Before a single car had hit the track Friday at the 6th Annual Summer Showdown there was already a bit of drama building in the pit area. Fresh off a one-two finish at the Montana 200, brothers Owen and Tayler Riddle had failed pre-practice technical inspection and left the race track. Shortly after, Pete and Shane Harding had left as well and Chris Davidson had been sent back to the pits to adjust the rear overhang on his No. 14 machine.
It turns out that the specifications of the rear overhang was the same issue that the Riddle brothers had faced in their first time through tech. And it was an issue that resulted in the dynamic duo leaving the race track before their weekend began.
“There was a discrepancy regarding the rear overhang on both cars. The Evergreen tech staff told us we were one inch too long on our rear overhang (Five Star measurement G); however, both cars were within the rear deck lid measurement (Five Star measurement M),” Owen Riddle told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
“After multiple teams informed the tech staff they were improperly checking rear overhang they denied any problems with the way they were checking the measurement. We were given the option to add weight and admit guilt (when we felt) there was nothing illegal on either car, or cut our rear quarter panels, deck lid and all rear bracing and move it one inch forward. It was at this time that the decision was made as a team that we no longer wanted to participate in the event.”
While Davidson had adjusted his car to fit the templates in approximately 20 minutes, the brothers did not feel that it was in their best interest to continue with the weekend.
“They had a tech issue that they didn’t feel that they could fix at the track. Some options were presented, none of them were acceptable to both parties,” Evergreen Speedway Technical Director Kevin Guthrie confirmed.
The next day in pre-qualifying technical inspection several teams had to make their way through the templates multiple times, including veteran racer Joe Constance and national powerhouse Preston Peltier.
“We have a couple of issues. Mostly door heights have just been too low. Right now, we’re about an eighth of an inch low, but you know I guess it just needs to be fair for everybody and rules are rules. So we got to meet the rules,” Constance stated as his team worked to get his car in compliance.
“As far as we’re concerned. Our issue is probably our own fault. We found something that changed the height of the car a little bit and we reset everything. We didn’t get a chance to roll through before we rolled through tech here for qualifying. It was an easy fix,” Peltier explained.
“As far as everybody else goes, I think the reason they’re having the issues is that they’re not used to this kind of tech. It’s been kind of a free for all, wide open out here in the west in the past, but this is the way that it is everywhere else. I think that everybody should just get used to it,” he added.
Veteran local driver Jeff Knight expounded on those thoughts, stating that “culturally here in the Northwest the template component, this stringent on the rules, being absolutely to the letter of the law is new. It’s real common for East Coast programs to be like that, but for us on the West Coast it’s a little bit new and so we kind of fight against it a little bit and I don’t think we mean to. But you know we’re all just trying to get it together. We want to go racing and have some fun.”
Spears SRL Technical Inspector Noel Dawson has been brought in to assist Guthrie for the weekend and was stationed at the referee, a machine used for body measurements, for pre-qualifying inspection. He believed that the issue isn’t just local.
“Heights are low on roofs and doors,” Dawson said. “That’s the majority of the problem. It’s been a majority of the local guys, but there have been a couple out of town guys that have had issues too.”
Guthrie added, “It just looks like heights with the referee is the problem for most teams. Probably the cars settling, having them set to the bare bones minimum to start with and the cars set down during practice. So, not any big issues, just everyone wants their cars lower and lower, and I get it.”
When asked if he expects this problem to continue on race day, Guthrie said that he hopes teams have had enough time during the weekend to get their cars right.
“I would hope not; they made the adjustments after the cars have been on the track and settled. So hopefully that will equate to less problems tomorrow.”
-By Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com