|This is the third Rubber Class race of the day, the last event of the day.
I had a good scrap with the #92 Chevette...
|I thanked Jim for his offer to trade cars for this last Rubber Class
race, but I couldn't possibly accept. So in this last race of the
day I'm still driving the same Yellow #79 Chevette.
I've been chasing the multicoloured #92 Chevette for the entire race and on this, the second last lap, I've closed in just enough to start applying some pressure.
A couple of people have been taking turns driving the #92 car in the various races, so I never know what to expect from this car. In fact I've been involved in several incidents of contact with this car already today.
|Just ahead of the #92 Chevette is a black Honda CRX. The
FWD car is a rocket on the straightaways, but it doesn't seem to turn
corners all that well. It has horrible understeer and often runs
very deep in the corners.
In my haste to catch #92 I also run too deep, get big understeer and can't get the car to turn in under braking, and thus miss the apex by a mile.
At the same time #92 gets much too far sideways and scrubs off all his speed. That allows me to close right up tight on the exit.
|Starting almost from a standstill, #92 heads up the
straightaway. But he's way left of where he should be.
I unwind the steering and drift all the way out to the right snowbank, giving my car the maximum room to accelerate onto the straight.
That brings me up alongside #92 as we approach the left/right chicane.
Except he's still hanging left to guard the inside line into the left hander...
|Now he's coming at this left turn from much too shallow an angle and
will surely drift wide from here. I've come at the turn with a
wide entrance and should easily cut behind and inside him to pass.
In fact, I've seen this movie before.
We played out this exact same scenario in the first Rubber race of the day. I passed #92 here like this once before. Check out Passing #92.
It's a cinch that I'll pass him again using the same move now.
Nothing is ever that easy.
There's a yellow flag waving at the marshall's stand. Up ahead, someone's car has stalled and stopped right on the racing line.
That means no passing allowed here.
|I'm forced to hang back and watch, unable to take advantage of the
situation, as #92 gets all crossed up trying to negotiate the left
We're going so much slower than usual through this turn that I even need to shift back down to second gear.
If I can get the jump on him under acceleration, I might still be able to pass him the moment we clear the stalled car that brought out the yellow flag on this corner.
|But he must have had the same idea as me at exactly the same
moment. #92 gets back on the gas just as I do, and now it's a
As we flash past the stranded car, I'm not gaining an inch on #92. In fact, after disrupting my momentum, he seems to be pulling away from me again.
|Not only that, but the bugger drifts across my nose to make
absolutely certain he has me blocked.
I've got the throttle buried, but he's still pulling away from me.
Man, this is frustrating.
I give up on catching him here and concentrate instead on the left hand corner coming up at the end of the back straight.
Desperate to defend his lead, #92 is once again compromising his approach by running down the left side of the track. I move all the way to right, hoping he'll run wide on this corner and leave the door open, which should give me another chance to sneak inside on the exit...
Sure enough, he slides too deep and leaves all sorts of room for me to get inside him on the left.
However, check out the depth of those ruts in the ice (marked by arrows). The studded tires of the Unlimited cars carve deep troughs into the ice surface along the racing line in the corners.
|I'm focused too much on what #92 is doing, and not paying
enough attention to where I'm going.
While #92 is sliding wide around the outside of the turn, I intended to take a shorter line, cutting across the normal racing groove, and heading tight left, well to the inside of the turn.
But, my right rear tire suddenly hooks into the deepest rut, and I almost spin out!
|Well, that didn't work out at all. That was a dumb mistake.
#92 is still ahead of me.