RACE: Mid-Ohio Runoffs Thursday notes #2

Runoffs Notes - 12 - Thursday copyright 1996 John P. M. Dillon The "worker party" at the end of each day is held in the Honda pavilion. A ticket is provided in the worker packet that gains the worker admission. Drivers, unfortunately, are not...

Runoffs Notes - 12 - Thursday copyright 1996 John P. M. Dillon

The "worker party" at the end of each day is held in the Honda pavilion. A ticket is provided in the worker packet that gains the worker admission. Drivers, unfortunately, are not allowed to attend, which has caused some discussion. It's believed that the reason for the exclusion is due to some arrangement with the track, perhaps relating to food concessions, but this I can't confirm. Some workers would prefer enjoy having drivers, crew, and all other club members attend. This author for one believes it would help unify rather than divide our organization.

S2 driver Chris Thomas qualified yesterday, saying "It's the first time I've ever driven the car in the rain. Traffic was a problem for a while, so I pitted to get a hole." He said this is the "most hard luck season" he's had in his SCCA career. He's had a new tranny, new shocks, he broke the throttle cable on Monday and has had to rebuild the car from the ground up. Only the Elite engine is the same. Thomas has plenty of Mid-Ohio experience, however. "I led the '94 Runoffs for six laps until I blew up the engine." If the racing stays wet, he plans to change his setup a little and try to stay up front, because "otherwise you can't see anything."

Regarding the ShelCans on course, he said "they're awfully big, awfully slow through the corners. I don't really mind running with them, as long as one doesn't surprise me and out qualify me!" He thinks they ought to be a regional class. "It's unfortunate that they keep these cars, but get rid of a class like Spec Racer which has so many cars."

Gari Chaffin, another S2 driver, is just here to have fun. "We hope to be the lead back-marker!" It's his first Runoffs in his first year of trying. He would like to win the "DB2 class" though. He doesn't worry about a rain race: "Rain's fine if you can see, it won't hurt my chances." By the way, he's only owned this car for 8 days (and counting).

Steve Anderson didn't enjoy the rain at all, having serious visibility problems. The ironic thing was that Anderson drew #1 in the qualifying lottery and got to go out first! When he entered the pits, he asked his wife/crew Jane on the radio "where are you?" to which she responded "I'm right in front of you!" He planned on installing windshield wipers "just so I won't need them." He also reported that Beran Peter locked up his tires and slid in Turn 7, thumping hard into the wall. Corner workers reported later that he drove "dramatically" every session, racing wild instead of smooth.

Yesterday afternoon Bill Gilcrease, GT5 Mini driver, said "I'm doing okay, I'm not unhappy." His Monday session didn't turn out "as I would have hoped." On the warmup lap the red oil light came on, so he shut off the engine and coasted into the pits. It turns out he sheared the oil pump pin. "I'm not going to qualify today [Wednesday]; tomorrow can't be any worse. I'd rather not risk the car today--I've got nothing to prove." He said he was disappointed he's not going out, but that the Saturday testing was good. "The car has had grip since the day we got here. I can deal with everything else."

Ed Rawles, a ShelCan driver, noted the lack of entries was due to the bulk of them running in the pro series. "I've only owned this car since March; it's a fun car." He raced Spec Racer Fords before. "I ran as many nationals as I could to try and get the attendance figures up." He says he thoroughly enjoys the car and hopes they keep it as a national class.

Like his S2 counterparts, he'd rather not have both classes racing at the same time. "I don't like being with them. They're more nimble in tight sections, but we're faster on the straights. The only damage I've had is when I was hit by a Sports 2 who was trying to dive inside." He agreed that the SCA visibility is "pretty restricted."

Jeff Tyler, another SCA driver, has a simple race strategy:  "I'm just
trying to get the car to run."  He's had brake and transmission
problems.  "I blew the tranny on pit lane on Monday."  His crew chief
Brunner got the tranny fixed in one day.  "He's really good at
prepping the car."  Tyler didn't want to qualify in Wednesday's rain.
"With only four cars, qualifying's not real important.  With a split
start, the worst we can do is second row."  On race day he just wants
to try and get in front and stay there.  "I'll try to get a good
start.  S2's will have an impact later in the race when we get lapped
by the faster S2's.  I wanna make sure we don't affect their race."

Wilson Wright, Jr. races a GT4 Honda. "Our car's running a little hot, so we brought on the rain to cool it down!" he quipped yesterday. He's trying to get the tail to come out a little. "I was the highest Honda in practice sessions, but today [Wednesday] doesn't count." His car started off as a Solo car. "It's gonna be a good race."

John Dillon Mostly SoPac (Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Diego, Cal Club)

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Bill Gilcrease , Wilson Wright