Like I said last week, I’m going to start taking this a little more seriously. I’m not going to build my life around it or anything but I am going to get laps in and run races. That is the only way I’m going to get better and be a better driver. It will help in the real world as well and I know that real race drivers use this service to practice and at least learn new tracks.
So off to SPA in the Mazda. What an awesomely fast track. I learned it pretty quickly and was able to run a pretty decent pace (so I thought). I was 3rd in practice but qualified all the way in the back of the pack since I did not have a clean lap on my qualifying. Anyway, with all the first turn shenanigans, I quickly made may way to 11th. Was a little farther up at some points but pretty much stayed in the 11/12 position battling the guy behind me. He was slightly faster at turn 1 and on one of the turns in the back part of the course but I was faster the rest of the way. Unfortunately, he would get around me and I would have to catch up and re-pass him. While battling one time I got a really good run off turn 1 trying to stay in front of him but I ended up losing the car in the chicane (The famous one) and slamming into the wall ending my race. That’s twice in the series that I’ve done that! I still finished in 14th, gained irating and SR. Go figure…..
I had time to run this race again also, it’s amazing how much better I get with some practice. I ran the full ½ hour of practice for this race and had the 6th fastest time in my group. There were 30+ registered so I thought that it was pretty good. Then qualifying came and I ended up at the12 car and in 7th position. Up in the front with a crazy 1st turn. As expected, everyone dives into the turn like there are no other cars there and there are wrecks and bumping all over the place. I manage to make it through the turn only to be pit maneuvered by someone coming back on the track. This put me all the way in last place. No worries though because that saved me from getting into the wreck that ensued on the fast switchback! This put me back up to 10th because that wreck took out a lot of drivers. At this point it was just a matter of hanging onto the car. There were more wrecks in the front and I ended up fighting my way to a 4th place finish. This track is very condusive to off tracks so I lost some SR but gained lots of Irating.
Spa Again! The Spec Racer Ford was running at SPA. I did not get as much practice in this car at this track but the car is slower so the crazy turn was not as bad. With the low speeds of this car, exits are extremely important to get as much momentum on the straights as possible. In practice I was running 3 minute laps and by race time I was running in the 2:58 range. Qualifying did not go so well and I could not get a clean lap in so I started in the back. It seems that I would be able to keep up with the pack but for the mistakes that I made. I had made my way up to 6th when I spun in the chicane coming off the main straight. This relegated me to last position playing catch up. I was only able to gain the 2 positions back because of a wreck that took the two cars in front of me out. I ended up finishing in 7th position with a lot of incident points for offtrack (attempting to get as much speed as possible) and a couple of spins. Practice, practice, practice. That is what I need!
So, my schedule worked out so that I could run the Spec Racer Ford again this week. I was running great practice laps, or so I thought, and was happy that my lap times were about 2 seconds a lap faster than the last time I ran this race. Now I go into qualifying all confident and pow! The fastest guy in the room puts down a 2:52! Oh well, I still put down a 2:55 to qualify 5th. The race starts and the beginning is always hair raising. Everyone trying to get to the front before the leaders pull away. I can understand but I just try and stay out of the way and stay out of trouble through the first couple of turns. Everyone is dive bombing and taking unnatural lines through the turns, going off track and spinning out. Well eventually it happened to me, I was falling back due to the chaos and someone going crazy behind me hits me going into the quick left hander right before the long sweeping left. This spins me out and puts me in the back. Now it’s time to play catch up but I end up pushing a little too hard and loosing time. There was a little bit of racing with the 7th place guy for a while but I was pushing too hard and ended up spinning into the wall on that same turn and pretty much taking me out of the race. The car was still capable of running laps so that is what I did, I ran laps and tried not to get disqualified. I ended up finishing 8th……
Holy Moly! Who knew that Talladega was so crazy! This week the Nascar National Series that I am running was at Talladega! This track is fast and with the draft is absolutely crazy. I ran the full practice session leading up to the race to get a feel for the track and how the draft works. I ended up towards the end of practice teaming up with someone and going pretty fast around. He wasn’t in the race with me though and my iracing application crashed so I missed qualifying. This put me in the back, which I would have been anyway, but you never know. The first lap might have went well, but by the second lap I was in 7th because of a huge wreck that I was able to scoot through with minor damage. This was cool but I lost the draft and was lapping the track alone and slow. This may have been a blessing in disguise since because of the leaders crashing, I ended up moving all the way up to 3rd to finish the race. Not bad for my first run at this track!