Last weekend we took all our newly painted cars with much optimism to take part in Round 6 of the NiS around Martinsville or as the track is also known, The Paperclip. That is about as good as it got for any of our racing trio.
On lap 3/4 a car about 4 ahead of me got loose into T3 but amazingly held it. Heart palpitations settled we got into a rythm with me gaining a place but taking it easy. 1st caution I pitted with the leaders took 4 & fuel, came out P16. Made a few places up before second caution, stayed out as was only a few laps after 1st. Got stuck behind a car for a while and decided to make a risky move to the outside in T1 and held it, this released me to catch up to those ahead. Then in P12 a coming together ahead on S/F straight saw one car come up from the apex sideways and right into my path on the high line (I was avoiding the other car involved). Heavy contact ruined front end, 7mins repairs I took 15sec to try stay on lead lap….mistake! Engine blew and game over lap 78.
Started pole in the #30 car. Managed to lose 1st place on lap 4 to a guy who was clearly faster than me and the rest of the field. Our first caution came out around lap 9 and I got 1st place back by only taking the outside tyres. Ran in 1st place for around another 20 laps before I fell to 2nd again but this time I just couldn’t find any pace – probably due to only taking the outside tyres at caution. From here on I was racing for 4th/5th for the majority of the race. Loads of cautions and changing between taking 2 or 4 tyres I found myself still fighting in 4th/5th around lap 150. It was around this time that the guy behind me managed to out-brake himself and give me my first incident points, a 4x. This loosened up the rear end a little but didn’t lose me any time.
Around lap 200 things just went downhill. On a restart the guy right in front of me managed to spin his rear wheels up and put his car into the wall. I braked hard but inevitably smashed into him. With it being a restart this meant the guy behind me went into the rear of me too. Car was smoking heavily so took it straight to the pits under yellow. I got the required repairs done but left the majority of the 5 minute optional repairs and just hoped I could finish the race. Not long after this and there was another spinner in front of me which I couldn’t miss. No required repairs but the optionals were up to 7:30 minutes. I got about a minute of these repaired and was now down a few laps but still in the race around 13th place. Another few green laps later and there’s another spin 2 cars in front of me. This time I didn’t go into the back of anyone but myself and the car in front couldn’t get past the spun car so the car in front of me decided he’s going to reverse into me! Another 4x.
Finished 12th in the end and 12 incidents of which none were my fault but I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s the way it is in oval racing the majority of the time. Had the pace to certainly be in the top 5, just a little unlucky this week. Another 66 points added to the scoreboard so I’m sat 55th in my division(4th) and 618th overall with only 4 weeks counted. Texas next week so hopefully the bigger track should mean a few less incidents
I always thought it might be the kind of race where you get hit a lot but I didn’t think it would be this bad. We just had a constant stream of cautions right from the start and very quickly you were racing lapped and damaged cars with unpredictable behavior into the corners. All seemed to go pretty well up to about lap 80 – 90. Unfortunately a very eager racer made an attempt at an overtake on me going into turn 1. I saw him coming and decided to run deep into the corner but not even this was enough and I got hit. With over 7 minutes of repairs I decided to do my best just to get the car to the finish but even this was too much. Another car contact about 20 laps from the end resulted in a disqualification and the end result meant a 15th place. I can probably take blame for two car contacts. I enjoyed it nevertheless, at least we know what to expect when this track comes round again in week 33.