Saturday, January 26, 2013

The First Hours

A paraphrase of Murphy's Law applies to this (and probably any) twice-round-the-clock endurance race: "Anything that can go wrong, will." And the first hours of the race proved it again.

No matter how much Race Director Paul Walter exhorted drivers in the drivers' meeting to "be safe, respect each other, and enjoy yourselves," some failed to heed his words.

Or, to be fair, they just made mistakes. But when you have 56 cars with 4-5 drivers and 8-10 crew members per car, even one mistake per person means a whole lot of chaos. It's widely agreed that the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win, regardless of outright speed.

Most of the mistakes early on were recoverable--in part because they happened early on. The leading GT car spanked the tire wall and barely made it back to the pits before tearing apart all of its rear bodywork. But I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the fight at the end, because they've got a lot of hours in which to recover.

At TRG, we had early issues with spotter radios not working (the small shapes on the top of the Daytona tower are the spotters, who call down to their cars and warn them of approaching cars), but managed to get those sorted out by two hours in.

Plenty of drivers also suffered a surfeit of adrenaline (two of the TRG cars included) and incurred penalties for speeding in pit lane. Or they misjudged corners and bombed through the Bus Stop turn (which team owner Kevin Buckler calls the "car killer").

Then there were the mystery ailments, the random punctures, the fuel spills, and the bumps from behind. Everything you'd expect from 56 cars in a twice-round-the-clock endurance race.

I'm off back to the pits (from my seat in the garage) for more watching and listening to the radio. Only 21 hours to go!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. It's getting dark now. DINNER TIME!!! Kevin definitely takes care, re feeds, his folks!


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