Race # 3 is in the books! The race at Brainerd International was fast and several positions were in doubt until the last turns. We had a 7 car field even though we had two regulars unable to drive. Jeff Caldwell joined the series as out eighth driver, while Curtis Milbourn joined as a fill-in for Dave Ingraham. Rob Rund was also unable to join us.
The starting grid for the race:
1) Don Tatum (by virtue of a tie-braking die roll), bid of 4, 2w + 4sk
2 Jack Beckman 3w + 2 sk
3) Will Kennard (also thanks to a die roll) 2w + 2sk
4) Phil Walling 3w
5) Jeff Caldwell (R) 4sk
6) Curtis Milbourn (R) 2sk
7) Chris Brandt 1sk
Both Jeff and Curtis were in their first full TTS session (other than training) *and* their first race against real opponents.
The race gets underway. Jack (120), Phil (120), Will (40) and Chris(40) all successfully push their start speeds with 2 skill each. Jack takes the lead.
Don takes the lead by diving inside of Jack on Game Turn 5. Phil is hanging right on top of P1 and 2.
Jack would take the lead back on T7.
Don would take it back by burning 2w on Turn 11, but he started with a several wear advantage. Phill also took over P2 as Jack went wide to save some wear. Curtis also went into wear-saving mode; <insert foreshadowing musing here…>.
Jack would use his higher speed and acceleration to take back P2 on the next turn.
P4-6 are all piled up heading into Corner 10 - it wouldn’t be the last time we’d see this!
Jack would test his Top to get to 180, hoping Don would make a rare mistake and do the same. But of course, combination of Don and the Pinulator rarely make mistakes, and so Jack burned a skill to pull alongside. Phil and Will took Corner 10 at 12, but Chris saved a wear at 100 and pulled behind the 180 car of Will (Phil also had a 180 car, but Will had an 80 Acc; Chris might have been hoping for a 200).
As Lap 2 started, the running order was:
Jack rolled again with sk to maintain 180 and the lead. Chris predated correctly; Will did show a 200 and so with a 180 Chris was able to pull alongside Will and past Jeff for P5.
Jeff would pass them both by getting the double-slip from Will on the next turn, taking over P4!
Jeff would then pull into P3 on turn 18. Will also powered through Corner 2 and took over P4.
Will dove into the corner at 100 for 2w to take over P3. Phil, with nowhere to go, decided to late break - but failed the roll (boxcars!) burning 2 skill, a wear, and degrading his brakes from 40 to only 20. But he did take P4. Chris used only 1 skill and passed his roll.
Curtis had been quietly spending his wear and closing on the pack, and was now back in contact with Jeff in P6.
And by Turn 26 he’d take over P6 by going inside for a wear.
The start of the final lap. Running order:
Don would take the lead back on Turn 30 in Corner 2 (thanks to good planning/driving, and math - Jack was down to 2w, and Don still had 4). At this point Jack was driving to hopefully hold P2.
Chris would take over P3 on the next turn. Curtis would take P5 as Phil was forced to fade behind both Curtis and Jeff due to his weak brakes.
On Turn 34, Phill would get past Jeff thanks to being able to take the line.
Will got ahead of Chris in corners 4 and 5 for P3. Curtis also got P4 by being inside (but not able to take the line into Corner 5 next turn).
The line helped Chris get back into P4.
Don is now coasting to the win. Jack has a solid grip on P2. Will goes outside to prelude giving a slip when he exists Corner 9; that leaves the inside for Curtis to exploit and take over P3. Chris, saving wear, is in P4 just behind them. Phil is still holding P6 ahead of Jeff.
And Don crosses the line in P1! A nice win with a 10-space gap to P2. Jack clears the corner for his last wear at 100. Will gets back P3 by starting at 180 and then late braking (naked roll). Curtis is in P4, and Chris P5 - all of them with 2 wear left to take the 60 inside/80 outside corner…
Meanwhile, Phil is holding P6 still by virtue of being inside of Jeff.
Jack, horrid about the cars behind (and really, with little to lose tires to push his car to 180 to finish this turn, wresting both Acc and Top naked - and succeeds, brining his car home where he started in P2. The pack meanwhile all took the outside at 120 for their last 2 wear and so maintain their relative positions. Phil and Jeff run up to the final corner in lockstep at 140.
All three lead cars plot 200; Will has no skill to spend but makes the naked roll for P3. Curtis spends his last 2 skill and passes for P4. Chris spends his last skill and finishes P5.
Things are not so rosy at the back. Phil is forced to take a Chance in Corner 10 as he can’t slow past 120 (well, without rolling against his already-damaged brakes. With no skill to spend, the “9” means a spin in the first of the 80 spaces. This leaves Jeff with a problem as he plotted 120 (and has the wear) but has no room to slow down to take the 60s. So he attempts a force-pass with his last skill - and misses it by 1. Having to lose 120 MPH in the space he’s in, he spends his 2w and spins. At this point. Phil pulled off, but even if he hadn’t with his higher Start and ACC, Jeff would have most likely been able to take P6 in 3 more turns.
So the finishing order:
DNF - Phil