They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets…

The last time I wrote, which was in July, I set a goal with myself to write once a month.  I guess now that it’s September, I have kind of failed that objective already….drat!

It’s been a busy summer, but nothing that really seems to stand out, at least since the 24 Hours of Spa.  I was in Pittsburgh (F3/F4/Trans Am), Virginia (Lamborghini Super Trofeo), Road Atlanta (Ferrari Challenge, Road America (Trans Am) and Watkins Glen (Pirelli World Challenge).  That’s a busy, if somewhat unremarkable month.  Definitely some cool tracks to visit, though not as exciting since I didn’t get to drive any laps…
I’m currently waiting to fly to Atlanta for F3 at Road Atlanta, my last event of this month.  So far it’s included a road trip from Watkins Glen to Summit Point (West Virginia) for an F3 tire test.  From there I flew straight to Indianapolis for the Midget race in the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Last weekend I was in Road Atlanta for the Ferrari Challenge race, and now I’m headed back.  Seems like it’s been a lot of Road Atlanta the last little while…
I guess the midget race is the only other thing I really want to touch on.  Blake’s Dad, Dan, ran two cars at the event, which was a nice break from the 4 he normally runs at the Chili Bowl.  We had two of his ‘regular’ drivers, so it was an entirely familiar group, which was good because the event was a bit of a different format, and that along with the timing and the weather resulted in it being rather chaotic.  It had been a long time since I ‘worked’ outside at night at a dirt track, it felt rather familiar if a little strange after all the other stuff I’ve done the past few years.  We didn’t get the result that we wanted, we might have had the weather cooperated a little more, but I guess we will never know.  But we learned a few things for the Chili Bowl, sorted a few gremlins, and generally I think moved the program another step or two.  Fingers crossed it pays off in January!
Which I guess brings me to the last thing I want to write about, and one that has rather occupied my mind the past week or two.  I found out the week of the Indy Midget race that FRR would cease operations at the end of the 2018 season.  No more 78 car.  It generally left me speechless, and rather sad.  That has been such a big part of my life the past few years, and I have a lot of friends who will be significantly impacted by that news.  It was a two year period of my life that, for better and worse, win and learn, I will always remember fondly.  I had always thought/hoped that I’d end up back out there in some fashion, and I guess now I will have to come up with another scheme.  I’m trying to work a Denver trip into my fall schedule, and now it seems that much more important to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Life continues…
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Among other foolish things…

I am going to try something of a live blog today, as it’s race day for the 24 Hours of Spa you can read me slowly but surely go crazy!

It’s almost 13:00 here (on Saturday I think). I got to the track at noon today, we just had our Pirelli group photo, and now I’m sitting down to lunch. The race is scheduled to start at 16:30 today, so there won’t be much action for a few hours at least. It’s currently sunny and warm, though not as hot as it has been which is nice. Especially once the nomex goes on! The forecast called for rain today, but appears to have cleared up now. However, it’s Spa, and that can change very quickly…

23:59:46 – And we are green!

22:54:30 – First round of pit stops completed, good to get one under my/our belt

22:10:12 – Safety car brings everyone to the pits once again, a little scrambly but no issues. For anyone wondering, they are allowed as many sets of tires as they like for the race, and must make a pit stop every 65 minutes.

19:05 – It’s dinner time for me. The first 2.5 hours of the race went by pretty quickly. I can really see the appeal of this kind of competition, it’s a very different kind of challenge.

20:37:44 – Back from dinner to chaos. #58 Mclaren was hit in the rear, puncturing the tire and damaging the car. They were running about 8th before that happened. #44 Mercedes is also in the pit replacing some front suspension, not sure why but it can’t be good. Ruebens Barrichello is one of the drivers of this car, and somehow he still looks happy.

18:15:05 – The last couple of hours have been full course yellows and darkness falling. It’s now 22:15 and almost fully dark.

15:31:36 – I am just on my break, I have 1h25 to do something. I think I will wander down to Eau Rouge, it’s supposed to be spectacular at night. And then lie down and try and sleep a bit in the trailer. Any suggestions?

14:04:19 – I just got back to pit lane from my break. Eau Rouge is very cool at night. And I can’t sleep on the bench in a trailer in a racetrack. Home stretch now! Kind of…

13:19:02 – The red flag has come out, meaning the race has stopped. All of the cars are now back on pit lane, and it’s eerily quiet… On the plus side, I have acquired a (sort of) real coffee from my Mercedes team, the first of (probably several during) the race.

11:51:45 – We are past halfway! The race is just about to restart, there was a bad crash in Eau Rouge.

10:52:44 – I just noticed for the first time that it’s getting light outside again. Also another safety car, big crash for a Mercedes.

8:41:12 – That safety car period lasted over an hour, which allowed me to have breakfast without missing anything. It’s now pretty much the next day, nice and cloudy though which is keeping the temperature down.

6:01:04 – Coffee count is now at 2. And the sun is out.

4:00:03 – Back from lunch, 4 hours to go, we are in the home stretch!

0:58:13 – Less than 1 hour to go, and only 2 cars each with 1 stop left….so close…

It’s over! It ended at 16:30 local (obviously, as it started at 16:30 local). I’ve got a couple of debrief meetings that should be pretty quick as it went pretty well from our perspective. Then hopefully some dinner and a celebratory beer! I would guess this will be a 36+ hour day by the time it’s over…

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