That was painful. I HATE rolling dice, but sometimes it is your only option.
I definitely agree this was a run-from-front track. I was quite amazed to look in the rear-view and see Rando in 3rd after the 1st turn. Gobs of wear and skill AND 3rd after one turn. Great start. With this track, there really is only one efficient line. If you are willing to spend 5-6 wear, you can save a turn in a lap, but otherwise it is easy to get stuffed just in the course of driving laps.
After Mike's fast start, I quickly realized that I only had two choices. Battle Mike for first with a wear advantage, or save wear but end up battling Rando for 2nd with a wear and skill disadvantage. Very quickly I would have found myself in third with no hope of getting past Rando. So my only choice was to battle it out in front. Catching Mike quickly and having more wear gave me false hope.
Early Race: Frankly I was quite outmatched in the lead battle. One BIG error in Big Bend in lap 3 cost me extra wear. My aversion to testing my 20 brakes (yes, more on that later) also cost me position, hence wear. Failing to spend an extra wear to clear the Righthander on Turn 26 was a big mistake. Spent two extra wear in the Uphill to get to same place. "Final" mistake was not realizing that first was now out of reach and playing for second. It would have been tough to hold off Rando, but it would have been interesting with 3w left.
Testing my brakes in T29 was probably also a mistake. You do get lulled into false confidence when the dice seem friendly. Suddenly I'm not worried about passing Mike. I'm worried about preserving the best finish I can while actually finishing the race.
To summarize the battle with Mike for the lead, he was willing to take the necessary risks, and drove better. He certainly deserved the win. We each took a chance roll with a big chip. If either had spun, the other would have likely cruised to victory if they could hold off Rando at the end. Mike passed 2 naked brake tests (25/36 odds) to "chip away" my wear advantage. If not for my "Criss-cross" error in Big Bend, it would have been 3 naked brake tests (125/216 odds). Maybe that would have been the one he failed, but he didn't need it.
After Brake Failure: Having 0 brakes is not hopeless. Unfortunately I had been there before (Laguna Seca - viewtopic.php?f=241&t=4043;
brake failure at beginning of last lap while running third. Survived until a spin halfway thru lap. Recovered to 3rd before a spin in final corner dropped me to last on the track. 3 DNFs.) I quickly surveyed the track and made a plan. Obviously it would involve brake tests, but if I wanted 2nd or 3rd, it would also involve naked chance rolls.
Someone made the comment about Formula 1 drivers with damaged cars will sometimes waive other drivers around. I was sitting second with a car that could match top speed with anyone. If someone wanted around me, they would have to earn it. Odds weren't good, but with a couple of rolls, I thought 3rd was the worst I could finish. A Formula 1 car with damage so that everyone in the field is flying past them is a very bad comparison.
My new desperate plan involved 2 brake tests and one chance. A second chance roll was added when Rando started fast on the outside and late braked in the Left-Right combo. Odds were not good, but the dice were friendly. With one more chance roll (and another slip) I could've been drag-racing Rando for 2nd. I would have lost since he still had a big skill chip, but it was possible. But I choose to lock in 3rd with no more (significant) rolls, which was a shoe-in at that point.
All in all, a lot of fun. I'll work on eliminating my mistakes in the future. Congratulations to Mike and Rando for 1st and 2nd. Mike took over first in our division, while Kevin and I are tied for 2nd. I look forward to our next race at Donnybrooke (aka Brainard Int'l Raceway)
(edited to correct my memory of turn 26)