I decided to finally run Mid-Ohio. If I was ever lucky enough
to come out of the SCCA Central Division with enough points to make
it to the Runoffs, Id better have hit the track at least once.
I decided to purchase the MO tape, but ran short on the amount of
time I had to really watch it. So with little sleep and a few views
of the tape I left for MO.
I was actually lucky enough to have my car in the Auto Concepts
trailer that left the day before. I was running late getting to
the track on Friday and was told that a huge storm came in an hour
before I got there and tore up some of the canopies of the drivers
that were testing. I never had a drop of rain hit my window the
whole ride up. I guess this was going to be a foreshadowing for
I woke up Saturday still a little nervous about learning MO in
a big car, but excited at the same time. I also had an idea pop
in my head on the way to the track
scam a ride in the pace
car when they check out the track before the first practice. With
a little begging I was able to get two laps. It really helped since
it was hard to know what the elevation changes felt like and how
small the keyhole and carousal really are. That saved me a few laps
of my practice session that I would have wasted figuring that out
and adjusting my entries.
| I just wanted to do something...
Finally it was my turn
no more wondering and over thinking,
I just wanted to do something. It wasnt pretty, but the learning
curve began with a 1:40. I came back with the feeling that it would
take a little while to get the rhythm of the track. I come from
late brake, turn, and stab the gas race tracks. The blind and off
camber turns would take a little getting use to, but I had a few
ideas of what I need to do for qualifying. I knew I was not going
to be competitive for a while and I really wanted to play with Jeannette
Udwary and Amy Ruman. Unfortunately Jette grazed the wall and was
not able to continue. She saved the wing, but did not have the ability
to fix the small hole in the radiator and unbend a nose cage bar.
Something happened in qualifying, the light bulb went on and I
began charging the corners. As you know that does not always work
at MO, but I began to get confidence in the track and my abilities.
I only resulted in a 1:37.5, but I had fun and had more ideas of
what to change for the race. For those who do not know me, I race
for the FUN of it. And my goal this weekend was to learn, have fun,
and bring the car back on its own power. Plus, it was more
important to me to have a car in good condition for the June Sprints
at Road America, than to take a chance of hurting the car at MO.
Race morning came and I was ready for morning practice. I was taught
Every lap of every session and First out and last
in when it comes to seat time. So I went out in the morning
to learn more. As the few laps unfolded I realized that my clutch
was going. It saved me from not making the race that I drove 8+
hours to compete in. Rick Peeters, Ray Lehor, and Kevin Keiper got
the clutch in with plenty of time to spare, even ate lunch. You
know how hard that can be sometimes on a race weekend.
I thought with the 5-6 hours I had for the last weekend and a half
that I might take a little cat nap to get my head together for the
race. I normally work through the first 3 corners in my mind. So
I lay there thinking of all the ways I could work with the inside
line and what the other drivers may do. I was confident in my ideas
and just about to sleep when I woke with the thought
god I am on the outside! I decided then that I should just get up
and enjoy my friends and the great weather. Since I only heard about
the rain races that MO provides and how lucky I was to have 70-80
I sat down and watched the guys buttoning up the car. I watch Ray
put on the tire and did not like the feel. They consulted what they
were going to do with a kind of whisper and hush-hushness. It was
pretty funny that they wanted to not let me know, like dont
worry the driver.
Finally, it was race time. We showed up after first call and I
just enjoyed watching the different drivers show up and there little
routines. I should mention that I was sitting with my new cool
shirt on. What a dream! I would rather drive with old tires
and and cool shirt than new tires and no cool shirt. It was one
of my best investments in racing. I spent my time thinking of what
I wanted to do rather than surviving.
I should mention that they counted down until they reached 3 minutes
and then told us to shut it down. Confusion came over the drivers
and we found out that if SCCA posts a time for the race they cannot
start the race prior to that time. Otherwise someone could protest.
It makes sense now why they many supplements say Race group
to be followed.
They finally released us from the false grid to what I thought
was the grid on the track. Instead they just released us on our
pace lap. I wondered with being so far back in the field where I
would actually be when the green flag fell. Rick called over Green
flag just at the turn-in for the last turn before heading
on the straight-away.
All I wanted to was to beat Russ Adams into one and/or have a strong
start. My goal was accomplished and some. I was next to the 13 place
car going into the apex of one. I then went back to 15th, when the
inevitable crash happened in the 2-3 turns. All I saw was Amy going
sideways. I did what I could and held my position until corner four,
when Russ did a great job in passing me on the outside. They told
me to watch my inside there. Next time I think I will work on a
plan to corner 5.
As I was going from 5 to 6 I swore I saw one or two cars traveling
horizontal to the track towards me. As if someone had blown off
the keyhole. I found out later that was Amy Ruman and Tom Sloe after
the metal to metal in the 2-3 turns.
On lap two or three I braked too late for the carousal and went
off. I got right back on and did not lose a position, but Russ got
away. I took a lap to make sure that nothing was wrong. I sure thought
there was a tire going down, but I was wrong. I then worked my way
back up to Russ at about 2/3 of the race left. I tried everything
to catch him. There were corners that I was better than Russ and
would catch right back up and there were corners that Russ would
Rick called in when I was in 10b saying last lap. I
knew this was my last chance and I was right behind him. I charged
11 and came out strong. As I crested the hill I could see that Russ
wanted it more than I. He was side ways trying to exit strong to
get a run and pass the lap AS car. It was that moment I knew he
wanted it more than I did. I saw the whole side of his car. Only
Russ, I, and the corner workers can appreciate his driving at that
It worked and the lap car was between us going into 12. By the
carousal I was right behind him and I did not get the job done in
15. It was a great race and I brought the car back under its
own power and with a smile on my face. I also ended up with consistent
135.2s. I still need more seat time, but I will get that done