Portland International Raceway

Portland, Oregon, USA
September 20 and 21, 2003

The biggest race weekend of the year is at Thunderhill in California. I didn't go this year because I was driving my Porsche across the country. I left Seattle and drove to New York City. Liz flew out to meet me, and we did all the tourist stuff. I drove back and she flew back.

I guess I really like driving.

I'd only been home for about four days when I had to get ready to go to Portland. I didn't exactly have my mind on racing, so I forgot a few things--like the keys to the race car. Fortunately, I have an extra on the Jeep's key ring.

When I went out for my first practice session, I felt a sizable shake when I was braking hard. It was only then that I remembered that, at the last race, Miki suggested that I change the front rotors out because they were starting to crack from the heat a little.

Since I totally forgot that the brakes needed mainenance, I didn't even bring the spare rotors I had in the garage. I went across the street from the track to Baxter Auto Parts and was thrilled to find that they had rotors available at the warehouse. Their warehouse is at the other side of the track, so I wasn't away from the track for more than half an hour!

Best of all, the aftermarket parts were pretty cheap. Each rotor was $28.50, compared to more than $80 at the dealer.

Mark Cockle helped me switch the new rotors in and I went out for my qualifying sessions. I had absolutely no problem; the new rotors were great, and I set a pretty decent time.

The qualifying sessions on Saturday were pretty warm, and I had lots of fun. I was surprised to find that the other CP car, driven by Guy Selle, had outqualified me by a whopping 0.055 seconds. Yikes! I tlaked to Guy, and he said he'd had the car aligned for the first time since he started racing it. Since it handled much better, he was able to make a ton of progress.

During the Group 1 race, one of the other BMWs spun in Turn 10. Only a couple of laps later, a car in one of the GT classes caught fire and went off--also in Turn 10! With my scanner in the car, I could hear all the activity. The turn workers did an incredible job of taking car of the cars, the drivers, and the fire.

The ITS race was fun, too. I chased around a couple of other cars and stayed ahead of the rest of the ITS field, though the regular leaders still stayed ahead of me by a couple of seconds.

But the ITS race was last in the day, and I didn't get the car onto the trailer before it got dark. It's tough being so tired and setting up the trailer, but that chore is even harder in the dark. Yikes!

I didn't get home until 1130pm, but I was very happy with my good results.