27 June 2016
After a short break, the NASA Great Lakes region kicked off the ‘summer season’ June 25-26 at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven Michigan. I always look forward to racing at ‘G-man’ as it is a beautiful area that allows for some very close racing, and there has always been a great vibe around the paddock. As a driver, it’s a blast to come around turn 3 and see the crowd on the hill taking in the mad skillz displayed on track, along with the occasional stupid human trick, and for the #30x (I kinda like the ‘x’) CMC Trans Am there was a little of both. The box score for the weekend tells the tale….
Race #1 - P1 after a very close battle with Derek Wright in the #913 Camaro
Race #2 - P1 after a pre-race paddock tire battle (rains or dries??) (Dries !)
Race in the officiating trailer – Disqualified race #1 for pass under yellow (opps)
Race #3 – P2 after starting DFL in an inverted start (Derek held on at the line…by 0.002!)
All in all it was a very competitive weekend for the CMC gang that featured tight races throughout the field, and had Pete Loftus in the #135 Firebird getting his first CMC win (way to go Pete!). Saturday there must have been something in the coffee that caused color blindness throughout the field as there were 6 drivers “not classified” for passing under yellow (including me). On the one hand, it’s easy to come up with excuses and justifications for blowing a flag….on the other hand, every driver on the track has a responsibility to take care of each other, and one of the main ways we do that is following command flags. Giving up a win hurts, but knowing I drove right by a flag without seeing it hurts more. The inverted start for race 3, the drive through the field, and last lap, last corner pass (attempt) made up for most of the disappointment. I’m not sure if 0.002 is the closest margin at the line for CMC, but it’s got to be close. Snagging the class track record while chasing down the #913 also helped ease the pain, as did seeing the race-craft of the entire CMC field as I was working my tail of trying to get around them….dem boys are gettin good!
This is the place where I usually give a shout out to NEO Motorsports and #HawkPerformance, as both companies have been very supportive and provide a great product. Instead of just saying they are great, I want to give an example. I ran a full test day Friday, a warm-up, two qualifying sessions, and three races over the weekend, and set the class track record in the last laps of the last race on Sunday. I did that without touching the brakes other than changing pads mid-day Friday. The pads that came off (after 2 race weekends and two test-day sessions) ran down to .030 of friction material with zero tapper, and the new pads will get me through our next race weekend at Autobahn in Joliet IL July 9-10. The “last lap, last corner” pass attempt in race 3 was made without hesitation or worry that there would be any braking issues. Pretty stout stuff….and one of the main reasons for my success this season. If you’re in the greater Chicago area, stop by Autobahn CC in Joliet June 25-26 to catch the “CMC Crazies” in action July 9-10.
During the race.
In the pit.
Picture from NASA