story by Chris Roy
Looking back on the season opener win at Unity Raceway. “The day went pretty smooth. We unloaded from the trailer, put our new tires on. It was pretty fast all day long, started on the outside pole in the heat. Took the lead on lap one, led every lap, and started on the pole for the feature.”
As the green flag flew for the 1st late model race of the season, the “X” car had the lead, and led about 95 laps of the 111. Leading the most important lap, and taking the checkered flag to win the 1st race of the season.
Jeff returned to Unity last weekend for the second race of the season, “right now we did our first practice. We won the race last week, though it’s not blazingly fast, but it’s driving good. If we can drive good on old tires, we should be able to put new tires on and just be fast.”
Racing is always evolving either on the track or in the car, so I asked Jeff, what he would like to change to improve the racing at Unity, “The racing is pretty good, there’s just a couples of drivers that are a little to green and spin out a little too much unnecessarily, but that’s opening day blues. You have to work on your cars to make them better. We had some of the best side by side racing upfront, the 5 – 6 guys up front we were door to door, side by side, nose to tail just having good racing.”
The key for the “X” car getting around “Maine’s Toughest Track” is making your car work on the bottom. Jeff explained, “The tendency is the cars get tight and they end up moving to the middle and to the outside of the track. So if you can make it work on the bottom, the other drivers move to the top you have a whole free lane on the bottom to drive underneath them.”
Does Unity Raceway live up to its name as “Maine Toughest Track”? “Most definitely. It’s a tough track to race on. It’s probably the funnest track I race on, because you can race side by side. If the guy in front of you is slower, you can make your way around him, unlike some other tracks, where if he’s slower in the preferred groove you ain’t going by, but here at Unity you can race side by side and that’s the way it should be.”
The one question I always ask is about improving safety at the track, “The track does all it can. They tell us to have certain things. It’s up to the driver to make the car safer, they tell us we have to a fire system and, up to date safety belts. I go the extra mile, I have the Hutchens device, it’s not mandatory they don’t make you do it, but I watched a cup race a couple years ago Michael McDowell, in practice hit the wall in Texas, and barrel rolled down the track. I make my car as safe as I can, the track tells you what you have to do but it’s up to you to do more to make it safer.”
Jeff’s biggest fan has to be his son Chase, who got to watch his dad win the season opener. “When we won he got to come in the infield and get his picture taken with the checkered flag, he was talking about that all week.”
Jeff will take to the track once again this weekend looking for his 3rd straight win.