Amazing weekend last week at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma (Race Sonoma)
“Life’s Good Racing!” brought a total of four cars to the track to compete in Round #5 of the 2015 US Touring Car Championship and all four were very competitive! We had a total of seven cars in our paddock space which also included Eric VanZandt’s EVO 8 being driven in TT by team member Chris Carstens, James Gouveia Jr’s Spec E30 and my son Andrew’s E36 M3.
We shared the race weekend with N.A.S.A and their typical mix of race and HPDE classes.
I personally was thrilled this weekend because my 21 year old son had his first full track day weekend starting with HPDE 1 and by Sunday afternoon he was graduated to driving the track solo! I’m so very proud of him.1pitlane This is Andrew rolling out for his last session Sunday afternoon in his nice 99′ E36 M3 that he recently purchased.
Just going out twice before each day’s 30 minute race, the team did not waste any time getting up to speed and Dave Brown qualified the #96 Camaro on the GT pole for the Sunday USTCC race. Michael Whelden also put our #10 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart on the USTCC Touring Car pole by smoking the rest of the TC field. Michael’s knowledge of the track and the power and speed of the Lancer was impressive to say the least!
Beau Borders qualified his #12 LGR M3 fifth while carrying a heavy load of rewards weight and Justin Crickenburger qualified sixth just behind Beau, also with a bit of rewards weight!
Unfortunately the race Sunday turned out bitter sweet! As usual the feature race of the weekend for USTCC was a standing start. The whole team was in position including the drivers and the spotters for the start. Just after the drop of the green flag, there was a huge crash just before turn one (Right under the foot bridge.) involving Michael Whelden in the Lancer and Sam Stowell in his #41 Pontiac Firebird that Sam was running in the GT category. As usual Michael got big lead off the line in the all-wheel drive Lancer and buy the time they reached turn one he was beside Stowell, Stowell lost control & spun right in front of Michael making Michael T-Boned Stowell because he had nowhere to go.
The race was red flagged and the clean up took over thirty minutes which was the time allowed for our sprint race so the race was in essence canceled by NASA and USTCC officials because there is a curfew at Sonoma and other groups still had to run after us.
So, the race was called official and everyone was awarded their finish by their qualifying times. That meant that “Life’s Good Racing!” won both GT and Touring Car.This is “The Good”. Michael sitting on top of his crumpled #10 Lancer with his bottle of victory champagne.
And this is “The Ugly”! Sam Stowell’s Pontiac Firebird afterwards.Both drivers walked away from this incident to race another day. Thank goodness for that. Give credit where it is due. The rules and regulations we race under and the continuous inspections by our governing body officials and the expert craftsmanship involved in the prep/fabrication of these cars by our crews all contributed to the fact that both drivers walked away to live and race again!
We are currently assessing the status of the Lancer on when it will return to the race track. Don’t be surprised if it returns for round 6 of the USTCC at Sonoma this October 24th & 25th! Hope to see you there. I’m sure the LGR “Weapon of Massive Traction” Mitsubishi Lancer will race again.
Remember folks, “Life’s Good Racing!”………….Pitt