2010 – Race #5: Closing the Gap

Derek Eldridge
This weekend was a hot one for sure, and that played a big role in track conditions. Drew and I started in Heat 2. I started on the outside pole. (front row) Drew started 5th, inside 3rd row. When the green dropped, my foot hit the floor and never came up. My car stuck to the tacky track like it was glue. After we reached the half way mark I wasn’t sure where everyone went. Did I miss something? Are they on my tail? With 3 laps to go I gave a glance back to see if I could catch sight of anyone behind me as I came out of turn 2. I caught a glimpse of Chestnut in the 75L entering turn 1 as I rocketed out of turn 2. From there it was on to the checkered flag for my first Heat win of the season. Drew went on to finish 4th while fighting a non-handling car.  
Drew was having a hard time with his setup. After taking a look at his car, we made a few changes that helped him drastically in the Feature. While not realizing the role that the heat would take in drying the track, I left my car set up for the tacky surface we raced on during the heat. Not a good idea.
They ran coupes in between the 500’s and 600’s this week to give a few of the guys that run both, a chance to change cars between races. As we waited for the coupe race to finish, it seemed to go on for a very long time. Caution after caution extended the race longer and longer. The track only seemed to get more and more dusty and it was hard to see the cars on the track. That worried me as I thought about how it was at Big Daddy’s two weeks earlier.
Starting 10th and Drew starting 7th, we took the green flag for the feature. To my surprise, my car became extremely loose on the dried out surface. I fought to maintain control as I had to lift off the throttle quite a bit. Managing to make my way to 7th, I could see Drew running not far ahead in 5th. Running strong, his car looked to be handling 10 times better than in the heat.  
I made a move to pass the 73 of Jacob Williams for 6th. I tried the high side without luck, my car wanted to turn right around. I tried the low side with the same result. After a few attempts it seemed to be getting worse as was the dust. The wall actually ended up disappearing in dust. I could see the inside of the track, but couldn’t tell how far up the track I could climb when coming out of the 4th turn.
I held my position in 7th with Williams in front of me and the number 74 of Justin Eldridge behind me. Yes, I said Justin Eldridge. No relation that we know of to Drew and I. Ironically, Justin ran his first race with GSMSRC this past weekend.
On the last lap, leader Matt Robbie #75 was lapping Drew on the back stretch, when Drew just ran out of track. Keeping up with Robbie and holding on to his lap, Drew was sucked into the softer dirt at the top of the track which in turn sucked him into the wall. Drew’s wreck moved me to a 6th place finish, while Drew finished up in 9th after other cars dropped out earlier.
Drew totaled the right rear rim, tire and radius rods and also bent his frame, wing and a few other components. Drew, though a little sore the next day, is ok. But it’s going to take a lot of work for him to get his car back in shape for next week’s race at Big Daddy’s Speedbowl.
The point’s race is starting to get very exciting for us. After this weekend, Drew has moved to second in the championship point’s race, while I have moved to tie him for the second position. With Terry Reil #11, only one point behind, our eyes have fallen on the current point’s leader Johnny Chestnut #75L. With 36 points to make up, it’s going to be a hard run for the championship.
In the rookie points race, while not including the one drop week the club has for points, Drew still leads the race by only 6 points from 2nd place holder Douglas McPhail in the #13M. I managed to gain 9 points on Drew from last week placing me in 3rd with 8 points to catch up.
Next week is Race #6 at Big Daddy’s Speedbowl in Rumney, NH. The half way point to the total of 12 points races this year. Things are getting more and more exciting as we find our setups and work out the bugs. Will we close the gap for the championship? Only time will tell. 
Derek Eldridge #8
600cc Mini Sprint

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