This was a messy week for all and that included Falcon Racing. We did pull out a 10th place finish, but the car was destroyed in the process (16 INCs – most of any driver in my Fixed Race).
It started well and it looked as if we could cruise from the outset as we started at the very rear of the field, 29th. I quickly and cleanly moved to 22nd. Then I was logging laps when all at once the right rear got tagged and around I went on the back straight catching the outside wall. Later I would look back and see the #29 got together with the #13 car and that sent into me. The rear damage did not prove to be a problem, but I would burn-off the tires and fuel before pitting so as to get as much repair as possible. This would prove to be an issue late in the next run as I got loose out of Turn Four on old tires, slowed to recover and went a lap down. About six laps later the yellow came out, but I was now the second car a lap down and missed the Lucky Dawg.
At this time, lower on fuel and older tires, the car was feeling good so I stayed out and took the wave around, back on the lead lap. This worked as the next yellow came out before the field could run me down and I got to pit for tires and fuel. From this point the yellow waved every ten laps or so, keeping me on the lead lap and letting me double pit; the first time for tires, then out and around to catch the pace car then pit just for repairs.
On Lap 78 the #27 car pushed it three wide on the high side going into Turn 1 and as I stayed in the center to provide room for the #30 car that was inside me, only for the #27 to come down the track into the path of the #30 car (see resulting hood damage in the accompanying screen shot.)
My rear damage was increased on Lap 79 as we were lining up under the yellow and another car slammed into me square. Ouch!!!
Thanks to many yellows and short runs I was able to stay on the lead lap. I was running 17th at the half way point and slowly getting the damage repaired; in fact by Lap 136 I found myself restarting in the top 10 for the first time. I dropped to 15th only to see two guys ahead crash on Lap 142, back to the pits. Lap 148 brought crashes in two areas and I rolled across the line in P8 before the restart, so I started on the outside. That restart lasted all of two laps before it was back to the pits for tires and the last 40 laps.
Some did not pit, so I restarted 11th, when the nuts came out and a few laps later I crossed the line ninth after two more competitors crashed. So another restart (what else?) and up to seventh in my slow car. Then it was 20 to go and I was up to sixth, but as expected by now, YELLOW. I restarted on the outside with 15 laps to go. Pushing to the finish I drifted-up and tagged the wall out of Turn 2 and instantly dropped to ninth. The resulting loss of momentum gave the #3 car a run and he got around me on Lap 195, so I finished an eventful race in 10th.
After watching the replay, I am happy to have a top 10; it was a messy race all around. Maybe when we come back to Richmond in the last race prior to the start of the Chase everyone will be a bit more relaxed, recalling the mess that was Week 9 and the sim racing will be better.
Meanwhile, it’s on to ‘Dega where three wide for lap after lap with lots of room to run should produce much cleaner racing and high speed fun.