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 😉