|Ready to rock! I was very excited to qualify.|
This weekend marked the first chance all year I’d have to qualify the car, as our session was rained out in Long Beach in April, and our guest 3rd drivers qualified at both Sebring and Laguna Seca, and I’d been looking forward to it for weeks by the time the race weekend finally rolled around. After driving qualifying in 90% of my races from 2007-2009, I only did it once in 2010 and twice in 2011, so getting the chance to get back to it had me excited all season.
|Heading on track. We had a red flag during the session and so we had two shots at it. As you can see, we don't give our competitors any slack – even on pit lane.|
Between running with older tires, working traffic, and the periodic red flags which peppered the day (including a couple of which our car was responsible for, thanks to a return of our starter motor gremlin), I never managed a lap I was very happy with in practice, so our pace was a bit of a question mark heading into qualifying. On top of that, besides being my first qualifying run in the car, due to various unplanned circumstances, I had never done a mock qualifying or low fuel run.
|Unfortunately for us, we didn't have the qualifying we wanted. So, it was time to focus on the two hour and forty-five minute race.|
Qualifying did not get off to a stellar start, as I was well off the pace when a spun car in the chicane brought out a red flag. Thankfully, the short lap at Lime Rock means you get a lot of chances to throw down a lap, as long as you still have tires to do it, so once the green flag waved once again I got my head down and got after it…and managed to stick it in 6th place. While 6th would be a perfectly reasonable starting spot for an Indycar race, or in a 43 car NASCAR field, we only had 6 car in our class last weekend, so let’s say it was somewhat underwhelming. On the positive side, however, I knocked a lot of time off, going some 2 seconds faster than we had in practice, and was not far behind the two Core Autosport cars in 4th and 5th. While some would argue that the guys fighting for pole are the benchmark, it’s worth noting that Core has won every race this season and are the defending champions from 2011, so they are clearly doing something right.