HBR Racing Recap 7/4/18
Story By: Mandee Pauch/MPR
Photos By: Mark Ranalletta/RacersGuide.com
The weight has finally been lifted. After eight consistent top-ten finishes at Land of Legends Raceway, The Baldwinsville Bandit broke the monkey off of his back and picked up his first win of the season Saturday night.
“It’s kind of a big relief because we ended up getting to the point where we’ve been running up front but not winning,” said Jimmy Phelps.
The busy three-day weekend for the HBR team opened at their Friday night home track, Brewerton Speedway.
Phelps won his heat from his sixth-place starting spot, lining him up on the outside of the seventh row for the main event.
“It was one of those nights where it seemed like everywhere I went early in the race was the wrong choice,” he said. “I kept getting held up which is frustrating because we had a better car than I’ve had in a long time. We finally broke loose late and just ran out of time. The race went green to checkered, by the time I caught the lead pack it was too late. We had an excellent race car but finished sixth, our worst finish of the year, but we left there feeling good about our car so that was a good thing.”
Teammate in the no.6h machine, Max McLaughlin, had a car break in front of him during his heat race forcing him to drop to the back of the pack but was able to drive his way back through to click off fourth-place.
McLaughlin’s fourth-place finish lined him up on the inside of the fourth row for the main event.
“We tightened up way too much,” noted McLaughlin. “We were wicked tight and fell back on the initial start to about eleventh. We were able to drive back up to fifth later in the race.”
Saturday evening opened with the makeup feature at Land of Legends Raceway.
Phelps rolled off on the inside of the seventh row for the main event.
“We got towards the front quick but could just tell we were too tight struggling in the ruts,” Phelps noted. “We were too tight to carry the speed to race with the two guys up front. We were fortunate to make it to the end We came out with a third. At the end of the day I think our setup was off just enough that I felt third was a pretty good result. We were happy with that at that point.”
Phelps and his no.98h team continued on to the heat race to qualify for the big 50-lap main event.
“The track still had some chop in it,” he added. “We didn’t want to tear it up, so we stayed in the lane. We started sixth and got third.”
After the heat races the track crew did some maintenance on the track, which seemed to of helped come feature time.
Phelps lined up on the outside of the seventh row for the main event.
“You have to catch breaks early there to get to the front,” he said. “This week we had a good car. We got to the front quickly. At that point Max had a good lead but unfortunately, he was the first yellow which lined me up on the outside of the leader. We had a restart and we took it from there.”
Phelps pulled away from the field to pick up his first victory of the season.
“We had an excellent car that could maneuver real good which allowed us to make quick moves around lapped cars which got important at the end. It’s a big relief because we ended up getting to the point where we’ve been running up front but not winning. It’s good to get that monkey off our back.”
McLaughlin started on the outside of the seventh row for the makeup feature.
“I drove up from 14thto fourth in the first feature,” he said. “A plastic bag got sucked into my radiator and we overheated.”
Unfortunately, McLaughlin was unable to continue and pulled off.
McLaughlin and the no.6h crew were able to regroup and get the car out for the heat race where they finished fourth from sixth, placing them in sixth for the 50-lap main event.
“I got the lead early and had half a track lead and I broke,” McLaughlin said. “It was a big race for Land of Legends and I felt like we had a good shot at the win. We had terrible luck. The car was so good, we were driving right around people. Saturday night was our worst luck ever. If it weren’t for those two DNF’s we would have had four top-five’s on the weekend.”
The HBR team closed out their three-day weekend at Cornwall Motor Speedway in Canada Sunday evening with the Super DIRTcar Series.
“We got up there and got behind early,” said Phelps. “We didn’t dial ourselves in enough. We felt good in warm ups but were a little off the pace.”
Phelps finished where he started, in fifth. His fifth-place finish lined him up on the inside of the ninth row for the 100-lap main event.
“I really kind of tribute most of it to the fact that we were too tight and stuck to the track,” Phelps added. “We left the car alone thinking the track was going to give up, it never really did. It was surprising the track stayed super fast all night. It’s tough passing there to begin with. You need to be able to turn really good and I never got it turning enough to run good. I felt we were fast enough to run behind whoever we were behind but made it hard to get by them. I thought out car was good but never had enough to make a charge.”
Phelps closed out his weekend with an 11th-place finish.
McLaughlin and his team were able to rebound and make it count Sunday night at Cornwall Motor Speedway with the Super DIRTcar Series.
McLaughlin finished fourth in his heat race.
“There was no passing in the heat,” he added. “If we could have gotten in the redraw we would have been a top three car. It was all about track position.”
McLaughlin’s fourth-place finish lined him up on the outside of the seventh row for the 100-lap main event.
“It’s a small block dominate track,” McLaughlin said. “That place is tight and so hard to pass. We worked our way up though. We were pretty good considering we had a big block in. Sheppard and I were the only big block’s in the top five.”
McLaughlin was able to cap off his weekend with a fifth-place finish, his third top-five finish with the series this season. His efforts moved him up to second in the point standings with the Super DIRTcar Series.
The Heinke-Baldwin race team has a very busy weekend coming up. Their weekend will kick off Thursday night at Land of Legends Raceway with the Super DIRTcar Series then to Friday at Brewerton Speedway, Sunday at Utica-Rome Speedway with the Super DIRTcar Series and Tuesday at Outlaw Speedway with the Super DIRTcar Series.