First off, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Forces who have payed the ultimate price for our freedom. It is only through their heroic efforts that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today.
Our race team kicked off the weekend at Albany Saratoga Speedway. Steve Hart and JR had made some changes to the car during the week to give it a little better balance. We were a little too hard on the right rear, then on the left rear, then we needed better front end grip so little by little each week Steve had been chipping away at getting us a solid baseline setup. We have never run Malta before so we knew the first part of the season would be getting to a point where we had a decent baseline and then making adjustments from there. All of the hard work paid off during the heat race as JR rocketed from 10th to first, passing Stewart Friesen to take the lead and setting fastest time of all heats. We knew we had hit something and were really looking forward to the feature. Unfortunately we got tagged very early on on the race and spun again during the final laps coming through the field and were unable to show our potential. It was just hard short track racing and those nights are going to happen, but we are very excited for next week to show what the car can do.
Saturday night was a great night for our race team, with everyone working together to make the most of a couple of very difficult issues. The #17 Small Block modified lost a transmission right out of warmups. While team members kept the Big Block moving through the night prepping and making adjustments, the small block team went to work and removed and replaced the whole assembly right at the track. The completed it just in time to make the feature. Because JR had missed the heat race he started dead last in 25th. He definitely made the best of it, navigating through some nasty wrecks and drove a great race through the field to finish in 4th place. The result was a real testament to the resolve of the team to get the car fixed and not quit on such a hot and difficult night.
The Big Block race was another great showing for the crew and the fight of the team. JR, Matt, and the crew had put it a lot of work during the week on the Big Block to move it forward. The car was very, very fast in the heat race and looked great all night. JR started 7th in the feature and made some quick passes in the opening laps when suddenly a huge wreck blocked the track, involving JR. He made his way down pit road and the crew discovered the panhard bar was snapped in half. With a calm hand, Matt guided the crew and they all worked perfectly together to get the damaged part removed, replaced and adjusted and send JR back to the track. Because of the damage and the the lost track time JR would start back in the 12th position.
As the green flag dropped it was evident the week's work had paid off. JR made pass after pass and even with a damaged car, ran all the way up to 5th place. It was a real fitting end to the night and it was a really proud moment to watch everyone on the team come together and keep fighting to work as one and keep JR in the hunt on the track.
We hope you all have a great Holiday and get to enjoy the beautiful the day with your families.
See you at the track,
JR Heffner Racing