Solid Performance Not Quite Able to Overcome Pill Draw
Abbottstown, PA – August 8, 2020 – By Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
In racing you only control certain elements of your team’s performance and results. There is an ever-present and necessary component of luck that every racer must depend on. You can’t complain about it. You can’t expect it. You can only hope it falls your way.
At registration, each team participates in a random pill draw to set the heat lineups for the evening. That is the point where luck first enters the picture each night. 37 cars were signed in at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for the 358 sprint car portion of the Hank Gentzler Memorial event. The field would be divided into four 8-lap heats, with five cars to qualify for the main event from each, including the top 3 advancing to the redraw for the top 12 starting spots. Unfortunately, Lady Luck did not show up to assist Newlin Racing with their draw and the result placed Zach in the 9th and final starting spot in the fourth heat.
What the team can control is their preparation and they had done that. The driveline and torque tube issue that occurred the previous week had been repaired, routine maintenance was completed and the car was set up by combining notes and knowledge. They were ready and it showed. Zach was able to drive the Smith Concrete & Construction / J.W. Smith Auto Body / T&M Homebuilders, Inc. / Heather Sims, Realtor / Walker Performance Filtration / Newlin Bar Service #11z from 9th to 4th in the heat race and transfer to the A-main. A little luck in the form of a caution flag in the final laps of the heat would have been helpful as Newlin was fast and closing on 3rd place. Getting into the top three would have put him in the redraw, but again luck didn’t show itself.
The qualifying result translated to a 16th starting spot for the feature event. By the time a caution flag flew on lap 4, Zach was plus 3, running in 13th. The second caution flag of the event waved on lap 10th just after Newlin had advanced another 3 positions to 10th. While he lost a couple spots on the ensuing restart, Newlin was able to get one of them back by lap 14. As the race drew to its conclusion, he was able to make the pass to move back into 10th position before the checkered flag flew on the 20 lap main event.
Unfortunately the team learned after the event that there would be a 2-position penalty for contact with the orange cone on the final restart. Officially it was a 12th place finish for the team. The contact with the cone occurred when cars bunched up, causing a few cars in the back half of the top 10 to get on and off the throttle a few times as they approached the cone. When Newlin, along with the car in front of him, finally got back on the throttle, the acceleration pulled both cars down on the straightaway, with the car in front just missing the cone. Unfortunately the 11z clipped the cone, thus causing the officials to apply the rule and penalize the team. From the Lincoln Speedway rule book: “On single file restarts, all cars must pass between the cone and the outside wall in single file order. Any car that passes another car before the cone, knocks the cone over or goes to the inside of the cone will be penalized two (2) positions at the next restart or at the end of the race if there are no restarts.”
Regardless of that incident, Newlin was seeing the positives in the night. “We were better. A better starting position would have helped tremendously. We were way better in the closing laps of the feature. The car was much more stable. I am really looking forward to building on the setup for Friday.”, he shared.
What would have happened if he would have gotten his wish for a better starting spot in the heat by way of a better pill draw? What would have happened if the caution had come out on lap 6 of his heat? What if he had made the redraw and pulled a front row starting spot for the feature? The car was good but would that little bit of luck been the difference between 12th and victory lane? We’ll never know. That’s just how racing is. You play the hand you are dealt and measure your performance in ways other than just the finishing position. You build on that, keep working hard and remember the famous quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”.
That opportunity might be at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, August 14th when the team next hits the track.
As always, we want to express our sincere appreciation to our sponsors and marketing partners!
Smith Concrete and Construction
J.W. Smith Auto Body
T&M Homebuilders, Inc.
Heather Sims, Realtor
Walker Performance Filtration
Newlin Bar Service
Advanced Septic Services
Hershman Racing Fuels
Kirby Kitner Excavating
BAPS Auto Paints & Supply
Engler Machine & Tool
River Bend Hop Farm & Brewery
BR Motorsports Ignitioneering
American Legion Post 177 Newport
The Podium Awards
Fastner Specialties Motorsports
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