Salm fourth in Modified season opener
Last updated 5/11/2007 at Noon
Mike Salm finished fourth in the first main event of this season’s Hoosier Tires Modified Series.
The Fallbrook driver also qualified fifth and finished fourth in the Trophy Dash before the 75-lap main event April 28 at I-10 Speedway in Blythe. “We did well over there,” Salm said. “We were satisfied.”
The Hoosier Tires Modified Series consists of three races apiece at the I-10 Speedway, Havasu Speedway, and Orange Show Speedway (in San Bernardino). Salm did not compete in the entire series in 2006.
Salm had a qualifying time of 15.11 seconds on the D-shaped track measuring between 1/4 and 1/3 of a mile. Jimmy Dickerson had the fast qualifying time among the 28 drivers at 14.941 seconds while main event winner Jason Patison qualified at 14.945 seconds.
The six-lap Trophy Dash included the top six qualifiers, all of whom were inverted. That put Salm on the outside of the front row, but he soon dropped back to fourth.
Salm attributed the decline in position to his groove. “It’s basically an inside track to pass on,” he said.
“That track is so hard to pass on the outside,” Salm said. “Everybody gets a run on you and until you get a hole you just can’t get down on the inside.”
The only changes Salm and his crew made to the car between qualifying and the main event involved changes to tire pressure. “We felt pretty good,” he said.
Salm had practiced on the track the day before the race and had also practiced prior to qualifying. “It was real hot,” he said.
Salm and his crew had adjusted the sway bar and panhard bar after the April 27 practice. That put Salm at a disadvantage for the Saturday afternoon practice session, but he felt that the setup would be more beneficial when the temperature become cooler. “It kind of came back into our favor a little bit,” he said.
Salm noted the difference between day and night laps. “It’s a real hard track to adjust because of the heat,” he said.
“It’s an whole different setup between the afternoon and the night,” he said. “It’s hard to get your car dialed in.”
The fast qualifier draws a number to determine how many of the top qualifiers are inverted to start the main event, and Dickerson’s pick inverted the top two qualifiers, putting Salm on the inside of the third row to begin the race. “Race went well,” Salm said.
Salm advanced to fourth place and was behind third-place driver Danny Gay. “We were keeping up with him,” Salm said.
By the tenth lap the leaders were maneuvering through lapped traffic. About four-fifths of the way through the race, a red flag stoppage occurred. Several lapped cars were placed between Gay and Salm on the restart. “I had no chance after that,” Salm said of passing Gay.
“I was actually very proud of Mike Salm for first time being there and he ended up running that well,” said Steve Teets, who built Salm’s car and helped with the setup.
Teets was also Patison’s crew chief and was involved with the top four finishers and the top five qualifiers in the April 28 race.
“I liked the track,” Salm said of his first race at I-10 Speedway. “We had a good time.”
Salm noted that I-10 Speedway has less of a straightaway than the other tracks he has driven. “It’s a fun track to drive, but you’ve got to concentrate the whole time out there ‘cause you’re always turning,” he said.
Salm also noted that the track surface was more demanding than the other courses he has experienced. “The surface is real, real rough there,” he said. “It’s real hard on tires ‘cause the track’s real tough.”
The next Hoosier Tires Modified Series race will take place May 19 at Havasu Speedway. Salm had planned to run three or four of the nine races this year, but he plans to race at Lake Havasu and then determine whether he will compete in the points championship. “We’ll kind of play it by ear from there,” he said.