Wedge Racing in 2014

Sebring - January (MAJORS)      

The trip down was nice - a bit WET since it rained almost all the way, but otherwise just fine.  We arrived Wed evening after registration closed, but were able to sign the waiver at the gate and get inside for the night. Allan was testing his new Speedsport/Citation bodywork on Thursday, so we went down early to help him. Well.. there was that one little thing... As we pulled into our chosen paddock spot, my TPMS alarm went off - and pointed towards the rr trailer tire as being low.  The was no need to worry about in the rain. Although the first session was wet and Allan came in after only a couple of laps, he had a pretty good day and felt the changes he had made to accommodate the Silver Bullet bodywork worked very well.  In between sessions, I checked out that trailer tire and found a NAIL in it and patched it.  If I had not had the TPMS, I would likely have not noticed it was low and ... presumably would have lost it on the return trip .. causing no telling how much damage.  Once again, the TPMS saved me.  That makes 3 or 4 times so far.  I also touched up a couple of details on Bullet for Friday qualifying. 

We would be grouped with FC as well as FF and F5 this event so over the winter, I decided I was going to "take some action" to try to improve my odds of being safe in these horribly unsafe class groupings by changing to some MUCH larger mirrors.

Big-ASS mirrors  Mirrors - about 3 times larger!

It certainly didn't help my 'aero', but hopefully, it would give me a better shot at actually SEEING the faster cars in my mirrors before they dove inside me.

We had rain again overnight and Friday qualifying started wet, but drying.  It was also COLD COLD with much wind.  The temps were record setting for Sebring - I think the high was in the low 40's and the wind chill was well into the 30's.  That's pretty cold for Sebring, Florida! We were the last group and so had a completely dry track by our time.  Unfortunately, my right side mirror came "unglued" and tilted down on the first lap so that it was almost useless.  In order to see ANYTHING, I had to reach across with my left arm and hold it - NOT something that is conducive to fast lap times.  It was VERY scary since I was totally blind on that side at turn-in on every right hand turn (most of them).  The worst was the 'flat out' turn at the end of the back straight.  I was doing around 110 MPH there and SHOULD be within a foot of the concrete wall as I apexed.  With consideration of the possible ramifications of an FC or FF diving inside of me at that turn,  I just decided to leave enough room on the inside for an overtaking car at every turn and make sure the rest of the car was OK.  It seemed the car was good, though I didn't run with any other vees. We ended up qualifying 2nd behind Lisa (Noble - acting President and CEO of SCCA).  After the session we set about adding some support to those huge mirrors.  Good buddy, Tip Franklin, came down from Lakeland to crew for me, so we "engineered" some safety wire bracing to fight the wind load and vibration.  If you look closely, you can see the wires from the mirrors back to the windshield. I should mention that it's REALLY nice to have someone occasionally work on the car with me.  It puts "fresh eyes" on the car and Tip pointed out several "issues" that, although I was AWARE of them.. I had been ignoring or putting off for one reason or another.  I really should take care of those things and Tip's reminders will give me some 'impetus' to do it.

In the second session, the mirrors worked MUCH better and I could drive into the turns knowing that no one was closing rapidly on me.  It was quite a joy to actually be able to SEE an FC or FF *BEFORE* they got to me - the mirrors did their job.  With the comfort of rear vision, I was able to put together some good laps and ended up with the pole .. almost a full second under the lap record (which I held from the 2011 event).  Seems the gain of KNOWING outweighed the aero drag from those mirrors happy.

At the end of the day, Duke and Faye Waldrop had a small get together at their paddock and the entire vee field and crew crammed ourselves into their toyhauler, while his car had to sit out in the freezing cold weather.  It was nice enjoyable conversation and some good food and 'Red Wine & Brew' wine.  On test day, Duke had transmission problems on his new Protoform, but fortunately, still has not sold his older Predator. He lives close enough that he had been able to go retrieve his old car for the weekend.

Saturday morning started again overcast with a damp track.  It affected the first couple of races, but was completely dry by our time. The clouds broke up here and there, but it was still pretty cold - and cooling off even more by the end of the day at our grid time.  Since we had 2 F5's qualified slower than my pole time,  I convinced the Chief Steward to let the Vee field start last so that we would not have to deal with them blasting by us on the start.  What I didn't count on, was that the F5 field decided to do the same thing.... so we ended up with THREE groups of cars .. to take the same green.. or so I thought.  No one said anything, so the first we knew of it was on the grid.  On the pace lap, the F5's opened up a gap to the last FF and we wanted a little gap to them.  It was clear that the green would be thrown well before it came into our view on the front straight.  I decided to just hold pace until we could actually SEE the green flag.  It seemed to work OK and I got a decent jump on Lisa and took the lead into T1.  The car felt great and coming onto the back straight, I had enough of a lead that they were not in my draft.  I gradually pulled away and was never headed.  I DID, however, start to have some braking issues about 3/4 through the race.  The car just seemed to suddenly NOT want to stop.  I had enough time in hand to 'deal' with it and still have an easy win - but something that needed attention before tomorrow's race.  Somewhere during that race (before the brakes went south) I clicked off a NEW LAP RECORD of 2:36.866 - just a tic slower than my qualifying time, but still almost a second faster than my previous lap record here. The time was, no doubt, aided by the cool temps since we generally race in 80+ degrees at this track.  Lisa finished 2nd and Russell 3rd with a pretty big gap to 4th place.

Saturday night, Central Florida Region had a "big feed" for everyone, so we went up and gorged ourselves on some really good BBQ, potato salad and slaw.. Oh.. and some COOKIES and CAKE too happy.  A bunch of people also won prizes from drawings, but OUR table came up empty.

On Sunday, Tip and I spent most of the day working on my brake problem.  At lunch time, Tip and Linda went to take a few laps during track touring in his freshly built COBRA - a beautiful car with WONDERFUL sound from the side pipes.  I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't.  It looks a LOT like this one though

Single Roll Bar Chromed AC Shelby Cobra Replica  Pass. Or Drivers Side

except without the racing stripe ... and Tip's is PRETTIER.  I had to stay and work on the brakes sad. I found the inside of the rf drum was severely 'heat checked'.
   Note the dark heat spots on the inner surface.
I guess this drum has lived it's useful life.  I carry a spare and installed it, only to find that it was VERY NOISY. It sounded like there was no grease on the bearings. After several off/on iterations, I realized the races on the bearings were bad, so I swapped the bearings/races from the old drum into the new one .. same problem.  I inspected everything 20 times .. still a problem.  It would seem fine until I tightened the spindle nut. Then I realized that I could simply PUSH on the drum to make the noise.  After comparing the old and new drums 20 MORE times, I finally saw a tiny sliver of 'shine' on the outside of the inner bearing race casting - I mean TINY .. like 0.002 inches.  After finding that, I inspected the backing plate area again and FOUND the culprit - that part of the drum was hitting the backing plate mounting bolt heads.  I ground the heads off a bit, but still it was dragging.  I had to grind off the outside of the casting to get the clearance needed.  There was some tenth of an inch difference between the O.D. of the casting between the 2 drums!  WOW .. all that took about 4 hours to work through.  Reassemble everything and readjust the brakes and I'm finally done.  Still over 30 minutes before race time.

Suddenly, I remember .. the engine was backfiring quite badly near the end of the race.  I'll bet one of the exhaust headers is cracked again (not the first time this has happened).  I cranked the engine and checked for leaks.  Sure enough, a significant leak around #2 at the head flange.  (This is the pipe that took most of the impact when I hit the concrete at Atlanta last year).
   Crack is out of view on the opposite side of the pipe - right at the flange.
Remove the pipe and .. YEP .. it's cracked.. about half way around.  Geeesh.... time is short.  Get out the welder and connect everything.  Clean the pipe; Tip holds it for me and I patch the break.  Took about 20 minutes to get it done.  Back on the car and quick check.  Almost grid time.. get in the suit!

On the grid - same deal as yesterday - three groups of cars.  We'll be a little better prepared for the start today. As we come through T16 towards 17, the green comes out for the FC/FF group (Linda tells me on the radio).  I maintain pace and note that OUR GROUP is still seeing double yellows.  Russell (Fredericks) "didn't get that message" and took off as soon as his crew guys told him the green was out. As soon as he went by,  I decided we MUST be racing despite the fact that the corner worker was "vigorously holding" the double yellows and kinda 'pointing' it at Russell.. by this time we're on the front straight and the green comes out.  I tuck back up inside Russell and beat him to T1, with Lisa on my tail.  We get through the first sequence of turns and Russell makes a small mistake and drops back.  I gradually pull away from Lisa as Russell reels her back in. The gap is now widening and I'm alone.  Car feels great and Lisa and Russell are fighting with each other.  2 more laps and I'm still pulling away. Uh..Oh.. FULL COURSE YELLOW.  FF in the wall at T1.  2 laps under FCY and I've lost my lead.  Lisa and Russell are on my tail again.  This time I'm READY at the green... GREEN GREEN and I have a couple car lengths into T1.  As we come into T7, Lisa dives inside me and takes the lead.  I follow around through T15 and take the lead back on the straight with Russell in tow.  I hold them off going into T16/17, then Lisa makes another move on Russell and .. I'm GONE again.  Pulling away while they fight.  5 more laps and I'm controlling the race (in vee, anyway).  The brakes are getting worse again.  I guess my 'fix' wasn't enough.  I'm controlling the gap and I'm OK... !CRAP!  FCY again - this time another FF in the wall at T17.  3 more laps under the yellows.  Linda is keeping me advised of the time and it's clear we are going to be checkered on TIME rather than laps.  Another restart with only a couple of laps to go.  This one will be the MOST important one.  Lisa's behind me this time, with Russell behind her.  GREEN GREEN again... I take off into T1 and do a terrible job this time.. but keep the lead.  Lisa slips in T4 and I get through T7 clean.  BRAKES.. BRAKES! careful!  Control the CAR!  I'm ahead .. but just so..  do good!  Nice T10 - now a great 13/14/15 onto the back straight.  Make it count!  I DO and keep the lead onto the front straight.  THIS time I hit T1 almost perfect (as perfect as it gets, anyway) and I'm GONE again.  Good gap and let Lisa and Russell fight it out for 2nd. The next lap, CHECKER and I seal my 2nd win of 2014.  This time Russell is 2nd and Lisa is 3rd. 

After weigh in, we had a victory podium for Sunday races. 

  Russell Frederick, me, and Lisa Noble
Thanks to Tim Gilvin (Hoosier Tires) for the pic.

We get our champagne and I opt to NOT spray it.. expecting all to do the same.  Lisa looks at me with 'an eye' as she pops her cork and Russell follows suit.  Speaking of suits.. MINE is getting quite WET with champagne.  They couldn't beat me on track today, but they can drown me on the podium .  I can handle it.  Good laps today again - not quite up to yesterday, but VERY close to the previous track record times. Still have brake issues and the engine was backfiring again near the end, so that pipe must be cracked again... and I'd like to improve the mirror supports.  Got some things to look at before the next race.

The trip home was MOSTLY uneventful.. except for the temperature steadily dropping from low 80's as we left down to mid 20's by the time we got home... BRRRR! A bit of excitement woke me from driving concentration in BIG WINDS as we were coming by Perry on I75.  It SOUNDED like we were suddenly scraping along a concrete wall on the right side.  I almost jumped out of my skin.  It only lasted a few seconds .. maybe 5 or 6.  Then suddenly it was QUIET and I saw 'something' floating away in the right side mirror.  Linda finally realized that the skin, or most of it, from the entry door was GONE.  Apparently, the leading edge broke free somehow and got caught in that 60+ MPH wind (PLUS the 25-30 MPH gusts that we experienced a good part of the way home) and ripped it right off - with multiple slams into the side of the rig before it finally departed.  We stopped to check the damage and I taped the leading edge with duct tape and we continued on home.  It's going to be an interesting repair as I'm sure I'm not going to want to pay for a NEW door (~$1500-$2000?) - a skin graft of some sort is in order happy.

  MAN - is that UGLY or what! ?

I hope I can come up with a fix for this before our next trip.  I THINK that next trip is going to be to New Orleans.  There is a new track down there, NOLA Motorsports Park, that I'd like to try.  The timing is right - a month away.

NOLA - Yep.. we went!

  An additional circuit is planned to mirror below the existing track.
That's a Kart track at the top right. The paddock area is the large paved area just right of center. Track length is 2.75 miles.

But.. before I get started, I'd like you to see the results of the patchwork on the RV door.  I searched around and the best I could do for a replacement was $SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS$ - AND it was even older than ours ('93) and the wrong color .. and faded... and somewhat beat up.  I don't think so.  So... what was the alternative.  A trip to Home Depot and some frp paneling.. just happened to almost perfectly match the color of the original door.  A few 10's of hours of work and a new window later and 'voila'!   Here we are.

Actually looks better than it did before the 'rip off'! happy

I also decided to downsize my mirrors a bit and strengthen the side of the bodywork at the mirror mount.  With that done, the mirrors are acceptable without the wire braces we used at Sebring.  The only issue now is the right mirror blocks a significant portion of video from my camera.  I think I'm going to craft my own mirror mounts when I have time (and maybe mirrors too!).

Now... on to business.  The tow down was pretty decent, but quite 'strange'.  We were headed for warmer climes (it was ~40 degrees when we left Danielsville) but ... some 12 road hours later... it was 36 degrees .. and raining... and windy... in New Orleans. WOW... the chill factor was down in the low 20's and precipitation was falling. Sometimes rain.. some times SLEET with occasional snow floating around here and there.  Thankfully, we did NOT intend to test, so we huddled in the RV between FV sessions and tried to keep warm.  This was Thursday and we could only hope that Friday would be better.

The weather stayed COLD but the rain stopped sometime during the night - the track was still damp, but 'trackable'.  So I donned a couple layers of clothing beneath my suit and shivered in the car until track time.  The session went pretty well. I took it really easy - damp and **COLD** track - certainly NO desire to duplicate my feat at Atlanta last year. Still at the end, I was just over 2 seconds faster than any other vees.  Lisa was registered, but was unable to make it due to 10+ inches of snow in mid Kansas.

Q2 was nice and dry on track, but a real need to stay on the paved parts.  The grass everywhere was WET and there were puddles of water and mud all around - especially at a couple of turns where cars had gone off in previous sessions.  I stayed pretty much on the black part and ended the session with the pole by a bit over a second.  Bullet was feeling great and I was starting to get a handle on the track. It's a decent layout and has a couple of PRETTY TRICKY turns that are difficult to figure out and one that is downright DANGEROUS!  At the 'top' of the track (far left in pic above) the mid point 'peak' of that triple apex sweeper, there is a SERIOUS BUMP right at the apex.  I'm guessing it must be at least 3 inches deep and close to 6 feet wide - at a VERY high speed, high sideload point.  It really upsets the car, making it almost impossible to control the car at track-out.  Running off involves traversing some pretty serious ripple strips and hitting the grass at something over 100 MPH.  Then there's NOTHING between me and the far chain link fence some 100 yards away.  It's pretty scary.  I expect it will drop lap times by most of a second if they fix that 'hole' at some point.

No rain overnight and the temperature came up about 6 degrees for Q3 on Saturday morning.  We're still on the same tires - saving the better ones for the races.  (I'm rotating 3 sets of tires for Sebring and here.)  Although warmer, the session was pretty bad.  Several cars went off and no good times were set .. at least in FV.  I think everyone came in safely .. with the only TERROR coming at that 'bump turn' when an FF spun in front of me - stopping broadside in the track out ripple strip.  He was not visible until I was committed to the turn and flat out - when he came into view .. about 4 car lengths in front of me.  All I could do was "let it go" and straighten out the turn ... off into the grass at speed.  I had camera trouble most of the weekend, but I DO have video of the incident - you can see it HERE at regular speed and HERE in slowmo.  It might not SEEM that close now, but believe me .. it WAS at the time! There was also this minor little BROKEN PART as a result..

Floor of the nose... (There's SUPPOSED to be more in the lower left corner...) ..just more PARTS ... sad

RACE 1 - I retained the pole, but the NOLA grid people *FORGOT* to send out a splitter - the person that tells us which side we are on - inside or outside.  It's no real issue for the first couple of rows, but after that it can get quite confusing.  We managed.. I PICKED a side early and 'displayed' it to Charlie and the rest fell in line.  At the green, I thought I had a pretty good start, but apparently not.  Charlie got the inside line to T1 and Sherman tried to follow him .. leaving me 2 options - pile into the side of him or go off track.  I chose off track, but managed to make it gentle enough (all the way OUTSIDE of the bump strips) to not hurt the car.  I was surprised at how "not bad" the grass was at that point - I figured it would be a quagmire, but I tracked through it reasonably well and got back on just before the bump strips at T2... and I ONLY lost 3 spots - now in 4th.  I got back by for 3rd at T4 and set my sights on Sherman.

I managed to catch up to Sherman by the end of that lap and took 2nd just about the start stand - Charlie was already quite a ways in front - headed into T1 with me 1/4 mile behind.  It took me four laps to reel him in and get in position to pass.  On that same lap, 2 vees got together in T1 (behind us) and brought out the pace car FCY.  We poked around for 3 laps while they cleared the cars - that took a bit over 10 minutes of our 30 minute race.  We'd be restarting with about 10 minutes left.  With FF and F5 cars in front of us, Charlie got the jump on the restart and pulled away again, though not as far this time.  By the end of that lap I had closed right up on Charlie and I was able to get by on the front straight.  At the end of that lap, Charlie returned the favor and reclaimed the lead.  At that point, I decided to just stay CLOSE and wait for the last lap. 2 more laps and it's TIME.  I took the lead into T1 ... Charlie got me back coming out of T4 with an outside pass and a "little bump" to slam the door at T5.  I stayed right on his butt and got inside him at T7 (that high speed 'bump turn'), but backed out when Charlie slammed the door again - we had a bit of side to side tire contact, but not too bad .. we both kept our foot in it .. as I plotted my next (and last) opportunity.  I set up as best I could for the T13 braking area.  Charlie moved over to an inside line to block, but I faked an outside move and then dove back inside at the last instant and SAVED it - barely holding onto the car and keeping  position - holding the line around 14, then 15/16 and onto the front straight.  Charlie did all he could to get a better exit onto the front straight, but i protected my momentum well enough that I was able to hold it to the flag!!  Win Number One!!  I also set the lap record during those laps when I was running Charlie down at the beginning of the race!  3 for 3 so far - a pretty decent start to the season. Unfortunately, we lost 2 cars from Saturday - Mike Rogers had a broken rear suspension from T13 contact in the morning warmup and Jim Doyle ended up with a separated shoulder from the incident that caused the FCY in the race.  Sadly, the "other car" in Jim's incident was Duke Waldrop - damaging his car beyond repair for the weekend. Duke was forced to his 'backup car' - his Vintage FV from 'yesteryear'. With that he could not be competitive, but he could get a FINISH for the weekend at least.

RACE 2 - With the lap record fast time from Race 1, I again started on the pole for Race 2 - this time with a splitter and again, it didn't do me much good. I THOUGHT I had a good start, but maybe not. This time we were a bit close to the carnage in front - an FF spun in front of EVERYONE as Charlie dove inside with Sherman close behind.  Thankfully, the FF spun to the inside out of the way and I stayed on track this time and managed to hold off Sherman - staying in touch with Charlie. I gradually closed on him till we got to T13 where we ran up on a slow FF. Charlie braked more than normal .. a *LOT* more and I was in the *STOP! STOP! STOP!* mode and I had to DODGE to miss hitting Charlie in the back .. pretty hard.  I gathered it up and managed to keep on track only losing a few car lengths. Charlie did his best to put distance on me around that last turn, but the FF wasn't giving any ground and held him up enough that I was able to get by going into T1.  I gained enough ground that I SHOULD have been able to break the draft on that lap, but the FF that had spun on lap 1 caught me going into T9 - slowing me enough that Charlie got back into the draft.  That turned out to be doubly bad for me since he was able to eclipse my NEW lap record by < 0.1 secs being in my draft the entire lap.  I really hate that, but on the following lap, I broke the draft and drove off into a boring win. Charlie had an engine problem on lap 9 that ended his race, but I had already built up an 8+ second lead by that time. I reminded myself that I had no reason to take ANY chances to throw away the win, so I played around with some different lines (for the future) to keep myself occupied and Bullet under control.  The car was flawless and my driving was "acceptable" to earn another win.  Win number two for NOLA .. now 4 for 4 on the season.  It remains a pretty good start for the 2014 season.

The tow home was uneventful and we pulled into the drive at about 12:30a Monday morning.  A few things to look at and change before the next race (Atlanta), but there's plenty of time.

I didn't get any pictures during the event, but I do have this one from Wednesday morning following the return home.
Linda on sled in SNOW!  Linda, Wedge Racing Crew Chief, takes a run down the drive on her seldom used SLED!

We got about 4 inches of snow in 3 hours before it turned to icy sleet/rain.

Road Atlanta (#1) - March - MAJORS weekend

I can't believe I'm having to write this up AGAIN!! at wits' endat wits' endSomehow, I managed to OVERWRITE my write up that I did on my laptop when moving it to this computer for upload to the website. Did I mention at wits' endat wits' endat wits' end! ??

ANYWAY.... Road Atlanta was a pretty sucky weekend again this year.  Bullet was decent, but the driver and engine suffered badly. I qualified on the pole on Friday, but fell to 2nd (by 0.005 secs) when I opted to just scrub tires on Saturday morning.  In the race, we had a 5 car pack for the lead, then Mitch fell off pace followed by Donnie who broke his sway bar and went to the pits. That left a 3 car group for the win .. until I seized a bearing and coasted to the side.  That left Jonathan and Laura to fight it out for the win.  Mitch Ferguson and Charlie Rogers battled to see which would stand on the last podium spot.  It came down to the LAST lap in both cases.  Jonathan passed Laura for the lead going into T10A, but Laura forced him DEEP into the turn and pulled the 'over/under' trick as he went TOO deep and she repassed into T10B, leading to the Checker for the win.  Laura also managed to break Donnie's lap record during the race - nice job, Laura, in only her 3rd race in FV.  Charlie seemed to have a big enough lead for 3rd, but Mitch was able to outbrake him into T10A and held it to the checker to finish off the podium.

With her new lap record, Laura took the pole for the Sunday race, dropping me to 3rd.  As we waited on the false grid for the 5 minute warning, the sky started to drizzle moisture.  It got steadily worse until we were on the pace lap .. when it finally started to really RAIN, though not hard.  The first 'start' was waved off - most cars were on slicks, including all but one Vee and one FF.  Next time around we got the green and the vees started passing the FF and F5 cars like mad.  Mitch took the lead, with Donnie and I in tow as we weaved through the slower cars with their WIDE slicks, the narrow vee tires fairing much better on the wet track. On the back straight, I took the lead into T10 and held it all the way around to T5 when I performed a quick loop/recovery while Donnie blew past.  I got going again without much ado and took off after Donnie.  He had about 5 seconds on me and I was still decently in front of 3rd.   I started to gradually reel Donnie in ... until I blew it in T5 again.  I got up on the paint at track out - lost it - caught it - lost it - caught it - and then finally REVERSE lost it - this time for good.  I spun off driver's right and gritted my teeth waiting for the inevitable ... CRASH ... into the concrete wall (yes.. AGAIN sad). Bullet ended up with the 2 front wheels on the outside edge of the track and I could not get restarted. I could see WHEELS in my mirror, but couldn't tell how bad the damage might be.  I sat there for an eternity - unable to see any workers and hearing race cars come into the turn and bracing myself for impact each time.  Finally, it got quiet and I unbuckled and jumped out as fast as I could - it was NOT a good place to be sitting.  A quick glance told me the car would probably roll and I started to roll Bullet backwards just as a worker showed up to help.  Together we got Bullet away from the track and against the wall and scrambled over the wall to wait.  With Bullet clear of the track, the race continued and Donnie locked up the win ... and I "finished" LAST.

Back in the paddock, I made workable repairs so that I could get the car in the trailer ... as the sun came out.  Interesting that the only rain of the day started on our grid and stopped about 2 laps before the end of the race.  Anyway, rear suspension damage, busted axle tube, bent wheel and probably brake drum.  It should only take a day or so to fix it before VIR.  I also need to get the 'bad' engine up to Rollin for a post mortem and repair.

VIR (Virginia International Raceway)- April - MAJORS event
After looking things over, Rollin decided that the oil pump was worn too much - reducing the oil pressure too much when things got hot.  It worked fine for the 1st 4 races, but when temps rose at Atlanta, we passed all safety margins. New pump installed and hopefully, no more trouble.  Reinstalled the fixed engine for VIR to test it out. Another thing happened between races. My custom painted new HELMET finally arrived.  Fresh from the facilities of Indocil Art, courtesy of BF Goodrich and Bell Helmets!  I won this in the drawing during the Runoffs and it's just now finally gotten to ME.  

I think I LIKE IT! happyhappy .  I hope Bullet likes it too.

The weekend started out poorly when I took the driver's side mirror off the motorhome backing it out from under the awning.  Disaster loomed as I had no time to order a new one and it would be way dangerous to try to drive without that mirror.  After a bit of searching, marine JB Weld to the rescue.  Fortunately, no damage to the RV itself - just the mounting arm and a crack in the mirror surface from when it hit the gravel.  Overnight curing under a hastily created 'press' of sorts provided us with a temporary fix that would hopefully last the trip.  Although we had a SCARE when the mirror started to tilt due to my failure to adequately tighten the adjustment screws, it survived!

The weekend went pretty well, with me taking the pole on Friday afternoon by something around 0.5 secs.  VIR has new pavement and I was over 2 seconds under the old lap record with 2 other cars also under.  We had a decent field with Donnie, Laura, Jonathan and Mitch making the trip as well as a few other new englanders joining the fray.

Saturday morning we awoke to RAIN... and we were group 2. Group1 (SRF) took the green just after the rain stopped and the track started to dry .. or rather get "less wet".  It was a pretty 'iffy' call at the end of their race, but the forecast was 'no more rain', so pretty much everyone started on slicks - at least all the Vees did.  The first few laps would be interesting.  At the green, I got a great start and led into T1 with Jonathan hot on my heels.  On the next trip into T1, Jonathan took the lead and proceeded to run right off the outside of T1.  I saw Donnie lose it at T2 and Mitch tucked in behind me as we set off.  3 laps later, it was just the 2 of us - pulling away from 3rd.  Mitch and I swapped the lead a couple of times, but basically concentrated on keeping it a 2 car race.  Near the end, with the track drying more every lap, I could see Laura coming through T10 as we were coming out of T12, but that's as close as anyone got.  Linda gave me the 'one lap to go' call and I started contemplating how to deal with Mitch on my tail.  I was happy to see him make the pass into T1 and I followed him around and set up for the last lap pass.  Coming onto the front straight, I got a good run and completed my pass with plenty of room.. only to see the '1 to go' sign at S/F rather than the checker. Hmmm... guess I'm stuck in the lead again.  Mitch followed this time to try the same move on me.  I got a good run down the hill and onto the front straight and was able to hold him off at the line.. winning by about 1/2 car length.  Win #1 in the books .... and the engine running strong.  The track reset all lap records due to the repaving and Donnie grabbed it, though he was almost 1/2 lap back at the finish.

Sunday's race was nice and dry.  I got another great start and was able to get to T1 in time to weave my way through a mess of spinning cars as a couple of F5's and FF's apparently had contact ahead of us.  I got through clean and got a significant break - big enough that I THOUGHT I might be able to hold it till the end ... however, the other guys had a different plan.  By the 3rd lap, they had run me down and freight-trained me going into T1, reducing me to 5th in the blink of an eye. The lead changed most every lap after that - five cars after the prize. Laura dropped off and then Mitch spun going into Oak Tree, leaving Donnie, Jonathan and myself at the front. Then, with about 5 laps remaining, 2 cars went off on the front straight and control scrambled 2 wreckers from the south paddock and they drove down the back straight to the top of Hog Pen as we approached.  Donnie was leading at the time and managed to get by the wreckers before the turn - trapping J and I behind them.  We did our best to get by quickly, but those things are BIG and there was just no way.  By the time we cleared them, Donnie had a HUGE lead.  Jonathan and I worked together to run him down and we CLOSED some, but not nearly enough. Donnie put together some really good laps and left the 2 of us to fight it out for 2nd.  I tried to set J up for the last lap pass that I had used on Mitch, but I came up a good bit short as he nailed the last turn onto the front straight to hold onto 2nd and I finished off the podium in 3rd.  On the good side, I did set the new lap record (2:15.593), eclipsing Donnie's previous record by just over 1 second.  My qualifying time was more than a second faster, so the record will likely change hands again next year.

The RV mirror held for the trip home and Bullet is in good shape for the next race - which looks to be Mid Ohio on July 4 weekend.  That is a 'Pro Type' race and will be FV ONLY on track - no interference from F5 or FF in that event.  Wish us luck!

I'm skipping the next 2 Eastern Conference races in order to conserve my $MONEY$ for a possible trip to California in October for the Runoffs.  Laguna Seca has been on my bucket list for several years, so it's a trip I'll make if I can manage it.  I won't be winning the Conference again this year.  Although I'm still leading the National Points, that probably won't last long either since some of the Divisions have barely started their seasons, while mine is already mostly done.
New Jersey Motorsports Park - June - MAJORS event - skipping this event
Watkins Glen - July - MAJORS event - skipping this event
Mid Ohio - July 4th - Fun "Pro type" race - no points
This turned out to be a GREAT weekend.  29 vees on the grid and NOTHING ELSE!!  No worries about faster class cars magically APPEARING in front of you as you go deep into a turn.  WHAT a joy to race with only "my own kind" again happyhappyhappyhappy.

The tow up was nice - we spent the night in a rest area .. all went well until a 'reefer' pulled up beside us at 4am... so much for sleep after that.  We finished the drive and arrived at the track about 2PM on Thursday.  Linda and I needed to be there early so we could set up for registration.  This was a 'private' event and registration was the purview of each car group - we designated ourselves as USFV1200.  At one time we had 32 cars signed up - we lost 2 before we left home for various reasons; then, unfortunately, Rick Shields lost a motor in the second session and we were down to 29 for the weekend.  Still, FV was the largest class present at this "all open wheel" weekend - held in conjunction with the Formula Race Promotions (FRP) Pro Series for Atlantic, F1600 and F2000 classes.  They were joined this weekend by DUFFUS (club FF group), the F600 Championship Series and USFV1200.

There was room on the asphalt when we got there, but I didn't like the massively UNlevel available spots, so we opted for the GRASS and that put us in a good spot where we could easily be found by people for registration.  

 Shortly after we got set up, Terry Abbott and his gang showed up with a transmission that I had bought.  They transported it from Michigan for me. Thanks, Terry.

I had ordered some new brake shoes to be delivered at the track and that was first on my list.  As I was reassembling the LR brake drum, Linda commented that the drum appeared to be BENT.  I looked and, sure enough, it was wobbling more than it should.  A quick swap with another spare drum showed, however, that it was the AXLE that was bent instead at wits' end.  I have to wonder how and when that axle got bent.  I've had no 'incidents' since the wall contact at Atlanta in the rain.. I have to assume it happened then and I just didn't notice it - I did have to replace the drum though - guess I'm getting OLD.  We obviously ran the entire VIR weekend with it that way.  At any rate, that added another 90 minutes or so to the 'brake job' and it took close to 3 hours total with me having to continually stop to go register people .. but we got it done.

The next morning would be the first time I'd been on this track in 9 years, but there were several that had NEVER been here before.  A session to be AWARE of, for sure.

  29 Vees lined up on the grid.

Unfortunately, Donnie Isley and Laura Hayes BOTH had serious engine issues right out of the grid.  Laura was blowing SMOKE so bad that it blocked the view down the back straight as she was headed up the hill out of T1.  Add to that, Donnie blew off an oil hose and dumped his entire sump of oil all around the track before he realized his problem.  I was VERY lucky as a car spun in front of me in the keyhole, and then rolled back across the track directly into my path as I dodged.  I managed to miss him, but we were black flagged for the oil and sat in the pits until the session was over while they cleaned the track.  So.... we all got to see exactly ONE lap.  Guess it was better than nothing happy.

The second session - also just a practice - was MUCH better.  Donnie got his oil line fixed and was OK, but Laura still had smoking trouble and pulled off after one lap again.  Rick Shields pulled off with 'engine noise' that eventually saw him head for home since his backup motor was already in the shop.  After much consternation and consideration of options, Laura decided to rent my spare motor for the weekend, so she set about the task of swapping them while I traveled around to each paddock spot to see if anyone else needed help getting 'fixed'. Alhought Dave Satterley had 'issues', he and his crew seemed to have things well in hand and otherwise everyone seemed to be pretty happy.  I had brake balance issues, but worked with the in-cockpit adjustment - changing it every lap - getting closer and closer.

Saturday morning opened up with cool, cloudy skies, but no rain in the forecast.  It should be a good track and good temps for engines.  The session went without incident and my engine in Laura's car performed admirably as she qualified 11th in only her first real session on track.  Nice work on a difficult track with lots of blind turns.  Bullet ran well and I was able to finally get the brake bias pretty close to "right" as I put Bullet on the outside pole beside youngster Brandon Abbott.

Our first race was right after lunch and was AMAZING!  It was SUCH a joy to run in a Vee ONLY race for a change.  In recent years, the only event that ever allowed such was the Runoffs - and even then we had to qualify with other classes.  Driving into corners was SO much more fun when I didn't have to worry about some "other class" car diving inside me at the last red hot second and taking my apex away from me.  Cars were there, yes .. but they were Vees and I could anticipate what they would do .. and I KNEW they were there. 

We started out with a 7 car lead pack.. that quickly dropped to 6, and then 5.  The five - me, Gary Blanarik, Brandon Abbott, Tyler Hunter and Andrew Abbott strung out a bit now and again, but seemed to always bunch back up until the last 3 or so laps.  Andrew dropped back leaving the 4 to fight it out.Gary was leading with 3 laps to go when I took the lead into Madness.  After completing that lap, I began to wonder when Gary would take the lead back.  When he didn't, I started to worry.. here I was .. a sitting duck .. with Gary on my butt waiting to make that last lap pass for the win.  Coming under the waving white LAST LAP flag, I could see 3 cars ahead that we were coming up to lap.. If I timed it JUST RIGHT, I might get a draft and be able to hold Gary off.  Coming out of the keyhole, it looked pretty good for me... halfway down the back straight I caught and passed the first car and tagged on behind the second .. hoping to clear the 3rd one before T4.  The 3rd car moved wide for us and I was able to get a good line into T4 while Tyler and Brandon were both making runs on Gary.  I got a great turn-in and kept a bit of distance on them.  Coming in to Thunder Valley, I could see Gary closing in my draft and he got CLOSE, but was not able to attempt a pass into the Carousel... I was in the LEAD for the inaugural WIN of the FIRST ever USFV1200 race!!  (I'm sure we'll be able to look that up some day on google happy ).  Behind me were Gary, Tyler (top 3 covered by < 2 secs!) and ANDREW Abbott - as Brandon's engine started to seize in Thunder Valley on the last lap.  He kicked it into neutral and was able to take the checker in pit lane and still finish fifth ..right behind his brother.  I'm not aware of any car to car contact and ALL but 2 cars finished the race.  Dan Grace and Dave Satterley had engine problems after a few laps, but both should be back in business for tomorrow.

With the nice weather we finally took a moment to take a pic of me with Bullet and my new helmet...


USFV1200 put on a Pizza Fest hosted at the Abbott's paddock spot (in case of rain).  The food and bench racing was great and we discussed the possibility of similar future events.  Everyone seemed to be quite enthused about the weekend.

Sunday morning turned out to be more cloudy than expected with rain threatening .. but not falling.  Our qualifying session came off without incident and since we counted only times from THIS session for Race 2, I ended up 3rd on the grid, with Gary on the pole and Brandon on the outside pole.  Tyler Hunter was beside me and Laura moved up to 5th - another great job for someone that had never run this track before yesterday.  The times on the grid were CONSIDERABLY tighter than Saturday's times.  Drivers that had never, or seldom raced here were getting "in the groove" - good racing ahead.

We had a few sprinkles .. that almost became rain during the F2000 qualifying session, but basically everyone had some dry qualifying laps and all races were dry - the weatherman treated us pretty good this weekend.

In Race 2 we had that same 7 car lead pack for a lap or 2 - then down to 6, then 5 again.  Andrew held onto the pack this time, but most of the race was led by Gary.  Tyler took his turn at the front and I even stuck my nose up there a couple of times.. for pretty short duration.  As the race came to a close, Gary got a bit of a break and left Tyler, Brandon and I to fight for 2nd.  I got Tyler for 2nd with one lap to go and held the position going into braking at T4 on the last lap... I thought I could hold him off.. going DEEP and holding the inside .. however, HE had other ideas and somehow managed to brake even DEEPER than I and still stay on the track, taking the position.  I had one more shot at the end of Thunder Valley and got really CLOSE alongside him, but not really close ENOUGH to take the shot.  So... Gary, Tyler, Me, Brandon and then Andrew in the top five.  Top 3 covered by < 3 secs. Unfortunately, on the cool off lap, I heard a terrible noise going down the back straight and finally realized it was MY ENGINE.  I shut it off and coasted to almost the end of Thunder Valley where I got a flat tow back to my paddock spot.  After pondering the sound a bit, I felt I had heard it before ... yeah... a SPARK PLUG blowing out.  I checked and, sure enough, the #1 plug was sitting on top of the cylinder head.  However, if it's going to happen, it sure was nice that it happened AFTER the checker rather than BEFORE.

I set up a web page for results and pictures from the event HERE.

Some really great racing and Bullet was working great all weekend.  I made some minor suspension changes after VIR and believe Bullet is BACK where he belongs in the handling category.  We also got to visit with some old friends we made in the area when the Runoffs were at Mid Ohio.  Gerry Ruihley, Ron Smith, Jim & Cindy Lozier as well as former Crew Chief Jerry Zeger all came by - it was great to see everyone.  After loading Bullet into the trailer, we waited around for an extra hour or so to allow Laura time to pull my engine out.  We would stop by Rollin's on the way home to 'submit' it for rebuild and get home after a quite successful weekend. 

Next up is Summit Point.  I think I'll change to the newly acquired gearbox to verify it (it has different gearing from my other transmissions).  Otherwise, we should be in pretty good shape except for sourcing another spare axle and a few other odds and ends .. oh .. and fix the spark plug issue. (I have repaired the 'blown' plug, but also discovered a second one "just about ready" to blow out...  I was pretty lucky.)

Continuing thanks to Rollin at Butler Engines, JR at Roxannes Headers, Rodney and Bruce at Hoosier Tires and Dietmar at QuixoteRacing and, of course, my Crew Chief, Linda - without whom I probably would NOT have caught the bent axle and would have had another "less than stellar" racing weekend.

As a side note .. we have pretty much decided to NOT make the trip to Laguna Seca for the Runoffs.  It is just TOO FAR, TOO TIME CONSUMING, and TOO EXPENSIVE to justify spending 3 weeks and untold $$$$ for less than 2 hours of track time.  I really hate to break my string of 17 consecutive Runoffs appearances, but that's just the way it is .. unless something dramatic happens that changes my mind .. again ....

Summit Point - August - MAJORS event -
The weekend started out like any other.  A decent tow up, found a place to paddock and watched some cars doing the test day.  The next morning, however, my plans would CHANGE!

In the first session, I elected to go out on old tires - it was just a practice session, after all.  On the 3rd 'at speed' lap, Bullet executed a snap spin at a very high speed point on the track and I hit the tire wall HARD! The damage was significant - tearing the entire left hand rear suspension off the car and tossing it FAR into the grassy field some 50 yards or so in front of me.  Here are some pix of the aftermath...

The entire LR wheel/axle/axle tube/shock assembly ripped right out of the transaxle housing, crumpled aluminum bodywork
between ramps. Main body doesn't look to back from this side .. other side is MUCH MUCH worse (see below).

Remnants of broken axle, crushed exhaust header, broken valve cover.
Yes .. that was the axle I JUST replaced at Mid Ohio at wits' end!!

Destroyed end of (a VERY expensive) shock. At
least the basic shock itself was not damaged.

Bodywork after several hours of patching .. the best I could manage at the track.

Pile of DEAD parts on garage floor (this is NOT all of them)

Linda and I worked until almost midnight, and with the loan of a shock from Jonathan Weisheit and my backup exhaust system, we pasted and glued Bullet back together.  We made the morning qualifier and I opted for NEW TIRES this time, but was still quite timid ... especially at T4, but we made it.  I had made the decision on Friday afternoon to have a replacement shock end sent overnight to get MY shock back in operation. Jonathan's just didn't fit correctly as it was about 2 inches too long.  As I was going over Bullet again after Saturday's qualifying session, I noticed a CRACK in the end of Jonathan's shock mount. It was VERY fortunate that I noticed it - the crack was almost half way through and it was HIGHLY likely to fail in the next on-track session.  I was prepared to miss the race, but happily, the part for my shock arrived about an hour before grid time and we were able to get it back in place on Bullet in time for the race - though without any time to spare.  The "alignment" consisted of me taking 5 or 6 steps back and LOOKING .. and saying "close enough" happy.

Needless to say, I was CAREFUL as the race unfolded.  This was just a 'test session' for me at this point.  No sense in getting crazy and crashing again. We gridded 6th and finished 6th after dropping to 9th on the start.  It took me quite a while to work up to speed and get back to 6th.  Bullet was still feeling 'not up to par', but was running and racing.

After our race, we finally had some time to check alignment and .. to my astonishment, found it to be nearly PERFECT .. (I say "nearly") - not far off enough to cause major concern.  NOW the question was with engine and transmission - both took significant impacts in the crash and I spent more time going over everything I could think of.  Checked for broken head studs, checked and adjusted the valve train and went back over the entire car again looking for broken or loose parts.  Nothing of significance found.  There would be no separate qualifying for the Sunday race, so with my relatively slow times from today's race, I would again be gridded 6th.

I was a bit more aggressive on the start this time and only lost one place - I wasn't likely to "have anything" for the leaders, so it just made good sense to stay away from stupid decisions - of course it ALWAYS makes sense to do that.. but often they step in anyway sad ... but NOT this time... really! .. ?? Anyway.. I felt the car out and it DID seem a little better and I picked up the pace.  I passed 2 cars and was making ground on the next group in front of me when .. well.. what can I say.. I spun just AFTER T4 this time.  Fortunately, I only spun around and off the track without hitting anything .. but I lost 3 places .. the last of which was Dale Rader who had spun off on lap 1.  Back on the track again .. now some 10 seconds or so back from Dale, I tried to settle in and start DRIVING again.  Dale was catching the next pack of 2 (that I was previously in front of) and worked his way through them as I closed on all of them.  Bullet was finally feeling pretty good with some minor adjustments I made prior to the race and I was able to work my way through that same 2 again.  Dale had 'set sail' in front of them and I was faced with another good sized gap to him.  I worked hard to keep my head on straight - drive the way I should and gradually closed the gap - turning my best laps of the weekend in the process.  Still something over a second/lap off of the leaders, but certainly progress from where I had been.  I caught and passed Dale, but he almost immediately passed me back.  We swapped 5th position 3 or 4 times before I decided to just follow till the last lap.  We were not making any ground on the leaders and had pulled a good sized gap behind us - now it was just all about 5th position between us.  Linda counted down the laps for me and we got the ONE LAP TO GO sign from S/F .. and I made the pass into T1.  I was confident that I could hold off Dale at the line .. but I was wrong.  I guess I was just too cautious at T10 on the last lap and he got a good run on me to take 5th at the line by about a half car length.  So .. another 6th and 6th race, but Bullet was now almost competitive with my best lap almost 2 full seconds faster than Saturday's and my average lap right at 1.5 seconds faster.  The next race is Barber NEXT weekend.  WHAT can I do to get back where I should be ??
Barber Speedfest (aka FF45th Anniversary) Major - August - REDEMPTION
The 4 days home between Summit and Barber were totally dedicated to going over Bullet again and, mostly, trying to improve the bodywork and repair the exhaust system.
While I worked, I racked my brain for an explanation for the slow times at Summit (about 1 second/lap slower than last year), but I found nothing.  I was able to improve the aero of the bodywork a good bit although I didn't expect it to have much impact on lap times... at least it wasn't QUITE as ugly as it was at Summit. As I usually do in this sort of situation. I try to think of the problem INTENSELY at bedtime... hoping that some magical ANSWER will come to me as I sleep.  It actually WORKS quite often ... as it apparently did this time. I woke up Friday morning with a new thought.  I had not checked the TIMING on the engine.  There was no reason it should be off... but it should be checked to be sure.  Naturally, after I thought of it, I proceeded to FORGET it as I loaded the car and equipment for the trip.  However, I DID remember it on the drive over to Barber and I DID even remember it after we arrived ..and I DID find that it was NOT where it should be.  Still, I was thinking it might be WAY off - but it was only 3 or 4 degrees .. still ... maybe??

Saturday morning practice I decided to run those same ole tires that I started with at Summit. [ I'm GOING to overcome this 'situation' ... one way or another! ].  The times would not count for qualifying, but would give me an indicator of how Bullet was running.  I held the track record here, so I had something to shoot for.  I brought the tires up slowly and then went after it.  Bullet felt GREAT and I was amazed to find myself running times BELOW my track record! Of course, times are generally faster in the morning before the track heats up.  I had been under my lap record quite a number of times .. it was just difficult to turn those times during the races when lap records are set - usually MUCH hotter and often wet or raining.

I ran the same tires for the qualifier just after lunch and again amazed myself by grabbing the pole with another time well under my lap record.  Of the 12 cars in the field, I had by far the most experience at this track, but 3 time National FV Champ, Steve Oseth, was closing rapidly - qualifying about a second behind me in only his 2nd session on the track. Laura was 3rd with Charlie Rogers in 4th and Donnie 5th.  F500 was the last qualifying group and then SpecRaceAtom would have their race before lunch.  About halfway through the SRA race, the skies opened up with a raging wind and thunderstorm that stopped the race.  The lightning was too much and the workers needed to be pulled in from the corner stations.  The SRA race was "flagged" since it was over half way.

The rain continued for about 30 minutes and then stopped.  Clouds looming and a couple of small sprinkles, but no more rain.  The first race after lunch was the FF group and they all started on rain tires - the track still covered with puddles. By the time their race was over, the track was JUST beginning to dry out and there were spots of dry track, though still several streams of water running across the track in various places.  Vee was up next and everyone was WONDERING .. wets or drys?  I finally opted for slicks .. with much trepidation, but it appeared evident that wets would not survive the entire race.  When I arrived on the grid, I found ALL cars on slicks save one.  He might end up being the lucky guesser.

At the start, Laura actually crossed the S/F line first, but I was not far back.  We were 3 wide at the turn in for T1 and I held on, coming out in front.  I managed to keep Bullet on the track and started to pull a gap from Laura in second.  As I eased away, I saw Laura, Donnie and Steve Oseth taking turns in the pack behind me.  I built up quite a lead .. some 6 or 7 seconds and the gap was getting bigger when the rain started to show up on my shield again.  JUST when the track was getting good .. it started going the other way.  With no one in front to "lead the way", I had to feel my own way around as the rain picked up slowly.  Not MUCH, but ENOUGH .. the track began to get wetter and more slippery with every lap.  I had to back off and could now see that Donnie had broken away from the pack and was closing on me.  I fought with myself .. HOW fast can I go WITHOUT making a mistake?  Using me as a 'guide' Donnie closed the gap till he was right behind me.  We ran 2 more laps and he made a couple of pass attempts, but the track was quite a bit worse off line and passing was dangerous.  LAST LAP... all I have to do is hold him off ONE MORE LAP!  around T2 to the hairpin - out and off to the corkscrew. Still leading... on toward the chicane and then the backstraight .... over the roller coaster .. only 2 turns left... I have to make a good T16 and 17 so he can't get me on the straight.  I set up for 16 and suddenly DONNIE is on my inside.. YAAAAHH! ... I try to counter as he ALMOST slides off the track... but doesn't and swoops back across in front of me ... It's over.  He's got the line into the last turn and I can't catch him.. but Charlie is now ON MY BUTT and trying to pass.... I use Donnie's draft and manage to hold onto 2nd at the line - less than 0.1 secs ahead of Charlie.  THAT was close.  I HATE losing that win, but not NEARLY as much as I would hate spinning off and damaging Bullet again.

We had a great party that night with Hayward Wagner (new SCCA head of "Experiential Programs" mc'ing and Lisa Noble (Pres and CEO of SCCA) giving a talk and an intro to Josef Newgarden who came from testing in California to compete in Sunday's FF race. Josef began his racing career in FF cars and would start from the BACK of the field in the car driven to Saturday's wet win by Franklin Futrelle.  Josef DID make his way to the front and took the checker first in his race on Sunday - much to the joy of Honda Performance Development (HPD) who brought the car and made the arrangements.

The weather was HOT and cloudy on Sunday, but NOT raining and the track was DRY.  With no fast times from Saturday's race, our grid would be the same - with me again on the pole.  I was determined to do a better job today .. but still NOT CRASH happy.  At the start, I again grabbed the lead into T1 and started to pull away from the pack - but THIS TIME, I kept my eye on the ball and the track stayed dry.  I pulled out to about a 10 second lead and then decided I had 'enough' - there were LOTS of laps left to be run - we were about 10 laps into a 21 lap race and I would have to run them all since there were no 'faster class cars' on track with us.  Linda was giving me the gap to second place every lap and I was holding pace.  Steve Oseth finally broke away from that pack and started closing on me.  When he got to 5 seconds back and there were still 4 laps left, I figured I better 'get on the stick' again, so I opened the gap back up to about 7 seconds in the next 2 laps then cruised to the win.. about 5 seconds ahead at the checker.  A few pix of the 'after race' festivities, courtesy of Andrew Pinkerton's face book pages.

I get the checker for a victory lap with Laura and Charlie in the background.

I felt like spraying some champagne this time.  Everybody else ran from the spray.
No.. really.. I was NOT the only one there .. really !! They're JUST out of the picture ...REALLY!

SEE... Here are at least SOME of the other people around.  9 cars here .. Sherman Engler, Matt Guzowski, and Donnie Isley missing from pic.

A GREAT weekend for Bullet and me ... especially after the disaster at Summit Point.  Much relief about the car and driver. We didn't vie for the Eastern Conference (EC) Championship this year - opting instead to travel out of conference for NOLA and this Barber Race as well as skipping 2 of the eastern conference weekends (NJMP and WGI). Amazingly, we STILL ended up in second place in the EC - tied in Wins with Jonathan Weisheit, the Winner for 2014.  *AND*, if I figured points correctly, it looks like we'll also finish TIED FOR SECOND in the Nationwide FV Majors Championship - just 4 points behind first.  A pretty good season EXCEPT for the 2 crashes - a LOT of time and money was lost in those crashes sad.  14 races, 8 poles, 7 wins, 1 DNF.  I think of what COULD have been... as well as what WAS happy

On another note, we have just gotten the word that FV will be a 'Featured' race at the American Road Race of Champions (ARRC) the first weekend in November.  We hope this race will pull at least as many cars as the Mid Ohio race since it will be another opportunity to run an FV ONLY race.  We could consider this the "FV East Coast Runoffs" since relatively few people are opting for the LONG HAUL to California for this year's Official SCCA Runoffs.

2014 Runoffs  - Laguna Seca (Mazda Speedway), CA - NOT going to make the trip this year.  TOO far .. TOO much time away from home.. TOO much money for TOO little track time.

Thanks as always to Rollin at, JR at Roxannes Headers - Exhaust components for FV and other racing sports cars and ... Rodney, Tim and Bruce at Hoosier tires ( and Dietmar at  Quixote Racing - FV and FST parts and service.  Not to forget my wife, Linda, who travels with me to almost every race, and suffers me the joy of racing for all these years!

Regular Season team stats (EC races in yellow)

Race     Qualified Finished Points
Sebring MAJOR#1 1st 1st 25  mixed classes with FC
Sebring MAJOR#2 1st 1st 25  
NOLA MAJOR#1 1st 1st 25 Out of conference
NOLA MAJOR#2 1st 1st 25 Out of conference
Atlanta MAJOR#1 2nd 6th 15 bearing failure 
Atlanta MAJOR#2 3rd 7th   crash in rain
VIR MAJOR #1 1st 1st 25  
VIR MAJOR #2 1st 3rd 18  
USFV1200 #1 2nd 1st - Vee Only Racing
USFV1200 #2 3rd 3rd - Vee Only Racing
Summit Point MAJOR #1 6th  6th  15  
Summit Point MAJOR #2 6th  6th  15  
Barber Speedfest Major #1
Vee ONLY racing 
1st  2nd  21 damp track
led all laps but the last one 
Barber Speedfest Major #2 
Vee ONLY racing
1st  1st  25 led ALL laps 
Season Total    Eastern/Nationwide 138/171 count best 7 races


Runoffs/Divisional Finishes for the Wedge Racing Team

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