It definitely isn’t often that I win one. It’s even more rare that I win more than once in a week. After my success on the road side in the Skip Barber Series recently I was delighted to be able to prove myself on the ovals in a manner which frankly made me feel pretty good about myself. I’m not that fast, but I certainly made myself feel like it!
I ran two races this week. The first ended in disaster as I was unfortunately caught up in someone else’s accident. The very same thing almost happened in my second race, but after I squeezed by (close enough to get a penalty for car contact, it should be noted), I ran cleanly until the finish.
Before my first race I ran a qualifying session and came out with a 32.434. After my dropped race I qualified again and set a 32.328. In warm-up for my main race I set a 32.260 and felt very, very confident. I was fastest in the session, after all, beating the 3 cars in the race holding a higher rating than my own.
I started in 4th and passed the 3rd-place starter around the outside on the first lap. By lap 2 I was close behind the leaders and saw the 2nd-place car get sideways. When he did it again in the next turn I didn’t react immediately, but when I saw him get completely sideways knew this was going to be tight… I JUST squeezed by on the outside of the turn and got a car contact penalty – it was that close.
Because of the amount I had slowed down to get around the spinning car, the leader was now almost half a lap ahead, while the new 3rd-place car was right behind me. I first had to fight off the challenger behind, then set my sights on the leader.
I reeled off laptimes which frankly, I’m amazed I achieved. I set a laptime of 32.190 on both laps 8 and 11 during my charge. I caught the leader by lap 15 and for the next few laps tried to find a place where I could get by cleanly.
Because of the lack of vision out of the right side of the car, I was never really sure whether I could use more of the racetrack. This forced me to stay very low and give most of the race track to my opponent. While running low though attempting to make the pass for the lead I did discover just how well the car handled down there (similar things I had found at both Irwindale and Richmond), and hoped to be able to use that information later.
After a few side by side attempts, I finally took the lead on lap 19 after the leader bobbled in the middle of the turn. Once I had opened up a gap I set about just having fun with the car and trying to work on my skills. On lap 46 of 50, while holding a 7 second lead I set a 32.148, the fastest lap of the race. This was done using the low line around NHMS.