Thursday, June 28, 2007
Scott's Race Report: BeerTech was still one car shy for NASA's "Roll the Rock" race (June 16-17) at North Carolina Speedway (previously know as Rockingham or better know as the Rock). JP and I were able to make what may have been one of the last races to be held at the track that was at one time one of the southeast's premiere race venues. And let me tell you, that was a long, long time ago. Although the racing was good (better for JP than me… but I'll report on that later) and the garages are a luxury we rarely get to experience—the overall facility is a run down mess. But none of that stopped us from having a great weekend.
The weekend started with checking in and setting up shop on Friday night. Now that our cars are built there's not much more to do than unload the cars. That's nice because that leaves a lot more time for beer and trash talk with the other drivers. While Laura slow cooked her low country boil… that left extra time for the others of us to perfect our beer spiking techniques. While Al, Travis and JP all tried to out match me… this is one area of the weekend where I believe I may have out performed them. On the track however—they currently still have the edge.
For Saturday’s qualifying JP made a fairly strong showing with a 7th position while I brought up the back of the pack with at 11. The up side… I wasn't last. The first race of the day was a 20 minute sprint. You'll have to wait for JP's report to know exactly what went on up front but he had a very strong race. He was able to move up several positions and held Laura and Al off to finish in a very strong 3rd place. Taking the bottom step of the podium, he brought home a nice trophy, some Toyo bucks and a victory for BeerTech. Meanwhile I was able to hold DP off, out last Skeen's POS (just kidding Mike) to take a 10th place finish and win $50 from CDOC.
The second race of the day was fairly uneventful from our perspective. For Mike D however it was a very different story. In the early portion of the race Mike had a pretty scary off that brought the red flag out. By the time I turned into the road course portion of the track, I was looking at the underside of his car. With the passenger wheels digging into the soft sand, he came pretty close to flipping the car. After landing back on all four wheels he's exhaust started a small grass fire. He was able to get out and extinguish whatever was burning.The race came to an abbreviated end but everyone was alright and Mike's car was in one piece. JP ended up in 4th (another strong run) and I was 11th (not so good).
Sunday's qualifying came sooner than I expected. I for some reason (idiot) or another (idiot) failed to take note that there wasn't a practice session. Oops! So without pushing it, I qualified in 10th while JP qualified 5th. Again… you have to get JP's version of what happened up front, because I haven't a clue. I was slow, had a an off and a spin which secured me the bat ottom of the order with a solid 12th place finish. JP fished 7th.
The Hard Rock 3, which is a 55 minute enduro was the 4th and final race of the weekend. For this race—the powers to be decided to invert the starting order. I gotta say, I loved this idea (sort of). Race time came as mercury bubbled up to a nice, balmy 98 degrees. And by balmy, I mean nice thick hot southern sticky air. The only clouds I recall seeing were the ones that came out of JP's tailpipe.
The start of the race was as exciting as you'd expect a spec series to be with all the slow cars up front. Although I still wasn't pushing things as much as I could or should… the inverted start gave me some much needed "in the thick of it" track time. For a while there I thought I was going to be able to battle it out with a few of the other cars, but things just slipped away and I decided to stay on strategy and just go for another finish. The enduro took it's toll on several cars. While fighting his way to the front… JP got a little too familiar with the curbing installed by our good friends at the THSCC, taking him out of the race much earlier than expected. After a long hot race and a close call coming through turn 7… I finished in a somewhat respectable 9th. Too bad CDOC doesn't pay out for that.
Proving the durability of an E30, Mike D came back from his little scare the day before and took the top of the podium in both of the Sunday races.
All in all, it was a great weekend.
Bitter sweet in some ways…
but it was still another weekend at the track.