Tim Smith of S & S Motorsports worked hard to get his Integrity Financial Monte Carlo into the top ten Sunday, October 17 at Mesa Marin Raceway. The first practice of the day was not very productive since the track was still a little wet from early morning rains. “All we were able to really get accomplished was scuff in the new tires for qualifying,” says Smith.
The second practice session was more productive as Smith was able to run the car at race speed to get a true feel for the track. Smith said, “The car was pretty tight so our crew chief, Mark Ramero, made some changes to loosen it up.” Ramero ended up changing both front springs and the sway bar. Smith ran the car with the new set up for about 15 minutes. The car was still a little tight for Smith’s liking. Before the qualifying session, Ramero ended up changing shocks and made some other adjustments to again loosen up the car. His efforts seemed to work. As Smith was coming out of turn four to take the green flag for his qualifying run, the car spun out without hitting either wall. After the spin, Smith ran the car backwards around the half mine track in order to get a better run for the green flag. Sixteenth position was the best the Integrity Financial Monte Carlo could due during qualifying.
“It was pretty strange how the car was obviously on the loose side during qualifying, but then tightened up for the race,” says Smith. Smith ran the car until the second set of caution laps, moving into the tenth position. However the car was still not to Smith’s liking. During the caution, Smith came down pit road to get fuel and have adjustments made to loosen the car. “Mark’s adjustments after the first pit stop helped, but the car was still going to be the limiting factor for the outcome of the race.” Since Smith was the only car to pit during the caution, he started in the back of the lead lap cars.
After working his way up to the tenth position again, another caution came out about midway during the race. Smith and Ramero decided to bring the car down pit road for some more adjustments. This pit stop did not go exactly to Ramero’s liking. After hearing Ramero yell “No, No” to one of his pit crew, Smith took off from the pit stall thinking Ramero was giving him instructions to go. Smith ended up leaving pit road with the track bar adjustment wrench still in the car which resulted in a stop-and-go penalty. Smith again had to restart at the back of the lead lap line.
The 33 car once again worked its way through the pack. The final pit stop for S & S Motorsports happens during a yellow flag at lap 114. This time, Ramero decided to put on two right side tires, fuel and make one final adjustment. With fresh right side tires and another track bar adjustment, Smith was able to get the 33 to sixth place with an exciting finish. Mike Duncan and Austin Cameron were battling for fourth position when Smith tried to get underneath both of them coming out of turn four on the final lap. Cameron ended up taking the fourth position with Duncan in fifth.