By MANDEE PAUCH
Most teams travel south to Volusia Speedway Park to escape the winter weather and get their racing fix. The Heinke-Baldwin Race team used the four nights during the DIRTcar Nationals as a test session to prepare their teams for the upcoming season.
“We went down there with an open mind,” Jimmy Phelps said. “We brought a package that we hadn’t had any experience with and wanted to give a try. We really didn’t know where we were going with it.”
The week prior, both teams tested in north Florida with hopes to get the bugs out and dust the rust off.
“We had a really good test the week before, but Volusia was so much different and with the challenging track conditions we fought, we struggled. Our biggest struggles were in qualifying. The track had a lot of traction and we couldn’t really get the car freed up enough to get a good lap. Then we’d start deep in the heats and come feature time it was tough starting so far back. When you get behind, it’s really hard to show results.”
Phelps felt the track conditions played a big part on their week.
“I think more or less the track conditions really limited us,” he said. “I felt we struggled in the holes, but the car was definitely a little bit more competitive come feature time. Obviously when you start as far back as we were it made it even more difficult.”
Despite the results, Phelps and his team learned a tremendous amount and are very pleased with the outcome.
“Win or lose, we knew going into it last week we’d need a different setup for when we go to Fulton for the first points race,” noted Phelps. “Florida is a different animal. You can’t really compare Volusia to the tracks we race at in New York.”
Teammate Max McLaughlin was also satisfied with his teams’ trip south for the DIRTcar Nationals.
“We had speed,” added McLaughlin. “We had a podium finish when the track was as slick as it could get down there so that gives me a lot of confidence for the Super DIRTcar Series this year. A lot of the tracks in New York are similar to that type of condition.”
McLaughlin and the No.6H team feel they have just a little more work to do.
“We need to work on our qualifying package,” McLaughlin said. “I can race well when it gets slick, but we need to find something when the track is heavy and has speed. I just need to figure something out to suit my driving style better.”
The team tried a few out of the box ideas on the car but still feel they need to find some more speed for heavy, fast track conditions similar to Volusia.
“We went to Volusia with a goal to get it to turn better and I feel like we found some things that have helped but we are still working on it.”
Stay tuned for an upcoming release announcing the teams 2018 schedule.
HBR QUICK RESULTS –
February 14 – Volusia Speedway Park; 24th
February 15 – Volusia Speedway Park; 19th
February 16 – Volusia Speedway Park; 14th
February 17 – Volusia Speedway Park; 26th
February 14 – Volusia Speedway Park; 6th
February 15 – Volusia Speedway Park; 27th
February 16 – Volusia Speedway Park; 3rd
February 17 – Volusia Speedway Park; 11th
HBR SEASON STATS –
4 races – 1 top five, 2 top 10’s
MEDIA LINKS –
The HBR team has apparel available for sale at their racecar trailer during events they compete in this season.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTS –
JIMMY PHELPS’ SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Strange Oval
Strange Oval is a division of Strange Engineering, an industry leading company that has been manufacturing driveline and suspension components for all forms of racing and hi-performance vehicles since 1964. For more information on Strange Oval, visit www.strangeoval.com.
“Their driveline and axel components are second to none,” Phelps said. “They offer a wide variety of tuning capabilities that definitely give their customers an advantage”
Phelps would also like to thank J&B Installations, Mohawk Northeast, Teo Pro Car, Strange Oval, Winters Performance, Bob Bruneau, Simpson Race Products, VP Fuels, Fragola Performance Systems, Jones Racing Products, Wilwood, FK Rod Ends, Cobra Motorhomes, Bert Transmissions, Maxima Racing Oil, Nitro Manufacturing, DHP Products, and Arts Radiator for their continued support.
MAX MCLAUGHLIN’S SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Simpson Race Products
Simpson Race Products is an American motorsports parts supplier. They supply gloves, helmets, harness systems, driver’s suits, head restraints, shoes and more to racers at local tracks and international teams. For more information, visit www.simpsonraceproducts.com.
“I can’t thank Simpson enough for their awesome products that keep me safe every time I strap into a race car,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin would also like to thank Textron Off Road, Mohawk Northeast Inc., Simpson Race Products, Eibach Springs, Max Papis Inc., HBR, Bob Bruneau, Nitro Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Winters Performance Products, Hoosier, Cobra, TEO Pro Car, Pro Bar, Strange Oval, Absolute Audio, Fragola Performance Systems, Wilwood, Lincoln Electric, VP Racing Fuel, Jones Racing Products, FK Rod Ends, Bert Transmission, ASI Racewear, Swindell Speed Lab, Walker Performance Filtration Systems, HD Designs, and Torie Costa Foundation for their continued support.