Tuesday, October 06, 2009

End of Season

I missed the NASA Nationals.

We had just gotten back from a delightful trip to Cologne, and I just didn't have the money or energy to get the truck together, sacrifice a week of work, and go. The nature of my job is contract right now, and it would have cost a mint to go. Also, my friends were not going, for the most part. Josh blew up his car, and John was having back trouble, so was not going. I was going to have to sleep in the truck, and be a one man show, and I just failed.

Phooey. On to the next!

The last event of the season was held at Eagles Canyon Raceway, near Decatur, Texas. It's a 4.5 hour drive north for me, and well worth it. ECR is great.

Where MSR Cresson is draped across the top of a hill, ECR is strung across a valley between two ridges. So you come out of the hole and go back down twice per lap. It's characterized by long, long straights (short is just over 1300 feet longest is over 2000) and tight, double apex corners.

I had the best of all possible weekends: I got to drive it in the dry on Saturday, and in the wet on Sunday! It was very, very rainy this weekend.

The Saturday session was full of cars. We had a representative from Vorschlag automotive come up in TTA, and win it. He was driving a Mitsu that I should have protested. The problem with Evos is that they are all wheel drive, and to dyno them you need an AW dyno, which most sites don't have. Thus, you can cheat in TTA and get away with it. He was a full three seconds faster than the rest of the TTA field and none of us are novices. Ah, well, second place would have to do.

Then it rained. It's a great equalizer. There was standing water all over the track, and a river across it in two places. The braking zone into the last corner was a lake.

I came prepared with street tires, while John and the other TTA guys were praying for dry track late in the day.

It was not to be, as there was a misting rain all day that kept everything wet and getting wetter. The blue car on street tires easily carried the field. Many folks did one lap and pitted, just to get a time recorded for the day.

I've said it before, but driving in the rain is amazing. You have to literally put the car out of complete control on purpose so it won't do something unexpected. You slide into the corner, knowing the sideways motion will stop sometime, and you will be able to continue. You can go just as fast down the straights, you just have to brake more carefully. There are places where the pavement has more grip, and as yu find those, you use them. Some are small, no more than six inches wide, but you can feel them under your wheels. It was very, very fun. I ended up being just a few seconds slower in the rain than I was in the dry, and literally lost track of time while I was on track. The checkered flag was a surprise.

By the end of the day, John and I were the last two time trial drivers left. We had the track to ourselves. John was on fire. Even on slick tires, he drove very well. I don't think he beat my best lap, but he was closer than he's been in a long time. He is having back surgery this week, and I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. We shook hands in the rain, and now await the scores for the season to be tallied. It's going to come down to him or me for the TTA Texas region.

I will go to Nats in 2010 or die trying. Racing is not about being selfish, though it might seem that way sometimes. It's about being focused and aware of the world and getting the right position in the field, on and off the track. I was out of position this year. Not again.


Post a Comment

<< Home