After testing Friday night and thinking they were ready for the start of the two day RacingWest.com 125 at Mesa Marin Speedway, Butch Gilliland and crew chief Ron Herridge, thought they were ready.....then came the practice sessions before qualifying Saturday.....the car just wouldn't stick. Was it the track temperature? The set up? What was it? They continued to fight an ill handling race car through 2 sessions and the qualifying round. I didn't get the exact lap times but from the teams starting position in the second of the Twin set up races, they had missed on the Cleavage Creek Winery timed runs.
Starting deep in the field ,by lap four, the Anaheim Truck and Auto, Currie Enterprises, D.G.G.R Packaging and Crating, and Vergola Custom Roofs sponsored Late Model was up to 9th...lap 5 -8th, lap 8 -7th, the legendary Butch Gilliland had proven that it truly was, "just like riding a bike"....lap 12 -6th,lap 15 -5th,lap 25 - 4th, it was like he hadn't been out of a car at all, let alone 5 years......lap 27 saw some contact racing with the 33 car who was laps down and not heeding the blue flag with a yellow stripe but Butch quickly put him in his mirror.
At lap 37 he secured the 5th position and stayed there to the checkered. Thus locking in a very nice position for Sunday’s RacingWest.com 125!!! I only talked to the team briefly before the start of the Southwest Tour race but the first words out of Butch were...”it's like riding a bike" and off he went to lend a hand to son David who was lining up for the 150 lapper. Incidentally, David went on to win that race after late race contact between the leaders.
This weekend long story will conclude tomorrow with some pictures we were able to get but before we go, we want to thank Janet and all the folks at RacingWest.com for all the work and time they devote to the racers, fans and everybody involved in the racing community! You are all awesome and any series anywhere is the envy of what you all contribute!!!!.....to be continued....