So many incidents, so many flags, and a lot of success
The shop has been incredibly busy lately, but thankfully we were able to find time to prepare during the week leading up to the NASA race weekend. We had 3 cars going into Friday’s practice and were ready for three ST4 races and one Enduro, along with some TT. The AUDI TCR car would have been our 4th entry, but we need more time to properly sort the car before we race it again.
Unfortunately, we were reduced to just 2 cars for the race weekend because Aaron, one of our team drivers, found a wall that rendered his car undrivable during practice on Friday. He was OK but we were all gutted to lose his car and his presence during the weekend. Aaron has been making great progress and everyone was looking forward to some great racing with him. He will be back very soon.
With 17 cars signed up for ST4/TT4, there was going to be a lot of competition, more than the previous race at Thunderhill. We like more good drivers and fast cars, that is what racing is supposed to be right, lots of fast cars?
With only the EDGE #38 E46 BMW and EDGE #37 E36 BMW cars under the tent, we were looking forward to a calm weekend with our goal being fun first, winning second.
Saturday Practice and Qualifying
The group A and C practice Saturday morning was a mess; 2 laps into the practice session we lost one ST4 car and 10 minutes later we lost another ST4/E1 car; both to severe crashes. Thankfully everyone was OK but we hate to see anyone not be able to compete because of crashes or mechanicals. Ugghhhhh, we’re not looking forward to qualifying.
In qualifying, we were able to get P1 for #38 and P2 for #37. Both cars logged some reasonably fast laps early and it turned out to be very lucky because the session was black-flagged within 3 laps - more mayhem. Fortune shined on EDGE this time because the other ST4 cars hadn’t got up to speed before the session was called.
Now you see why the title of this report starts off with “So many incidents, so many flags…”
Saturday ST4 Race #1
Shaun started P1 in ST4 behind a couple of prototypes, a NASCAR truck, and some other incredibly fast cars. He got a good start and by turn 2 his lead was solid, so he could spend the rest of the race watching the battle for 2nd unfold in his mirror. Tony, in the #37 EDGE car, Justin S. (#424 BMW), and Ian B (#74 BMW) were in an epic battle for 2nd.
Early in the race, two Legends cars crashed in T1, and another Legend blew fluid all over the T2 apex. The local yellow from T1 to T4 lasted for the first few laps. During the yellow, adding to the mayhem, a Thunder Roadster spun out of turn 6 and crashed into the left embankment, finally bringing the race to a full course yellow!
With a Spec E30 between Shaun and Justin, Shaun gets the radio call as he exits turn 11 that the race goes green. He was able to get a run all the way up the front straight, with the Spec E30 running a little interference on Justin. By turn 2 Shaun was well ahead in 1st, the sun was shining, the birds were singin’, beautiful baby… Not only did Shaun work a gap on Justin, Shaun, Anthony, and Justin all remembered the oil in T2 (remember that?) and stayed away from the T2 apex, unfortunately, Ian wasn’t so lucky and a quick spin took him out of the P2 battle. But, that’s racing and anything can happen.
Then anything did happen. Number 38’s ABS took a little holiday because of a low voltage condition (silly battery connections…) and the car suddenly feels like braking is happening on ice. Shaun quickly adjusted to the challenge, but the result was being approximately 1.5 seconds slower than Tony and Justin. For the last 2 laps, Shaun was under intense attack and was able to eke out the win over Tony by just under a second.
It was a clean and super competitive race for us and in the last few laps, Shaun was convinced that a win wasn’t possible with Tony and Justin breathing down his neck. In his words, “it was one of the best...just great...yeah well...pretty amazing.”
Starting in P2 we, unfortunately, hit the start in 4th gear. WHAT? So deservedly, we immediately lost 2 places. We quickly got a position back to slot in behind Ian.
Lapped traffic provided Justin a perfect opportunity to capitalize and he passed both Ian and Tony at the same time, exiting 8A, to take over 2nd from Tony; hero driving that deserves a standing ovation - paraphrasing for Tony ;).
The double yellow mentioned previously bunched the 4 hot shoes up and the racing resumed as the train exited turn 11. The clean restart kept everyone in their place until Ian hit the fluid and spun (see above). This put Tony back in 3rd; we hate for it to happen this way, but we’ll take it. Two turns later, Justin ran wide in turn 4, and Tony dove into the gap and hustled to get to turn 5 first; retaking 2nd and hunting for Shaun.
Tony started reeling Shaun in, with 1st feeling like a possibility. As you already know, we didn’t get by him, but with the incredible racing and killer competition, second place felt great and a well-earned reward.
Saturday ST4 Race #2
With the ABS fixed in between races; reconnecting some wires remedied the low voltage issue and boom, the #38 is back to its old self!
After a great start from P1, Shaun, with Tony tagging along, gapped the rest of the ST4 field and it was most likely going to be a race between just two cars.
To the best of his ability, Shaun tried to keep traffic between him and #37. He and Tony were passing traffic rapidly, constantly weaving in and out of mini Legends and sliding E30s, they didn’t notice that they once passed 5 cars between corners.
Shaun has a vivid memory of working by an ST2 Mustang under braking into T10. With Tony right behind him, Shaun just knew that his brilliance would put the Mustang between the two EDGE cars. Unfortunately for him, Tony doesn’t shy away from a challenge, so when Shaun looked up as he rolled on the throttle out of T10, #37 filled his mirror and was gaining fast. Tony had passed the Mustang under even later braking and got a much better run out of turn 10. Shaun barely kept Tony behind him with some defensive driving into turn 11. We wonder what the driver in the Mustang was thinking while watching these two EDGE cars battle like fierce rivals.
The gap between our team cars kept yoyoing as they battled through traffic. With Tony racing smart and hard, Shaun had to be opportunistic with the traffic whenever possible. In the end, his efforts paid off and Shaun brought home his second win of the day. WHAT A RACE!
Tony started in P2 and this time he was in the CORRECT GEAR! (Tony always starts in 3rd ;-). He was immediately pressured by Justin running up the hill. Using traffic to his advantage, Tony was able to gap Justin while pulling Shaun back in as they ran through the Carousel. Throughout the race he tried everything he could to get by Shaun, but even with Tony’s incredible skill at working through race traffic he just couldn’t get by #38.
It was another stellar race for the EDGE team and was the first time Tony raced against Shaun mano a mano. Tony said that racing Shaun as he did was so incredibly fun that if he could race like that every time, 2nd place would be fine. Then, after just a moment, he retracted his statement ;-)
With Shaun piloting the #38 car and Kevin in the #37, we were able to put each car in P1 (#38 P1 in TT3 and #37 P1 in TT4). The track was gracious and the drivers were focused; results like this are cherished and always appreciated.
Sunday Enduro Race
WERC - E1
Following a successful outing at COTA with the World Racing League in December, Kevin decided to enter the #37 in the WERC Enduro on Saturday. And just to be sure he got enough seat time during the weekend, he decided to run the enduro solo; it is really just a long 25-hour stint, right?
Practice/qualifying is held as the last session on Saturday (5-6). All cars are on track, some teams practice driver changes and pit stops, while others get laps in before the big race. During this session, Kevin was passing an E0 car entering T4 like he has done many times before, but at the apex, the E0 car came down on him and there was contact. Neither car had any damage, so rather than make an issue out of nothing we decided (wrongly) not to report it. NASA didn’t appreciate the no-contact-form approach and when we came to make amends on Sunday morning, we were relegated to the back of the entire group and also given a stop-and-go penalty.
The takeaway here; always fill out an incident report when you have contact, even if it's minor. If we had brought the form to the race director, we would have started in P2 for the class (P7 overall), with no stop-and-go penalty. That would have been extra super since Kevin qualified on Falken Azenis RT660 200 treadwear tires to preserve the race tires; kind of a stud maneuver.
Starting dead last, (33rd out of 33 spots), on Nitto NT01s, Kevin served the stop-and-go penalty as directed on the first lap, which put him over 3 minutes down on P2 in class. While not ideal, it was surmountable considering that he had over 2 hours to go. Kevin was executing a one-stop strategy, with the intent of running consistent sub 1:50 laps until the refueling at around the 1.5 hour mark. The strategy paid off as he was in P2 when he pitted at lap 42 and at lap 46, he was in the lead! What the… 33rd to 1st in class (6th overall)? Maybe this solo effort/one-stop strategy might work after all.
Once in the lead, Kevin continued with consistent fast laps and built on the gap to P2. At one point, the lead was almost two minutes. Then, at around lap 60, things got interesting. Exiting the Carousel, the first sign of low fuel showed up (lag on acceleration exiting the turn). Knowing that we had about 20 more laps to go brought a bit of panic to the team. We were all very concerned that there wasn’t going to be enough fuel to finish, much less win.
Kevin quickly backed off to run slower laps at about 1:53 for about 10 laps to conserve as much fuel as possible. The starvation continued to get worse so he slowed to 2:00 minutes per lap for the last 7 laps. With fuel starvation getting more noticeable, Kevin was watching his mirror and talking with Jeremiah (our race engineer who was spotting in T8), waiting for Brett Strom to close rapidly.
Brett was running 1:52s and when he finally saw Kevin limping along in front of him he threw down a 1:50. That was some great driving but luckily for us, he too was having some fuel issues and had to pit as his car sputtered and bucked exiting T7. With Brett pitting and the P3 car a lap down, Kevin was able to cruise to victory, albeit on vapors.
A win by the skin of his teeth and 25 laps that leave an impression deep enough where Kevin might need some therapy. But what a WIN!!
Sunday ST4 Race
#38 - Win
Tony was driving the green #38, starting in P1. With a great start, he with Kevin in tow in the #37, drove away from the rest of the ST4 field. Unfortunately, the rest of the field, including Scott Smith (El Diablo #44 BMW, eventually P3) was held up by a safety car on the second lap. We are sure that without that mishap, Scott would have made it extremely competitive.
The win was another incredible race where Tony was racing the car he drove on Saturday, being piloted by fellow EDGE driver, Kevin. Tony said, “with Kevin racing hard behind me made the win even better.”
Unfortunately, Justin S. wasn’t racing on Sunday. If he were, we imagine that the results might have been different.
After more than 2 hours in the car, Kevin was back racing only 40 minutes after his victory in the 2.5 hour enduro … IRONMAN!
In P2, Kevin quickly gapped 3rd place and the rest of the field. By lap 2 an incident caused a safety car to come out right behind him exiting T7, causing an impediment to the rest of the ST4 field. We never like this kind of thing to be the reason we do well but that’s just racing.
Kevin was driving well and fast - all of the practice in the Enduro and recent setup improvements - put him in a position where he was able to attack Tony in the #38 car early in the race. But Tony being Tony, he was able to put a couple of slow cars between them as they entered a local yellow and that separation was just too much for Kevin to make up. From there it was almost a procession with Tony finishing more than 5 seconds ahead of Kevin who took 2nd, about 30 seconds ahead of 3rd, and the rest of the field.
Both the #38 and #37 cars were impounded after the Sunday race and sent to Dyno for a compliance check. We fully support and welcome these random dyno tests and look forward to more consistent compliance checking throughout the season. Both cars were well within compliance and we could potentially add some lightness or power if we really wanted to.
More likely that we will just keep the buffer, just to be safe.
The #38 put in a screamer in the morning, earning another TT3 win. The #37 couldn’t run early because of the enduro, so the late run on tired tires being driven by a tired driver resulted in a 2nd place in TT4.
You may notice a common theme in these race reports. Rarely does a race go by without incredible highs and memories we cherish but also the almost inevitable lows. This race was no different, but fortunately, there were far more highs than lows.
Aaron had to endure all of the lows for EDGE this weekend. With his crash in practice on Friday, his beautiful Honda S2000 ST4 car was heavily damaged and prevented Aaron from racing to earn his hard card. Aaron will be back, and before the weekend was over he had already started gathering the necessary parts and pieces to get his car ready for the next race.
As always, the EDGE Family was there all weekend spotting for us, fixing cars, feeding us, and motivating us so that all of us can have these incredible experiences. #forevergrateful
/ / /
Race and Drive with EDGE Trackside
Our trackside support lets you concentrate on driving and racing. EDGE takes care of the rest:
- Car transportation and storage
- Race builds and modifications
- EDGE mechanics take care of your car and prepare your car for every session
- Driver coaching and development
- Setup prior to and during events