Three Race Weekend Served as a Classroom for the 410 Rookie
Harrisburg, PA – September 21, 2020 – By Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Things tend to happen fast in the racing world, not just on the track but off. For Zach Newlin, September has been a whirlwind of activity and excitement.
Back in late August, thanks to Shawn and Austin Burke, Newlin had the chance to try out a 410 at BAPS Motor Speedway. He made the show that night and there were definitely positive vibes in his pit when the night was over. There was hope for more 410 opportunities, but nothing was guaranteed. Next came his September 4th victory at Williams Grove in his family’s 358 sprint car. It was his first career 358 checkered flag and his first Williams Grove win, all in his first season in the 358 division. Before that could fully sink in, Zach found himself strapping into the Burke Motorsports 410 sprint car again on Labor Day afternoon, September 7th, at Port Royal Speedway, where he earned the Hard Charger award for a 23rd to 13th run on a tough daytime surface.
Just one week later, a new sponsor contacted Newlin and Burke Motorsports and signed on with the team. At that point, the team decided to race for three consecutive nights later that week at BAPS Motor Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway and Lincoln Speedway. The latter two shows would be sanctioned by the All Star Circuit of Champions and many of those teams would be in competition at the BAPS show as well. Talk about diving into the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim. They were about to do it. Team owner Shawn Burke shared his perspective. “That’s how you get better, you race against the best, so that’s what we will do.”, he said with no hesitation.
BAPS Recap – Thursday, September 17th
The team kicked off their 3-night learning session at BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, PA. BAPS is a track where Newlin has logged many laps and has had much success over the years in the 305 sprint car division. It was also the track where he had made his 410 sprint car debut just a couple weeks earlier.
27 cars were signed in. Following time trials, they would be divided into three heat races. The top 6 from each would transfer to the A-main, with the top 4 going into a redraw for the top 12 starting positions. Zach rolled out 3rd for time trials and recorded the 20th fastest lap of the 27 cars to take time. It’s worth noting, he did so with a motor that is at a slight horsepower disadvantage to the power the top teams have under the hood. It’s not an excuse, it’s a reality, and it’s a part of their program the team hopes to someday be able to upgrade. A change of the wickerbill, a gear and a shock didn’t produce the desired results in the heat race. Newlin moved into 8th briefly but finished in 9th when the checkers flew.
Following additional adjustments, Zach would line up 24th for the A-main. He used the low line in the early going to move forward through the field. A couple cautions during the first half of the event bunched the field and provided opportunity for more advancement. Zach was up to 17th place when the caution lights flashed on once again on lap 14. He was +7 so far and poised for more, especially given the race was not yet quite half over. Unfortunately a chain reaction incident on the ensuing restart caused another car to get into the right front of his machine, which resulted in several front end suspension components being bent and forcing Newlin to the pits, ending his night. The A-main was won by Kyle Larson.
Newlin would later share, “We definitely learned things tonight but I just didn’t have a good feel all night. I’m still figuring out some of the differences between these cars and the 358 but we are making great progress together. There’s good communication among the group of us in the pits. We’re having fun working on this challenge together.“.
Williams Grove Recap – Friday, September 18th
As the team prepared to take on the All Star Circuit of Champions at the historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA in the midst of the three race stint, yet another sponsor, Dillman Hauling, LLC., signed on to help further the opportunity for Newlin. It was more than just a financial boost. It was another subtle confidence boost because someone else out there believed in him enough to see this advertising opportunity as a good one.
The Burke Motorsports, Grove Financial & Associates, Dillman Hauling, LLC., Kriner Racing Engines, Sander Engineering, DMI, Maxim Chassis #54 was one of 33 cars registered for action Friday night. Newlin would record the 29th quickest lap of the 33 cars during time trials. Zach started 8th in heat 2 and would challenge for 7th in the early laps but settled for an 8th place finish. Searching for more drive (i.e. forward bite) in the car, the team made shock and wickerbill changes prior to the B-main. Newlin started 11th in that event and went on to finish 10th. He climbed from the car and discussing the night with the team while it was all fresh in their minds. After they discussed what worked, what didn’t work and what alternatives they would try in the same situation next time, Zach simply said, “I’m happy tonight.” Fans may judge a night only by a team’s results and may not understand that comment, but drivers and teams know they must measure their night by much more than the end result. There are different goals and smaller victories to gauge performance, especially as you build a program. Austin Burke, who turns the wrenches on the #54, shared Newlin’s positivity saying, “I had more fun tonight!“. The feature event that night was won by Aaron Reutzel.
Earlier in the evening, moments after hot laps, still sitting in the car staged for time trials in the front pit at Williams Grove as the sun set behind him off turn four, Newlin was asked how it felt compared to his 358. His response in that moment wasn’t analytical. He didn’t talk about handling or power differences. The raw emotion of the moment was too great for that. His visor was flipped up and his huge smile couldn’t be contained by his helmet. He instantly exclaimed in response, “Dude, I’m racing a 410 at Williams Grove!”. Ok, to be honest, there might have been an expletive in there somewhere too, but who can blame him? That moment and those words demonstrated what the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice by Newlin and his family meant to him. To finally realize a dream they have all shared together for a long time…well…that energy just couldn’t be kept inside.
Racing a 410 at “The Grove” was a dream they all shared, but especially Zach and his brother (and crew chief) Lance. Zach’s mom shared, “They have worked so hard for it and never thought it would happen. His dad and I are so happy and thankful for the opportunity Shawn and Austin Burke have given Zach, Lance and the whole team. This kid is living a dream right now, along with the rest of us.”.
Lincoln Recap – Saturday, September 19th
For night three, the team made a short trip down the road to Abbottstown, PA to race in the Dirt Classic VII at Lincoln Speedway, once again versus the All Star Circuit of Champions.
A stout field of 53 cars were in the pits for the 7th annual edition of the Dirt Classic paying $20,000 to the winner. The unique format for the event includes time trials (half the field in group A, the other half in group B) in which points are earned and two sets of heat races for each car, in which points are also earned. Given the large car count, there would be a total of 12 heat races. The first six would be lined up by time trial results and the second six would be a complete inversion of the starting lineups from heats 1-6. Upon completion of time trails and heat races, the points earned are tallied. The top 20 teams in points transfer directly to the A-main. The next highest 18 teams in points go to the B-main and the remaining cars must race the C-main. The top 2 finishers in the C-main advance to start at the back of the B-main and the top 4 finishers in the B-main advance to start at the back of the A-main.
Zach time trialed 11th of 27 cars in group B, which was the 38th car overall to hit the track. His best time of the 2 laps he received landed him 25th in his group. That translated into the 8th starting spot in heat #6. He was unable to advance during the heat race and finished where he started. Later in the evening, Newlin would start from the pole in heat #12. The results of that race were very encouraging. He held the lead of the event for a few laps until veteran Ryan Smith was finally able to power past him. Zach remained unrattled and smooth and brought the Burke Motorsports entry home in 2nd place!
Based on his accumulated points, Newlin would start 5th in the 12-car, 10-lap C-main. The inside row would be directed to slide up one spot prior to the green flag when the 3rd place starter did not make the call. This meant Zach would take the green just one spot out of a transfer position. He got off to a great start at the drop of the green and claimed the second spot, which he held for a few laps before giving way to Tanner Thorson. Newlin would hold down third until the closing laps when Tyler Ross slipped by, relegating Zach to a 4th place finish and ending his first career night at Lincoln Speedway in a 410 sprint car. Kyle Larson would go on to win the big $20k prize later that night.
Newlin reflected on the weekend. “We learned a lot every time we hit the track. We progressed together as a team each night from start to finish and we had fun doing it together. Our night at Williams Grove was a huge boost for me. I got to race with the All Stars and realized we were not far off. That’s a confidence boost for sure.” He grinned and said, “Hey, I ran three time trial races and wasn’t last in any of them!” Attitude is half the battle and Zach definitely has that part right.
Be sure to keep scrolling below and check out the numerous photos and videos from all three nights of action!
As the 2020 season winds down, the team isn’t sure what’s next but when that decision is made, you’ll be the first to know if you follow Newlin Racing on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest schedule updates and other news! Their social media info is listed at the bottom of this release.
BAPS Motor Speedway Gallery (9-17-2020)
Williams Grove Speedway Gallery (9-18-2020)
Lincoln Speedway Gallery (9-19-2020)
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