I am elated to have gotten my first race win this Sunday afternoon. And not because someone broke, spun out, or didn't show up. I keep humble but after that race I have to gloat a little. Obviously tons of credit to the fellow racers and respect for them keeping it clean and for my Dad who's let me drive his car this year and I have (for the most part) kept the bodywork to a minimum! I've been watching him race a yellow spitfire since I can remember
THANKS FOR ALL OF THE COMPLIMENTS AND CONGRATS! Everyone is so damn friendly and supportive it's the best road racing community I have come across.
This first win was made an extremely memorable one. I wanted to shamelessly add a couple comments about my weekend and why it was such an awesome experience. And so I can have this typed up to remember down the road!
Friday I went out for practice and cooked the motor - ran basically without coolant for a couple laps and then blew the head gasket... valves touched pistons... got bent.. bent pushrod...etc, etc,... My Dad drove home and back to get a spare cylinder head and gasket and some parts while I changed the drive shaft... was able to get the new head on and get the cooling system working (works well when you don't block the pump housing hose!)... Long day... Finished working on the car Saturday morning about 10minutes before going to grid for qualifying.
Qualifying Saturday was a frustration because the car did run very good with the spare cylinder head (already on the spare motor we've been running all year) however the car had so much oversteer I had to brake heavily for big bend... ease into the throttle.. and still be twitching all the way through it. After a time in the 1:21's we found cords showing from the rear tires - so we put on two borrowed rear tires from Ron Krantz that were also pretty well used.
Saturday before the race I had rain tires on half the car ready to change only 2 tires before Group5... Thanks to the worker beak and parade laps we ended up with a [mostly] dry track for the race! Starting 6th I was able to battle a little bit with the IT7 crew before the car came more alive with having rear grip and I was able to get into 4th place behind Randy Shaw. After a black flag restart I was trying to stay on Randy's bumper but after a couple laps my front grip was dimishing quickly and wasn't able to hold with the fast crew of Matthias, Garrett, and Randy.
Sunday morning I was able to start 4th but after a pretty good start by the guys up front we slotted into 1,2,3,4 pretty quickly. The first couple laps I felt pretty good but the tires up front quickly fell off and my earlier oversteer-machine turned into a plow!
Feature race prep was minimal except a set of stickers that we were trying to avoid using (The old man says he never went through tires so quickly... obviously my response is you're going too slow).
::flashback::If I remember correctly, on Saturday after following Shaw and Krause - I radio'd in that "They have more power I can't drag them"... my Dad said to me "New tires arn't going to help you get past those guys they have more power... or we need more power not tires"... this really stung - I did not agree! ::end flashback::
Now the one thing that I am really really in pain about is that (this is my excuse I'm sticking with it) I was so focused on winning the race.... I did not remember to start recording on my GoPro camera... AND my lap timer/gps datalogger..... I am almost religious about starting those two up before the race because I really enjoy going back and revisiting my driving and I can't remember most of my races!
I knew I would have better grip and hopefully get down into the low 1:17's during the race and I knew I would have to keep that pace to hold up with Matthias and Randy. After figuring out how to get past a very wide yellow and carbon Miata
I knew could gain a lot of ground at big bend because all you crazy people use your brakes there... So I was able to get a good run on Randy entering the straight and prevented him from getting next to Matthias or block... So (thanks to those guys for seeing me dive bombing) I was able to get Randy under braking and I didn't plan on being able to get past Matthias too but I broke so late I didn't have much of a choice. Typical SU carb problem is the car bogged down after the braking zone but was able to fend off Matthias on the grippy concrete.
Next up was Garrett - I knew he wasn't in his typical domination pace this weekend but coming up to him I noticed his car didn't look to be driving as bad as he made it seem
It's all a blur but I was able to gain a lot of ground in turns 3,4 and then another good run through big bend set up another late braking maneuver and the car found grip at the apex. From there on I wasn't at all happy to have Garrett behind me because I figured it would only make him faster... So I got deeper in the zone and just kept the mistakes small and the speed up as best I could.
In the end I'm glad to hear that Kimi is alright - when I saw the local yellow I didn't see a car in the "usual" spots and winced a little when I saw where she had hit (and that a wheel was no in its' correct location). I didn't get to see the car after it was pulled in but from the sounds of it - it's not good
The full course with a few laps to go also threw another curveball to my weekend since I had to prepare for how to hold off garrett on a restart after gapping him the last number of laps. I know he would be coming faster than ever.
I didn't want the race to end in that fashion whatsoever ... but I heard we were getting the checker on the radio and was pretty relieved to have "finally" done it (yeah I'm a novice but I've still been driving on a racetrack for 10years and been dreaming of a race win since then).
I'm glad the corner workers didn't stop me for repeated showers because the engine would have overheated but thanks for the shower at pin lane... it was very refreshing
Ron spat out what my fast lap time was while in impound and I about choked on my on breath. A 1:16.126 fast lap. This was on lap7... same lap where Garrett Dunn had his fast lap of a 1:16.3! I knew the car felt quick but didn't know I could improve 1.2seconds over my previous personal best of a 1:17.3. I believe it's a faster lap than my old man had made "back in the day" when he was at the FP track record.
One hell of a weekend. ::Insert Joel's afterglow post here::
Sorry for the novel - I wanted to type this out so I can keep it fresh in my own memory and share it and be able to link it for the people who ask me "How did racing go this weekend?!"
Once again I was so focused on winning that I did not start my camera recording before the race (
---If Matthias, Randy, and Garrett had any in-car video of some of the race send me a message so maybe I can find some footage as a keepsake.---
Burned up the motor Friday after 2 laps... fought through tire problems during weekend .... once those were fixed got my first race win in the feature and destroyed my previous personal best lap time.