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MARRS 5 ITA Race

Old 07-01-2009, 03:13 PM
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Default MARRS 5 ITA Race

Thought I would share this since it was a pretty sweet battle for the entire race with a lot of 2-wide and 3-wide action!

For your viewing pleasure:
Pace Lap

Here is the video:

MARRS 5 ITA Race

Despite a tasty bowl of Cheerios for breakfast, the weekend got off to a little bit of a rough start for me. I intended to run a light fuel load for the first qualifying session, but I misjudged and went a bit “too” light. On the first lap out, the car fuel starved in the hard right hander turn 6, so almost immediately I had to dive into the pits. My ace crew man “LightningD” Dave Martin ran came sprinting back from the start/finish tower to help fuel the car and get me back on the track. My loving girlfriend Shannon nearly fell over laughing when she saw us scrambling at the gas pump.
No major disaster to take us out of the first session; just a minor lapse in brain power. I got maybe 2 and a half laps in during qualifying, running a 1:28.4 which wasn’t too terribly bad for cold tires and dealing with traffic. That was strong enough to place us 3rd on the grid for the Saturday afternoon race behind the Casa De Amigos Honda CRX of John Burkhard and polesitter Marc Cefalo’s Planet Miata Mazda. We spent a little while diagnosing a steering issue, but we were able to come up with a repair in time for the Saturday afternoon race.

During the Saturday afternoon race, we got a great push from “Crazy” Joe Diminno on the start, using his Kessler Engineering Nissan SR20 power to his advantage. The leader Cefalo checked up just a hair which bunched the first few rows a little more tightly than we had space for. Crazy Joe ended up brushing my bumper, I got a little sideways but we all drove out of there relatively unscathed.
I set off into a high-speed game of chess with Marc’s Miata, as a slow SpecRX7 start had us catching the tail end of their field in roughly 2 laps. Slicing and dicing through traffic, we battled back and forth going side-by-side through many of Summit’s 10 turns. Unfortunately one of the backmarker SpecRX7s decided to let Marc through and actively block my Integra for 4-5 turns. By the time I finally clawed past, the Planet Miata car was nothing but a green dot on the horizon 4 seconds ahead. With one lap to go I had no chance of catching up, so we had to settle for 2nd place points in the afternoon race.
All in all, not a bad result, we learned a little bit about how to take turn 10 faster from our competitors, and identified some weaknesses in our handling setup that we could try to address to strengthen in anticipation of Sunday’s battle.

For Sunday’s race, I’d start 3rd again. Dave Martin and I spent a good portion of Saturday evening discussing strategies, while I came up with some setup changes for the car. The qualifying order for Sunday’s race is determined by the fastest overall lap from both sessions on Saturday. Once again I’d be starting behind John Burkhard’s Honda CRX and Marc Cefalo would once again lead the field down to the green flag.
Lest anyone worry the race would bore them to sleep, the pace lap alone should have served as a solid caffeine jolt delivered directly to the heart of each of the spectators in the stands. I’m not exactly sure what was going on between the two members of the front row with both of them squeezing and leaning on each other during the pace lap, but it seemed a little strange and humorous as the race hadn’t started yet. To add to the excitement, rain started sprinkling down every once in a while to add an additional element of unpredictability to an already tricky track surface at Summit Point which had significant marbles off line due to the pavement deterioration.

When the green flag dropped, the front of the field charged toward Turn 1 with no change in the order. Everyone in the field did a great job coping with the changing conditions and the tight spaces we had to work with since nobody was able to break away on the start. Eventually Marc Cefalo, John Burkhard and I were able to get a little breathing room from the field but that didn’t last long as we started to come up on backmarker SpecRX7s again. Marc shot to the outside of Turn 10 to go around a few of them, and ended up sliding off into the grass at over 80mph. He wrestled the car back on but lost spots to John Burkhard and me. After that, things held steady for a little bit as I didn’t have the pace to reel in Burkhard yet.

I was a little worried that maybe Burkhard had eaten some Wheaties for breakfast that morning which were providing him an edge over my Cheerios but I was able to remind myself to just hang on for a few laps. My car was set up to work very well late in the race, so I knew I needed to be patient, deal with the difficult handling in the early going and let the race come to my Integra. Once the car's handling woke up, I was able to catch and get by Burkhard’s CRX with Cefalo’s green-and-blue Miata looming ominously in the rearview mirror. I got a slight margin on the CRX at which point Cefalo launched his attack. Side-by-side, dicing through traffic we traded the lead back and forth. He could get out of Turn 10 a little better, but some of our setup changes were working well to mitigate the damage and minimize his advantage as we went down the front straightaway. At one point while dicing in traffic I slid a little wide into the marbles in Turn 3 and went off through the outside gravel trap where I tore my exhaust system loose at the last race, but once I brought it back onto the pavement, everything seemed to be intact despite the wild ride through the gravel and dirt. Eventually I found that our braking ability in the changing conditions was very similar to that of the Miata and if I could slow him up just a touch in Turn 1 and 2, I could force him into a mano-a-mano drag race toward Turn 3 where our Hondaworks powerplant gave my Integra the extra muscle we needed to win that fight consistently. The Planet Miata would not be denied though, as it managed to slice by us by going 3-wide with my Integra and a backmarker through the confines of Turn 5.

I didn’t think 3 cars could fit through there, but we all gave each other a car width and an inch, just enough to keep from trading paint. I also didn’t think you could have two cars running at the ragged edge through Turn 4 at over 100mph, but again… with enough courtesy and judgement, we made it through with no exchange of paint or bodywork. Luck smiled on us with the checkered flag falling at just the right time with Marc’s Miata alongside my rear fender for a photo finish. Finally! The first victory lap for the Creative Grafix Integra. Huge thanks to Dave Martin for trekking up 5 hours away to help out over the weekend, and to my girlfriend Shannon who helped me many times in the garage getting ready for this weekend and calming my often neurotic self in the days before. Kudos to our competitor Marc Cefalo for not using his front bumper to move us out of the way when he had a number of opportunities to do so.

Denise Schefer managed to snap this photo of the 3-wide in Turn 5 action:
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Extremely exciting race. Great job out there Chris.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Is it just me or is that kind of a sketchy place to stand?
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Chris.

You're bad fucking ass.


But you knew that.


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Old 07-01-2009, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Originally Posted by Tarzan Bakerada View Post
Is it just me or is that kind of a sketchy place to stand?
there's actually a berm in front of him. it's like an illusion.

EDIT: i think, it's one hell of an illusion if there is a berm.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Yet, I've seen a CMC car jump that burm...so technically its still a stupid place to stand.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Glad you enjoyed!

Yeah, I don't know if he's on the berm or not but it sure looks like all the dirt has been worn away directly on a path toward the photographer so... that might not be where I'd stand!
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

is this a scca event ?
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

Originally Posted by JETSWU87 View Post
is this a scca event ?
Yeps.
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: MARRS 5 ITA Race

I don't know you, but I like what you do.
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