Here is Chris Brandt's excellent write-up:

DMV Racing - Race 3 – Monza – 12/8/2018

The DMV Racing Season continued but not without drama before the race even started. Dream Wizards, which had been such a promising location in November was double booked and when it comes to hosting Magic players who drop a bunch of cash on new cards and a bunch of old guys who are somewhat unlikey to do that… well, it was an easy decision for them. Fortunately we were able to procure John Marshall Library in Alexandria, VA and it was an excellent place for a race! We set up Monza, a five-table giant with three lanes all the way around. This was the original Monza track that came with Speed Circuit, so we had to use the Way-Back-Machine to remember how to drive on it. Well, actually not THAT “way-back” because we raced it as our finale last year.

The Track

This is the original Monza Track and it promises high speeds, lots of drafting, and a LOT of three-wide racing, which is always entertainingly dangerous in open wheeled racing. I’m sure you know the track and this one is beautifully constructed out of black poster board with white lines all around, for everything. To the right is a shot of the cars on the starting grid by Driver/Photographer Dave Ingraham.

The Designs on the Grid

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The builds were, in general fast accel and high top speeds. Everyone but pole sitter Will opted or 180 or hgher, three drivers opted for 200 top speeds. Everyone bottomed out on skill, with just six green chips for the whole race. Maybe there would not be a lot of rolling… but, of course, there was. Interestingly Will and Doug both spent extra to get the 100 start speed. This allowed them to opt for a lesser acceleration build, which made sense on a track that basically allows you to get up to speed and stay there. Will took P1 with a bid of 4.5, which indicated that there would be a lot of wear spent in the race, since nobody was bidding exorbitantly for starting grid position.

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The Start

The cars spread out quickly, but would compress like an accordion when the curves approached. Early in the race the 100 start speed cars jumped to the lead, along with Kevin’s Pennzoil car, which had bid hard for the first row.

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The cars at the back of the grid, perhaps thinking that a three wide track was a good place to run from behind, found themselves as many as nine spaces behind the leaders early in the festivities. Mike Greason missed a shift at the start and was forced to start slowly, but he fought his way back throughout the race.

Lap 1

Lap 1 was fairly uneventful. Mike Polcen failed a forced pass attempt, but otherwise the dice were kind to the drivers. Turns 2 and 3 were frequently the scene for the accordion effect as shown in this picture. Cars would race down the short straights, only to have to jam on the brakes as they reached the next curve. With drafting being extremely common at Monza, everyone would want to get to the same spaces.

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Turns 4 and 5 are a stark contrast. Turn four is arrowless, but even the inside lane allows 120 MPH, making it quite easy to reach top speed on the upcoming straight. Turn five, however is very tight, but it IS three lanes wide, so things jam up and there’s often a lot of jockeying for lane advantage after navigating the curve.

Turn six is another fast curve where drivers often set up for drafting down the main straight, hoping for that 180 MPH double draft space bonus… and since just about everyone had at least a 180 top speed, it was not hard to do, as long as you were running in the pack… not half a dozen spaces behind as Dave and Chris found themselves.

Lap 2

As the cars roared to the end of the main straight, the 100 start speed cars held first and second and had established a little breathing room between themselves and the Peloton behind them… and enough air-filled breathing room to terraform Mars between themselves and back-markers, Dave in the Ferrari and Chris in the Red Bull.

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Tim, sensing an opportunity, rolled the dice for 220 MPH and was rewarded with an old Simon and Garfunkel song that begins, “Hello, Boxcars, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.” It seems to happen every race. Something must be done to save him!

Lap 2 was tough on Will’s NAPA Indy car, too. Working with a 40 accel, he failed it coming out of turn 4, dropping his accel to 20 and effectively knocking him from contention.

Here’s a shot of the end of lap 2. The back-markers have the pack within sight, finally, and are still sporting lots of wear. Maybe they still have a chance. Only problem is, most drivers have SOME wear left and can nurse it with skillful driving and, at Monza especially, skillful drafting.

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Lap 3

Starting lap 3 all the drivers’ hopes and dreams were still alive. There were three groups of cars and as the leaders begin to run out of wear and skill, the come-from-behind-hopefuls looked poised to make their run. This shot to the right shows the three groups just a few spaces apart.

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Lap 3 saw the most position changes. As drivers ran out of wear, the back-markers pressed forward. Kevin ran out of wear. Will’s broken accelerator was killing him coming out of every corner, and later in lap 3, coming out of the very slow turn 5, Tim sensed another opportunity and rolled to increase his acceleration. Unfortunately, he failed again, and the two engine failures put him out of the race.

The finish was a wild affair of drafting, dice rolling and excitement as Don Tatum edged Mike Polcen for Don’s second straight win. The points were earned as follows:

1. Don Tatum 25
2. Mike Polcen 18
3. Doug Schulz 15
4. Mike Greason 12
5. Chris Brandt 10
6. Will Kennard 8
7. Dave Ingraham 6
8. Kevin Keller 4
9. Chris Brandt 6
10. Tim Mossman 0 (DNF)

Combining this with the first two race results, here are the new standings:

1. Don Tatum 62 (12 + 25 + 25)
2. Doug Schulz 40 (25 + DNS + 15)
3. Mike Greason 36 (6 + 18 + 12)
4. Will Kennard 31 (15 + 8 + 8)
5. Mike Polcen 30 (DNF + 12 + 18)
6. Kevin Keller 27 (8 + 15 + 4)
7. Dave Ingraham 26 (10 + 10 + 6)
8. Chris Brandt 20 (4 + 6 + 10)
9. Tim Mossman 18 (18 + DNF + DNF)
10. Brian DeWitt 0 (DNF + DNS + DNS)

Our season is five races long and only the three best finishes for each driver count. Don has a commanding lead, but it will be hard to gain too many more points with his three excellent finishes so far.

Next Race

Race three is scheduled for January 26 at the City of Fairfax Library in Fairfax, Virginia. The address is City of Fairfax library 10360 North Street Fairfax.. We’ll be racing at Oyama, five laps, but only three laps of preparation points because the track has only five corners.

FINALLY… Happy Holidays from DMV Racing. Not in picture is Dave Ingraham, driver, photographer, and friend.

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