Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 2 of Solo Nationals

Mother nature was kind to someone, and unkind to someone else. I think John Vitamvas and Greg Olsen got the mother mad somehow and they were punished.

Both John and Greg were in contention for trophy spots. But since their numbers are 98 and 198, they were gridded on the back of the pack. Shortly after the first 7 - 8 Super Stocks took off, the sky opened up and the course immediately became a lake. Many big favorites in SS and SSM were knocked off the contention as these cars were hopeless with rain tires and big power.

That's autocross - it doesn't happen often, but sometime being lucky is better than good.

Overall, the first leg of the Solo Nationals were so-so for our region. The two shoot-ins, Sam and Julian, repeated as National Champion. But Sam had a scare and won by just 0.070 over the 2nd place. In F-Stock, Lee Piccione finished a good 3rd and big Mike Synder finished 8th and grab the last trophy spot.

In FJB, Julian won easily over Carson and became a two time National Champion. Carson had two DNFs and battled kart problems all week; but finally put in a clean run and secure 2nd place.

In ESL, Carrie Synder had the fastest second day time in her class, but wasn't enough to cover the spread from the 1st day. I think eating only onion rings for dinner helped.

In SSM, Jason drove hard and beat the mother nature with a 6th place trophy finish. Congratulations Jason! Now you are the nicest Irishman in Nebraska.

In Formula SAE, the battle between University of Maryland, University of Texas, and University of Kansas were fierce. Mike Stanley and Mike Cook drive their lights out and employed all kinds of tire changing strategies during the rain storm including:
  • Went to the Hoosier tent and try to buy new rain tires, but Hoosiers doesn't have them in stock.
  • Went to the Bridgestone tent; since they can't even give me a free t-shirt, they have no tire for FSAE either.
  • Recruit cheap/free labor from former Maryland and University of Delaware students, and a crazy German as pit crew, and show them how to change tires in 10 minutes.
  • Run the first session with 4 rain tires, 2nd session with 2 rains on the left side and 2 drys on the right, and 4 drys in the third session. This is what they teach in college nowadays...
In the end, Mike Stanley finish in 3rd place, 0.173 second behind the winner, and 0.172 second behind the 2nd place. Kansas lost the National Championship by 0.001 second to Texas. Mike Cook finished in 5th place. Both FSAE guys were not at the trophy presentation and folks were asking me if they had to go back to school so they won't miss any classes. I told me that's impossible: I went to Maryland, and I never showed up for classes.

I also stick around and watch my friends Brian Ciarlei and Michelle Quinn in FM and FML. Sal DiPompo from the Philly region took 1st in FM. Sunday was Sal's first time driving the FM car that won his Nationals, and Sal has only been autocrossing for two years. Brian finished 3rd and Michelle finished 2nd. The combined ages of all three are still younger than Craig. So for you folks that are my age or older: there is no hope for you, please join me for Bocci ball during the off season where the competition is kind of fierce too.

This wrapped up the competition news. Here is what else is going on today at Lincoln:

The F125 newbies spent the day running their karts in the rain; in the only rain we have seen all week, and they are not even running for competition. I am beginning to think people are out of their mind to run in F125s.

Early this week my attempt to get a free Bridgestone shirt was denied when I brought the future F1 star to seek for sponsorship. Today I went to the Bridgestone tent with an old-timer from the Central PA region and carried two Bridgestone tires in hand and try to con the rep for shirts, but I was denied again. I was going to accuse the Bridgestone guys for being bias again the Asians, but since Bridgestone is a Japanese company, I can't even do that. I think they just hate me.

Jim Sykes is now officially being sponsored by the SCCA, as he gets free entries to run in the Nationals for just being him. I saw Jim hotdoggin in the ProSolo Finale Champion's car, Jim's man!

Neary, my number one horse, run a 45.8 at the test and tune course today; and Craig, my number two donkey, run a 45.0 at the test and tune course yesterday. I don't know what to make of this, and Craig is now insisted that he is the number one driver and is demanding Neary's contract. I gladly offered to Craig - now Craig needs to change tires and wash the car plus buying me team t-shirt at Walmart.

Let me list a couple of things that normally doesn't happen in our events:

1. The traditional CP parade, where CP cars parade around the course, was substituted by the "CP BUS" parade. I rather sit in Dave Mapes CP car parading around like a Zebra than a bus any day.

2. The Solo banquet was held at the Embassy Suites hotel's ball room. Half of the chairs were facing the opposite direction of the trophy presentation. I guess since half of the guys are PO'd because they didn't win anything, they were giving the opportunity not to look at the winners.

This wraps up the first leg of the Solo Nationals. Tomorrow the rest of the classes will run, and I need to go to bed so I won't miss my tee-time. But here is a preview of tomorrow's festivities.

1. Watch Jim Sykes free race.
2. Watch Ian collect more money, he hasn't win anything in three days.
3. Watch Brian Burdette's revenge on Frisbee golf.
4. Watch Eric Kriemelmeyer's return to the Nationals.
5. Watch Brendon Bengermino kick-butt in A-Stock, and watch Clyde Caplan watching Brendon Bengermino kick butt in A-Stock.
6. Watch Pat Griffith and Karen Kraus driving the 2nd most talked about car in ESP.
7. Watch Josh Luster's new Bridgestone shirt... Damn Bridgestones.
8. Watch Shane Chinonn-Rhoden and John Willemin in STX action, where Neary predicts Shane to be the STX National Champion this year. Since Shane is not driving his car, the chance is good.
9. Watch Mike Kline sleep while Brian Garfield does all the work.
10. Watch Lisa to return to the "No Fear" status and show the F125L who's the boss, and not just to Brian.
11. Watch Neary and Craig battle it out on who is the number one driver in the Evo; and...

Watch Justin Neal and Edwin Liu team up again Frank Weichold and me on the Octogon death cage match. The total combine time of Edwin and Justin will be compared again the combine time of Frank and me. The losers buy dinner at the Mexican restaurant on the corner of 48th and P street.

Got to go to bed now. Need a good sleep so I have a good appetite for my free dinner.

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