Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ohio Roundup

Hey Everyone,
I have finished my trip out at the Ohio Sports Car Course, an amazing facility in Columbus. Here is a quick recap of the events:
As David Arkin a San Francisco Region SCCA member as well as driving coach and I walked off the plane we got hit with a wave of unexpected. We turned the air conditioning on full blast and kept it that way for the hour drive to our hotel.
The next morning we drove to the course which was 20 minutes away through some wonderful hilly two lane roads. After arriving I found the APR tent and began talking to Josh Hurley about the racetrack. After chatting with Josh, Dave and I began wandering the racetrack looking at the turns watching for bumps and inconsistencies. After a while we wandered over to the hospitality tent and began checking in with everybody from Volkswagen.
Unfortunately a heavy downpour of rain that night made our meticulous inspection of the track somewhat irrelevant. We decided to use slick tires, which led to the most interesting session on track I have ever had. While we were on course we managed to drive in and out of impressive downpours. For half a lap you wouldn’t get a drop on your windscreen and as soon as you think it might be letting up a wall of water would just cover your windshield. Fortunately all drivers made it through the session intact even though there were some cars including mine sliding around. I was rather happy with my driving despite the rain.
The afternoon brought qualifying. I can’t say that it was my best qualifying effort. I was overemphasizing managing the tires and not overcooking them like most of us had in Utah. So I spent more time trying to find space rather than running laps and that is what led to a rather unimpressive 17th spot on the grid. Even though I never got a good lap in I just thought “heck with it. I will make it up in the race.”
Race day had a few surprises in store for me. The start was chaotic due to a mess up in procedure. So off the bat it was a bit of a mess and I was able to jump two spots in the first lap. The second lap found me right behind Jake Thomson and our guest driver Mark Gillis. Another lap and a half went by before I took turn 5 too early. My car became unstable and I lifted off 3 wheels and for a brief moment was only driving on the right front. My only thought was to get the car back down on all fours and acted impulsively. I turned back across the racetrack not realizing that I had dropped a wheel off when I settled the car back down. The rear right tire got hooked on the edge of the racetrack and caused my car to go into a slide and ended up shooting me a cross the racetrack and had me kiss the tire wall. It was a very unfortunate end to the race but I still took a lot from the weekend. I made great improvements in my breaking and realized that I need to work on making sure I never “follow” another car and just drive my own line to make sure mishaps like this don’t happen again. Next, I am off on to Chicago! Updates to come!


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