Race Report for Viking Racing, Formula Car Challenge - Race 7/8. July 13/14, 2012
First of all I regret that I have not sent out race reports for a while. I have simply been too busy with my real career but hope I can improve on it in the future, as I have gotten many requests to pick up on it again. The short story is that in the first 6 races in the Formula Car Challenge, I have gotten three 4th places and three 3rd places bringing me in second spot in the championship.
July 13 - 15th was the date for race 7/8 and this time at Portland International Raceway, which was a new track for me so I was excited to check it out. I had practiced a bit from home in the simulator meaning that I at least knew my way around the track when I showed up.
The track is not complex but very fast and there is a lot of time hidden everywhere. I had a good car setup basically from the beginning and with help from my driving coach I got relatively quickly up to speed. I was not as quick on new tires as people who raced there before but my race pace was definitely top 2-3.
I qualified 3rd, which was a bit disappointing but not more than I could regain in the race. Going in to the start I started right behind the pole sitter. I got an excellent start and before Turn 1 I was in second place. The Formula Car Challenge consists of 2 types of drivers;
Business executives and young people typically funded by their father trying to build a professional career. The kids trying to build a career typically are good drivers knowing racing is about driving close and hard, but not in to each other.
Unfortunately the executive category is not overwhelmed by good racers, but rather big egos that think you can win the race in the first corner and if someone is faster than you, you just run in to them. Apparently if you have enough money you do not care as much about crash damage as long as your ego is intact.
So I had not gotten more than half way in to the first corner before I was hit extremely hard in the rear, my car got airborne and I flipped, landed upside down, rolled over again, hit the curb and got airborne again. Once again I was hit by the same person who also ran in to me at Thunderhill Raceway earlier this year just this time it was an even more stupid move from his side and not even Michael Schumacher could have pulled this one off.
So before I completed one corner I found myself in an ambulance and with a much damaged car. This is supposed to be fun racing and contact and flips like these are supposed to happen in Formula 1 and Indy Car - not at this level! There is an unwritten gentleman rule that if you really make a big screw up and you cause damage to others you pay for your damages but not this guy despite the fact that his car was in perfect condition. His ego is too big unfortunately...
He obviously got disqualified by the race management, but that did not really help me. I had some of the spares myself but the car got wrecked for almost $25,000 not including the $5,000 he caused in damage when he ran in to me last time so this is a very big setback to my program.
Luckily I got away from the accident without as much as a scratch, which really is a testimony to the safety of these cars. However, I also realize I am lucky to be alive as if I had hit a curb or another car, I may not had been as fortunate. As such I have to rethink it all and if it is worth it driving among retarded drivers with big egos, spending a lot of money and jeopardizing my life.
Quitting is not really my strongest asset so I at least want to finish the season, and I do not want to finish it like this! I doubt I will be doing this series next year though. If I can afford it I may go to a closed wheel series where the risk is lower and hopefully some smarter drivers also.
The whole family watched the crash and it was a traumatic experience for them but we managed to calm down and with great help from my Mechanic Brent, my coach Steve and my engineer Rick we actually managed to get enough new parts to put the car back together during the rest of the day and night to make it able to race the day after. All bodywork was taped together, but all damaged mechanical parts had been replaced.
I did not really get any sleep that night and was tired next day, but that aside I felt ready to go out and race, and it was great to see race fans, race officials and all the team members from the team of the guy who hit me all clapping when I entered the track. A great gesture to my team which had worked its butt off to get my car ready.
I qualified 3rd again. This time I was not 100% sharp in the start (no wonder) and tucked in behind number 2 and stayed relatively close until we had a full course yellow. The driver behind me jumped me in the re- start and I had to spend 3 laps behind him before I could get by. That cost me 7-8 seconds, which was too much for me to catch - especially since the rear drive shaft made some brute noises every time I shifted gear so I was nervous that the rear suddenly would give up and I did not really need more drama this weekend!
I caught the 2nd place driver by 2-3 seconds and while number one had engine problems I ended 2nd. Not a bad result on a very challenging weekend and it will solidify my 2nd place in the championship.
Like always, but more than ever, I would like to thank Brent, Rick and Steve for the moral support as well their team spirit and engagement to get a trashed car together in one Friday night. I would also like to thank my wife for her support despite her big concern after the crash.
Finally I would like to thank my sponsors for making this season possible! Next challenge up will be end August at the Indy Car weekend at Race Sonoma.