The July 2-4 Double SARRC / Double ECR weekend at Roebling Road wasn’t originally part of BK Racing’s 2010 plans, but after getting a first & second at Nashville SuperSpeedway over Father’s Day weekend we decided to see if we could pick up some more SARRC points. We had also done some major suspension changes to Cuervo after the wreck at VIR in May, so this would give us another opportunity to sort some of that stuff out.
Short story – first in GTA and third overall on both days, we’re now leading in the 2010 SARRC GTA points chase, and we loaded a running race car in the trailer at the end of the weekend. Life is good!
And, as always, here’s the longer story:
I was signed up to run the Peachtree 10K with Harriett, but after our recent success at Nashville I started thinking about maybe doing the LouElla Cook Memorial Double SARRCs at Roebling Road instead. It’s ALWAYS hot and humid in Savannah in July and I’m not particularly fond of that track, but it WAS a chance to get two more wins this season. And after the fiascos that were Sebring and VIR earlier this year, adding two more chances for wins is a good thing. I hesitantly mentioned to Harriett that I was maybe thinking about possibly going (“waffling” came up often as I shuffled from one foot to the other with hat in hand), then the conversation was interrupted by a call from one of her friends. An hour later she came back and told me she’d given away my Peachtree number so I figured it was time to start making firm plans to get to Savannah! <g>
Since the weekend was not part of our original schedule I wasn’t sure any of the regular B.K. Racing crew could make the trip. Harriett obviously had other plans and Dennis (McClintock) had let me know he was out. Data (Eric Bartel) had other things on his mind about that time so I called my brother of different parents, Chris Ingle, to see if he could help out. Ends up he was planning to look at houses and set up his new office in Commerce that Friday (July 2), but we figured out that he would stay at our house on Friday night and we’d head down early Saturday morning. It ends up Data got his situation under control and was ready to get out of town for a weekend, so he and Earl (the dog) went down on Friday afternoon with plans to meet us at the track on Saturday.
Longtime readers will remember that Chris and I have worked together a lot in the past. I’ve crewed for his T-1 National efforts off-and-on since 2004 and we’ve had a modicum of success earning four SEDiv National Championships and two ARRC by GRM Championships in that time. I’ll deny it if anyone claims I said it out loud, but he’s a pretty good driver – he’s not as good as HE thinks he is, but he’s pretty good. Thinking about it, he’s probably as good a driver as I am a writer (and I’m as good a driver as he is a writer), but neither of us is making a living doing either one so we can’t be THAT damn good!
Chris and I have a lot of similarities, but he’s also one of the most opinionated and stubborn people I’ve ever been around (did someone say “similarities”?). Over the years I’ve found that if I carry a large enough 2×4 and smack him hard enough with it I can SOMETIMES get him to try something that wasn’t his idea. More often than not, we end up being faster because of it. He’s also fired me (at least) three times in six years but we always end up back together because (a) we share an equal intensity for racing, (b) we work well together, and (c) we win – a lot.
The reason I pontificate about the relationship between Chris & I is because of an incident Saturday morning. We had gotten Cuervo out of the trailer and he was ready for qualifying, so the next step was to get the 20×20 awning out and set it up for the weekend. Chris felt that was too much effort (we’re talking about MAYBE 30 minutes if I do the whole thing myself) for ONLY a day and a half at the track, plus the temperature wasn’t suppose to break 90, it wasn’t going to rain, we had the 8×8 Pop-Up awning to sit under, etc. I responded that he could continue to sit on his ass while Data & I assembled the awning, but I’d be damned if he could sit under it when we got done. He did eventually help us but whined about it the entire time.
About half an hour later Data quietly asked me if things were kinda tense between us (I think his exact words were, “Am I going to have to sit between you two children at lunch?”). I gave him a puzzled look until I realized he’d never been around Chris and me at the track – we ALWAYS pick at each other like brothers who feel it’s their duty to make sure the other one wants it bad enough and is tough enough to deserve success. From then on the standard line of the weekend was, “I sure am glad we put this awning up” followed shortly by, “There’s a reason we don’t live together.” As I said, brothers of different parents.
As far as the racing part of the weekend, there were four GTA cars entered – BJ Holley, Jim Matheson, Hall Robertson, and myself. On Saturday we qualified fourth overall and first in GTA with BJ two tenths of a second back followed by Hall and Jim. At the green BJ & I moved into third and fourth overall behind Jeff Bailey’s GT-1 Monte Carlo and Richard Smith’s very quick GT-2 Mazda (you guys from Florida know him – green/yellow/red #43). Hall got into Turn 4 a bit hot on that opening lap and fell to the back of the field, then ran the rest of the race using third and fourth gears only. Jeff apparently was having problems getting through the Carrousel because on lap 3 he decided to park on the outside of the track to see how the rest of us were getting through there (some say there was contact with the #43 but Jeff said he just lost it), so BJ & I moved up a spot to third and second overall respectively. As we finished lap four something broke in the rear end of BJ’s Late Model and his day was done. I had about a fifteen second lead over Jim and Hall at that point, so I dialed things back to save the tires for Sunday’s race. Final order was Richard Smith (GT-2), Bill McGavic (GT-3), myself, Jim, then Hall soldiering on with a reluctant shifter to finish third in GTA, eleventh overall.
Unfortunately BJ’s issues were terminal and Hall decided discretion was the better part of valor after struggling much of the evening trying to resolve shifter and transmission problems. Both of them should be ready for the next SARRC round at Road Atlanta, however.
We had a bit of excitement on Sunday when our transmission got stuck in second gear on the out lap of qualifying. I decided to stay out and get at least one timed lap in before bringing it into the pits to see if we could fix it, and I’m here to tell you that running 110 mph (7000 RPM in second gear) the entire length of the front straight at Roebling is pretty unnerving! I stayed as far to the right as I could and kept looking in the mirror waiting on someone to blow my doors off! It WAS sort of interesting to go all the way to Turn Two without hitting the brakes though! Bottom line is we started thirteenth of the fourteen cars that were left while Jim was six spots ahead of us. The good news, at least, is we had the preferred inside line.
I got by three cars between the green and Turn One, then two more on the backside to finish lap 1 in eighth place. I was right on Jim’s bumper going through Turn Three and, since he was on old tires and needed to get a finish to satisfy his license requirements, he waved me by in Turn Four. From there I ran third and fourth gears the rest of the race (no need to risk it getting hung up in second gear) and again ended up third overall (this time behind Bailey and Richard Smith) while Jim came home second in GTA and sixth overall, the last car on the lead lap.
It was disappointing we didn’t get to see how the race with BJ would have turned out, but we ended up with two SARRC wins and loaded a running race car in the trailer at the end. Jim got two seconds and confirmed they’ve solved the overheating and oil control issues that kept them from racing at Nashville two weeks ago. The weather was also EXTREMLY mild for Savannah in July (highs of 90 on Sunday, light breeze, no rain), so all in all we’re glad we made the trip.
The good news is the two wins give us 122 points to lead the SARRC GTA standings followed by Bill Porter with 108 and Hall with 94. BJ, Jim, and Kurt Roehrig are tied for fourth with 68, then there’s Mark Tcherkezian in seventh with 53, and Bobby Reuse and Dave Price tied for eighth with 44. Randy Gay at 40, Preston Fowler at 34, and Hollywood Graham at 33 close out the Top Twelve. The bad news is we now have six finishes so I’ll be dropping my lowest scores while all but Bill will still be adding whole events to their totals. We’re doing okay, but the race is far from being decided.
Next up is Atlanta Region’s Double SARRC / Pro-IT at Road Atlanta the weekend of July 16-18. If you have any questions about this or any other upcoming events, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them. And if you don’t like my response, I’m SURE Chris Ingle will be glad to give you a different one! <g>
Remaining Events on our 2010 Schedule:
- Jul 17-18 Road Atlanta Double SARRC, Gainesville GA
- Jul 31-Aug1 Pacific Raceways (spectate), Seattle WA
- Sep 3-5 Barber Double SARRC, Birmingham AL
- Sep 17-19 Watkins Glen Double Regional, Watkins Glen NY
- Oct 9-10 SARRC Invitation Challenge, Savannah GA
- Nov 5-7 ARRC by GRM, Gainesville GA
- Nov 13-14 Roebling Track Trials, Savannah GA
See y’all at the track…