Friday, July 13, 2012

Mid Ohio - 7.1.2012 Race

After qualifying on the pole with a decent 1:34.2, we had another long break until the race; 3+ hours I think. I took the time to drop in the Hawk DTC70 front pads I had just picked up as I wanted to see if they would hold the brake system hold up better throughout the race. They are a touch high torque than the DTC60's I've been running mainly for the past 3 years.

Besides setting the ballast & fuel load, there was really nothing else the car needed. I started to pack up what I could as I'd be heading the 7+ hrs home right after the race and the day was heating up; already well into the 90's.

At the noon driver's meeting I got to stay behind as I was 1 of the 3 pole-sitters for the 3 waves we'd be having. A first! Being on the pole, I was told to maintain the speed of the pacecar after it pulls off all the way to the green flag - which would be 35mph. This is a very difficult thing to do with all the anticipation around you too!  The plan after Sat was to be more aggressive with passing and lap traffic - although there were already some close calls during the warmup & qual sessions!

The Race
Coming out of the keyhole after the pacecar pulled off we were in the 35-40mph range as expected. I had just downshifted to 2nd but was pretty high in the rpms, and as expected our speeds started to creep up just a little. I didn't want to touch the brakes and 'brake-check' anyone (maybe I should have) so I was trying to decide if I should shift into 3rd or not - right about the same time the green dropped and I was NOT ready. So I got a horrible jump; and would be chasing once again!
Just like the previous day, I was right on the tail of the leader and got a good run out of T1 (1:30 in the vid) only this time he blocked the inside line so I couldn't get in there to pass. I jumped outside instead to try and preserve all the momentum I could, but was definitely out-braked and gained nothing.
I'm not sure what the difference was, but for the first several laps I would be fighting some 4-wheel skidding; mostly started from understeer and backing out of the throttle. I'm not sure what caused this, the only difference was I had a bit less ballast in the rear since I came in 50lbs over my min after the Sat race. This definitely didn't help my chasing cause and led directly to an off in T11 that lost me a good bit of time.

Around the 6th lap my pedal started getting long. I pushed really deep into T1 at one point before it caught and caused ABS to kick in I think. I then did some quick pumping on the next straight to bring it back - same on the backstraight. On the next lap or so - #8 I think - I was weaving through traffic and around a cone going into T2 (aka The Keyhole) and not sure if I braked a bit later than normal since I was offline and couldn't directly see my brake point or what, but the pedal just wasn't there. If you brake too late into this corner, you miss the uphill section and then it transitions to downhill through the corner - and I couldn't slow down enough to make the turn. This is about where I ended the video as the next part wasn't good... Offtrack, through the sand to the right a bit and the rearend caught the tirewall. DNF. With damage to the driver's side of the car, most predominant in the rear quarterpanel. Sucks.

It also turned out the lead PTA car in front of me - that was ran off between T1 & T2 (9:30 in my vid; on the far left) had cooling issues from that off and had to nurse it around to the finish, so I would have gotten around him quite easily.  Sucks too; Traffic!

For an idea on closing speeds into some of the corners, check out the 6:25 mark and tell me WHEN you seen that car!

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