Last month, Bob Bolles detailed a special test session of our Project Drit Late Model at Charlotte County Motorsports Park in Punta Gorda, Florida. The test, running our DLM on the paved 3/8 mile track, was in preparation for a special event on the United Drit Late Model Challenge Series schedule. This 15-race touring series visits nine tracks in three states (FL, AL, GA), tracks like Golden Isles Speedway, East Alabama Speedway and North Florida Speedway. But in mid-August the traveling show made a trek to South Florida for something a little different.

It's not unheard of to race Drit Late Models on pavement, and there have been a number of other series who have successfully done so. However, running a Drit Late Model on pavement takes a whole different approach to setting up the car. We spent the better part of that early July-afternoon test getting our setup correct, so we could come back to Charlotte County needing to do minimal work. It's a good thing, too, because we ran into a few hiccups along the way. Here's how the weekend went.

Bobby Clark and crew ran a local Friday night show at Ocala Speedway two weeks prior and had put our dirt setup in the car for that race. So, before heading to Charlotte County on Friday, we put the asphalt setup that we tested with back in the car. This was the same setup that appeared in the December issue of Circle Track. With the car scaled and freshly wrapped, thanks to the guys at Firestorm Graphix, we got to the track on Friday afternoon and pulled in next to Johnny Collins. That would turn out to be a good thing since Johnny's engine builder is George Pils from Southern Style Racing Engine, the same George Pils who freshened our engine up prior to the start of the season. We'll get to that in a minute.

The race was scheduled for Saturday night, but track owner Bobby Diehl runs an open practice every Friday night for his regulars and we took advantage. The car performed almost identically to our test. During our first test, we consistently ran 15.6 around CCMP, and that's what the stopwatch was showing again. There's something to be said for Bob's setup. The only problem was that Johnny Collins was clicking laps off in the 15.2 to 15.3 category. You could tell by looking that Collins had a good asphalt setup in his car. He was well balanced and could carry speed all the way around the track. There were other racers there who were hiking the left front and smoking the right rear. Predictably those dirt setups were slower than the asphalt setups. By the end of the practice session, we shaved off a few tenths and felt pretty good about our chances the following day.

With 22 Late Models, the day would consist of a morning practice session, then hot laps followed by a tire scuffing session. All of that preceded qualifying, two laps per car, to set the field and finally the 50-lap feature. The typical heat races were not going to be run. We had purchased two sets of tires for the testing and the race and mounted them on our 12 inch Aero wheels. The tires were old Hooters Pro Cup rubber from Goodyear, when that company supplied the series. Designed for 100- to 250-lap races, the hard compound meant that the tires could stand up well to our shorter event. We used one set for all of the testing (July and the night before the race). We planned to scuff the other set during hot laps.

Because of the previous night's practice, we only ran a handful of laps in the morning practice to give Bobby additional laps on CCMP's asphalt, a surface that he had never driven on, other than to get to the dirt tracks he has run in the past.