NASA 944-Spec Hallet Summer Shootout

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Racing

Summer comes – lots of racing (especially this year).  Since I’ve been assisting Eric with 944-Spec duties in the Midwest and Eric was planning on traveling down to Hallet (through KC) to spend some time with the TX, RMR, MidSouth and Central NASA 944-Spec racers – I wanted to see if I could tag along and meet more racers in my area.  Most importantly, I was able to introduce Eric and his wife Linda to Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – ribs, pulled pork, beans, gumbo, and their tasty seasoned fries…with of course Cowtown sauce.

We got a late start from KC (about 6:00 pm) on the 2nd leg down to Hallet.  On the way we met up with some very bad weather – bad enough that we were seeing various storm chasers sitting in wait for what mother nature will throw at us.  In fact it rained & hailed so hard even going 15 mph we could not see the white line on the road and had to pull over.  Once we got out of Borbon county KS and passed up buying some delicacies (kept in live bait vending machines), we finally made it to Tulsa, OK area alive.

For this visit, I decided I would help volunteer this weekend as I was not racing (Lisa and I are separated for the time being as we only get along on weekends).  However, leaving her behind was a big mistake as I don’t think I can ever go to a track and not race or drive again.  The racing in all groups was so much fun and with great competitors.  I did make a lot of new friends getting to know Dave Balingit (Director of RMR & TX regions) and from working alongside Hank Padilla (RMR scrutineer), his very well behaved daughters, and two others in the Tech Shed.  I now truly appreciate the efforts of the Tech team as the non-stop work they do for us.  I thought I was busy getting in and out of the racecar and running to meetings until I did this.  From weighing cars (both voluntarily or involuntarily); to performing surprise safety inspections of the car or driver; to measuring compliance with the rules (battery terminals covered) and actually finding a someone whose restrictor plate was not in compliance with the rules; to collecting data; and helping out with various pushing cars on off scales for most of the day – I was tired.

It was great racing with nine 944-Spec drivers competing in 4 races.  Eric has never been to Hallet (a notoriously tricky track that is very hard to learn) before but I was amazed at how fast he got up to speed and qualified 3rd after just one warmup session – really puts me in my place with such caliber driver that I compete against.  In fact by Race 2 (of a 4 race weekend) Eric won as they inverted the start (he did go 4 wheels off in Race 1 – so he’s human).

However, the big race was the last one – the NASA’s Hallet Summer Shootout.  The favorites were Jeff, Chris as this was their home track and Kevin who is the TX 944-Spec hot-shoe.  Phil and Eric were also getting faster.  The start of the race brought Jeff and Phil pulling away from the group with Eric and Chris fighting for position.  Eric got past Chris and started chasing down Jeff and Phil.  Phil made a mistake and went off giving Eric 2nd place where there was a chase for the remainder of the race.  Jeff was just at another level and won the race comfortably (driving a well built car by Chris) by several seconds.  I missed most of the race corralling the AI, CMC, CMC2 guys to get weighed and go to the podium for a group photo.  I’ve driven a CMC car before and it is quite a challenge getting it to go anywhere besides straight so handling their drivers is another task altogether.  All in all – a great weekend of racing.

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