Monday, April 23, 2007

Rockingham Race Recap

Well, I know its a bit late, but here is my story of my second race weekend at Rockingham:

I spent the morning getting ready for practice and making sure I had all of my excuses for being slow lined up. Fortunately, I was able to use one immediately as I only did one "hot" lap before I felt a nasty thumping/gallop from the right front. This is especially scary with the high banking that Rockingham has. I brought it in fearing the worst and it only turned out to be loose lugs on the right front. I must have forgotten to tighten those down while telling lies to Travis and Al. Whoops! Even with loose lugs an one lap in, I was still only 3 seconds off the pace. I ran a 1:15.8 for the first practice session.

With the lugs all secured, it was time for quali. I had some good clean laps and even got to dice a little with a white 944 for the last two laps. I ran a 1:11.776 putting me squarely into 6th out of seven racers. Not as fast as I wanted, but it would suffice. Robert Patton took the pole with a blistering 1:08.917! That is an eternity faster on such a small track.

When race time came I found that I was surprisingly calm and relaxed as I was sitting on grid waiting to go out. The green flag fell and I got and alright start. I found myself staring at the car in front of my instead of the starter. I settled into position and started racing. On about the third or forth lap, Steven Canterbury pulled a perfect pass into the braking zone for turn 3. This rattled me a bit because I've never actually been passed for position. I tucked in behind and focused on staying with him for the next few laps. The chance to take back my position came in turn 4, fishhook. Steven was running wide on turn in and leaving the door open. I trail-braked in and snuck along side him. I got a great run out of the turn and the position was mine. Steven follow me the rest of the race, never really letting me relax. Al Taylor overheated early allowing me to finish 5th for my 3rd ever race.

  1. Robert Patton
  2. Mike Skeen
  3. Travis Wilson
  4. Laura Patton
  5. JP Coates
  6. Steven Canterbury
  7. Al Taylor
The second race was a combined race with the faster group. They used our fastest race lap to grid us for the race. I ran a 1:10.862, my fastest of the weekend. This had me starting 5th out of eight racers. Al got by early and then promptly overheated again (thanks Al). Steven, David Herrington and myself all diced for the entire race. I got shuffled back to last place and fought back up to finish 5th. That was a great race. There was never a dull moment as I was either passing, being passed, or watching my mirror to anticipate a pass the entire time.

Sunday morning we all got up with great expectations only to have them doused by nice rain showers. Stephen got an emergency phone call from his wife and had to pack up and leave first thing (everything was OK later). However, before he left, he let me use his rain tires for our first race. I qualified 3rd less than a second behind the pole. I LOVED the rain.

At the start I got a good run on Al, who was second, and pulled along side him before the banking. However, I forgot that I was in third and when I hit the rev limiter, Al pulled ahead. David Herrington then came from no where and passed me putting me back to 4th. Al and Herrington checked out in the lead while I was racing with Robert Patton. He has a VERY strong motor and would pull me substantially down the straight away and through the banking. I was turning faster laps but I couldn't get past him the whole race. Finally at the end Travis and I got by him with one lap to go. I held Travis off for the e
ntire lap until the last turn. I ran a very defensive inside line while Travis swung wide and got a great run off of turn 7 and pulled up beside me. It was a drag race to the finish from there. When we crossed the line, I was ahead by a fender for third place. My first, and probably only one this year.

My time from the first race again put me 3rd on the grid for the 4th and final race of the weekend. This one was going to be an hour long. The rain was going off and on in between the races. When race time rolled around, the entire Spec E30 field had made the call to run on dry tires. As the pace car pulled off, rain drops started to fall. This is where I was taught a valuable lesson by
Robert Patton - The apron is a racing surface. I had a great run on Travis and Al and this time I even remembered to shift to 4th!. I looked in my mirror and saw Robert closing fast so I moved down to the apron line to defend the position. The next thing I know Robert is on the dirty flat apron of the track flat out passing everyone. The apron was so dirty with rubber and dirt that he literally had a rooster tail of debris coming off of his tires.

This is where the mess happens. As the pack rounds turn seven headed for the start/finish there is a wall of rain - and we're all on shaved dry tires! It was raining so hard that if I was driving on the street, I would have pulled over. The top 4 guys; Al, Robert, Travis, and David all checked out as I limped my car around. They got out to about a half lap lead on me. I was just going fast enough to keep Laura Patton behind me. This was not easy. The rain only lasted about 5 min. Then it was time to play catch-up. The leaders were racing and catching traffic and there were caution flags everywhere which means no passing. I had clear track and put my head down and tried to run fast laps. I caught Herrington with about 4 laps to go. In the meantime, Travis had gone off in Turn 1 and was stuck in the gravel trap. It came down to the last lap with me right on David's bumper. I tried to stick the nose inside in every corner and even got beside him coming out of fish hook, but I couldn't make it stick. I crossed the line in 4th.

Al ended up winning the race with Patton in 2nd and
Herrington in 3rd. Great race and a great learning experience for me.

All in all this was by far the best track weekend I've every experienced. The racing was close and clean and the camaraderie and sportsmanship of the Southeast racers is unparalleled. Rockingham is really not a very nice track but after this weekend, I'll be at every race they have there.

To quote Travis "This ain't no high school beer party"


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Car 467: on its way back

Between receiving my Comp License and qualifing for my first race there was the dreaded Armco of turn 10.

TURN 10 Clip

Cold tires + cold track + cold brain = bad day at the track. Good thing a bad day at the track is better than a good day at the office ; )

The damage was ugly but not beyond repair. The car hasn't been totally put back together yet, but she's in the capable hands of Steve Bassen (of Bassen Auto Body in Winston-Salem) and on her way to a full recovery. The photo above is of the new nose and the photo to the right is what the damage looked like. If all goes as planned... we'll be back on track for the May 4th race at CMP.

Beertech Takes too the ROCK

Today, as the sole surviving Beertech car, will race at Rockingham "the dirt track" as Brian calls it. Its an old Nascar track that we use with 28 degree banking. We hit "Nascar" turns one and two and then use the infield section. Its notoriously touch on the cars so lets hope that the last intact Beertech car stays intact!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Brian had a tough weekend at VIR this past weekend. The damage is 90% cosmetic which means he should be back on track by May/June.

Above is perfect shot of how we roll; banged up race car being repair with a beer in hand! Get some of that.

Sasha, one of our buddies and part time BeerTecher, sent us a great recap of his weekend via email:

"So, can I peel the sticker off the back of my car?
The BeerTech curse continues. Check out the attached
photos documenting damage to my car on the BeerTech
sticker side. Jens spun Carter in the uphill esses,
so I was ahead of Carter! It didn't take him long to
catch us, though. He passed me on the back straight
after a lap or two. As I followed him into Roller
Coaster, I thought I'd learn from the master. I
followed him, trail breaking, rotating the car, and
hooking up after a brief slide. Then...wham! Matt
Olson had gotten in the marbles behind me, then the
infield, and then my passenger side. He booted me off
the track sideways and I dirt-tracked it over to the
turn before Hog Pen, still ahead of Matt (for the rest
of the race, too). Yeah Son, that's the way I roll!
Now I've got work to do on the car that's no fun to
pay for. There was a big to-do after the race. I got
impounded, had to write an incident report, and then
had to defend my racing to Jimmy and Piloti. Ultimately
I got signed off, though, so I'm no longer
"provisional." I still suck though. By the way, my
fuse blew on the transponder, so I don't register on
the results. I finished behind Laura Patton, again.

To give you some idea of the BeerTech curse, I'll tell
you about the other photos. I was chasing Laura all
race. As I came across the start/finish, a Sports
Racer came up to lap me yet again. He got the
checker, which fucked me up for a second (I had to
process that I was still under green). Realizing that
I had just one more lap, I went for broke to catch
Laura. In turn 4 I got sideways like I had been doing
all day. It was a sloppy strategy, but it was
working. I let go of the wheel for a self-correction
like I had been doing, but it didn't work (I think I

got on the throttle too soon). I ended up losing it
big time, going all over and heading off the track at
T5 straight for the Armco. I was on the brakes hard,
but not slowing much on the dirt and grass. Just as I
was about to impact, I remembered that steering was an
option, too. I stopped braking and turned. It
worked, and I grazed the tire wall (see the skid marks
by my tail lights and the edge of my rear view). It
was like it happened in slow motion--I could see the
corner worker leaning out of his gazebo to watch my
bite it and then give me the nod of approval as I
escaped disaster by about .25"!

Sorry more of you weren't around to keep me company.
We all need to get drunk and do some body work.
And just maybe, peel all the BeerTech stickers off to
lose the curse!"