By KEN BRUCE
Matt Stangle had high hopes coming into this weekends Speed Showcase event at the Port Royal Speedway with his TEO Pro Car. Unfortunately, Stangle’s week got off to a rocky start on Thursday when he failed to qualify for the Speed Showcase 40.
The night started off with Stangle picking a bad chip in the pre-race draw and the team just didn’t have enough speed to recover. It also didn’t help matters that Stangle was probably in the toughest heat of the night, and if it’s any consolation to the Neshanic Station, N.J., driver, Stewart Friesen and Matt Sheppard who were in the same heat also failed to qualify.
Fast forward to last night and Stangle was determined to race better and lock himself into the Speed Showcase 200 finale. Again, saddled with a bad qualifying race draw, Stangle started back in the 10th spot, but this time the young veteran was up on the wheel early and ended up moving up eight spots against some stiff competition to finish second to winner Andy Bachetti. By virtue of his second-place finish, Stangle is also in the redraw for tonight’s big race.
“We came here yesterday with a set-up in the car that obviously didn’t work,” explained Stangle. “Our TEO was good, but we just missed it last night. Matt (Hearn) and Johnny (Gaurino) came over and helped us for tonight and we have a really good car for the heat race.”
Starting 10th in the race, Stangle was mired in the back early on, but once he got the No. 6 rolling, he started to march towards the front. Stangle then made a big move on a restart to vault himself up to second where he finished behind winner Andy Bachetti.
“The first few laps I got crammed up behind a couple of other cars,” said a happy Stangle. “I knew the car was good after hot laps. Once I was able to get around them and get some clean air I was able to work my way forward.”
Stangle went on to talk about how tonight’s racing could play into tomorrow’s big Speed Showcase 200.
“The big thing we noticed was how the track is going to be,” mentioned Stangle. “Maybe not for the entire 200 laps, but it was definitely different than last night. We took some good notes tonight and hopefully that can help us out in tomorrow’s race.”
In Modified racing, there is no question that the bulk of the cars on the track are Bicknell chassis. Stangle has chosen to stick with TEO chassis and is grateful for the help he receives from both Matt Hearn and Johnny Gaurino as the work to make their cars the best they can be.
“The support I get from both Matt and Johnny is great,” cited Stangle. “They are always there when I need them whether it be at the track or by phone. They both work hard to make sure that all of their cars do good, and I can’t thank them enough for what the do for me and our team.”
If you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25.