At Daytona International Speedway competitors and their crews prepare for the unexpected, almost anything can happen and when you think you’ve seen it all, Scotts Rookie of the Year Challenger Ronnie Osmer adds a new one.
Osmer rolled his Hub International/Supreme Ford-Slidell Fusion on to high banks of Daytona for his first Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire looking for a solid day and making all 200 miles.
“The first few laps at Daytona are always hectic and Ronnie did a really good job navigating traffic and doing what he needed to do,” offered spotter David Pepper. “It looks easy on TV but you can get in trouble really quick going this fast.”
The Green flag signaled the beginning of the 55th running of the ARCA Series at Daytona and Osmer quickly brought his HUB/Supreme Ford-Slidell to life.
“Lots of nerves leading up to the race but getting in the car and taking the green flag really got me focused on my job and let me shut out everything going on around me” said Osmer.
Osmer’s Ford circled the World Center of Speed at a pace close to 180 MPH and the Scotts Rookie was having a text book first start at Daytona.
“Having the experience of David Pepper spotting for me, giving me great info really helped me work the draft and the other cars around me.”
Osmer was settling into the demands and G Forces of the draft when just past the ¼ way mark things started to go bad, really bad.
“I could smell the motor going bad but my gauges all looked good then a big ball of smoke came out from under the hood.”
Osmer quickly put his wounded HUB/Supreme Ford down on the apron and made his way to pit road. The team pushed his lifeless machine back to the garage while the driver made the mandatory trip to the infield care center.
Back in the garage, the team searched for the issue with the motor and found a foot and a half piece of bumper bar in the trunk. The bar had come off another car, going through the front of Osmer’s Ford taking out oil and water lines on the motor before blowing a hole in the crush panel of the trunk and landing in the rear of the Ford.
“It doesn’t get much crazier than that,” said Osmer. “I just knew the motor had gone south but it’s hard to keep one going with a pipe beating on it at 180 MPH.”
Osmer’s day was shorter than hoped for but the experience – “It’s just hard to put in to words getting an opportunity to race at Daytona. So many people helped make this possible, HUB International, Supreme Ford Slidell and our tire sponsors; Roberts Tech Jobs.com, J Wire, Arata & Arata, Larry Trumbaturi House Plans and Ride to Give.”
“We created some amazing partnerships to make Daytona happen and we hope it’s the first of more to come. I’m definitely hooked!”