Raced with VARA at Buttonwillow Raceway in my Datsun this weekend, even got to have my brother along as crew. We had a great weekend, cool weather for May, good parties in the pits, the 710 running well. I started at the back of the pack for Sunday’s Flag race to have some fun with my mid-pack comrades as we didn’t have what it took to battle up front this weekend. Teams Rose and Blasko have really upped the ante in BS while I’ve been off racing my Van Diemen! About half way through the Sunday race, the throttle return spring on my rear carb broke and it jammed wide open, my day was done…
This weekend I raced in the Pacific F2000 series at Buttonwillow Raceway Park near Bakersfield, CA. This entry-level pro series was running with the Cal Club SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Majors event for races 5 and 6 of their twelve race season. For the first time in this series’ history they ran a separate “National” class (Pinto-powered) for early F2000/FC cars. We only had three early cars in attendance, but hope to have the class grow as racers find there is a competitive place to run their old FCs once again. While the National class guys are mostly privateers, the modern F2000 class seems to be dominated by national level drivers with team support. These guys are serious: sticker tires everyday, mechanics, transporters, etc. Both fun and a little intimidating to race against them…
I’ve got all the big issues sorted out with my RF93, and was able to enjoy just racing as hard as I could this weekend. A fresh motor this winter, a fresh set-up and new tires this week, the right gearing, and a pit crew of one (me), it was now indeed ‘go time’. I enjoyed good dicing with some P2 and F2000 cars this weekend, and ran my best times ever on the CW25 full track configuration. I earned a Class win and took home my first cash winnings as a race car driver, who’d of thought I’d be going pro at 54.
VARA and SVRA co-hosted a great event at Willow Spring Raceway this weekend. We had 150 vintage car entries running in 7 Groups, and the Trans-Am West pro series ran with us as well. Good fun to see the giant tractor-trailers and pit carts these pro teams use. The weather cooperated with sunny skies, temps in the 50s-60s, and the usual spring winds.
I’m glad to report that my RF93 ran well and finished every session! After its frustrating start and a winter teardown, I was sure hoping for a good outing. I had the wrong gearing for Willow, I didn’t expect to run the speeds I was getting, so I was out of gear by T7 on the back straight and Start/Finish on the front straight, but she sure hauled the mail in the corners 😉 Since we basically just had to add fuel all weekend, we had time to enjoy doing the little things on the car. So now I’ve got some good data for gearing, ride height, tire pressures, etc.
This weekend was VARA’s 2017 season opener at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV. Wonderful facility, but we had lousy weather. Friday’s test day and Saturday’s practice/qualifiers saw lots of rain, wind, and even snow in the local foothills. Luckily Sunday’s races were dry and everyone finally got the chance to enjoy the 3.4 mile Mansell course. Our Club’s usual Pace Car driver is taking a temporary medical leave of absence (we wish him well), so I was drafted into service since my car is still in winter rehab. Driving the Pace/Safety Car was a busy task this weekend, and it was a tougher job to do well than I anticipated. I really appreciate all the help I received from my fellow club members during my rookie pacing weekend. Since I wasn’t wrenching and racing this weekend, I had some time to shoot a few pictures of Racing in the Rain.
In recognition of Formula Ford’s 50th Anniversary, VARA hosted a special FF race with more than twenty competitors. Watching these guys race in the rain sure made you realize how spirited this group really is.
Last weekend I had a few buddies racing at Sonoma Raceway with 24 Hour of LeMons, what a scene! 182 cars took the green flag on Saturday morning, and an incredible number were still running come Sunday at sunset, one fifty plus. Team Geritol (aka Team Blue Light Special) had a few issues, but still had the old Rabbit running at the end. A seized right rear wheel bearing caused an extended pit stop on Saturday that took them out of their Class title hopes, but they fought back for a top 120 finish 😉 An amazing Honda 600 and a couple of Vanagons were also pitted nearby.
The Van Deimen made it’s maiden voyage with me this weekend at SFR SCCA’s final race of the season at Thunderhill Raceway. It sure was nice to join up with my Group 4 brethren once again after a year’s absence from them. Following a week long flog to get the car ready, my buddy Art and I took it up for a test day and to get a new logbook issued. Lots of little issues every session – oil leaks, hydraulic leaks, electrical gremlins, etc, but at least the chassis and drivetrain “seemed” pretty solid. SCCA Tech made getting a new logbook issued for this car a pain in the butt (who would think that Halon fire bottles are now illegal?!?), but that’s the price to play I guess.
Racing however proved to test the car’s limits, with overheating issues occurring after a few laps each session. But while we were on track, we were at least able to keep the FC leaders in sight for a couple of laps. First time out with a new car is always a test of skill, patience, and yeah, your wallet. Hopefully next time out will be a bit better…
Photos by Privateer Racing
We raced at Buttonwillow Raceway with VARA this weekend, and the club tried out a new (and successful) race format. We ran the track counter-clockwise on Saturday with a Practice/Qualifying Practice/Race schedule, and then ran the track clockwise with the same schedule on Sunday. Two points races on two “different” tracks in one weekend, excellent! It was sure a hot one, with race time temps at 95F degrees, but we were prepared for the heat with a Cool Suit and window scoops for the driver, and a spot in the garages for the car and crew. My Datsun 710 was running quite well this weekend, a few little issues arose, but nothing we couldn’t manage. Water pump replacement for a failing shaft bearing, out of balance wheel, odds and ends… but we Qualified third, and finished third, for both races.
Formula Ford The Series had a great turnout of cars, I think I counted 18 cars. TABS-West was there as well with at least that many in BS and BSL. On Saturday they held the Rennsport All-German car race, and this weekend we even had quite a few rookies out there sporting their yellow Rookie Stripes. One of VARA’s sponsors, Lucas Oil, had plenty of swag for the competitors, and the Saturday night BBQ and raffle were their usual hit with racers, families, crews, and corner workers alike.
Photos by Privateer Racing
Last weekend I went racing with SFR SCCA at Laguna Seca raceway. My vintage B/Sedan-prepped Datsun 710 doesn’t really fit into any modern SCCA class so I raced in the catch-all ITE class, along with Corvettes, Mustangs, and Porsche Cup cars. I was definitely running in the back of the pack, but had a few cars to dice with and got to practice getting passed 😉 And while I’m no longer racing a Formula Ford, my former competitors still let me share their pits with them.
Every race weekend there is ‘that guy’. That guy who messes up the track session for everyone else, who gets stuck in the sand traps every time out, who runs out of gas on the back straight, or who oils down the track. Well this weekend I embarrassingly got to be ‘that guy’. I left an oil fitting loose, and as it came off I oiled down Turns 6 through 11 with four quarts of oil on the first lap of Friday morning’s practice. The 30 minute session was cut short to 10 minutes as the track workers got busy with the oil-soak and sweepers. Luckily I shut down the motor with two quarts left in it, saving myself another motor build. Apologies to my fellow competitors…
The summer weather was terrific, but there was a scary fire burning in Big Sur just down the highway from the racetrack. It got a bit smokey on Sunday, but nothing compared to what the hard-working firefighters were (and still are) dealing with.
Photos by my racing buds: Art, Mike, Shad, and Don (as I was busy wrenchin’ all weekend)