California Speedway Race Report: August 1-2, 2009
Saturday Race Report
Three FFR spec racers made their way to Auto Club (California) Speedway
for the third round in the Southern CA FFR Championship. TC McNett, Mike
Beeler, and Karen Salvaggio completed the warm-up and qualified in good
position among the huge field of GTS, AI, ST1-2, and CMC field. TC would
be on pole by a narrow .02 second margin with a 157:06 against Karen's
It was difficult to pre-grid the sixty-five car field that represented
Race Group B. Even with the long pit lane, the cars could not squeeze
into the lane, but they eventually got things sorted out....
When the green flag fell......Well it turned out that it wasn't a green
flag at all, but rather a green and yellow displayed at the same time
(Yikes! What does a racer do??), which later was explained to the race
group as meaning "Yes, we're under "race" conditions, but there's no
passing"...Hmmm, well, try to tell that to 65 people coming onto the
front straight-a-way with adrenalin pumping and lots of ponies under the
hood! .....Needless to say, it was a dogpile, and I'm still not sure it
was sorted correctly....People passed under local and full course yellow
(and there were a lot of them), and with so many mechanicals and off's,
the race boiled down to three green flag laps.
Most spectacular was the a Ferrari that grenaded his motor right at the
apex of Turn 2 (highbank) on the first lap and laid down a wide and deep
patch of engine oil and a few parts, all through Turn 2! Yikes! TC and I
were going pretty much door to door when we both hit it...He told me
later that evening that he thought, "Holy smokes!!! Let's hope this
thing finds some traction before I find Karen's rear quarter panel!" We
all made it through safely though (Nice driving TC)......Oh ya, and did
I tell you the agreement was made that FFR could start between CMC2 and
CMC1 as we were significantly faster? Well, that agreement was thrown
out the window by grid workers, and the FFR's ended up starting dead
last....Lots of fun for sure!
After running just three green flag laps, at the checkered it was TC to
take the win, Karen for second, and Mike taking third place......With
all the carnage...Nice racing guys!!!
Sunday Race Report
All three spec racers had to do some major work to their cars after
Saturday's on track sessions. TC's #33 blew a oil cooler line in a late
afternoon Time Trial session, and he had to be brought in on the
hook....Mike Beeler's #10 lost a transmission earlier in the day, which
needed to be changed before the race, and Karen's #28 was loosing power
at high speed....All crews worked on the cars into the evening, and were
race ready at 8:20 AM for the warm-up session. Qualifying saw TC and
Karen virtually setting the same pace, only this time, Karen nipped the
Pole Position with a 158:457 while TC clocked a 158:499....Mike
continued to improve his lap times, and was set to be third on the grid.
A review of the previous day's events with the race director secured the
FFR's would start directly behind the CMC2 cars, and just ahead of the
CMC guys. Another 55+ car field for the race, and with Karen and TC's
lap times virtually even, the stage was set for a great race.
At the green it was Karen holding the lead ahead of TC as they swept
into the high banking, darting around several of the CMC2 cars with TC
charging hard right behind....The two raced their way through traffic,
nose to tail for the entire race. Between dodging the flying ST-1 and
GTS racers as they slid around the FFR's in the corners, as well as
picking their way though slower traffic, the two had their hands full
the entire time. Both raced flawlessly, and on several occasions,
raced/slid side-by-side through the corners, neither giving an inch, all
the while racing fast and clean. At the checkered, it was Karen for the
win, setting the fast time of the weekend with a 1:57:0X. TC took a well
fought 2nd place, with Mike taking the 3rd place position on the podium.
Next race for the FFR Series racers will be the NASA National
Championships, which will be held at the magnificent Miller Motorsports
Park in Salt Lake City September 8-13, 2009.
Video from FFR #28: