Derek's Blog

Here is where I will try to keep you up to date on happenings in my life surround racing and other interesting events.

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by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Friday, 04 September 2015
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August always becomes an exciting time for me. I get to move into school, and start my cross country season. This also means I am super busy! For the second year in a row, I had a Monadnock race fall on the day of freshman orientation! With me doing sports I have been moved in for over a week but I thought it would be cool to have the car on campus. I talked to the marketing guy and he was all for it. I had my car on campus for 9-12 meeting with students and showing off my Franklin Pierce Pro 4 Modified. We were trying to draw a crowd to the race! and oh boy did I. My whole cross country team (over 40 people) decided to make the trip to the race!
 
12 came fast and it was time to head to the track. Dad and I decided to go with the same setup we had last time at this race. The car was really fast towards the end of the race. Right in first practice though, the car was not to my liking. The car had a push going into the corner, but was fast up and off the corner. I was just not happy because I could not charge the corner. We decided to swap the right side tires. It looked like the right rear was gone. The car got better but still not to my liking. It was now push in, loose off. We made a small chassis adjustment, and we put 3 fresh Hoosier tires on.
 
In the heat race I started 5th. Right on the start I got behind the 60 and got by the 11a. I settled in for a lap to then get by the 15a. The 60 got by the 93, and I tried to follow him. My car did not have enough to get by the 93. I settled in to 3rd and rode there. Brought the car home in 3rd for the heat. The car was fast, but still had a push in. I was not happy with the car but was not sure of the change we needed to do. Even at first when talking to dad I could not explain what I needed for the car. The car was straight as a bullet down the straight but was horrible getting in the corner. After I walked away for a second and regrouped we decided to check the toe, and we found our change. We had 0 toe in the car. Made perfect sense to me once dad said that. We added toe to the car, and decided to tighten the sway bar up just a little. A change I always go to for comfort.
 
After we got the car good to go, I went out to the crowd. I had over 50 people there to watch me race. It was awesome to see my whole cross country team there at the race. They even made signs for me! I had to head back to the car quickly though it was race time! I was starting 1st.

 
The plan was to try and check out out front and hold on! Right away on the start I got out front but had the 60 right on my bumper. He eventually worked his way around me by lap 4. I settled him and just hit my marks. We both opened a lead on 3rd and 4th. The 60 opened 8 car lengths on me by lap 12, but the whole time my spotter (my dad) was going just hit your line, he will come back to you. Lap 12 I knew it was go time and I was holding nothing back, and boy was my dad right. I slowly started to close. By lap 17 I was a car length back. He opened it back up to 3 lap 18 when we lapped the 2, But I was back in to running him down. Lap 19 we hit a pack of 5 cars. My plan was to get by them and try the pass. Coming to 3 to go I was at his bumper lapping the last car, and he spun. He hit my nerf bar, but that was it. the caution came out. It was now a 4 lap shout out.
 
Right on the start he got me. I jammed the shiftier only part the way into 4th. I was forced to push the clutch in and get it fully into fourth gear. He opened 3 car lengths on me. We rode there and I brought the car home in 2nd. The car was just a light snug on entry but was good. We will be even better next time. The coolest part of the whole race was having my whole cross country team come down on to the track to celebrate! A whole 50 people for the picture! That was awesome!
 
I can not thank all my sponsors enough! They are adidas Motorsports, Franklin Pierce University, BaddAss Incorporated, Marshall's Jewelers, Shibles Family Mattress, Bellingham Parts Plus, RN Landscaping Management and RH2way Racing Communications enough for all their support! If you know anyone who wants to get involved with helping a race team please let me know. Any amount of help helps out a lot more than people think.
 
The next race for the Pro 4 Modifieds was scheduled for September 12th. Sadly I will be away in Pennsylvania for a cross country race. Also I want to send my sorrow out to the club for having to cancel that race as a whole. The next race will now be September 19th at Waterford Speedbowl! I want to better my 3rd place finish!
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A great run at Stafford Speedway

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Monday, 08 July 2013
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After 2 weeks of scrambling to get the engine fixed, it was finally race day at Stafford Motor Speedway! I was ready to prove that the time spent in the garage fixing everything and making it perfect does pay off. The pits opened at 1:30 so we rolled out of our house at 12. When we got to the track we got right in and started to unpack. Since we had 2 hours till practice we unloaded and made sure everything was prepared. When Mark Giordiano showed up, I walked up to the track and he helped by walking me through the line. {Cont.}

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How to break up a winter without racing.

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Friday, 01 February 2013
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During the off season every racer misses racing, more than anything else.

For the past couple of winters, to stay in the racing mode, I took to doing charity go-karting events! This year it was and event at Checkered Flag Raceway in Haverhill, MA for the 3rd Annual RAC 100! Making it even more special was I went with my close friend Mike Horn!

During the event were going up against 46 other racers from around New England! Luckily we both got in some practice laps the previous Saturday; this helped prepared both of us to race! The way the event works is you’re guaranteed three (3), ten (10) lap races. Each race has 6 drivers in it and those with the top 20 average finishes would be put in to a 35 lap semifinal race. The top 5 in the semifinal then moved to the 100 lap feature race! From the beginning I had my back against the wall and started 4th in the first heat! But I was ready to go, and on the first lap going thru the corkscrew, I was spun out and moved back to 5th. I was able to rebound to 4th, but I had a lot more than a 4th place finish in me. I was mad at being spun out and moved out of the way. This is not the way I learned to race. I was about to throw the towel in thinking everyone would race like that. Mike Horn calmed me down and said a little bit of bumping won’t hurt me. Now I was ready for the second race, where I once again started 4th.(cont.)...


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My final race of the season.

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Monday, 22 October 2012
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Being a full time student I had to go to school before heading over to Thompson Speedway for some practice. I thought 11am would never come but it did and I was ready to go to the race track!

When I got outside I saw it was raining and hoped it would stop! The drive to the track went by fast. Once I arrived at the track I was ready to get suited up and start practice. Due to the rain, practice was delayed for a little, but only set it a hour behind schedule. This gave me time to talk with my Canadian friends who came down to race with us. But, I didn’t really want to socialize; I wanted to get on the track.

Since I lacked laps around Thompson we decided to run the first practice, even though it was a green race track. This gave me time to learn and adapt to the track and the different lines. Right off the start I was hugging the bottom of the track, which was slowing me down. I started to move up the track and the car just got faster and faster. I found my first problem for the weekend. I was hitting the rev limiter early, but that’s a good sign. It meant I was going fast. For the second practice we decided to tighten the car up and see if I could get a little bit lower but hold my momentum. Unfortunately I was never really able to get going. I had run up on the 66 fairly quickly and went to go around him. Just then the Unlimited cars started to pass us. To make sure I didn’t wreck I pulled to the bottom and let the cars by. Then just as Ii was getting going again, practice was over. I felt extremely

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Getting to race the Fall Final at Stafford Speedway

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Tuesday, 02 October 2012
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When I was younger, the Fall Final at Stafford Speedway was a race I always  dreaming to be racing at, and this year at the 40th Fall Final I got my chance. The Pro 4 Modifieds were added to the Saturday line up and my chance had arrived as I planned on putting the #27 up front. This weekend though came after having the engine out and putting a new crankshaft and bearings in the week before. as we had a near miss of blowing it up at Monadnock speedway when an oil line broke.

I was different to be up at 6 am and and heading to the track by 9. Showing up early gave us time to get prepared and setup for the day. Practice didn’t start till 1pm. This gave us time to walk around and look at the track and become prepared mentally. Another big plus was it gave time for the track to dry from the overnight rains. Since we were the 8th division out on the track, it gave me time to watch the different racing grooves and watch to see how the track changed with rubber being put down.

After what seemed forever,.......

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An off weekend and Monadnock again

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Tuesday, 18 September 2012
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Many peoples idea of an off weekend is relaxing with family and doing non-racing things. My idea of an off weekend is holding a sponsor appreciation day. On Sept 8, I held one from 11am to 2pm at Marshall's Jewelers to give back to my local sponsors. It was a day full of seeing old fans and making new ones. We gave away pictures, balloons, apparel and even a $50 gift certificate to Marshall’s Jewelers.  It was cool to hear stories from people that have been racing fans forever and even from a guy who raced. It was also cool to show people what I can do for my sponsors.

After the sponsor appreciation day, Dad and I went to a family friend’s 50th anniversary party. It was great to see friends I haven’t seen in some time and celebrate a great accomplishment.

Even thou I had a supposed off weekend from racing doesn’t mean I have a week off in the garage. And, even thou I won at Monadnock the week before I wasn’t 100% happy with the setup. The car had tightened up by the end of the race. So, to help the issue we raised the right rear spring rate a little and got the car finalized for the race.

This week, it was only Dad and I heading to the race track. Mom and my sister Nichole were heading off to a family friend’s wedding. Once we got to the track it was a really relaxed day. We had plenty of time as we were the last division to hit the race track. This put us 10th in the rotation.

I was very eager to hit the track and see what the changes would do. The car ended up being loose, but loose is fast and that is was. In fact, the car was a little too loose for me to be comfortable though. As we review the setup after practice the loose condition ended up being the stagger had opened up too much. That was an easy fix though.

The plan for the second practice was to find a line and get in a rhythm. I did that right away and got comfortable. When I really got into my rhythm trouble came, going down into turn 3 the car just came around on me. I started


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Twin State and my first top 5 of the year.

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Wednesday, 29 August 2012
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After a frustrating start to the season, I always try to go to the track with a open mind. That was truly the case for Twin State Speedway. 

The week working on the cars was easy. The Left rear panel looked like new! We made some changes to the engine and kept our fingers crossed hoping for the power to be under the hood and a solid finish. I loaded up Friday night due to having cross country practice Saturday morning before heading to the track. 

Arriving at the track early gave me some time to talk to the 5 car of Dan Meservey, but it wasn't for long. The pits gate opened and it was time to go racing! Practice started at 4 and we were the first division out on the track. I would suit up quickly and I started to get mentally ready for the track. Once I rolled on to the track I started to visualize the line. Once the green dropped, I found my line and started to feel it out. 

The car felt good right out of the box. I was following the 66 car for a little. I didn't want to get into a race, so I just held a line behind him and kept feeling the track out. Right before practice ended he would come out of turn 2, a little too high. This caused him to smack the wall. Fortunately, he was able to drive it back to the pits. 

For 2nd practice the goal was to just feel the track out again. The only trouble I would have would be my first lap. The 32 of Dan Fresh spun out right in front of me. In an effort to not hit him I stomped on the brakes and spun it out. This allowed me to be able to drive away and finish off a successful practice session. 

The heat race was up next at 6pm! I started 4th. The goal was to settle in and feel the car out. I had new tires on. The start of the race would see me falling back three positions. I settled into 7th and felt out the car. At the start I was driving the car very hard. Every corner the nose would wash up the track and I lost all my speed. The last three laps were my best. I started to catch the other limited division cars. What happened is I slowed down and let the car come to me. That would now be 

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What I do with my down time between race weekends

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Wednesday, 22 August 2012
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After my Waterford Speedbowl race, it was great to have a weekend off!

To keep up with increasing the exposure of myself and my racing to everyone I decided to do some public appearances. The first one would have me at Europa Food Inc. in Chepachet, Rhode Island for the Cars, Bras, and Handlebars Charity cruise night! It was a smaller event, but it was great to help out a great cause, and raise money, and donate bras for breast cancer. The second event we planned on attending was the Cumberland Rhode Island fair, but due to rain, I would stay home! That day didn't go to waste. I decided to visit with one of my sponsors, Marshall's Jewelry! A portion of our discussion as was about  an event at his store on September 8th, as a day for me to bring my car down to the shop and meet with fans! Make sure to stay tuned for special offers on that day!

As the week went on, I would get the car nice and clean for one of the biggest car shows in the area. It would take place in Mendon, Massachusetts at Imperial Car on Friday August 17th. It ran from 5 to 11. Having to bring the race car in on a trailer, we decided to show up at 4:30 which was a bad decision. It was so full, they turned us away and told us we had to drive the car in and park the trailer someplace else. Dad and I wanted to blow the car show off. At the last second we were able to stop at Certified Sales across from the car show and they let us unload and park the trailer on their lot. A great big thanks to the owner Brian for allow us access to their lot and a shout out to the Certified Sales, Inc. staff as well. I then got the cool task of driving the race down the break down lane to the car show. The looks on the passerbyers was priceless.

After getting parked, we were parked next to Tinio race cars and team, which included three Thompson modified's, a late model, and a tour car! It was race car alley! The neat thing being near them was, I was the only race car that allowed kids to sit in the car. This meant I always a huge crowd around me! At the end of the night, I figured out I had over 250 kids......

 

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Wacky Weekend at Waterford

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Friday, 17 August 2012
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To begin the month of August we were staying with friends, the Stanford family, for race weekend. It was nice because before heading to the track, I was able to get in a swim, which felt awesome since it was going to be a hot day at the race track for sure. 1:30 came which meant time to leave and I was feeling confident about the race. My Waterford Speedbowl debut last year had no luck in it. I had carburetor issues, then wrecked on lap 3. This year I was ready to turn that luck around and finish extremely well.

It was an interesting start at the track as parking at the track was crazy. They had 7 divisions there, including 2 touring divisions. Let’s just say they had us parked very close together. Practice was first up, but we had a little bit of a wait. The Pro 4’s would be the 5th division on to the track. I started rolling up to practice, but they had me wait for the second grouping of practice, but then decided to throw me out onto the track for the rest of the 1st practice. I quickly started to feel out the line, and the car. We had made some changes to the setup of the car which hopefully would help the handling, and it did. I was also able to stay out for the 2nd group and refine my racing line, and the car was fast. On the final lap, I spun out, trying to go harder and harder in the corner to find more speed. I just found my limit.

We made no changes for the 2nd practice. I got in and went out on to the track. I would be in the second group. I would run a few laps before a caution, which would later save me came out. A mini stock truck apparently wanted to come out on to the track. As I’m driving around the track, I start smoking. My dad gets tells me shut down the motor and get to bottom of the track. He tells me I just leaked oil all over the track. I was pushed back to the pits and began the search for the leak. We started by searching the oil pan for a crack or a bolt loose. We just could not find anything. It was then we took off the oil filter and made sure there was nothing cracked or loose there. Right before it was time to say we were done I found the leak. There was a slice in the oil line coming from the oil cooler.

Then came the next question, is the engine hurt or did I get it shut down quick enough? We tried to use my in-Car camera to see if I did, but the recording stopped before we could tell if I shut down the car before zero pressure. It was now off to talk to fellow racers for sound advice, and after seeing there was still a quart of oil left in the pan, we decided we would try to race. We filled the engine up and started it up. Everything sounded normal and nothing looked or sounded weird.

The plan was to run a few laps in the heat race to make sure everything was good, then set it loose for the feature. I started last in the heat race. As the heat race approached, I was nervous about if the engine was going to hold but I was ready to go. I got out on the track and started to rev the engine up and checking all my gauges. I lined up and was ready to go. I shifted in to 4th on the start and hit the gas. The engine just stopped! It lost all its power. I pulled it down and into pit road. I tried to restart it. It started then died fast. Now I was very frustrated and stumped. It didn’t seem to want to get any gas. Once I brought it back to the pits, the car started. We all looked at each other. We decided to change the carburetor to not take a chance. We also took apart the fuel lines to make sure everything is working correctly. Once we changed the carburetor it was a waiting game to see if the engine will hold, and if the car will run.

Our feature was the 4th one out and I was starting 12th. We had a long wait before the race but it came fast. Once we got out there, I was watching my gauges to make sure all was good, but I was ready to go. On the start I would quickly pick off the 66 car and move to 11. From there it was time to chase down more cars. I wouldn't be able to gain or lose them. I just kept hitting my line. I could feel the carburetor breaking up whenever I hit the gas. It was frustrating but I did everything I could. On Lap 18, we would see the only caution of the race. The 86 car had spun out. I restarted 10th. The car was handling really good, just couldn't get off the corner like I usual. I was going to try my hardest thou to get the limited win. Right on the start I was forced to drop back as the 75 pushed up and almost collected me in the wall. I wouldn't make it easy for him to keep 9th. With 5 to go, the 32 got loose and washed up. I got caught behind him and had to settle there. I hopped to follow him as he tried lap after lap to get around the 75. I would have to settle for 10th.

This wasn't the finish I wanted but for the day I had, it was a great rebound. I want to send out a couple of special thanks to our friend the Stanford’s for hosting us for the weekend as well has crewing the car on Saturday night. Your help is greatly appreciated. I also want to thank some of my family, Uncle Ed, Uncle Carl and their families, for coming out to cheer me on. On Wednesday I will be at Europa Food Inc. in Chepachet, Rhode Island. If you’re in the area make sure to stop by and say hi. My next race will be at Monadnock speedway on August 18th!

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