Wednesday, August 8, 2007

CMP & VIR Reports

Don't let the lack of blogging activity fool you into thinking BeerTech hasn't been racing. The truth is, I've been racing every other week for the past month and a half. Three weeks after JP and I raced at Rockingham, I hit CMP with the Southeast guys and gal, then with just one weekend off... I joined the Mid-Atlantic guys for a hot weekend of racing on VIR's north course. And in a few short days, JP and I will be attacking Road Atlanta for the first time. Which quite frankly is why I'm going to crank this race report out. I don't want to have to try to recap 3 races in one report.

CMP | July 14-15

In short, this was another weekend that I'd just as soon forget. I spent the whole weekend just trying to avoid being lapped. I was able to stay with the pack for the 1st lap but after that... they'd just pull away. I was spending all my time just trying to keep the car on track. If the car wasn't plowing though turns it was all over the place. Turns out it was because my whole rear end suspension had worked itself loose. I even had a loose rear axle nut on the drivers side. The combination of the car and the track conditions on Sunday made me think something had busted. Even at low speeds, I couldn't get the car to turn right. I think things were compounded (no pun intended) by running off line and picking up a bunch of rubber and trash. The only upside of the on-track portion of the weekend was I was able to practice driving a very poorly set up car. Something I learned, I'd rather not do again.

Off the track was a totally different experience. In contrast to the hot days, the evenings were nice and cool. The awards ceremony had some added entertainment with Al receiving the coveted 6th place trophy and Brandon winning his first race and the raffled CoolSuit system. The evening however hadn't even started until we ran into Hippy Harry and his stuffed possum. I'm not at liberty to divulge all the details of the evening, but Sunday started with an eerie fog that mysteriously cause several cars to be misplaced.

VIR | July 28-29
With only a week before heading to VIR and a very heavy work load... a questionable rear wheel bearing and whacked out alignment, I decided to let someone else deal with things. So I took my car to Carr Industries. Dropping it off on Wednesday and picking it up on Friday on my way out off town. I was going to just have to hope they'd get everything worked out.

My first test was in Saturday's practice. The car setup was so different from CMP, I had to get used to driving a totally different car. By the time qualifying rolled around I was much more comfortable in the car, out qualifying Canterbury. That may have been the highlight of my weekend and the ego boost I've needed to dial things up. Sadly, come race time... I would fail to complete the race due to an "off" that was triggered by me pushing too hard on greasy tires and Canterbury closing in. Coming through hog pin with 3 laps remaining, I dropped 2 wheels on the outside, came back on too soon... went back across the track and "brushed" the inside Armco, pulling my spoiler half off. All the way off would have been better. I was forced to return to the paddock and free the spoiler.

Not the ending I was looking for, but it was good to run with the pack for a change.

Sunday's quali was not as fruitful. I started 22nd... dead last. The track was HOT and the racing was intense. I was able to take a few positions throughout the race but the most eventful lap was the last. Paul M. had spun ahead of me in the middle of the race (as he tends to do) and was in my rearview for a better part of the race. Closing in as we dropped into roller coaster, I felt confident I was going to be able to keep him from getting past me before the checker. Little did I know, he was going to dive-bomb me in the last right hander... running me off into the grass and taking the position. I was not happy! Especially due to the fact that Paul received the meatball flag (he had been dumping fuel on the track the entire race) with only 3 laps left, but failed to pit. After a heated exchange on track and a much cooler discussion in the paddock, I decided to let it go. Going from 22nd to 17th was good enough for me. I had a good race... stuck with the pack and had a few battles.

However... once the official results were posted (days later), I saw that Paul got moved to the last position and I was awarded 16th place. Nice to know there is justice out there.

Next up Road Atlanta.

And JP's turn to post a report.

No comments: