Friday the 13th!
I’m not all that superstitious, but still, Friday the 13th is Friday the 13th.
Expert GTP was first up for the day, so again it was total chaos as we re-tested everything in final practice, tried to avoid wrecking our cars, ground tires (and more tires, and more tires) and got our race cars ready. I knew from practice we had good cars and would be strong in the race if track conditions remained constant. Jay Kisling had been running some crazy times in practice, and with this being a track he races on regularly I was expecting to be following him around.
The semi finals were pretty un-eventful for both Brian and I, both of us making the main, with Brian, I and Jay all working together in our semi to amke sure we made it through. Although there was 14 plus volts in the track, it appeared to be pretty easy on motors. The motor I ran in the semi was a BOW Magshifter motor with a BOW Super 16C Arm. it was smooth and fast, but I had my 2nd motor (BOW Super 16C Arm in a Kelly setup) sitting in the box, still fresh, and just as fast and smooth so I decided to put that in for the main, keeping the semi motor as a spare.
I started on black lane, with Jay Kisling starting right next to me on Purple. Jay and I did not discuss the start before the race, but I knew I had to beat him into the first corner, otherwise he might get away form me. I am known for my good starts, and known for not backing off at the start, so I was going to go as hard and as fast as I could. I know everyone says the race cannot be won at the first corner, but after losing a number of races by just inches, these days I have adopted the philosophy that if the power is on I will go at 100%, and I will never lay back at the start. This philosophy also comes from many many years of racing back in New Zealand where we used to run (and they still do) mostly 10 lap races. In those if you give up time at the start, you just never get it back.
So it was a fantastic start and I beat Jay into the first corner and then just went as hard and as fast as I could, leading the race form lap one through to the end of heat 7. Going into the last heat I had a few laps on Jay. i was on purple lane, while Jay was down on the other end of the track. For whatever reason purple lane was quite slow, so the last heat turned into a real cliffhanger, with me running around as fast as I could, but making sure I stayed on, while Jay was at the other end of the track going hell for leather, trying to run me down. With 20 seconds to go Jay had closed onto the same lap as me, and I knew if I fell off I was done, so it was a case of stay on and still try to run fast, and by the time the power went off Jay was only 1/2 a lap behind me. Way too close for comfort, but it was my first ever USRA Nats win. This too would have been Jay’s first win, so I felt for him a little as he has been trying for so long, but of course I was absolutely elated to win my first race.
As for what I ran in the main, it was:
Parma Flexi 5
Parma Lola Body
Bow/Kelly setup (BOW Magshifter in the Semi)
Bow Super 16C Armature
BSP (Brian Saunders) Tires
GT1 72P gears 8/43
After the race it took quite some time to calm down, but again I moved on to helping with the Amateur race, then also had to get my final testing done for the Stockcar race next day on the road course.
Brian decided that we should go and celebrate the win, so we decided to go out at 11pm to a local bar, which was ok, but by 2am we were ready to go back to the hotel and called a taxi, but it never arrived, and after several more calls to the taxi company that also ended up with no taxi arriving to pick up up, we were stranded. Finally at 3:30am one of the bouncers at the bar took pity on us and drove us back to the hotel in their company tricked out Hummer, not a bad way to arrive home!
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