Phelps Produces Strong Finishes During Centennial Weekend
Story By: Mandee Pauch/MPR
Photos By: George Steigerwalt/RacersGuide.com
Mandee Pauch Relations – August 20, 2019 –It was a very big weekend in the Big Block Modified world.
Jimmy Phelps and the HBR team headed south to Orange County Fair Speedway for their three-day event to celebrate the tracks 100thAnniversary. In honor of the anniversary, the track put up a $100,000 payday up for grabs on the final night of the event.
The three-day weekend kicked off Thursday evening with the Super DIRTcar Series ‘Battle of The Midway’ race.
“We unloaded halfway decent,” Phelps said. “We won our heat from the pole and made it into the top-12 redraw.”
By luck of the draw, Phelps drew 12thfor the main event.
“I thought we were good enough to run in the top five if there was an opportunity to pass,” he said. “We got shuffled back early and lost a few spots and spent the whole race trying to play catch up. We fell back to around 16thand got up to ninth. It was a pretty tough track.”
Friday evening opened with a stacked heat race.
“We had some really strong cars in the heat,” noted Phelps. “We started third and finished third, missing the redraw by one spot.”
Phelps rolled off on the inside of the seventh row for the 80-lap main event.
“We started 13thand finished 13th,” he said. “We couldn’t muster up any passing opportunities. Friday night was the most predominant one lane situation all weekend. We kind of had to just ride in line. If you didn’t catch a break on a restart you had to deal with what you had.”
The day all 69 Big Block Modified drivers had been waiting for. The chance to run away with the $1000,000 victory.
Saturday’s event was thrown quite the curve ball early in the day with the announcement of a tire rule change for the evenings race in hopes to make the racing more exciting.
“We heard the news in the morning of the tire change which left everyone scrambling a bit,” he added. “We left the car alone from Friday night because I thought we were decent and just hoped for a racier track and got it.”
Phelps showed speed early in the evening by timing second fastest in his group. The heat race invert had him line up in third. It didn’t take long for Phelps to race his way into second-place, locking the no.98h machine into the top-12 redraw.
“We redrew fourth which put us in really good shape,” he said. “At the drop of the green we were too tight. We made some adjustments that I regretted a little bit. Then the rain delay hit us which tightened the track up even more. About halfway into the race things started breaking loose for us and we started making our way up. I don’t know if we were good enough to win but we made progress.”
Phelps and the no.98h team closed out the Centennial Weekend with a strong sixth-place finish.
“We didn’t get into any trouble,” Phelps added. “It was a good weekend. We had halfway respectable finishes with the number of cars there and the lack of passing. So overall it was a good trip for us.”
Phelps and the team will be back at Brewerton Speedway this Friday night. Sunday afternoon Phelps will be putting his track hat on for Weedsport Speedway’s big karting event.