David Polenz, finishes 6th in 32 Car Field at Dominion Raceway’s Crazy Debut.

A full field of cars in nearly every division showed up to race at the new, greatest short track in the country, Dominion Raceway.  Drivers, teams and fans were parked from the speedway tower, all the way to route 95 from 10am to race time.  Fans packed the stands, suites, track restaurant, and all standing room around the catch fence to complete a sold out show.   Little did they know, they were about to witness the most intense opener in NASCAR history. It produced great side by side action; complete with flips, fires, wrecks, and a disgruntled track electrician that shut the lights off during 100 mph Late Model racing.
4-16-5PRACTICE

The DPR Crew rolled the Leckner Ford, Nissan, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram #33 out on pit road for race preparation.  After set up help from Mike Darne and Dennis Brock this winter, we took to the track in the first practice, and immediately became ecstatic with our car.  It was consistent but fairly loose, so we made a few cross weight adjustments for 2nd practice.  After running top 5 and top 10 in both sessions, completely satisfied, we decided to skip 3rd practice to prepare for qualifying and race. Thanks to my crew; Thorir, Billy, Eric, Justin and my father Jeff for all the help to get the race car adjusted for the race.

QUALIFYING

We knew we didn’t have the best motor package for qualifying, but we also knew it would be great in the race.  After slamming gears towards the green flag, I over drove in turns 1 and 2, which costed me a lot of speed. Altogether, with the driver mistake, we still improved our practice time by 4 tenths, and qualified with a 15.406 which was good enough for 13th. Realistically, I feel that we lost 2 tenths from my mistake, otherwise I’m confident that we could have had a top 5 run.

4-16-6RACE TIME

Finally after three years of building, it was time for 32 late models to fly around the 4/10ths mile Dominion Raceway.  My game plan was to ride, save equipment, avoid wrecks, and hammer down at lap 65.  The race started and for the first several laps, we rode one spot ahead of our 13th starting position. With the help of Eric Jones in the spotter stand, we methodically passed each car we came to, and avoided two hard wrecks.   Next thing you know, without ever reaching full potential of the racecar, we were already up to 10th 25 laps in, just riding.  Several cautions flew, which brought scoring delays, and mayhem on the “Cone Restarts”.  The Cone Restart gives you the option to pick the inside or outside row from first to last. Sometimes more leaders pick the inside row, and you can pass four plus positions by choosing the less favorable outside line.  With the exception of one restart, we chose the perfect lane to pick up the most track position.

Every restart brought amazing racing, but also created more accidents in the rear of the field that plagued much of the race.  We finally made a long green flag run, and started working on the competition.  We followed through with the #7 car to make up a few spots, and battled inside the top 8.  Mid way through the green flag run, as I was placing the bumper on the #7 car in turn 2, the lights completely shut off around lap 55. The drivers could not see a single thing4-16-8 due to our fancy, fake headlight stickers!  Thank god we all had our heads on straight, and didn’t cause a massive pile up. No thanks to the track electrician, who took his problem with the race track out on us! He could have killed somebody.   It was one of the most intense moments of my career, but from the sounds of it, Eric in the spotter’s stand needed new underwear more than I did!

After a 30 minute plus delay, and running into the grandstands, signing Budweiser beer cans and driver cards, it was time to go racing again.  The track announced that we would only run to lap 75 instead of 100, due to curfew, killing our lap 65 strategy to go to the front.   The green flag came back out around lap 63-65, and we took off from 8th to battle inside the top 5, with the #7 and #22 car.  We all bounced doors and bumpers off of each other and swapped spots 3 or 4 times.  The 4-16-7#22 came across our hood with 3 laps to go and let the #7 take off in front of us.  By the time I made it back to them, the #22 was slamming into the side of the #7 car to pass him. With one to go the #7 drove back to the inside of the #22 and they both almost knocked down the fence. They saved it, giving us a 6th place finished following right behind.

Considering the lack of green flag laps, and shortening the race, we were happy we made it up to the top 6 and battled for a top 4.  We feel if the race had continued the scheduled 100 lap distance, we would have been talking about the battle for the lead instead.

4-16-9

Fans sitting in the #33 car post race

We are looking forward to racing the Leckner Cars #33 again at Dominion Raceway, May 30th, Memorial Day Monday for our next event.  It will be a 100 lap feature, in conjunction with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  It should be another sold out crowd.  Get your race tickets at www.dominionraceway.com, and we will see you there!

Thanks Fans,

David Polenz

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