Friday, November 12, 2010

NASA Fall Finale @ Summit Point

My 2010 racing season ended on a high note and with a plan of action for next season that will make it both the best and least expensive yet. Booyah.

This event was to be all about blowing through the last of 2010's consumables: tires, brakes, oil, etc. I don't like to put old stuff back on the car in the Spring, so everything had to go. Hell, there was even 11 gallons of fuel left over from October's VIR trip. No sense letting that rot, either.

Oh but was it cold. I was thoroughly unprepared for how cold it would be in the trailer. I didn't have enough amperage to run two heaters at once, and the fan/heater job was only good at keeping the temps around 55 at night. On an air-mattress, that's COLD. There's nothing to insulate you from below, and my dumb ass didn't pack a sleeping bag. Just sheets & a blanket. Brr...

I was so cold and had slept so poorly that I couldn't be bothered to check tire pressures Saturday morning. I figured they had to be pretty good, though, since I managed a 1:29.7 in my 2nd session, my fastest to date. That lap turned out to be my fastest for the day, and good enough for a 3rd place trophy!

My paddock-mates insisted on checking my tires in the afternoon, and we found that each was at least 2 pounds down from optimum pressures, which meant that Sunday would be faster. It was.

With proper pressure, I went out Sunday morning and knocked off .2 seconds from Saturday's best, but on a lap where I had to give up the end of the front straight for a caution flag. I knew I could do better.

In my 2nd session, I turned a 1:29.141. Six tenths better than Saturday, and only 1/10 off the first place pace from Saturday. Fortunately for me, the guy who set that pace didn't come back Sunday, and each day is a separate event. Saturday's 2nd place driver told me that he couldn't possibly match my pace, and the only other car that could do it wasn't classed properly. So I won. I won the final event of 2010.

And even though I only competed in 6 of 15 events, I accrued enough points to be in either 5th or 6th for the season.

My average finishing position was 3.33, with an average field-size of 7.66 competitors. And if the guy with the fire-breathing turbo Miata gets classed out of TTE, the average becomes 2.83 out of 7, which is good enough to win a free tire from Hoosier at every single event.

Better still? Using that average, and assuming I'll be able to make all 15 events, I should finish next season well over 100 points ahead of the points-leader for 2010. Even a consistent 4th place finish could warrant a 1st place trophy for the season.

And since Time Trials isn't nearly as abusive on hardware as HPDE's (fewer laps means less fuel & less wear), consumables can last much longer. Add instructing and camping to the mix and--barring major incidents--next season should cost less than the first two events of this season alone.