An EDGE Ironman Gets the Win!
Kevin and Eric Moore were representing EDGE at the second WERC event of the 2022 season at the “Roval” in Fontana (Autoclub Speedway). This event was at the low end of endurance in that it was scheduled for a total of 3 hours, with a “must end” time for the track to go cold at 7:04 pm.
Since this was our first time at the track, we were excited and worried at the same time. For this race, the #37 car, on paper, is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. The unchangeable 237HP that comes from our S52 power plant means we can’t take advantage of the potential HP bump associated with running more durable tires. We learned that some of our E1 competitors had more than 70HP on us at this high-speed track and we were hoping for a podium as a positive outcome.
Photo by Pavlo Havrylyuk
A Single Day for Everything
Travel, Test, Qualify, Test Some More, Race, and Travel Back
With the race being on a Saturday, and the drive to Fontana being more than 9 hours, we put all of our eggs in the “Saturday only” basket and arrived at the track late Friday night. Parking near our SoCAL support team, Lang Racing Development, we got to our hotel and passed out about midnight.
Saturday morning came early and we got on track with Kevin in the car, at 8 am, with an all-race-groups practice session. With over 80 cars on track, it was an interesting way to experience a new circuit in an unfamiliar region with drivers we didn’t know. All went fine and we were predictably 5 seconds off the pace.
To maximize practice time we then ran the TT session immediately following practice and found the track to be much more open with far fewer than 80 cars. This helped, and we found a full second leaving us only 4 seconds off of the pace.
Eric was in the car for qualifying and drove incredibly well to get P3 while setting our fastest time of the day. This gave us some confidence that the car was performing well with the Nitto NT01s. Our times were only 4 seconds off of Brett Strom’s fastest qualifying time, a smoking 1:48.
Eric and Kevin used TT sessions after qualifying to get a TT podium but more importantly, set some strategy. Kevin took two more shots at a fast time in the next two TT sessions and being 0.6s off Eric’s time was encouraging, but made it obvious that they needed to leverage Eric’s speed as their main strategy.
That long drive to Fontana took its toll on the oldest member of the team, so we decided to see if our young gun, Eric, was ready to Ironman an Enduro; a strategy that was used successfully in our first race at Willow Springs.
Eric nervously agreed, so we strapped him in at 3:45 pm and committed to running a fuel-only strategy, trusting that our NT01s would be typically reliable and last the full three hours. Eric steeled up and was ready for the challenge and he clearly represented our best chance at success.
Photo by Pavlo Havrylyuk
A Great Start, Pit Stop #1, and Consistent Laps
Starting on the banking and in P3, Eric had a clear view of the pack in front of him. After a clean start, the pandemonium ensued with all cars funneling into T3 as we exited the speedway. Eric grabbed the opportunity to drive around the outside of the mayhem and grabbed the lead in E1, at least for the first lap. We were quickly relegated to P5 in class by much faster cars as Eric was getting comfortable with the NT01s and he sorted through traffic.
Because other teams pitted before us, the #37 was in P1, P10 overall, when we came in for our first fuel stop. Dropping back to 15th after taking on 10 gallons of $7/gallon fuel, Eric worked his way back to P1 in E1 and P11 overall after only 9 laps.
Eric continued to tap out consistent 1:52s to 1:54s as we approached the 2:30 mark and prepared for our final fuel stop.
Photo by Pavlo Havrylyuk
Pit Stop #2 and a Surprise Ending
The #712 Team Jirafa/ Lang Racing Development M3, with its almost 300HP, worked its way up to Eric and passed him for the lead just a few laps before they, and the entire E1 field, pitted for their last fuel stop. We estimated that we had about 10 laps before we would have to make our second pit stop for either 5 gallons or 10 gallons of fuel.
With Team Jirafa only two laps behind us after their pit stop, seat-of-the-pants calculations told us that we could afford no more than a 2-minute pit stop to maintain P1. We charged up the team, crossed our fingers, and were ready to go.
As the fuel gauge was quickly falling toward empty, a full-course yellow came out. With maybe a gallon of fuel left, the team was concerned about how we were going to make it since we can’t pit and fuel under double yellow.
Fortune smiled upon us and after 4 laps under the yellow, the checker flew. The race was over and we won the E1 class!
We learned later that the track ambulance was used to treat and transport a critically injured spectator. Without the ambulance, the track could not go green. Thankfully, the Race Director stopped the race early rather than have us parade around for 20 minutes. Race results reverted to the last green lap, which was a few laps after Team Jirafa had run their last pit stop when we were in P1, giving us the class win along with 11th overall.
The fuel savings earned by the #37 BMW’s S52 got us those extra laps to shift from a two-stop strategy to a one-stop race and gave us the win by 2 laps. Other than a clutch issue, the car ran very well and the NT01s were money. We were tired after our long day, but obviously very satisfied with the result.
With P2 at Willow Springs and P1 at Autoclub Speedway, the #37 car is having a great start in our first full WERC season. A number of big hitters have been finishing back a bit, so we expect the fight will come to us in our next few races. We’ll be at Autoclub Speedway again in June; we can’t wait!
It's absolutely amazing what The Moore's did. %$#ing AMAZING! That's it.
#challenges #camaraderie #edgefamily
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