28 MAY 03
Over the course of the past three races, it's been hard luck for JC Beattie, Jr. and the entire Bob Cumbow-led ATI Racing team. The team hit a bright spot at I-70 in Missouri, but bad luck picked right back up at Mansfield and continued through to the Indianapolis Raceway Park.
After leaving Hawkeye Downs, the ASA Racing Series had a few weeks off before heading to Odessa, MO and the I-70 Speedway. During that time, the ATI bunch packed up and went testing to prepare for some upcoming events.
When the 09 Monte Carlo hit the track in Odessa, Beattie was pretty happy with the car after some solid practice times. The team was hoping they could duplicate their top-10 finish at Lanier and move back into the thick of things, but fate just wasn't on their side.
"The car started getting very tight in the middles and then went the opposite way and became loose on entry and the exit," Beattie explained. "The guys tried to make some adjustments for me but we had just missed the race setup this weekend."
Although the setup went a little astray, after a grueling day under the hot sun Beattie was happy with the car and the finish it gave them. "We were able to finish and end up 17th on the day, moving us back to 15th in points. All in all, not a bad weekend, especially after Iowa."
Moving onto Mansfield, Kevin Cywinski scored the win after taking a gamble in the pits and running the entire event on the same set of tires. Unfortunately, the ATI Racing team was never given a chance to work on such race strategy.
Beattie entered the Ohio 250 with a large amount of confidence following a test at the track and when the green flag fell at the .50-mile oval, he was ready to go racing with a solid eighth place starting spot, equaling his best effort to date.
But for Beattie and his ATI team, luck continued to elude them. On lap 38 the first caution flag of the night flew when Boris Jurkovic's #66 machine got loose as he attempted to pass a lapped car and spun, slapping Beattie's #09 Monte Carlo in the rear. Beattie's machine then made additional contact with the outside wall.
"Lap 38 of 250 is not the time to be diving underneath someone to attempt a pass that could have waited one more corner," an upset Beattie said of the early incident. "The car was damaged very badly, and it took over 100 laps to fix it. We were only able to go out and gain one spot to finish in 31st."
At the time of the incident, the Baltimore, MD driver was running seventh.
Somehow the team managed to find light at the end of the tunnel and Beattie explains how a long week of repairs on the battered 09 entry brought the team together in time for racing the following week at IRP.
"Sunday night after Mansfield the car was on the trailer headed to Howe Racing in MI. That means the motor, transmission, and rear end was out of the car. It was back Monday night with bare metal on the front end. By Friday morning everything was re-assembled, installed, painted and ready to go. That was a lot of hard work from just a couple full time employees and then a lot of friends and family of the team."
Mechanical woes however would keep Beattie out of the thick of things at IRP. After starting 23rd Beattie picked up a few spots on-track before troubles slowly lingered in. "The #4 cylinder lost power when a plug wire boot cracked and killed the cylinder," Beattie said. "To make matters worse that started right at the beginning of a 75-lap green flag run that seemed like it would never end."
Eventually the 09 dipped to the pits to replace the wire, but lost four laps in the process. After a hard fought battle, Beattie crossed the stripe in 25th.
The entire ASA Racing Sereis has a few weeks off before taking to the
track in Oregon, WI on July 18th. The race will be aired live on Speed
at 9 P.M.