|WILLOW SPRINGS RACE REPORT
July 9 & 10, 2005
Willow Springs Raceway
By: Dan Lawson
The West Coast series
warriors gathered at the historic track on the high desert to do battle
this past weekend. This was the fourth race of the five race series.
Many showed up Friday to practice having never ran Willow Springs
before, and it takes some getting used to. It is very fast and has some
very unique turns that demand your attention.
Bob and Dan Lawson were
back at it after their one weekend hiatus, but was still sharing a ride
missing bringing the second car by only a few days. Bob was getting the
driving duties on Saturday, with Dan taking control on Sunday.
Spenser Sharp, Dave Standridge, Langley Kerssonboon, was already there.
The Lawson’s had a
mishap on the track damaging the #11 car at the left front wheel
heavily, replacing the upper and lower a-arms. Turn three going up the
hill bit Bob Lawson.
Saturday morning rolled
around with the Bondurant’s showing up minus James, who was at Infinion
for a national drifting competition…so the master himself took over the
ride. Ed Gavin made the trek from Northern California; Donny Edwards
came ready to go.
Spenser picked up where
he left off, setting the mark for everyone to shoot for during practice,
but this weekend we were on the home track of Langley and he proved that
home field does have it’s advantage setting fast time Saturday with a
The field lined up for
the race right around 2pm for a fast rolling start, going into turn one
three wide, with just a little body rubbing. Langley and Donny made a
little contact in the close quarters with both going off. Donny gained
his control without spinning and got back on the track. Langley wasn’t
so lucky spinning out, it took longer for him to get going again, but
when he did he was flying!
Spenser had the field
covered driving a now common flawless race, at an extremely fast pace
and just blew the field away. Bob Bondurant, Bobby Bondurant, and Bob
Lawson had quite a battle going on back in the pack with Bob Lawson
making his way around both after a few laps, and the Bondurant’s
battling back and forth for several laps with the senior winning out.
Dave Standridge has
really improved and is getting consistently faster all the time.
The tale of the race
really was Langley who fought back after the first turn incident, and
passed everyone to get back to second place before running out of time.
It was inspired and really fun to watch.
The finishing order was
Spenser, Langley, Donny, Dave, Bob L, Bob Bondurant, Bobby Bondurant,
and Ed Gavin.
On just a little side
note Saturday was Dan Lawson’s birthday and the Levy crew, Bob and Dan,
Donny Evans, and Lance went to a little Mexican restaurant to celebrate.
Donny was determined to get the old man drunk, but alas after many
tequila shots, and more the a few margaritas, the old man was still
standing but poor Donny was toast! But being the nice guys we are we
CARRIED him to his room to recover. We had a great time, which is what
this series is all about.
Sunday morning rolled
around with everyone itching to get back on the track now that they had
a day of running to figure it out. Dan Lawson took over the controls of
the number 11 for the day, and poor Bob Lawson had to watch.
Qualifying was actually
a race with the starting positions set from the day before finishing
order. James Bondurant got to the track to take back the seat from his
grandfather and was starting at the front with Ed Gavin.
As the green flag fell
the field bunched up going into turn one as the faster back markers
moved forward quickly. Everyone maintained control in very tight
quarters until we got to turn two and James spun in front of Dan and a
few others, with everyone missing him.
As the dust settled
again it was Spenser coming out on top with the rest of the field close
behind. Langley was pressing hard but gradually Spenser pulled away
coming in first. Donny Evans, and Dave Standridge had the best battle
going on as they changed positions several times running nose to tail
for the entire race. Donny’s right rear shock broke with a half a lap to
go but he held on for third. Everyone’s best lap times determined the
order of the official race later that afternoon.
When we lined up for
the race the Spenser was on the pole, Langley had made some changes to
his car in an effort to give Spenser a run for his money.
The green fell with
everyone charging into the first turn, the first six cars took the hard
left hander so close together you could have thrown a blanket over them.
As they negotiated turn two a long sweeping double apex right hander,
Spenser and Langley were moving through turn three up the hill, with
Donny, Dave and Dan close behind. As the first lap unfolded it was clear
that Spenser and Langley were moving away at a modest rate, but that
Donny and Dave were going to battle. Dan and Bobby B. were close behind
them having their own battle. After a few laps it was clear that Langley
would again be unable to stay with Spenser who was just as smooth as
glass, and thus very quick. Spenser again pulled away finishing first
and almost guaranteeing the championship.
Langley drove an
inspired race but simply couldn’t close the gap finishing second. Donny
having gotten around Dave about a third of the way through the race
began to distance himself. Dan Lawson after battling Bobby B for a few
laps of close quarter racing started making up ground on Dave Standridge.
As the race was winding down Dan had close the cap on Dave with just two
car lengths between them passing under the white flag. Then they were
door handle to door handle in turn four at the top of the hill, with Dan
finally getting by and holding on to take fourth.
The final finishing
order was Spenser, Langley, Edwards, Lawson, Standridge, Bondurant, and
Gavin. James Bondurant couldn’t start the race as the Evans machine had
All in all a great
weekend of racing, and the Factory Five Group put on the best show
The next regional race
will be at Infinion the first weekend of August. Keep your wheels down
and we will see you their.