It was another cool September night at the race track. The Super Stock race was scheduled to be the last race of the night.
“Super Stocks, cars number 99, 23, 54, 555 and 55, line up in the staging area,” I heard over the loudspeakers.
I was car number 23, starting on the outside pole position. I was nervous, because the last thing I wanted to do would be to screw up and wreck in front of the whole field of cars behind me.
But, I was also excited. I was starting up front and I had one good-handling race car. I got into my car, strapped in, lined up and waited for the Sportsman Modified race to get done.
Fast-forward to the start of the race.
With a blue number 99 car to my inside, we took the green flag. The 99 car got a little loose coming out of turn two, but I had all kinds of traction on the high side and I rocketed past him.
In a few laps, I was all by myself out front.
The only sound I was able to hear was the sound of my own engine – and nobody else’s. It was a good feeling to be leading the race. I had led before, but only for a short time.
I was sitting on pins and needles, just waiting for another car to pass me at any given time.
Five laps go by, then 10. The race isalmost halfway over.
“Yellow, yellow, yellow,” I hear race control say on the one-way radio in my ear.
Caution flag is out, and that means somebody wrecked and we have to line back up double file and have a restart. Being the leader, I was able to choose the outside lane. Waiting for the second place car to pull up alongside me, the smell of exhaust and hot tires filled the inside of my race car.
Eventually, four-time track champion Billy Duprey’s 44 car came roaring up to my inside and we were ready to take the green flag again. With the green flag back out, the 44 car put up more of a fight than the 99 did.
However, I was still able to clear him coming out of turn two.
“I just beat Billy Duprey on the restart,” I thought. “I might have a chance of winning this thing.”
Two more cautions came out during the race, and on each restart, I was able to pull away from Duprey and the rest of the field.
On the 25th lap, I took the checkered flag.
Filled with relief that I won the race, my thoughts turned to my father, who had passed away a year prior. He had helped me with my racing operation as much as he possibly could, and I knew that he would have been proud to see the 23 car take the checkered flag that night. We put so much effort into the 2019 season and never had much on-track success, but on that cool September night last fall at Devil’s Bowl, all that hard work paid off.