This week’s Fixed race was very messy. Why? Well it seems that 156 lap races are too short for some drivers who feel they had to make it three wide on every restart. If you are fast the 156 laps should give you time to move through the field, or so one would think!
I started in the top third of the field and with the yellows flying more than the greens I stayed out to avoid the mess in the center of the pack. This worked well and I ran as high as third at times. I would bring my nearly clean car home 10th and was very happy with that.
In the Open, unlike the Fixed, I was set on the grid in the 27th spot. But as is often the case, a few took the option of hanging out in the pits and I moved up to the 21st spot when we took the green. We got a quick yellow and being near the back I pitted only to have the inside line checkup at the GREEN and I hit the guy ahead dead center. With my hood blocking half my view I fell from 18th to 24th before the yellow came out, I was now in 22nd.
“If you are fast the 156 laps should give you time to move through the field, or so one would think!”
The pit crew fixed everything and I got out just before the pace car came around. Great job guys! Even with that the mess that created the yellow was BIG, and I restarted 17th . . . equal to my highest position just before I took the damage. I would stay here, mid-pack all the way until Lap 145. In that time I stayed out on Lap 118 under a yellow to take the wave around, putting me only one lap down and then getting the Lucky Dawg under the new yellow on Lap 128. The hardest racing I did was on laps 122 to 125 when I pushed by the “former” Lucky Dawg to gain that spot just laps before the yellow came out.
By lap 145 or so I was 37.675 second down to the leader, but a yellow saved me before I went a lap down. Without pitting I restarted 13th; we were inside 10 laps to go so I saw no reason to pit. Green and off we went. After a quick yellow I was sure it was over, but NO: we would have a White-Checker finish.
The last lap was interesting as I started 11th, 0n the inside lane. The #2 and #14 cars made contact from the P4 and P6 spots and I passed them both only to overdrive Turns 3 and 4, something I had not done all race. As I inched out to the wall in Turn 4 the car was square to the wall, so as it started to rub I planted my foot on the floor. I was now P9 if I recall correctly. The car came off the wall and pointed a bit right but this was no time to lift! The car moved right but the wall hadn’t moved! I crushed the front fender on the outside wall, bouncing off the wall maybe 15 degrees to the right. The #12 car was there and I rubbed him but. his speed being greater than mine, he went on by beating me to the line as did the #19 car. All things considered I was happy with my 11th place finish . . . and glad to see Phoenix behind us.