Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scott Ivie in the #74 MSI Development Ford managed to finish 13th in a crash filled frenzy in the Bennett Lane 200

SAN RAMON, California - Despite track temperatures being over 130 degrees and being spun twice in turn 7 Scott Ivie in the #74 MSI Development Ford managed to finish 13th in a crash filled frenzy in the Bennett Lane 200.

Staring 29th I knew we had our work cut out for us. At the time I wasn’t too pleased with our starting spot but I came to realize it was all part of the plan. We set up the car to be there at the end not a car that was only going to be good for 10 laps. That was pretty hard for me to except but that fact is it was a good call.

From the waiving of the green flag and every lap thereafter we made ground as planned; however, on lap 15 while in 23rd place the #7 made an ill advised attempt to pass and punted me in the right rear bumper sending me spinning off in turn 7. I managed to shake it off and made up the spots that I lost but it still set us back.

Then again on lap 39 the #09 got into me sending me spinning in turn 7; however, this time another car, #10, got wrapped up in it as well. With the #10 having nowhere to go he drilled me in my left rear quarter panel. That by far was the hardest hit I‘ve ever taken. Even harder then when I hit the wall in turn 11 in 2006 going about 100 MPH and ending up teetering on the wall.(See Video)

After a few seconds of trying to recover I started it back up, put it back into gear and headed towards the pits. I thought for sure that I was done with that hard of a hit but as I was heading back to the pits the car didn’t feel all that bad.

Once I made it to my pit stall my Crew Chief Pat looked under the car and saw that there was no fluid leaks so he sent me off. At the time I thought “…are you kidding me…how can this car still drive, why are you sending me back out?” However after getting out of the pits and heading back to the race the car, despite a little smoke coming off the tires, felt okay. After the wreck and getting back into the action we only managed to get one lap in before there was a multi-car crash on the front straight which brought out the red flag.

It was now gut check time. With the field being brought to a stop between turn 9 and 10 I really started to feel the effects of the hit, the heat and the lack of water. I tried to get my team on the radio but there was no feed back. At that time I reached back and felt to see if my radio was still connected and it wasn’t. I didn’t know what else to do but unbuckle myself and find the wire to my radio. After searching a couple of minutes I found it and plugged it back in; however, there was still no feed back. I then grabbed the second wire, the one that goes from your ear plugs to the helmet, and it to was disconnected. I couldn’t believe that hit was hard enough to have both connections disconnect. Once I got everything hooked back up I finally got my spotter and Crew Chief on the radio. They asked me how I was doing. As hard it was to admit, I told them not good at all. With no A/C unit and no water I started to wither.

Being more concerned with my safety my spotter, who happens to be my best friend, told me to just come in a get some water after the red flag comes down. This sounded great for a moment but I thought if I came in I would drop back to the end of the line and all the positions I gained and work I’ve accomplished would be for nothing. I then got back on the radio and asked him how many laps to go. “…22…” he said. I told him I’m going to have to make it without water. I didn’t come this far to just give it away with 22 to go.

So I strapped myself back in and was awaiting the yellow flag to come out so we can start moving again. Then it happened, the best site I have ever seen, the Infineon safety crew going by each car handing out water bottles to each driver. I’ll tell you now, that was the best water I have ever had in my life and it saved my ass. Without that water I probably could not have finished the race.

Now feeling revived and ready to compete we went back into action but not for long. It was caution, after caution, after caution, after caution from lap 46 to what happen to be a “Green White Checkered” finish. There were only 7 green laps and people were getting stupid out there. I have been around this track for a while now so I can tell you, 3 wide through the esses DOES NOT WORK. I don’t know if it was the heat or what but people were doing all sort of idiotic maneuvers out there. So reflecting back to what a former West Series Champion told me just before the driver introductions I thought to myself “…You must keep all four corners on the car and survive the race track”. Well, with the unwelcome help of a few drivers I blew the “keep all four corners on the car” so I had one choice left “survive the race track”.

In the end, out of 68 laps only 28 were green so finishing 13th was a big accomplishment.

I would like to thank my family, friends and crew that made this all possible. Without their support making this race could not have happened.


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