Haywood Racing had a great experience.
Last winter we tried to make some significant aero improvements to my blue/yellow miata, we purchased a very well sorted red miata, and we badgered encouraged four friends to try champcar racing with us. Then Watkins Glen was cancelled twice, Mosport was cancelled/border closed, and Ohio was added to our list of quarantine states 2 days before our scheduled departure. Like it has been for most people, things were not going to plan... so I really hoped Thompson would pan out for us, especially the newcomers.
Even though they don't know me from a hole in the wall, Friday started with very good conversations with Bill and then Jay. That set the tone for the weekend. Everything that I saw was well organized, well run, and a blast.
Everything went smoothly on test day until the very end, when temperatures in Blue rapidly spiked. Found that one of the plugs on the back of the engine had worked itself out. We fashioned a replacement, pulled the valve cover, torqued down the headbolts, put it back together and I said a quiet prayer. It started right up and seemed to hold temp and water. Win! Everyone worked terrifically together getting both cars otherwise prepped for the race and we fell into bed exhausted and excited.
Everyone knew race day was going to be wet, the only question was when it was going to start. We purposely started the race with two of our new teammates who had PCA club racing experience in the wet, so of course the rain held off until their stints were over.
Let me interrupt myself to apologize to the White MDR Motorsports Miata #830. In reviewing the video, I saw that on lap 2 our excited driver of red put his nose into a gap that was always going to close and spun you around. I had no idea that it happened, and it was completely our fault. Had I known, we would have come down to apologize in person.
The rain started right on queue for our two least experienced drivers, of course, and they did a great job of keeping it on the track and turning laps. I jumped in Blue for my first stint and promptly looped it on lap two entering the oval. Then I proceeded to explore EVERY part of the track and its surrounding landscaping for the next two hours. I cut some grass, but fortunately didn't do any masonry work. The only corner I think didn't lose it on was turn 10, and it made me pucker everytime I went through. A little push at the entry and then felt like it was going to snap around on me everytime. ugh.
We were running around 8th and 9th 6 hours in, but Blue was going to have do one more fuel stop than Red. I have to get to the bottom of why we were only able to get 1:45 out of the opening dry stint in that car.
8hrs in the differential on Blue let go. Day over for that car. At that point we were around the top ten with the red car, and we wanted to make sure everyone got a second stint in. We did the last four hours as 4 stints and everybody got back in the car. I got back in at 7 PM and found the track completely bone dry. Chomping at the bit to have some fun, my lap times instead were total crap and 3-4 seconds down from the practice day. Our crew chief politely encouraged me to pick up the pace, and then when it wasn't happening, less politely suggested I get my head out of my you-know-what. Probably took me 6 or 7 laps and a concerted effort to rediscover the amount of grip I had available to me, and I finally started turning some good laps to finish up nicely.
Our new teammates loved the experience, which was goal number one. We improved our pit stops and outright speed from last year, which was goal number two. We had a great time racing with all of you and hope that you enjoyed it as well. Thank you Champcar for a great event!