Monday, May 17, 2010

Race 3 - 5th

I am writing this post a week and a couple days removed from race three. You can read about the race here. For the record I think Tom Moriarty is a fantastic champion, eight times. He and I will race hard all season, and I think it will be a great battle this year.

Our car is good, really good. The guys are preparing an awesome piece. It is solid through the center of the corner and hooks up on exit real well. It's a blast to drive. The biggest thing about practice this particular week is that we tried some small tweaks looking for a big peak.

For the 3rd week in a row we put it on the pole. It was a solid effort, and I am really proud of the team for giving me a fast car week in and week out.

Heat Race.
I started on the pole again this week. I beat Tom to the 1st turn and for the first time held him off as we exited turn 2, an accomplishment compared to the last two heat races. We had tried some small changes that worked in qualifying, but didn't work as well in the heat race. Car was not really finding much grip and Tom got by me. He rolled out to a decent lead, and all I could do was watch. We had a bit of work to do before the main.

Main Event.
I started row 3 outside in the 6th position behind Dan Moore. We had changed the car back to the previous weeks setup after the heat and things were looking good. The field was rolling off and we were racing close. Dan had some trouble on the front stretch and stacked up the field, thankfully I didn't turn him. Problem was I was stuck behind him as cars got to the inside and cleared us both.

I found it hard to clear the 16. He races me really hard week in and week out, which is fine, but I was got frustrated. From my perspective he was checker-boarding pretty good, covering my every move with the help of a spotter or mirror. Either way it was jacking up my progress to catch the leaders who now got away by a straightaway.

I passed the 16 about lap 20 and set sail for the leaders. I was gaining ground on 4th, passed him. The battle for 2nd was ensuing as the laps were winding down, and the 12 had picked a line that opened the door wide for the 70. Laps were ticking away and I was gaining huge ground, sometimes a car length or more per lap.

Finally, I reached the 12 and 20 battle and threw Ole Red up in the fight. We would get alongside the 12, then he would clear me getting into the turn and slide up the track. We would get under him and be door to door. Each lap I'd gain more ground. Coming off of turn four I saw the white flag, one lap to go. I knew if I could just get my car a little deeper into turn one and roll the center without sliding up, I could get him. It worked as I'd planned, and I got a huge run.

I didn't see Tom in my peripheral vision as I had the previous few laps, so I thought I had the move clean. Problem was, he was there. We touched. My car shook a little. I hit the accelerator and down the back stretch I went. I'd made the move with a half a lap to go and set sail to finish 3rd...

I ended up 5th for the night.