Bridgestone Racing Series Round 7
August 24, 2001
This time the trip up to Canada was uneventful. In the first race of the weekend I qualified 7th while trying to shake off the cobwebs of not having driven for a month. That combined with learning a new track configuration took some getting used to.
It was a very sloppy session. I spun three times. Twice on my own and once while avoiding someone else's "tank slapper", though the other guy didn't end up spinning. The last spin was huge.
There is a high speed turn in 3rd gear where you have to overcome your instinct to go fast. A driver's tendency is to lift off the gas a bit there. But in order to make the curve you have to go flat out. Why? Because the car is on the edge of control and weight has to be transferred to the rear wheels in order to have enough traction not to slide. That is done by pressing the throttle more rather than less.
Near the end of qualifying I lifted just a bit and went for a 100 mph spin across the grass. It was at least a 360! Luckily, there was no damage but there was a lot of grass between the tire beads and the rims.
The race started well. This particular configuration is the most dangerous one at the start because we all barrel down a blind hill in top gear and then brake really hard for a right-left turn. The race director asked that we get into line between the top of the hill and the turn on the start, instead of racing for position in that particular area.
There was one driver who didn't follow that recommendation for some reason. He triggered an incident that forced one car off the road, another into the first car and he also hit one car. Luckily it all played out in slow motion ahead of me. I ducked left and went up the inside and instantly found myself in 3rd place with a large gap to the guys behind me who got held up by the mess.
This track configuration had a lot of short straights and first gear corners. I was left foot braking a lot and through the course of the race, my brakes began to fade slightly. It gradually got worse and I lost a position when I nearly went off in a turn.
Then it got to the point that I kept understeering off the track. Finally in one corner the car wouldn't slow much at all and I had to use the escape road. Something was obviously wrong but since it was the last lap I went slow and tried to salvage some points. I did and ended up 8th. Fortunes change swiftly in racing.