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Wet 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.

Saturday Race:

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.

Sunday Race:

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.

--Rick Anderson

Page last updated: 02/18/2009

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