Good Pocono II Start Ends Up Flat for Pompa

Fast Track Racing

ARCA driver Ed Pompa had an overall good weekend at Pocono for the ModSpace 150 last Friday. This was his first time in the new ARCA composite car. “Andy Hillenburg got a composite car over the winter for the Fast Track Racing team. Rick Clifton drove it at Nashville, and absolutely loved it, finished 20th. Tony Mrakovich drove it at Pocono in June and wound up 15th. Andy said it was my turn to try it out.”

“We had a couple of issues in practice. Wound up changing out the battery master switch, and the pressure relief valve on the Ilmor 396. I made one lap in practice, and was coming in to get some adjustments, and noticed we had minimal engine oil pressure at idle. Shut the engine off and coasted in. Ilmor went to work and determined the pressure relief valve was acting up. Got those things taken care of, made a couple of runs and got ready for qualifying. “I had a little trouble in qualifying. I missed my line in the tunnel turn and had to get out of it longer than I should have. Probably only cost me ½ a second overall, but it felt worse than that. Qualified 21st. It’s about where I usually start, so I really didn’t think it would be too bad.”

Starting 21st, Ed got to work quickly. “The second Pocono race is short, so there’s not much time to let things sort out at the start.” After the cars got spread out a little, he started making gains. “The car was extremely good the entire first run. I could drive it wherever I wanted, and it was great from center-off.” Making his way up to 14th by the time the caution flew, and the first car 1 lap down, Ed wound up with the free pass, putting him back on the lead lap for the restart. “ We pitted for gas, 2 right side General tires and 1 round up on the track bar. This was the best handling car I had ever had at Pocono, and being back on the lead lap I was confident heading to the restart.”

A few laps after the restart, the handling on the ‘Milwaukee Crusher – Double H Ranch’ Toyota went away. “The car started getting extremely loose in the center of the corners. It was a handful to hang onto, and kept getting worse, but without a caution, I wasn’t coming in. The last 20 laps were nerve wracking. I held onto 14th until about 3 laps to go, and then 2 other cars got by, dropping me to 16th.” Back in the pits after the race, the crew found the problem. “Dick Doheny was pulling the transponder when he saw the LR tire was almost flat. After 60 laps in the race, the LR tire had 20 pounds of pressure. We went out with 26. I found a 1” cut in the tread, and a slow leak. Obviously I had run over something. The handling issue made sense now.”

“A little disappointed in the 16th place finish, especially when the car was handling so well early on, but glad I didn’t wreck the car. I am definitely a fan of the new composite car now. It has much more room for the driver and seems to be more stable in the corners. Thanks to all the companies on the car that have helped out the Double H Ranch this year: Milwaukee Crusher Co, Cedar Peaks Enterprises, Burt Crane, T-Shirt Graphics, Pompa Bros Inc.”