Laguna Seca is one of those bucket list tracks that every racer must visit. Luckily my friend Jeremy from Ski Motorsports wanted to race there and was looking for a couple guys to share his trailer to defray some of the costs. Keith and I jumped at the chance to avoid that much towing, and flew out to meet him at the track.
The track is a blast. Lots of elevation changes and a wide variety of speeds in the turns. Had to tighten the handling up a bit, then we were good to go. In the first qualifier, I started surprisingly quickly for someone who had never driven the track before- I was 4th. However, the local hot shoe Brandon had difficulties and did not turn a representative lap time. In the second qualifier, Brandon got it together and moved up to third, and I was down to 6th after being frustrated by an FM driver blocking me. I got it together for the last qualifier, dropped a second and moved up to fifth.
In the race, I hung on to the top 3 for several laps, but eventually lost them. With one lap top go, some Formula Mazdas I was lapping spun right in front of me and I had to stop to avoid them. This allowed one of my competitors to get by me, and get a large gap while I waited for room to get around the wreck. I ran down most of that gap, but needed just a little more distance to pass him, so I finished 5th by 3 tenths of a second. Disappointing, but better than a wrecked racecar. Still, we had a great time in California.
The first race was a disaster. The FB two rows in front of me suffered some kind of failure shortly after the green flag flew, and I got trapped behind him. Many cars narrowly avoided hitting me with huge closing speeds, then when I was looking for a clear opportunity to pull out the FB directly in front of me slowed suddenly and instantly I was on top of his left rear wheel. Not good, but both of us were ok. Got the car fixed and ready for the second race.
The second race went much better, but Paul was a little too fast- he won, I was second.
Had a great race with Joe Sammut, after 54 miles of racing and swapping the lead he got me by two tenths of a second in the first race. In the second race we had another great battle, but he got me again, this time by 1.2 seconds.
Q1 didn't go so good- broke a bolt holding the shift cable in grid. But I'm happy with Q2, fast enough to start third despite the track being greasy in the afternoon. With Paul, Joe, and myself all qualified together the first race promised to be exciting. I got by Joe exiting turn 1, then Paul made some extra excitement in turn 4 by mowing the grass. That let me by and I was able to maintain the lead to the checker.
The second race Paul was on a mission and won with a comfortable margin, I was second, Joe was third.
Got back in the racecar after 9 months out of it. Didn't get my annual done right away due to a dead fire bottle, but Kevin had one so Friday morning I was ready to go. Then on grid the car had issues starting which ended when the end of the starter broke off. Luckily the grid at VIR has a nice downhill onto the track as long as you're parked near the front of the grid, so I made it out for the first session. A few laps in the clutch stopped working which isn't a big problem but I normally use it to downshift so not having it was throwing off my concentration a bit. At the end of the session I was qualified mid pack in a field of 11. Eric Cruz had a spare starter, so after putting that on I bled the clutch and Tom & Carolyn towed me up for the second qualifier. Did a little better and moved up to 4th. Got another tow to grid for race 1 due to my barely functional clutch. There were a couple Mazdas and an FC between me and 3rd place. A few laps in Chuck spun in his FC trying to pass one of them, then sacrificed his reverse gear to give me more room to avoid him. I still slowed enough that Eric got a lot closer and Scott, Paul, and Brandon got a lot further away. After a couple laps of trying to catch them it became clear that wasn't happening. I ended up 4th. Sunday I drove to grid after adjusting the pedal throw to get enough travel to quickly get the car in gear. Paul had to go help the Easter Bunny, but Brandon got quicker so I still couldn't race with him and Scott was way out front. I ran with a couple Mazdas and ended up 3rd in class, with no clutch again. The Alliance Autosport guys were nice enough to tow me from impound back to my paddock spot both days. Before Jersey I need to split the car to rebuild the slave cylinder and remove the remaining bits of starter. The car handled well and the engine felt strong, I just need to spend some more time in it to get more speed out of it. VIR without Oak Tree is a bit odd- I feel like I'm losing a lot of time there without my reference points. The new pavement is quicker, I still dropped about 1.5 seconds off my best to a 1:55.3.