Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Faster, but Frustrating

The good news is it didn't rain. A few days before the 4/21 event, it looked like a soaker, but instead it was a truly nice day, with temps in the low 70's, just a few degrees below ideal for my car. My times were some of my best ever, and I set a record for "PAX SS". I out paxed a lot of people that usually beat me, and my season pax standings score was 92.5, which is also a new high. The other good news is Matt Neiman was at this race, and racing well. This time I had real solid competition.

Matt's car is a turbo, stroked, Miata that is prepared almost entirely to the class limit. Matt is also considered an instructor driver for the Renegade Miata club. I was quite surprised that I was beating him last year, and to hear him tell it his suspension settings were giving him issues all year. This year he seems to have sorted them out.

The bad news is he beat me by 0.309 seconds. The other bad news is I had cone troubles again. This time it was particularly frustrating because I had no idea where I was hitting the cone. It turns out I was just barely basing the same cone. In other words, I was running over the base, but not actually hitting the cone, which means it wasn't actually making a noise that I could hear, and therefore I had no idea what to do differently. 

The result was that on runs 3, and 5, I ran a time that should have been a significant improvement (we won't talk about the 6 cone debacle that was run 4). Repeatedly, the time slip I was handed looked good, and I started to celebrate only to hear later that I had actually hit a cone and I was in danger of coming in last. Finally I played a hunch and took a calculated risk on run 6, and peeked in my rear-mirror, knowing that I probably would loose time by doing so, and I managed to spy the offending cone.

The next run I hit a different cone, but I am sure I missed the one that had been plaguing me. On the 8th and final run I managed to repeat my last run heroics, and run my fastest time, clean. I found out from my co-driver David later, that I wiggled a cone, but wiggle is good, and based is bad! The difference is probably less than half an inch.

This is better than last year where I had a string of last runs that had an awesome time, but a cone penalty as well. However as PJ put it... I need to drive that fast on my first run. All I could say in response was: "Yes I do!"