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WHO Nascar - 7 August 2019

Race Report


There were twenty-three racers on the grid for our August Nascar race. An excellent surprise was the return of Hayley and Tony after a long absence stretching back to last July. It was fabulous to see them back! We also welcomed Alex, Szymon and Mateusz, who had chosen a perfect night for their first visit to the Barn.


After half an hour of practice, the heats began. The Tricky Triangle served up some big scores and plenty of mayhem. The quickest cars on the track looked to be Matthew and John's Super-Gs, but a few too many crashes meant neither of them sat in the top three at halfway. At the top, Andy led Terry and Oliver - who was driving Tony's old Super-G superbly. Keith was the top Mega-G+ racer in sixth, but only just ahead of Deborah.


The second round of heats shook up the order a fair bit. Deborah was best of the eleven Gen6 racers - her three 37+ laps putting her two laps ahead of nearest rival Keith. Mateusz had managed to out-qualify 2018 junior champion Jerome in the first two heats, but dropped behind him in the end - he still managed to comfortably beat his mum and his older brother to qualify for the G final.


Although John had the two best scores in the heats, Andy's combined score was three-quarters of a lap better. Andy grabbed pole with John second, Oliver a spectacular third and Terry fourth. Duncan had wrestled his Life Like Ford to an excellent fifth and Alex F was fifth - just ahead of the Gen6 leaders Deborah and Keith. Tony was the third-placed Gen6 car - showing few signs of rustiness after a year away.


Finals


The H final was a showdown between Alex in white and Szymon in blue. An early crash for Alex gave Szymon an advantage he was determined not to lose to his mum. He stretched the gap to a lap after thirty seconds, two laps at halfway and three laps with thirty seconds to go. Alex tried to claw her way back into the race, but - as the chequered flag fell - Szymon had won by just over three laps.


Szymon stepped up into yellow lane for the G final where he'd face his younger brother, Hayley and Jerome. Jerome managed to crash at the first corner, allowing the other three to get away. He was soon up into second, ahead of Szymon and Mateusz who would have their own battle for third. Hayley was leading Jerome by 2.18 seconds at half distance, Jerome struggling with a Super-G that was super-fast, but had less grip than he would have liked. Hayley stayed focused on her race, pounded out the laps with her Mega-G+ and finished a lap ahead at the end. Szymon and Mateusz enjoyed their battle, the older of the two brothers winning by just half a lap.


Hayley's reward was yellow lane in the F final, up against three fast but crashy Super-Gs. Matthew absolutely rocketed away from the line, leading by a full straight after just one lap and making a mockery of his qualifying position. His lead was two laps after thirty seconds... and then he crashed, his car hit the floor and body and chassis separated. So, at halfway, Daniel led Mike by 1.16 seconds, but Matthew was back on track and on a charge. He dispatched Hayley and quickly closed in on the top two, passing both to re-take the lead. Another crash put him neck and neck with Daniel with thirty seconds remaining. Could Matthew keep it together until the end? The answer was yes, just about - he finished the race a lap and a quarter ahead of Daniel who had run from start to finish without crashing. Mike held on to third, less than half a lap ahead of Hayley.


Matthew stepped up to white in the E final, the only Super-G on the grid. Rick crashed his Mega-G+ at the start and Ryan and Ash watched Matthew disappear into the distance. Maybe he had dialled down his driving a little, but white lane really suited car and driver. Matthew's lead over Ryan was a lap after thirty seconds, four laps at halfway and six laps with thirty seconds to go. A couple of small offs - one near the start and one near the end - only slightly dented a massive score of 43.55 laps, which would prove the top score of the whole evening. His fastest lap of 2.59 seconds was also the best of the night. Ryan followed home a distant second, comfortably ahead of Ash and Rick.


Could Matthew manage a third win in the D final? Two crashes in the opening laps suggested not. However, the pace of his car allowed Matthew to get back in the mix, sitting third - behind Stephen and Tony - after thirty seconds, just ahead of Simon. By half distance, Matthew had the lead and the luxury of a one lap gap to Stephen, Tony and Simon who were all running in close formation. Then a big off for Matthew saw that gap evaporate and him fall to the back of the pack. That was not the end of it... With thirty seconds to go, Matthew had again hauled himself back to a slender lead, but another off let Stephen and Tony through. Matthew would get past Tony, but with time running out and Stephen getting away, he crashed again - and this time there was no comeback. Stephen took the chequered flag almost a lap ahead of Tony, who was a quarter of a lap ahead of Matthew. Simon wasn't far behind in what had been a very eventful two minutes!


If you thought the C final would be an anticlimax after all that mayhem, you thought wrong. Not with Deborah and Keith battling for the Gen6 Cup win. Peter and Stephen almost immediately crashed their Super-Gs and dropped out of contention. Keith and Deborah were squeezing every last ounce of speed from their Mega-G+ Chevys and crossed the line almost side-by-side after thirty seconds - Keith 0.02 seconds ahead. They swapped the lead lap after lap, Keith timed 0.18 seconds in front at halfway - the biggest lead so far. Keith managed to eke out that gap to 1.36 seconds with just thirty seconds to go. Deborah hadn't given up, but she needed Keith to slip up. He didn't... As the chequered flag fell, Keith had won by three-quarters of a lap. Pete had recovered to be just a lap behind Deborah in third, but Stephen had found yellow lane a handful.


Keith was last Mega-G+ standing in the B final. He joined Duncan's lone Life Like and the Super-Gs of Terry and Alex. It was a very close opening minute, Alex leading the way and Keith, Terry and Duncan battling for second, Keith ahead at half distance. Alex opened up a gap and avoided any errors, which is all he needed to do. Instead it was the others who had offs, Terry particularly desperate to get in that A final after qualifying fourth. At the end, Alex rolled in a lap and a half ahead of Terry, who was a lap ahead of Duncan after Keith had dropped away.


Oliver had been ecstatic to qualify for the A final, but now the pressure was on with Alex stepping up to fight for the junior medal. Andy and John had surprisingly chosen yellow and white, leaving the middle lanes to the youngsters. John had seen how quick Matthew and Alex had been in white and rocketed away from the start, full of confidence. Andy was more circumspect, giving yellow plenty of respect and running side-by-side with Alex in the early stages. At quarter-distance, John had a 1.9 second lead over Alex, with Andy second 0.2 behind and Oliver 1.25 further back. Then Alex crashed, putting him neck-and-neck with Oliver. At halfway, John had a 2.4 second lead over Andy, Alex just 0.64 seconds ahead of Oliver a lap back.


The race settled into a more-or-less fixed formation, John easing off slightly, lapping just behind Alex and Oliver who were two laps behind. Andy pushed on, closing the gap a little (2.17 seconds at three-quarter distance) and hoping John might get caught up in some drama. With about twelve seconds to go that is exactly what happened! Alex crashed hard at the tricky turn two and John momentarily lost sight of his car. He slowed, saw it and then put his foot down, unsure exactly where Andy was. The answer was - not far behind... The final few seconds were frantic, the two cars separated by about eight feet and going full throttle. When the power was cut, both cars came to rest on the straight between turns one and two, 0.15 of a lap, seven and a half feet or 0.4 of a second apart. Alex's crash dropped him right back, Oliver coming home third.


Huge congratulations to our winners - John for the race win, Oliver for a hard-fought junior medal, Keith for another Gen6 victory and Szymon for finishing as top rookie. A big thanks to everyone for coming along and making it such an enjoyable evening of racing. Special thanks goes to the set-up team, to Hayley and Daniel on race control and to all those who stayed to help pack away. We'll be back at the Barn in two weeks for an AFX Endurance Championship team race on Wednesday 21 August.



- Andy P


Heats

Finals

Race Results

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