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Twas the night before runoffs and all through the pit,

The tension was mounting – they knew this was it!

The cars were all polished and tuned and prepared

And at benches, the tales of bravado were shared.

At last they relented and retired to their beds

Where visions of apexes danced in their heads.

 

The sun as it rose the next morning was grand

As the flaggers went out to each corner stand.

The smells and the sounds as I sat on the grid,

Pulled on my gloves and cinched my skid lid.

Belt check, radios, oil temp was showing,

Seemed like forever before we got going.

 

Then rolling, heat the tires with brakes, don't lag;

Round the last corner and finally, green flag!

Some pushing and sliding, don’t let the tires spin,

Use traffic to pass cars and then settle in

For a good solid race, and a podium to earn.

One car at a time, each straight, every turn.

 

With one foot on the brake and one on the gas, 

I set up the Miata for a late corner pass,

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a muscle-bound Mustang filling my mirror!

With the thunder of power and a Scandinavian flick,

He slid his car by - and I thought I was quick!

 

More rapid than Sterling, more daring than Prost, 

I knew at that moment for sure I had lost!

I realized that I’d raced him before,

But the best he could do was get to my door.

So how did he manage to turn up the dial?

And did I really just catch the glimpse of a smile?

 

So now back to work, the challenge was plain:

Keep up with the Mustang, maybe lead him again!

I started to push; did that unsettle the car?

Yup, and lost some more time; I dove in too far!

Clipped a nice apex, but the angle wasn’t right,

Didn’t rotate the car and the exit was tight.

 

More rushing, more errors, and even more gap.

What would the data trace show of that lap?

I realized then I should drive my own car,

That just copying him wasn’t working so far.

I calmed myself down, gave my head a quick shake,

It wasn’t too late, I knew what it would take.

 

Smooth the transition from braking to gas,

Control the weight transfer, feel the car’s mass.

More planning, less reacting, use all of the track,

Get a clean exit then ease the wheel back.

Passing back-markers with a minimum of slowing,

Using the draft; my patience was showing!

 

By not worrying about the car up ahead,

I found myself having lots of fun instead!

Right up to the Mustang, we battled and we fought,

I positioned for the pass – but it was for naught!

The checker came out: I had finished in second.

But after the race the other driver beckoned.

 

“That was the best!” he said, “Never had so much fun!

Almost didn’t matter if I lost or I won!”

I said so, too, and asked what was the reason

That he had gained so much speed since the last season.

 

 “I really shouldn’t tell you but I had such a ball:

 Go to Ross’s Speed Secrets, BOGO webinars for all!”

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Edited by mender
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