Wheelman Determined to Rebound as Busy Summer Kicks Off in Pennsylvania
Millerstown, PA – May 24, 2021
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
As is often the case during the 2021 racing season, Zach Newlin kicked off this past weekend by strapping into the Mansberger Motorsports No.21m 358 sprint car at Williams Grove Speedway. This weekend was going to be a little different though, as he was also scheduled to make his 410 sprint car season debut the following night at Port Royal Speedway. Unfortunately for Newlin, the weekend was going to be anything but typical for the wheelman who has established a track record of success.
Friday night, May 21st started off pretty normal with 21 358 sprint car teams signed in at Williams Grove Speedway, which meant the usual three 8-lap heats from which all cars would qualify for the night’s A-main but only the top 4 finishers would make the redraw.
Zach started 5th in the second heat and was able to miraculously miss a hard 2-car crash in turn one on the start, somehow squeaking between the crash and the outside guardrail to avoid contact. On the ensuing restart, Newlin made a strong move into the third position in turn 3. He would go on to ride home in third to lock himself into the redraw.
That part of the night seemed pretty normal. The redraw results placed Newlin in the 8th starting spot for the 20-lap feature. From the drop of the green, Newlin sensed the handling was off in the Mansberger Motorsports 21m. On lap 8, things went from bad to worse and it became apparent the issue was with the right rear tire. The tire went completely flat, forcing Newlin to the pits. He was unable to return. The team determined the cause of the tire failure was a bit unusual. The tire was not cut or punctured; the valve stem had failed. These types of things are just part of the sport, but it certainly wasn’t the norm for Newlin to end the night early in the pits. He was credited with an 18th place finish.
Next up for Mansberger Motorsports will be the 358 Sprint Car Summer Series event on June 11th at Williams Grove Speedway.
All Zach Daddy could do was accept Friday night’s results and move on to Saturday at Port Royal. After a couple prior unsuccessful attempts to kick off their season, Burke Motorsports was finally able to roll their beautiful orange and blue No.54 Grove Financial & Associates, Dillman Hauling, LLC., Heather Sims Realtor, T&M Homebuilders, Kirby Kitner Excavating, Walker Performance Filtration, Sander Engineering, DMI, out of the trailer to go racing in 2021. Earlier in May, weather and a family situation had thwarted two prior attempts to race.
Zach and the team would need to jump right into the deep end of the pool with their brand new Maxim Chassis. The format called for time trials, which meant there would be no chance to shake down the new car, other than the few circuits he would get in hot laps.
For those who aren’t familiar, even if they are from the same manufacturer, no two frames behave the same. Each one has its own personality and the team must learn what it wants to get the most speed out of it.
When he signed in for the night, Newlin had some luck at the pill draw. He drew the lowest pill, giving him the first shot at the track for qualifying. Time trials quickly provided feedback on the new car, indicating it was not at its best using a familiar setup they had used in the past on other cars. They were at the bottom of the charts and had work to do.
The 24 cars on hand then participated in three 8-lap heat races, which were lined up based on their times in qualifying, with the quickest times up front. Despite making numerous, significant changes to the car prior to their heat race, Zach was unable to move forward from his 9th starting spot in the heat race. Upon his return to the pits, the team went back to work again. They discovered an issue in the rear suspension and were able to resolve it before the feature.
Given their 24th starting position, the team’s plan in the A-main was to assess the car 5 laps into the event. If Newlin was able to pass cars and move forward, he would continue to race, but if not, they would call it a night and save their resources for another night. While the issue they resolved prior to the feature was definitely a big step in the right direction, the car was still not where it needed to be, so he called it a night 5 laps into the race, resulting in an official 24th place finish.
Having lost a couple opportunities earlier in May to begin to learn what this new car wants to make it fast, Newlin and the Burke Motorsports team will need a couple more nights to start to figure out their new piece. Even the majority of this particular night was spent resolving a suspension issue, which means they don’t really yet know if the changes they made earlier in the evening would have worked had that issue not existed.
That’s how this sport is. Three steps forward, two steps backwards. As a team, you can’t lose sight of the fact that the net result is forward progress. Fans want and expect quick success but it takes time for a team and a driver to make a car fast, especially when each has only a dozen 410 sprint car starts on their resume. Both Newlin and Burke Motorsports have been very successful in their past racing endeavors. In time, they will find success in a 410 as well.
Next up for Burke Motorsports, tentatively, is the 2-day Weikert Memorial at Port Royal Speedway with the All Star Circuit of Champions on May 29-30. Follow the social media outlets listed below for all of Zach’s schedule updates.
Photos from 5-22-21 at Port Royal Speedway
SPECIAL THANKS from Zach Newlin & Burke Motorsports
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