August 8, 2011. Calgary, AlbertaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jarrad Whissell and the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford team returned to action this past weekend at round number eight of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres. Whissell and the team battled all weekend long but it was an unexpected twist that upset their weekend result.
Whissell and the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford experienced an issue during the Saturday afternoon practice session. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We tried some new brake parts to help with the cooling but they just didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work well for usÃ¢â‚¬Â said the driver. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The car was much better in qualifying when we went back to our regular piecesÃ¢â‚¬Â he added.
The #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford would start the Sunday feature race at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres on the inside of row ten. Shortly before the start of the race showers soaked the track and many of the teams scrambling. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind racing in the rain at allÃ¢â‚¬Â explained Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d really have a chance to use it to our advantage and have a really good dayÃ¢â‚¬Â he stated.
As the race began the warm humid conditions caused an unexpected problem for the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford. Despite the team installing a blower to defrost the windshield fogged up and forced Whissell to stop within the first few laps. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was just dangerous for me to continue so I had to make a pit stopÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. The team re aimed the blower and it managed to keep a small hole of visibility for the driver.
Another Whissell had to endure was water coming into the car from the passenger side and being collected in his helmet blower. This cause his visor and glasses to become fogged. Once again the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford team adjusted to the problem.
With the visibility issues accounted for Whissell was able to then be quite competitive. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once I had a little space to see out front I was able to run really wellÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were running comparable speeds with the top five cars on the track. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just unfortunate we had that problem that set us back earlyÃ¢â‚¬Â he added.
Unfortunately the early repairs put the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford down a couple of laps and into a deficit from which they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recover. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a shame about the visibilityÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If not for that we would have had a great finish for sureÃ¢â‚¬Â stated the driver.
Jarrad Whissell and the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu team will return to Quebec for their final event of the season August 19-20 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal as part of the Nationwide weekend.
This season Jarrad Whissell will participate in four NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course events at Mosport Raceway, the Toronto Indy, Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres and the Montreal Nationwide weekend. In addition he will also take part in the two western Canada stops at Motoplex Speedway near Vernon, BC & Auto Clearing Speedway in Saskatoon, SK. Follow the progress of the team and help support the ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Miracle Network through the team website www.jarradwhissell.com and fans can make donations by going to the website www.helpmakemiracles.ca and clicking on the racing for kids link. Race fans are invited to follow Whissell on twitter, @jarradwhissell You can watch all of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series races again this year on TSN.
Photo: The #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres by Joe Hamilton