‘Flawless Victory’…

Wow!  Even my own blog page bitches at me when I go too long without making a post.  Really.  It gave me a message that it had been about 11 days since I last posted.  Fine!  I’ll post. 😛

So, I jumped into a virtual race car last night, and it was a good thing.  I rolled out in the Spec Racer Ford (SRF).  It’s a fun little car that requires some attention and technique to get around a track at its top speed.  The track?  Watkins Glen, baby!  I love that track.  It was the “Classic Boot” configuration, so no chicane/bus stop at the end of the straight before the carousel turn.  That car, that track and I get along pretty good.

I went into a practice session to see if I could shake off enough cob webs to get a fair run and, at least, finish a race with minimal incidents. Well, I crashed on the first 2 practice laps I tried to make.  I was thinking that maybe I should just log out of iRacing and continue my self-imposed sabbatical, but then I ran lap 3 with a reasonable lap time versus the others in the practice session.  On lap 4 I was declared 3rd fastest in session.  The top 2 were Spec Racer aliens with high iRatings, etc.  I was feeling pretty good about this.

Next, I tweaked the setup after a half dozen laps to see if I could get a bit more “comfort” in the turns.  The baseline setup was not bad, but the car was feeling a little squirrely getting through turns at a decent speed.  A couple of tweaks and BOOM, the car felt good for my level of skill.  It felt predictable and I saved a couple of slides in spite of pushing a little too hard on turn entry.

By that time I had fallen to 7th fastest in practice since a couple of “regulars” had entered the session.  I figured, “What the hell,” and decided to let it all hang out on a lap to see where I stacked up.  And hang out, I did.  I went back to 5th fastest and only a half second off the “alien” pace.  The 2 regulars were a little over a tenth second faster than me.  That’s pretty good, for me.

Race time…  I got into the race session which starts with a 2-lap solo qualifying run.

I. got. the. pole.

Don’t ask me how because I don’t know.  I was in a lower split than the aliens, but I had the other 2 guys that were faster than me in practice in my race split.  I squeaked by them by less than a tenth of a second… cool.

The lights turned green to start the race, and I had a shit launch off the grid.  I dumped the clutch, spun the tires, then shifted too early.  I lost 3 spots by the time I reached the straight away.  I was instantly thinking I used up my mojo in practice and qualifying.  It’s happened before… way too many times :-/

Two laps later, I was in the lead.  I had raced those guys hard, but clean, AND I was pulling away.  I was thinking there was no way I was going to keep this up.  Something was going to go wrong, or one of those 2 fast guys were going to catch me.  Now this isn’t me talking myself out of a good race.  I’m just aware of my capabilities and was aware of the fact these guys were faster in practice.  So, I wasn’t being all negative and stuff.  I was keeping my head in “reality” so I wouldn’t do something stupid like get too relaxed, lose concentration and dump it into a wall.

They never caught me, though.  They were faster, but I was more consistent and did not have to race anybody for the rest of the 12-lap race.  I just kept my head and clicked off the laps, one turn at a time.  I had NO incidents, too, which is something that just doesn’t happen for me.  I had no off-tracks or loss of control.  I ran the “perfect” race… flawless victory.

I won’t lie and say I’m going to get off my sabbatical after this nice little gift.  I’m not ready yet.  BUT… I was reminded by having that kind of race and that kind of fun why I love to race.  My victories and successes are further between than others, but they are no less sweet.

I’ll be back fellow iRacers 😉

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