The weather over the weekend made things somewhat challenging, but we ended up with 11.5 V8RRS by WCIParts.com entries at the March 11-12 Road Atlanta event - the ".5" is because I've not yet convinced Brent Bernath to join, but he's thinking about it! :-)
Jacek Mucha in the Phoenix-Innotech Mazda was our single ASR entry, but was running as a P1 car in the Wings & Things group since this was an SCCA Majors weekend. He qualified on the pole in P1 (second overall) with a 1:20.118, then won the P1 class (3rd OA behind two Formula Atlantic cars) in both races. His best laps in each race were a 1:24.642 on Saturday and a 1:21.851 on Sunday, but I don't know how hard he was pushing since his closest P1 competitor was over 20 seconds back in each race. Jacek is excited about the series and will run with us in the big bore group at many events that are not SCCA Majors even though he will not be running the "V8 Road Racing Series" windshield banner! :P
With a 28 car field getting a clean lap was critical, but after Saturday's 25-minute Big Bore qualifying session our field lined up thusly:
With the exception of Randy, Adam, and Ricky that's pretty close to where I'd expect folks to line up, so during lunch I went around to get "the rest of the story":
In Randy's case his 2010+ Camaro had "just quit" (EFI works really well until it doesn't) on the test day so he rolled out the back-up car that was still running on seven cylinders as it had been at NOLA the previous weekend.
For Adam and his dad (I'm guessing that's "Pappi's Garage"?) this was the first race weekend with their new engine and it was suffering from fluctuating oil pressure. Rather than taking a chance he pulled in after one lap, then during the break they added over a gallon of oil and would start from the back to see if that cured the problem.
In Ricky's case this was the first-ever weekend driving a new-to-him Pro Cup Camaro he'd just bought. Since his major (pun intended) concern for the weekend was being able to count two starts towards earning a 2017 Runoffs invitation he didn't take a chance on breaking it on Friday, then during the qualifying session he quickly realized it was [b]NOT[/b] set up properly for road racing!
It had been threatening rain most of Saturday afternoon and there were drops on the windshield as we drove to Grid, but everyone stayed on slicks rather than going to rain tires. Just after getting on track outside pole-sitter AJ Hendriksen (NOT a V8RRS member) spun going up the hill, recovered, then scrambled the field as he tried to regain his original starting position (more on this later). I'm guessing that confusion contributed to the starter waving us off the first time around, but the field was lined up better and we took the green next time by. I didn't see everything that happened because I was otherwise occupied at the time, but apparently Zach built about a 15-second lead before mechanical issues caused him to retire after 10 laps. In the meantime Adam determined his oil pressure issues were resolved so he was charging from the rear and took the overall lead after Zach pulled in.
In the GTA battle I tried to keep two GT3 Mazdas between me and my competition but they both eventually got by and pulled enough of a lead in the Esses that I couldn't re-pass on the back straight. About six laps into the 25-minute race Harriett told me BJ was "the next car back", then next time around "the 78 car (Randy) is coming fast". Apparently he was again running on eight cylinders and even though I could pull him on the back straight he was able to carry enough speed to pass me going into Turn One and drive away in the twisties. That put BJ on my rear bumper and it was almost a perfect replay of our race at the ARRC last November, even with him diving inside once in Turn Seven only for me to out-drag him down the long Road Atlanta back straight. In a change from the ARRC, however, this time if BJ was close enough to make a pass attempt I'd take a defensive line (he described it a bit differently) into Turns 1 & 7 and was able to hold him off to the checkered flag by 0.264 seconds.
After the race the stewards moved Hendriksen to the back of the order for passing under (double) yellow to regain his starting position, but that did not take away from the tremendous battle he and Paige had for second overall. Harriett was watching from 10A and was impressed when Hendriksen made a late-braking pass attempt but Paige refused to be intimidated and held her position. After the steward's decision here are the official results:
1st SPO (1st OA) - Adam Romito / Pappi's Garage, Magnolia Business Centre, Hancock Performance, East Alabama Paving Camaro / 1:25.631
Sunday's race was a bit less exciting (from my seat at least). It had rained heavily overnight but stopped during the morning, so by our 4:20 race the track was dry but C-O-L-D (around 45 degrees, I think). On the pace lap I realized my power steering was not working so I pulled over at Turn Seven and let the entire field go by rather than taking a chance at messing up someone else's race. As I came down the hill to take the green the yellow flag was waving at the start stand and Bob Monette's #135 Jaguar had impacted the wall on driver's right about halfway down the front straight. I talked to Bob after the race and he said it was faster than usual start and he'd spun the rear tires slightly at the green which caused Randy Kinsland to "barely nudge" him a bit. Unfortunately that helped Bob to spin and while he almost saved it he did hit the wall. Racing deal, no cause for fisticuffs afterwards (unlike the NASCAR race at Las Vegas!!!).
Here are the final results from Sunday:
1st SPO (1st OA) - Adam Romito / Pappi's Garage, Magnolia Business Centre, Hancock Performance, East Alabama Paving Camaro / 1:25.901
Next on the schedule for the V8RRS by WCIPart.com are the March 24-26 Hoosier Super Tour at the Circuit of the Americas, then our first "dual-event" April 22-23 weekend at Roebling Road and Blackhawk Farms Raceway.