7:00 – Waking to the sound of the i-phone alarm ringing just after 7:00 this morning, the first thought we had was, “Is it still raining?” The answer to that question was of course, “yes!”
It’s Day 4 at Virginia International Raceway and day 3 of the never-ending rain so today there will be more umbrellas, wet feet and race cars in slow motion spins onto wet infield grass.
10:00 – The 8:15 to 8:30 Trans Am practice is now over so it’s hurry up-and-wait-time……a time to grab some food, make any last minute adjustments to the cars and try to keep the driver’s pre race jitters under control.
The car adjustments include; building in a defroster system in the 07 car, making slight adjustments to the 43 car’s new Lexan side vent windows and duct taping any and all water entryways into the chassis. These cars run hot so any water entering the chassis quickly becomes steam, fogging all windows….and with no defrosters visibility become zero in no time.
12:00 – The track is currently quiet as the marshals and officials break for lunch. The big drama for the last hour has been the weather…..Will we have a wet track or a dry track. The weather will dictate the car set up, including shocks, springs, ride height, tire stagger and the tires themselves; slicks of rain tires. It is currently raining again , though it was drying fast around 11:00.
The cars must be on the mock grid for 12:30 so the teams call for car set up must be locked down really soon!!
1:00 – The call of “Start your engines” was followed by the roar of approximately 40 Trans Am cars hitting the start switch. In the rain, the field made its way from the false grid staging area to the track in three distinct groups TA, TA 2 and TA3 for two laps behind the pace car.
When the green flag was dropped for the first group of Trans Am cars (TA) a few cars in the second and third groups jumped their start resulting in drive through penalties…the BC Race Cars number 07 (Jordan Bernloehr) was one of them…..
A few laps later the number 48 of Mike McGarhen (also of BC Race Cars) has not made it around….Mike was fast in practice but with the heavy rain, the officials decided to cancel qualifying and line the cars up according to points. As a part time racer (full time small business owner) Mike started closer to the back of the field behind the full time racers, part time workers.
…..still waiting and still no Mike. The track announcers confirm that Mike has gone off the track at the end of the back straight away – the infamous roller-coaster – where my Mike has had an incident. The off in the rain has buckled the nose of Mike’s car…..his day of racing is over.
After his first lap mistake…Jordan continues his race cautiously, eventually bringing the car home in 9th position!
At the end of the weekend Mike and I had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the track..despite the 3 days of solid rain!!