This weekend was the annual VARA Octoberfest race weekend held at Buttonwillow Raceway. It features an all-German car race on Sunday along with the regular full schedule of vintage racing. Even with the close to 100 degree weather, we had over 110 entrants in five groups, and were joined by the Pacific F2000 race group as a sixth run group. Saturday night’s bratwurst bbq was a great way to catch up with old friends and to make new ones. We also had a visit from the So Cal Volvo Sports America club to root on the vintage Volvo race cars. Unfortunately, this weekend we had a rare injury accident, and I’m glad to say the driver is recovering well with a broken arm and a few contusions. It occurred during a red flag incident that requires all of us racers to review what to do when a Red Flag is flown – get off the gas, check your mirrors, slow down, and come to a stop in view of the Next Flag Station. Monday morning quarterbacking is always too easy to do, but we can learn two things from this accident – coming to a stop in a bad (blind) spot can lead to bad things, and some drivers don’t always see the flags that are flying. Nuff said, but here’s the link.
I had the opportunity to swap race cars with two fellow racers during practice sessions this weekend. It was a great way to compare set-ups and to get ideas on how to improve your own car. After driving the wagon, both drivers made similar remarks – the front end works well, the rear feels a little vague, and the high-speed vibration needs attention. The latter two issues were ones that I had just been driving around and no longer thinking about, so now I know where my attention needs to go.
After two full seasons with the Race Wagon, the gains are no longer coming easy. The lap times have stabilized and I’m working harder for a few tenths here and there. While I’m having lots of fun racing with the same group of guys, I really need to now fine tune my racecraft and chassis tuning skills. And as I work on a little racier motor and a close ratio gearbox, I’m discovering the “arms race” side of racing – EVERYBODY is working on a racier motor and a better gearbox 😉