Here is Chris' write-up.

DMV Racing - Race 3 – Oyama – JAN 26, 2019 – The DON-minator!

The DMV Racing Season continued with race 4 of 5. We were lucky enough to have the Northern Virginia Gamers (NOVAG) share a conference room at the City of Fairfax Library in Fairfax, VA, is was an excellent facility with FREE COVERED PARKING! Brian DeWitt set it up for us. Unfortunately Brian was running a NOVAG event and was unable to participate in the race.

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From L to R: Tim M., Kevin K., Joe P., Mike P., & Don T.

To make a long story short, Don Tatum and his Pinulator rang up their third straight victory to clinch the driver’s title. Don had an impressive win, by a full turn over the second place finisher, Mike Greason.

In a pre-race event, Tim Mossman was presented with a 1/64 Petronas Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-Benz car and matching speed cards. His atrocious luck with the dice could not continue! Or so we hoped…

The Track

Oyama is a short track with only five curves, so we elected to do five laps, but with only three laps of setup. This caused some concern because, despite having only five curves, Oyama really eats up wear quickly in its series of sharp curves separated by short straights. Many of you OLD video gamers may remember Oyama as Fuji in the old arcade game, Pole Position. In Pole Position II, magnificent Mount Fuji can be seen in the background. But enough ancient history. Back to 2019!

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The Designs on the Grid

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The builds were, in general fast accel and high top speeds. The Pennzoil drivers (not a team, though) both opted for 200 Top Speeds. Joe Powell and Chris Brandt opted for 160. TIP: 160 is not enough on this track! Nobody opted for a 100 start speed and the field was split 5-4 on start speeds of 20 and 60. Even Chris, sitting on the pole, felt like 20 start speed was enough. TIP – On this track, it’s NOT enough. Acceleration and Braking didn’t seem to make as much difference as wear and start speed in this race. One note of caution, though. While 40 accel or decel was probably enough for the race, a broken accel or brakes were killer and we had a number of failures, as might be expected with eight of the nine drivers opting for minimal skill.

The Start

Most drivers pushed their start speed, as usual, and the Pennzoil cars, perhaps because of the dice gods’ twisted sense of humor, both failed. Although, they did not stall, but this really set them behind in the race because the pack strings out at Oyama and a failure at the start means a LOT of ground will need to be made up.

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Don, Mike P, and Chris jumped into a lead pack and diced it out from the start. Another pack formed 2-3 spaces behind. Finally, a pair of Pennzoil cars rounded out the field about six spaces behind the second pack.

Lap 1

Lap 1 was uneventful again this race. Mike Polcen’s top speed advantage over Chris allowed him to lead at the end of the first lap, but there was still a lot of racing to be done. The Pennzoil cars, far off the pace used leap-frog drafting to catch up down the mail straight and, as the only two cars with 200 top speeds, it was VERY effective. There was some discussion about the driving ethics of sharing drafts on long straights, but since we had made no ruling on it prior to the race, it was allowed. As it turned out (spoiler alert) neither Pennzoil car was in contention at the end.

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Lap 2

Lap two remained steady as drivers who spent a LOT of wear in the first lap realized they had FOUR laps remaining. Although the pace slowed, two drivers pushed for top speed coming down the main straight. First Joe, one of the drivers with a 160 top speed, broke his top speed, dropping him to a 140 top speed car and knocking him out of contention. Jim, on the other hand, blew down the main straight at 220, something we don’t see very often… although it seems like we’ve seen it attempted quite a few times! Mike Greason quietly inched through the lead pack to lead lap two.

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Lap 3

Lap three was as boring as a CFR lap could be. The cars stretched out and there were few position changes. Chris ended up leading the lap, making the third lap leader of the race.

Lap 4

The strain of the long race started to show in lap four, probably because it’s one lap further than we normally race. Jim, after blasting down the straight at 220, broke his brakes heading into the first turn. THAT was going to make using his top speed and contending very tough. Two turns later, Chris broke his brakes heading into the hairpin. Ironically, this was an attempt to avoid spending a wear. Ahhhh… the dice gods can be so cruel. For the trifecta, Mike P broke his accelerator going into the huge final turn (Panasonic). Again, it was ironic. How many people break their accelerator going INTO a curve!?!?!

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This was a lap where drivers started to “make their moves.” Chris made his move at the beginning of lap four, stretching out to a five space lead. He needed it because of his top speed deficit and the faster cars ate up the gap quickly, so quickly that Tim became the fourth lap leader at the end of the penultimate lap.

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Lap 5

As drivers ran out of wear on lap five, position changes happened on nearly every turn, often several on the same move. Tim, with just one wear, tried a chance in the hairpin, which he felt would give him the win. Alas, he spun, freeing the DON-minator for an easy win and jamming Chris in the hairpin behind him. Jim Fleckenstein spun in turn 4, known as “300R” and elected to drop out of the race since his car was already damaged. Mike P, broke his accelerator, forcing him from the race. Chris continued to fall back behind faster cars and was out-drag-raced to the finish by Dave Ingraham. Dave took fourth and Chris took fifth, breaking his top speed in the process, although it made no difference by this point. Joe finished out the race, followed by Kevin, for the final points positions. Mike P and Jim F, with DNFs, did not score points.

The Finish

The finish was pretty much decided before the cars crossed the finish line. Don won impressively, running a very efficient race, saving both wear and skill for the end of the race, where he could take advantage of those who had none.

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Final results and points earned:

1. Don Tatum 25
2. Mike Greason 18
3. Tim Mossman 15
4. Dave Ingraham 12
5. Chris Brandt 10
6. Joe Powell 8
7. Kevin Keller 6
8. Mike Polcen DNF
9. Jim Fleckenstein DNF

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

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Our season is five races long and only the three best finishes for each driver count. With three wins, Don is the champion, but there’s still a lot of competition for second or, as Ricky Bobby says in Talladega Nights, “First Loser”.

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Our next race will be sometime in March. Prezcon is coming up on the first weekend of March so there’s preparation to be done for that. Please join us in Charlottesville, Virginia for four heats and a hotly contested finale. Check out http://www.prezcon.com. I’ll be posting preview information and track maps in the next few weeks.