Western States Round Three
Eight Challenge Series drivers made
the trip to the historic Willow Springs Raceway. Those who showed up
to practice on Friday were greeted with 60 +/- mph winds (Ahhh!),
and dust blowing across the track with visibility down to zero at
times....Lots of fun to say the least! Fortunately for Saturday, the
winds were much more calm (under 25 mph), and drivers were ready to
get down to business.
After a brief warm-up (shortened due to an off track excursion from
a car in another class), the eight Challenge Series drivers took the
track for qualifying. Karen Salvaggio took the pole, Rich Norgrove
took second, followed by Rick Anderson, Tom Andrews, TC McNett,
Robert Walter, Ron Morris and Mike Beeler.
Group A was the feature race of the day, and the FFR group took a
rolling green flag start under sunny, clear skies. Karen set the
pace with Rich, TC and Rick in close pursuit. On the second lap,
still almost two by two, Rich had an unfortunate spin going up the
hill through the Omega (turns 3-4), and fell back to sixth. TC
continued, with Rick narrowly escaping the spinning Norgrove car and
Tom was close behind.
As the race progressed, Rick reeled in TC and passed him around
mid-race (shortly before TC was forced to retire for overheating).
Meanwhile, Rich had recovered from the spin and was steadily working
his way back up. As the race came to a close, Karen and Rick raced
the epic duel, nose to tail through traffic (more than 40 cars on
track), neither one willing to yield. Not far back, Robert Walter
drove his up to third place, after Tom Andrews spun going down the
hill to five.
In the end, it was Karen Salvaggio taking the win, followed by Rick
Anderson, Robert Walter, Rich Norgrove, Ron Morris, Mike Beeler, TC
McNett, and Tom Andrews. The drivers shared war stories and happy
times at the FFR BBQ later that night...The little FFR's are prepped
and ready for the Sunday FFR wars....Bring it on!
Sunday Race 5-6-07:
Waking up to better weather (read:
calm to light winds) the eight racers were ready to have some fun.
After our 8:00 AM warm up (Robert Walter was the fastest of the
group) all were chomping at the bit to go out for the qualifying
The grid for the qualifying race
was based on the finishing order of Saturday’s results. At the
green flag, rolling start, all eight headed for turn one determined
to make the most of the great track and weather conditions. TC had
a great start and was vying for top spot by turn 2 with Karen and
Rich Norgrove determined to deny his attempt. The rest of the group
settled in for the quick race and see who might make a mistake that
could be capitalized on.
TC ultimately took the lead with
Karen hot on his tail (sorry if that doesn’t sound right!). The
Rich (Norgrove) and Rick (Anderson) show continued from last race
with lots of shuffling back and forth for position and side by side
racing. Meanwhile, Tom and Robert were having a pretty good race,
clear of traffic, where Robert posted his #3 qualifying time. At
the checker, it was TC for the win, followed by Karen, Rich, Rick,
Robert, Tom, Ron, and Mike.
Based on the qualifying race best
lap time, the Sunday Race grid was set as follows: At pole, for the
rolling start: Karen, followed by TC, Robert, Rich N., Rick A.,
Tom, Ron, and Mike. At the green flag, all were off with a clean
start and a clear track (at least until the AIX and SU would come
around to lap us!!). TC and Karen stayed out front while Rick got
the drop on Robert and Rich and took third spot. Tom soon overtook
Robert and got to watch more of the Rich and Rick show (see above).
As the race progressed, the front group got bunched up behind a
slower CMC who apparently had no mirrors and caused some frustration
behind him. Once the pack got around him, the race was on again to
see if Karen could catch TC, and if Rick could catch Karen. Very
close behind, Tom had the cat-bird position to pounce on anyone
making the smallest bobble. In the end, it was TC (for his first 1st
place trophy), followed by Karen, Rick, Tom, Robert, Ron, Mike, and
Rich (who had to retire late race).
It may sound like a broken record
but…..It was a great weekend of racing with hard competitors and
good friends!! See everyone at Buttonwillow June 9th and
Rick Anderson (with a lot of help
from Karen Salvaggio on the Sat Report, Thanks)