Mid-July found us trekking to Gingerman Raceway, on the west side of Michigan. This was the 2nd leg of our path to qualify for the Runoffs. It was another beautiful weekend, and this time found 5 other competitors besides myself.
An “on-time” entry got us one practice session on Friday night. We made a last minute decision to not scramble and scrub the new rubber, so as to just get a feel for the tracks and plenty of laps. Overall the car felt decent, albeit a tad hot. We felt we were needed to be to qualify, but couldn’t tell because timing and scoring was down.
This race weekend was a little different, as there was only one qualifying session. We went out and put a few decent laps down, but noticed that the temperature was creeping even higher. With preservation in mind we only did a handful of laps.
Inspection after led us to believe that the refilling of the cooling system hadn’t gotten to both radiators. Inspection of the time sheet was pleasing, with 4th in class, easily qualified, and 2/3 of the way down the grid.
Lined up for the race and went out. There was some confusion as the organisers decided to group us by class. Regardless, the pack got away. I did my best to hang. I felt I was being inconsistent, but it was tough given there was a number of local yellows and cars stranded in precarious positions. The first FE’s got by and I was able to latch on pretty well there. I did that for a few laps and dropped a rear tire in the dirt which induced a lazy spin. I kept going but a few laps later the nose panel flew off. Having lost sight of the leaders, I parked it with a few laps to go. Lap times though were pleasing in relation to the “rabbits” I had focused on.
Sunday qualifying was slow. Not really sure why, but it drew some arched eyebrows from the driver. We did note that the engine sounded a bit flat and thought it was maybe due to some spark plug issues. The race started similar to the previous day, where other FC got by. However, getting into T1, dirt and dust was everywhere with cars next to stopped. A prototype had gone off the track and was attempting to rejoin. This broke up our class. I latched onto a faster car and we went to hunt the others back down. We caught up for the most part, and I ran a number of good laps. The consistency issue reared itself again and I gradually dropped back into the FE’s. I once again held on with them, learning a lot about the track and where passing should and shouldn’t take place. After 3 laps or so of this I came upon a laboring P2 car. This forced me off-line, I got in the rubber, and around I went again. I kept it running, spun it back around and off I went. Having lost sight of the good battle I had going, and the engine getting flatter, I once again parked it.
The mission for the weekend had been accomplished. We reached the requirement of starts to qualify for the Runoffs. We need one more Majors weekend, which will occur in August at Grattan.
A schedule update will be published prior to then as the team evaluates testing options. Until then,