Giant Killer!

Overall a good day at Hallett Raceway. The drive down to Oklahoma was an interesting one. First time driving through Kansas and all we saw were flat grassy plains for hundreds of miles and a crazy lightning storm that lit up our entire windshield.  We were warned about tornados in this region, but when this storm hit us, we realized we didn’t really know what we’re supposed to do if one happend to be chasing us down.  “Hide in a ditch at the side of the road,” someone told us earlier…we don’t know if he was joking or not.

This would be the first night we’d both get sleep in the last two days after our last minute modifications following Road America and it was much needed. Pulled in to the Hampton Inn and Jon really raved about how nice it was compared to some of the last hotels we’ ve stayed at. Not sure what the big deal is when we’re just crashing  for 6 hours 😉

We wanted to make this day count and arrived at the track early and with a list of things to check immediately when we got there. Having the bicycle helped alot as I was able to make it around the course a couple times to take notes, autocross style, since we’re timed on the first session out and no practice laps! I guess the idea with the cannonball is to drive the fastest on roads not necessarily familiar to you so this adds that element.

Hallett Raceway is a tight and technical race track with several short straights and nicely flowing combinations of corners. What make it difficult is that most of the turn in points are blind, you can’t see what’s coming up ahead until you’re mid-corner and secondly, most corners are fastest with a late apex, requiring alot of patience to resist turning in too early and running out of track on exit.

For morning session, we were gridded in 17th behind the same Porsche Cayman S Jon passed at Mid-America. I was sure to leave him an extra 5 seconds after the starter gave me the green flag. It was lucky I did because on our second timed lap, he had a big spin and stalled in the middle of the track.  By the time I got to him, he was able to move the car off line and I didn’t get held up. A pleasant surprise followed during lunch when we saw we were in 7th overall place for the morning session! 5th and 6th were a ways ahead of us but there was some fierce competition with just a few seconds separating our cumulative times with the next 3 cars. Now we know why Motor Trend blogger labelled us ‘Giant Killers.’ Our main Economy class  (friendly) rival, Andy Hollis,  unfortunately had a four wheels off track incident going over one of the blind crests in a complicated section. Thankfully he was able to drive it back on track safely but losing several seconds worth of time.

Afternoon Session was a bit of a crap shoot. My first lap turned out amazing as I was able to push the car more confidently, balancing four wheel drifts and hitting my apexes. I was determined to make an improvement and things were going well until midway in to my second lap. I caught up to the car in front, a Mazda 5. Weird, yeah, but it’s gutted and turbo charged. Problems arose when it appeared he did not want to let me past and eventually lost 6 seconds during the lap I was following him. Fortunately, we still finished 7th in the afternoon, with possibly 5th in sight , if not for the hold up. That’s nuts considering the company would be a couple of Porsches (GT2 and a Turbo 997), Corvette, GTR, and a heavily modified WRX Sti.

Vids to come soon. It’s a bit slow uploading data using a tethered phone.


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