Now THAT was a Race!!!

SRF Race 041516-2

Oh, hell yeah!!!  I haven’t raced more than twice in the past month.  I’ve been burnt out.  I was getting tired of some of the same old shit.  I’ll leave it at that.  I needed a break from that, so I have not been racing.  Tonight, though, I felt like “getting back to basics”.  So, I jumped into a Spec Racer Ford to see how it would go.  It was an awesome reminder of why I love racing – virtual or otherwise.

See up there?  Yeah.  That’s me in the #10 Logitech/Texas Club Spec Racer Ford.  THAT is what it looked like for 7 laps of the 12 lap race at Silverstone.  That #6 guy and I were almost perfectly matched in speed and skill.  Now, I didn’t win.  We were racing for 5th place.  But, oh, did we race!  He was a little quicker in spots, and I was a little quicker in other spots of the track.  The icing on the cake?  He wasn’t an asshole.  He raced me clean.  I raced him clean.  THAT’S racing!  No bullshit.  No asshole trying to bump you.  Just two drivers pushing as hard as they can to be in front of the other guy.

The even better part… I beat him.  I got 5th with him a couple seconds behind by the end.  I think the guy gave up, or I wore him out.  He made one little mistake on lap 8, and I cashed in on it.  After that, he couldn’t seem to keep up, or he just didn’t want to run that hard any more.  So much fun.  That was a great reminder of why I love to race.  I needed that.  My thanks to the SRF community on iRacing.  Some of you guys (like that guy in #6) are really cool, racing hard but clean.

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‘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 😉

Not Quite What I Had In Mind

That didn’t quite work out as hoped…

My Daytona 500 ended a little early when I got caught up in, technically, the last “big one”.  I really didn’t have a way to avoid it, either.  I watched the replay and saw one possible out, but I think it would have resulted in car damage anyway as I slapped the outside wall.  So, by not taking that route, my night ended with less than 50 laps to go when I T-boned a guy that spun in front of me and didn’t slide down to the infield.

With that said, though, I had a lot of fun.  I worked at staying with my Texas club mates and my race team throughout the race.  I helped keep our strategy in play.  And when it was time to start working towards the front of the pack to put as many Texas guys in the front as possible, it was starting to happen as planned.  We had the cars set up to do what we were planning, and it was working.  That’s a good feeling.

We were riding around in the back for about 2/3 of the race.  I could tell that we had good cars because we weren’t working too awful hard to stay together and work around others that we didn’t want to be near.  It was just about running a heads-up race and avoiding the wrecks – something, I’m sorry to say, didn’t happen at the end.  Nonetheless, up to the crash, things looked and felt pretty good.  That’s what made it fun.

By the way, it didn’t end at the last crash.  One of our own ended up winning, and we had 3 Texans in the top 5.  The guy that one was part of my race team.  Can’t complain about that… on to the next one 😉