VR-JPMD #3: News from the Track, but No Results
Valvoline Runoffs '97
Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon
I've been all day at the track, picked up a few tidbits of info for you, but don't have any results yet.
As I came in this morning, a red SSB car (#25 Chad Mellnick from Ohio) was on the trailer heading out, having rolled in the first session. Hopefully he's heading to a body shop; my fleeting glimpse couldn't tell how totally scrunched it was.
The track has made some changes, most importantly at the exit of Turn 16, drivers right. The wall has been moved back 50 feet at the beginning, then tapers to original position near the Turn 1 bridge. A gravel trap is in place as well to fill the space between track and wall.
Another big change is the new Scoring / Race Control building. This building is now across track from the old Scoring spot. They basically extended the old Control building to the east. The old section is now used for TV and radio, while the new pieces are Race Control (middle) and Scoring (east). Additional Scoring processing is done downstairs.
Bill Skibbe is the chief of T&S, while Dave Killian is the Chief of Results. Because T&S is across from the media center, a network (not yet working) links the two buildings. When this becomes operational I'll be able to transfer data and get results to you.
Skibbe commented on the new building. "It's new, the restrooms are nice, there's convenient parking, and it's close to Control. It has presented us some new challenges, some visibility problems, but we'll overcome them. We are persistent, we'll get the job done no matter what."
Jeannie Ross (crew chief for Eric Morehouse) commented on the heat here today. Arizona's Flag Chief Joel Duvall said "It's hot here, just like Arizona" but it's NOT a dry heat.
Yesterday an unknown Vee slid sideways into the Exit 16 gravel trap and flipped there. One of the GT3 cars got into the debris fencing in the keyhole, an odd place to happen, but the fence held and the car came back down on the track. Mark Brannon got caught out by a guy spinning in front of him in Turn 7, has a munched passenger door and bent A-arm as a result, but his dad Ed says it's a fairly straight- forward repair and they have a backup car if need be.
The last session of the day just finished, so I'm going to hoof it over to Scoring to see if I can get some data for you the old fashioned "floppy" way. Those folks are working hard, and I want to be as unobtrusive as possible.
I'll post interviews with Fred Cummings, Joanne Jensen (with Can-Am and USRRC insights) and a couple of drivers later.