Michael Dabney Jr. Makes Heroic Efforts In Summer Shootout
This might have been the toughest week in the 2011 edition of the Summer Shootout at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for Michael Dabney Jr. However, the Crandall, Texas native saw the opportunity as a chance to redeem himself instead of giving up which led to courageous praises from his fellow competitors in the garage.
Monday was supposed to be a routine practice day but when Mother Nature soaked the quarter-mile track recently and washed away a night of racing, INEX Asphalt Legend Car Series officials elected to reschedule the race for the 11th.
Dabney Jr. in his No. 5 automobile participated in the practice session on Monday trying to find the ideal setup that would propel the 22-year old into the spotlight later that evening. While qualifying didn’t go as planned, the Mooresville, North Carolina resident remained focused on the bigger picture which included the heat race then to be followed by the feature.
After a strong finish in the heat, Dabney Jr. set his attention towards the feature. Immediately climbing from his mid-pack starting position, Dabney Jr. would use heads-up driving to avoid a massive melee less than 10 laps into the 20-lap contest. Methodically working his way up to the fourth position, it appeared that the Texan was set to cruise to his season-best finish in the Summer Shootout. Unfortunately, contact from another competitor sent Dabney Jr. into the backstretch wall hard causing massive damage to his race car.
Surveying the damage, Dabney Jr. thought it was literally impossible to piece his car back together in order to compete in round seven set for the next evening. Despite the frustration, Dabney Jr. was already putting a game plan together.
Not planning to race on Tuesday, he returned to the Concord, North Carolina-track to further solidify his repair efforts only to make a last-minute decision to piece his Legend Car back together in order to compete in Tuesday night’s festivities.
“After all the headache on Monday, I still finished a solid 12th,” Dabney Jr. explained. “I’m a fighter and I don’t give up easily. I saw that with some new parts, I could manage to get through Tuesday night before refocusing on the damage control to get ready for next week.”
Electing to sit out qualifying, Dabney Jr. used the heat race to shake-down his race car after spending a majority of the afternoon carefully piecing the No. 5 back together.
A commendable effort in the heat race shifted Dabney Jr’s attentiveness towards the feature. Having to climb his way through the field again proved not to be a problem. Impressively climbing into the top-10 by the half-way mark, it appeared once again that the phenom was set to claim another top-10 in the Summer Shootout only to be spun-out by another competitor just three laps from the finish.
A gallant effort on a final restart saw Dabney Jr. flex his muscle and climb back to 12th where he would take the checkered flag.
“It was a trying two days, that’s for sure,” explained Dabney Jr. “I didn’t think that there was any way I would race on Tuesday but after looking at the car, I told myself I could do this. So, I did it. The car was actually pretty good despite how it looked. The spins were just part of racing. It stinks because I could of had two solid finishes this week, but that’s how it goes sometimes. We’ll try again next week.”
He closed out by saying, “I just want to thank everyone who continues to support Michael Dabney Jr. Motorsports. I would not be here without the help and support of certain people and I am forever grateful and indebted to them for that. Hopefully, I can get a victory here soon to be able to thank them properly.”
Practice resumes on Monday, July 18 with the eighth round of racing set for Tuesday, July 19 with the concluding chapter approaching on Tuesday, July 26th.
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