After some debate on whether or not I was even going to run in week 13, I’ve decided to run the Mazda Week 13 cup in preparation for Season 3 where I will try and finish in the top 20 overall, like that will happen, but if you don’t try it definitely won’t.
So the first race was at Lime Rock Park and I got about 5 minutes of practice in before the race. I then went into qualifying and managed to qualify in 6th as the 15 car. Not too bad. I rode around in 5th for most of the race but was keeping up with 3rd and 4th as they were battling. With about 3 laps to go, we ran up on a big wreck and there were cars in the middle of the track. We all took evasive maneuvers and managed to get through and I took advantage and passed them both. One of them was able to get back around me but I was right on his tail and was possibly going to pass him for second place, but then my phone rang and it was my wife. I lost concentration but managed to hang onto 3rd. I’ll take it!
Next race was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. I am pretty good at this track since I have a lot of practice on it. I believe I even won a Spec Race Ford race here. I hoped in the practice session with about 15 minutes left before the race to regain my familiarity with it. I entered the race as the 3 car and qualified in 5th. I am always nervous at the start, especially in these cars, because of the craziness that sometimes ensues, but the beginning of the race went well for me and I followed the 7 car around the track for about a lap. I then made my move to get around him and was successful. That put me in 4th. Then I was putting pressure on the 3rd place car and he made a mistake and I was able to get around him, then the same thing happened to the 2 car after I was right on his bumper for 2 laps. There just was not enough time to catch the leader….
3rd race of the week was the Okayama Circuit running the full course. I can run pretty decent laps at this facility but I don’t really like it because of all the dive bombing that occurs. I practiced for about 10 minutes and went into qualifying. I was the 9 car in the 2nd split, I am really moving up in the splits running the Mazda! Anyway, I qualified 9th as the 9 car so right where expected. At the start the 1 car, directly in front of me, did not go at the green and I had to pull maneuvers to try and get around him so I would not lose too many positions. He managed to get going and stay besides me all the way to the long sweeper that leads onto the back stretch. This is where I was dive bombed and got turned. I managed to get straightened out again but lost a few positions. The race went on and I managed to get my spots back and finish 8th. I was closing in on 7th but I ran out of time. Just relax and drive. I do so much better that way.
4th race of the week was Summit Point, and it was another good race for me. I jumped into practice with about 10 minutes left and had the top position in that practice session. I then qualified on the pole! That made me a little nervous and I tried to calm myself down by telling myself to just drive. That is precisely what I did. This course has that long front stretch and I fell back to 5th by getting drafted upon and loosing the inside line. However, I was able to claw my way back up to 2nd. I don’t know if I had enough for the first place guy but I did shave almost 1/2 second off his lead in the last lap. It just wasn’t enough for the win. Oh well, another 2nd place finish is good for me!
The Phoenix road course was next on the list and I remember that I’ve done pretty well here in the past. Unfortunately I had forgotten how to take that first long, slowing sweeper and my lap times suffered for it. After 15 minutes or so of practice, I jumped into the race. I was the 16 car out of 18 and ended up qualifying in the 15th position. Oh darn! I must be in a pretty high split, if not the top split! The race went well and due to some accidents and well planned racing, I was able to work my way up through the field a little and pull off a 10th place finish!
Next up, Summit point again only it was the Jefferson circuit. I jumped into this race with no practice what so ever! But I did run about 20 laps last night to try and get my lap times down and get familiar with the track. There were 90+ participants signed up for this race and I think I was in an upper split because I was the 15 car. Unfortunately, I qualified as the 16 car so I would have to make my way up through the field. The race was clean but passing was difficult on the small track. I managed to make my way up to 12th due to some cars crashing. I guess I’ll have to take it. Running in the upper splits is much harder than the lower ones!
Last race of the week! It was at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, I was the 13 car and qualified 11th after running about 15 minutes of practice. This is a pretty good track for me if I can just keep calm and run my race. That is precisely what I did, I stayed calm and ran my race and made my way up to 6th position at the finish. I was closing on 4th and 5th but I just did not have enough time to reel them in. I run pretty good in the Mazda and hopefully will do pretty good in the next season coming up.
So, I managed to run all 7 races for the Mazda in Week 13! This was pretty good, more than I can usually muster, and I finished 20th in my division which was 6. For the overall I ended up 337, oh well, I guess that is a prediction on where I will finish in the Mazda Cup next season.