It was the first race of the 2022 Southeast Legends and Bandolero Tour. Bobby had never been to the track, but the guys at JW Motorsports had been, so they knew just how to get the #6 Keen Parts bandolero ready! It was a full weekend and Bobby was feeling excited to be able to race again.
The bags were all packed the night before. Kris picked up Bobby (and Elaina who got to tag along for the weekend) from school about noon and they met Bill to grab lunch and head south on I-85 toward Anderson Motor Speedway. Kris gave hugs and headed back home to take flag football and soccer duty with the other kids. After detouring around a traffic accident, Bill, Bobby, and Elaina arrived at the track about 3:45p on Friday.
The JW Motorsports guys arrived shortly after (they got held up by the same traffic issue) and everyone helped get the cars ready for practice. Bill took care of all the registration while Bobby got his stuff ready. One thing about middle school boys is that they grow fast! When getting his helmet on for first practice, Bobby realized it didn’t quite fit like it used to! After getting the issue worked out, Bobby ran two practice sessions. During the first practice, he found a good line while fighting a tight car. After some adjustments, Bobby found a better line and picked up speed during the second practice. After practice ended for the day, Bill and the kids checked into the Baymont by Wyndham Easley/Greenville (thanks Expedia for an easy booking process!), ordered Papa John’s pizza (pepperoni stuffed crust in case you wondered), and got some good rest.
Race day started with the hotel continental breakfast (it was a good spread!) and an 8:45am arrival at the track. Bill did more paperwork and got the transponder. Bobby got his stuff ready and the JW Motorsports guys got the bandolero ready to go. Since Kris was at home for the weekend, Elaina was the designated race day photographer. Kris texted Bill updates about football and soccer while Bill texted Kris updates about everything at the track. There was a LOT of texting going on!!
Morning race day practice sessions went well. It was a group practice format. Practice 1: third fastest at 19.982; practice 2: second fastest at 19.757; practice 3: second fastest at 19.741; practice 4 and qualifying: fourth fastest at 19.955, only .002 seconds behind teammate LaQuan McCoy. Lots of practice time gave the JW Motorsports guys a chance to find a good race set up that worked well for runs longer than 10 laps. With practice over, it was time to rest up, eat, and get ready for the race.
Before pre-race ceremonies was the drivers meeting and an autograph session! Bobby gave out three autographs (not too bad for his first official autograph session). Feature racing started at 7pm and bandoleros were first out on the track. Bobby was in his #6 Keen Part bandolero and ready! After a few pace laps the green flag dropped. The first few laps were tough because of the way the bandolero was set up for longer runs. Bobby slid back to 5th and after lap 5 started working his way back forward. Bobby had closed the gap with the car in front of him when a bandolero behind him spun and a caution came out on lap 9. On the restart, Bobby passed the 4th place bandolero and had almost passed the third place car when that driver didn’t see him and the two had contact on the exit of turn 2. That contact left some body damage which hindered the handling of the car. Bobby kept his #6 Keen Parts bandolero on the track without incident for the remainder of the race, finishing 7th.
The rest of the night was spent enjoying the other feature races, learning a few things along the way, and enjoying friendships with the other drivers. Plenty of football throwing happened between the bando drivers! Anderson Motor Speedway had a good crowd for the feature racing and overall, the weekend event was well run. After all the racing was done, it was time to pack up the cars and head home. Bill, Bobby, and Elaina arrived home about 1am Sunday morning and quickly climbed into bed. Everyone enjoyed the weekend, learned a LOT, and is ready to do it again!