For those of you that haven’t been following, CMP had shaped up to be a battle for the SE Division T2 Title. Charles Guest #24 in a Solstice GXP was leading the points, but I was just 2 behind. So it came down to one race for all the SE marbles.
Sorry for the lack of fancy photos (so far) as we didn’t have a staff photographer this time around and I’ve yet to find any track photographers that grabbed anything descent.
For this event Ryan and I left Thursday and towed down to CMP to make sure we were there and setup for the Friday test session. Although both Marty and I had run CMP a couple times before, they had reconfigured the track since then and we wanted to check things out before attempting to qualify.
Friday morning came and the sky was overcast, foreshadowing the rain that inevitably would come. The car rolled out of the trailer near ready to go and Ryan (Crew Chief) did some last minute adjustments before I set out to conquer these new corners. First session went flawless as the car felt good and I slugged my way around trying new things each time to find the quickest path through each turn. I didn’t put down any fast lap times, but that wasn’t the intent at this point. I went out in the next session with no changes to the car except a full tank of fuel. About 3/4 of the way around the track my TPMS alarm went off and indicated that the left front tire was loosing pressure quick. I exited the track and made it back to my paddock space with only 5psi to spare. Ryan took a quick look and found a gravel induced hole that let the nitrogen out 🙁 Thank goodness for the TPMS, because a flat tire at 140 MPH is a really bad thing. I used the next session to clean-up the race line I had established in the morning and did some segment runs. My last test run was used to bed in a new set of rotors and a fresh set of Carbotech XP12 pads that Danny had provided the day before while visiting their new facility in Concord, NC (Nice place right next to LOWES Motor Speedway).
Marty and Marti (from VIP Garage) showed up just in time to take the car for its last test session. We got him in and ready to go just as some light showers hit. I figured no big deal he’s just going out for a familiarization run anyway. The car had worn tires, brand new brake pads and about six gallons of fuel, so not exactly setup to do much. Of course for those of you that know Marty, it should come as no surprise that a damp track, new brakes and worn slick tires means he’s about to have a lot of fun. From the vantage point on the rear tailgate of my pickup, Marti and I watched as he wound her up lap after lap getting faster and faster. Soon the front rotors were glowing and Danny’s new pads were doing their job. After a while Marty came back in, with glowing rotors, dust trails on the sides of all four tires and a gas light nearly as bright as the front rotors. Man that boy is crazy 🙂 We (really Ryan and Marti) spent the rainy evening preparing the cars for the early morning qualification session.
Saturday came and the weather had cleared and it looked to be a beautiful day for racing. Marty and I decided to qualify together trying to use the draft to our advantage. We’ve also learned that we run faster if we have someone to push us and Marty likes to be the rabbit anyway. We ran a few laps and came in to the hot pits, not too happy with the time we had put down. Marty said we should go out and give it another shot. I knew this meant we were in for a fun run 🙂 Out we go and do a slow lap to get the tires ready. We then shoot like a rocket down the front straight to trip the timing system and I follow Marty doing my best to keep the car on the track. Marty is trying to keep his on the track as well, but his worn out qualification tires made that near impossible. This didn’t seem to bother him as he rally drove from one sand pile to another, all of the time never letting up on the throttle. We made a run for the checkered flag and look down to the Traqmate to see we had shaved ~1.7 seconds off our time. That is what we were looking for. Ryan and Marti looked over the cars to find Marty’s tires completely corded (wornout) and my right rear tire had developed a blister that chunked a piece out, pretty much ending our thoughts of a second qualification before the race. Not a big deal as the second session is normally warmer and thus slower. After the second qualification was complete we got the timing sheets only to find out that they had counted Marty’s new fast time, but not mine? This was confusing as we ran bumper to bumper for the entire session. A quick trip to the timing and scoring tower and they realized they missed my last/fast lap when assembling the timing sheet. So with that all fixed the final grid for the race was shaping up.
Lunchtime came and went and we lined up in the false grid. My time placed me 8th with Charles (#24 GXP) right next to me in 7th and Marty directly behind me on the grid. Rather than bore you with words any longer, here are some in car videos from both Marty (#34) and my (#58) car to tell some of the story:
Start from Marty’s Car
Start from My Car
Marty’s car hit from behind
Finish from my car
So the story in a nutshell is that I jumped out in front of Charles at the start, Marty followed suit less than a lap later and then Charles apparently didn’t like that Marty was in front of him. So for some unknown reason he began pummelling his rear bumper no less than six times. In the end we finished Charles third, Marty battered and bruised but in second and I took the win and thus assumed the points lead and SE Division T2 Championship Title. Marty locked the NE Division only 3 points shy of a perfect season, so between the two of us we have the entire East coast covered 🙂
Thanks to everyone involved; the sponsors listed below, my team and our families as without the support of each and every one of them this wouldn’t have been possible!
Next up is the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs @ Heartland Park Topeka in Oct. Check back for updates!
Check the following pages via the site links at the top of the page for in-car video, more pictures and write-ups from previous races!