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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Running well at my most difficult track

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Tuesday, 04 September 2012
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After the first top 5 of my Pro 4 modified career I looked to Monadnock to continue my success. With it being the 4th time for me this season at Monadnock, I was ready to conquer it! This time we were going back with a complete different setup, hoping to find speed.

The ride by now seemed familiar and went by fast. Once we unloaded the car and were ready to go, I took a walk to go see the track and envision my line. Once I got back to the trailer, I found I had a mess to pick up. It seems the pit box decided it would take a ride off the trailer, spilling everything everywhere. I figured, if that was our only problem the whole night.....

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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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Racing North of the Border, My trip to Canada.

by Derek Robbie
Derek Robbie
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on Wednesday, 01 August 2012
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Immediately, from the end of my race at Monadnock Speedway on July 21st, I had my eyes set on the trip to Canada. We had a feverous few days getting the car prepared and before you knew it Thursday came.

I had the car loaded when dad came home from work and it was off to Stan Mertz's house we went. My dad, mom and myself would ride up to Canada with Stan in his motor home, as he offered to haul up my car, which really was awesome gesture! The trip seemed like it took forever. The funny part was it only toke us about 3 minutes to get through Canadian Customs over the border. We all decided we would take the ride to Delaware speedway and sleep in the parking lot. We would finally arrive at 3am.

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