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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 race.

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 10th.

Rick Anderson (with a lot of help from Karen Salvaggio on the Sat Report, Thanks)

Page last updated: 07/02/2008

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