Ahead of Saturday’s Blade Runner event, team owner and driver Jake Waters dusted off his notes from the last event at Hesston in 2010. Even though the track has changed significantly since, it proved to be a good starting point in coordinating the car’s set up and strategy for the race. Pulling a pill draw of 27, the night started out with JCW Racing lining up somewhere near middle of the pack in anticipation of heat races.
Scheduled to start in the 5th position of his heat with promise, Waters found himself pinned down when entering the turns early on, causing others to get by. Settling for a 7th place finish in the heat, the driver and team prepared to line up with the 20th position in the feature race.
After careful observation of changing track conditions as the evening progressed, the team adjusted accordingly, tweaking the car’s set up going in to the main event. The team started the feature in 18th, up from 20th due to team scratches. As the green flag dropped, Waters immediately started to advance as opening laps progressed. At 5 laps, Waters made a bold pass to go from 16th position to 14th as he entered the backstretch, but was slowed as the caution flag waived entering turn 3.
Once able to restart the race, Waters methodically began to "pick off" cars, buckling down to advance. After another restart on lap 10, the driver was able to move up from 14th to 11th before half of a lap was completed. Quickly, Waters and the team found themselves in the Top 10 before reaching halfway.
With six laps to go, the red flag waived, halting the field. Restarting in 9th position, Waters was able to advance four more spots to take the checkered flag, but not before poking the nose of the winged sprint under fourth on the last lap.
“In the heat, we had the set up off a bit too much, but that happens when you haven’t ran a track in five years. We watched other drivers and the track’s changing conditions, and I’m fortunate to have such a talented, experienced crew behind me to get us back in the ballpark. They gave me a car that I could put almost anywhere, walking away with a Top 5 after starting 20th.” – Jake Waters
JCW Racing will look for redemption from their last trip to Port Royal Speedway, participating in Fan Appreciation Night Saturday, June 12. Racing action at the team’s home track begins at 7:00 p.m, with racing from the 410 sprints, late models, the 305 RaceSaver sprints and Xtreme stocks.