Jake Finishes 4th in Wally Pankratz's #8 Focus Midget

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August 22, 2009 Orange Show Speedway
    Last Saturday was a race for the Ford Focus Midgets at Orange Show Speedway. Since the engine was being rebuilt for the #88 car, I wasn't going to be able to race this race, until about a week before the race, Wally Pankratz called me, asking if I wanted to race his car. I was thrilled to not only be able to race, but to drive for Wally.
    Wally had two cars, both are combo cars. One was being drivin by Randy Pankratz, Wally's daughter whom I race with in the USAC Midget series. I was going to be driving his other car, the yellow #8. The last time I drove this car, was over 2 and a half years ago. This was the first Ford Focus I had ever drivin. So it was definently pretty cool to jump back in the car that it all started in.
   I basically had just two practice sessions to figure the car out. The first practice I was 9th fastest out of 13 or 14 cars. The car was just a little bit tight, so we played with the brake bias a little to take away some front brake. The second and final practice we got it down to 6th quick, and was the fastest combo car so far. I was hoping to stay 6th fastest for qualifing, because that would put me starting on the pole for the main. I was so close to doing this, but ended up qualifing 7th, just a few hundreths off of 6th quick. It was kind of a bummer because it was going to be much more difficult to try to make my way to the front, especially at this track because of how hard to pass and narrow it is. There was no heat races, so where I qualified, is where I would start.
    After I a few ajustments before the main, I thought we would be good to go. Right from the start, #91 of Brody Roa and I had one of the most fun battles I have had on pavement. There were a couple wrecks in front of us that we had to dodge, but we had a great battle all the way to the end. I ended up 4th. I was very happy with this run considering all the pavement specialty cars that we beat. It was deffinently a fun race and it all would not have been possible if it wasn't for Wally. So a huge thanks to him for giving me this opportunity. It was a total blast. Also, thanks to all my sponsors; The Schankerman Family, Goodwine Glass, Lucas Oil, Orange County Tank Testing, K&N Filters, Mothers Polish, Oakley, One Day Signs and Socal Performance. My next race is this weekend in the #05 USAC Midget at Bakersfield Raceway. I have been looking foward to this race for awhile now. Hope to see you there!
Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 August 2009 20:56 )

Jake's Engine Blows Up at the PASS

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August 11, 2009 Perris Auto Speedway
I ran at Perris Auto Speedway on August 1st in my #88 Ford Focus Midget. This was the first race of a three race mini-series that USAC had made. It was basically a little championship that went on for the three next races that where all in the same week. The first, at Perris, second at Ventura on that Wednesday, and the third at Hanford on Saturday. We thought we would have a good chance for winning the mini-series.
    I always have had good runs at Perris Auto Speedway. My worst finish there was 2nd place, so I was excited to be back there. But we struggled in the heat race, falling back a position from where I started. I just didn't have the drive I needed to carve passed people.
    We were also having some engine problems. Every time I came in after our mud packing, practice, and heat race, the engine was very low on water. All we could do was top it off every time, and open up the radiator cover all the way for maximum cooling.
    My dad and I made some changes to the car that we thought would not only give us more forward bite and drive, but also more side bite to get me through the corner faster. I was starting way at the back for the main, a 10th place starting spot out of 12 cars. I knew it was going to be a tough drive getting to the front, but I thought we had a car to do it.
    Right from the start I was advancing positrons, nearing the middle of the race, I was already up to the lead pack, and then all of a sudden, the motor started shutting down. I came to a stop out of turn two. I wasn't sure what had happened at first. I tried restarting the engine, and it re-fired. So I dropped it back into gear and took off. I was starting last on the restart, so I had to try to fight my way back to the front, again. I gained many positions again, but then, my engine starting cutting out again. It would run for a few seconds, then shut off, then re-fire and run for a few more seconds. At that point I knew it had to be something with the ignition. It was very frustrating to pass cars, and then have the engine die and give the positions right back, and have to do it all over again. I didn't want to pull off, but the problem was getting worse and worse as the race went on until finally, when the checkers flew, it died going across the finish line.
    After they pushed me off the track, we found out what had gone wrong. Two of the spark plug wires where cut from the hood and where shorting them out. This made it constantly shut off. Even with a hurt engine, I still advanced a position, ending up 9th. It was real disappointing that we had those engine problems because I thought we had a very strong car, capable of a top 3, or maybe even a win.
    The next day after the race, we did some tests on the motor to figure out why it was always low on water. We found that it was pushing water out of cylinders #2 and #3, and ironically the spark plug wires that were cut were on cylinders #1 and #4. We also found after we pulled the oil out, that it was half oil, and the other half water. We had to send the engine to USAC for repair, and this put us out of the mini-series points race since we weren't going to be able to get the engine back in time for the next two races. The engine is fixed now, and ready to be sent back to us. A HUGE thank you to Lucas Oil for making this amazing oil and to K&N for their awesome filters. This engine pumped all the water out and over 2 quarts of it were mixed in with the oil.  There was No damage to any of the low end parts of this engine. Thanks to USAC for their quick assessment and repair.  We should be able to get the car all ready for the next Focus race at Hanford on September 12th. But my next USAC Midget Race is August 29th at Bakersfield.
    Thank you to all of my amazing sponsors for supporting me. Big thanks to Goodwine Glass, Lucas Oil, Orange County Tank Testing, K&N Filters, The Schankerman Family, Mothers Polish, Oakley, One Day Signs and So Cal Hi-Performance Parts. Hopefully I will have a little better luck next race at Bakersfield. Hope to see you there.


Last Updated ( Monday, 17 August 2009 15:42 )
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