Chris Brandt's fine write-up followed by some race pics:
DMV Racing - Race 2 - Sears Point - 12/16/17
The inaugural DMV Racing season continued with race number two at a new track, Sears Point. Nine drivers were on the grid. Some drivers came well prepared. Don had pinulated out his first 37 moves and Kevin asked for a copy of the track several weeks ago. Some drivers, upon seeing the track in detail for the first time, had to wing it.
Sears Point sees sports car, Indycar, and NASCAR races as well as a number of motorcycle races. There are lots of elevations changes, although they are not reflected in the track design. It is 59 spaces long, or just over two miles. The start finish line is on a short straight that leads three wide into the first curve quite quickly. Then comes the part of the track that really eats up wear. The curves are all in the 60-100 MPH range and are only four to seven spaces apart from each other. It’s hard to push too fast for fear of the “two curve wear spend” eating up four wear in one turn. But, once drivers get through that part, there’s a short (7 space) straight, before a slow but wide (40 with arrow) curve leading to the “main straight”. Straight is a loosely used term because the track does have some back and forth motion, but analysis showed little braking was done so those “curves” were integrated into the design by adding spaces on the “outside” edge. This did come into play frequently because the pack was often three wide, forcing drivers to take the longer route occasionally. At the end of the 22 space straight, was another 40 MPH curve with an arrow, but this curve is only two lanes and puts a premium on braking. It was another curve in which prodigious amounts of wear were spent. Then a sprint to the finish line, three wide.
Despite the varying amounts of preparation, the cars were somewhat consistent in design. Aside from start speed, which is more of a strategic choice than track design choice, there were many similarities.
Of the nine racers:
● All but one driver (40) select 60 accel.
● All but two drivers (40) selected 60 brakes.
● All but one (180) selected 160 for top speed.
Variation came in the wear and skill selections although Don was running a clear “race from the lead” strategy with a 100 start speed, low wear, and low skill. More about that later!
Kevin took the pole with a hefty bid of 3 wear and 3 skill. He also opted for 60 start speed, a precautionary decision that give him an early boost, without costing another prep point. Don
and Tim C opted for 100 start speeds. Don was on the front row by virtue of a roll-off with Tim M. Tim C was next on the grid, followed by Jonathan, Joe, Chris, Mike, and Brian, all with minimal bids. Kevin failed the start, allowing Tim M to pass him for second, while everyone trailed Don’s lightning fast start. That left Don, with a significant gap between himself and Tim M, who also had a gap on the pack. As they rabbited off into the distance the pack was like a knife fight in a phone booth, although Chris, flush with eight wear per lap, pushed enough to stay out of the worst of it. A LOT of wear was spent on these early curves, especially by Don, but he was so far ahead, that it seemed unlikely that anyone would catch him.
But, Tim DID catch Don by virtue of a few more wear. As they entered the third lap Don realized that he had mis-built his car!... shorting himself by a prepration point. There really was no recourse at that point, since Tim’s strategy had been closely based on Don’s remaining wear. Tim passed Don and as they rounded that last tight corner, Don tried a chance roll to keep up. That roll failed, Don spun, and it started a chain reaction of excitement. First, Tim rolled successive boxcars to fail both accel and braking! Another failure would drop him out of the race. Then with Don spun out, the rest of the field caught him and were speeding into the final corner as Don was starting from 0 MPH. Don got out of the corner on the next curve, but not off the line. Mike, who had been hoarding wear cleared the curve with two wear to brake and two for the curve, putting him beside Don, but going much faster.
Tim crossed the line, but the excitement behind him was still unfolding. As Chris sped into the corner the line was blocked with two wear remaining. He hit the 60 MPH outside lane at 120, spent the two wear and rolled on the chance table with two -1 green chips, making the roll. Then sitting behind Mike and Don with two spaces left, it was time for a forced pass. The dice caused a lot of carnage in this race, but Chris was lucky, making the roll. Don, in a sportsmanlike decision opted not to block at that late stage, since there would be a chance that having to spend another wear might cause him to spin yet again. The three crossed the finish line, Chris in 2nd, Mike P in 3rd, and Don, cursing his pit crew for the design error, finished 4th. 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 peleton 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. Kevin never really recovered from the stumble at the start and broke his brakes during the race as well, dropping him to sixth place. Jonathan, relatively new to the game, finished seventh, followed by Tim C and Joe, who failed his accel quite early in the race.
The New Standings
This was the second 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. Tim M - 25
2. Chris B - 18
3. Mike P - 15
4. Don T - 12
5. Brian - 10
6. Kevin - 8
7. Jonathan - 6
8. Tim C - 4
9. Joe - 2
Combining this with the first race results, here are the new standings:
1. Chris B - 43 (25 + 18)
2. TimM - 31 (6 + 25)
3. Brian - 20 (10 + 10)
4. TimC- 19 (15 + 4)
5. Mike - 15 (0 + 15)
6. Don - 12 (0 + 12)
7. Kevin - 8 (0 + 8)
8. Jonathan -6 (0 + 6)
9. Joe - 2 (0 + 2)
The next race will be early February, which will be leading up to PREZCON. I’ll be sending out a PREZCON preview soon. But, you can expect four heats and a final, with each heat having some unique twist to test driver skills.