West Coast Races Opens the 2009 Season
Six drivers showed up at Infineon Raceway for the
season opener; Dave Standridge, Karen Salvaggio, T.C. McNett, Robert
Walter, new to the group Tom Coon, and Rick Anderson. Sorely missed:
Rich Norgrove and Tom Andrews. Also present for HPDE and TT were John
Marsey and Sern Clementson.
After semi wet qualifying, Karen took the pole with
TC at second, followed by Dave, Robert, Rick, and Tom. At the green all
took off in pursuit of Karen’s red and white racer. However, TC and
Dave were no match for the determined “Diva”. Back a short distance
were Robert and Rick swapping positions back and forth with Rick trying
to force an error with Robert by staying closer that a few inches from
his trunk lid. Unfortunately for Rick, Robert was driving a smooth and
error free race and wasn’t about to give up his position. At the
checker, it was Karen for the win, followed closely by TC, Dave, Robert,
Rick, and Tom. As our new rookie, Tom did a fine job and will soon be
mixing it up with the rest of us.
Sunday Qual. Race:
Saturday night the rain came down (like Mid Ohio in
September!!) and left the racers with rivers and lakes and continuing
rain for the day. With the grid based on Saturday s race results, the
group took a rolling start at the green only to have a full course
yellow by the second lap due to an AI car making hard contact with the
turn ten wall. The race ended after three laps under yellow with no
position changes from the start.
With the rain continuing to fall, all racers were
coming to grips with having to make the best of a very wet and
treacherous track. Rick traded in his RA1 tires from the 25 Enduro for
a fresh set of 888’s after discovering semi slick tires don’t perform
well through standing water. Since nothing changed from the qualifying
race, the grid remained the same as Saturdays finishing order; Karen at
pole, then TC, Dave, Robert, and Rick. Tom decided to sit out Sundays
“water fest”. At the green, all were off in pursuit of Karen who drove
like she was intent on repeating Saturday s performance. Mid way
through the race, Karen hit some standing water on the front straight
(read: fastest part of the track) and popped the wall with a hard
whack. Fortunately, Karen is fine, but the car could not continue. Not
long after that, TC tried his luck with the front straight wall, but
continued around to the pits for an inspection before continuing. Mean
time, Dave is cruising along a the front, followed by Rick, and Robert.
As TC tried to get a lap back, he hit the Turn Ten Lake and met yet
another wall, ending his weekend. Sometime in the same time frame, Dave
also hit one of the “temporary lakes” and he went for a 360 but managed
to stay on track and continue: no harm/ no foul. At the checker, it was
Dave for the win, followed by Rick and Robert. Karen officially placed
fourth as TC inadvertently missed a yellow and had to take a DQ. With
the poor visibility, it was extremely difficult to even see the flag
stations if you were close behind another car.
After a very eventful first race of the season, we
were all glad to have everyone OK and to have enjoyed the typical
camaraderie that goes with all of our races.
The next race will be in Fontana March 27-29th.
Let’s hope for a good turnout for the very cool California Speedway.