Wow, what a month October was for racing! We started the month off preparing to race my Formula Ford at the SVRA Vintage National Championships at Circuit of the Americas in Austin,TX. This could be the nicest racing facility in the United States. It is the home of the U.S. Grand Prix Formula 1 race next weekend. This was a week long adventure with the long tow to Austin, technical inspection, a test day, practice day, qualifying day and race day. We have had a great season with the road racing with quite a few wins in the Club Ford class, but this was the National Championships and there would be tough competition from all over the United States. There were 22 Formula Fords entered and the 3.4 mile track is very technical and difficult to learn. I tried to prepare by using the iRacing computer race simulator. That did a good job of letting me learn the track layout, but there is no substitute for the real thing. One of the great things about this race was that there were over 400 of the nicest, most historical race cars in the country. There were race cars there (being raced) that were literally worth millions of dollars.
Our race group consisted of the Formula A, Formula B and Formula Ford (FF/CF/PCF) classes. I had a best practice lap of 2 minutes 38 seconds which was in the top 5 of the Formula Ford group, but quite a bit slower than the fastest Formula Ford. By qualifying, I was down to 2:36 seconds and I qualified #3. There was a qualifying race on Friday afternoon and I finished 3rd, improving my best time to 2:34 seconds. In the Feature race, I got off to a poor start and dropped to 4th for several laps. I finally got my act together and picked up the pace, moving up to 3rd with a few laps to go and then catching the 2nd place car at the beginning of the final lap. That final lap was one of the most intense laps of racing I have ever experienced. California’s Norm Cowdrey and I swapped the 2nd place position four different times in that last lap. Unfortunately for me, the last swap was not in my favor and I had to settle for 3rd place in Formula Ford (12th place overall due to the faster Formula A & B cars). I was extremely pleased with that result and am proud to have a podium finish at a National Championship race. I was also pleased to have improved my best lap to 2:32 seconds.
The race at Circuit of the Americas was a big undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without the help of Sean Guthrie, Randy Ruyle, Nick Ruyle, Jennifer Guthrie, Connor Guthrie, as well as the guys at Car Crafters – Foxy, Russ Marr, Luigi Truden and Josh Cain.
Feature Race on-board video link - Click here for on-board video.
Pictures of the Circuit of the Americas facility and some of the cool cars are here - Vintage racecar photo gallery.