Mechanical Woes Halt Impressive Run By Byrne In Milwaukee
Shullsburg, WI – Finally, after all of the promotions, radio shows and pre-race hype, it was time for David Byrne and his Byrne Racing team to fire the Fontana engine and put his Stealth Chassis on the historic Milwaukee Mile pavement.
Having completed several weeks of promotions with the Milwaukee Mile, the Klondike Cheese Company and Swiss Colony for the ABC Supply Co. / A.J. Foyt Indy 225 weekend, David Byrne was ready to strap in and prove what he could do on the track.
Friday morning the USAC midgets took to the Mile for 75 minutes of practice.
Five laps into practice the car developed a problem with the rear brake caliper, when it broke off of the rear-end. They removed the caliper and capped off the brake line and finished practice. With no parts to repair, David would have to qualify with only front brakes. In the afternoon Byrne went out and qualified with a quick lap of 28.925 seconds at 124.460 miles per hour to put him in the 17th starting spot in the race on Saturday.
After qualifying Byrne wasn’t real happy with the way the car felt. “The car didn’t feel like it had any spring left in it” he said. To try and improve the problem for the race on Saturday they spent the balance of the day changing the set-up. “We gambled and changed the shocks and springs prior to the Saturday morning warm-up session” David said.
The change appeared to be the right one as Byrne went out for the final warm-up Saturday morning, still with out rear brakes, and was 9th fastest out of 24 cars, and that was with a full fuel load.
After practice the part for the rear-end was found and David worked feverishly to repair before the race, which he did just in time for the drivers meeting.
With the Toyota USAC Midget 25 field set and the Byrne Racing team set, it was time to race. At the start Byrne quickly proved the changes they made were good as he began picking off cars right away.
On lap 2 Byrne spun going into turn two, relegating him to the rear of the field. On the restart Byrne again showed the changes he made were good ones as he quickly passed car after car working his way up to as high as eleventh place when the caution flag flew again on lap 12.
The mid-race caution would prove bad for the Byrne team. On the restart Byrne’s car wasn’t firing right, forcing him to the pits and ending his run at another USAC top ten. “We think it was the battery that caused the problem, but we won’t be sure until we get it home to take a look at the electrical system” said Byrne.
When asked about the lap two spin, Byrne said “I guess we still had some air in the brake lines after fixing the caliper, so I had to pump them to get them to work. Going into [turn] 2, I got in a little hot and drifted up the track, as did the 88 car, and when the 88 came down the track we touched wheels and I spun”.
“We easily had a top ten car today until that caution came out. Even after that spin the car just felt great, it just stinks that we had that battery problem. I just want to thank Jim Tretow, Jim Westerman and the Milwaukee Mile. The Klondike Cheese Company and Swiss Colony for letting us help them promote this race and for their support of us this weekend, we can’t wait to come back again next year.”
You can catch David Byrne and the number 20 Truck Country Freightliner, Tricor Insurance, Bytec Inc., Byrne Racing Team next, in two weeks at the Grundy County Speedway for the Bob Corson Memorial in Morris, Illinois.