SVRA Watkins Glen

Wow, how many times have we each had our event compromised by either availability of time mandating less than the usual four days, travel delays or weather gremlins? It happens, and one of the things that makes our on-track moments so enjoyable is the reward we each enjoy when it all works just so. In this vein and without braggadocio let me share this short and sweet race story with you.

Watkins Glen 2011 allowed me to thread the availability and weather-window-of-opportunity needle perfectly. Business commitments meant that I could not get on the road for the five-hour drive to the Glen until a bit after mid-day on Thursday. Practice was out for me, but as I drove through powerful hail-laced thunderstorms, I felt I’d likely not missed much. Wrong, as it turned out, the weather was perfect trackside and all our drivers enjoyed a good day of practice. I made it in time for dinner with the crew that night, and then off to the market first thing Friday AM to gather the goods for one of Harvey’s fine barbecue lunches. That meant missing the first-group-out morning practice, but with two more possibilities during the day, why worry? Bad news trackside: practice is delayed due to a huge oil spill that absorbed our time slot. A bit later that afternoon with threatening clouds about…I wondered. The gods were with group 8 and we got a good dry practice/qualifying session . The Klub Sport Porsche race is, however, delayed until Saturday to accommodate track cleaning realities.

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Saturday marketing again precludes early AM practice. This leaves the Klub Sport race, then our group 8 qualifier, followed by the late afternoon enduro as my only opportunities. This is made tenuous by impending severe weather. Sunday looks better…but Sunday will not work for me as another commitment means I need to drive back to Connecticut after Saturday’s endure. The blow-by-blow ends here. Great Club Sport Race dueling with name from entry: we were bumper to bumper for the entire time and finished with me about 10 feet back in third…it does not get better. The qualifier was equally enjoyable for the first three laps then …OIL… Sent into the guardrail then across the track in front of me. I was fortunate to note the corner workers shaking the oil flag at the end of the uphill about ¼ mile before the incident, so I stayed off line and slowed, wondering just what was up. Black flag, back out for 3 laps to finish second overall. Not the best way to finish up front…but the three laps were good fun. Then the rains came and came and came, such that this was the last racing anyone really had for the weekend. Saturday afternoon and Sunday proved a rain out. I had some great racing, and hit the road satisfied and enjoying that feeling of beating the odds on this one.

While I drove home, our other VRS racers had hope for a sunny Sunday. Alas, it was not to be, but with lots of practice time on Thursday and Friday, then qualifying races on Saturday, SVRA’s June Watkins Glen event was far from a washout. We all had a good time and some good racing, even if the weather gods would not create a sunny or even, at least, tolerable Sunday. Many thanks Peter McLaughlin, Ray Snowden and all who work so hard and well to create well run, highly enjoyable SVRA vintage races time after time. See ya soon.

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