The MTM events have come
and gone for another year. For some of us, it's time to put away the track
bag and spend our weekends doing the things we put off to go racing. For
others, it's time to travel to other regions to get our "fix". So…I'll
take this opportunity to "advertise" for some of them.
If you are fortunate enough to live in or near Ohio, or if you don't, but have the time (and funds) to make the trip, there are plenty of events to satisfy your need for speed in September and October. There's the WOR Games at Mid-Ohio, and of course, the Runoffs.
For those of you who are more adventurous, or live further south and east, there's a new event this season – the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. If this one peaks your interest, read on for more information.
Thanks to Doug Mitchell for sending his impressions of the West Michigan Grand Prix. I heard many good things from our membership. Good news!! Next year's date has already been set. The conflict that prevented some of us from going will not happen next year.
"The View From Turn 1.
Friday: Michael Burke and I walk from the turn captains meeting to the turn. We pass the most Vipers I have seen in one place. They are to be part of the Parade lap. We also pass the Budwieser girls (ladies?). Dresses that look like the Bud label. Very tight - no VPL.
On to the races. Friday saw the opening of the track to race cars. Started on time, kept to the schedule. Remember that we have to shut down at 5:00 for the commuter cars. Mike and I are responsible for Turn 1 and Beta. Beta is on the bridge, and is a great, no make that GREAT place for blue flagging. You can watch them come out of turn 13 and the pits. Get a real good idea of the acceleration.
Friday night was the Spec Racer Ford race. This race included our own Martin Waalkes as the Country Fresh poster boy. One of the things they learned very quickly was that although you can come down the front straight four abreast, it doesn't work going into turn 1 (no matter what your math teachers told you, four into one doesn't work). In the closing laps, there was a bit of a physics problem as two cars tried to occupy the same space. The leader lost and smacked the wall right at the opening for the turn 1 flaggers. They then black-flagged the former second place car for causing it.
Saturday was another beautiful day and promised to have some good racing with it. I spent some more time at Beta,
with Nancy Rogers. I could tell by her huge smile that she was enjoying blue-flagging the vintage cars from this vantage point. The rest of the qualifying sessions were completed with several incidents at turn 1. The biggest problem was the transition from the concrete bridge to the blacktop saw the cars almost fly. They then had to get the car back under control to set up for the first turn. Interesting to watch the different lines through the turn. Some didn't make it and ended up in the runoff. Mike and I were competing for the most cars caught. I still think that Burke won!
We were to have two races on Saturday, the T-2 and Vintage. T-2 started under gray skies, with rain seeming likely. We weren't disappointed. On the start, the T-2s came into turn 1 two cars wide and two cars deep without as much as a hairs width between them. It didn't work, and we caught a couple of cars. Unlike Mike, I practice catch and release, and sent the cars on their way. (I will admit that we had to do a little unauthorized body work to one of the Acuras. We were helped by PJ Cunningham, and the team was later fined for that infraction). Sometime during the race, the skies opened up and we were deluged. The race was stopped so that everybody could change to "rain" tires. This made turn 1 even more interesting as cars came in too fast and went well back in the runoff. We finished up the day with the Vintage cars in their first race. A Lotus and a Corvette gave us the best race, with the Lotus in the lead. Unfortunately the Lotus broke and the Vette went on to win.
Sunday broke beautiful and sunny. Four races today. T-1, Barber-Dodge, TransAm and another Vintage race. Barber Dodge started us off. Was pretty uneventful for the most part. Next up was the TransAm. Good racing, although some of the other turns had their share of problems. Gentilozzi lost his hood between Alpha and Beta, and they went full course yellow. Had a few cars into the tires at the outside of turn 1. They all left eventually. The third race was the T-1. This was billed as the BIG race since it had a Name in it - Tim Allen. The toolman didn't fare too well, and parked over at turn 9. This gave them the fits as there wasn't enough security to cover everything. The last race of the weekend was the Vintage cars again. They still gave a pretty good show, with many of them driving at ten tenths and brushing the walls as well as other cars.
All in all, Gordy Ensing and his gang are to be highly commended for a job well done. The low spots were the rain (no control) and the misjudging on time to be allowed for each race. The lap times weren't quite as low as they had figured, so all of the races ran a bit long. (with the exception of the Vintage which were timed only). High points were the way all the workers were treated. Great box lunches. Someone came around with rain coats for those who had believed the weather forecast and left theirs in the hotel room. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would rate this a 9 (gotta leave them something to shoot for)."
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© 1999 Michigan Turn Marshals - This page was last updated on 01/01/10 17:41