From Bill W, Rob Kocak Photo
Knoxville, IA — (August 9, 2011) — Chad Humston and the Mark Burch Motorsports #1m were hoping for a 360 Nationals champ, not the “Wheelie Award” for the weekend. Instead, that’s what they got when a ragged feature start in their prelim saw cars stacked up and their machine getting the worst end of the deal. Still, they qualified for their second straight 360 Nationals finale, and improved over last season in the fact that they finished the race (16th). They will take a well-deserved week off before returning to action.
Things started out strong with a qualifying lap that registered fourth quick amongst the 49-car field. “We could have been a little better, but you can always say that,” says Chad. “Hindsight is 20/20. Qualifying fourth was definitely a good start to things.”
The Giltner, Nebraska native started sixth in the heat and more games were in store on the start. “It was a rough start, and then we got to turn one,” says Chad. “Three or four guys went up high and a couple got squirrelly. I thought I was going to go under them to third right away, but Lee Grosz and someone else got back by me.”
Chad came back from outside a transfer to challenge for third at the checkers. “That yellow really helped us with about five to go,” he says. “I was able to get the transfer spot. I was running down third, and I thought I had the fastest car, but Lee had the chosen line. It was a good race for third, but we settled for fourth, which was alright.”
That’s when things went downhill. Starting sixth in the main event, Chad saw the first start called back. The second one could have easily seen the same fate. “I’m not going to say too much about that (whether the start should have been called back), but I guess I shouldn’t have picked up that quickly,” he says. “The first start we had, everyone picked up well. The second one, (Jeff) Swindell didn’t take off, and I figured I’d go around him. I ended up catching his tire and the wheelie came after that. From where I was sitting, I could see the lights. I could see the suites. I got a pretty good look at everything in the grandstands.”
Chad was in a tough spot when every corner counts at the 360 Nationals. “It was a decision where I could have run into the back of (Swindell) and had everyone run into the back of me too,” he says. “I chose to try and work around him. I ended up screwing myself up. That stuff happens sometimes.”
After a trip to the work area, on another caution, the damage ended any real chances of a charge from the rear. “We bent the front axle,” says Chad. “Obviously, we didn’t have time to change that. The left front shock was bent so it wouldn’t compress. I’m sure the right front shock wasn’t perfect either. Other than that, I think we had a bent arm. The car wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. I was just trying to hang in there after that.”
Chad limped to fifteenth, but registered enough points to put the team in the 360 Nationals finale, where he would start sixteenth. That would be his finish as well. “We went into the first corner and the car sucked up high,” he says. “I was on two wheels on the high line. We just didn’t have the car quite right.”
Chad is able to see the positives. “It was better that last year in the fact that, at least we got to the finish,” he says. “It will be good for us to enjoy a weekend off and regroup for the following week.”
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Mark Burch Motorsports
The mission of Mark Burch Motorsports is to be an innovator in the unrefined business of Sprint Car racing on dirt, while representing our sponsors and manufacturers in a professional and positive manner both on and off the track. It is our goal to develop and improve our winning spirit and carry on our winning tradition by utilizing the growth of close personal relationships throughout our organization. This pursuit of excellence is the fuel that feeds the fire of our souls.
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