Saturday, March 21, 2009
Spring Is In The Air
Besides the fact that spring has officially begun which means the leafs are bursting, the flowers are blooming, the animals are... well, never mind, I think you get the general idea.... It's the beginning of the spring racing season here in California and there is nothing more exciting than racing this time of year. Everything is green, cars are new, drivers and teams are excited to try out new machinery and more. To make things all the better, this time of year can bring the added excitement of rain showers right in the middle of a race.
Regarding the first race of this spring season was no exception and even better was that Team California's Best made me damn proud today and if it's excitement everyone was looking for at Infineon Raceway this weekend they got their moneys worth that's for sure.
This was the debut weekend for team mate Jon Emerson's SE30 BMW and an impressive one it was at that. What I found most exciting about Jon's new ride was the fact that between Jon and Will this car was completed in almost record time and is without a doubt the most beautifully detailed SE30 car on the planet earth. For those of you who didn't already know, Jon's middle name is "Detail".
But as impressive as the build was, both in detail and quality, what I found even more spectacular was this car went from Jon's garage onto a trailer straight to the track and never even saw so much as a lap around a city block. After it came off the trailer this morning it went straight onto the race track. Just as I arrived at the track Jon had just come off the track after a warm up lap and had one small fuel and coolant leak which a small repair and all ready for qualifying.
With less than an hour before qualifying we began to hear raindrops on top of the canopy. Oh crap! Like Jon said, "I'm not afraid to drive my brand new car in the rain..... It's some of those other drivers that scares the B-Jesus out of me."
If there's one thing Jon and Will enjoy the hell out of it's racing in the rain and boy could I tell you some stories. Just let me say this... when it starts raining and you look into either one of their eyes you see something akin to Jack Nicholson's face in the movie, The Shining, when he says, "Heeeere's Johnny!" CLICK HERE to see what I mean. Later today I overheard Jon and another driver arm-chair racing when Jon told him, "The rain and lots of traffic are my best friends." Almost as if it was planned, no sooner than qualifying began so did the rain but when it was all over, Will had set a new SE30 lap record (even though it was wet) and Jon's new toy had performed absolutely perfect and qualifyied him in 8th. Don't forget, Jon hasnt even been behind a wheel for some time.
Since the main heat race wasn't until 5:00 in the afternoon there was plenty of time to just enjoy seeing old friends and hanging out. I even drove over to the esses and took a two hour nap ocassionally looking up to watch the Star Mazda formula guys battle it out for a while. Then it was time for the big event of the day as the SE30 BMW's took the track and let me tell you there was a bunch of beautiful looking cars too. Even the high dollar Porches with their whale tails looked bland by comparison. What was interesting about this race was one lap some of the sections of track would be soaked with rain and two laps later those sections would be dry but others would be wet. For the entire race the drivers never knew from one lap to the next what the next corner would be let alone the line.
Here are a couple short videos of the race.
On the very first lap as the large pack of SE30 BMW's came into turn 4 a car got got sideways and then collected by another car and it was every man for himself. Will was just ahead of it all and Jon did an awesome job of getting through the whole maze and moved up a few spots. By the time Will had reached the bottom of 6 he was well in the lead. As the race progressed Will kept opening up his lead and Jon kept picking off cars on his way to the front of the pack. It's important to know there are four seperate clases of race cars running at the same time some of which are Porsches, Miatas, and others but even that didnt stop Jon and Will of doing so well that not only did they catch up with the tail end of their own class but in fact lapped some them as well. And this was on a WET racetrack... Simply a spectacular site to watch.
Jon smiling while waiting in impound.
When all was said and done two of Californis's Best Team drivers stood on the podium. Will with a first and Jon with third. How awesome is that for the first day of spring?
This photo was taken for our good friend Gary from Canada at THE GARAGE to show him how to drive past a cone WITHOUT killing it.