PITTSFIELD, MA – If there is one driver who is glad to see the point season come to an end at Lebanon Valley, based on his luck over the last month, it may just be Paul Gilardi.
Since totaling his HigFab Chassis on July 29th, Gilardi has had one finish higher than 14th…that being a fourth place on August 19th. Before the accident, the driver of the Superior Seamless Gutters #87x had run a streak of seven top 10 finishes in nine events.
On Saturday, during early night warm-ups, Gilardi felt something go array with his motor. Come to find out, the team found a bent pushrod. What actually happened was the adjuster on the rocker arm failed and that caused the bent pushrod.
“Something just seemed off,” he said. “I didn’t want to take a chance of hurting the motor so I pulled off and had to be pushed back to the trailer. Good thing I did.”
So what did Gilardi do? He and his father left the track and raced down to the team’s shop, which is five miles down the road in New Lebanon, to get the necessary parts to fix it. They returned just in time to make repairs and get out for their heat race…and they qualified to boot.
“We were okay, but the carburetor wasn’t right,” he said. “It would flutter and then pick up and flutter and pickup, so I couldn’t run the way I wanted to, but we were able to make the handicap.”
In the feature, however, Paul was a retiree just passed the two thirds mark and the #87x was credited with a 19th place finish.
“It’s just the way our season went once we lost the Higbie car,” he said. “My guys worked their fingers to the bone to try and get us going with the backup but we just never got comfortable in it. Glad we can now look towards next season.”
Gilardi ended up 17th in Modified points at Lebanon Valley for 2017. The team is still uncertain if Saturday was their last race of the year or what the future holds.