4-3-10 Ventura Raceway Race Report

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4-3-10 Ventura Raceway Race Report

    Last weekend was the first race of the year at Ventura, and the fourth race of the season. Tres and Stew Van Dyne at Van Dyne Engineering worked extremely hard to have our new Honda engine ready for this race. We were able to get it, and put it in on Friday night. We had some minor issues with starting it, the oil pressure was a little too high, and was blowing the O-rings out of the oil filters. But with a small adjustment, it was fixed.
    In hot laps, I was a little loose but was still fast, and hanging with the fast guys no problem. I was starting fourth in the heat race. On the initial start of the race I fell back to the tail end of the pack being stuck up on the top side of the track. After a couple laps, I moved down to try the bottom and it turned the car into a rocket. I started to make up spots and eventually made my way back up to the 3rd position. I had a shot at a win but some bad timed cautions towards the end of the heat forced me to stay in 3rd.
   The main event was interesting to say the least. I started 9th and looked to have a promising finish. It didn’t start off to well when I went inside of the #31 of Bruce Douglas entering turn 3, and he crowded me all the way down to the apron. But before I could even jump on the brakes to let him come down so we wouldn’t hit, I climbed his left rear tire and low-sided, ending up upside down in turn 3. After being stuck upside down for a little, it leaked much of the power-steering fluid out in the cockpit. The track crew finally flipped me over and pushed me off the track. Luckily, all we needed to fix in the pits was the flat left rear tire. The front end was also I little bit tweaked, but it was good enough to get back out on the track. On the restart I started to make my way up through the field, passing cars on the bottom as well as the top. We made it all the way up to around 8th position and then I noticed that the water temp started to climb and it started to lose a little power. This was because the water pump belt had shredded and kicked itself off the pulleys. I was able to nurse it home to an 11th place finish.
   Overall with all the little hiccups that we had over the past two days, we had a successful weekend. I have to thank again Tres and Stew Van Dyne at Van dyne Engineering for all the work they did to the motor, Danny & Bruce Crower for the awesome cams and rods, and Honda Performance for this great new engine. A special thank you to Phil Goodwine and Ray Mills for all their help with fabricating our new MSD Crank Trigger wheel system.  With a few more some small adjustments to it, it will be perfect. I also have to thank Goodwine Glass, Orange County Tank Testing, Lucas Oil, K&N Filters, Oakley, EgoTactics.net, Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, New York Upper Crust Pizza, Mothers Polish, Socal Performance, One Day Signs, and JDR Graphics. Also I want to thank Michael May, Aaron and Andrew Schankerman, Harry Sanders, and JD Laird for helping me out over the past 2 days with the car. Our next race is in Bakersfield for the 5th race of the USAC Western Midget. Hope to see you there!

To see a condensed version of the 4/3/10 Ventura race, click on the link below:


Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 April 2010 13:50 )

Hard Luck Dashes Jake’s Hope of a National Championship Title..

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11-21-09 Ventura Raceway
I have been looking forward to this race for a while now. It was a national event called The Ventura Fall Classic. This was a USAC Midget race, and also a USAC Ford Focus Midget race, so we were going to run both classes. There were a lot of big names at this race, Josh Wise, Brian Clauson, Tracy Hines just to name a few.

First up was the Midget with mud-packing and a hot laps session. We tried to push off, but the car wouldn't fire. So, when I pulled in, Mike Walker, Danny Swanson, my dad and a few others were checking things out to see what went wrong. We soon found that some wires had shorted out the battery. By this time we had missed practice. But luckily, the track officials let us go out on the track for a half-lap to make sure the car ran, and it did.

Next up was the first heat race for the Midget. I had to start last because of the high pill number I drew. There were 43 cars in this class so I had to have a good finish.  I was able to get by a few cars and gain valuable passing points that would help us gain points to make the main event.

After that I jumped back into the #88 Ford Focus. I started near the front, and got a great start. I ended up second. I needed a little less side bite, because the car was bogging down off the corner and was too stuck to the track. Then came heat race #2 for the Focus. I was starting 5th. I got a great jump on the start and slid into 2nd. But then after a of couple laps into the race, I was exiting turn 2, and all of a sudden the car drops to the ground, and I was struggling for control. Luckily I was able to keep it straight enough for the Field to go around me without getting hit. It turned out that the rear axle had broken in half, right in between the rear-end and left-rear birdcage and wheel. It was definitely a disappointment, having something like that, which isn’t very common, ruin our night in this car. I really thought a National Focus Midget win was very possible for my sponsors and me.

Now, I had to just focus on the #05 Midget. Next up was the second heat race in my #05 Midget, and I was starting on pole. I was confident I would be able to get a good jump, and finish very well. That would give me a good chance of going straight to the A main event. The green flew, and I got an awesome jump on the field. I was able to get into my preferred line, and go. But someone flipped going into turn one, so they called for a restart. They threw the green again and this time I was dicing it up with the leaders for much of the race, until coming out of turn 4. A bolt that holds the mount that holds the steering in place broke. I was able to keep it off the wall and out of the way until coming to a stop. My dad and crew quickly replaced it and I was back out on the track, except I had a lot of work to do and with only 3 laps to go. I began passing cars, and soon was able to get by 3 cars, until someone who was running in my grove almost spun, causing me to check up, and 2 cars going back by me at the finish. This result put me into the B main event along with Jerome Rodela, Josh Wise, and Kody Swanson. Starting toward the back, I knew I had to be aggressive, but smart in getting a top 2 finish to transfer to the A. But sadly, right at the start, the pole sitter spun coming out of turn 4 on lap 1. This caused the entire inside lane to try to stop in time. But it didn't happen. I knew I wasn't going to stop in time, and I wouldn't be able to get out of line to avoid it in time, so my only option was to try to hit the guy in front of me as square as possible with the bumper. But when we hit, his bumper pushed mine up and over, causing the right front to also hit the bumper. It tweaked the Axel and bent the shock shafts, but I thought I would still be able to get back out, until we found that the front brake line got ripped off the caliper, so I had no brakes.

It was definitely a disappointing night for us. We worked extremely hard, but it just didn't go our way. Sadly, this was the last race of the year for us. But I do plan on rebuilding the car during the off-season, and have it all ready for the biggest midget race of the year in January, The Chili Bowl in Tulsa Oklahoma.
I am still searching for support to make it to the Chili Bowl. So please contact me if you or you know someone who may be interested in helping get me there.

I would like to thank the Schankerman Family for their incredible support and generosity in allowing me to drive their #88 Ford Focus Midget. I would also like to give a huge Thank You to Phil Goodwine, Mike Walker, and Larry Henry. There is no way I would be racing these cars without all of you guys. I really appreciate all you have done in getting me this far. Also, Thanks to all of my sponsors; Goodwine Glass, Orange County Tank Testing, Lucas Oil, K&N Filters, HPD & Honda, Crower, Oakley, Mothers Polish, Socal Performance Parts, and One Day Signs. I appreciate all you have done this past 09 season, and am looking forward to an even better 2010 season running for a USAC Western States Midget Series Championship. Thanks again everyone.
Jake Swanson


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 November 2009 22:05 )
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