The wifi is working! First time in the last several flights. Which is good, because I have had enough IT issues already this weekend…
We flew from Denver to Fontana (Ontario Airport perhaps?) earlier than usual on Thursday to get to the Oakley factory store before everyone else did. They give those of us with NASCAR hard cards (a license basically) a pretty awesome discount the weekend we are in town. So I got a couple new pairs of sunnies and a bathing suit. I resist aged buying to much with the motto ‘Ryan you live in a hotel’…
Then we tried and failed to beat LA area rush hour back to the hotel. We stayed at the Mission Inn in Riverside, which is a spectacular place. And I got about 20 mins in the sun by the pool which was a first this year and was a great way to start the weekend.
Friday was another 7-8 day. We practiced ok, not great. Qualifying went as well as we could have hoped for, ended up P12. Fontana (Auto Club Speedway) is a big wide track with many possible racing lines, making it easy to pass if your car is good. So 12th was more than good enough. The day was a struggle for me as I was trying to get a new piece of equipment setup for our tire guy. It required talking to a few of our vendors in other states, and was slow and tedious. Friday night I went with the Race Engineers (Pete and Jazzy) to the Mexican restaurant in the hotel, it was very tasty.
We had the usual 2 practice sessions on Saturday. We struggled on longer runs, though we had decent pick up pace (first and second lap of a run). And I struggled more with the tire tablet, thought I got it sorted but no (hopefully Monday…). Just before leaving the track, Cole and Jazzy thought they both a good plan for the race, so though it wasn’t a great day we left optimistic.
Saturday night I made plans to meet up with one of my best friends from Waterloo, Wally. Wally was the FSAE team leader at UW, and we were really close in 4th year. I think I had o ly seen him once since his wedding, so it was great to catch up, and we didn’t have enough time in just one dinner.
Sunday dawned cloudy and grey, the whole weekend prior had been sunny. I was legitimately worried it would rain, which would have meant another day in Fontana which we just can’t afford time wise. California is bad for network due to the building that separates pit row from the garage. Plus we were all the way down in turn 4 almost, which was a long way from our hauler. So the network was in and out all race with nothing I could do.
It was another up and down race. Our car was slow to take off, but after 10 laps or so we could run with anyone. So after backing up the first few laps, we made our way into the top 10 by the first pit stop. A slow pit stop dropped us back into the mix again, and we fought our way forward. Then we had a stop where a wheel didn’t get tight, and we had to come in the next lap to change tires again. Fortunately it was under caution, so we restarted 20th-ish. A well timed caution allowed us to take 2 tires and jump all the way to the lead, though we couldn’t hold it long. On that run we fell back to about 9th though it was still a net gain from 20th. We got a great restart near the end from 12th to 5th and for a mi ute 3rd looked possible. Then another caution immediately followed by a poor restart saw us end up 8th I think. I am not actually sure who won, I assumed the 4- did though I think I heard the 22 did? Anyway, I am happy with 8th as it played out. Five top 10s to start the year is very solid.
My goal this week is to decide on and apply for an apartment. Following a request from my aunt, I think commenting should now be possible. Be nice!