Chris Brandt's recap:
DMV Racing - Race 2 – Dracon Raceway – Feb 3, 2018
The inaugural DMV Racing season continued with race number three at another new track, Dracon Raceway. Six drivers were on the grid. Nobody was pinulating, but Kevin asked for a copy of the track several weeks ago and had mapped out a few laps and designs. Most drivers, upon seeing the track in detail for the first time, had to wing it... again.
Dracon is a small track which has started hosting Formula 3 and club racing in Eastern Europe. It has been expanding and the course varies in length from just over a mile to over two miles. I opted for the most common design which features two parallel moderately long straights with a cluster of very slow curves on either end. This was the first “permanent” design made from the modular track system, ensuring that we could recreate it. This will also be the first heat at Prezcon, so for those drivers attending Prezcon, it revealed some strategies that didn’t seem apparent at first. While it looked like the “3 wide all the way around” and the slow first few corners might lend itself to a “come from behind” strategy, the course ended up tearing up tires quickly and creating two separate packs. If you were caught in the trailing pack you were out of contention for the win.
Despite the varying amounts of preparation, the cars were again somewhat consistent in design. Of the six racers…
● All but one driver (140) select 160 top speed.
● All but one driver (20) selected 60 start speed.
● All drivers opted to spend prep points on wear, with three opting for 7 wear and three opting for 8, per lap.
Truly none of us knew what to expect we lined up for the start.
It has become a DMV tradition that the polesitter fails the start and it was Will’s turn. He had planned on running fast from the beginning to make up for his 140 top speed, but the dice failed him and he missed a gearshift. Mercifully, he didn’t stall, allowing him to stay in the lead pack. Bids were lower than they have been in the past, perhaps because the track was unknown and people wanted to hedge their bets on spending valuable resources up front. The starting grid was:
As with the last race, a LOT of wear was spent in the first few corners, but unlike last race, it didn’t back off much after that. The tight corners and very short straights between them caused a lot of tire wear and drivers quickly found their black and white chips running out. The start at Dracon is followed by a slow turn and despite the three-wide track, Mike was forced to brake… and broke them. Fortunately, he started with 60 brakes and it turned out that the remaining 40 proved more than adequate for the job, eventually gaining him the win. Hmmm… something to remember when designing a car for PREZCON.
Splitting up the Field
Six racers, two packs, three in each pack… this dictated the race. Soon the lead pack pulled away and they battled each other. The trailing pack did the same, just about one move back. Then, in the second lap, Brian made a dash from the trailing group to try to catch the first group and ended up spinning in the VERY fast and long fourth curve, entering the main straight, a bad place to spin. He was holding a wear advantage at that time, but spent it trying to catch back up to the trailing pack, which he did, but at a very high cost.
Kevin and Mike made it through the last corner, leaving will to spend another speed limited turn and sealing his fate in third place. Kevin and Mike both rolled for acceleration to in the sprint to the finish line and Kevin, on the inside lane, seemingly with the advantage, failed his roll, and so Mike pulled out the win. Chris had saved enough wear for the last few curves but it was too little too late to catch the lead pack, finishing fourth. Brian finished 5th. His 180 top speed looked good in design, but in practice it was difficult to use. On a clear track, it would have been great, but in the ever-congested peloton of race cars he often found himself taking the slower portions of the main straight, spending his extra movement on extra spaces that he had to traverse.
The New Standings
This was the Third of four races. Each driver may drop their worst finish. Points start at 25 and go down quickly from there. This gave the drivers the following points for this race.
1. Mike P - 25
2. Kevin K - 18
3. Will S - 15
4. Chris B - 12
5. Brian D - 10
6. Joe P - 8
Combining this with the first two race results, here are the new standings. Number in parentheses is adding the lowest finish in, instead of dropping it.
1. Chris B - 43 (55)
2. Mike P - 40
3. Tim M - 31
4. Kevin K - 26
5. Brian D - 20 (30)
6. Tim C - 19
7. Don T - 12
8. Joe P - 10
9. Jonathan F - 6
Only Chris and Brian have participated in every race. They have a fourth and a fifth, respectively as their worst finishes, so they would have to exceed those finishes to gain any points. Brian, in fact, has finished fifth in all three races. Mathematically, Chris, Mike, and Tim M all have shots at the season title. There’s a break in the season with Prezcon coming up in late February, and the final race of the year is expected in the spring.
Thanks, Chris - I had a blast!