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What really happened at AMP

By Lori Matassa, 04-05-2017

The March event at AMP was a perfect weekend of racing. The weather was slightly overcast, the temperature was pleasant, and the session times were fast and very close. Saturday kept us hopping as there was some confusion with this being my first race event at AMP and getting used to the new session format (1st session is practice/qualifying, qualify race 1, qualify race 2, main race).

Three of us (Brady, Lori, Mason) arrived at the pit road for qualify race 1 only to find that the other FF cars were already on the track. I started out first, followed by Brady and Mason. As we headed down the long straight I was suddenly passed by Brady and Mason at the same time. One on my left and the other on my right. What the heck? Evidently the flagman waved the green flag and I was caught sleeping - I thought we were on a warm up lap. With nobody else in sight for the rest of the session it was Brady, Mason, and then me. Times were looking good by the third lap.

During the qualify race Dave K and I engaged in some great wheel to wheel racing, taking complete  corners side-by-side and changing positions with each other at least four times during the session. That was fun! Finally, Dave spun out in a corner, allowing me to pass one final time. Next in my sight was Bob H. I got close, but not close enough to catch him. Alright, I know. Bob was just toying with me. I keep trying to explain this “Ladies First” etiquette thing to him, but he’ll have nothing of that on the track.

The main event on both days requires a little clarification to explain “What really happened at AMP.” As we came out of the second corner I found myself in a familiar position, right behind Dave K. We were separated by a mere car length for most of the session until Dave pulled out all stops and dipped into his bag of trickery and resorted to… wait for it… “lobbing.” (Refer to Dave’s recent news post titled “Uro Peen…”). For those of you who are not familiar with lobbing let me explain. The verb, invoked on a race track, means to cause the car to appear twice as wide, making it challenging, if not impossible to pass. Whenever I got too close to Dave his engine cover would detach from the left side and swing over the top and hang off the right side of his car with every left corner, and then back on again with every right corner, and sometimes not quite making it back on at all. So, being the lucky car immediately behind Dave I was directly impacted by his “lobbing” technique. Is the engine cover really needed? He seemed pretty fast without it. Evidently, no black flags were thrown as the corner workers were just as amused as the spectators by these antics as Dave continued at race speed. (FF is as challenging a series as any!) Suspicious? Certainly, the engine cover couldn’t hang on for the entire session, and then what? Would I get bonked by it or would it hit the ground first disintegrate and leave a minefield of fiberglass chunks in my path? I decided my best choice was to back off to a safer distance and stay to the left (without subjecting myself to giving up a position to another car). Sure enough, when the cover detached completely it flew off to the right and stayed pretty much intact when it landed on the track. Thankfully, I avoided it and there was no harm to me or my car.

On Sunday, my best session times were off .5 sec from Saturday. Not sure why, but I was losing traction in places that the car really stuck on Saturday and pushing in turns that carved nicely on Saturday. The lobbing happened again on Sunday, this time leaving a minefield of fiberglass carcass on the track. I managed to avoid it again. However, in my quest to break 1:50 I entered a corner too hot and spun. So much for 1:49.xx. I was still on the track, but unfortunately my car flooded and I had to sit there impatiently and watch two cars pass me just before the carb cleared up, ending the race for me. At least my car was still in good shape when it was loaded back into the transporter, and now it is on to Indianapolis!