- Written by Ed Callo
- 24 October 2011
When I got back from the Glen I found out that I won the CellMark Paper Hard Charger award. While sitting in pit lane waiting for the restart on Saturday afternoon I figured I had it locked with 2 cars out on the pace lap and 8 or so more down in turn two. But I also knew my transmission was toast. When I left the grid earlier for the start of the race there was a terrible noise when I shifted to 2nd. It didn't get any better on all the caution laps.
But I wasn't going to quit as long as the car would still move and figure I would just keep going under the yellow in 3rd & 4th. After the race was called (I suggested we "Occupy the Pit line" until they restated the race) we took the tranny apart. I had broken a tooth off of 2nd gear. That explains my sudden spin when downshifting for turn one in morning Qualifying. I couldn't understand why the rear end just locked up, so we spend an hour going over the brakes and found nothing wrong - but then that was not the problem. So after the canceled race I put in the gear I had closest. Not the ideal 2nd gear but better than going home. (Anyone need a 21.5/31 gear)
Part of me really wanted the Saturday race to be restarted and part of me knew the transmission was toast and most likely would not last the race. And did I really want the CellMark Hard Charger on others misfortunes? (Well maybe)
I should have had 32 not 30 position improvements for the CellMark Hard Charger but I was just stupid in the afternoon race. I had passed and was leading my 3 car group (racing for last place), came to the Start Finish and there was a waving white flag and I thought - WTF is that? Did the starter grab the wrong flag and we just finished the race? Is there a really important slow moving vehicle on the race track? What else could that mean? I was already stumped by the crossed flags in the morning race. So while I was thinking about all this I lost two places I maybe could have had. Learned later it was a NASCAR 1 lap to go signal, I think they may have even mentioned it at the Drivers meeting. But hell I at least made this meeting; I wasn't really supposed to pay attention was I?
So what was my secret to winning the Hard Charger award? Finishing all the races I started by maybe not charging hard enough.
- Ed Callo