November 28, 2009
The Vintage Racing Group (VRG) hosted the 13th annual Turkey Bowl at Summit the weekend of Thanksgiving.† The weather is of course a risk, but it is an opportunity to play with your race toy one last time this season.† It is a low-key event, with no timing, recorded results or trophies.† Like the old days circa 1960ís of SCCA racing, you submit you own qualifying time.
My racing season this year got derailed after the VIR Gold Cup in June, first by my streetcar accident and injuries and then by Seanís long two-month hospital ordeal.† I needed an outing, even if under less than acceptable conditions.† I went on a weather.com watch starting in early November.† I entered, but kept my options open pending terrible weather.† Forecast for the Friday practice day included possible snow showers in the morning, and winds of 15-20 mph for the rest of the day.† Saturday was much more promising with highs in the low 50ís.† The Sunday race was to be a 45-minute ďenduroĒ, which far exceeds the fuel capacity of my 3.2-gallon fuel cell.† I would pass on the Sunday race.
With Kathy being not interested and Sean still recovering, I would go solo.† It would be a test of my ability to manage alone.† I left early Friday morning and got to the track about 1030.† There were no snow showers, but intermittent heavy cold rain.† I chose to forgo the 1130 practice session.† The rain had stopped by the 2:30 practice session but the track was still wet in many places.† I went out for the 25-minute session.† (Aside:† why do guys go thru the puddles at the apexes in T5, T6 etc and splash water about when they could go a bit wide and avoid the puddles?)† Temperature was in the mid 40ís and it was very windy.† Tires were very cold and I sorta half spun in T1 on the second lap.† In time the tires got sorta warm and my lap times steadily improved to 1:31.† I got passed by no one and passed many in our 14-car group.† I had taped over 60% of my front radiator, but water temperature never exceeded 70 C (158 F).† With new Dog Rings and a couple of new gears, the tranny was shifting very well.† The refreshed head by Justice had undoubtedly erased my power shortfall.† All was good and braking was even better it seemed.† Gearing could be better as 3rd gear was too high, as was 4th.† Was able to leave the track by 4:00 to the warmth of my motel room.
Saturday:† Got to the track fairly early, but passed on the 0915, 10 minute warmup session.† Too cold, too damp.† My first race was at 1115.† Warmed up the engine a lot and the ambient temperature had climbed to the high 40ís.† By now I had figured out how to buckle my self into the car without too much of a struggle.† I was gridded second and first in FF for the 10 lap race.† The Mallocks (quirky front engine British cars with cycle front fenders, and 50 more HP), the S2000 (140 HP) should have no problem out dragging me on the start.† They would prove to be handling challenged in the corners.† By T2, two Mallocks, the S2000 and the only other fast FF (Chris Shoemaker) had slipped by me.† I was being very careful on the opening laps with cold tires.† The 10-lap race was intense.† Getting back by the S2000 took some time as he was all over the track and blocking.† Shoemaker and I traded places several times.† We eventually caught up to the front running two Mallocks.† Got by one fairly easily.† The Mallocks were braking hard in T3, T6, T7, T8, and were a big road block and blocking at every corner.† On the last lap with Chris glued to the tail of the leading Mallock and me just inches behind, the Mallock slowed/blocked suddenly just past the apex of T6a.† Chris ran into the back of him (fiberglass flying), and I hit Chrisís rear tire getting airborne a bit and putting tire marks on his engine cover.† I came back down as they slowed, and continued on for a first place overall.† My best lap was a 1:28.1 but if I had a clear lap, I would have likely been under 1:26 or even better.† Regardless, I had much fun.
Post race, I got visited by the three guy race officials.† Contact in vintage racing is a big NO NO.† I was, after a couple of visits, exonerated from any blame.† The Mallock guy got a warning.† Crossle suffered little from the crash, with some small cracks in the leading edge of the nose and a very very slightly bent lower right A-arm where it came down on Chrisí rear tire.† (Rubber deposits on bottom of the A-arm).† I will check alignment later.
Race 2:† Race got off at about 2:15 with the ambient up to 52 degrees.† Same grid.† Start was pretty much a replace of race one, with the HP cars streaming by entering T1 with Chris in the FF in the middle of the group.† Again I motored carefully for a lap until the tires got some heat.† Then I set out to catch the big uglies.† In a lap or so, I took one of the Mallocks and Chris in T1.† Chris would get back by later when I got balked.† About lap 7, I passed Chris again going into T10 and would hold station for a while.† On lap 9, the S2000 which had somehow managed to be leading got it all crossed up braking for T1 and crashed hard into the inside wall of tires.† Fiberglass flew everywhere and he rolled the car pretty much destroying it.† (Heard later that he had a suspension failure.† Ouch!)† A few corners later, the race got black flagged to an early end.† Took first in FF and 3rd overall.† Race video here: http://vimeo.com/7896406 .† Low winter Sun totally freaked out my camera on the front straight, and I could not see much, like my instruments or my T1 brake marks.
Just about a perfect race weekend:† add gas, check tire pressures and race really, really hard.† Much fun.† Left the track about 3:30 and listened to the Tech-UVA game on the way home.† Holiday traffic was fierce.