The Hayes Bros. Racing Team was traveling to Wenatchee, Wash., for a July 28 Northwest Pro4 race when the caravan came around a corner to see a school bus of summer camp kids and their parents parked along the road. Reflectors were up, and a woman was waving for help. The temperature was nearly 100 degrees.
“We thought it was a flat tire we could help them with,” said pit-crew member Jerry Hayes. “We pulled over, and she said they’d been there two hours. They had no water or anything, so we gave them all our water and Gatorade.”
The bus driver assured the crew that help for the mechanical breakdown was on its way, so the Hayes team departed.
“We figure we got good Karma for saving those children from certain death,” Hayes said with a laugh.
Karma or not, the Hayes team ran a successful race.
“It’s our best finish in this series,” said Jerry. The race took place on a quarter-mile banked oval track, which has its good and bad points.
“It’s a tight little track with good banking on the corners, but the wall loves to collect cars,” he said.
He added that the team had never done well in Wenatchee.
Hayes said that it took some tweaking to get the car up to snuff for the race. Brother James Hayes, the driver, noted front-end chatter during practice laps, which necessitated quick work, as well as regearing the car because of a lack of RPMs. The second set of laps saw more chatter, although the RPM situation appeared solved.
The team did qualify for the main race through heat races, although Jerry said some issues were difficult to resolve.
“We never qualify well,” he said. “We don’t get enough prerace time on the track to set things where we need them. We ended up qualifying in the back of the field.”
The car still had some steering issues, and Jerry said that his brother described the car’s handling “like trying to drive a high-powered washing machine.”
Not all of the competitors finished due to technical difficulties. One car blew its engine on the track while another was “black-flagged” because it lacked a spotter. Because drivers have a very limited field of view, they need spotters who communicate the positions of various cars and where it is safe to drive.
“We were up to fourth one time and ended up in fifth in the race,” Jerry said. “Overall, we did pretty good. Brian, (Finch, the mechanic) did such a good job building this engine that it’s just going great guns.”
The Hayes Bros. and their car will participate in the Show n’ Shine in Enterprise over the weekend of Aug. 17-18 and will next race in Roseburg at the Roseburg Super Oval track Sept. 8.