Willow Springs Time Trial report 2006-02-12

Time Trial Report, February 12, 2006 - Willow Springs International Raceway It was billed as a "shake down the car" event with the chance of a track record, and thats exactly what it turned out to be. We didn't have large numbers of drivers...

Time Trial Report, February 12, 2006 - Willow Springs International Raceway

It was billed as a "shake down the car" event with the chance of a track record, and thats exactly what it turned out to be. We didn't have large numbers of drivers like we will at our first points event in March (21 total), but we did have a lot of track time (200 minutes) to test, tune, and break-down. Yes, it was a great event for many of us, because hopefully, we have found the things that were potentially going to break at Cal Speedway, and now we have 3 weeks to fix them. However, most of the mechanical issues hit us either late Saturday or on Sunday, so just about everyone had a good amount of track time to dust off the cobwebs after the Winter break. We would have had a few more drivers, but some of our regulars were taking the Driving Concepts Race Class so they could work towards getting a competition race license.

Some of us apparently needed less "dusting" than others. Because just as I predicted, the cool air temps, and lack of crowds netted us three track records. Well, to be fair, one of them was going to happen regardless of what kind of event it turned out to be, because I have taken the former TTU record (held by Steve Bernheim in his TTR car), and moved it to TTR. This opened up the door for the best TTU driver of the weekend to get the track record. Michael Van Zandt only came out on Sunday, but it was enough for him to snag the TTU record witha 1:29.45, which was the fastest time of the weekend for everyone. Dan Gardner missed almost the whole day on Sunday taking apart his hubs and wheel bearings, but on Saturday, he reached his goal of breaking the previous TTF track record held by Ted Severns, and did a 1:44.42. Pat Lindsey showed that he needed no cobweb dusting when he knocked out a 1:29.48 in his TTA Audi S4 during the Saturday TT Shootout (with the sun in his eyes trying to apex turns 1 and 9).

We had another safe event, with a few spins and offs, but nothing with any real harm done. Our drivers were very consciencious, and with my car out of commission for all but a few laps on Sunday, and the small group, we got to play some. For the third and fourth sessions on Sunday, we had the drivers pair up in pre-grid. I then took the pace truck out and paced the group at about 70 mph as they practiced driving side by side, closely spaced for 3/4 of a lap. Then, they bunched up in turn 8 and 9, with the polesitter keeping the group at a steady pace, and did a full practice race start. Both of the starts looked great with mostly two-car wide action, but I did see three cars wide through turn 1 a few times. They guys then did the rest of each session as a normal TT session. I did notice some big smiles during the download sessions. So, I'm sure this was a hit.

So, the big season points opener is three weeks away, and it's already sold out. We will be the first region in NASA to have a TT-only run group for an entire event. As well, this will be the biggest TT event to date for all of NASA, with about 50 drivers. If you missed out on signing up for this event, and you still want to drive, you can sign up for the Friday Test & Tune day, and at least get some track time at Cal Speedway. Also, you can e-mail me if you want to be on a waiting list, and I'll let you know if anyone cancels. Otherwise, don't worry about it. It's only one event, and you can drop both of those days, and still have a full season of competition, starting with Buttonwillow on April 8th. If we continue to have large groups of drivers like we do for this event, there is no reason that we can't continue to have our own run group.

Make sure you mark Sept 13th-17th on your calendars. It would really be great to get a big contingent of drivers from SoCal to head out to the National Championships at Mid-Ohio (and bringing home the goods would be even better).

-www.nasaproracing.com

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Dan Gardner