XXXXX NSX-FILES REPORT EXCLUSIVE XXXXX MONDAY SEPT 07 1998 1:00:09 PT XXXXX
Quick NSX-Files Update, just a summary...I will report a more detailed message later...
NSXs in the LA Street Race(www.lastreetrace.com) in the PRO Racing Series(one of the warmup races for the NASCAR race)
Saturday - 48 cars are entering in the Pro Racing Series event. Monster cars. I mean MONSTER CARS. Big time Porsche guys. I mean big time. Someone said there are lots of guys here who buy frames/chassis/rollbars/body direct from Porsche to race, and it is $150,000+ new from the factory.......with no motor and other stuff you need to go fast. Some of the guys in the race supposedly have $500,000 into their cars. My guess offhand is 20 Porsche 911 are entered, 7 BMWs, 3 NSXs, Mustang, 928, 3 944, 3 914, a Prelude, Ferrari 308 and a 348, Eagle Talon, etc.
After a 40 minute practice, we are to have a 45 minute qualifying session. Plan is that Wayne drives first 20 minutes, and then I qualify for the last 25 minutes, and we take best time. However, qualifying is cut short by 30 minutes. 30 MINUTES! I never get a chance to drive, and neither do other co-drivers. I guess when you are a support race, you get bumped for time.......anyways, Wayne does an awesome job, and qualifies us 22 out of 48 or so. Other drivers aren't happy, as they didn't get the time to really start burning up the track...but hey that's racing........so we start middle of pack.
Saturday afternoon - One Hour Enduro - we do a Le Mans style start, since there are 48 cars, and we can't do a rolling start and get all the cars lined up properly. Plus it probably makes for a good show.
I drive the first 20 minutes of enduro, and Wayne drives the last 40 (according to enduro rules for this race, odd number cars had to make mandatory 3 minute pit stop and optional driver change in first 20 minutes). It is pretty intense, duking it out with the similar type cars, and then having the Porsche 911 race cars dive bomb on you in the straights and corners.
Since everyone has to make a mandatory 3 minute pit stop, it is hard to tell what place you are in. We complete the race without incident. Pro Racing says they won't have results of the race until the morning, but we are just happy we didn't wreck. We also get a big time adrenaline rush from racing in the LA Street Race...
We are to grid for the 30 minute sprint race today according to finishing positions in the race yesterday. At 10:00 a.m., they finally post the results. WAYNE AND I TAKE EIGHTH PLACE, and second in our class behind a turbo charged Mustang!! It was manual timing, so I am sure there is room for error, if ya know what I mean. Mike Duncan passed us, yet they have him as 11th. But Wayne and I ain't complaining...hey, that's racing..(Manual lap keeping is tough. After reporting to the list two weeks ago that Wayne and I came in 3rd out of 20 in the three hour enduro at ButtonWillow, a week later I get a call from Pro Racing saying, "uuuhhh..we made a mistake, the ZR-1 beat you, you are really the 4th place finisher, can you please send your 3rd place trophy back?......"
Sunday Sprint race. Another Le Mans style start. I am gridded eighth, behind four horribly fast 911 Twin Turbo race cars(10 seconds a lap faster than us, and we are turning 1:15), a turbo charged(by Mech Tech) Z3 that was really fast, I could never catch the bastard), the turbo mustang, and a 944 Turbo. I figure I need to get a good launch. The crowd is cheering at the start because it is quiet, everyone waiting for the green flag to drop so everyone will simultaneously start their engines and haul ass down the straight.......green flag drops, I turn the key, mash the pedal, the NSX launches out fast....but then it gurgles....and gurgles again....meantime 30 other cars come screaming by me trying to avoid me. I am not sure what I did, if I turned the key too quick and floored it and the ECU got confused.....or maybe I just boneheaded and tried to start in 3rd gear???nah.....I couldn't have been that stupid, could I?? I jam the car into neutral....rev it a couple of times, drop it back into first, and finally engine kicks in......meantime I am cursing up a storm as I was gridded 8th, now I am just about last in the damn field......we get about 4 laps in, then big time waving flags.....apparently a 911 Turbo T-boned a beautiful looking BMW so hard that rear wheels of the BMW ended up eight feet high on a tire wall, with the nose pointing down, kinda like it is dive bombing into the ground. They fly the checkered flag after only about 10 minutes of racing, as opposed to 30 minutes.......wich really sucks......as I am at the back of the back, which really hurts our chances for gridding near the front for the big race on Monday......I really start cursing about my stupidity on the start........what a loser, just when things were going so good for us.......
I talk to the race officials, and they said since it is an aborted race, they are going to use qualifying grid from SATURDAY instead of Sunday. What luck for us! So we grid 8th!!! Except 911 Turbo crashed. So we grid 7th!! But BMW Z3 Turbocharged machine bent a valve. So I think we will grid 6th for the big race tomorrow if the race officials don't change their mind.......true, we really LUCKED into it, as we aren't even close to having the fastest car or most experienced drivers.......but hey.....that's racing!
Hopefully, if we can hold our own, we can end up in the top 10, as there is a pack of angry Porsches behind us that are pissed that they got screwed in the qualifying......and they are going to be looking for blood tomorrow!!
Casualties of Friends....
Our race is somewhere around 4:00 p.m. tomorrow....after the big NASCAR race....
More to report later...
p.s. Randy Marchetti is out here with John Scott, assisting Mike Duncan with the RM prepared NSX. Randy and John are also graciously helping out me and Frank Carlone. Hat's off to Randy and John for helping us NSXers out at this event!