Archive for the ‘Riding with Nikki’ Category

Riding with Nikki

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This is a series of articles that will be called “Riding with Nikki.” I plan to follow Nikki Tucker Fousek as she puts in her rookie year in the Pure Stock division at Harris Speedway in the 2011 season. Check back often to see how Nikki is progressing through the year.

For the last several weeks we have taken a break from this series. With the illness and subsequent passing of Pop Pa Gene Tucker and there was the obvious need for Nikki, Gary and the family to deal with this loss. Races were missed but more importantly hearts had to be convinced that a return to racing was exactly what Pop Pa Gene would have wanted them to do. Gary has told me they are still having their bad days and I know they will always miss Pop Pa Gene, but they have decided to go on and return to the Sport that He and they love.

After a few weeks of racing to get back into the groove, I ask Nikki if she was ready to return to the writing as well. She told me that she still needed to think about it and I told her to take all the time she needed.  Needless to say when I read what she sent me Wednesday of this week, I knew she was well on her way. I hope you enjoy and welcome her back.  Keith “SC Racefan” Camp

 

This past month has taken its toll on me, dad, the family, and our racing. With Papa going into the hospital and suddenly passing we were left looking at each other asking what we do now. There was only one thing my Papa loved more than racing and that was watching me and daddy race so that’s what we decided to do.

Unfortunately that’s been easier said than done. Within the past few weeks Dad had his limited car tore up pretty good and little bugs keep finding their way into mine and without the master crew chief we’re trying to put them back together the best we know how, which hasn’t left much time for writing blogs.

It’s time to get that straightened out too. Nathan Pierce “Showtime7” has stepped right up to help me and dad since Papa passed. Everything from letting us bring my car to his shop and working on mine to helping me with my driving. This man has all but given us the shirt off his back.

MJ #31 has been another one that’s been around a lot and has made sure to take good care of me out there on the track even though the past week we’ve gotten into each other more than running beside each other haha. These guys are such a blessing to us from helping get the cars ready as well as out on the track. Dad and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done over the past month.

This past week after almost losing my hood in turn four lol, oil spraying out all over the place, and the car wanting to run hot I had more than enough to keep me busy. Come to find out getting the hood straightened out and put back on to where it would line up was the hardest part to all of that haha.

Going over the car one more time Saturday before we loaded up Casey found that I had a bent ball joint on my right front but it was to late in the afternoon and he was pretty sure that I had been running the car like that for weeks now and we decided that one more race wouldn’t hurt.

When we got to the track the storm clouds meet us there. Pure Stock was running first on the program and for $600 again. I wasn’t so sure how this one was going to turn out. After a little rain and some rolling the track in practice wasn’t any good. My car didn’t want to turn and I figured it was just from the track being so wet that the car was just sliding. So I just adjusted my tire pressures and went about my business.

When the heat race came around the track was a little better so I thought I could get a better feel of the car. I made all of two laps with the car still not wanting to turn and brought it in the infield. Coming into the pits I was trying to explain what the cars feeling like and I was getting a lot of “the tracks just that wet and slippery.” I was SURE that wasn’t the only problem. The guys started looking under the hood and found that my power steering pump had seen better days and that was the problem with the handle. So they tightened the belt as tight as they could, tinkered a little bit more and that was all we could do before the main.

I’m not going to lie with my car not wanting to handle and the track being so wet I was not bothered by starting in the rear. The laps we got to make before the main started was actually a good thing, I got to get a feel for the car kick it around a little to see what I needed to do to make it handle the best I could. When it was finally time to go green and we “tightened up bumper to bumper” and went with all the mud flying up I reached and tore off my last tear off. The only thing that was running through my mind at that point was “HOW AM I GOING TO SEE NOWWWWW???” haha. I’m going as hard as I can without losing control on my car and then a few laps into it coming out of two I get a little wiggly and go to spin out on the straight away and here comes big bro MJ to give me a nice little smack on my rear end lol.

Most of the race was like that just me trying to keep the car underneath me and getting into to turn when I needed to. Chris Jones and I went at it for a couple laps and he finally got by me when I smacked the wall coming out of four.  I was pissed at myself, because if I hadn’t have messed up and hit the wall I could have held him off for the rest of the race. I was actually glad when it was over with my car not handling and the track being so wet. So now it’s back to the garage again to get ready for next week and hopefully whoever is bringing the rain can leave it at home next week lol.        Nikki Tucker Fousek

 

If you are enjoying this series and especially Nikki’s diary entries, let us know with a comment and/or a click on the Facebook like if you have Facebook. Feel free to send email to SCRacefan@hotmail.com including email for Nikki. I will gladly forward them on to her.

Riding with Nikki

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This is a series of articles that will be called “Riding with Nikki.” I plan to follow Nikki Tucker Fousek as she puts in her rookie year in the Pure Stock division at Harris Speedway in the 2011 season. Check back often to see how Nikki is progressing through the year.

 

Folks I am writing this article this week with a very heavy heart. Yesterday I went to the funeral of a man that I had grown to love and respect in a very short period of time. Mr. Gene (Pop Pa Gene) Tucker was laid to final rest on Monday July 18.

Mr. Tucker had been in and out of the hospital for several weeks while the doctors were trying to find the reason for his illness. Surgery had been performed about a week prior and as late as Thursday all was well and Mr. Tucker was to be released from the hospital on Friday. I and/or Bruce had been in touch with Gary almost daily to check on him and see if there was anything we could do to help the family or with the race cars.

Around eight pm I received a Facebook PM from Casey Crew (Crew member for the Tuckers), who is in Afghanistan on a summer tour of duty, informing me that things had turned for the worse and that Pop Pa Gene was in ICU and the family had been called in. I could not believe what I was reading and I questioned him several times. He told me that his wife was with the family and he was getting first had updates.

I began to pray, called a few other folks to pray as well. About nine pm Casey again PM’ed me on Facebook to tell me that Pop Pa Gene had passed on. I was sitting there in shock when my phone rang and it was Heath Williams calling to confirm what I had just been told on Facebook by Casey.

 Mr. Tucker (Pop pa Gene) was the stalwart of XIV Racing and the Crew Chief for the Limited #14 that Gary drives and the D39 that Nikki drives in Pure Stock, as well as the head of Tucker family. He was a great friend, family man, Christian, and real racing man. Nothing that I have ever seen of him said anything different. He loved nothing more than watching Nikki and Gary on the track. He and I discussed Nikki’s Rookie run this year several times and you could just see the pride in him about how great she was doing and how well the “Beast” was holding up under the pressures.

I can’t tell you how many people in the racing community have told me that they looked to Pop Pa Gene Tucker like a father figure.  Having had the privilege to meet him this season, I know why. He will be missed around the pits and at the shops by many folks for sure.

This has been and extremely difficult few months for Gary, Nikki and the entire Tucker family. Gary lost his brother in law about 2 months ago, he lost an aunt last week and now he has lost his dad. Nikki has lost a Pop Pa that she admired so much.

Gary, Marilyn, Nikki, Daniel, Nanny, Les and the whole and entire Tucker family, we love you all and if there is anything I can do, please call day or night. I know there is a time of healing, take all you need, but please honor that great man Pop Pa Gene and come back to see us soon and continue doing what he enjoyed watching you do so much.

Keith, Bruce and all your friends at DirtRaceFans.com

 

Folks if you want to leave a condolence or a word of  encouragement to Gary, Nikki, or any of the Tucker family, please leave your public comments in the space provided below or if you wish a personal message, please send via email to SCRacefan@hotmail.com and I will forward it on to them.

Riding with Nikki 7/2/11

Friday, July 8th, 2011

This is a series of articles that will be called “Riding with Nikki.” I plan to follow Nikki Tucker Fousek as she puts in her rookie year in the Pure Stock division at Harris Speedway in the 2011 season. Check back often to see how Nikki is progressing through the year.

Wow, did Nikki ever look good this past Saturday night. She stayed high on the track and mostly in control of the car. After a spin Josh Ayers had to go to the rear behind Nikki and others. He got by the other two pretty quickly and I expected him to go right past her as well. However, with her running in the groove, the car was proving that it has the horses to run with them. Lap after lap she stayed in front and Josh was not gaining ground on her. She was actually holding her own and running with the guys for the first time ever.

Josh did get by her but it was on a restart and he is one of the best at restarts in that division. Nikki came off turn four just a little too high one lap, brushed the wall and ….. Well, she tells it better than me. So, I’ll turn it over to her….        KeithSC Racefan” Camp

 

The week leading up to the race wasn’t too busy just the regular going over the car making sure everything is still tight and in the right place. They weren’t running limited that weekend so dad’s car didn’t get much attention. Saturday came we finished up the car put a new breather on it and loaded up the Beast.

When we got to the track Paul went and signed in for me and spun a 32 which would have put me on the second row behind Matt Spencer but he didn’t run the heat so I started on front row outside of Chris Jones. He ran off from me pretty good in the heat. I kept pushing down going into the turns and binding the car up coming off the turns. I was losing my speed and watched Chris get farther and farther ahead with each lap I ran that way. It finally clicked what I was doing. I felt the car pushing down and it was my fault. Now I had to figure out what I was doing that was making me lose control of the car coming off turn two.

As I was pull into the pits after the heat, Bruce stopped me at the gate and told me he wanted to talk to me when I got my car to my trailer. When I got over there he was telling me that i was coming out of the turns that I still had my wheels cut. I’m so glad that he noticed this. I thought I had them straight coming out of the turn. No I finally knew why I wasn’t keeping my car up underneath me.

When it was time for the main I started on the second row outside and just kept telling myself stay high straighten my wheels and don’t bind the car. My dad may or may not have reminded me a few times too along with telling me to pull my belts tight.

I think it was just a few laps into the race, when I was trying to come out of four, I had a little push from Matt that put me facing the other way lol. But that’s racing and I know he didn’t mean to do it…at least I hope he didn’t haha.

A little bit later a few laps into a restart dad came over the radio and said “Baby girl do you know who’s behind you?” I wondered why it even mattered, seeing how I’m in turn three and four and we’re still green.  However, instead of saying that, I simply said no. lol. “Baby girl hold your line and keep digging you got Josh Ayers behind you!” The only thing I could think of after hearing that was OMG and I flipped my mirror up real quick!

He’s better and faster than me I didn’t want to get caught up in watching him back there and make a mistake. It wasn’t long after that we had a caution and when we went green Josh was only behind me for about a second lol. I was running fifth and everything was going alright until I slapped the wall out of four and my fuel cell went flying. I however, didn’t not know that until I heard dad say “uh Nik pull in you’ve lost your fuel cell”.

I was slightly confused because my car was still running and I was already about in turn 3 when I pulled into the infield. I sat there for a second and just kind of waited for it to cut off. Chuck walked over and said that I should cut the car off before something caught on fire. I thought about it, but then dad said “try and crank it and see if it will turn over or anything.” I’m pretty sure he was surprised when I told him that the car was still running because he said real quick “HURRY UP AND GET OVER HERE!” lol.

I didn’t know if I wanted to be pissed off that I ruined everything and didn’t finish the race or laugh that I dropped my fuel cell and that my car is still running. So I just did a little of both. By the end of the night I think pretty much everyone had told me that was the best race I had ever drove so that made things a little better. We were gone to use the wench to pull the car up on the trailer but decided to see if maybe just maybe the car would crank and IT DID. My car is such a Beast!!! Hahaha. We got it strapped down and got paid then started our way home with dad making Smokey Yunick jokes the whole way lol. It wasn’t a bad night it was actually the most fun I’ve had yet and I still have people asking how long my fuel lines are lol.                            Nikki Tucker Fousek

 

Folks I want to encourage you to encourage Nikki. So if you are enjoying this series and especially Nikki’s diary entries, let Her know with a comment below and/or a click on the Facebook like if you have Facebook. Feel free to send email to SCRacefan@hotmail.com including email for Nikki. I will gladly forward them on to her.



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