The dismantling of the Tower and having a skeleton staff on Friday played logistical havoc with Atlanta Region, and the weather Friday morning messed things up for the rest of us. Other than that, we had 14 V8RRS members attending and some pretty good racing happened!
I left the thriving metropolis of St Marys GA around noon Thursday and got to the track around 7:00 PM. After finding where BJ & Jay were paddocked I unhooked the trailer but never unloaded since the forecast called for rain that evening. I then headed down to the main paddock and found Randy, Judy, Mark, Amy, and Tyler all hanging out at the Walker Compound where we had dinner & beverages while discussing how the test day had gone. Tyler and Mark had never run Road Atlanta, so while Tyler was learning the track with his car Mark (at Randy's insistence) also got to do the three sessions in the ASA Monte Carlo Randy uses as his back-up car (which proved fortuitous as noted above). I'll let Tyler and Mark offer their opinions regarding the track, but neither of them disputed my contention that Road Atlanta is one of the five iconic race tracks in North America.
As I mentioned above, it was "misting" when we got to the track Friday morning which turned into full-fledged rain just as our group was set to qualify. Randy was the only V8RRS driver that went out, which did not end well. Unfortunately the Grid people forgot to remind drivers (at least those who had them) to turn their taillights on, so only Randy and GT1 driver Joe Freda had them on. Randy was chasing Joe down the back straight when Joe suddenly pulled right and Randy rear-ended a GT3 Mazda RX3 that was running slowly with no taillights - Randy never saw him until he hit him! Randy's backup car (the Monte Carlo) was already out of the trailer because Mark had driven it on the test day, so Randy switched cars. Things did clear off around noon so we got our cars ready for the 3:30 10-lap "qualifying race" while Randy & Mark swapped his entry over to the Monte Carlo. Since none of us had qualifying times from the morning session they lined us up in the order we arrived to Grid, which pretty much scrambled things for the start.
We got the green first time around and everybody behaved themselves while we sorted things out. Bob Davis was more concerned about SARRC points (which are awarded only for Saturday's race) than finishing position, so he dropped back early to get a gap to run a clean lap then came in after turning a 1:33+ around lap four or so. I'm not sure what happened closer to the front, but reportedly Randy led from Tyler until Randy's engine started laying down (ended up being two bad plug wires). I was having a pretty good race with Jay and was getting ready to test things on the asphalt dyno, but my engine started misfiring around lap five (as I radioed to Mike and Allan, "I'm not sure how many cylinders are firing, but it's definitely not EIGHT!") and I chose to abandon the effort. Mike Attaway also was experiencing problems that they weren't able to resolve, but at least he managed to make it to the checkered flag. Ends up Jay got by BJ for second in GTA, so had I maintained proximity to him I would have ended up much better in the final order - woulda, coulda, shoulda. The finishing order is here (and no, we still don't have lap times):
.1st GT1 (2nd OA) Zach Monette - Optech Mustang .1st SPO (4th OA) Paige Alexander - Optech Corvette .1st GTA (5th OA) Tyler Wilson - Revolution Electric Grand Prix .1st GT2 (6th OA) Dick Ruckh - Technical Compressor Service Camaro .2nd GTA (7th OA) Jay Gomer - Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo .3rd GTA (8th OA) BJ Holley - BJ Holley Race Cars Impala .4th GTA (9th OA) Randy Walker - Walker Properties Monte Carlo .2nd GT2 (10thOA) Mike Attaway - ATCO Demolition Camaro .1st AS (12th OA) Dainton Brooks - Georgia Control Center Cobra Mustang .5th GTA (18th OA) Steve Magowen - University Volvo Camaro .6th GTA (19th OA) Jim Praytor - Chattanooga Painting & Decorating Monte Carlo .7th GTA (20th OA) Bob Davis - AquaPro Pools & Spas, Prestone Impala .8th GTA (22nd OA) Butch Kummer - Johnny NY Style Pizza, O'Brien Express Monte Carlo
Friday evening we found two plug wires (#6 & #5) that appeared to be arcing together at the distributor cap, so we separated them, patched them with electrical tape, and hoped for the best. Mark replaced the two burned plug wires on Randy's car and Jarrod Smith went through the process of switching drivers so he could drive Jim Praytor's car. I'm not sure who else went out for the 10-minute warm up first thing in the morning, but Mike Attaway found they had NOT resolved their problems so he was a DNS for Saturday's 20-lap ARRC Championship race. I also don't know the grid order since we don't have lap times for Friday's race, but the grid staff got everyone lined up and we rolled off for the pace lap.
We again got the green first time by and things sorted out pretty quickly since we were now in order by best lap time. Just after we came out of Turn 7 on lap 1 I saw Tyler's silver Grand Prix with the two right-side tires in the dirt so I lifted slightly to see if he would be able to save it, then slowed even more when it became apparent the sign on the dash had flipped from "driver" to "passenger" and he crunched the nose against Road Atlanta's unforgiving concrete walls. I found out afterward that he, Randy, and BJ were going three-wide at that point and Tyler was unable to save it after dropping two tires in the grass. The next lap I passed Jay on the back straight when he had the RR tire go down, so after two laps I was up to fourth in class!
I wasn't close enough to see what was happening up front, but I know Zach was leading overall and having a good nose-to-tail battle with Joe Freda when they lapped me around lap 9 while Dick Ruckh and Paige were having solitary runs in their respective classes. In GTA Bob Davis pretty much checked out while Randy and BJ battled, then as I was coming up the hill to Turn 3 around lap 8 (with Steve Magowen and Dainton on my six) I saw Bob sideways in the runoff area on driver's left. He gathered it up and resumed, but BJ & Randy were long gone by that point so he soldiered on for a third place finish. It ends up the RR axle cap on Bob's car had come loose which allowed the axle to vacate the premises, so Bob was running with only one axle. Afterwards I asked how he could run like that and they "suspected" the other axle had engaged both sides of the locker so he was effectively running a spool for the last half of the race. About that same time my engine again felt like it was laying down so I waved Dainton and Steve by, then tracked them for another lap before a FCY came out (not sure why). During the FCY the engine quit as I was going through 10A & B and I came down pit road before remembering to switch to the other ignition box. The engine started again so I went down pit road and resumed at the back of the pack. I stayed out a couple more laps while things seemed to get worse, so I pulled in after completing 13 of the scheduled 20 laps. NOT a great weekend for BK Racing, but we'll figure it out.
Finally, Zach retired from the overall lead on lap 16 with an overheating problem (the temp gauge was at 270), but the good news for him is they appear to have resolved the inner ear issues that were causing him to get sick after ten or so laps at Road Atlanta.
Here are the final results from Saturday (this time with best laps):
.1st SPO (2nd OA) Paige Alexander, 1.27.437 - Optech Corvette .1st GTA (4th OA) BJ Holley, 1.34.934 - BJ Holley Race Cars Impala .2nd GTA (5th OA) Randy Walker, 1.35.571 - Walker Properties Monte Carlo .3rd GTA (7th OA) Bob Davis, 1.34.942 - AquaPro Pools & Spas, Prestone Impala .1st GT2 (8th OA) Dick Ruckh, 1.35.129 - Technical Compressor Service Camaro .4th GTA (12th OA) Steve Magowen, 1.36.552 - University Volvo Camaro .1st AS (14th OA) Dainton Brooks, 1.39.259 - Georgia Control Center Cobra Mustang .5th GTA (17th OA) Jarrod Smith, 1.43.219 - Chattanooga Painting & Decorating Monte Carlo .1st GT1 (18th OA) Zach Monette, 1.25.836 - Optech Mustang .6th GTA (19th OA) Butch Kummer, 1:37.658 - Johnny NY Style Pizza, O'Brien Express Monte Carlo .7th GTA (21st OA) Jay Gomer, 1.36.394 - Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo .8th GTA (22nd OA) Tyler Wilson, no time - Revolution Electric Grand Prix .2nd GT2 (DNS) Mike Attaway, no time - ATCO Demolition Camaro
Next up is Roebling Road the weekend of Nov 17 & 18...