|The satisfaction of the opening lap doesn't last long as the faster cars begin streaming past me on the 2nd lap.|
|Jay Esterer easily blows past me approaching the hairpin at the end of
the front straight.
Note the tire tracks leading up and over the snowbank on the right. I think that's where the two cars rolled during the first aborted start of this Chevette race.
Without touching me, Jay leaves only just barely enough room for my car as he squeezes right, back towards the line for the widest approach into the hairpin.
|Jay pitches his car sideways under braking, expertly guiding it with
a big slide in a decreasing radius arc towards the inside apex of the
Another car, you can see its shadow to my left, has moved up and stolen my line, forcing me to delay my turn in.
|It's the Red #98 of Chris Zuke! Look at that crushed roof!
This is actually the first time I see the car following his rollover. I didn't realise until this moment that someone other than Steve Flewwelling was involved in the red flag incident.
I'm shocked to see how much damage his car sustained in the rollover, but I'm glad for Chris that his car still runs and that he was able to continue racing.
|Chris entered the corner carrying the same speed as Jay, but he has
come at it from a shallower angle, is unable to scrub off enough speed,
and now slides wide and way too deep.
It's interesting to observe that, although they each entered the corner in a huge oversteering slide, both Jay and Chris are now fighting with understeer as they struggle to complete the corner.
My car, in comparison, understeers like a pig on the entrance to the corner. But my line will bring me into a much later apex with the left snowbank, with the car already pointed more down the next straight. That should allow me to get back on the throttle much earlier than either Jay or Chris.
|Nothing is ever simple.
I did manage to get back ahead of Chris Zuke. But he recovered from his over ambitious dive into the corner, enough to prevent me using the full width of the track when accelerating out of the corner.
I'm forced to pinch my exit line, more to the left than I would have preferred, and now Chris' Red #98 is positioned just beside my right rear fender, so I can't get back onto the proper line (behind Jay) along the right snowbank.
I'm sorely tempted to just squeeze over and force Chris to back off. See last year's stories for several examples of Chris doing exactly that to me.
|But Chris has changed his ways from last year. I haven't had
any problems whatsoever with him this weekend. And he's clearly
faster than me at the moment. The tables are turned and now it's me
that's getting in his way.
I won't hesitate to take advantage of someone else's error, such as Chris sliding too wide on the exit of the hairpin. But I try to never deliberately block a faster car. So I'm careful to leave room for Chris now that he has legitimately managed to keep his nose between my rear fender and the outside snowbank.
I have to compromise my line into the critical left/right chicane on the back straight. As a result, I'm slower again and Chris powers ahead of me exiting the chicane.
|Not only that, but Jim Graham also dives up the inside on the left
turn at the end of the back straight.
I crossed the finish line to end the first lap in 5th. Now, at the end of the second lap, I'm already down to 8th.
It gets worse...