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DA (Duh) Inside Story; Who’s the new Kid?

4 April 2002
Sacramento CA
San Fran Region SCCA Double Race Weekend May 22-24, 2009
Thunderhill Raceway Park, Willows, CA

Beautiful weather, NorCal style, was the order for the ’09 Memorial Day SCCA races. Being the biggest race weekend of the year, race fans here were a bit overwhelmed with race choices: Jensen (also ran) Button on pole in Monaco, Helio (Star Dancer) Castronueves on pole in Indy or Kristopher (New Kid) Olson on pole in the very exciting Willows CA. When asked by this cub reporter what she was following, Brenda down at the Black Bear Diner exclaimed: “Ha ! no question: the real action is here. But, uh……:eek: you telling me to put my money on the new kid Olson???” (Besides bodacious ta-ta’s that girl has a brain.)

The Driving Ambition (DA) team of Shad Huntley and the Kipster (KO) rolled the car out of the trailer on Friday and promptly threw down a track record of 1:52.6 in ITE. If you don’t pay attention to such things, after 15 years of track history, track records get whittled away by a few hundredths or maybe a tenth or 2. So, they created quite a stir, when the DA/KO :cool: team took the current track record, slapped it upside the head and threw it in the corner like a rag doll, beating it by over 5 seconds. Adding a bit of frosting on the cake, they then took pole in the superfast Super Production (SP) class. (For the casual observer, SP is the fastest, sexiest thing with fenders in SCCA.)

SP race #1. Saturday Pre-Grid 8:30 AM. The KO kid sat on pole, looking for his nemesis Frank Emmett to show up for the race. Frank didn’t make it to qualifying yesterday but if he came now he could start at the back of the grid. That would be no big deal for Frank since he owns the SP class, and can win from the back without breaking a sweat. He’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Bill Auberlen, Justin Marks, Paul Newman and his credentials include the 24 Hrs of Daytona, on a team starting in the top 3rd of the grid. Only a select few in SP have tried to hunt him down and only the DA/KO team currently has the Top Gun equipment and attitude to take him out. And this weekend was supposed to set him up if not shoot him down. Unfortunately, Frank was a no-show today. :frown:

As the 3 minute board went up on pre-grid, this cub reporter, imitating the very lame Jack Arute, :rolleyes: leans in the car and asks KO “So, you’re on pole, but being a veritable rookie in this super fast class, what’s going thru you mind right now?” Totally unfazed or amused by such a lame question, he just smiled and offered “I just wanna win, but I was really hoping to be able to dethrone king Frank this weekend.” And off he went.

Although Frank wasn’t there to start in the back; someone almost better was: Elmer Shannon in the monster 700 RWHP #07 Vette was. , Elmer has the money and crew to run an IndyCar team, and loves to throw down a little smack now and again. More on that later…………….

As the pace car pulled off, the starter threw an early green and the ground shook as KO effortlessly led the 12,000 HP pack thru Turn 1. KO pulled out a few car lengths as things got sorted out thru Turns 2 into 3. By lap 7, KO and the leaders were lapping the backmarkers. As Shad asked KO for some gage readings and how the car felt, all he got back was a “Yee haw, this is fun!!” :tongue:

Michelle Nigai, an annual fixture at pointy end of the SP grid, started 2nd and hounded KO, just over a second back for several laps. However, it soon became obvious she was pushing and a bit too hard; dropping 2 wheels here and 4 off there, then into traffic and wham-o, she’s 7 seconds back. Meanwhile, KO was grinding…….. no make that gliding thru backmarkers with Swiss watch………… no make that atomic clock precision.

But hold on, Elmer’s coming. :wink: The announcer on the first lap started giving updates on Elmer, who, using some jaw dropping acceleration, was on a charge from the back. By lap 3, he was up to 3rd; and 2 laps later, only 8 seconds back. Shad and this cub reporter are crunchin’ numbers to figure how this will play out with Michelle, traffic and all. But no worries because all of a sudden Elmer’s getting the meatball and puling in to pit lane for a sound bust. His crew waves some magic dust over the muffler and Elmer’s back out but not before after losing 30 seconds on pit lane. :mad: Shad winks “We’re half way home and Elmer would have to find 4-5 seconds/lap on KO.” That ain’t happenin’ :tongue:………..whew.

Meanwhile, Michelle in the 72 car has spun up in Turn 5, T-Hill’s mini corkscrew, and is now 16 seconds back. KO keeps reeling off 1:52’s and with that much of a lead, no one’s gonna catch him unless he stumbles. Which he doesn’t, so that’s the way it ended, except Elmer passed Michelle for the right to be first loser. But who cares about that? :rolleyes:

Can you say “Dom-in-ation”? Up and down the paddock, the buzz is: “Who’s the new kid in that funny lookin’ car?” :eek:

ITE Race. There was no time for an SP class victory lap, cooling down or anything, since the 5 minute board went up for the ITE race not lonb after Kip took the SP checkers. And the DA/KO team has to make a pit stop for fuel and tires. KO sits in the car while Shad fuels and some clueless pit monkeys, including this cub reporter, change tires. KO makes it back out to pre-grid at the 2 minute mark but 85 year old Paul, the Pre-grid Gestapo, won’t allow him to take his pole position, saying the 49 is too late and will start in the back (any questions?). Who made up this schedule any-who? :confused:

Here’s the set-up for the ITE race. A Darrell Anderson, in a well put together #45 Mustang, inherits the pole with KO’s relegation to the back. The #45 has typically turned laps in the mid 50’s (1:55+/-). But this weekend, with a fresh bucket of speed, he’s in the 52’s and a threat to DA/KO. This likeable guy could be KO’s cousin; a friendly soft spoken guy, who you can tell, secretly wants to “Kick your ass” as they say. :biggrin:

Well, needless to say, starting in the back of a 30 car field after racing the SP monsters for 30 minutes is no small feat. Shad, on the radio for the pace lap, repeats KO’s mantra for him, “Take a deep breath, relax and SACK UP YOU PUSSY!!! “ With the bit set firmly between his teeth, KO utters “Game on!!” As the green flies, the 49 car blows by at least 10 cars into T-1 and out-brakes a few more into T-2. With absolutely no detectable drama, he’s up to 6th on the 2nd lap.

By lap 3 he’s hunting down the very suave and debonair :cool:Rylan Hazleton, in the well known and well used DA turbo’d S2000. On his ass down the back straight, KO makes the pass, out-braking Ry at over 120 mph going T-14. Shad radios that Anderson is within reach and “we’re gaining by 2 seconds/lap. Plenty of time, even if he doesn’t bobble.” By Lap 4, KO is only 2 turns back and takes the time to think “that s.o.b. has the same number as Frank Emmett…:eek:……..he’s gonna pay !!!!” But the racing gods have a different idea and the 49 starts thumping on the right rear. Hoping it’s just some clag pick-up, KO pushes on. But 2 laps later, it’s apparent something is not quite right and KO backs off big time. :mad: Team spotters in the tower frantically call their drivers that the 49 is slowing dramatically; “push now and get a video of you passing that NSX!!!”

Well a CV joint on the right rear gave up; not surprisingly with all the high G left hand turns. KO pulls her in and we’re done. First problem in 5 tough sessions. Otherwise, all 520 ponies have been pulling flawlessly all weekend. :smile:

Lunchtime. Getting just a chicken sandwich to deal with a pounding headache, Shad swaps out the CV, thinking he shoulda done it after the left side gave up in Laguna last race. Another item for the checklist. Meanwhile Elmer (07 monster Vette) comes by to lay down some smack. Saying he “would’ve gotten y’all if it hadn’t been for the meatball” :rolleyes: he snapping pictures of all the machinery he can. But the kicker was this compliment for KO: “Those your tires? Those wimpy things………??? Man, I couldn’t turn a two flat on those.” KO just grins as he looks him square in the eye and says “We’re going to make the most of what we’ve got here before we do any real mods, but thanks for noticing.” Elmer waves and jumps back in his golf cart with a young girl who might be his daughter or his trophy girlfriend; probably just this weekend’s GF. KO mumbles under his breath, “Did you see those legs? And he calls my tires skinny ?? !!” :confused:

Report on the weekend’s 2nd Races to follow. Stay tuned.
I honestly don't know how Ted could have written this article as if he was there. I could have sworn that I saw a car which looked just like his racing in the Indy 500. It also had the same number. I think he's just making things up here for our amusement... isn't he? :cool:

Nice write up as usual.

Re: Part 2; Surprises

San Fran Region SCCA Double Race Weekend May 22-24, 2009
Thunderhill Raceway Park, Willows, CA

Race 2 Qualifying sessions. At lunch on Saturday, Elmer had assured us “not to worry, I’ve got mechanical issues, so we’re done for the weekend." Well, not surprisingly, he does grid up for Race #2 Q, but also pulls off and parks it in the in-field on the outlap. Just another set-up for starting in the back of Sunday’s race? Ya think?

Saturday afternoon’s work in both SP and ITE consisted of looking for a gap in traffic to squeak in at least one flyer. No small task. KO creeps around the track at 2:05, just ahead of the flock of backmarkers, waiting for Shad to tell him to get on it. And just about the time Shad thinks he found a decent gap and radios the Kid to floor it, Michelle in the 72 car comes out of the hot pits on cold tires and spoils everything.

Well, at the end of the day, DA/KO chalks up 2 more poles. Even though balked by Michelle, KO snatches a 1:51 + change, good enough for SP pole. And Shad, like a Roger Penske, pays particular attention to the lap times of ITE ace Anderson in the 45 car. When the 45 pulls in to the paddock, he notes that KO has the pole by nearly a second and radios: “Yo, K-O, job’s done buddy, bring 'er in.” After some more high fives for getting’ the ITE job done, it’s “Woo-hoo, throw in some fuel, check some bolts and put the cover on, it’s time for margaritas down at Casa Ramos!!!” :biggrin: The Kipster, Mr. Excitement personified, drives home for a quiet evening with the family.

The Good Stuff. A report of death defying high octane motor sport racing wouldn’t be complete without the eye candy. In this case; that would be the DA groupie umbrella girl who just melts when she sees the testosterone oozing machinery that DA builds. If we need to explain where the credit lies for a winning race team, the 2009 Brawn GP (F-1) team has demonstrated this year that it’s all about the engineering and team management. Jensen (also ran) Button has gone nowhere in F-1 for 8 years making do with mostly mid-pack and sometime outright horribly handling cars. But now, (if you haven’t been paying attention), he’s is dominating like Michael Schumacher at his zenith, thanks to a flawlessly designed car and managed by the F-1 genius, Ross Brawn. So, the parallel to DA could not be more clear, could it? :wink: Not taking anything away from the Kipster, but Button has shown that any old hay-seed can drive a well sorted car. Anyway, the girls with brains to match looks go absolutely wild for the way Shad wields his tools. Needless to say the DA groupie umbrella girl quivered with delight when she got the tweet that the #49 DA Shad machine had dominated the first 2 days.

Sunday SP Race. It was shaping up to be a yawner. Michelle in the #72 had gone home with some unknown issues and rumor had it Elmer trashed his gearbox just like he predicted. So, no one serious to race. Sitting relaxed in the car on pre-grid, KO showed the Sacto chapter fans his version of proper driving position tips.

The SP race, if you can call it that with no one to race with, was a training exercise. Shad kept coaching the Kid to just be consistent; “get real comfortable at 1:52’s, a safe cruise mode time for us this year.” And Mrs. Olson’s good boy Kristopher did just that. No drama, no thrills; just taking care of the equipment and providing some nice photo ops for the NSX fans. He drives into the paddock :cool: like he’s coming home from an easy day at work and reaps his podium reward from his one and only “umbrella” girl.

Sunday ITE Race. This race was anything but a training exercise as Shad and the Kid had no idea what Darrell Anderson (the other DA) had in store. The start was normal enough, OK, quickly gapping the 45 car by 8 to 10 seconds. But traffic, unlike yesterday, was about to rear it’s ugly head. About 3-4 laps in, KO and DA are into the wankers (“monkeys at the back” as Lewis Hamilton once called them) and KO seems to get held up big time lap after lap in T-5, the slowest, blindest corner on track. So, while Kip pulls out 2 + seconds per lap out of 5, Darrell gets it all back when they come back around to 5. Damn the luck. :mad: Pretty soon, the 45 DA car is all over the Kid like the proverbial cheap suit. And Anderson’s driving smart, using the draft and forcing KO to drive his mirrors and not the line.

Unbeknownst to Shad or KO, his wife, Jodi is noticing that KO is bothered, slow and off-line with Darrell on his ass. (Ed note: maybe Jodi needs a radio too to “offer” some “helpful suggestions” on track, just like she no doubt does at home?) Well, KO and 45 DA are so embroiled in their fight that they are all over the track, off line, off pace, blocking and chopping and just having a grand old time. KO is using the turbo boost button but to little avail. Darrell pulls alongside several times down the straight and it all just about comes to grief more than once as they both dive for the corner. It’s just about bump and run time, but DA, a gentleman racer, doesn’t do it.

Finally, flat at a buck-10 coming out of the “pucker factor Turn 8,” KO misses a shift on the way to 9 and Darrell gets by. Good thing Shad and Jodi didn’t see that or there would have been some royal ass-chewin.’ :redface: Fact of the matter was; the poor old clutch was finally goin’ south. But KO has no time for that, he’s got the bit in his teeth and really sacking up now. Back on the boost button, temps are climbing: “Shad, Sweet-pea’s up to 220 !!!” he gasps. “Stay on it Kid, go get ‘em” Shad urges. Next lap: “Shad, she’s up to 225” he screams like a father with a sick kid. “Use the button Kid, no excuses”. Darrell and KO are both overdriving and flogging the machinery mercilessly. Like the 49, the dash in the 45 car is lit up like a Christmas tree; everything’s overheated and screaming.

On and on, around they go, Kip looks inside, fakes outside and just about flat spots all four trying to get by. Finally on some quick upshifts out of 12, down the back straight, all the Kid gets is a “zing” and no mo’ go; the clutch has gone buh-bye. Shad, ever the points-strategist, says to nurse it past the start-finish line, and record one more lap. He contemplates trying to keep it going at 1/3 speed since they’ve already lapped the 3rd place car and maybe, just maybe, he can hang on to 2nd for some added points. But the Kid, calming down while rolling down the front straight, decides to park it and save “Sweet-pea” any more agony. :frown:

And that’s the way Sunday ended. The Kipster, grinning like a Cheshire cat, is laughing and shouting that he’s “never had so much fun driving anything in his whole life.” (For a simple dozer/blade operator, that’s saying something.) What a way to end the weekend. It hasn’t sunk in yet that he DNF’d. :wink: Good thing he’s got Monday to come back down to earth.

Sticking the imaginary mic in his face, this cub reporter asked the Kipster: “You hardly put a wheel wrong all weekend, in some heavy traffic and under some intense pressure. What are your thoughts as you head home?” Gazing off over the T-9 hill, KO :rolleyes: mused, “Well, the weekend was a success. For Sure. Had a few hiccups but those are the thing that keep it real and me humbled! I would like to thank all that came out and supported Shad and me. It does make a difference! As for Elmer and Frank, I don't think I’m there yet but we have a few tricks up our sleeves that may possibly give us several seconds on all the tracks . Time and money will tell. But as far as I’m concerned it is not “if” but “when.” :biggrin: Thanks and we’ll see you next time.”

Next up; the boys haul it down to the beautiful and endless gravel traps of Laguna for another SCCA doubles race in mid June. Hopefully it will not be another “beach party and safety car parade” if you get the drift. Looking for a vocal and active NSX peanut gallery for that one. “For Sure.”

Postscript: Upping the ante. Leaving the track Sunday, this cub reporter could not resist dropping by Elmer’s garage just to turn the knife. “So, uh, Elmer, Kip was mighty disappointed you didn’t show up to race today. Try not to let him down next time, OK?” Elmer laughed and offered a “Yeah, sorry about that, we’ll try harder.” But his body language said “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Anyone have an Email address for Frank Emmett??? :tongue:
Excellent report as usual Ted- As you already know I was there to watch Kip race on Sunday, but your report is even better than "Days of Thunder." Are you racing NASA this coming weekend?
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Re: Shoe String Racing; plenty of action

Are you racing NASA this coming weekend?
Yeah, the Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge. Doing the Lill Red Nuht (that's Thunderhill backwards) with the T-5 cyclone instead of the bypass.

You comin' up to write the race report? There's about 4 of us mid-pack wankers who run exactly the same times, so it should be a battle royale both days. :smile: Always plenty of "boo-yah's" up and down the grid, you can count on it. :wink:
Re: Shoe String Racing; plenty of action

Yeah, the Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge. Doing the Lill Red Nuht (that's Thunderhill backwards) with the T-5 cyclone instead of the bypass.

You comin' up to write the race report? There's about 4 of us mid-pack wankers who run exactly the same times, so it should be a battle royale both days. :smile: Always plenty of "boo-yah's" up and down the grid, you can count on it. :wink:

I was hoping that my car would be ready for Trackmasters tomorrow before your race this weekend. Last time I drove THill backwards, I actually did it faster (go figure). Anyways, good-luck tearing up those wankers.
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