We return to the challenging WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for Races 11 & 12 of the SCCA San Francisco Region Championship. The weekend also includes the Spec Racer Ford Festival including a bonus no points race. We always love a 3 race weekend.
For the race weekend we were celebrating our long term partnership with Red Line Synthetic Oil including a special edition livery with Red Kangaroos. It was the first time we have done a special Kanga livery and it looked fantastic. Big thank you to Red Line Synthetic Oil who have been with us from the early days growing our partnership through the years! It all started with us using their gearbox oil in the Datsun 240Z.
Friday - Test Day
Heading into the test day we had been busy with work travel and life meaning we didn’t have a lot of time to head up to CSR Performance for a work day. It was good that we had got a lot of maintenance on the car done during the rest of the season including new dampers, new rockers, half-shaft rebuilds and brake replacements. Thanks to Ric at CSR Performance for finding the time to get the car setup done for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the car ready for the test day.
We were able to get a test day with Northern California Racing Club (NCRC) providing three afternoon sessions for us to get the car and driver dialed in before the race weekend. Big thank you to Dave and the crew for providing the racers track time and putting on a great day. We also had the chance to catch up with Dito from GotBlueMilk.com and get some great photos out on track.
We were able to put down some fast times and get close to our previous pace from Races 7 & 8 of the SCC San Francisco Region Championship. At the end of the day we checked over the car and made sure the car was good to go for the morning going through our end of the day checklist. It also gave us some time to reflect on our driving and make track notes ahead of the qualifying on Saturday.
Saturday - Practice
Arriving at the track early Saturday morning it was foggy very typical for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The fog actually cleared quickly with the sun emerging to warm up the paddock and race track.
Practice was a lot of fun heading out in the morning would give us an idea of the track conditions ahead of the Sunday Morning race. We were still running some old used tires but still able to put down a decently fast time of 1:41.026.
We had a fair amount of time between practice and qualifying so we checked over the car and decided to use the downtime to get a fresh oil change completed.
The hardest and least fun part of doing an oil change on the Spec Racer Ford Gen3 is removing and replacing the oil filter. The fuel filler hose tends to get in the way so you have slightly lever it out of the way to get the first few threads started on the filter. The horizontal placement of the filter also means you can’t prime it with oil so have to spin the motor a few times with the ignition off to get all the filter and bearing surfaces primed.
Fresh 30WT oil for the race car. We also had a special edition Kanga Motorsport Red Kangaroos Hat made to celebrate and represent trackside.
The old tires were dropping off so we get some fresh rubber for qualifying and the races.
We worked with our partners at Red Line Synthetic Oil and they sent us some goodies for racers running Red Line Oil including decals, lanyards and hats. We spent some time in the afternoon walking the paddock, meeting the racers and thanking them for running Red Line Oil.
Heading out of the hot pits the car felt terrible with horrible vibration in the front wheels. The front tires were completely unbalanced shaking the front steering wheel. With little time available I had no choice but to drive around it and deal with poor steering feedback.
We took a few laps to get the new tires scrubbed in and up to temperature. I had some clear track but didn’t put a good lap together. Jumping out of the car I had to get the tires re-balanced, I wasn’t the only one 3 other Spec Racer Ford drivers had the same problems with unbalanced front tires and shaky steering wheels.
During qualifying the best time I managed was 1:41.452 much slower than practice or Friday’s test day. Checking the times after the session, I ended up 14th with a lot of work to do in the race.
Sunday - Race 11
Arriving at the track Sunday morning there was no sign of the usual WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca fog. It was a beautiful morning with a large full grid of Spec Racer Fords ready to hit the track.
A poor qualifying had me starting 14th on the grid. I worked through my usual routine belting myself into the car and visualizing laps before I headed out on track.
I got a great start making up 4 positions in the first few corners and moving up to 10th on the opening lap.
I continued to pressure the drivers in front but couldn’t get a good clean pass done before the double yellow flags came out and we were under safety car.
A decent restart had me hot on the tails of the drivers in front. I could get a good run out of a few corners but couldn’t get alongside and make a pass stick.
On lap 8, I got a great run out of Turn 4 running down the short straight and going outside heading into Turn 5 to get the pass down on the #16 Red/Yellow/Green car of Yehia Eissa.
On the same lap the #40 of Alex Kwan went off course on the outside of Turn 10 forcing the #71 Red/White of Jerry Aplass to check up and slowing him down going into Turn 11. I timed it just right and went inside coming out of Turn 11. It was a drag race down the front straight and heading for Turn 2. Coming out of Turn 2, I got the pass completed and was now up to 8th position.
I spent the last few laps chasing down the #51 Black/White car of Bob Breton closing the gap on the final laps but still trailing just 0.31 seconds behind at the flag.
After the race we met up with some of Meghan’s friends from work Jamaica, Nelson, Enso and Zora. They were visiting Monterey for the weekend and came out to see the racecar and watch the racing.
Entry to SCCA racing is free (except for the $5 county park entry fee at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) so it is a great opportunity for anyone to get up close with drivers, crew, racecars and see some fantastic motorsports. Nelson, Enso and Zora loved sitting in and talking about the race car. If you have kids I highly recommend taking them to the race track for an amazing experience.
Spec Racer Ford Festival Race
The Spec Racer Ford Festival is an event held every year to celebrate the large grids throughout year by giving SRF racers a bonus no points race in the SCCA San Francisco Region.
For the festival race the grid was set by fastest times of both Qualifying and Race 11. I had a good performance in Race 11 increasing my fastest lap time to 1:40.916 and moving up the grid to 11th. Two of the drivers didn’t start the race so I moved up to 9th on the formation lap.
I didn’t get the best start and spent the opening few corners working my way back up my starting position. It a took several laps before I got some passes down and slowly climbed up to 6th place.
On lap 11, I made a mistake turning in early for Turn 6 and clipping the curbing knocking the transmission out of 4th gear and sending me wide. I put a wheel on the outside dirt and struggled to recover the car. The loss of momentum dropped me back to 8th going up the hill.
I spent the next few corners working hard to get past the #35 Purple car of Bob Sachs. On the last lap we caught traffic and got held up at the critical Turn 6 before the uphill run to the Corkscrew. The #71 Red/White of Jerry Aplass had timed it just right and got a great run up the hill dropping me back to 9th.
I kept the pressure on Bob Sachs and he made a mistake. I got a better exit out of Turn 11. As we drag raced down the front straight I pulled ahead and finished 8th at the checkered flag.
After the race we met up with friends and even got them kitted out in some Kanga Gear (Hats, T-Shirts, stickers and decals) to thank them for coming out to the races.
Our Friend Rodolphe De Rosee also showed up to see the race and he took a few good photos of us out on track. You can tell big kids also love sitting in race cars!
Before the start of Race 12 we had to check over the car and make sure we hadn’t knocked the suspension out of alignment. Rudy gave us a hand checking over the car and correcting the alignment.
We also had friends Millan, Doro and their boy Thomas arrive at the track to check out the action. It was a lot of fun to see so many friends and fans show up to support our racing.
Suiting up it was time for the final race of the weekend.
The Race 12 Start did not go well, hit twice before I even made it to the 3rd corner. The second hit bent the rear toe link and I had to turn the steering wheel left just to keep the car straight.
I struggled to catch up and regain positions. The new bent rear alignment made for some very interesting corners as I had to quickly catch the car in right turns and then exaggerate the turns for left corners. All of this combined made for tricky handling with the need for fast corrections, good training for driver skills. Ultimately it resulted in slow laps at least 3-4 seconds off my normal pace.
A late incident brought out the safety car and we finished under double yellow flags as I wrestled the car home 14th at the checkered flag.
Here you can see the result of the contact, a nice rubber donut and rear right wheel pointing in towards the car.
We were lucky the contact didn’t cause any more damage. It is always a good end of the race weekend when you can drive the car onto the trailer.
Big thank you to Millan, Doro, Thomas, Jamaica, Nelson, Enso, Zora, Rudy and Meghan for coming out to see the racing. Always great to spend time with friends and fans at the track.
Thank you to all our Sponsors and Partners, especially Red Line Synthetic Oil for making this a fantastic event with special branding and gifts for racers. Huge thanks to Ric of CSR Performance for helping get the car ready for the weekend.
Two thumbs up to SCCA Workers and Volunteers who put on another great event with so many racers and lots of action packed into just two days. Thanks for keeping us safe out there.
Our next event is Races 13, 14 & 15 at Thunderhill Raceway, 25-27 October 2019, we hope to see you there!
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