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Double dip is worth the effort for Michigan teams

Ryan Ruhl will be doubling up with 360 and 410 cars again this weekend at Hartford Speedway.  (Photo courtesy of Jacob Weaver)

Ryan Ruhl will be doubling up with 360 and 410 cars again this weekend at Hartford Speedway. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Weaver)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

 

Friday night at Hartford Speedway at least three Michigan teams will attempt to compete in both the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions and Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt presented by ARP events at Hartford Speedway. As of Wednesday drivers Chase Ridenour, Dustin Daggett, and Ryan Ruhl and their race teams plan on fielding separate cars to compete in both classes.

 

For Daggett and Ruhl this will be the second weekend in a row for double dipping as both drivers competed in the 360 and 410 classes at Eldora Speedway during the Kings Royal.  Friday will be Ridenour’s first attempt at the double.  For drivers it can get particularly busy, especially if they have to run both B-Mains and features.  For the crews the extra car requires a lot of planning and preparation to take on twice as much work.

 

Ryan Ruhl crew chief Terry Stewart explained that the challenges of running two cars during the same night are not just mechanical.

 

“With two cars obviously the workload is doubled at the least, possibly more,” said Sterwart.  “Wrecks, having to run the B-Mains, and other problems can add to the amount of additional work and stress by a significant amount.  You just don’t have the time to make changes or adjustments like during a normal night.”

 

Besides the logistics of getting two race cars prepared during the week, getting them to the race track, and the workload during the night there are other factors as well.  Stewart explained the differences in the two classes can make handling adjustments tricky.

 

“The 410 and 360 cars handle differently,” said Stewart.  “When the car hits the track you want it to be perfect for that car.  This creates additional stress and changes. One car could be perfect while the other leaves you searching for adjustments.”

 

While many of the mechanical issues seem daunting the best way to overcome them is having quality people to do the work.

 

“You must have a solid team and the ability to trust that everyone involved will take care of what they are working on,” said Stewart.

 

Dustin Daggett crew member Tom Daggett echoed what Stewart said about having quality crew members to help take some of the workload.

 

“We have a couple of guys from Portland that come a few times a year to help us when we run two cars,” said Tom.  “The biggest challenge is not having time to make changes based on driver feedback when he gets out of one car and right into the other.”

 

The task of running two cars in one night may sound like more work than its worth, but for the race teams the potential reward is well work the extra effort for crew people like Stewart.

 

“In the end it’s twice the excitement and the thought of getting both cars up front awesome.”

 

Notes:

 

  • The Hartford All Star / SOD double header kicks off a very busy weekend of Michigan Sprint Car Racing.  Along with the double on Friday Spartan Speedway has their non-wing sprint car class in action.  Saturday SOD has double features at Butler Speedway while the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints head to Kalamazoo Speedway. The Michigan Traditional Sprints head just over the border to Plymouth Speedway in Plymouth, Indiana on Saturday.

 

  • Aaron Pierce will attempt to break Kalamazoo Speedway’s all time track record again on Saturday during AVSS’s second and final visit to the track in 2015.  During the first visit this season Pierce was under the track record on his warmup lap, broke the record on his first official qualifying lap with a 10.114 second lap, but nearly it the wall on his second lap and had to get out of the throttle.  Many observers felt Pierces lap would be close or under Andy Bozell’s all-time track record of 10.020 seconds set on September 17, 2011 during the Call of the Wild event with a sideboard and special body on an outlaw late model.  Pierce has already stated he not only wants to break Bozell’s track record, but possibly be the first driver in the nine second bracket at Kalamazoo Speedway.  While the forecast is calling for sunny and mid-80’s on Saturday, the temperature should cool down by qualifications on Saturday.  Based on the event earlier this year Pierce has a good shot at doing both if her can pull off a second lap and get it the car through turns three and four.

 

  • The SOD double feature program at Butler should make for a great night of sprint car racing at Michigan’s only weekly sprint car venue.  Several of the teams that race at Butler on a weekly basis have engines that are SOD legal and take on the traveling great lakes drivers when they invade their home turf.  The driver to beat on Saturday is Ruhl who has three wins at Butler this season along with three feature victories with the Sprints on Dirt.  Butler is the only Michigan track currently on the SOD schedule where Daggett, the all-time feature win leader with the series, does not have feature win at.