other. With about ten laps to go, I started making moves on the 4th place car. I finally got next to him in the corner of turn 3 and I was next to him all the way down the front straight. I dove deep into turn one, and as I started to break, the car I was passing came down on me and we got together and headed up the track. The other car crashed into the outside wall and bounced back off and hit my right front. The cars were stuck together and then his engine caught on fire. We both got out of our cars and then the safety crew showed up and extinguished the flames. (To say that my mom was happy that I could get out of my car quickly when there is a fire is an understatement.) The safety crew separated our cars and I was able to drive back to the pit area. My dad looked over the car real quick and I was able to get back on the track just as the pack of cars had taken the green flag. Fortunately I was still on the lead lap and able to maintain a 5th place finish. My next race is in two weeks on Saturday, April 30th.
First Scheduled Race of the Season - Rained Out
Rachel Van Kopp named 2010 Washington State Semi-Pro Division Champion and the Quality Car Care Legends "Most Improved Driver"
It's official! Rachel earned the US Legends Washington State Semi-Pro Division Championship. Also, this past Saturday night, South Sound Speedway had its annual year-end banquet. Rachel finished the 2010 season 2nd in overall points and 2nd in the Semi-Pro Division. She was also named the Quality Car Care Legends Series "Most Improved Driver".
Double Points Night for the Last Race of 2010
It was my last race of the season. I am so surprised it went by so fast. Since it was my last race, the track decided to make the race a double pointís event. In practice I was fast from the beginning so we decided not to stay out long so we could save our tires. They were getting down to the end on wear and we didnít want to have to go buy new ones for the last race of the year. We rolled through tech to make sure the car was legal. We didnít want any surprises on this last race to affect our point standing. Lately, weíve had a fifteen minute group qualifying time to run our fastest laps. I went out there for about ten minutes and didnít get any better than fifth fast. I got stuck behind some slower cars and it threw off my lap times. I came in and my dad told me to back away from the slower cars so I could get a clean lap on my own. I went back out and within the first lap I gained a spot up to fourth and stayed there. For the heat race, I started fifth. The pole car pushed the outside car up to the wall in the corner coming to the green which made everyone bunch up. I went from fifth to seventh within the first half lap. I stayed calm and patient not wanting to wreck the car and save it for the main event. I passed a few cars and finished a solid fourth overall and second in my division. For the main event, we started in points order. That means I started second! I stayed right with the pole sitter on the start. I didnít want to be on the outside while going through the corner so I dropped down right behind the leader going into the corner. I stayed in second for a couple laps but by the fourth lap I had fallen to fourth. The fifth place car was a car length behind me for every lap except the last five. I started thinking about what my dad told me. If you arenít catching the person in front of you or out running the person behind you, you need to drive harder into the corner or come off the corner faster. At lap twenty I took off. (I was like Emeril, I kicked it up a notch!). I gained a corner on the fifth place car and finished fourth overall and second in my division. My goal this year was to place in the top five in points overall. As it turns out, I took second overall and second in my division! Garrett Archer, the other driver in my Semi-Pro division had a great year winning the title and finished ahead of me and almost everybody most of the time. I am so happy with my finishes and progress this year. South Sound Speedway is having an awards banquet in November that weíll be going to. Iíd like to thank my sponsors, family, and friends for the great support this year.
Labor Day Race
On Saturday we went back to the normal format of qualifying, trophy dash, heat, and main. I went out to practice, and the car was a little tight, but it was fast. In practice I ran a 15.90. For the next practice we played with the car, but I was two tenths slower than last time. For the final practice we backtracked a little and the car was not as tight but I ran the same times as I did in the first practice. For qualifying, they did it a little different. They put all the Legends on the track at once and gave us twenty minutes to run our fastest laps. I came off the track with five minutes to go and talked to my dad. I was fifth fastest out of ten. We put the car back to the way it was when I first went out and did three more laps to see if it did anything. I remained fifth. I missed the Trophy Dash by one position so I took the opportunity to watch my competitorsí and see what they do. For the heat race, I had to start towards the back of the pack in sixth because I won my division at the last race. In the first corner of the first lap of the green flag, they went three wide right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and stopped about three inches from the wall! I barely hit the guyís bumper who turned up in front of me and I was able to drive off and join the rest of the cars. They threw a red flag because one of the cars wasnít able to get going again. Since we didnít make a complete lap, we had to line back up in the same order with me still on the outside in the middle of the pack. We go green again and I get to the bottom on the front straightaway and go into the corner. The car behind me rams into me pushing my car up the track while Iím in the corner losing three spots. I caught up to the three cars that passed me but I was not able to get past the car in front of me because he was blocking so bad. I ended up placing sixth overall and third in my division. Next time I might not be so patient. For the main event, I had to start sixth, again. This time we got a better start. I got to fourth and stayed there for eight laps. Then there was a caution. I choose to stay on the inside for the restart. As we went green the outside car came down, I was now in fifth place. We had two more cautions and restarts. On the last restart I stayed to the bottom in the fifth position. The first place car was black flagged for jumping the restart and I moved into fourth. My car was fast but I was not able to make up anymore positions before the checkered waived. I finished fourth overall and second in my division. My last race is on September 25th. Iím still second in points overall and second in my division. The track has made it a double points race so it should an interesting night! I look forward to telling you how I did.
Double Main Events
Saturday was a special night; we got the chance to race double Mains. So instead of the regular format of Qualifying, Trophy Dash, Heats and a Main, I got to qualify and then race in two 30 lap Mains. This meant double points! As I practiced, the car was loose. So, my dad and I decided to tighten up the car. I went out to qualify and got a 16.30. I was a little upset because I was running faster in practice. For the first Main I had to start in the back of the pack because I won my division last time we raced, so I had to start sixth, which happened to be the place I qualified. On the start, two cars got together and rubbed tires, but thankfully there was no wreck. I did have to hit the brakes losing my momentum and two cars got by me. It just so happened that the two cars that got in front of me, spun each other out right in front of me. I went up high and avoided it, and the track stayed green. A little further in the race another car spun out so they threw the caution. At this point I was fourth. They put the commitment cone in the middle of the track and the three cars before me went to the bottom, so I decided to go to the top to restart on the outside pole. I made the wrong choice taking the green in fourth gear instead of third and the guy next to me got a huge jump. Fortunately I was able to get to the bottom and took third. A lap later the fourth place car tried to move me going into the corner and I started to spin. I was able to save myself from spinning out and pretty much kept my foot in the gas and I only lost one spot. For the rest of the race I was stuck behind the fourth place car. With a few laps to go, the sixth place car tried to pass while coming out of the corner. He hit my right rear tire, and later passed me. I ended up sixth overall and second in my division as Semi-Pro.
My Dad looked over the car after the race and found that all I had for damage was a little brake fluid leak. In the second Main, I started fifth. I got a good start and stayed with the pack going into the first corner. While going on the backstretch, I dove to the inside and made it three wide for the pass. Coming back to the flag stand a car passed me and I stayed in fifth for a few laps as I caught the fourth place car. I ended up passing him to take over the fourth position but a caution came out and they gave him his spot back and I went back to fifth again. I choose to stay in the inside row. We go green and Iím in sixth. Iím faster than the car in front of me, but I canít find a way around him. I finally get good momentum and pass for fourth. As the laps wind down, my car got a little tight. On the last lap I got passed by another car and I ended up sixth overall and second in my division. After the cars went through tech, the winner of my Semi-Pro division was disqualified for something. This put me fifth overall and first in my division. Iíd like to thank one of my sponsorís, Jim Johnson for coming out to the races and supporting me. My next race is on Sunday, September 5th, Labor Day weekend.
August 7th Race - Rained Out
Semi-Pro Division Winner!
On Saturday, I had my sixth race this season. The car felt a little loose in all three practices, so my dad and I decided to tighten up the car. Sometime between practice and qualifying, the track changed. So when I went out to qualify, the car was tight and I ended up with a time of 16.37 and came in sixth out of eleven cars. Normally after qualifying we start our heat races but for some reason the track allowed one more practice session before the heats. We took advantage of the practice session, loosened the car up, and I picked up three tenths! The track split the Legends heat races in two, between the faster cars and the slower cars and inverted the starting positions. Since I qualified sixth this put me as the slowest qualifying car in the fastest cars heat starting on the pole. On the green flag I didnít get a very good start (I think I shifted too soon) and the outside car passed me in the first corner. By the next lap, the third place car passed me. I was able to hold my position for the remaining laps and ended up finishing third overall and first in my division. In the 30 lap main, I started fifth. I was feeling pretty confident about my car and I kept right up there with the Pro and Masterís drivers. On the first lap I got right into second place and by the next lap, dropped back to third. A few laps later, I made the pass and took back the second position. At lap 20 a caution came out. At the commitment cone I made the choice to go on the outside of the first place car. We go green again and I dropped to fourth. By lap 25, there was another caution. All the cars in front of me chose to take the bottom line, so once again I chose the outside line. When we go green, I dropped to fifth by the time we get to the backstretch. I checked up just before the start finish because I was afraid to beat the leader to the start and get black flagged, and it really cost me a good start and several positions. On the last lap, in turn four coming to the checkered, the second place car took out the first place car and he got black flagged instead of getting the win. That brought me up to fourth place overall and a win for my Semi-Pro division. I was so excited because I finally won my division and got to get a trophy and interview on the track in front of the grandstands after the race. It was a great night! I want to thank Todd and Sean for coming into the pits and helping out. My next race is on Saturday, August 7th.
Best Finish of the Year!
Finally after two rained out races I was able to race during the 4th of July weekend on July 3rd! I was so excited to be racing again since I hadnít raced in five weeks. As usual I went out on the track and got in three rounds of practice. This time I was able to scrub in the new Federal tires. My first practice out felt okay but we made some changes to the car for the second and third time out. I didnít like those changes. My Dad put the car back on the scales, changed the car again, and it felt almost perfect for qualifying. At South Sound Speedway they have a scoreboard on the backstretch. So before I went out I saw who the top five cars were and I knew I could beat at least one of them. So I went out there and qualified and as I exited off the track I looked at the scoreboard, but my number wasnít up there. I was a little disappointed, but when I got to my trailer my dad was smiling and he leaned in my car and said that I qualified fourth out of ten cars! My qualifying time was 16.06 which is the fastest Iíve ever qualified. When we had our pit meeting, the tech director announced that they would be inverting the entire field. This meant I would start sixth in the heat and the main. Iíll admit I was a little scared to start on the outside row in the middle, but I quickly got over my fear and got a great start by shooting to the bottom in the first turn. I got up to second and tried to cut under the first place car with two laps to go but I got too loose and ended up losing my spot to the car behind me and I finished the heat race in third. The car felt really good and so far it was a great night feeling like I had a chance to win the race. For the main event I again had to start in sixth on the outside. Again I was able to go straight to the bottom. After a few laps I was up to fourth and trying to get around the third place car for a few laps. As I was coming out of turn two, right behind the third place car, I got on the gas too soon and bumped into the car in front of me spinning myself out. Luckily nobody hit me as I was spinning. The caution came out and I had to start at the back of the pack. I worked my way back up to third right behind the car I had bumped into earlier. With about five laps to go, I passed to take over second place. The first place car was about a half straightaway ahead, so I just had to stay focused and hit my marks to hold onto second. It seemed like it took forever for them to throw the white flag, and then finally, the checkered. Once I saw it I couldnít hold in my excitement! It was the best Iíve ever finished overall including the Masterís and the Proís. This race took me from third in points to second place overall! I canít wait for the next race on July 24th. I would like to thank the Hammer family for coming down to support me. Iíd also like to thank my friends who were there, they gave me some great advice. You can see the standings on the South Sound Speedway website:
Legends $1 Million Race On SPEED Channel July 17th
I just thought I would let everbody know that Charlotte Motor Speedway is hosting the Legend Cars $1 Million Race July 15-17, and will have a $1 million purse with $250,000 awarded to the winner of the Legends Million A-Feature. The inaugural Legends Million will be broadcast Live on SPEED July 17th, Saturday evening starting with pre-race coverage at 7:30 pm ET.
Father's Day Race - Rained Out
Second Day of Memorial Day Weekend - Rained Out
First Day of Memorial Day Weekend Races
Memorial Day weekend we had races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday night. I was so excited because it was just a racing weekend. This also gave me the opportunity to really work on my points. My dad and I got to the track Saturday morning to practice as always. This year the US Legends Series came out with a new Federal tire as its new spec tire. So for the first time I went out on the track to get them scrubbed in. I had ten minutes to practice on them, but I wasnít a fan of the tires. Of course they were new and greasy and we knew we may need to make adjustments to the car for these. Since it was a busy night at South Sound Speedway, we qualified in rounds for twenty minutes. I went out and ran about 20 laps for my first session of qualifying on the Federal tire but I wasnít very fast. My dad decided to change back to the old BF Goodrich tires because my times we not that great. I went back out on the track and got on the scoreboard 5th out of 13. I came back in with about two minutes to go in qualifying because I started to get loose and almost put it into the wall coming out of turn four. With seconds to spare, a car knocked me off the scoreboard back down to 6th fastest. Since we had a good number of cars, they had us run two separate heat races, seven cars in mine and six cars in the other. I was in the first heat with the top qualifiers. I started on the outside pole. Unfortunately I got a horrible start and got hung out and finished the race in 5th. Heat races are only eight laps so itís hard to make up for mistakes. For the Main Event I started 7th. For the first few laps everyone was all bunched up and sometimes going into the corners three wide! I started to pass a car going into the third corner and Iím not sure what happened, but we got into each other and we both spun out. A caution came out and we both had to start at the back of the longest line. We went green again and after a few laps I tried to pass another car about four times. Finally I got a good run coming out of turn four and I was under him the whole straightaway. Going into the corner of turn one he turned down on me. He hit my front tire and spun but I was able to keep going. Once again, there was another caution. As soon as the green waved we all took off with me down on the inside lane. The car on my outside and I ran door to door for about three laps. She started pinching me down on the apron and then finally all the way down into the dirt. I finally out drove her going to into the corner and hung her out just a little and I never saw her again. The checkered waved and I crossed the line to place 7th. It was a really good hard race. After tech was completed that night we learned that three cars were disqualified for having too much cylinder compression. This moved me up to a 4th place finish. Sunday afternoon we went out to the track and it started to rain. We waited until four oíclock before the race director called the race. I was disappointed because I really wanted to race. It turned out fine for me because we went back to our hotel with a pool and I got to spend time with my family who came up from Oregon to see me race. My next race is on June 19th at South Sound. I look forward to updating you!
Third Race of the Year at South Sound Speedway
Practice was a little challenging for me this weekend. I was having trouble hitting my marks and not driving in hard enough. I was a little nervous before qualifying because I knew I wasnít at my best yet. I ended up qualifying eighth out of eleven cars. I was a little disappointed in myself because I knew I could do better than that. I started fourth in my heat race. In turn one on the first lap, the fifth place car dive bombed between me and the car inside me. I had to move up the track to keep him from wrecking out both of us. The upside was that car was fast and I stayed on his bumper getting my groove back. I noticed I was driving at least twice as deep into the corners as I was from practice and qualifying. I finished the heat race in third with my confidence back! For the 30 lap main event I started eighth. Boy, it felt like a long race. Cars were spinning out in front of me and they were hitting each other, but I avoided all of them with a few close calls. I was really having a good race and running up to third. With three laps to go a car spun out right in front of me. We both locked up our cars and I missed t-boning him by an inch. Iím not kidding, I stopped an inch before driving through his driver side door. I could see him looking at me with his eyes squeezed shut. We even laughed about it after the race. I had trouble getting the car started back up, and when it did start the rpmís sounded really high. I was scared and didnít want to blow up my motor so I came off the track. My dad said that it was just the left over gas in the cylinders after stopping the car so fast and he sent me back out. I got back out on the track without going a lap down. I started at the back of the pack with two lapped cars ahead of me. On the last lap the car that dive bombed me in my heat race hit the wall and came back down in front of me. I spun out trying to avoid him and came to a stop. The yellow and checkered flags came out together and the race was over. I started up the car and came back around to finish the race in eighth. Even though I didnít finish with the result I wanted, this was one of the most fun races Iíve had in the Legend car. After tech was finished at the end of the night a lead car was DQíd for something so I ended up with a seventh place finish. I have a two day race over Memorial weekend, May 29th and May 30th. Iíd like to thank Chad Hammer for his help putting my car back together after the last race. Also, thanks to Terry Portch and Gary Becktold for welding on new rear horns to the back of my car, and to the Crumís, Lindquistís, and Edsonís for coming and supporting me. I look forward to updating you about the two day race. I am currently third place in points overall and and second in my class.
Ups and Downs at South Sound Speedway
On May 1st, I had my second race of the season. Practice went pretty smooth. This weekend the ASA NW Late Model Tour cars also raced. So to help speed up the event they had us qualify in groups of four at a time for three laps. I qualified fourth out of seven. Instead of having a heat race, we raced a trophy dash. A trophy dash is a four lap shoot out with the four fastest cars. Since I qualified fourth I made it in there. I ended up starting on the pole. I didnít get into turn one very good and that was about it, and I ended up fourth. For the main, they did a pill draw for line-up. I started on the pole again. At the green flag I got a great start and was almost a full car length ahead of the outside car, but he hit my right rear and spun me down the front straight. All of the cars missed hitting me except the last place car. He hit my left rear and bumper and both of us had to go to the pits to get fixed. Before the green flag came back out, my dad and Jeff and Garrett Sisk were able to bend my bumper back up and get me back out on the track. I started sixth on the restart and within one lap I was in fourth and catching the third place car. With about seven laps to go I was on the bumper of the third place car. After trying to pass him a few times, he started to block me. With two laps to go, I bumped him in the corner and he still doesnít move. At the checkered I went for it under him but I finished about a half car length short. I ended up fourth and went to tech. The tech directors decided not to tech me because my rear bars were all bent. Once tech was over they came up to me and my dad and said that the third place car was disqualified for too big of wheelbase, which meant I got third! I raced hard and had fun and I canít wait for my next race on May 15th. Thank you Jeff, Nema, and Garrett Sisk for coming out and supporting me.
The 2010 Race Season Finally Begins
This year all of our races will be at South Sound Speedway in Rochester, WA, about 20 miles south of Olympia. I have moved up in division this year to Semi-Pro. Last year I was a Young Lion and I finished 2nd in my division. I will still race against Masters and Pros this year. So far there are no Young Lions.
Finally, we got in our first race of the season! Our April 3rd race was cancelled due to rain. So April 17th was the first one. I was so excited to get back in the car after six months. We got to the track, got signed in and right before practice, IT STARTS TO RAIN! The track officials called a meeting and postponed the entire race event until the next day, Sunday.
Sunday morning we traveled back down to South Sound Speedway. That afternoon I went out to practice and the car felt good, but I was still tweaking my line and working on getting into and off the corner. As my time came to qualify the car ahead of me got too low going into turn 3, kicked up dirt all over the track and spun out. I went out on the track and started to qualify, but I guess I was a little too careful in the corner because I qualified last. I was really frustrated because I ran as fast as most of the others during practice. The good news was they inverted the whole field, so for the heat and main I was able to start on the pole!
For the heat race the flagger gave us the one lap to go signal and I wanted to get a good start. Now usually I start in 3rd gear and then shift to 4th, but on my outside was Rowan Carey, a Pro and he is really good. So I thought I would just start in 4th this time and not worry about him out shifting me. I was able to stay ahead of him until turn 3 where he got me on the inside and I got shuffled back to 6th place where I finished overall. I came in 2nd in my Semi-Pro division.
Finally it was time for the main. Once again I started on the pole with the same car next to me. The whole time while waiting to go on the track I was thinking of another way to start the race so he wouldnít anticipate it. Once the pace car came off the track I started to speed up on the backstretch. We got to the corner I slowed down a little bit. As soon as I saw the car next to me do the same I slammed the throttle to the floor. He didnít expect that one and I took off and lead the first main event lap of 2010! As soon as we came around the track again they were right on me and started to pass me. I ended up finishing 6th again overall and 2nd in my division. I had so much fun and I canít wait until the next race on May 1st.
Thank you to Bob and Kiley Van Amburg for your help and support this weekend!
First Scheduled Race of the Season - Rained Out
Motor Issues End Season One Race Early
Well, after the wreck at South Sound Speedway on August 22, we began putting the car back together. My dad remembered that he heard the motor sound a little weird just as I was leaving the staging area and driving out onto the track for the main event. We went to start the motor and discovered that it had a loud knocking sound. So we listened to it some more and came to the conclusion that it might possibly be a rod, and hopefully not a crank. This meant we were done for the year and I wasnít able to make it to the last race of the season at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. Because my engine is a sealed 1250cc Yamaha, we have to ship it back to North Carolina and have the people from 600 Racing look at it.
I would like to take the time to thank you for all of your support and help throughout this season. None of this would be possible without you, the sponsors. I had so much fun racing a bigger and faster car this year. My goal this year was just to get some seat time and earn the respect of the veteran drivers. I definitely accomplished this and I canít wait for next seasonís memories and experiences.
I will be making appointments with you in the next month or so to come out and thank you personally for your support. Thank you so much!
Race #10 - South Sound Speedway
On August 22nd, I was so excited to race. I started out in practice running with the normal leaders, and I kept picking up speed during each practice session. I had a really good feeling about qualifying since I ran so well during practice. I qualified with a 16.02 which placed me 9th fastest out of 18 cars. I was so proud of myself. The time put me in the first heat and I finished a solid 4th. In the main I started in the middle of the pack in the outside lane. Knowing I had a fast car just made the adrenaline run through my body that much faster. The flagger gave us the one to go, we came back around to the front stretch, and the green flag waved. Instantly we were three wide going into the first corner. Iím in between two cars and in the middle of the pack. Someone in the front of the pack spun in the apex of the corner directly in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I ended up T-boning the car, cruching my front end, and we were both finished for the night. This was my last scheduled race of the season, but I convinced my dad that this was no way to end it. We are going to repair the car and I will race my last race on September 26th at my favorite track, the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval.
Race #9 - South Sound Speedway
On Saturday, August 8th, I raced at South Sound Speedway. After making a few set-up changes over the past week, my car was handling much better during practice and was not pushing toward the wall while coming out of the corner. On the second to last lap of the final practice, I got loose coming out of turn two and began to spin-out. As I tried to catch the car from spinning I over-corrected and began heading straight toward the wall. I spun myself back around facing backward on the backstretch. It felt like forever while I was trying to slow myself down and dodge the wall. As I was almost stopped, my rear bumper barely hit the wall as I was almost to turn three. Thankfully my dad and I only had to change the rear bumper, no big deal but I was really scared of wrecking my car bad. I just kept telling myself, ďDonít let the nose of the car hit the wallĒ. In qualifying I ran a 16.24 and was 6th fastest out of ten, just .04 from 5th and .07 from 4th. So I knew I was going to be competitive. In the heat race, 3rd through 7th place cars were bumper to bumper and I finished 5th. In the main event I finished 7th. Even though seventh doesnít seem like a good finish, 3rd through 7th place cars were all within one second apart! This was one of the best races Iíve been in because of all the cars being so evenly matched and there was some bumping going on, it was a lot of fun! My final race is Saturday, August 22nd, at South Sound Speedway unless I can talk my dad into going to Wenatchee in September. I look forward to updating you.
Race #8 - Evergreen Speedway
This was my third time at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe. After trying and trying to find the grove in practice I got the line pretty close and I was ready for my next practice. Unfortunately I didnít get a second practice because the officials combined our second practice with qualifying. We had a disappointing car turnout with only six cars and I qualified fourth. In the feature race I started fourth. After not getting that good of a start I was in fifth an about half way through the race before I passed a car to take the fourth position. On the last lap and in the last corner a lapped car and the third place car got tangled together I stepped on the throttle and barely missed the collision. I beat the car by half a car length and placed third! I was ecstatic! After the race all of the cars went through tech. I passed everything, except the ride height. My car was a 1/16Ē low on the left front and was disqualified for being too close to the ground. My dad felt terrible and later figured out why we were too low. We are still rookies at this thing. My next race is on August 8th at South Sound Speedway.
Race #7 - Wenatchee Valley Super Oval
Last Saturday I had my third race at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. I ran with most of the leaders in my practice sessions. I knew I was going to be fast for this race. I did great in qualifying and qualified 3rd fastest, I was so happy! My time put me in the A-Trophy Dash with the usual leaders. I placed 4th in the dash but I ran pretty good. In my heat race I started 3rd and stayed in fourth for the whole race except for the last corner, I spun out and finished 5th. In the main event I started 3rd. I started really well and stayed with the 2nd and 3rd place cars for almost half the race. As my car got tighter and tighter I started to lose the 2nd and 3rd place cars but ended up finishing 4th. This is the best Iíve ever finished in the Legends Series! The car was handling great the whole night, I was very proud of myself for everything I did Saturday. The next day the promoter of the North West Legends Series called me and said that one of the cars in the top 3 was disqualified in tech so I actually finished 3rd. My next race is on Saturday, July18th at South Sound Speedway. I want to thank Howard Beck for working on the fiberglass damage from my last race on June 20th and Terry Portch and Gary Becktold for straightening by rear bumper and tabs.
Race #6 - Wenatchee Valley Super Oval
Last weekend was my second time at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. In practice, I kept tweaking little things to do different with my line. In the last practice after figuring out a good line, I found that I could keep up with most of my competitors and even pass a few. In the trophy dash, I started on the inside pole for the first time. When we went green the outside car jumped the start so we had to try it again. On the second start, the car behind me jumped the start, so we went under caution once more. After coming out of turn four under caution, the car behind me didnít see the yellow flashing lights and ran into the back of me running up and over my left rear fender. My car was raceable but the other driver was sent to the hospital. All of this in a four lap Trophy Dash. I ended up finishing 3rd without a left rear fender and some cracked fiberglass. In the heat race, I just got out onto the track and a bolt broke in my right rear wheel area that helps keep my rear axle in place. I wasnít able to get back out before the start the heat race. Luckily, I was able to race in the Main Event. I started 7th and had a very good race, and I even passed a car on the outside for the first time and finished in eighth out of twelve cars. My next race is at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval again on July 11th.
Race #5 - South Sound Speedway
Last weekend was my second time at the South Sound Speedway. Each time I race, I make a new goal for myself. Saturdayís goal was to shift from 3rd to 4th gear on the green flag starts instead of staying in 4th. I feel that I did very well on this for my first time because I actually stayed with the leaders on the starts and I continued to drive harder into the corners. There were 12 cars that attended this race, which is still a pretty big field for me. I qualified 11th, which placed me on the outside pole for my heat race. I stayed with the leaders the entire race and finished a proud 5th. For the main event I started 11th. Halfway through the race a car in front of me blew a motor and spilled oil all over the front stretch. This car was about four car lengths in front of me and I ran right through it. The other cars and I got loose but we all saved our cars from a wreck. At the end of the race I finished 10th staying on the lead lap the entire race. My next race is at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval on June 20th.
Race #4 - South Sound Speedway
On Saturday I raced at the South Sound Speedway in Rochester, WA, for the first time. I can now say after traveling to the three tracks I will race this year, this is my favorite track. I think the reason I like it so much is because it fits my driving style and it is similar to quarter midget tracks Iíve raced at. From the beginning of practice I felt that I got the feel of the track pretty well and each time I went out on the track I would make different goals to improve on. There were 15 cars that attended this race, which is the biggest field Iíve ever raced in, so I was a little nervous. I qualified 13th, which placed me on the outside pole for my heat race. There were only 5 cars in my heat race. Starting on the outside was a little difficult because you want to be on the bottom of the race track. It was only an 8 lap race and I finished in 4th. For the 30 lap main event all 15 cars were in the field and I started the race in 13th. During the race I managed to avoid a few wrecks that other cars were involved in and I finished the race in 10th. This was my second weekend without spinning out in any of my races. My next race is back at South Sound Speedway on June 6th.
Race #3 - Wenatchee Valley Super Oval
Last Saturday was my first time to race at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. Although learning a new track can be difficult, this track is a lot of fun to learn. My third practice was when I really got the hang of the track by making marks when to get on and off the gas. I qualified, sixth fastest out of ten cars, which placed me in the third starting position for my trophy dash. For the first time I attempted to start in third gear on the start and then shift to fourth. Itís a lot harder than I thought because I missed the shift and fell behind by almost half a straightaway. The trophy dash is only a four lap race but I caught up to finish in third. In the heat I started seventh and finished in the same position. Also in the main event, I started seventh and finished in seventh. I was really happy I didnít spin out at all during any of my races! My next race is May 23rd at South Sound Speedway in Rochester, WA.
Race #2 - Evergreen Speedway
On Sunday, May 3rd, I got an opportunity to race in the afternoon at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. Normally we race on Saturday nights, but this was our one Sunday race of the year. I qualified 6th fastest out of 8 cars, 2 seconds faster than my last qualifying session on April 18th. This Sunday the Legends rookies raced in a Trophy Dash, 4 cars in a 4 lap shootout. I ran in 3rd place all the way until turn 4 of the last lap where I made the pass to finish 2nd, just a half car length behind 1st place. I continued to learn how to control and handle my car while racing my heat race finishing in 6th place. During my main event I started in 6th and ran most of it in 4th until I spun in turn 3. I got started back up without bringing out a caution and maintained a 5th place finish.
Iím continuing to get comfortable with the car and I am looking forward to my next race at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in Wenatchee, WA, on May 16th.
Race #1 - Rachel's First Legends Series Race
I have now completed my first ever Northwest Legends Series race! It was Saturday night, April 18th, at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. This was an excellent and challenging experience, but it was very exciting. I learned many aspects of the car racing wise, like learning the right line, when to brake and let the car roll through the corner and when to accelerate.
I qualified ninth fastest, three seconds off the fastest car. Before my heat race, sitting in my car I was so excited and nervous. During the heat race I started to get more comfortable in the car and began a rhythm on the track and ended up finishing in seventh. I was very happy with myself for starting to understand the track and my car. During my main event I continued feeling more comfortable and finished in sixth place.
Overall, I am happy with my performance and I feel like I accomplished my goals for my first race. My next race is again at the Evergreen Speedway on May 3rd.