So....those phone calls were not business calls. They were once again communications between one Mr. Pettit and Jean and it was decided that we would go on racing, but in a modified way (play on words!). We would team up with Ted Christopher, provide the motors, hauler and the food.
All of this was "explained/confessed" to me on the last night of our vacation in Florida as I quietly sat, contemplating the many new adventures I might try now that we were "retired".
Needless to say, it was a very, very quiet plane ride home to Connecticut. Things did not warm up quickly, but eventually, I thawed. Seeing how happy and re-energized Mr. Poulin was made me understand that racing is something he needs. Jean always liked Ted and Mike O'Sullivan and the feeling was mutual.
Clarification-These next years are not part of 78 Poulin Racing, rather joint ventures with other teams.
So we can call them, The Poulins Keep On Racing!
I did not take a lot of pictures that year, it just did not feel right. We were part of a team, but really no longer our team and walking around with a camera felt like an intrusion. Kind of sorry about that now, because there were some great memories and laughs.
But I did capture the first outing which was the Ice Breaker at Thompson Motor Speedway.
After so many years of racing against Ted, for me it was new and a little strange to be racing with Ted. We, Jean and I and the many team members we had previously been with, had always considered Ted as the "guy to beat", the top of the field and as often referenced during the Docherty year, "the King". But, even after these many years, I discovered that I did not know Ted at all.
But as the season went on, it became clear that we had made a good choice. I use the word we here because after the initial disappointment of not retiring and the acrimonious ending to the prior team, things were a little strained at the track, but Jean and I knew this is what we wanted to do.
As time went on, I developed a new respect for Ted. Ted starts a new page in racing every Saturday, what happened the previous night is yesterday's news and he has already moved on. Off the race track, he is a different person and compound that with the fact that he is one of the hardest working person I know, I can honestly say, that I like Ted and consider him a friend to this day. (2016). Obviously having Mike O'Sullivan in the group made the transition a lot easier. He had and has been with Ted for many years and was able to translate some of Ted's concerns politely to put it mildly.
We would go on to win three races with Ted in the 2009 season, and many top five finishes, and at the end of the season-The Championship! This would go down in history as Ted's 7th Championship at Stafford.
Another thing we did well that year was to celebrate at the Championship Banquet!
We invited all team members and friends and supporters to join us. It was quite the party. For Jean and I, made more special by having our son Scott, (from Miami) and our grandson share the evening.
For us, it had to be an early night because the very next day it was off to New York for yet another celebration, our beautiful Olivia's BatMitzvah.
Jean and I have a deal...we race, we travel. As long as we can do both, we are both happy! In 2009 he kept his side of the promise and we cruised the Mediterranean. I add this only to point out that we can be happy anywhere, at the track on Friday nights or in far away places. It's called sharing and supporting each other's interests. OK, I admit, traveling is perhaps one sided on my part, but, he loves the memories upon return. And I love the competition.
Touched a cloud in Naples
Chopin's home in Mallorca
Relaxing!! A lot of walking on these excursions.
Here are the winning shots from that year! All photos are from DMS Photography, John Driscoll does a great job in capturing the excitement in winners circle!
The most difficult thing to do in any sport is repeat a Championship year.
One starts a season defending and hoping to do as well or better. This was also true with this team. But things were never quite right with the car and all too often when this happens, the driver(s) are quick to blame it on the motor(s).
This was happening in mid season and it did not help the situation with a blown motor at a critical time. The love/hate relationship between Pettit and Ted was reignited. Even though Jean took full responsiblity for this as he had opted to use a different spring in the engine thinking it would improve performance, but it did not work that way. With only one win on the books at this point, Ted began to look elsewhere and went with a Troyer chassis and a Billy the Kid motor. No harm, no foul, we understood his frustration, but believed we had the best motor on the track.
The motor came out of Ted's car on a Monday and went into the #40 car on Thursday, , a Chassis Dynamic R&D car from Mike Paquette, that was being maintained by Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson with a young driver at the wheel--- Ryan Preece. We won on Friday and so began a five year odyssey, once again orchestrated by ----who else, Mike Pettit.
Our friendship with Ted prevails to this day although he has been and continues to be a formidable competitor. The following years would see a lot of side by side racing with Ted and Ryan.
We did have some special visitors in July of that year, found these "lost photos", too special to not add.