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Archive for August 2011

August 26, 2011 Posted by admin in News

Hunt is Fast in Practice, but Struggles on Race Day

Chesterfield, VA(August 26, 2011) — STH Motorsports visited South Boston Speedway this weekend for the Nascar Whelen Twin 75′s program. After having a great test Thursday, in which Sam posted his fastest times of the season (15.71), the team was confident entering race day.

The car was fast as it rolled off the trailer for the first practice session. Sam posted the 3rd fastest time of the large field of drivers. In the second practice Sam and his team got aggressive with the set up to improve the car’s handling for qualifying but, the PASS Super Late Model series was also running this weekend and their softer tire compound created a greasy layer of rubber on the track’s hot surface. The car’s handling immediately went away with a 4 wheel slide up the track on corner entry and loose condition off the corners. The team made a critical decision to adjust the car (sway bar) to the conditions created by the PASS cars and their softer tire compound. Unfortunately, the decision would come back to haunt Sam and the team later in the night!

In qualifying, the track regained the grip that it had lost in the second practice. When the #42 hit the track, the car became extremely tight in the center of the corners. Sam posted a time of 15.87, and it resulted in a 16th place starting spot.

When the feature race started 26 cars headed for the first corner, Sam immediately jumped to the inside of the #2 car and slipped into the 15th position. After passing another car in turn three, Sam’s car pushed up the track, opening a hole for the #44 car to slip by retaking 15th position. At this point the # 42 was stuck on the outside line allowing two more cars to pass. Sam was fighting a tight condition in the center of the corners throughout the first half of the race. By lap 50 Sam was still running 16th and fighting to hold his position on the track. On lap 60 entering turn three, the #94 car and the # 27 car got together and slammed the outside wall hard. The caution flew and an altercation between the two drivers ensued, entertaining the crowd, while getting both drivers fined for their actions. On the restart, Sam was able to make a pass on the #49 as well as the #70 using the outside line. He brought the car home in the first race in 14th.

In the second feature event, Sam started 14th , his finishing position in the first race. At the start, Sam started on the outside of the seventh row and was overtaken on the inside by the #4 car through the first corner. As the #42 car fell in line, a first lap incident occurred at the front of the field causing damage to several cars. On the restart, Sam maintained his position and stayed single file through the next 20 laps. During the second half of the race, the #42 car became extremely loose on exit. Sam pushed the car but it was on the edge. The car’s rear end was very free on corner exit as Sam struggled for control. With 5 laps to go, Sam had reached the bumper of the #70 car and was battling for 11th place. After banging on the #70 cars for 4 laps, Sam was finally able to complete the pass on the races final lap. Sam ended up 11th in the second race. After the race crew chief Matt Dalton realized the left rear tire had a puncture and was down several pounds of air , adjusting the tires stagger and causing the loose condition.

Sam’s Post Race Comments:

“The team had a great test session on Thursday and we were really excited about racing tonight. We were looking forward to a good finish and after first practice everything looked promising. Unfortunately, we got caught up in the track changing with the PASS cars and ended up chasing our tails. My communication to Matt certainly could have been better during the first race. I should have worked on the loose corner entry before mentioning the tight center. Matt needs to adjust the car from entry, middle, then exit and my feedback wasn’t clear enough and he missed the corner entry adjustment which caused the middle corner adjustment to be useless if not worse. We learned allot on Thursday and today’s experience will also be valuable. I think we’re like 11th or 12th in points and if we’re to make the top 10 for the season we’ll need good results at the season’s final race on September 3rd.”

August 2, 2011 Posted by admin in News

Lack of Practice, Heat Test Team at South Boston

Chesterfield, VA(August 2, 2011) — STH Motorsports made another return trip to South Boston Speedway on Saturday, July 26, to compete in the Nascar Whelen All American Series Late Model Twin 75′s. The day had plenty of racing scheduled, and the 110 degree temperatures on pit road would test every team member’s stamina and desire to race on!

More missed practice was the theme of the week leading up to the race. Between thunderstorms earlier in the week and the track closed to all cars Friday, another week passed without any practice time. New crew chief Matt Dalton and Sam were still unable to have a single test day to work on adjustments to improve qualifying times and the car’s handling in the middle of the corners.

Unfortunately, when the team rolled the #42 out of the hauler on Saturday, it wasn’t handling well at all; it was actually terrible. Once again, on very old tires, Sam fought an extremely tight condition through the corners throughout the first two practice sessions. Dalton and the team made several spring and wedge adjustments but the car was still not cutting in the corner. It continued to push up the track.

Dalton was hopeful that the car’s poor handling in practice was attributable to the 150 lap tires on Sam’s car and the extreme temperatures. He was hopeful the new tires used during qualifying would help settle the car in the corner and give it more forward bite. As Sam ran the car into the corner during qualifying the car was still pushing up the track.

The new tires improved his overall time but the car was still not competitive. After posting a time that would place the #42 in 14th position, Dalton and Sam made the easy decision to pull the car out of the pre- race impoundment area and make big/wholesale changes to the front geometry of the car before the feature race(s). Over the next 2 � hours Dalton and the team made major changes to the car and finished their work just in time to quickly weigh out the car and get in line for the start of the first race.

When the green flag dropped for the first race, Sam quickly realized that Dalton’s adjustments had made a significant improvement to the #42. It was still tight in the center but much better than earlier in the day. The problem Sam now had was sitting in last place, he would now have several cars to overtake to finish in a good points paying position. A quick caution for debris came out on lap 4, and Sam had moved forward to 17th. On the restart, Sam shot to the top of the track and worked his way around the # 49 car.

Three laps later he had managed to get even and pass the #21 car and set his sights on the rear bumper of the #2 car. Sam reported back to Dalton under a caution that the car was steadily improving and the lap times supported it. When a caution flew on lap 55 for the #31car which made heavy contact, destroying the car in turn two, Sam had worked his way into12th. At this point in the race, after several green flag runs, only the top 7 cars remained on the lead lap. Although a lap down, Sam continued to run hard and actually passed several of the lead lap cars over the final ten laps finishing 11th with a car underneath him that was as good as he’d had all year.

In the second feature of the night, Sam would start 11th.. Crew chief Matt Dalton continued making adjustments that would help the car turn and preserve the tires over the final 75 lap feature. When the green flag waived, Sam took off! By lap five the #42 car had passed three cars and was really hooked up to the bottom line of the track. The adjustments Dalton had made had transformed the car into a missile, as Sam made his way through the field. By lap 50, Sam was running in eighth position and was working over the bumper of the #88. By lap 55 Sam had cleared the #88 car with a move out of turn 4.

He now focused on the #70 car which was half a straight ahead. By lap 60, Sam was working on the bumper of the #70 car, who was all over the #14 car as they ran nose to tail. Exiting turn two the #70 got into the#14 car spinning him out and bringing out the caution. Sam would start in 6th position but he had lost second gear on the previous re-start which caused him to be a little slow on the this re-start. Sam soon regained contact with the #70 while protecting his rear from the #14 and began his assault once again on the #70 car. After trying to get by the #70 car for a number of laps and seeing the #05 car pulling further in front of the #70, Sam made the decision and drove the car deep into turn 1 putting a hard bumper on the #70 car, sending it around for a spin in the middle of turn 1 and turn 2.

Sam would not be penalized because in the opinion of the official(s), the #70 was slower than the #42, and blocking. Sam would restart in 6th, and once again, lost some momentum on the start due to his gearbox problem (no second gear). Sam’s car was starting to lose grip each lap as the race ran down to the final laps. He managed to put the #88 car behind him but was unable to catch the #05 and finished on the #05′s bumper at the finish line in 7th place.

Post Race Comments from Sam Hunt:
” The improvements that Matt and the team made to the car between qualifying and the first race were incredible. After our practice session and poor qualifying the mood wasn’t very good but, Matt just stayed positive and kept everyone else pumped up as well. He said, “we can fix this thing (car)” after qualifying, and he sure did! The first race we started so far back and the car got better every lap. I should have finished higher than 11th and was frustrated with myself for not driving more aggressively , as the car could go where I wanted it.”

“In the second race I was determined to get all I could from the car and make up for the first race. Matt Dalton, David West, Dave Preston, and David Hester had worked way to hard and too long in 100 degree weather and I didn’t want to let them down. They had put a good car under me and it was my job to drive it to the best finish possible. Probably didn’t get 100% of that result but 7th place with a 5th place car felt pretty good from where we had come from earlier in the day. I want to thank all my sponsors and especially this special team who really gutted it out today in this difficult heat.”