John sent me a list of things that he required for team No Budget Racing, which would be running two cars at Mosport. Since I was too far from his shop to help out with car maintenance, I did online shopping. Through FaceBook I contacted Lap Li at JSpec Performance. Lap and I knew each other as he participated in my lapping days when I organized them and he had a couple of sets of BFG Rivals that were the exact size needed for the Miata and also the team's Civic. Another OTA competitor and friend, Scott Cypher, sold me a set of wheels and Dunlop Direzzas. I used them at the CSCS event and now we have them on hand for our ChumpCar event. Arranged with James Schlueter (whose dad is my engine builder) to cut out the vinyl car numbers and driver's names for car identification. Contacted Danny Puskar at Carbotech Brakes and discussed with him the best brake pad setup for the twin seven hour events – settled on XP8 on both front and rear. Most important, John and I were looking for another Miata so that we would have a supply of parts. In addition to scouring online sources, I posted a request on a local car enthusiast forum. That found the car I was looking for. The engine was not suitable as it was an older model, but everything else was perfect. My role ahead of time was complete.
All that was left for me to do was make the trek to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – a two-hour drive that took over four on this holiday weekend that was overflowing with accidents and snarled traffic. Arrived at the track. Snapped a few pictures. Met the ‘No Budget Racing’ teams – John Dattomo I already knew well but I did not know the other team members. Pat Telanti and Ralph Gilles would be arriving Saturday morning. The Civic drivers were Team Principal Rob Pacione, first session driver Afshin Montazeri, second session driver Serge Inclima, and team mechanic and third driver Steve Carageorgopoulos. Afshin, Steve and I stayed in RVs overnight. Practiced getting in and out of the car – as I have not been in it since the roll cage was installed. Watched Steve do some last moment car prep and saw a great video that Afshin brought along about classic Alfa Romeos. Then called it a night. After wearing my new race shoes for a bit to ensure that they were broken in.
Saturday morning came bright and early. The car was full of gas, windshield clean and we were registered and the car had passed technical inspection the night before. At the driver’s meeting we were given all of the normal race information by ChumpCar Regional Director Sal gave a great safety overview, warned the newcomers of the dangers of Mosport, oops, pardon my memory – the dangers of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Then he sent us off to prepare for the start of the race.
After a few pace car laps we got the green flag. The race was on and Pat was running in the first session, I would be in car second, John third and Ralph would be bringing the #998 Miata home. The sound of forty ChumpCars out on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Grand Prix Track was intoxicating. Many of the drivers were on their home track but several were visiting it for the first time. In fact, one or two cars were complete novice drivers with no road course experience, including lapping. At the end of the day I think that the novices may have heeded the Sal’s cautions better than some more experienced racers. The fact that CTMP bites hard was quickly evident with some vehicles off track and the safety crews were needed and on track. This led to a full course red flag because drivers were not slowing appropriately for the full course yellow and isolated waving yellow. Sal brought everyone in for ‘The Discussion’ about respecting our safety crews and then started the race again.