Plainfield, IN Wednesday February 24th, 2016 - This past week kicked off the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Season in Ocala, FL. A three day event deemed the Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park. The seventh annual running of the Winter Dirt Games (WDG) fielded a strong field of 33 cars from 12 states and 3 countries. A very diverse field of entrants for this years event. One might say the strongest of WDG fields to date. Three full nights of racing was preceded by a practice day set for Wednesday. Wednesday teams took advantage of the open practice as a chance to test and tune as most have new cars or car/motor programs, in Chad Boespflug's case all of the above. WDG would be the start of the newly formed NineEight Motorsports / EZR Team's season. A completely new team compiled of individuals that had each worked with Boespflug individually in the past, but not all as one team.
"Wednesday was a long hard night trying to find some speed in the 98e, the car felt good we just couldn't get any more speed as we made changes." - Boespflug on how open practice went.
Night 1 of WDG saw Boespflug going out 8th overall for ProSource Qualifying laying down a lap of 14.398 landing him in the top 10, qualifying 7th quick. Followed by a strong heat race run finishing 2nd after starting 5th. AMain lineups with USAC revert back to qualifying times inverting the top 6 highest qualifiers transferring through heat race competition. Boespflug lined up 8th for the 30 lap main event. After dropping back to 10th place early it was not until late in the race that he was able to make his way back through the field. A strong run at the end landed Boespflug a top 5 finish, finishing 5th.
"Great first night for the NineEight / EZR Team. Davey Jones, Jason Keefer, and Bryan Stanfill worked hard and great together all night. We found the speed we we lacking during practice and were able to put a solid run together." - Boespflug reflects on Night 1.
Night 2 of WDG Boespflug had a high pill draw, as a result he went out 25th overall for ProSource Qualifying. Another time of 14.3 did not hold as strong for Night 2 as it placed him 16th overall. A slower qualifying lap moved Boespflug up in the heat race inversion to start 3rd. Another runner up finish in the heat, finishing 2nd would once again lock him into the AMain. With two higher qualifiers failing to transfer out of a heat he gained those two positions to start 14th in the AMain. Boespflug worked his way into the top 10 before settling into a 9th place finish.
"The NineEight / EZR team has been working hard and well together each night. I'm looking forward to what we can do together as the year goes on. We have have had great progress for such a new team. Everyone has been working their tales off." - Boespflug said following Night 2.
Night 3 of WDG started off with yet another high pill draw leaving Boespflug to go out almost last to qualify. Lap one of qualifying fell just outside of the top 20. Lap two was much improved 12th quick with a 14.442. For the third night in a row Chad fell in Indy Race Parts Heat Race #4. Boespflug was not content running 2nd in the heat for the third night in a row. With a fast race car and making use of all groves of the track Chad took over the heat race lead from Brady Short just after halfway. Chad started 12th in the WDG finale. Night 3 was nothing but let down following the strong heat race win for Chad. An early race tangle with Kody Swanson while running 6th left them both sitting dead on the track. Chad was able to restart and tag the tail. With 8 laps to go in the AMain the team took advantage of another yellow calling Chad to the work area to make some change to get him a little better. The changes the team made while in the work area improved the 98e as the track was taking rubber. Chad drove back to finish 14th from 22nd.
"The start of our 2016 Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car series season started off great and ended up in heartbreak, after getting collecting in an incident while running 6th after starting 12th Saturday. Falling victim of a racing incident left us frustrated and wanting more. We were able to salvage a 14th finish after tagging the tail, but feel we had a car capable of running up front. I cant express how happy I am with the team and equipment we have assembled during this past off season. The NineEight/EZR, Maxim Chassis, Claxton Powered, FK Indy shocks, Hoosier tire, Amsoil, Bell Helmet, Midwest Shades, Creative Finishing, Manvel, ?#98e? was great all weekend. We learned a lot about the car and the team began to mesh very well. Looking forward to getting back to the track with these guys again in April. And thank you again to everyone that helped to make this team come together as well as to make the Winter Dirt Games possible for us." - Boespflug reflects on the start of the season.
Thank You to All Continued Supporting Partners:
Amsoil, Bell Helmets, Butlerbuilt Seats, Claxton Engines, Creative Finishing, DLG, FK Indy, Hinchman Indy, Indy Race Parts, Manvel Motorsports, Maxim Racing, Midwest Shades, RevvedUp Industries, Shaws, and STIDA.
Amsoil USAC Winter Dirt Games VII at Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL2/18: Qualifying: 8th / 32 Cars - Heat Race: S 5th F 2nd - AMain: S 8th F 5th2/19: Qualifying: 16th / 33 Cars - Heat Race: S 3th F 2nd - AMain: S 14th F 9th2/20: Qualifying: 12th / 32 Cars - Heat Race: S 4th F 1st - AMain: S 12th F 14th
Be sure to follow Chad Boespflug via Facebook / Twitter / Instagram (@chadboespflug)
Attached Photo Credit: FFN Photo