Saturday 19 April 2014

All American Holiday. Part 5: The Feature

In the feature I was determined to make something happen. It had been a trying evening but I had a car I could drive and had learnt enough about driving it to put this into effect. By this point I was bringing the throttle back on before I had finished braking. With my line and keeping the thing smooth, I was able to knock chunks out of my lap time and shut the gap down to the #55 car which was running third. Then the top class leaders arrive, so we hear through the ear piece; “88 and 55 the leaders are coming, don’t race them.” That’s fine, but I don’t know where they are. No mirrors, remember? The #55 is high in turn three when we get the call so I stay low and try to make sure that there is a car width between the #55 and myself at all times. Sure enough the gap is filled with three very fast cars. Then they are gone. Is that it? Can I resume my line now? The radio is quiet so I guess I just carry on racing until I am told otherwise. By this time, #55 has got away and I need to catch him up again.

The #55 seems to have a monumental push in it. However, the driver,  a very talented fellow named Don, is able to control the push and let it take him to the perimeter wall and straighten up without ever letting off the gas. To pass him I will have to be off line, which is naturally slower anyway. Passing him clean will be tricky.
I move my entry to turn one up the track a little with gives me a shallower, slower exit through two, but because the distance I travel is shorter, it might be enough to get next to him and then steal his line into three. I don’t need to pass him here, just get three quarters of the way up his door.  After a couple of goes, I’m nearly there and then the leaders are coming again.

The Yellow comes out for a spinner and this closes us back up to the #11 and #12. I pass the #11 high on the backstretch after the restart then the #12 washes up the hill in turn three and get to his inside. Then I am back on the #55 and this time I have the line.
It’s not enough to clear him and then the leaders are on us again. They split us down the middle and I am stuck down the bottom again. Then I accidentally let the #12 back through thinking it is in the lead pack. I was later told it was, but I will need to check the video again to confirm that.
Double bugger. (See the video here)

It was a fantastic race though. One of the best I have had. We meet in the pits for a Dr Pepper and much discussion on the race. I have had a good time, made some good friends and all I want now is to do it all over again.

But first I have to get back to my hotel. I try to pinch Greg’s phone to call a cab, but the gang have decided that one of the drivers can take me home. This would be fine if I knew where home was but, I am not very good with directions in places I live, much less places I don’t. We have a merry jaunt through the California countryside before we eventually find my hotel. I apologise for taking up most of his night with my incompetence but he is a total gentleman about it. One of many great guys I have met this evening that I will miss when I get home.

Click here for part 6

***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners.***

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