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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My first Pro4 Win!

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Tuesday, 22 April 2014
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The first race is always the most nerve-racking race of the year. You are anxious to get to the track, to see how the season will go and most importantly if the car will stay in one piece and not have any leaks. For me, last week practice brought even more nerves........
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What day is it?

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Wednesday, 16 April 2014
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It’s finally here! No not spring, race season! With the unlimited engine, and new brake package, practice was going to be very important. We looked at all the tracks practice dates  and picked April 12th at Monadnock Speedway as the one to go to. Since I’ll race there seven times this year, the more laps I can receive around the ¼ mile tricky oval the better.

Practice is also important to make sure nothing will break or fall off on the car, and the engine is ready to go!

So on April 12th we loaded up and took the drive up to Winchester, NH ready to learn, my main theme for the upcoming season. My other theme is patience and practicing plenty of it.

Once we got there we quickly started to prepare the car unknowing what was going to happen. I was just ready to be back on the track and my time was coming fast. The first task was to go out for the first round and let me get a feel for the new brakes, and the power of the new engine. Once I got comfortable, I opened her up and started to find my driving line. The car was very loose off the turn, but it was a very successful first run.

After a fast check up on everything it was time for round two. This time we added a little wedge in the car to hopefully help the loose off condition. It didn't help the car but it did helped me learn throttle control and to find the edge of the car’s traction. Again another successful run for learning but unfortunately this would be my last run.

After returning to the pits we found an oil leak coming from the back of the engine. Exactly the reason why we attend a practice before the first race day. This would end our day and it was back to the shop to fix the problem.

After returning home and pulling the engine apart we found out the rear main seal was the culprit for the leaking. After a discussion with Les, our engine builder, he told us to go ahead and put in a new one. So dad and I went at it and took our time to make sure it was done right. We got it done, and so far it seems to be holding, but you will never know till you hit the race track. I want to give credit to Les though, even a few days after the engine is put back together, he is searching for other plans if this doesn't work 100%. That what I like to see from my engine builder, dedication.

So, if you’re in the area on Saturday, make sure to stop by Monadnock Speedway as I make my full Pro 4 debut. Practice starts at 2pm, and racing starts at 5pm. It will be a great night of racing.

I also have to give a thank you to all my sponsors for making this happen for me. Thank you RADBadAss Incorporated in Bellingham, MA, Marshall's Jewelers, with locations in Bellingham, MA and Milford, MA, Shibles Family Mattress in Belmont, NH and Ugly Duck Communications in Scituate, RI, Amsoil, and Rod End Supply.
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Championship night

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Tuesday, 21 January 2014
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Whenever you win a championship, night of the Banquet is always special. Leading up to the Pro 4 banquet, I spent the whole week preparing my championship speech and hoping it was good.

It was amazing how quickly Saturday January 18th came for me. Thankfully during the afternoon I refereed two town basketball games. They definitely helped keep my mind off the speech I had to give, but the time still passed very fast and it was soon time to make the speech! We arrived at the banquet right around 7 just before dinner started. Dinner passed quickly and it was getting close to that time. The emcee started by going through the drivers in the Pro4 division point’s standings then on continued to the limited division. It went 3rd place, then 2nd place, and then it was my turn, the championship presentation.

To begin with Dad and I got our trophies, mine for the driver’s championship and his as the owner’s championship. Besides the trophies we also got personalized Championship Pro 4 Mod jackets! In addition I was presented a purple Hoosier Tire Championship jacket. The pictures clicked off rapidly and it was time for my speech! Once my heart slowed down and looked up the speech when very well! It thanked all those who made it possible for me, and made sure I also thanked our series officials and sponsors. I can’t say my delivery of the speech was perfect but I am getting better speaking in front of people for sure.

As the awards ceremony went on our table started to fill up with awards. During one of the presentation a very nice quote from Dan Meservey Sr., a mentor for me since I was very young, was read. The quote was read as I received the Most Improved Driver award! It is such an awesome award to get because its voted on by your peers! Dad also won the Mechanic of the Year, and to top it off I received the perfect attendance award! All in all a good night to celebrate a championship! I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me.

On another note, this off season I have decided to do a 10 week video blog touching upon different topics about my race car, and career. The idea came from when I was in Indianapolis at the PRI show and talking to one of my mentors, Anna Marie Strawhand. She gave me the idea, and I thought it was a great way to give more interaction to my fans. I began the first week by talking about where the car was at that point in time. Week 2 I talked about the brake upgrade, and how we built new brackets to mount them. In week 3 I talked about the roof upgrade and how it will make my car look even nicer! In week 4 I talked about…well actually, tune in to the video to learn what the video is about. They are posted on Saturday around 9am.

In closing I want to thank all you for all the support this season, and I hope to bring even more interaction to my fans in the years to come.


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A visit to PRI

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Monday, 23 December 2013
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Good morning PRI! The morning breakfast, and talk show put on by Dave Despain was awesome this year. Since Wind Tunnel on the Speed Channel was cancelled they made a new show, called Good morning PRI for Dave Despain and his special guests. The first guest, no one knew would be there, but it turned out to be the one and only Kenny Schrader! He followed by a huge name though. He was followed by the King himself Richard Petty!

They talked a lot about how it was coming up through the ranks of racing, and Richard talked about how he was always up to trying new things, if it may make him faster. There was one line that will stick with me for a while though is how he said “The fans are his sponsors.” This means, the more fans you have, they will go out and buy the products that sponsor your car. This helps keep the sponsor happy, and your race team funded!
The breakfast and show couldn’t last forever though, because it was time for the show, and my time to talk to the different company’s in the industry! Since we were flying home early Saturday morning, it meant we only had 2 days at the show! We quickly went around and started to learn about different products in the industry.

One company that really got my mind going was Design 500 who design and make custom fire suits. They spent more than 40 minutes with me, teaching me about different things to look for when look at different fire suits! Basically making sure I know I will get a good fire suit! From there they measured me for a fire suit, just in case I decided to purchase from them! No one else really educated me like Design 500!

Once 5pm came, I was off to the Lucas Oil stadium for a quick bite at the PRI after party! Free hors d'oeuvre and beverages, a live band playing and plenty of good times. With this quick snack, it was off to the famed Saint Elmo’s Steakhouse, and I found out why it was famed! The food was delicious! Dad and I had dinner with the Dan Sr. and Dan Jr. Meservey! It was awesome to catch up with them and talk about next year’s racing season. We didn’t stay out too late because I to get rest for my final day at PRI.

The show open at 9am and it was off we went. I had to get through companies quickly because at 11am I was off to the RAD booth! In the 2 hours before heading to the RAD booth, I saw one real neat thing! I saw a new quarter midget that was designed to keep the driver in the car and sitting up right! I have seen too many drivers hanging out of the left side of the quarter midget! This car still gives the left side percentage the old quarters midgets did with the drivers hanging out the lift side! I thought it was awesome, and a good innovation for the sport.

Now it was time to go to the RAD booth! My job was to promote the program and sell raffle tickets for their raffle of a Bell Helmet, and a Butler Built seat. I think I sold over 60 tickets and they had around a 1200 tickets sold over the past year! It was a fun time, and I got to talk to the president of NCPS Scott Steger ! He is a great guy and I commend what he does in motorsports! My end to working the booth came to an end fast and I was back to the show.

During the show, one visit I had to make was to my mentor, Anna Marie Strawhand. Here marketing idea are always top notch. She gave me a great idea, to further my interaction with my fans! Starting after the first of the year, for the next 10 weeks I will give you a 5 minute video every Saturday to talk about how my off season is going! Its is another tool to have for my marketing! The last thing I did at PRI was attending the Mike Loescher’s seminar about his True track laser system! It is so cool, and sometime in the future I hope to add it to my toolbox of setup tools.

As the show ended it was off to dinner! Dad and I had dinner at Buffalo Wild wings, before heading back to the hotel to relax, and pack since we had to leave for the airport at 5am! Morning came early and the journey home was nice and easy minus one event! While driving to the airport dad, left his phone in the taxi and we didn’t notice till we were through Security. Luckily the taxi driver found it and we were able to meet up with him and get his phone back! After that event, the ride home was quiet, and we were able to get home before the snow storm!

Overall our trip was another successful event! I have to thank everyone for following my racing journey this year! I look forward to an even more exciting 2014 and hope to have all you guys back to follow my journey!

Derek
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Thompson World Series Weekend

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Wednesday, 06 November 2013
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Sorry this took so long but I have been occupied in getting my College application completed. Please enjoy my view of the Thompson World Series.

Growing up around auto racing, every kid in the area’s dream was to race at Thompson Speedway! Well I have lived that dream and coming into weekend of Oct 18-20 I was preparing to make my third the World Series of racing start, and this was an important one! Talk about living the dream!

I was going for the Pro 4 Limited Division championship and my track record at Thompson didn’t look the best. The first time I was there I had zero laps going into the race due to a failed ignition in the first practice. We spent the day getting it fixed and I got the Limited win after the two leaders took each other out. Not pretty but on paper it looks good. Last year, I had a fast and good handling car but broke early in the race due to a broken ignition switch. This year we spent the weeks before the race  going thru the car several times, making sure everything in our power was ready for this weekend!

Since Friday is our practice day and school is so important I had to go to school for a half day on Friday before coming to the race track. Once 11am came, I was on my way to Thompson to get ready for practice and my heat race later that evening. Upon arrival my dad had the car unloaded and ready. All I had to do was suit up and get ready for practice! For the first practice my plan was to go out and search for the line, just like we do at most tracks. I quickly figured out turns three and four out but had some trouble understanding what to do in turns one and two. With the car being stable from the first practice, we took the second practice as more time for learning! After talking to a couple of the more experienced drivers  I discovered I needed to drive it in deeper in to 1 and come off in the higher groove in turn 2! I concentrated on doing just that and I made car even faster. With me more comfortable and we used the third practice to helping out the club! They had a new tire combination they want to run next year! I was an honor to be chosen to try them out! The tires felt very comfortable and I came back in to give them the thumbs up! I feel the new compound will be a good choice for the club next season! Even with the sort run I did they seem to be consistent much longer! Finally, since we were getting a fourth practice we would run just a few laps to scuff a new tire to size up and therefore get the right stagger for the race! The tire came in right around where we needed it to so we were good to go. 

In the heat race I would start 3rd! The plan was to clear the 80 and ride right behind the 86! If I had a 110% chance of making a clean pass I could take it but I needed to keep my nose clean. Since we had the correct amount of stagger we needed, we made no adjustments to the car! Right on the start I got around the 80 and went in pursuit for the 86! It took me a lap to get to his bumper but my car was fast! I just rode there for a while till I started to get pressure from the 6 car! I jumped on the outside and started to look for the move on the 86! Lap 5 I got on the outside and powered by the 86 to the lead! I then kept opening up my lead till the checkered! I crossed the line for my first heat race win of the year! After I got my pictures taken on pit road, I went back to the trailer to pack up for the night! Our race would be the seventh out the next night!

Since our car was solid, and many different types of rubber would be laid down on Saturday afternoon we elected to not participate in our only practice before the race on Saturday. Instead we went to my sisters volleyball game where she played great even though her team lost. After the game we brought her back to the track to see me race. Dad and I quickly went back to the car and along with Johnny Standford checked it all over. We wanted to make sure we did everything in our power to prevent anything from breaking during the race. The task was quick and luckily we found nothing wrong!

To help a friend out, I went on pit road for the Valentis Modified Series race. I was helping a fellow racer, Rob Richardi. He would make sure we had our work cut out for us! Around lap 10 of 75 he broke a hiem on the tie rod! We quickly went to work under caution to work on it! After several tries to get the correct one, we got him back out and he was still on the lead lap! Despite having almost 2 inches of toe out he stayed managed on the lead lap! Around lap 40 the caution would fly! We went back to work getting the wheels straight! About every 5 to 10 laps a caution would fly and Rob would pit every time! After another 3 pit stops rob finished his VRMS debut in 17th despite having a wrecked front end! It was a fun experience but it was now time for my race!

I would be starting in the 12th position right behind the 86, and next to the 80 who both were in the championship hunt with me. The plan was right on the start to get up on the 86’s bumper and follow him. We would only take the pass if the situation presented itself! I did exactly that! Right from the start I followed the 86 into eleventh and we went by the 16 and 32. I rode on his bumper until lap 8, planning my move then I made it. I drove to the bottom and cleared him for the limited lead and 8th place. I continued to grow my lead till lap 14 when a caution for rain would come out! Once the rain cleared it was time to go green but this time I would have no spotter. My radio had become unplugged, and I would have to drive the race more cautiously than before. On the restart I would get to sixth but quickly fell back to seventh. I would ride in seventh until lap 16 when another caution would fly for the 1m and 6 wrecking! This time I had the 86 on the outside of me. All I wanted was another solid restart and clear him. Sadly I didn't get the carburetor cleared out and I came up to speed slower than I had hoped. The 86 got beside me and cleared me on the front stretch but I didn't give up. I drove it deep in to turn 1 (I could see mom cringing, LOL). Fortunately I was able to get the car to turn on the bottom and got under him in turn 2. In doing so I forced him to over drive his car and spun out bringing out the final caution of the race. I would restart seventh again and this time I got a good restart and kept the limited lead. The last 4 laps were the longest 4 laps in my life. I thought everything that could go wrong would go wrong, but it didn't! I crossed the line in 7th overall with another limited win! I also did what I had to do to clinch the limited championship.

To win my first championship feels ever so sweet, but there are so many people that got me this championship. I first off have to thank my Dad and Mom for allowing me to do what I love and always supporting me! I also have to thank my sisters Nichole and Danielle always being there for us! A very big thank you to Mark Giordano for all the help this season! He helped from being my driving coach to helping put an engine together for me for the final 2 races! I have to give a big thank you to Les Rose for helping me finish the season by scrambling to put an engine together for me when I blew up at Canaan Fair speedway. I want to thank my girlfriend Erin for always supporting me. Big thanks to Candy from Ugly Duck Communications for all her hard work behind the scenes to promote me the best she can! I also need to give a huge thank you to all my sponsors RAD, Thredz Unlimited and  Baddass Inc., both in Bellingham, MA, Marshall's Jewelers, with locations in Bellingham, MA and Milford, MA, Shibles Family Mattressesin Belmont, NH, Red Rock Grill and bar in Upton, MA, Amsoil and Rod End Supply. Thanks also to our series sponsors Bot L Gas and RF Logic for all the support they give to the club. And finally I need to thank all the fans for their support season after season and cheering me on in what I love to do.
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