Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good Neighbor Pharmacy/BG Oil Cobalt Runner-up finish at IDRC Fontana. Strange day and smart racing puts Erica in the finals.

On a day that it was supposed to rain, conditions turned out to be almost perfect for racing at The Auto Club Dragway in Fontana. The Auto Club staff had the track well prepared, maybe a little too well prepared, as several cars broke numerous parts leaving the starting line which created a long day of clean up for the track officials. Erica Nocita, driving the GNP/BG Oil Cobalt and Wyatt Radke, in the VW Manx were ready to do battle as qualifying began around 9:30am. On his first pass, Wyatt left the line hard but the trans popped out of gear and the run came to an abrupt halt about 3 feet off the starting line. With no apparent damage, it was back in the staging lanes for another qualifying attempt. Erica was up next in the very competitive "Quick" class for her first run and the Cobalt was sounding like it was ready to win. She left the line hard and was on a great pass when the car failed to shift into 3rd gear. Not good. After getting the car back to the pits and a discussion by phone with Steve Moore of GM Racing, it was concluded that an internal problem in the trans would put us on the trailer for the day.

Back at the starting line, Wyatt made a great run and gave us a baseline time to work with, a 12.15 at 104 mph. After a small tire pressure adjustment it was back to the line and another good pass - 12.11 at 105 mph. We felt as though we had a handle on the car so we parked it and waited for first round.

After some discussion it was decided that we'd go ahead and take the Cobalt up for first round. There is always a chance of your competition turning on the red light (a foul start) or breaking, especially with the traction being as good as it was. As we came up to the starting line we noticed that we didn't have anyone to race! Our first round opponent had broken in qualifying and couldn't get it to the starting line! We went ahead and made the single run with Erica trying to quick-shift the car into 3rd gear to see if that might override the problem. It didn't, but we got the win. Wyatt came up and smoked his first round competition with ease. We now had both cars in the second round.

Rad's next race was fun to watch. The car in the other lane tried playing some staging games against Wyatt by not coming into the beams in a timely manner. He sat there for some time, revving his engine and refusing to stage. Wyatt went into the beams first, and he followed shortly after. With a dial in of 14.30 to our 12.05, Wyatt was giving up a little over 2 seconds on the starting line. The driver of the other car evidently got a little confused and before he figured out what had happened, Wyatt left the line and was out in front about 100 feet off the starting line and took the win easily.

We brought Erica back to the starting line happy that we had made it through the first round with a wounded car. Surprise number two. In the previous round the car we were supposed to race had won their round, but hurt their motor in the process and wouldn't be able to make the call. Erica brought the Cobalt to the starting line and eased it down the track for win number two, which put her into the finals of the eight car field.

As Wyatt lined up for his third round race, we were feeling confident because both the car and Wyatt seemed to be performing beautifully. Wrong. As Wyatt let the clutch fly the car shuttered and came to a stop about 5 feet off the line with a broken transmission. Our opponent in the other lane had the head start but didn't see that Wyatt was broken. He ran his car to the finish line running faster than his dial in and broke out by a few thousandths of a second giving us the win!

Now, with two broken cars, we had one in the finals and one in the quarter finals! Unfortunately, we couldn't get Wyatt's car to move under it's own power so he was done for the day. We handed the next round win to our opponent...what goes around comes around. Erica lined up in the finals against seasoned racer Ali Afshar in his Subaru. She gave it the old college try, but without 3rd gear the race was over by a thousand feet and Ali had the win.

It was quite a day of highs and lows. Sometimes, as in life, you just have to show up. Other times, you feel like you've got the world by the tail and it gets away from you. But at the end of the day, if everyone is safe and the cars are in one piece, it's all good. Thanks to all the IDRC staff and track workers for all of their hard work and for giving us a good, safe track all day. You guys are the best!

The Dalcorp pit...ready to race on a day that it
was suppose to rain!

Erica and Wyatt sharing a few moments before

The Cobalt sounded angry on the burnout....

...ready to rock.

Wyatt coming out of the water box. He was on
the tree all day with great reaction times.

"Lil Kass" with her first race behind the wheel.
Could this be a sign of things to come? Watch
out, Erica!

Ready for first round....focused.

Chris Shevlin and Chicago Title Insurance...this
one's for you.

The orange and purple car tried playing some
staging games with Wyatt on the starting line.
Big mistake.

BIG mistake. He had a two second head start
but Wyatt was out in front by 100 feet!

Erica and her final round opponent, Ali Afshar.

Heading into the finals.....

Erica came off the line first, but without 3rd gear
the race went to Afshar. Congratulations Ali!

The best time of the day. The trophy and the
check! Thanks IDRC!

We had the youngest crew member of any
team by far!

It took a little doing but Al finally got his hands
on the check!

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