|Series:||Sim Factory ARCA Challenge|
Pretty much same "beef" as my last race report here from 2012. Trying to improve my set up (which was OK) got me nowhere. I believe I had long run pace (especially on scuffs), but would we get the long runs?
Entering this event the Drivers Championship top 2 position was my top priority (Andy Graydon leading Luis Almeida by 23 points). When I saw Luis' pace in pre race, I knew I had to try to minimise any loss in points. Not an easy task in such a strong field!
Qualifying. Top 7 cars were split by only 0.084 of a second!!! On a fast 2 mile oval such as Michigan, that really is "nothing"! Rob Partridge took Pole.
Race started with 3 early cautions (L4; L15; L26). Luis led early on, so as each caution happened I tried to stay out to lead a lap and match Luis' extra points for leading. L4 and L15 I couldn't do it, L26 I at long last managed it. But it left me P11 as we started over 50 plus laps of green flag running to the end of the race.
At the final restart I was on a new set of scuffs all round, plus some major set up changes (Reducing Wedge one click, Track Bar down 1 click; FR tyre pressure down one click, Rear Tyre pressure up one click). L4 caution I went to scuffs; L15 I went right side scuffs only - but found no pace at the restart, dropping from P3 to P7 fairly quickly. And that made me make those major changes. Slight increase in tape also - running hot but needed top end speed!
As the laps went by I steadily moved up the order. Keeping a steady pace seemed to pay off, From P11 on L29 restart to P5 by lap 56 - I was catching the leaders (Rob; Luis; John) who were between 4 and 5 seconds ahead once I got to P5. At this point I started thinking of a green flag stop - fresh tyres could give me a second a lap, so pitting early would be key.
L62, I decided to pit. Originally going to stick with scuffs, nearing my pitbox I changed my mind - amending tyres to Stickers, plus putting set up of Wedge and Track bar back to original positions to suit the Sticker tyres better. But I misjudged my pit box in the rush to make the changes (whilst trying to manually keep under the speed limit!). I thought I'd overshot and tried to reverse, pretty sure I lost some time. 14 seconds stationary, and off I went again.
Knocking out laps quicker than I'd done in practice, fresh rubber plus lighter fuel load I was making up time for sure - or so I thought! Pitting had put me a lap down on others. If a caution came out now, I needed to be the lead lapped car to ensure getting the 'lucky dog', but the caution never came.
As others started to pit I moved up the order. Then Luis pitted - and came out 2 seconds ahead. I was disappointed as I had several laps where I must have been quicker. After the race I checked our pitstop times. Entry lap - he was slightly quicker, but exit lap he was 4 seconds quicker (he took 4 tyres as well). So I definitely lost time overshooting! (At race end I would be 4 seconds behind Luis.....on such things races are won or lost!).
As the last 10 laps counted down, slowly others had to pit too due to fuel shortage. I was behind Luis, who was pulling away (he had a quick car today!), but was happy with that position. When Rob pitted he came out way behind us. When John Richards pitted he was ahead of us both - at that time I knew he'd likely take two right side tyres - - saving him around 7 seconds in pitlane. But with his lefts having done over 40 laps, I was expecting him to struggle with pace (that's what I found on my L15 caution to lap 26 caution stint).
And sure enough, Luis caught and passed John with two to go. I was catching quickly too, but was now P4 to Luis P1 - I needed track position and only had 2 laps left to do it! Who was it who had kept me in P4 - it was Jamie Shorting who had tried a fuel save run rather than pit! He was running slower laps, but pitting under green meant a loss of around three quarters of a lap in track position, so it was a good strategy to go for!
And Jamie so nearly got into the top 3 - on the last lap, entering T3, he ran out of fuel. I passed him on exit of T4, just the main stretch to go! Jamie meanwhile would cost to the line JUST holding on to P4 from a fast closing Greg Ulmer.
Great win from Luis, nice run on worn lefts from John. P3 for me with a car that wasn't up to the pace I wanted. Losing 10 points only to Luis, Championship lead down to 13 points with one race to go! I'm getting nervous already for next race!
Had some great side by side, 3 wide, running with several people - including Conor; Luis; newcomer Joe Miller; and Bob Fay. All good stuff. Nice racing to remember real world racer Jason Leffler, the event named in his memory.
Practice will start early for me for Kentucky!!!
|Series:||Dodge Challenger R Muscle Cup|
|Car:||Dodge Challenger R|
I had the race pace, but made too many mistakes! All started on the first lap when part way around John (in P4 at that point) got a super drift going into and through one of the turns. Of course, I ended up doing the same in sympathy, and as we rejoined Xavier got by me.
Basically the rest of the race I tried to pass Xavi. Pitted earlier, made a mistake, and when Xavi pitted he came out ahead. We had a fantastic battle, super close racing, sliding and drifting through Carousel so close - trying to pass here whilst drifting brought a smile to my face - LOL! It seemed to go on forever.
We ended up both spinning in Canada Corner in the last quarter of the race. I was so close heading into the turn that as we braked I must have been a millisecond later 0 we slightly touched - I don't think it would have been a problem for Xavi, but for the fact my car went to the right - I got two wheels on the grass, and trying to brake then I was pretty much just a passenger - glancing the barrier and spinning around - just nudging Xavi again and spinning him around. Sorry Xavi! Two Phoenix Racing team-mates going for it!!!
Many of the "mistakes" involved only getting slightly wide or late on the brakes, drifting or oversteering - by the time control was regained that would be a 3 or 4 second loss. Too many of those and I went further and further backwards and then had to try and make time up, leading to more mistakes.
I suppose that's what happens when at the start of the race the Drivers Championship was almost even across the top 4 drivers!
Well done Iain on the win and all the guys for finishing. Last event at Knutstorp is going to be another blast, this time with roller coaster bends and twists. Can Iain hold off Vinicius. Will the tables be turned and Andy or Luis - or even John - make a late challenge for the Championship?
Reworked my set up on this but soon became clear it didn't have outright pace. So I concentrated on making it work on long runs. Stickers were good if you treat them nicely, Scuffs even better.
Qualified P5, having snap oversteer on my 2nd lap and putting it in the wall. All quite close at the top though.
Race start - I let guys by, dropping to 8th. They pulled away quite quickly as I settled to my own pace. And as it happened we went on a long run - nearly 50 laps. As the caution came out I was doing laps quicker than the lead cars (and the only one on same tyres who was still doing laps in the late 30's) and catching the likes of Connor, David quite quickly (having just passed Luis before said caution).
Onto Scuffs, enough fuel for race end, same situation. If it went all green there would be over 60 plus laps to complete - and I was aiming at being there on the same set of scuffs!
I decided to stay out under the caution that came out on lap 59 to lead a lap and get extra points towards the Driver Championship - fire-fighting again vs Luis, my nearest contender.
But during the restart, I tapped the wall - dropping me back. Yellow damage front right, side and rear, car didn't seem that much slower, so just plodded on, but dropping time every lap - nearly 40 laps passed when another caution flew....
I went for right side scuffs only - but forgot to turn damage off - so spent 14 seconds in pitlane anyway! At the restart I was astounded to find myself in P4 having been P6 when the caution happened.
The last caution (4th of the race) soon followed, leaving pretty much a sprint finish to the end. Thought I'd be able to hold on to P4, but Rob Partridge came up fast through the field, I went slightly wide in the entry to one of the turns, and he put his nose in there, hugged the line and blew me away....I was mighty impressed!
In the end P5, and with Luis P3 and both having led laps, he's only managed to close the points gap by 10 with 1 race to go at Phoenix.
Well done David on the win, Chris and Luis on the podiums.
[Personal note for next event at Nashville. Car mid-turn is dire compared to others. Need to work on that. But good on very long runs, in particular Scuffs but Stickers good too on initial long run vs others].
|Series:||Sim Factory ARCA Challenge|
Yeaaah! Out-qualified Luis......me P10 to his P11 (LOL). Wasn't expecting that, but Qualy felt fast - just wasn't shown in the timings.
Spent around 2 hours before the race working on a set up. Couldn't get Scuffs to work without getting extremely loose once those tyres heated up (right rear in particular). Looked like Stickers was going to be my only option.
Start went ok - got held up when Aaron span his rears and had to back off or hit him. But Aaron had touched the outside wall and on Lap 2 I went to the inside to pass. Trouble was I got on the line then just the apron with the front left - this sent me up the track - slowed by around 6kph as I tried to keep low as possible, but touched Aaron side ot side almost on turn exit - nothing too heavy, but it put Aaron in the wall and me into a 180 spin. Hitting the wall with front right, side and right rear - yellow damage all round. As things turned out it seemed to cost me around 2 tenths per lap on full tanks. Ah well, only 148 laps to go....
I went to Scuffs at the first opportunity due to the damage - 3 clicks down on Track bar and 3 clicks down on wedge too (pretty aggressive changes for me, but I'd tested various options out and came to this as the one to at least keep the car stable for longer than a few laps!). As long as I avoided heating the right rear up, I would be fine.
We had several cautions in the race, led a lap under one of them just to get extra points for the Championship (since lap 2 I knew I was in damage limitation mode). We had that one long run where I felt my Scuffs were gaining me time on those ahead who'd left me initially. I overheated the tyres on this stint, backed off for 3 laps, then went to a decent pace again - it worked well with the tyres coming back to me, and just as I was gaining again another caution.
Went to Stickers on the last but one caution (Conor had tapped me around and I'd got further right front damage (red this time, but fixed to yellow) - thinking for the sprint finish they'd be better. Changed Track bar and wedge back to original, but the car was dire! Everyone left me for dead.
Then the last caution. Went into the pits for Scuffs and appropriate settings changes, and for those last few laps found I had a pretty decent car again (on low fuel I was still only able to do 23 deads though). Jason disco'd in front of me, his car moving up track and as I tried to avoid John Richards got by me (but he was quick as anything and he would probably have passed anyway). This last sprint finish I remember for a pass on a lapped Larry Norman - me on the outside, David on the inside during and exiting one of the turns! Nice stuff 3 wide at Dover!!
In the end, P7 was better than I expected after my lap 2 crash. With those extra 5 points for leading, I managed to minimise the loss of points to Luis!
Enjoyed this add on track - very nice indeed:).
|Series:||Dodge Challenger R Muscle Cup|
|Car:||Dodge Challenger R|
Terrible Qualifying, just didn't put a clean lap in - P6 on the grid was the result.
Into T1 I hung back after initially getting a good start, some went wide, I tucked in on the inside line and came out 4th. On the run down to Eau Rouge, it was line astern with Duco, John ahead. They touched as I think Duco slowing caught John out. As I tucked in behind John on the top of Eau Rouge, next thing I'm spinning around a few times heading toward the wall where the pit lane exits. Duco had hit the wall hard and rebounded onto the track, JUST tapping my rear end!
Into the wall rear first, most of the speed scrubbed off. Last but one (Duco behind). Then into the hairpin at the start of lap 2 I went too deep under braking and had to skirt around on the super slippy stuff, dropping behind Duco.
The spray was intense, and whenever I got close I just couldn't judge where I was going. So I dropped back, settled in, and we both started catching Xavier. I soon realised that I could go a lot faster, but couldn't make the pass. So I decided to pit early, put the fuel I needed to get to race end, and have a clean track to go fast on and make up positions that way.
On my first flying lap after the stop, I was 1.3 seconds up on my best time (a 2m49s) by the first split, when coming around the double left hander of Pouhon I saw Fede had gone off and was rejoining. Unfortunately as he rejoined he spun around in the middle of the track. As I braked and jinked left, it looked like he was going that way - as I straightened he then almost stopped facing straight at me in the middle of the track. I hit him head on, big impact, losing my front bumper and as a consequence getting understeer galore!
With over 40 minutes still to go, I decided to stick it out, as pitting again at Spa is like a death sentence!!! I was last of the runners after Fede later dropped out, and my pace was poor with the damage. Fortunately for me Xavi dropped out (disco again?), then when Duco pitted he came out 11 seconds behind (to my surprise). He was catching quick, but made a couple of mistakes - then he was gone too. P4 now.
As others pitted, I ended up 21 seconds behind John. Then my expectation of a 19 lap race went out the window - for 3 laps I had to massively save fuel - on the last lap I could go fast again, but finished with less than 1 litre in the tank!
2 races in a row now where I've been collected in others incidents, so need some luck from now on. Turn out was poor to say the least - big sign up list slowly dwindled - must have been the rain option. Rain and Spa in GTR2 would bring in droves!!
OK - and now the exciting part........ with 2 races to go, Andy; Luis and Iain are all on 56 points in the Championship. Vinicius is on 54 points. The Drivers Championship is well and truly alive!
Road America is next - in the dry!! Let's see a big turn out:).
Congrats to Luis on a very dominant win. Beating Iain is no easy task. And well done to Iain and John on the Podium.
Despite all the trouble I had in the race, it was still a blast driving these in the wet around Spa. Wet weather effects are really good in this add-on track too.
|Series:||IZOD IndyCar Series [Semipro]|
|Track:||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
Quite a bit of prep in the week. I hate mentioning this (again) but struggled to get a handle on feel through my wheel in rF, and you may have noticed in race that sometimes my turn in would be too hard or not enough - with the cautions flying everywhere, I was always trying to get back into a rhythm!! When I got there I ran quite decent pace. So, the event itself:-
Qualifying - P8, in a time as quick as I'd done solo all week. Just not fast enough. Outside line too for the start (yuck!!).
Race - Cautions galore. Too many. Too many at the restarts before the leaders had sometimes reached T1. Having driven many a Stock Car race here at R2P, I know that patience is key for these kind of tracks (Indy, Daytona, Talladega). The race doesn't really start until the last 20 laps. So early laps the idea was simply to keep out of trouble and conserve fuel.
In the tow, using Boost change to save fuel and match speed of car ahead was working really well. Pre race I'd worked out fuel consumption on Boost 1 runs and Boost 2 runs (I decided Boost 3 wasn't worth saving the fuel vs the reduction in lap time). I knew that lap 88 was a key point for reaching race end on Boost 2 (assuming all green of course). And as the race panned out, others pitted and I stayed out to lead. More cautions came, and I ended up not pitting until around lap 37ish, where I promptly accidentally didn't put enough fuel in for a full tank. Fresh tyres, rejoining P2 behind Conor. But the lapped cars ahead were a concern - not sure what happened there, but through no fault of their own they effected the leaders as they tried to get past.
And more cautions. I wanted to reach lap 88, then lap 92 (so I could pit and make race end on Boost 1). We had several good runs in those first 100 laps, off the top of my head I always seemed to be around Pelle, Jim Eagan, Len Venne. Some nice running in there, eventually settling with Len doing the same - conserving fuel and running in tandem as we let those up front battle and slow themselves down every now and again.
But as we set off again around lap 75 after another caution, it became another decent run - leading from Conor and Zak with Kevin in 4th. Conor was clearly saving fuel behind me (rarely trying the pass). I was running 1 boost, trying to settle into that rhythm I had to work for after each caution. It became clear that I would go past the lap 92 marker I'd set for myself, and carried on until I had just over a lap of fuel left. We had dropped Kevin and it was a top 3 pulling away from the field. Lap 100 came, and so it would be a green flag stop.
But that was a tactic I hoped would pan out. I knew that others couldn't have fuel to finish (at least those on the lead lap), and that there would be a high chance of at least another caution in the last 25 laps. Rejoining P8 after having an empty pitlane to contend with, I was about the straight ahead of the lead cars (I assumed led by Conor or Zak). And so it was Boost 1, 5th gear, putting in those laps now that my rhythm was back!
And 6 laps after my stop, that caution came. Because all cars have to slow behind the Pace car, and I knew the lead lap cars would likely pit rather than risk a Green flag stop if no more cautions came out, I effectively caught that three-quarter lap gap up simply as they trundled behind the Pace car waiting for the pits to open. And sure enough, I was back in P1 come the restart.
To be quite honest, if it had stayed green I was confident of being at least P3. I did not have a car strong enough to race Conor (and likely Zak). But each time we took a restart within those last 15 laps, there was another caution. And as the number of laps reduced, the more I was getting mentally prepared to try and fend Conor in particular off. In particular, getting the restarts right was key.
I remember one restart where there were 4 lapped cars behind the Pace car but ahead of us. By T4 I'd taken them all and opened up a 1 second gap to Conor! Then a caution....
In the end, it looked like we would take the restart with 1 lap to complete. I got a really good start (my revs being just right) but as I crossed the finish line the chequered flag came out. I didn't trust it, and simply carried on at full tilt, Conor doing the same. In the end it was not required, but I managed to fend him off anyway....ok, at least over 1 lap (LOL!).
Freely admit I didn't have the quickest car out there, but I kept damage free (had a couple of wall brushes but no major one), totally patient, not bothering to race too much in those early stages, just getting towards the finish with fuel and tyres to suit - and the Green flag stop strategy (being first onto fuel and tyres to get me to race end) paid off - the later caution fest at the end just came to me!
My first win in rF and in Open Wheelers (not including a Fun Run win), I am pretty happy with that!
Hard luck Conor and Zak. This newly 'crowned' Permanent Resident Aussie is obviously carrying on the traditions set by Will Power and Ryan Briscoe!!!
|Track:||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
New track, spent the hour before the race trying to get a set up to work, and ran out of time. Managed to get P3 in Qualy, but early running I wasn't into a rhythm - missing turn in points etc. a bit too often. Michael Z and Joe DP both went by in such circumstances, as I dropped down to 5th.
As I got further into the race the lines came to me and I started to lap quite decently. Stickers were heating up too much for me and I was losing grip just in those first 11 laps. After the first caution I came in and changed on to Scuffs. We had an immediate caution at the restart, when Joe DP pitted again as the (now) top 4 stayed out. But those scuffs felt like I was driving on ice. No confidence in the car and just felt like it had no grip.
Joe soon caught me and I let him by - no use fighting for position so early on when clearly he had more pace. But as this stint went on my lap times stabilised with the leading cars and I actually felt I was catching - albeit very slowly! I went past Luis during this period to be in P4.
All this time I was trying to calculate fuel usage in my head. Difficult task as always whilst trying to hit my marks for turn in, etc! Just as I was thinking of pitting for the 'undercut', Joe DP ahead indicated he was pitting. Michael Z did the same - so in I went too. My fuel calc was way off - I ended up topping up to give me a full tank (and would end the race with 12 gallons still in the tank!!).
But I'd decided to put on Stickers - which meant 4 new tyres as I was on scuffs. Looking at the wear on the set that came off (26 laps with a slow caution period in there) I was surprised at the wear on the lefts being nearly as bad as the right side.
Rejoining, and as all others scrolled through their stops, I was back in 5th by a bigger margin - I'd lost time in the pit sequence - but Luis I guessed had changed right side tyres only - he jumped me on track and was a good 6 seconds ahead!
For those remaining 17 laps I pushed very hard - Stickers gave me grip and confidence. Passing backmarkers slowed me a bit, but as I closed up to Michael Z and Luis in front, the front right tyre heat warning from my pitcrew was constantly coming at me. And sure enough, front right grip gave way to a push on exit state. With around 2 or 3 laps to go I smacked the wall pretty hard and that cost me time and pace. 5th was the best I could do. With my Championship rivals Michael Z and Luis in P3 and P4, at least I didn't lose too much in the points!
Well done David Ulmer and Joe DP - great pace and it looked like a nice battle up front - David coming out on top.
|Series:||Sim Factory ARCA Challenge|
|Track:||Talladega Super Speedway|
Qualified 4th with a lap not too shabby - just got blown away by Tom, Jim and Luis!
On the outside line for the start I was lucky enough to get into a gap and slot into P3. Quite happy to sit there and try and save fuel. Tom led, then decided to back out and drop back (I assume to save fuel too). Those early laps saw two lines forming, and the outside line made headway - but didn't manage to clear the inside sufficient for more than 1 of their cars to potentially drop low - thereafter it was pretty much single file, waiting for cars to need fuel.
Trying to work out real fuel consumption in your head whilst driving inches from the car in front is pretty difficult! But it was clear to me I couldn't make it to halfway (lap 40) if it stayed all green, so I pitted on lap 38 (from the lead as Jim - using more fuel for so long leading, dropped back on lap 36-ish.
Pit entry for me was slightly too fast, but manageable by slowing in pitlane to average it out. I heard others behind struggling to slow - screeching tyres and crashing sounds!!! As it happened, filling up on fuel (no tyre change) and I came out just ahead of Luis Almeida. When those remaining pitted a lap later, it left me and Luis in tandem with around a 6 second lead from Jim Barisoff and Tom Malanga......
Then the mind games on TeamSpeak - LOL - boy, did I worry about my need to pit again compared to others behind who may not!!! Luis was really pushing me hard yet Jim and Tom were catching us - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. They had the edge, and I was convinced they must have had a backmarker with them such was their speed. Me and Luis tried the high line, low line was slightly quicker.
Having used just over half my tank of fuel, me and Luis swapped position to equalise the fuel usage. But in the end they caught us up - quite an impressive feat!
Entering the last 10 laps, despite trying to save fuel as much as I could - I knew I would have to pit. It had been green flag all the way, and it was now Luis leading from Andy, Tom and Jim - all in line astern.
Around this time Tom managed to get on my inside as Luis went mid line out of T2. On the back straight I could see a car in my mirrors, but it never seemed to be gaining. I thought I was driving quite low in the lane, trying to keep it straight - no "inside" call from the spotter. I remember Tom on TS saying he was inside. Looking at the replay I can see why! His cockpit view he's very close - mine is limited to left side mirror. My style is to turn in quite early for the turns (not a big adjustment by any means) - that's when I noticed Tom's car even closer on my inside mirror. At this point I steered right - and it probably saved us both - turning had caused my speed to drop of by 1mph (replay) and that was all that was needed for his car to move up to my rear quarter window - I think I then got the "inside" call from my spotter - all happening rather quickly. As Tom was half on and off the apron, as he moved up it pretty well tied in with me moving right and the slightest of touches occurred - I went up to the middle lane, Tom slowed and got the inside lane. It was close, one to keep in the memory banks for what not to do if another car gets that close. But all remained OK - Tom slotted back in behind - and we were still a 4 car trail.
Then around lap 72, Tom and Jim pitted. Seeing this, myself and Luis pitted the next lap. Warmed my brakes up nicely, personally got a great run in to pitlane - hitting the line at 54mph with no lock ups - Luis locked his right front up, and as he had to back off to compensate we entered our pitboxes nose to tail. I decided no tyres (not an issue), a healthy increase in tape (to 73 or 74% I think), and only a 'Splash' of fuel. As the crew sent me away, I got off earlier than Luis, but hadn't used my Clutch correctly - away he went with better momentum. At that point I thought P2 was my best result - IF we came out ahead of Tom and Jim....AND if others had not managed to save fuel enough to finish without stopping again.
4 cars went by us as we went through T1 & T2. Back to P5 (Luis)and P6 (me). I'd changed my gearing in practice, and I believe this is what went towards the next change. Luis went high on exit of T2. I got his tow - really nicely, and decided - well, here goes nothing, on to the middle lane. "Car outside" was the spotter call. So Luis (I assumed) would know I was there. As we were both building up speed, I slowly edged up alongside as we entered T3. Going down to the inside line, Luis tucked in behind. Within a couple of laps the top 4 had pitted too - leaving me and Luis P1 and P2. Tom and Jim were 5 or 6 seconds back - all solely due to the pit under green sequence (entering, time stopped, exiting). Mine and Luis's had been near perfect.
On the last lap Luis tried for the outside - he actually almost got alongside me, but T3 kink to the left meant he tucked in behind - he couldn't quite make it by. As I crossed the line I had 1 gallon left in the tank - I could have only done 1 more lap!
Green flag for 80 laps, good stuff again to everyone. Impressed with Jim and Tom's speed vs mine and Luis's. I noticed in replay that Tom's RPM's for the same speed as me in front were around 200 higher - need to check my gearing out for the next time we run here!!!
4 week gap to the next event in this series (normal 2 weekly one I didn't book in as it's my daughter's 16th birthday - and I can't race during the day and miss out on that:).
|Series:||Dodge Challenger R Muscle Cup|
|Car:||Dodge Challenger R|
|Track:||Mid Ohio - Chicane|
Somewhat surprised to find myself on Pole by a good half second. I used my Laguna set up, practiced only 30 minutes before the race with full fuel, and removing fuel paid off!
Decent start, into P1 on a full fuel load. Slowly but surely left Iain Watson in P2, opening up a 6 second gap by around half way. Then a slight mistake in the chicane section, got the rear right on the grass, and around it went. Rejoined right behind Iain and it was clear to me that I was the quicker car - difficult to pass though, so was biding my time for Pit stops to come into play.
I noticed a backmarker ahead with around 20 minutes to go, so decided to pit then and try and gain an advantage if Iain got slowed down. But Iain pitted - so I stayed out....oh, but what a race changer that would be!
I caught up to Jordi on the start of the back straight, put my lights on to signal it was the leader - and he moved to the left. As I went full tilt for the normal inside line of the kink, Jordi got his left side wheels on the grass, and it speared him across the track right in front of me - I couldn't do anything, big impact, spinning around and piling into the concrete wall with the rear - then trundling backwards down the wall/grass. "Suspension Damage" - oh damn!
I stayed out to see how the car was - it wasn't too bad, but my lap times were down by between 1 to 2 seconds. Never got into the 36's again. Vinicius was catching me hand over fist, so I pitted whilst I still had a gap - pitstop went fine, just the fuel - rejoined and came P3 over 21 seconds behind Iain and John Passmore 7 seconds ahead.
Next lap Vin' pitted - I came out in front - then the car promptly went straight on after the first right hander of the Chicane. Unusual, had to drive off track and drive back on - lost another bunch of time.
As the minutes ticked by I slowly caught Vin' up - I was pushing hard but still it was 37's - backmarkers seemed to hold him up, but I just ran out of time - P4 in the end.
Vey disappointed in the outcome - probably because I was totally surprised to not only be on the pace - but actually be the fastest car out there as the race unfolded in that first half. Lap record to boot (Qualy), and fastest lap in the race. It's been a long time since I won in anything but ARCA, but it just goes to show that "you can't count your chickens before they are hatched"!
Well doen Iain on the win, John and Vin on the podium too. Next event....Spa.....in the Wet....Hahahahahaaaaaa!
Found a nice balance in the car by tweaking my Gateway set up, and put in the mileage before race day to ensure I had a car that could run fast if needed, but also keep it's tyres together on long runs. The weak link was going long on Stickers, so I knew I had to be super careful at the race start.
Qualifying - literally put tape on my race set, adjusted tyre pressures - and the track conditions just didn't suit. Time was good enough for P4, my second lap being slower as I pushed in all turns. So, race start I was on the outside line behind Mike Arn.
Early laps, those on the inside (Michael Z; Luis and Tom) passed Mike and myself, and I managed to move into 4th a lap or two later. Then settled in to following the top 4. As the laps went by, pace seemed fine and no cautions, so I just had tyre conservation in mind. Michael Z let Luis by early on - but he didn't pull away as I was expecting him to do. And it wasn't long before Michael, Tom and myself passed him as he seemed to struggle for grip on the longer run.
As we went into the 30 laps arena, I noticed Jason was catching up from the back of the field, but also sensed that Tom was maybe starting to struggle. I pushed a lap here and there, then on lap 34 I got close enough to have the spotter shout "car outside" out of T4. I kept on the inside into T1 but Tom had better speed - as he turned in he managed to lock up the front left on that little bump - this pushed him to the mid line of the turn and I duly went low and took P2 - exiting T2 I see Michael Z in front half spinning - no caution as he didn't go all the way around, and so it was P1.
As Jason and Tom battled, Tom then had connection issues, and so it was Jason closing in. I just kept it steady, aiming to get to half way before changing to Scuffs and topping up with fuel. It soon became clear that should it go caution free then the fight for P1 would be between myself and Jason (both 1 stopping).
Jason pitted first, right on the half way point. He'd closed up to around a 1 second gap at one stage, but then (as he said on TeamSpeak) someone flicked a switch and started dropping back - this gap closed and opened, but at the time he pitted it was around 5 to 6 seconds. I wanted to get a lap or so more to ensure I had enough fuel for race end if it continued all green, pitting on lap 77 of 150. Pitting, taking on Scuffs - I actually put too much fuel in - in hindsight better safe than sorry!
Coming out P3, with Luis on a 2 stopper 23 seconds ahead - and Jason 3 to 4 seconds behind. I initially got stuck behind Rolf (to lap him), and it took a while to pass him - Jason slowly catching. But we were hauling Luis in quite quickly as his tyres went off. Taking the lead as Luis pitted around two-thirds distance, he came out 22 seconds behind.
Jason was slowly but surely catching, even more so as we caught up with traffic. At one stage the gap came down to 0.9 of a second, and it was at this point that - having passed the lapped car/s, I would put in a quick lap or two to open that gap up into the 1.5 ish second mark before settling in to that rhythm again.
As the laps went by Luis was clearly pushing and actually closed in to just under 9 seconds to me (and around 3 to Jason), but as we reached those last 10 laps, my gap to Jason opened up to a race ending 6 seconds, and Luis dropped back to over 12 seconds behind. I actually got a right front tyre wear warning from my pitcrew with around 15 laps to go, but on the last lap I decided to push a bit to see if I could do a high 29 secs. It ended up being a 30.0, but that was only 0.9 seconds slower than my early second stint fastest lap of a 29.1, on tyres that were 73 laps old. Can't complain at that!!!
My 18th R2P ARCA victory. This series has now gone green flag all the way in the opening two events - well done all on that achievement. Well done Jason and Luis on the podium spots - I know they'll be back for more!
Cya all at Indianapolis - another new track for R2P.