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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 157:08.

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. Great racing!!!

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:
Part 1

Part 2

--Karen Salvaggio

Page last updated: 08/11/2009

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