Mid-Ohio July 22-23
Jeff is racing this weekend. It is his first time here this year. Most of the fast guys are at Nelson this weekend for a national race. He is driving the other Van Diemen because he wrecked at Nelson and the car didn't get finished in time for the race.
Saturday July 22
He went out for qualifying in the morning and ended up placing in the back of the field. In the race he moved up a couple of positions on the first lap, but he lost them. He started to get his times down and move up a few spots, but another Formula Continental flipped on the front straightaway and slid across the start/finish line upside down. That brought out the red flag and the race never restarted. When he got back to the trailer we packed some stuff up and went to Roadhouse for dinner.
Sunday July 23
Sunday morning Jeff went out for qualifying and did his usual slow laps until another Continental passed him. On his last lap he dropped three seconds from a 1:39 to a 1:36. He qualified 6th where he was supposed to be. The race was pretty quiet. Jeff finished 6th overall and 5th in his class. He brought the car home in one piece.
Nelson's Ledges July 8-9
This weekend Rick and Jeff are driving. In the last race a couple of gears broke and we received new ones on Thursday, but one of them was the wrong gear so we sent it back and received the right one on Friday. We got the car back together and ready for the track in time and took it and the super-charged car Rick was driving.
Saturday July 8
After practice Jeff is upset with his times so he decides to spend the money for new tires. They didn't have anybody to strap them in so Rick did Jeff and Rick had someone at the grid buckle him in. When they go out for the qualifying race Rick finished first so he qualified first. Jeff qualified in the pack. Rick stays a while and talks to some corner workers.
Sunday July 9
Jeff decides to go out for morning practice and try to improve his times. Rick doesn't want to destroy the car so he decides to stay in. Rick goes to the grid and gets there as the one minute warning is given and he doesn't have his helmet on. He gets it on, and gets out in time, but Jeff isn't to the grid yet. Jeff has to play catch-up to get to the pack. He is next to another latecomer, Tab. When the green flag is given Rick decides to take off to get away from the pack and his plan worked. Jeff and Tab work their way through the pack in a couple of laps. Jeff is close behind Tab and is ready for Tab to make a mistake, but Jeff made the mistake. As he was going into turn one he forgot to turn and he flew into a tire wall and nearly flipped the car. Rick ran a good race and finished first. If he wouldn't have finished first in his super-charged car he would have looked like an idiot.
After Jeff's car is towed in they look at the damage and he broke three pushrods and lot of other things. It took a while to get it in the trailer because the floor was dragging on the ground. We made a temporary strut to get it off the ground a little bit. We finally got it in and got the other car in easily and we left .
Mid-Ohio July 1-2
This weekend Rick is racing. The past couple weeks have been quiet. Nothing happened to the car in the last race so we made some adjustments for Mid-Ohio, packed up and left for the track on Friday. We got there and set up our little city. Anybody going through the paddock had to go by it. We decided to bring the other car and advertise it for sale.
Saturday July 1
We get Rick's car ready for qualifying practice. He goes out and gets stuck behind a slow FA, a class that is faster than FC's. Rick couldn't pass him in the turns and the FA would fly away on the straight-aways. Rick decided to back off to get away from him to try and get faster times. He caught back up to the slow FA, but didn't need to worry about him anymore because he went off and got one wheel stuck in the gravel. At the end of the session they sent a truck to pull him out out. They pulled the car a couple feet and he could get out on his own. Rick comes back in and says the car slid a lot. After thinking about for a while we remembered there were seven heat cycles on it before he went out so there was a total of eight heat cycles on them. Time for new tires. He qualified 13th overall and 6th in the class.
He goes out for the race and his times drop from 37's to 35's. He gains a few spots and finishes in fourth, but we weren't counting the cars and didn't know which place he was in. He asked if he needed to go to tech and we didn't know so he went just in case. It was a good thing he went because the guy that won didn't go to tech so Rick got a third. After all the races there was a party at Bucks. Ricky waited in line for the go-karts and they ran out of go-karts before him. After the group went out, Ricky went out on the track all by himself. Later on Ricky got to go out on the track with other kids and he seemed to have more fun.
Sunday July 2
As Rick is about ready to go to the grid he finds a wobbling wheel. Good thing we brought the other car. Rick has to switch the wheel spindles before qualifying starts. He gets them switched and goes out and qualifies. He qualified 7th overall and 3rd in the class. He came in and heard something in the rear end making noise. We drain the gear oil and we find a gear tooth. We put the car back together and he drives around the paddock and finds out he lost first gear. He'll have to drive the race without first gear. He goes out and at the start of the race a couple of cars get by him because they have first gear and he doesn't. He gets a couple of cars, but he spun and they passed him back. He finished 6th in the class and he lost second gear. We load the trailer when he gets back and leave for Cleveland.
Nelson's Ledges June 17-18
Rick and Jeff are driving this weekend. We spent the last week trying to finish up Rick's car. We finished on Friday night.
Saturday June 17
Rick and Jeff go out for their practice and Rick doesn't make it around one lap. His car died and he couldn't get it started. End of his practice. Meanwhile Jeff does well. The cars are back at the trailer and they don't know why the car died.
While waiting for their qualifying session a car in another group blows an engine and oil goes all over the track. We have to wait until after lunch for qualifying. When they go out for qualifying they are both doing well. Rick pulls away from Jeff at the beginning, but Jeff starts catching him. Jeff tries a pass but Rick holds him off. Jeff spun a couple of times, but he qualified 2nd and Rick qualified 3rd.
Time for the race. The officials decided to combine their race group with another. Rick and Jeff pass the first place driver on the first lap. It was a close race. Rick and Jeff traded spots a lot during this race. Although Rick led the most laps Jeff ended up winning his first race and Rick got second place.
They get back and the battery in Rick's car came loose during the race and kept smashing into him. We got everything ready for Sunday's race. We leave the cars outside and put covers on them. We go to sleep and the rain comes. It poured and poured down.
Sunday June 18
The track flooded and today was cancelled. Every one packs up and leaves, but our trailer won't move. There are tow trucks driving around the paddock and we get one over there. It pulls the trailer out easily. We finish loading the trailer and leave. What a nice Fathers Day.
Mid-Ohio June 10-11
Greg and John Walko get Rick to do his first national race which Rick thinks he isn't quite ready for. They go down to the track on Friday night and find a spot in the paddock to park the trailer. Greg goes to a hotel while Rick stays in the motor home.
Saturday June 10
Greg shows up in the morning to get Rick off to practice. Rick goes out for morning practice and spins. When he spun, the nose flew off and it decided to take the radio with it. Then another car comes by and there goes the radio. He finished practice without a nose.
He went out for qualifying and qualified 26th. Rick found out the fast guys are fast. They go out for dinner at Roadhouse afterward.
Sunday June 11
Greg and John decided to make some wing adjustments. They sent Rick off to morning practice which Rick didn't like because the practices at national races are more than one group at a time. All open wheeled cars are out on the track at the same time. That's about sixty or seventy cars. After weaving through cars for about 8 laps he thought the car was fine and came in.
Now its race time. The group before them had a blown engine so there was oil-dry on the track for their race. Rick started off well passing a car. He hit the oil-dry and spun which sent him back. Then out came a full course yellow flag. After it went back to green Rick thought the car felt weird. He stayed out a couple more laps to make sure he completed enough laps to get a finished race. In order to finish a race you need to complete at least half of the laps.
On the trip back a tire blew out on the trailer shortly after he left the track. Of course the spare was back in Cleveland which meant leave trailer, drive back to Cleveland, pick up the spare, head out back to the trailer, put the tire on, and go back to Cleveland with the trailer. Did I mention that gas is $2 a gallon and it costs 50 bucks to go to the track and back. That means 4 hours and $50 wasted.
Nelson's Ledges May 20, 2000
The new racecar is here. This is shakedown weekend for the new race car. Friday is test day!
Friday May 19th
We are supposed to meet John Walko at the racetrack today to shakedown the new racecar. As per usual, John was late! Greg is chomping at the bit waiting for his new car to arrive.
Nelson's Ledges May 6, 2000
It is been a tough few months rebuilding the crash from Sebring! The race car had to be rebuilt from the frame up. This will be shakedown weekend for us. Greg also ordered a new car that we are still waiting for. In the meantime, we will get this car shook down and get some laps in. Spring Fever ya know!
January 6, 2000! Hey! We're all still here. We only had a few people die while we were in Las Vegas for the New Year! One fell off a light pole and smashed his head and the other one decided to climb the Eiffel Tower and electrocute himself. Beyond that, most people had to breathe, drain their bathtubs, trash their K-rations and return generators.
Too bad you guys have to work! If your from the north, cold and 10 degrees just can't compare with 80 and sunny. The weather was gorgeous. Our trip begins on Tuesday January 4.
We will be doing a test day and the National at Sebring and just so happens there is a Skip Barber 3 day school at the track at the same time. Fred Geis, Tony Abramo, and Eric Flickinger will be going to school while we race on the other side of the runway (Sebring is World War II bomber base). The Skip Barber side is known as the ranch.
Otto is supposed to take the trailer down and we are supposed to meet him on Thursday. There is a major storm front moving in this afternoon and we need to get the trailer on the road before the storm hits the mountains of West Virginia. Minor Problem!! Otto has a sudden illness in the family and he gets a phone call 5 minutes before he's ready to leave. He can't go! We call another friend on short notice and he agrees to take the trailer down for us.
We'll call this guy Brian. On short notice, Brian is ready to leave within 2 hours. He picks up the rig and he's on his way. About 6:00pm, the phone rings. Brian blew a trailer tire in Parkersburg, W. VA. and it knocked the fender off the trailer. Good thing Otto made me load the spare!! It takes a couple of hours, but Brian is back on the road racing the storm south. About 2:00am, Blam! Another trailer tire goes. Now Brian doesn't have a spare so, He'll have to wait until morning. Brain finds a tire shop, buys 2 new tires and he's back on the road again. He makes it to the track around 4:30pm on Wednesday.
Thursday January 6, 2000
9 of us meet at the airport on Thursday morning at 7:00am for our flight to Orlando. 3 of us do the Greg Geis Slim Fast shake thing (4 double vodka & OJ's each). Ouch!! I wake up in Florida! That's nice! We pickup a rental van and were off to Sebring. We drive out to the track around 3:00pm. Our trailer is there and everything made it OK. We check out the track and notice that some old rivals are here. This should be a fun weekend! Back to the hotel for some more partying. Dinner is at the Watering Hole. They have a live 14 foot alligator on display and I think we ate it!
Friday January 7, 2000 Test Day
There is a heavy fog in the morning, but is burns off quickly and we are ready for our first session of the day. Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, Fred, Tony & Eric are about to get their first taste of boot camp. We'll check up on them later. Greg will try to familiarize himself with the track and start pushing for some competitive times. We do a couple of lapping sessions before lunch while we are waiting for John Walko to arrive. Around 10:00 am the public address system announces the concession stand is open. I look around and all I see is a circus tent with some bananas on Easter straw. You got it! I found the CONCESSION STAND. I also discovered that this place doesn't have any pay phones. There's these blue boxes hanging all over the track with nothing in em!! We have trouble with our lapping beacon but, other than that, our morning goes rather well. Nothing exciting about lunch.
John gets in around 1:00pm after driving up from Daytona where he was doing some testing. He decides to re-work a set of shocks he is familiar with. I turn to get a coke (remember its 80 and sunny) and damn! Someone stole the concession stand!! There is a lot of work to do this afternoon. We have to register for the race tonight, get an annual inspection for the car, and finish setup tomorrows practice and qualifying. As it turn out, we don't finish until 10:00pm.
Saturday January 8, 2000
We are one of the first race groups both days so, we get started early and normally finish early. We drop the guys off at the Ranch and get ready for practice. Practice begins normally and this is Greg's first serious laps at this track. Greg turns some respectable times but the car still needs a few adjustments. We should be able to dial it in for qualifying. Qualifying is after lunch and this is where the problems begin. Greg goes out for qualifying and after about 6 laps, he is turning some good laps. Just as he is getting the feel of the track, WHAM!! A brake line breaks, the car is out of control, and Greg is heading for the wall at 100mph +. SMASH!! The car buries itself 2 feet deep in the ground and what a mess we have! Greg limps out of the car a little dazed and confused. We wait for the wrecker to bring the car back and what a mess it is. The frame is bent, both wheels on the right side of the car are gone, and the wings and bodywork are crushed!! Time for a breather!!
The car is a mess. It's middle afternoon and the car can not be moved until the damage is removed and the car is partially reassembled. It looks like we are going home. Greg, Rick and John decide to go have few beers and drown our sorrows. Greg isn't feeling well after smashing the wall at 100+. Over beers, Greg asks a question! What would you do in this case? John says: "I never give up!" That's all it took for Greg to decide let's get the other car ready and go racing. End of Beer time and back to the track we go.
Rick starts changing the transmission gears, and Brian and John start getting the other car ready. We have to get another car inspection and permission to use the backup car for the race. We don't get a chance to see the other guys from Skip Barber because we won't finish until 10:00 p.m.
Sunday January 9, 2000
We are ready to race! The backup car is done and Greg is ready to go face the wall he smashed yesterday. The race begins and Greg's lap times are right back to where they belong almost immediately. He's a little anxious today, and he's pushing hard to move up through the field. About half way through the race, an off course excursion bends the wing and rubs the tires. Greg brings the car in and we are done for this weekend. The most important thing, though, is that Greg had the opportunity to get back in the car and drive the track that bit him. We'll pack up for the day and then go over to watch Fred and the boys at Skip Barber. Despite all things, it was a great weekend and everybody had a great time. Now it's time to rebuild the car and get ready for Spring.