By Dalton Zehr
I had a good time running the UNOH Battle at the Beach races. It was a new experience in more ways then one. Running with NASCAR, a new track that no one has ever seen before, being televised, and to top it all off we were part of Daytona Speedweeks.
The car was a lot of fun to drive, although we caught some bad luck early in the qualifier race. Later in the main event, all the hard work that we had put into the car over the last two months was starting to pay off. We defiantly had a strong car, but unfortunately that is not always enough. I got tangled up in an early race caution that caused a lot of body damage. It slowed us down a bit, but did not take us out. We were able to continue battling our way toward the front to finish a respectable Eighth spot. All-in-all, I had a good time on Daytona's newest racing surface, and I look forward to getting the opportunity to do it again.
Special thanks to all the sponsors involved in making this possible—Circle Track magazine, Coleman Racing Products, AR Bodies, KT Engines, Wilwood Engineering, my dad Marty Zehr, Kenny Hellyer, Tim Elliot, Pete Epple, Bob Bolles, Rob Fisher, and Mandi Reiswitz. Thanks everyone!
By Adam Royle
Adam Royle flew the Circle Track magazine colors for the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Adam ma
The first time I thought about making the 1500-mile journey to Daytona was when I heard I made top 10 in the Whelen All-American Series season standings. The top 10 drivers were guaranteed a starting spot, so I figured why the hell not go and run at a track I only dreamed about racing at. The dream turned into reality when Mike Lemke helped spread the word that I could be a potential contender with my winning record in 2012. He got several sponsors lined up that made the change over from an Elko Speedway Super Late Model to a legal car for the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Circle Track and Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazines supplied the Ford crate motor, which made the motor building a lot less stressful. Another obstacle was adding the additional 360 pounds and making the percentages come out right. With all the other challenges we came across, we managed to get everything setup as perfect as we could without any practice until we made it to Daytona.
Daytona was a big disappointment because of my performance. This was due to all the problems that went mechanically wrong from the moment we hit the track. We tried everything we could to fix the problems, but never solved the mysteries that haunted us all weekend.
The track's oversized paperclip configuration led to caution after caution. This was due to straight-aways that were too long, which lead to dive-bombing into the corners and wrecked racecars. If I were to reconfigure the track for next year, I would just shorten the straight-aways for a better overall exciting race for fans and drivers.
On a positive note, my engine trouble may have been a blessing, because I believe I was the only car to leave Daytona with all the fenders still on. I have never seen so many tore up race cars in a single event. It could have been because of all the anticipation building up to the inaugural Battle at the Beach at Daytona.
After it all, the dream ended up being a nightmare. I just wish I could have been able to show my talent on the biggest stage for short track drivers in the nation. I hope they continue this new tradition because I want revenge!
If there is one thing that everybody involved was able to agree on is that if Daytona and NASCAR choose to hold the Battle at the Beach again next year, we will all be back. There is something about racing in February in Florida. Add the lure of Daytona into the mix and it becomes down right addictive. Plus, we think we know just what we need to get to the very front...and we're not telling.