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Tough luck at Waterford


Ricky Wolf had a fast car on Saturday, June 7, but fell victim to a little poor luck as he came home with a 27th-place finish.

Ricky recalls the events of the weekend...

"Saturday, June 7th saw the team head south to Waterford, Connecticut to the Waterford Speedbowl. This trip marked my first time ever visiting the facility. The Speedbowl is a 3/8 mile moderately banked oval with lots of grip. Car owners Mark and Robbin Willoughby, and Crew Chief Jason Horne had visited the facility previously when they were competing on the Busch East Tour.

The BG Environmental - Waste Management Dennis Ciotti Racing Products sponsored #38NH Monte Carlo was fast right out of the trailer. After the first practice session was complete, I was really enjoying this race track. We worked on the car a little bit each time it came off the track, each time making it a little bit better. By the time the last session was complete, we knew we had a very competitive car for the Nutmeg State 100, turning lap times in the low 15.5 second range.

Thirty-seven cars were in the pit area all trying for one of the 26 qualifying spots available. ACT also added four provisional starting positions due to the strong field in attendance. Jason drew a "55" for our qualifying number, which set us on the pole in the 4th qualifying race. The outside pole sitter, Eric Chase in the #40, and the third place starter, fellow rookie Nick Sweet in the #88 both gave chase but were unable to stay with us on the short-run 12-lap qualifying race, and we won it going away. With ACT's unique plus/minus qualifying system, we scored a "zero", because we started on the pole, and finished there.

The 100-lap feature line up saw us start in the 13th position, but we did not stay there for long. By lap three we were already in 10th, and heading to the front when heavy contact amongst the top-three cars sent the field scrambling for a way to get through. We were forced to spin to avoid heavy contact with several cars, and it cost us big time, as they restarted us at the rear of the field in 29th place. This is where the real racing began.

Our spin to avoid the lap three mess fortunately did not hurt our car at all, and on the ensuing restart, we took the outside lane and stayed there. Waterford is a two-groove race track and if you are hooked up on the outside, you can really do some business. The field was of course extremely tight, and the difference in lap times from the 1st to 20th place car is only 0.1 to 0.2 seconds per lap. The racing was phenomenal, and our car was just plain hooked up, allowing me to drive into the corners at least a 1/2 to 3/4 of a car length deeper than anyone around me. We patiently worked our way inside the top 20 when an over-anxious Patrick Laperle in the #91 spun himself out while racing hard with another car in turns 1 and 2. He slid up the track in front of us, with his driver side door facing on coming traffic. We ran out of room at the very last second, and our left front tire and driver side door made heavy contact with the left rear quarter panel of his machine.

We sustained heavy front end damage, and lost the brakes as well in the incident. The crew did a great job of trying to re-adjust our front end and repairing the brakes without us going a lap down. We were back on track and running in about 16th place by mid-race when the driver side door panel came loose, but did not completely come off the car. This eventually resulted in us being black flagged on lap 73, resulting in a disappointing 27th-place finish.

Our finish does not even come close to reflecting what was our best effort to date on the ACT Tour. The car was perfect, and we were headed to a top-10, if not a top-five run before bad racing luck got a hold of us. I am so proud of the team for the car they put under me, and the way they performed in the pits after our accident. We will be back on track at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday June 21st, for the Dunkin' Donuts 150. The team will again be looking for a little revenge on the speedway, as we failed to qualify there on our first try. I am confident we will be much better this time around.

A huge thanks goes out to Mark and Robbin for the opportunity, and our team of awesome sponsors as well. The crew put in a great performance on an extremely hot and challenging day, never missing a beat. A tip of the hat is also due to the large number of family, friends, and fans who continue to support us at all of these new race tracks the ACT has taken us to."

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