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The 2008 Mustang Challenge For The Miller Cup Season From The Inside
Andrew Caddell Wins In New Jersey
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New Jersey Motorsports Park
August 31, 2008
This great weekend started out with a promoter's test day. We were scheduled to have 2 on track sessions. But due to Scott Pruett's really bad crash in his Prototype race car, we ended up with only 1 session. Best news is that he was OK and raced later in the weekend. All on track activities were cancelled for the rest of the day to fix the pit wall and make it safer. They did this by lengthening the guardrail leading onto the front straight and adding more impact attenuators overnight. I think they did a great job under tough conditions.
In the 1 practice session we had during the promoters test day, I ended up 2nd to my teammate Terry Borcheller. I was only 0.02 behind.
The official practice day went very well. Terry was not at the track as he had other commitments in Detroit for the ALMS race. I ended up being fastest in both sessions of the day. I spent a lot of the day helping out my other teammate Andrew Hendricks and scuffing in some tires for Terry to race on. At the end of the day I was pretty confident going into qualifying.
Saturday we only had 1 session which was qualifying. I was feeling pretty good going into qualifying as we were the fastest car so far. I went out first because of season points and all my laps I had clear a clear track. I ran two 1:28.8's back to back and pulled in and watched what the others were able to do. I ended up getting the pole by a 0.1 and felt even better as everyone that was behind me ran about 10 laps on their tires and I only had ran 3.
Sunday our race wasn't until 4:15pm after the Rolex race and I had a great time watching this event hanging out in the Autohaus pits. The team did a great job and was in contention for the win until a mechanical problem took them out late in the race.
In the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge race, I got a good start and led coming out of turn 1. On the first lap my teammate Andrew Hendricks lost it in turn 3 and hit the tire wall and flipped over on his side. He was alright but they had to fix the tire wall which took a long time.
When we went back to green I got another good start and led coming out of the first turn. But strangely, I picked up a VERY bad vibration after the restart. I did not know what it was and it had me concerned so I was being a little cautious in the corners and especially cautious under braking.
With about 3 laps to go in the race the vibration went away just about as fast as it came. I ended up steadily pulling away from Jamie Slone and Carlo Sparacio to get my 3rd win of the year. When the vibration went away, I was able to turn the races fastest lap on my 15th of 16 laps.
StableOne and Autohaus provided me with the best Ford Mustang Challenge car in the paddock all weekend, but the win was made much easier as Terry had to start at the back. He ended up making it all the way up to 5th which was great for StableOne.
After the race weekend, my family and I spent 3 days visiting the sites in Washington DC before heading back home to the Pacific Northwest. We had a great time and I was also able to visit StableOne's offices outside of DC. It was cool getting to meet the folks behind the scenes for this race team.
We now have 67 point lead in the championship. I haven't even looked at what we have to do at the first race at Miller to clinch and probably will not. We just need to attack these last 2 races just like we have the first 6. Hard work and complete preparation always gives the best chance for good results.
I am really looking forward to going to Miller Motorsports Park as that is the home of the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup and it will be great to race these cars there. I have raced at the Miller Motorsports Park before, I won the MX5 Cup series race there last year and know (and like!) the track pretty well. More to come later.