Kalamazoo Speedway - May 10, 2008
During the first practice session, it was obvious, Maurice Randall had the car to beat this day. He clocked the fastest laps of the session and felt confident enough about the car that he decided to sit out the second practice session.
At 5:10 PM, it was time to qualify. 16 cars and drivers lined up for their two-lap qualifying runs. The best of the two laps would be used. In each case, it was the second lap that was the fastest since it takes a full lap to get these cars up to speed. Maurice was lined up as the last to go out. Scott Phillips, driving the #7 Hooters car, established the time to beat, a very quick 16.4 seconds on the 3/8ths mile oval. He held the top spot for the first 15 cars. Now it was time for the 16th car to hit the track. Maurice Randall's very first lap did the trick, it was an unbelievable 16.1 seconds. About his first lap run, he had this to say, "When I pulled out onto the track, I stayed out as wide as I could all the way around for the warmup lap. I used as much track as I could to get the car up to speed and was running full speed as I came down the front straightaway to take the green flag."
The announcer knew by now that each driver would go much faster on their second lap as he blared out, "He's trying for a 15 on this lap". And sure enough, a new track record for the Mini Cup cars at Kalamazoo was established as Maurice blistered out a 15.8 second lap. "I just hung on for all it was worth on that lap. The car got loose off turn 2 and also off turn 4. I thought that messed up the lap and slowed me down, but obviously not. I couldn't believe I actually went that fast."
The Mini Cups opened up the show at 7 PM with their heat races. Maurice was to start at the back of the second heat race, but had the misfortune of breaking the drive chain and coasted into the pits. With the chain replaced and tire pressures checked, the car was ready to start the feature a little later in the evening.
It was time for the feature and with the full invert, the fast car starts at the back of the field. When the green flag flew, Maurice took it easy and slowly picked his way through the field, being careful to stay out of trouble and to preserve the car for the last few laps of this 20 lap feature event. But an unfortunate set of circumstances would occur. Track officials felt that bad weather was moving in and decided to cut the race to only 15 laps to help get the rest of the evening's program going. All the fast cars were up to the front by lap 12 and Maurice was running in 6th or 7th place by this time. It was obvious he was now on the move as he took over 3rd place on lap 14, not knowing the race was one lap from the end. He stated, "What a letdown that was. I thought I had several laps left as I was running right behind the two leaders. I felt I could have passed them in the next couple of laps and made a good show for the fans. If I'd known we were only going 15 laps, I would have gotten going much sooner. I had no trouble passing anyone at this race. We'll try it again next week."
In the first official race of the season, Maurice has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with. It's on to Springport Motor Speedway now on May 17th at the track where Maurice was the promoter in 2007. "I'm really looking forward to racing the StreamNetRadio.com Dodge at Springport. I think I might have a few fans at this one."