Calgary, AlbertaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jarrad Whissell and the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy team arrived for round number six of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Motoplex Speedway ready to tackle the challenge of their first oval track race in the series. While Whissell was excited about the outing unfortunately their night would end sooner than expected.
During his first laps in the big heavy stock cars in the afternoon practice session Whissell looked to get comfortable and had no hesitation pushing the envelope in the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I did get a little aggressive as the practice went on and at one point slid wide and had to really work to keep the car off the wallÃ¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Overall I was really happy with practice and the times we were putting upÃ¢â‚¬Â he added.
Qualifying however was a different story for the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy team. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We seemed to go backwardsÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The changes we made to the car werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the right ones and of course youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re stuck with them for the race. So we tried to make some air pressure adjustments and then continue to make changes during our pit stops to try and make the car fasterÃ¢â‚¬Â he explained.
The plan for the race was to stay as close to the lead lap as possible, run a lot of laps and learn as much as possible in the first oval race for the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy. Those plans would come to an end early on.
With only a handful of laps completed in the 300 lap race the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy made contact with another competitor. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I got into the back of the #55 carÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure if he checked up or not but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry we made contact. Just as I maneuvered to clear the #55 I got contacted pretty hard from behind and broke some rear end housing mountsÃ¢â‚¬Â said the driver. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We tried to repair it and get some more track time but it just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t possibleÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The early exit was frustrating for Whissell for a number of reasons. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m really disappointed for all of our supporters who came out for the race. We had a lot of our sponsors come out from Calgary to show their support for the teamÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m also sad we werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t able to finish higher and collect more prize money to support the ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Miracle Network our charity this yearÃ¢â‚¬Â he added.
Undeterred the team will be back in action again in only a few days as the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevy team will race Wednesday July 27th at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, SK. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have to thank the whole team for working so hard this week getting ready for the race and during the day today, they all did such a great jobÃ¢â‚¬Â said Whissell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have all the repairs made, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve already ordered the parts weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need and everyone is looking forward to putting this behind us and getting on the track in SaskatoonÃ¢â‚¬Â he concluded.
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 Chevy during practice at Motoplex Speedway by Todd Lewis.