Steele County Speedway
Friday, May 25, 2007
Waldvogel Starts the Season Strong with Three Fourth-Place Finishes at the Owatonna Off-Road Nationals
FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- The Waldvogel Off-Road Racing Team returned from their first weekend of competition in the high-horsepower World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) Super Stock Truck class with their chins up after nabbing fourth place finishes in each of three races entered. 2007 is driver Dave Waldvogel’s first season competing in the Super Stock Truck class, which is a huge step up from the Stock Truck class where he has competed since 2003.
“These trucks are absolute racing machines. In the Stock Truck it took quite a bit of driver input to get the truck to do what you wanted, and even then it didn’t always listen…in these trucks, you get exactly what you ask for, whether it’s brakes, throttle, steering….I’m having a blast getting comfortable driving this Bendix Brakes hot rod….” commented driver Dave Waldvogel.
In Saturday’s race, the Super Stock Trucks were the first race scheduled for the day, and were able to take part in the historic opening ceremonies at the inaugural WSORR event. The ceremonies were highlighted by a military fly-over, and the famous “Drivers, start your engines!” command from former Minnesota Twins World Series pitcher Jack Morris. It was an excellent kick-off to a historic season for WSORR.
Dave had drawn the seventh starting position out of eight trucks entered in the race. At the green, the Bendix Brakes/Toyo Tires Chevrolet thundered into action, and by the middle of lap one had pulled into third position behind Ben Wandahsega and Don Williams, with last year’s class champion Dan Baudoux hot on his tail. Dan took the position from Dave on a tight corner entering the back straightaway, and Dave quickly fell in line to follow Dan toward the front. For the remainder of the race, Dave battled to catch the now third place vehicle of Don Williams. Dave was able to pull up to Don, but was unable to challenge for third. At the checkered flag, Dave held the fourth place position. Ben Wandahsega took the win with Dan Baudoux finishing second. This was a very solid start for Dave in his first race in the new Bendix Brakes/Toyo Tires Super Stock Truck, showing he was already competitive.
Saturday evening brought heavy rains to the Owatonna area, drenching the race-track. By race-time on Sunday morning the rains had subsided. In an effort to dry the track, morning practice was cancelled, and the racing order was shuffled. The Formula 4x4 class was moved to the first race of the day, since the mud would not hinder them as much. The 4x4 trucks did their best to slosh the mud and standing water aside, but the track still was a huge mess for the Super Stock Truck race.
Dave took the green and plunged into to the 2nd position going into corner one. This was short-lived however, as Dave misjudged the available traction and over-rotated the truck, spinning the truck in a circle. Dave recovered to about the sixth or seventh position, and as he rounded the corner he had failed so miserably during his first attempt, he was pleased to see several trucks piled together in the outer berm, having their own problems with the slick conditions. Dave was able to move back into the second position behind leader Ben Wandahsega before the end of lap one!
Dave slowly but surely began to reel in Wandahsega, and appeared as if he would make a race for the lead. As the race progressed, the mud held the truck lower and lower to the ground, and it began to bottom out heavily from the excess weight. The skid plates which the truck is equipped with were slamming into the mud-covered ground, and each time would force the heavy, wet mud into the driver’s compartment. By the middle of the race, Dave’s feet were literally buried. The mud began to disrupt proper operation of the throttle pedal, actually holding it wide open at one point.
At this point Dave fell back to the fourth position, and carefully navigated the Bendix Brakes Toyo Tires Chevrolet to the finish line, the entire time using both feet to push and pull the accelerator and ensure that it would not stick in the open position. Despite the disappointment in not competing for the win, the team gained valuable information that will surely come into play the next time Mother Nature decides to throw a rainstorm their way.
Always eager to gain experience, the crew quickly jumped into removing the literally thousands of pounds of mud from the truck. Dave had entered the Bendix Brakes/Toyo Tires Super Truck into the Pro-2wd race to be held later that afternoon. The Pro-2wd class uses an identical chassis with a larger engine and tire rule. The crew worked diligently to get the truck ready, and at the drop of the green Dave fell into position at the rear of the field, following closely behind competitor Harvey Wald in his Pro-2wd truck. Dave started to find his own lines, and on lap five, disaster struck as Dave attempted a pass on Wald. Dave had a major run entering the front grandstand straight, and looked to try the outside line going down the straight. As they approached the first jump, Dave realized that the lane he was shooting for had been closed off, and quickly tried to move his momentum to the inside or left of Wald’s truck. Dave unfortunately did not quite clear Wald’s truck, clipping him at a most inopportune moment. This sent Wald’s truck sideways off the main jump, which caused him to roll violently several times, ending up tangled in the safety catch fence at the end of the grandstand. Dave continued to race while safety crews attended to Wald. The safety equipment worked like it is supposed to and Harvey walked away basically unscathed, much to the relief of all in attendance. Wrecks like that happen in this sport, but they are nothing that anyone likes to see. Dave honored his black flag penalty, and then re-entered the race, turning his fastest lap time of the weekend in the closing laps of the race, matching the fastest lap of the weekend by any of the Super Stock Trucks at 55 seconds flat, or an average speed just over 55mph. At the checkered flag, Dave finished in the fourth position in the Pro-2wd division.
In the WSORR Super Stock Truck points (you guessed it) Dave holds down the fourth position. Dave may compete in one or two more Pro-2wd events throughout this season, but will be focused on the Super Stock Truck season point’s battle.
The next event is scheduled for June 23-24 at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. You can be sure that the entire team at Waldvogel Racing will learn from their first weekend of competition in this next level of truck racing, and will be ready to compete for podium finishes at Crandon.
Waldvogel Racing is sponsored by Bendix Brakes by Honeywell, a leader in braking technology since 1924.
Waldvogel Racing is also sponsored by Toyo Tires, AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants, Phlox Auto, MSD Ignitions, Fox Racing Shocks, Allied Wheels, Fram, Prestone, and Autolite. For more information visit www.waldvogelracing.com.