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West Coast Season Opener!

For the first weekend of racing, Factory Five was well represented at Thunderhill Raceway Park: Six racers, one Time Trial driver, and three working on their driving skills in HPDE.

Under clear blue skies, with temps. in the 70ís (remember this is California!!), the racers got down to business with Saturday Qualifying.  Karen started things off with a new record (low 2:05, to be verified), followed by Dave Standridge, Robert Walter, Rich Norgrove, Rick Anderson, and Ed Boothman (who will be joining us for, hopefully, most of the season.  Missing in action was T.C. McNett (2007 West Coast Champion).

At the start, Karen got off to a great start, with Dave close behind. Rick also got the jump on Robert and Rich for the third spot.  Rich and Robert waged a fierce battle while Dave and Karen battled for the lead.  Ed, learning the new track, was rounding out the group.

At the checker, it was Karen for the win, followed closely by Dave, then Rick, Robert, Rich, and Ed.  In tech, it was determined that Robertís rear track was ever so slightly (by about a ľĒ) wide and had to take a DQ.

After the last checkered flag of the day, we all enjoyed freshly blended margaritas compliments of Karen and Andy Salvaggio, very competitive bench racing, and the always popular BBQ hosted by NASA.  A good first day of the season!

For Sundayís activities, we have elected to once again run qualifying, points races.  Points are awarded for finishing order, and best lap time is used for grid order in the feature race.  For this race, we inverted the finishing order (without penalties) from the Saturday race.  Once again, a clean, tightly contested race with great battles, start to finish.  The best battle came at the checker with Dave passing Karen at the line with about .003 seconds to spare.  Thatís about the distance of our trim rings on out head lights!!  Following was Robert, Rich, Ed, and Rick to round out the field. Also, Karenís record (from the previous day) fell to Daveís 2:04.

From the qualifying race, pole went to Dave, second spot went to Karen, third to Rick, then Robert, Rich, and Ed to complete the grid.  At he start, Karen got a jump on Dave for the early lead, followed by Rick, Robert, Rick, and Ed.  Early on, Robert and Rich got very close with Robert taking a brief excursion off track.  Not to be denied, Robert got right back into the fray. Meanwhile, Karen was managing to hold off Dave and Rick was fighting to keep in sight of the top two drivers.  Halfway through the race, everyone was red flagged because of an incident involving a couple of ST-2 cars, a tire wall, and a failure to heed a waving yellow flag. Fortunately, the race was allowed to continue.  Dave and Karen resumed their battle, with the rest of the field trying to stay in sight.  Near the end of the race, Dave made a pass for the lead and held it to the checker.  With Karen not willing to concede the top spot, Dave had to run error free to keep Karen at bay.  Meanwhile, Robert had marched his way back to challenge Rick for the third spot.  That drama was played out at the finish line with a drag race from turn 15 to the checker.  This time it was Rick who came out on top, but Robert proved he is ready to wheel that little car with the best of them. Rich came in behind the Rick/Robert drag race with Ed continuing to acclimate to the new car and track.

All in all a great way to start the new season.  The next race will be in April at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point to those of us older that 30).

Rick Anderson

West Coast Race Director

Page last updated: 07/02/2008

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