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Western States Challenge Series Season Opener

Race Report Sat 3-17-07

California Speedway and So Cal NASA was host to the Western States Challenge Series season opener.  A fantastic facility that features a road course utilizing the front tri-oval, turns 1 and 2 on the NASCAR, and an interesting infield layout before returning to the banked tri-oval.

Saturday qualifying saw Dave Standridge setting fast time with a 1:59.187, with Rick Anderson, Karen Salvaggio, T.C. McNett, Robert Walter, Mike Beeler, Ron Morris (rookie), and Paul McGarvey rounding out the field.  For the race, the FFR group was placed by time and not by group, in the 54 car grid.  At the drop of the green flag, the orderly 2 by 2 line erupted into a 5 wide race to turn 3 which requires hard braking and second gear to negotiate.  Dave was off like a shot and took an early lead while T.C. and Karen were in hot pursuit. The remaining Challenge Cars settled in among the multitude of CMC cars.  Rick managed to pass T.C. and for the next several laps fought it out with Karen for the second spot with multiple position changes and plenty of door to door racing.  In the meantime, Dave was running away from the field.  At the finish it was Dave, Rick, Karen, T.C., Paul, Robert, Mike, and Ron rounding out the field.

For the Sunday race, it was decided that we would adopt the CMC race format with a qualifying race (for season points) to set the grid for the Sunday race.  Everyone at the race was in favor of the format change and seem to have liked the way it worked out for our first time at it.

The grid was set by the Saturday finish and we were given space to group together for the start.  At the green, Dave took off with another great start with Karen and T.C. battling over second spot.  Back in the pack, everyone settled in and drove good clean races without incident.   At the checker it was Dave, Karen, T.C., Rick, Paul, Robert, Mike, and Ron to set the grid for the race.

Once again, we were positioned in the grid among the CMC cars by time from qualifying.  Being able to work heavy traffic became a hot commodity.  At the green, Dave was off again (does this sound kind of familiar??) with Karen and T.C. battling for the entire race over the second spot.  Not far behind, Robert and Paul were having their own epic battle for position, and further back, the ever improving Mike and Ron were also vying for position.  In the end, it was Dave, Karen, T.C., Rick, Paul, Robert, Ron, and Mike for the checker.

All in all, it was a fun weekend for all and hopefully we can have even more racers at T-Hill for the April event

One final note on the weekend:  Fast lap and new record on TOYO tires goes to Dave Standridge with a time of 1:56.757!!!  Congratulations!!

--Rick Anderson

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