|Date: 11/23/2009 3:08:18 PM|
Fate denies Young Langenstein sweep at the Rock!
Rockingham, N.C. (11/15/09)
Austin Langenstein and the #7 FIREFOLD.com Bandolero Team headed into the 2 day road course event at Rockingham Speedway, November 14th & 15th, with a strong car and the confidence they could dominate the competition. Unfortunately circumstances on the track interfered with the Teamís plans for a weekend sweep.
Starting third on the grid for Saturdayís qualifying heat, Austin quickly raced his way to a convincing win over Tyler Hill: a driver who would factor prominently in the weekends events; sending a message to his competitors that he was there to race.
Photo by P. Hiltz
"Our car was good and we were strong everywhere on the track during our heat race", noted Austin. "Considering this is my first time racing on this race track, I felt like we could only get better", smiled the young driver.
With speeds approaching 80mph on the straight-aways, and a field filled with "hot shoe" young gun drivers, the 12 lap feature on the 1 mile road course was set to be a "Rumble at the Rock".
Starting on the outside of row 1, Austin quickly jumped to the lead over hard charging Tyler Hill as they sped under the green flag. As the race progressed, Hill and Langenstein exchanged the lead several times until, on the final lap, Austin took control opening a slight lead over his competitor. With the leaders breaking away from the rest of the field, it was certain that the win would come down to these 2 drivers.
Going into turn 3 on the final lap, the leaders were nose to tail on the tricky road course when Hill spun allowing Austin to pull out to a 10 car length lead. As Austin approached the dogleg and s-curves he closed on a lap car driven by rookie racer Walker Yates, who was informed, via race control, the leader was approaching and to hold his line. Just as Austin began to pass Yates, he unexpectedly moved up the race track, making contact with Austin and spinning him into the grass infield. Fortunately the #7 FIREFOLD.com Bandolero made a quick 360 degree spin and Austin was able to steer back onto the track, but not before Hill passed him for the lead. Although he had spun earlier, fate had again stepped in and Hill went on to take the checkered flag, followed by Austin, a close 2nd, then Riley Halverson, Reid Wilson and Canadian racer Ryan Macintosh, rounding out the top 5.
"We were in good shape and we felt confident that we would beat Hill", said Austin. "I wasnít aware that he had spun, so when I approached Walter I just held my line thinking I could pin Tyler behind him if needed", he added. "When Yates came up the track, I was totally surprised to see him in front of me and there was nothing I could do", a somewhat dejected Austin mused. "It was a rookie mistake, and heíll learn". "I know it wasnít intentional, but that doesnít help much", Austin concluded.
After the race was over Yates immediately came over to apologize to Austin for not holding his line and costing him the win.
"I told Austin how sorry I was that I took him out, especially while he was leading" said Yates. "He was the car to beat and I really feel bad that it was my mistake that prevented him from going to victory lane".
Although Yatesí conversation with Austin was a short one, he said Austin was "every bit the professional in accepting my apology", noting "he even took the time to explain to me what had happened so I wouldnít make the same mistake again down the road". "I canít tell you how badly I feel for Austin as his family has been a huge help to us", Yates continued. "Earlier in the day his dad gave my father some advice on what gear ratio we should use, and he adjusted my chain for me", concluded the young rookie driver.
The next day, Sunday, saw another beautiful day for racing at Rockingham with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70ís.
Starting in the 6th spot for the heat race, Austin had some difficulties moving to the front and finished in 4th position. "Man, what a difference a day makes", noted Austin with a slight smile. "Overnight a lot of cars got a lot faster". "Yesterday we pretty much dominated the field, but today we finished the heat in 4th and it was a job just to do that". "I mean", he went on, "yeah, the car was a little loose off of turns 6 and 7, and I knew if we tighten the car a little we would be a lot better, but we were getting beat by speed down the straight-aways", noted Austin with a look of concern.
"I saw where Austin was having problems in the heat race", noted Charlie Langenstein, Austinís Father. "He told me he was a little loose in the right-hand turns so I adjusted some tire pressures and went to work on the carburetor". "I changed the jets to accommodate the weather and air temperature and I felt like we would be really good come feature time", said the elder Langenstein.
At the start of the feature Austin was slotted in 6th position. When the green came out he quickly raced the #7 FIREFOLD.com Bandolero into 4th position, which he maintained as the top 5 cars, which included Tyler Hill, Corey Gordon, Riley Halverson and Ryan Macintosh began pulling away from the rest of the field.
As the pack entered the "S" section of the race track, Austin quickly drove to the lead by executing a classic cross-over move which left the other contenders looking at the rear of #7. By end of the second lap Austin was in command, but it didnít take long before Tyler Hill and Corey Gordon reeled Austin in and the three began a classic duel of trading the top spot between the as the race progressed. On lap 6, Austin again took command and, for the time being, drove unchallenged, while behind him Hill made contact with Gordon spinning him to the infield and also made heavy contact with his team mate Ryan Macintosh also spinning him as well.
On the final lap Austin was in complete control with a 15 car length lead and the checkered flag in sight, when Tyler Hill cut the final corner to close up on Austinís rear bumper. As the two
entered the final straight away, Hill made hard contact with the rear of Austinís car, spinning him as he had done to the other competitors, allowing Hill, followed by Riley Halverson and Reid Wilson, to continue on to the checkered flag, finishing 1, 2 and 3, at least for the time being. As for the #7 FIREFOLD.com Bandolero, although the car began to spin out of control, Austin did a tremendous job driving the car out of a full 360 degree spin and on to a disappointing 4th place finish. However, Tyler Hill had been black flagged for making contact with Austin, which established Riley Halverson as the winner, followed by Reid Wilson in 2nd, with Austin getting credit for 3rd.
"I am really upset with Hill at this point", said Austin, with a stern look on his face. "I raced with him for 2 years and never had a problem with him on the race track", he continued, shaking his head. "Heck I donít even think we ever touched wheels during that time".
Austin noted that Hill had approached him the day before asking for some "help and advice", which, he went on, "just goes to show you that you can never let your guard down". "I donít know what he was thinking, but it looks now like he canít handle the pressure of getting beat by a better team". "I mean, he even wrecked his teammate, so what does say". "You know", continued the young driver, "I could drive like that, and could have all weekend if I had wanted to, but I never want to beat him, or anyone, like that". "Weíre both moving up to Legends next season and I am sure our paths will cross again some where down the road and if that is the way he wants to race, I will remember that", concluded Austin.
"Austin is a true professional and if he was upset he never expressed or showed it as he went thru post race inspection" stated Andy Hillinburg, race track owner and professional race car driving instructor. "That young man has quite a future ahead of him; he is really good for his age and experience".
"If you toss out all the external things that happened this weekend, those things beyond our control, I believe weíre the team to beat in the upcoming Winter Heat Series" said Charlie. "I know Austin canít wait, and honestly, neither can the rest of our team". "From our pit crew to our excellent support staff, weíre ready to race".
Austin would like to thank his "team" of sponsors for all their support: A.E. Smith Electric, AutoTrader.com, Calico High Performance Coatings, Charlie Langenstein Speed Shop, Coconut Island, Design Engineering Inc., Energy Logic, Finger Food Products & Original Pizza Logs, Impact Racing Products, J. Edwards Graphics, John Davison Racers Designs, Lake Norman Soda Blasters, Micro-Armor, Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort, Performance Prime, PUMA, QA-1 Precision Products, Razoos Cajun Eatery, Rifenburg Construction, Scottyís Fashions, Schroth Racing, Sweeteners Plus, Taste Apple, Tathwell Printing, The Brake Man, Thermal Control Products, TruckSavvy.com, Walker Lawn Mowers by GHS.
For more information regarding Austin Langenstein and his sponsoring partners, please visit www.austinlangenstein.com.
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