Kent, Washington, USA
June 7 and 8
Seattle International Raceway, nee Pacific Raceways, is my home track. It's here that I learned to drive. I know every nook and crevice on the track; I know the fast way to hike from the pit to the back of the track, and I know that you can't eat a hot dog from the snack bar if you expect to race later that afternoon.
As a result, my expectations for myself were very high. I thought I'd be closer to the pace, and ready to be competitive--even if I landed at the end of the lead group, I wanted to be in the hunt.
Well, it didn't go quite so well. I had some decent qualifying runs, and enjoyed the day. But I was still about a second off from where I wanted to be. The car seems to be pushing too much, and I can't figure out how to correct it. I spent Saturday trying to find a good tire pressure to use as a baseline, and thought that I could get the car to handle better if I had the tire pressures set right.
Saturday was quite frustrating because of this issue. I didn't feel like I was making any progress.
On Sunday, Liz came by. I had a real crowd in the pits: Liz was there, Miki was helping out, and my friend Steve stopped by. A co-worker came in, and he brought his family, too; unfortunately, they appeared right before my race and I couldn't be helpful or entertaining.
The Group 5 race was an absolute zoo. Some of the front-runners really diced it up, and a car went into the wall very hard right in front of Liz. Unfortunately, that car was also a white BMW with multi-colored checkers on the back. Certainly, for at least a few minutes, Liz must have thought I stuffed it.
The steward called for a full-course yellow, and I made it around to show Liz that I was still running. The race proceeded on a full course yellow while the car that crashed was cleaned up, and then we raced for only a few more laps before the checkered flew.
During the race, I caught another driver who was in ITS class with me and passed him; that made me feel great. I was twisting off laps just shy of 1:46, right at 1:45.900. That was good, but I felt like I needed to be about 1.4 seconds faster.
Unfortunately, while I was really going for it and followed two cars into turn 3A just in time to see them veer to the right. That's a terrible line, and I couldn't figure out why they moved until it was too late--they move to avoid a cone that was right in the middle of the track. I took it on the chin without slowing, at just over 100 miles per hour. I was sure I damaged my car, and I did--the impact ripped the black chin spoiler off the bottom of my front bumper.
The race as great fun, and I had to come into the pits, get some water, and get back out. Group 6 follows Group 5, and then the schedule wraps around to Group 1 again.
It was starting to get hot, and I was very much dehydrated. I knew that I'd have to down a whole liter of water before going back out. I did, and got ready to go without a problem. The Group 1 race went well, and I didn't notice a change in handling without the air dam on the front of the car, which was a relief.