Wedge Racing in 2019
 

Sebring - January (MAJORS Hoosier Super Tour)      

The tow down was uneventful - we arrived, signed a waiver to get into the paddock, found a spot and setup, then later went and registered for the event.  Since we were the LAST racing group, we had LOTS of time available the following day to unload Bullet and do our pre-race checks.

This event was the first in the country for the new FV SPEC TIRE, however,  our first session on Friday morning was a practice, so I opted to go out on a set from last year so I could attempt to compare against the Spec Tire in the next session.  The practice went well and our fastest lap was good and quite close our best time in 2017 (we had a conflict with the 2018 event).  The second session was Q1 so I went out on a sticker set of the Spec Tires and turned a nearly identical time that was good for the pole with Donnie and Laura close behind.  On Saturday morning, times were a little slower, but it appeared that the track had slowed a bit since FF times were also slower. Unfortunately, Dan Grace lost control in the high speed T17 and went headon into the tire wall, bending his front beam and the right front spindle.. ending his weekend.

Saturday Race - Everything started off pretty nice.  I got a good start with the FF's and F5's ahead and the Vees all together .. until we got to T7.  Up ahead of us, 2 FF's got together under braking and both hit the concrete wall pretty hard just after what would have been the turn-in points. I was confident we'd get the double yellows soon and around T15 onto the back straight, there they came. Coming by T7 the next lap I noticed Harry Schneider off between 7 and 8 (I later found out he had a suspension failure). After 2 laps of yellow, we finally restarted and I kept the lead, but with both Donnie and Laura right on my tail. Going into T4 an FF spun in front of the F5 right behind him.. both JUST in front of me - then the F5 spun to avoid. I got by and so did Donnie before the window closed on Laura,  so she dropped back several seconds while Donnie and I soldiered on. At the end oif that lap, Donnie passed for the lead as the 'spun' FF and F5 caught us and went by. About that time, Donnie started dropping fluid ..as has been the case at most races in the last couple of years. Huge plumes of fluid pouring out all over my car and helmet shield and camera as the 2 F5's blew by me going into T17 (guess the 1st spun again) .... putting themselves momentarily between Donnie and I, but I passed 1 of them into T2 - leaving the other just in front of me. The 2nd F5 then passed both vees before T7 about the same time the 1st one SPUN (yes, again) on his own under braking into T7... So, now we are F5-FV-FV-F5 (with the FF elsewhere on the track). Another lap goes by and we get the WHITE (last lap) flag.  We are still the same F5-FV-FV-F5 but I have closed up behind Donnie and am now less than a second back.  We come onto the back straight and I'm closing on Donnie... closing... I pull out to pass and am I N C H I N G by, but I'm gaining less and less.. DECISION time as we approach T17 at full speed.. I back off at the last instant and try for my best line inside line coming onto the front straight.  Donnie goes just a tad wide and I'm in front.  He's coming back up on the outside and I leave him room and still manage to JUST hold on for the win even though I got slightly balked by that first F5 that seemed to develop some sort of problem coming through the turn. The last lap finish is available on youtube.. https://youtu.be/1i53VPe57rU if you'd like to see it.  Sorry about the stuff on the camera lens .. some times I just don't have enough time to clear it often enough during the race.

Laura, who got blocked by that early FF spin was a few seconds behind Donnie and I but still managed to pull off the LAP RECORD in the new FV Spec Tire era with a 2:42.x while Russell Fredericks rounded out the top 4 as he gained familiarity with his rental ride for the weekend.

Sunday Race - I retained the pole because even Laura's lap record time in Race 1 was still slower than my time from Q1.  Coming out of of T17 on the pace lap, Donnie got an unbelievable start and was 2+ carlengths in front of me before the green was waved - but it didn't really matter. Russell also jumped in front of me going into T2, but that also didn't matter (much happy). I passed Russell and was in front of Donnie before T7.. but he held the inside line and retained the lead. At that point, another FF hit the concrete ahead of us, and we got DY as we passed T12.. so, no passing from there on that lap.  Unfortunate for me since about that time Donnie started spewing oil again - covering my visor and car.  We spent 2 more laps under DY until the restart which left the vees in the back - Donnie, me, Russell and Laura (Harry was unable to start due to his broken suspension from yesterday's race).  Through T7 and then Russell makes a dive inside of me into T10 while Laura seems to be falling off the pace a bit. Russell seems to have finally gotten a handle on his rent-a-ride and is 'in the mix'.. kinda good for me since HE is now taking the brunt of Donnie's oil spray. Complete that lap and back around to T7 where I am able to get around Russell again and Laura is now well off the pace.  Down the back straight I finally make the pass over Donnie for the lead .. but it is short lived since he passes back going into T1.  As we come into T1 on the next lap, Linda radios that the SEVEN CAR lead pack of FF is coming up on us.  With a little luck they won't catch us until the back straight. Laura is now gone from my mirrors so anything I see must be FF - sure enough coming into T10 I catch a glimpse of 'something', but something must have happened because they didn't catch us for 3 more laps .. and even then they didn't catch us until the back straight. On the next lap, Russell passes both Donnie and I going into T10 and takes the lead.  We made it down the back straight and Donnie retook the lead... through T16 and 17, then onto the front straight... suddenly they show up.... 1..2,3,4,5....6..into T1...7 .... T2 .... 8! Wow.. into T4 then # 9 at T10 and #11catches us at T13.. but stays behind the tight battle of 3 vees (thank goodness) and then passes on the back straight. Unfortunately for me, since I HAD to keep an eye on the FF behind ... expecting him to dive inside of me at every turn, Donnie managed to pull out a full 3 second advantage on that lap. Not much to do but give it my best shot... I close at every turn and by T10 I'm less than a second back before another FF comes up on me from behind.  I point him by at T11.. but he doesn't pass.  I have to leave room for him at T11 and 12 and lose more ground to Donnie.. then he finally passes both of us at T13 .. giving Donnie a nice tow onto the back straight.  With my draft from Donnie, I still manage to close up to his gearbox... we should get the White last lap flag at S/F and I prefer to be second coming down that back straight for the last time.  Now, I notice that Russell has closed back up on us and we are now THREE.... so have to keep him in mind during the rest of this lap. Donnie seems to be slow... (maybe to keep Russell in the mix? to give me more to think about?) - but I'm still not yet ready to pass him. Around to T14 with Russell falling behind.. then Donnie suddenly slows at T15 - closing both myself and Russell back up behind him... sly trick...  Donnie accelerates away, but immediately sees that I'm going to catch and pass him.. so he slows again to make me pass early.. and with no real momentum.  I get by him, but then he slows my pass and starts to come back on me.. but not quite enough and backs off just as we enter T16.. he sets up wide and dives inside of me as we turn HARD for T17 ..and then SWEEPS across my nose from inside to outside and I have to lift a tad to not hit him (or get hit), but I tuck in and try to use the tighter inside line just about the time that Russell tries to follow Donnie through and clobbers me in the right rear tire.  We both slide sideways a bit but continue on as Donnie opens the gap due (at least) to us going sideways and wins the race.  Me second and Russell 3rd. Almost identical finish to Saturday except that Donnie and I are reversed.  Laura apparently deveoped an engine problem and came into the pits a few laps back.

Wow .. 2 TIGHT races with Donnie and I swapping 1st and second places each day.  Russell also managed to reset the LAP RECORD by digging out a 2:41.9 to just beat out Laura's record from Saturday.  Not a bad weekend for our team.  A long way to go in the season and Donnie, Myself, Harry Scheider and Dan Voss (who swapped 1st and 2nd at the Homestead race the weekend before) are all TIED for first place in the Southeastern Conference.  We'll see how that changes in a couple months after our next race at Road Atlanta.

I put the last lap on youtube again ( https://youtu.be/wEcwyNDgqFY ).  A little earlier in the day so the sun doesn't affect the camera as much and I did a MUCH better job of wiping the oil off the camera lens happy.

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Road Atlanta (#1) - March - MAJORS weekend
2015-Petit-Map

RAIN .. RAIN.. RAIN.. and then it RAINED :-)
Soo... although it quit raining a couple of times during the day, it seemed to always be raining just before and during OUR sessions at wits' end. At any rate, *WE* elected to stay dry. FF friend in the next paddock decided to go out and "just take it easy" .. on his last lap, he lost control at T4 and spun off to hit the concrete wall hard wiping 2 corners off his car .. which ended his weekend.  I think I made the correct decision.

The rain finally stopped late in the evening, but the humidity was still pretty high so the track was still damp on Saturday morning.  Fortunately, it dried out quickly and our session was basically dry. Times were decent. I ran alone and Donnie and Laura ran together and everyone else was scattered around the track.  In the end, the grid was Donnie, ME, Laura, Bruns, Ferguson, Delaney, Rogers and Fredericks.  Charlie went off at T1 on the second lap and bent his front beam. Fredericks had engine troubles of some sort.  Although Mitchell has this really nice front beam 'straightener', he had left it at home (Greenville - about 90 minutes away) this weekend.  Charlie loves to travel though, so he lit out for Greenville to pick up the tool and returned about 4 hours later to fix his beam successfully.  Fredericks and his crew worked to fix his engine, but I'm not sure if they ever really found the problem. We got back and found OIL ALL OVER the engine.  Took me a while to figure it out, but I had changed the blow by hose leading to the engine oil catch can. My catch can was an old quart oil bottle and the new hose was 'just a tad' larger than the old one.  Seems that was just about enough to force air pressure back into the crankcase and blow the oil out of the front pulley.  A mess to clean up, but not too difficult to fix .. I just made the hold in the quart bottle bigger .. then cleaned up the mess.

The weather held for the weekend, so the afternoon race was totally dry ..but any off track excursions would be painful.  Charlie didn't get his beam fixed until after the race so he didn't go out.  The race started out great .. for a couple laps before the first DY.  Donnie had taken the lead into T1 and was 'bumping up' on a slow FF at T3.. by T4 he was determined to get by and put that car between himself and the rest of us.  An ill fated move into T5 ended his race way too soon as he hooked tires with the FF and spun himself off into the T5 gravel trap. 2 laps later an FF followed Donnie into the gravel at T5.  By then, Laura had passed me and took Mitchell with her, leaving me in 3rd when the yellows came out on the 5th lap.  By that time, we already had cars strewed out all over the track.  A F500 in the gravel at T10a, Delaney off at T5 with a dead motor, a couple of FFs down the back straight in different places, etc.  By the time all the cars had been cleaned up, there was only about 9 minutes left in the race (limited to 25 minutes).  As the pace car led us down the back straight after 4 laps of yellow, the vees (all of us) thought the lights had gone out on the pace car and we were going to get a restart. The pace car passed under the bridge at T11 as we arrived at 10A .. and we were all RACING to not get left behind on the restart.  Alas, there was NO RESTART and the pace car had led the field into pit lane.  We were using the Pro Pits this weekend and the pit lane is a bit 'meandering' and cars were packed up and stacked all the way back out onto the track as we arrived at T11 .. at speed.  Laura and Mitchell split and both managed to get almost stopped.  I was FLYING behind them and happened to notice a T11 corner worker making all kinds of signs and POINTING toward pit in .. so I started looking for an 'OUT'. Fortunately, I found a hole between Laura and Mitchell and dove through it to gain control and kill speed.  Bruns was behind me and waited a little too late .. plowing into the back of Mitchell's car, breaking Mitchell's car and damaging his own front end.  I turned toward pit in after I regained control and one of the FF's in the line waived me in front of him into pit lane.  As soon as we got to pit lane (where there was some room) I started waiving cars by .. but no one went by, until Laura finally came up.. but by then I had already crossed the pit lane timing line in first.  LOTS of things happened after that.  Laura and I went to the scales, Greg limped into the pits and went to his paddock with his damaged car. Mitchell was BROKEN on the track and had to be brought in with a wrecker.  Everyone kept congratulating me on the win and I kept 'splaining' that I had NOT won, I was 3rd 'cos that was the order during the 4 laps of double yellow on the track.  The provisional results showed me as the winner, but I refused to take the top step on the podium since I was sure it would get corrected later.  During all this time (some 15 minutes), I noticed a group of officials standing at the back of Laura's car .. in deep discussion.  I walked over to see what was up and was asked to 'step away' - all I could tell was they seemed to be studying her exhaust pipe.  I went over and congratulated Laura on the win and also mentioned the group at her car and that she MIGHT want to check and see what was up.  5 minutes or so later, the group was still at the back of her car and I asked Allan (car owner) .. he said she was being disqualified for "non compliant exhaust".  This was quite the mess, but to keep it short, vee exhaust pipes are required to "terminate from 1 to 3 inches behind the rearmost part of the body", and hers only extended 7/8 inch behind the bodywork.  She was penalized to "last in class".  Mitchell had broken on track and did not complete the last lap .. so ... amazingly, *I* was really declared the winner in the end.  Certainly NOT the way I like to get my wins.  Greg ended up with 2nd place and Mitchell 3rd. 4 laps of racing followed by 5 laps of Double Yellow.

Sunday's race had great weather. Not too hot and just partly cloudy, but a DRY TRACK.  The slow FF from yesterday had been sent home since he couldn't turn laps within 15% of the leader in his class.  We also had a second pace car for this race .. putting us WAY back behind the FF/F5 pack.  The FF leader passed us on the 3rd lap.  Thankfully, he was alone already, so we all made room and let him through.  2nd place caught us a few turns later ..  also alone.  Mitchell and Greg both failed to start due to crash damage from the end of the Saturday race, so we only started 5 vees .. which quickly became 3 vees dicing for the lead.  Laura, Donnie and I all took turns at the front .. plotting our strategy for the final lap.  As the laps wound down, I was in 3rd .. trying to decide how to play the end ... As the FF pack came through for the 2nd time, I decided that LAPPING TRAFFIC might very well determine who won our race, so I passed for the lead to take the white (last lap) flag.  Sadly, there was NO lapping traffic on that lap and Donnie and Laura split me on the last lap coming into T10A.  Donnie had the inside and Laura had gone outside and so had the worst position .. however a YELLOW was showing at T10 and I couldn't pass her back, but the 'pack up' at the turn slowed her a bit and I was able to get inside her going up the hill into T11.  She moved to block, but was too late as I was already alongside her and held it to the flag. Couldn't do anything with Donnie since he had the clean run from 10A to the Checker, but I was CLOSE.  So, the final finish order was Donnie, ME and then Laura on the podium. Delaney and Rogers had a great battle for 4th about a minute behind us and Fredericks was able to finish, but his engine was still not quite right. Somewhere during the race, Donnie put together a stellar lap and set the new Spec Tire lap record at 1:45.295.


This was the first weekend on my engines from having both freshened and Rollin did a great job.  JR had also repaired my broken collector from Sebring and the Spec Tire seemed to work pretty well too. A great weekend for the Team and that puts us in the lead of the SE Conference .. at least until we get to VIR next month .

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VIR (Virginia International Raceway)- April - MAJORS Hoosier Super Tour event
(VIR is also the site for the Runoffs this year)

Vir Full Course diagram

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And shortly after that, we made it to a race at the newly modified ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway!


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Roebling Road Majors  -


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CMP 



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Runoffs - VIR - October 


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Thanks as always to Rollin at ButlerEngines.com, JR at RoxannesHeaders.com Roxannes Headers - Exhaust components for FV and other racing sports cars and ... Mike, John, Tim and Bruce at Hoosier tires (RaceTire.com) and Dietmar at QuixoteRacing.com  Quixote Racing - FV and FST parts and service.  Not to forget my wife, Linda, who travels with me to almost every race, and suffers me the joy of racing for all these years!

Regular Season team stats (EC races in yellow)

Race     Qualified Finished Points
Majors
notes
Sebring HST#1 1st 1st 25 Tight race with Isley at the line
Sebring HST#2 1st 2nd 21 Another TIGHT race with Isley
Atlanta MAJOR#1 2nd 1st 25 8 laps - end DY
Atlanta MAJOR#2 3rd 2nd 21 full race. TIGHT at the end
CMS Roval #1        
CMS Roval #2        
Season Total   SouthEast 92 1st Place

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Runoffs/Divisional Finishes for the Wedge Racing Team


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