Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally Some Success

The test and tune was awesome. I felt like I really had learned some things about my car, and the next day was Points Event #4. The previous event had been somewhat of a disappointment, because despite the good weather, and all my days of driver school, my times were almost as bad as the first day I ever drove an event. I did feel like I had gone faster, but my faster run was dirty. This event was my 5th ever, and it would be hard to remain up beat if I had another day like the last one.

This day started off MUCH better than the previous event. I got there on time. I got my wheels on and numbers taped before the course opened. I got in 4 course walks instead of just one. I felt a lot better about my knowledge of the course and my mood was much more relaxed after the drivers meeting. I didn't have to scramble to get to my work assignment either.

My work assignment was a mixed blessing. I did the Audit Sheets and ran the control radio. The plus side is you don't have to walk all the way out to some far corner of the course to get there, and you don't have to spend 90+ minutes baking in the sun, shaging cones and trying to stay hydrated. The down side is you don't get to watch people on course. The other down side is it can be a bit stressful.... The first heat however went relatively smoothly. More about that stress thing later.

My first run was a 65.843. It was a time that seemed to be about as good as my best time at the last event, or maybe only a slight improvement. Not something to cheer about, but a nice safety net... The next run was dirty and slower. I had a brain fart and forgot to accelerate at one point. The third run... I did hit the accelerator, but then messed up the breaking point on the next turn and spun... I was still sitting in my safety net time. But hopefully there would be 3 or 4 more runs in the afternoon to give it a better shot.

Then came the second heat, again running the audit sheets in the truck. Unfortunately, we had computer problems and for a while we thought we were going to loose all the data from the first 3 runs, and half of the 4th run. That would have been a disaster. As it was there was a huge delay while we found a way to make a back up through the anouncer's client, and wrote down the times thus far for the current run (these were still visible on the anouncer client). After that, we had to reboot everything and when we loaded the data... it was corrupted. Luckily, the backup made from the Anouncer client was clean however, and so eventually we got things running. The bad news was the event wasn't going to have time left for 6 runs, let alone the 7 we had been hoping for... only 2 afternoon runs.

So what turned out to be a good event at the start wound up having a reduced number of runs. This event also featured a large number of drivers who were gearing up for two larger events, one at Finger Lakes, and one in DC. The level of competition for this one I suspect was higher than any other so far. Russ for example switched over to his new hoosiers for the afternoon...

But the good news is I laid down a good clean run on my first afternoon run. A 63.944 was good enough to ensure 3rd place and put me within 0.2 seconds of 2nd place. The final run felt like it was going even faster until I over did it slightly and had to save a spin in the back super wide tripple cone offset slalom thingy... But even so I still beat my morning times, with a 64.763, but I retained 3rd place (finishing 0.4 out of 2nd). I also finished MUCH higher in both the raw and pax time standings than any other race so far. I was faster that 39% of drivers in raw time and faster than 25% of drivers after PAX adjustment. Thats a huge improvement over 12% and 8% the previous week. Makes for a much prettier picture....

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