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Roebling Road Double SARRC
Short story - broke on Saturday, fixed it Sunday morning, qualified sixth, then finished seventh on Sunday (got my first GTA win). Results are up on MyLaps.com (http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=127074) for those that want to skip to the details...
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It was a "challenging" yet instructional weekend. Just getting to the track ended up being an adventure as we lost the treads on two of the trailer tires on the way down. The first was just south of Atlanta and the second was just before getting off I-16 in Pooler. Fortunately we actually had two spares with us, so after two stops of slightly over the NASCAR standard of 14 seconds, we rolled into the track before sunset Friday evening and got everything set up before retiring to Lovezola's Pizza for an evening of frivolity, adult beverage and bench racing.
With over 35 cars entered for Saturday (and over 2/3rds being V8-powered of one configuration or another), I knew that finding a gap during qualifying would be a challenge. I finally got a pretty good run on lap 5 and laid down a high 1:19 (good for ninth overall, first in GTA), but just as I got ready for a better lap the engine developed a dead miss! We came in and Data burned his arm verifying all the plug wires were on, so we retired to the paddock area to find the cause. Ends up we'd bent the number 4 exhaust valve, so under the direction (and assistance) of Mike Harrison we pulled that head and formulated a plan for its repair. After searching for options in Savannah and finding none, Mike & I loaded the head into Gramps' Suburban and set out for the M&H Engine Emporium in bucolic (and scenic) West Columbia, SC. Gramps & Data stayed at the track to provide support for Jeff Bailey (the current owner of my old C-4 Corvette affectionately known as "Godzilla" because of it's gentle nature and calm demeanor). Jeff ended up having a great race with Terry Giles and ended up third overall, third in GT-1. Mike & I returned in time to join everyone for dinner at The Shell House, another Roebling Road tradition.
We got Cuervo back together in plenty of time for qualifying on Sunday morning, and I turned a 1:19.2 to get sixth place overall, first in GTA for Sunday's race. Due to Wayne Cabaniss being booted to the back for passing under yellow, however, I moved up another spot even before the green flag fell. As we rolled out on the pace lap, however, the radios quit working and I also realized wearing sunglasses under a tinted visor is NOT a good thing! Between no radio and limited vision I felt like I was in a sensory deprivation tank, but I really didn't want to open the visor because of the dirt and dust flying around. The good news is the Cool Shirt worked flawlessly, otherwise I might really have lost it.
Because of hesitation on Todd Carter's part and wheelspin by Godzilla, I managed to slot into third place overall going into Turn One. Bill Smith and Jeff Emery pretty much checked out by the end of lap one, then about lap four Jeff Bailey finally figured out how to modulate the skinny pedal on the right and motored by on the front straight. I maintained about a one second gap on Blake Beattie and Todd Carter who were having a heckuva SPO battle behind me, but on lap 10 the front end washed out pretty badly in Turn 3. In retrospect I think I hit some oil, but at the time I had a pretty substantial lead in GTA and didn't want to overuse the tires, so I waved Blake & Todd by and put it in "conserve" mode to the checkers. Two laps from the end I saw a white Corvette getting larger in the mirrors, so I let Wayne by just in time to have a front row seat for his canopy ejection act the next time down the front straight. I was pretty surprised by it, but I'm SURE Wayne had a major moment until he figured out why he could suddenly see his gauges so much better!
At any rate, we finished on the lead lap in seventh overall and got our first of hopefully many GTA wins in the 2006 season. It was definitely a challenging weekend, but also satisfying because of the effort necessary to get to the checkered flag. Andrew Blaske (JarHead) loaned us a spare trailer tire & rim for the ride home, but fortunately we didn't need to use it (although we DID have to effect roadside repairs when the alternator wire on the F-550 came loose just north of Barnesville). But then as The Purple Frog (Mike Eakin) and I constantly remind each other, "if it were easy everybody would be doing it".
Next up is the Al Fairer Memorial Double SARRC / Double MARRS at VIR May 12-14. This is traditionally one of the biggest events on the SEDIV calendar, and VIR is definitely one of the premier racetracks in North America. Hopefully we'll have a ton of taxicabs to run against there as well.
See y'all at the track...