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Making the best of a new opportunity

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Sep 01 in Derek' Racing Stories 0 Comments

After our unfortunate luck at Waterford on August 3rd I thought my season flashed away from me in the blink of an eye, but yet again, the racing world proved to be an awesome place. I got a call and an offer I couldn’t turn down. Dan Meservey Jr. called to asked if I wanted to drive his #5 Pro 4 Modified. I still can’t thank him enough for the offer and I was ready to see what I could do with a top notch race car.  

Since I moved into college on August 24th, dad was all by himself to prepare the car. Dad would go to the Meservey’s shop and he and Dan would spent a day getting the car ready for me. It was only a few days until race day, and I was ready to see what I could do. I knew most of the day was to be about getting a setup I was comfortable with, and getting comfortable driving the car. Dad picked me up at Franklin Pierce University in the early afternoon and I started to mentally prepare myself for the day.

When we got to the track it was all business. I needed to get in the car and make any last minute adjustments to be sure I fit correctly. It was the first time I sat in the car, and they did a very nice job fitting the car to me without me there. I just needed a little padding in the rib area of the seat and I was very comfortable and ready for the first practice.

My plan was to just go out in practice and feel out the car’s setup. We had a similar spring and shock package I have on my own car, but with minor adjustments to the shock settings. Right away in first practice I felt comfortable, and they said I was very smooth. The nose of the car settled down very nicely, and it was just all about adjusting to the car. We decided to make no changes and just keep getting seat time. Dan gave me a few hinters to try with my line. This time I had a slight push going into the corner and a little loose off. I believe it might have been due to the track getting more rubber on it from all the cars practicing. After talking to dad, and Dan they decided to raise the pan hard bar on the chassis to help the push in, in hopes to help the loose off. It helped the push in a little, but it didn’t help the off. I was much looser, but after talking to them we decided to keep the changes and see what the car will do in the heat race as we were putting newer tires on it and go from there.

In the heat race I started 2nd. I wanted to get a good start and just settle in. I still needed to get a little bit more comfortable. Right on the start I got loose, kicked slightly sideways but then got the car straighten quickly. The 07 cleared me and the 1m was looking. We dragged raced for the first 2 laps, but the caution came out after 1 lap. I would hold on to 2nd. On this restart I want to get to his bumper and hold on, and I did that.  I got behind the 07 and started to get comfortable with the car. I wasn’t able to catch him, but he wasn’t pulling away. With 2 laps to go the 07x got to my bumper and started to pressure me. On the white flag lap he got under me but I held him off and finished 2nd. The car was still loose off. I could drive the car in deep but couldn’t hit the gas to exit off the corner well. After debriefing with Dan and my Dad, we decided to go back to the setup we had at the start of the day.

For the feature I would start pole position. I was hoping the car would have more grip off and I could get out front and lead some laps. I also knew I needed a few more laps of seat time to get where I wanted to be. Right on the start I got out front and wanted to just be smooth and hit my marks, but I had the 07x glued to my bumper. It took him until lap 3 but he got underneath me and now I had to start to chasing him down. The lone caution would come out on lap 4 for a spun car.  This time on the restart I got a great start and dragged raced him into turn 1. He got the position and I got my self-cleared  in behind him. Coming out of turn 4 he got loose, I closed to his bumper then made a mistake. Since I was still learning the car, I lifted to give him plenty of room instead of closing the gap more. This allowed him to open up a few car lengths on me. It only made me more determined to chase him down. Part way through the race it started to get hairy as lap traffic started to play a role. I used the lap traffic to my advantage an opened up my advantage on the 3rd place car. Now all I had to do was focus on 1st. We ended up playing a cat and mouse game after half way. He would gain a little on me, and then I would gain back. It was a very even race. I was hoping for a caution to have another shot at him but I had to settle for 2nd place. I was happy with my performance because he never got away and I kept getting quicker and quicker as the race went on and got comfortable. I was also able to clinch the win on the Monadnock Triple Crown series.

I cannot thank Dan Meservey Jr. enough for giving me this great opportunity. I also have to thank my dad for all his hard work getting the car ready and I have to say thank you to Mark Giordano for his help during the day in me get comfortable. I also have to thank all my sponsors for their continue support. They are RAD, BaddAss Incorporated in Bellingham, MA, Marshall's Jewelers, with locations in Bellingham, MA and Milford, MA, Shibles Family Mattress in Gilford, NH, Ugly Duck Communications in Scituate, RI, R N Landscape Management, and Bellingham Parts Plus.

 

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