By MANDEE PAUCH
The HBR team opened their week with a trip across the border to Quebec, Canada on Monday and Tuesday with the Super DIRTcar Series.
Monday evening had the team at Autodrome Granby in front of a packed house.
Jimmy Phelps started off on a good note with a heat race win, placing him into the top-12 redraw. By luck of the draw, Phelps rolled off on the outside of the third row for the 100-lap main event.
“We kind of hovered around the top five in the beginning,” Phelps said. “We were too tight early to make a charge. The car seemed to keep getting better as the race went on. We were able to get to second and had a late race restart. We still didn’t rotate good enough to make the charge, but we were able to stay with Stewart Friesen for a lap or so. We settled for second which was pretty good.”
Teammate, Max McLaughlin, battled a rough race track surface in his heat race.
“We kind of struggled early trying to find a good balance,” he said. “We struggled through the holes. It was pretty rough in certain areas.”
McLaughlin finished where he started, in third.
McLaughlin lined up on the inside of the fifth row for the main event.
“We got up to third,” McLaughlin noted. “I felt like I was pretty good and could maintain with Friesen and Sheppard. On a restart I got tight and shuffled back a few positions. I made contact with another driver and pretty much ended my night.”
McLaughlin and the no.6h team settled for a 10th-place finish.
The team continued their momentum into Tuesday at Autodrome Drummond.
Phelps finished fourth from his third-place starting spot.
“We fired good,” added Phelps. “We ran door to door for second for a handful of laps. I overcommitted to the bottom and the fourth-place guy rolled around me on the last lap. That kicked us out of the redraw.”
Phelps started on the inside of the seventh row for the main event.
“We weren’t bad car wise,” Phelps said. “It really felt like we made a mistake on tire selection. We should have pitted to change tires and put softer ones on, it was a gamble. We pitted with 20 to go thinking we could make a run with fresh tires. After a couple laps on the track we ended up having a clamp break and the motor started getting hot, so we ended up pulling in.”
McLaughlin started third and clicked off a spot in the heat race.
“There wasn’t a ton of passing,” he said. “We got to second on a start. We could run with Hearn, but it was tough to pass.”
McLaughlin’s second-place finish placed him into the top-12 redraw for the 100-lap main event.
By luck of the draw, McLaughlin started on the inside of the third row.
“We were really tight at the beginning of the race,” McLaughlin added. “We fell back to around 12th. Everyone was on the top, but I couldn’t run the top because I was too tight. We got to third on the bottom. I was the only car on the bottom the whole race. It took a few laps to get going though. Erick Rudolph rolled the top and just got me at the line.”
McLaughlin capped off his Quebec trip with a fourth-place finish.
A last-minute decision had Phelps and his team going to Brewerton Speedway for a 358 modified DIRTcar event.
“We honestly didn’t come out of the trailer good at all,” added Phelps. “We had a few minor technical problems with our carburetor which got us behind in qualifying.”
Phelps started ninth in his heat and finished seventh, missing the transfer.
Phelps rolled off third and finished second in the consi, which lined him up 23rdfor the main event.
“I thought all-in-all our car was competitive early but so was everyone else,” he said. “I didn’t feel like we were gaining until halfway. At one point we lost a lap and got a lap back under green. Our car was getting better and better. Some of it was probably the track and some of it the experience from running there weekly. Considering how our night started, it was good. We don’t do 358 racing much, but we’ll do some testing and be ready for the end of the year stuff.”
Phelps clawed his way through the field to close out the evening with a sixth-place finish in their 358 modified from deep in the pack.
Saturday had the team back at Weedsport Speedway for the Hall of Fame 100 with the Super DIRTcar Series.
Phelps was hot right off the trailer. Phelps grabbed the fastest time overall in timed hot laps, his first quick time with the Super DIRTcar Series since 2016.
Phelps then went on to win his heat race, placing him into the top-12 redraw.
By luck of the draw, Phelps rolled off in seventh-place.
“We felt pretty good,” he said. “Obviously we redrew in the midst of guys who are also really good. We were on par with Matt and Max who were right in front of us. Everyone was playing catch up to Rudolph who was really strong and started up front. He had the car to beat. Fortunately, we were good enough to pass a few cars to get to fourth. I think it was a successful night of racing for the no.98h and no.6h team.”
McLaughlin started second in his heat and finished second.
“We were really tight,” he added. “We couldn’t roll the top like I wanted to. We settled for second and made the redraw.”
McLaughlin rolled off in fifth-place for the 100-lap main event.
“We got to third on the first lap,” McLaughlin said. “We rode in the third for a while and saved my tires. We made a move for second then had a couple shots at Rudolph on the restarts, but he was really good. We were really strong but even if we had a restart at the end of the race I don’t think we could’ve beat Rudolph. They worked really hard and had a really good car. He’s a talented driver. Sometimes you have those nights where all the stars align, and he was the car to beat.”
McLaughlin capped off the weekend with a solid second-place finish in his no.6h machine.
After a three-day race week with the Super DIRTcar Series, McLaughlin currently sits third in the points chase while Phelps sits in a close fourth-place.
Next on slate for the HBR team will be a busy four-day race week kicking off at Airborne Park Speedway on Tuesday, then to Fonda Speedway on Wednesday, Brewerton Speedway on Friday and Land of Legends Raceway on Saturday.
HBR QUICK RESULTS –
July 23 – Autodrome Granby; Heat: 1 (1); Feature: 2 (6)
July 24 – Autodrome Drummond; Heat: 4 (3); Feature: DNF (13)
July 27 – Brewerton Speedway; Heat: 7 (9); Consi: 2 (3); Feature: 6 (23)
July 28 – Weedsport Speedway; Heat: 1 (1); Feature: 4 (7)
July 23 – Autodrome Granby; Heat: 3 (3); Feature: 10 (9)
July 24 – Autodrome Drummond; Heat: 2 (3); Feature: 4 (5)
July 28 – Weedsport Speedway; Heat: 2 (2); Feature: 2 (5)
HBR SEASON STATS –
38races– 4 wins, 21 top 5’s, 27 top 10’s
37races– 2 wins, 13 top 5’s, 27 top 10’s
UP NEXT –
July 31 – Airborne Park Speedway
August 1 – Fonda Speedway
August 3 – Brewerton Speedway
August 4 – Land of Legends Raceway
MEDIA LINKS –
The HBR team has apparel available for sale at their racecar trailer during events they compete in this season.