The wifi on the airplane wasn’t working, so this post is a little late. Yes I know, wifi not working on the private jet isn’t really anything to cry about. Life’s tough…
I am back in Demver now from Phoenix. We flew in Thursday at 6 as will be the usual. Upon landing we went straight to the track to unload some stuff we had with us in Charlotte for the test last week. Since the test hauler went to Charlotte and the race hauler left for Phoenix before the test hauler got back, we had to carry some stuff with us. Namely stuff for the adjustable track bar. One of the new rules this year is that the cars have a driver adjustable track bar on the right rear. This allows the driver to adjust the rear suspension to affect the handling of the car.
Anyways, after dropping the stuff off at the track we went back to the hotel. Friday was a long day, 7-7 or so. In first practice we focused on qualifying trim and were I think 5th fasted which was promising. Qualifying itself didn’t go quite as well, the track got away from us a bit and we ended up 15th.
We had 2 morning practices on Saturday focused on race trim, namely we did 5-15 lap runs. While out single lap pace was decent (top 10 each session) our pace over a few laps looked even better. And Saturday was a really early day, the garage closed at 3:30. So I left the track upbeat about the race, and excited at the prospect of some free time. We talked about going to a spring training baseball game, but decided instead to go to Old Town Scottsdale. We ate at a cool Mexican bar that was mostly patio and had a special on buckets of Dos Daiis Amber, my fav!
Sunday was another beauty day weather wise. Got everything setup and ready for a 12:30 local race. We finally got all the intercom bits, so I was able to partake in that on the pit box. It allows everyone on the box to basically have a normal conversation during the race, it’s much more natural than the radios and you don’t have to push to talk. As a result of that I have a way better understanding of car setul changes and strategy call today than any of the other races so far this year.
However the race it self, I am still not sure what happened. We started 15th and slowly made our way forward. We had a good car, but couldn’t get any clean air. We finally go to about 9th and free air and the car took off. Then we had the first caution, and came in for tires and fuel. And for some reason, the car slid off the jack while doing left side tires. By the time we got it sorted we had fallen back to 22nd. So back in dirtier air, we had to pass the same cars all over again. On the next caution to get our track position back we took 2 tires. We restarted 2nd I think, and with the clean air of running second the car took off. We ran there for a bunch of laps, then back to 4th as a couple cars with 4 fresh tires caught us. This is where I get a little confused, we did some, or something happened to make the car unhappy and we really struggled to take off on the next few restarts. Then there was a poker caution, and we left our pit between the 5 and 48, who drove into the left side of us and knocked the left front fender in on the tire. We thought we would be ok, but a couple laps I to the next run the LF tire was smoking from rubbing on the fender. The. We caught our big break of the day in the form of a well timed caution. We pitted for 4 tires (cost us all our track position again) and pulled out the fenders, and the LF we took off wouldn’t have lasted many more laps… So we ran around 20th in dirty air until another well timed caution brought a bunch of cars in to the pits. We stayed out and found ourselves in 9th. Since ultimately we had a good car, we were able to hold off the new tires guys and move up and finish 7th. A good result all things considered. There’s a universe where we finish 3rd pretty easily, and there is one where we crash and finish 38th.
So 4 top 10s to start the year, not too shabby. Hopefully we can keep it up. And for those who are wondering, it was a Philly cheesesteak sandwich on the flight back to Denver.