Josh and the #49 team hope an improved qualifying performance last Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway is a sign of more of the same this weekend. After struggling back in the pack most of the year, the West Burlington, Iowa driver timed in the top ten last Saturday night with the National Sprint League. This weekend, not only will he have another NSL event at Knoxville, but he will also be competing Sunday at his home track, 34 Raceway, with the Sprint Invaders.
Josh was happy about timing in the top ten of the NSL field. “We gained a little bit there,” he says. “We’re definitely making progress and we were happy about that. I hope there’s more of that to come.”
The team had hoped a practice session Friday would help them in their qualifying. “Honestly, during practice, the track wasn’t really where we see it during qualifying for sure,” says Josh. “We’re just continuing to make some small changes here and there, and we seem to be moving in the right direction. We’ll keep at it.”
After registering tenth quick, Josh started the first heat inside row two. “The heat didn’t go our way,” he says. “There was a car that really slowed in front of us to start the heat. That bottled me up on the bottom, and then we really got our front chopped off heading into three. The first lap really dictated where we were going to run in that heat race. That really cost us a shot at finishing in the top eight in points heading into the feature.”
He would start outside row six for the feature. “There really wasn’t much on the bottom to speak of, other than in one and two,” says Josh. “The cushion was kind of one-lane on the top and kind of choppy. We chose to use the W18 (right rear tire). Everyone has told us not to do that, and we proved them right. When the track gets dry like it was, there’s just no bite in that tire. In addition, we put on a left rear to take the stagger out, and we actually gained an inch during the race. That really hurt too.”
He would hold his own, however, and checker 13th. “Still we were able to fight ninth through twelfth the whole race,” says Josh. “It wasn’t that disappointing, because we knew the things that we did wrong. It never hurts to have the money put in the purse that we have with the NSL this year at Knoxville. We really appreciated the right rear tire the track gave the teams Saturday too. I hope the track is benefiting as much from the higher purse as we are. We’ve had some great crowds this year, and Saturday was no different.”
Josh is also looking forward to Sunday’s event in West Burlington. “We’re excited to go back to 34,” he says. “We didn’t have a very good showing there opening night. I think we have the bugs worked out of that racecar, and I think we have an opportunity to finish up front on Sunday.”