8.1.15 – “FLAG POLE RACING IN MY ACCORD RACING MACHINE”
Skip all this reading and jump to the VIDEO if all these words are overwhelming!
Normally I run this car in “skid plate” races at Irwindale. However, several times a year the track holds races using the same or similar cars that normally compete on skid plates, just running with all 4 tires.
Flag Pole Racing is similar to the “enduro” races I have done before except for an added feature: During a lap, you must circle around a flag that has you cross traffic as you exit. This is very similar to a figure-8 race and is still very new to me. This was only my second Flag Pole race and frankly the first one went rather terribly . . .
I knew having my radio system freshly installed would be really useful because I could have someone spot for me and try and keep me out of trouble.
This race would be 20 laps and as for the car – it would remain unchanged, aside from getting 4 tires instead of two. The suspension could really use some tuning as the car was a handful to get around this tight course. For more info on the car – see the full post of the car build here.
Before we knew it, it was time for the autograph session. There was a nice turn out and many thanks to my friends, specifically Joe Kocsis who was spotting for me/ helping with the car and Justin Harris for taking all these photos!
My last two races ended very prematurely and I was determined to have a cleaner better race this time. Robert Rice and his crew did a great job putting the car back together (yet again). I also made sure to have our tire changing station setup nicely in the pit area and knew the new radio system could be really helpful if there were any car problems.
The starting order was decided at random. My position was somewhat midfield but could have been worse. It was an incredibly tight track and I planned to start the race less aggressively than in the past to hopefully stay out of trouble for the first few laps.
Things were going well – it was definitely chaos but I was moving up the order some. Having Joe letting me know about problems before I could see them was a big help.
Then, around the 7th lap, this happened:
As I was coming into the flag pole turn I felt a big hit. Robert Rice in the 7 car came out on the inside of a slower car and just tagged my rear end. I never saw him coming. Somehow I didn’t spin completely but I was on two wheels for a moment and very sideways.
After I got going again I knew I had a problem. The car had a major vibration and was very difficult to handle. Talking to Joe on the radio we were trying to figure out what the problem was. I suspected something with my left rear wheel (since that was where I got hit) but it turned out to be a front right tire. We later found out that so much force went into the front right that it lost the bead and went totally flat.
Luckily there was a red flag right after this all happened for a stopped car. The track officials gave me permission over the radio to leave the track and I hurried to our tire changing area. Joe and a person whose name I never got did a great job quickly replacing the tire.
We still lost a few laps and a chance to have a good result but I was thankful to have the help to get the tire changed fast and finish most of the race.
Still would have preferred a better result but it was still a fun day.