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After setting a 31.471 (which is very slow) in early morning qualifying, I joined the 9pm Silver Crown race hoping to improve on my poor showing in the Formula Mazda an hour earlier. It turns out I had a lot to learn about both this track and car and by the end of this race I felt like I could probably compete for a win if matched to the right field.

For this race though, I was iRated as the sixteenth best driver and would be starting the race from fifteenth (and that’s only because I had qualified). Behind me were another four drivers who hadn’t qualified and all except one held a better iRating.

I got an OK start, but most of it was spent avoiding other people’s accidents. By the time I cleared everyone I was all alone on the track, well behind the lead draft and a few seconds infront of the car behind.

Knowing that I would be slower when lapping alone I let the guy behind catch up and set about using him as a drafting buddy to try to catch the leaders. We were doing a pretty good job, occasionally swapping position until eventually we came upon a backmarker. Trying to stay low in the turns slowed me a great deal and when I finally cleared the backmarker – my buddy was too far ahead.

I wasn’t disappointed by this race, I’d had fun and set my fastest lap of 30.574 on lap fifty-two of sixty. I also managed to finish in ninth and made gains on both my license and iRating… I had also had a clean race, but did carry two incident points from a brainless moment in warm-up where I spun the car by shifting the Silver Crown into first gear… I laughed at myself. :)

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British-born U.S. Resident, Tim Wheatley, works for Image Space Inc., a developer of driver-in-the-loop simulation technology. He lives in Illinois with his wife and children.
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