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WHO Nascar - 1 August 2018

Race Report

With loads of WHO regulars on holiday and enjoying the sunny weather, it looked like it might be a select bunch at the Barn for our August Nascar race. However, we ended up with a perfectly excellent twenty racers, including 8-year-old Katie making her WHO debut.

We were running on the Pocono-inspired Tricky Triangle layout, using a slightly different configuration to last year that had wider turns with less banking. Turn three had no banking at all. Most of our regular Mega-G+ runners were either not racing or had switched to Super-Gs for the evening, leaving just Keith, Deborah, Andy Phillips and Katie on the Gen6 Cup grid.

As the heats started, there were some huge scores right through the field, especially in the middle blue and red lanes. At halfway, Mike D had a three lap advantage over Gareth and Andy Player, with John a further four laps back, very closely followed by Ryan. It did really matter which lanes people had left to do - those who finished on the middle lanes jumped up the standings through the second set of heats.

There was no change at the top, Mike finished five laps ahead of John, Gareth dropping behind Andy into fourth and top of the B final. Alex had a strong second pair of heats and he got ahead of Ryan to finish top junior in sixth place. The Super-Gs were loving the track, the MG+ cars less so - only Deborah managed a heat score of 40 laps or over, Keith ending up top Gen6 qualifier way back in fifteenth place.


It was Mike and Katie who went head-to-head in the G final and it was two minutes that held everyone's attention. Remarkably, Mike didn't crash once (surely that must be some sort of record?) and neither did Katie. In fact, the youngster had raced smoothly all evening and held on to first place for three-quarters of the race. Mike did manage to take the lead with about twenty seconds to go and hung on by just over half a lap. Both racers beat their heat scores in these lanes - and you can't ask for more than that.

Everyone had steered clear of choosing the outside white lane, so that's where Mike stepped up to in the F final. It didn't seem to bother him as he was the early leader, but crashes for both Mike and Deborah put Steve and Andy neck-and-neck for the lead after 30 seconds.  That remained the order at halfway, although Steve had pulled out a one lap lead, which he stretched to a very comfortable three laps by three-quarter distance and five laps at the chequered flag. That was a dominant display!  Behind Steve came Andy, Deborah and Mike.

Oliver was quick off the line in the E final and despite an early crash was reslotted back into the lead - a very slim 0.61 seconds at quarter distance over Terry, with Keith and Steve a little further back. Oliver kept his focus after the crash, gradually pulling away from Terry to put him a lap ahead at halfway and just under three laps at the end. Keith came in another four laps back, top in Gen6 but showing how this was a night for the Super-Gs.

Stephen had chosen white lane for the D final as he'd done well in that lane during the heats. He rocketed off into the lead until he, Oliver and Duncan all crashed on the same lap, only Daniel getting through the carnage. That first minute continued as a crash-fest, Daniel holding a two lap lead over Duncan at half way. Duncan wasn't giving up and closed the gap to less than a lap - and there was still enough time before the chequered flag to win the race. But then he binned it. As the race finished, Daniel was a happy man, whereas Duncan was ruing those crashes... Stephen comfortably beat Oliver for third.

The early leader in the C final was Matthew, setting a blistering pace off the line. Simon tried to keep up, but crashed - as did Ryan. At halfway, that left Matthew two laps ahead of Simon and Daniel ahead of Ryan in a close fight for third. As in the previous final, the chaser wasn't giving up and Simon battled hard to close the gap on Matthew. Matthew's only crash of the race made things rather close, but then Simon had a big one, ended up on the floor and that was it. Matthew's advantage at the chequered flag was just under five laps, Ryan just beating Daniel in their excellent battle for third.

The B final looked very tasty. Gareth, Alex and Ash had all performed brilliantly in the heats. Alex and Ash both had better top heat scores than Gareth, but it was Gareth who had been more consistent had the first pick of lanes. He chose blue, with Ash in red and Alex in yellow. Matthew crashed out of white lane on turn two of the first lap and it didn't get much better for him. At the front, the race was extremely close and exciting. Alex was the early leader, with Gareth edging ahead before crashing and dropping to third. That left Ash in the lead after 30 seconds, followed by Gareth and Alex neck-and-neck and Matthew back in fourth.

Ash was driving superbly and stretched out a lap lead over Gareth at halfway, Alex losing a bit of ground, but still not far behind. Then things got really crashy, especially for Alex and Matthew. Gareth was closing in, binned it and the gap remained a lap with just 30 seconds to go. Both drivers were absolutely on the limit as the clock counted down. Then there was a big ten seconds as Ash crashed into turn one and Gareth crashed at turn two, followed two laps later by Ash crashing again at turn one. Gareth had the momentum and moved into the lead with seven seconds to go. As the chequered flag fell, Gareth crossed the line three-quarters of a lap ahead. What a race!

That just left the small matter of the A final. Gareth stepped up to white, Mike had chosen red, John blue and Andy yellow. It was Andy who was sluggish of the line and then first to crash, putting him out of contention almost immediately. Mike led the way, with John and Gareth pushing hard to stay in touch. Mike was already pulling away when errors started to creep into Gareth and John's driving. Gareth experienced a torrid time after half distance and that allowed Andy to get through into third. Although a couple of laps back from Mike, John wasn't giving up, but then a huge off with twenty seconds to go left his car on the floor with the body off (and quite possibly the axle popped too). Andy sneaked through and despite a massive effort at the end, John couldn't catch up on lost time. Mike won by eight laps, Andy was an unlikely second, John third and Gareth fourth.

Huge congratulations to Mike on such a dominant win - three out of three in Nascar this season. Alex recovered well from some early issues in the heats to win yet another junior Nascar medal. Keith picked up a second Gen6 win, tonight's result putting Keith, Tony and Deborah through to the championship showdown in November - with one final spot still up for grabs.

A big thank you to everyone who came along and made it another excellent evening at the Barn, especially the set-up and tear-down teams and to the McCann triumvirate on race control. We're back in two weeks for our August AFX Endurance Championship team race.

- Andy P



Race Results

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