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Tom Fecteau


September 24th, 2009
The US Open – More GUTS – More Gain

Three years ago our team adopted the logo of our primary sponsor Sandler Training's program NO GUTS – NO GAIN®. This story tells you how much that means to us.

After our ROC struggles, the #5 was given a complete chassis "reset" back to basic specifications, a "start over" set-up. The car appeared well balanced as we liked how the scales read and we were again optimistic that we could be a contender. As we met Friday morning at Terry's house to head out with our hauler and camper, we faced our first really big crisis of the year; Terry threw his back out… real bad…seriously bad. To shorten this story let me say that his Chiropractor, Matt Alexander, got Terry walking again and although stiff and sore, Terry insisted that the race was still on. Call Terry stubborn or call him committed, either way, if he could get in the car, he was going to drive.

Friday evening was a practice only session. Terry got in the car and stayed there while we made changes that kept improving our lap times. As Terry painfully exited the car, between the grimaces of pain you could see a smile, he knew we were finally in the hunt.

Saturday's practice went even better but we couldn't resist trying to force the car a little further, and in the qualifying heat, we made a stagger error which caused a mediocre finish and a mid-pack starting position for the main event. We reset the car to what it liked best and waited for the cool evening start of the 100 lap race.

Starting 18th in a 35 car field sounds good but sometimes that is where future problems develop. Our fears were realized when a lap two skirmish claimed the right front tire and the car was now badly out of alignment. Our team piled down the back grandstand stairs and made the long run to our distant pit stall to get ready for Terry and the tow truck. We quickly got the car repaired, realigned, and back out in time to start from the back of the field. Within a few laps another competitor's spin would claim the front of the #5 again. With less time for repairs we estimated the alignment and got it wrong. Terry was now racing with a car that would not turn correctly and after about 20 laps, fell a lap down to the leaders. During a third caution we again made the long run, brought the #5 back in, made the proper adjustments, and for the rest of the race watched the car fly around the track.

However, being a lap down, Terry did not charge to the front as several teams were battling for positions and series points. Once Terry caught up to them, he backed off to avoid being a wild card while his peers battled for positions and points. After a wild last lap finish (see the full story at 2009 US Open Press Release -

The SST event is half way down) he rolled back to the pits 14th and a much needed rest. And yes, he did need help getting out of the car. Later we would learn that penalties would move us up to 12th. The race carnage suffered by other competitors gave us much to discuss as we circled our toasty fire pit back at the camper and everyone sipped some pain killers. What a weekend.

We now take a well deserved week off from racing and will close the season at Wyoming County International Speedway for the Fall Shootout 100 Lap SST Special and the SST Super Stock Dave London Memorial on Saturday, October 3rd. We ran great here last time, come and see if we can improve upon that and finish our year on a high note.


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Newark, NY  - (315) 483-4329