|I survived the first lap. This is good.
If I can get my knees to stop shaking, I might be able to concentrate on chasing down Hiroki Currie in the silver #66 Ford Festiva just exiting the hairpin ahead of me.
|I'm driving a RWD Chevette. Rear-wheel-drive rocks.
Hiroki is driving a FWD Ford Festiva. Front-wheel-drive sucks.
Check out the steering angle on those front wheels. The car is understeering (plowing) badly as Hiroki tries to drag its nose around into the corner.
|Here's a perfect example of the different lines taken
by FWD vs. RWD cars.
The RED line is me in the RWD car. The BLUE line is Hiroki in the FWD car.
Note: I am not making this up. Watch the video clip and you'll see that Hiroki actually does (repeatedly) run this bizarre line shown in blue.
For a brief moment, I thought I might try passing Hiroki on the inside going into the right turn. But then I thought better of it and decided to wait.
|With my line I'm trying to straighten out the 'S' as much as
possible. I sacrificed some entry speed into the right hander in
order to set up a faster exit from the left hander onto the following
straight, using the full width of the track on the exit to let my car
drift all the way out to the far right snowbank.
Hiroki, on the other hand, is deliberately running an exaggerated 'S' in order to stay off the normal racing line as much as possible, finally entering the straightaway right down the middle of the track.
Later on Hiroki's line might make sense. Once the ice along the classic line eventually becomes polished and slippery, it can be quicker to avoid this line altogether by running a line like Hiroki's.
|But this is yet only the 2nd lap of the race!
There is still great traction to be found along the red line, where the studded cars have recently chewed up the ice.
Note again how badly the FWD Festiva is understeering at this point.
Before you go thinking it's only Hiroki who's taking this bizarre line, watch some of the other FWD cars go through this corner. They all do it.
|Right here is where I run into a problem.
As a consequence of our different lines through this corner, our paths intersect at three different points.
Even though I have better speed coming out of the corner, I cannot accelerate along my intended line out to the right snowbank because at this moment Hiroki is angling in across my nose.
|I could already see that he would still be slightly ahead of me at the point
where our paths cross.
So I had to back off and yield the corner to him, allowing him to cross in front of me, otherwise it would have been my fault if I hit him.
I'm certain this is where I will eventually pass him. I will just need to time it better next time so that I arrive at this point ahead of him. Then he will need to back off to make room for me.
|I'm convinced that my line is much quicker through the S-bend, but there's nothing I can do from here on as Hiroki uses the superior straight line traction of his FWD car to accelerate away from me.|
|Watch how the green Colt deliberately runs in the deep
snow all the way around the far outside of this right turn. I
really don't understand that. It makes no sense to me at
all. Nonetheless, he's still well ahead of me so whatever he's
doing seems to be working for him.
Hiroki also runs a wide line around this corner. It's nowhere near as extreme as the line used by the green Colt. But you can see that Hiroki is deliberately staying outside of the other tire tracks.
I run my apex as close to that snowbank as I can get. It's too early yet to tell which line is best because the yellow flags are still being displayed from here on, so we all need to slow down again.
|Here at the finish line the flagger is still waving yellow and white flags, to warn us that the tow truck is still on the track.|
|Kevin Sakaluk's Chevette has already been cleared away
from the left side of the track. Over on the right, the tow trucks
have also managed to retrieve Craig Assenheimer's red #77 Chevette
from the far side of the snowbank and set it back onto the track, nicely
right side up and even already facing in the proper direction. Is
that good service, or what?
The safety crews do an outstanding job of quickly clearing the track under very difficult and stressful conditions. They all deserve medals.
Speaking of out standing, you couldn't pay me enough money to get me out standing on the track in these whiteout blizzard conditions, calmly hooking up tow straps to stranded cars, while all along racecars are still whizzing past, especially when those racecars are being driven on ice on everyday normal rubber tires, and those cars are all being driven by people just like me, and you've already seen how dangerously I drive, if you know what I mean, eh?
And speaking of getting paid enough, -- they're not paid anything at all! They're all volunteers! And you thought driving cars on ice was nuts. Sheesh, just look at what those guys do!