That's racing!

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:24 AM ET

Every day is a good day, James Van Domselaar will tell you.

It’s been that way ever since his wife battled back from cancer.

But Friday wasn’t a great day for the Fort Saskatchewan racer.

His engine blowed up good. And things looked bad.

It was an anxious enough few hours before Van Domselaar had an idea whether he would get his No. 14 Steel-Craft car on the track for Sunday’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at the Honda Indy Edmonton.

Van Domselaar doesn’t race full-time. But every year he scrapes enough dollars and resources together at the big event in his hometown.

“I help as much as I can, but I let the boys do their thing,” he said.

“I’m in good hands in that regard. I’ve got a wicked bunch of guys helping me out with this deal. But it comes down to the clock and, boy, they lit the fire in this thing about 15 minutes before qualifying,” he said Saturday.

The timeline was a fine line.

“We blew up at the start of first practice (Friday), missed second practice and just made qualifying,” said Van Domselaar.

“They took the engine to Campbell (Automotive) after it blew up, maybe 1:30-ish in the afternoon. 

“We pulled it out, pulled the headers off and we could see the exhaust valve had broken off. “They said, ‘Get it over here.’ Because that can be little, or that can be big.

“So, by 4:30-ish, Mark phoned and said, ‘It’s not that bad. If you have a head, we can fix it.’

“So dad and I went home, picked up the spare set. He and his dad were going at it when we got there. We didn’t even hang around, we were just in the way. I think they worked until 1:30 in the morning, came back into the shop at 5 (a.m.) to assemble the top end. And then it was here at 10 (Saturday morning). By 11:30, there was fire in the hole.”

Whew.

“No leaks and then we rolled out for qualifying,” said Van Domselaar. 

“We still had dinosaur oil in it. So we went around one slow lap to make sure all the temperatures were right. Then the crew said, ‘Have at ’er for two.’ Then we came back in and called her good, so we could get the good lubes in.”

Steel-Craft also sponsored Van Domselaar for the NCTS race at the Toronto Indy. They had to do some late-night chassis welding there, too.

“But it held up and we finished 15th, which was awesome for us. You know, the little guys.”

In racing circles, the term for it is “thrashing.” You do it all night if you have to.

“I do feel bad for all the guys — you’re not supposed to have to do this kind of stuff over the weekend. But they’re the first guys to say, ‘We’re here to race, let’s race.’

Thank God everybody doesn’t mind putting in the extra work. I think they actually enjoy it!

“My dad hates it, but I think the guys like turning the wrenches. But we made ’er!

“Like I said, I’ve got a wicked group of guys helping me. What can you say? Lots of nuts and bolts and hoses and everything else and they got ’er all together. It’s crazy when you think about it.”

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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