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Nascar - 2 November 2016

Race Report


There was plenty at stake at the final WHO Nascar race of 2016. John looked reasonably safe for the championship, but couldn't afford to finish out of the top five places. The junior battle - between Alex and Ned - would be very close with a 45 point gap going into the race. The inaugural Gen6 Cup would be decided on the night in a four-way winner-takes-all shoot-out after the A final. And both the club championship and the rookie of the year title were confirmed, just by Mike D and Andy Phillips walking through the door.


As the twenty racers did walk through that door, they were handed a Super Tires 21st anniversary sticker, a copy of next year's racing calendar and a sheet with the four rule changes for 2017. A very brief Annual General Meeting was held to elect the club's organising team and management committee. And then we were off racing.


Keith had decided on a big oval for the final race and we built a 70 foot rectangular track that filled the Barn very nicely. The turns were wide and very gently banked, with turns one and two feeling a little trickier than three and four.


It was soon clear the big oval was a real leveller for the Mega-G+ Gen6 cars and there was some very close racing in the three heats the eight Gen6 runners had ended up in. Although the Super-G+ were enjoying the long straights and setting some huge 30+ lap scores, it was Duncan and his Life Like T car that very nearly set top score in the inside yellow lane. Alex was enjoying running his Life Like M - not a car often seen at WHO - and looked to be putting everything into defending his junior championship lead.


The top three at half way were the top three at the end of the heats - Mike D leading John and Andy Player. Neal was fourth and Ned top junior in fifth. With Andy in the A final, he looked odds-on for a fourth Gen6 Cup race win, so the remaining three spots in the shoot-out would be dependant on points and the outcome of the finals...


Finals


We had a shoot-out of sorts between Corey and Hayley in the G final. It was fast but horribly crashy, with running commentaries from both racers. In the end it was Corey wot won it with his Mega-G.


Corey joined three Mega-G+ runners in the F final. Mike and Stephen were running the club cars - a 'try before you buy' decision - or more probably a 'try before you send your Christmas list to American relatives'. They'd had mixed feelings about the cars through the evening, but nailed it in the final, father beating son by a few feet and both putting huge pressure on Deborah who might have missed out on the Gen6 Cup shootout with an uncharacteristic nightmare in heats and final. At least she beat Corey to come third.


Up in the E final, Mike joined the three As - Aiden, Andy and Aaron. It was Andy and Mike that got away and ran side by side, lap after lap after lap. Everyone in the room was enthralled, with gaps of thousandths of a second and at one point a spectacular 0.000. Then, with half the race gone, Andy binned it in turn three with groans all around the Barn. Andy recovered from last to finish third behind Mike and Aaron - second to fourth covered by less than half a lap.


Mike had intended to head home after the F final, but now he was up in the D final and back in white lane. He set a better score than his first final, but it was only enough for fourth place - the pace was really picking up. It was Alex with his old Life Like M that scorched the rest of the field. He was sensationally quick - nearly going sub-four seconds - and consistent, managing 28 laps. Behind, Jamie put in a great shift on yellow to finish second with his Super-G+, comfortably ahead of Simon who was a gnat's backside ahead of Mike. At least Mike could get home and get some sleep...


We had another enthralling race in the C final with Keith, Neil and Alex putting on a show, with Tony never really in it. With Alex falling away towards the end, it was Neil who hung on to Keith's tail to keep him sweating - but at the end there was a lap in it. It all meant Tony had come third in the Gen6 Cup, but, by our pen and paper calculation, that was not quite enough to knock a very relieved Deborah out of the shoot-out.


The B final summed up what has been great about Nascar this season - two quick Super-Gs challenged by a Life Like and Mega-G+. And it was a cracking race. If was Duncan's Life Like and Ned's Super-G swapping the lead in the early stages, putting on a superb show of flat-out speed. An off and slow re-slot dropped Duncan to the back and it was Neal's Super-G now challenging Ned. Try all he could, Neal couldn't quite catch and pass the youngster, finishing just under a lap behind. Duncan passed Keith for third, finishing just ahead at the end.


Up in the A final, we had three Nascar race-winning Super-Gs up against Andy's Gen6 Mega-G+. Off the line, the speed of the Super-Gs was apparent. With Ned getting a bit crashy out in white lane, the race settled down - Mike out front and pulling out a tenth or two a lap over John, who was pulling away from Andy at about the same rate. All were pushing hard and a couple of offs by the front two closed the race up going into the final thirty seconds. Then all hell broke loose...


What we know is that Ned came off between turns 3 and 4. Then Mike and John's cars ended up on the floor coming out of the final turn. The two incidents were probably connected, but the attempted slick marshalling ended up anything but as John and Mike's cars were thrown and dropped. In the chaos and carnage, Andy swept through and took a small lead over Mike. Both knew that with their previous race pace, Mike would catch and pass Andy by the end. Andy pushed as hard as he could, held the lead for a few laps, but then pushed too hard coming out of the tricky turn two and Mike was past.


As the chequered flag fell, the gap was just over half a lap or a little over two seconds. The Gen6 man was gutted, but a completely jet-lagged Mike was over the moon. John followed in third - enough for the championship - but Ned's fourth place meant he missed out on the Junior Nascar championship by a mere five points. That title would go to Alex - a first ever WHO junior title for the ten-year-old. Clearly a chip off the old block.


Normally, that would be the end of the evening, but this year the Gen6 Cup had a championship shoot-out modelled on the winner-takes-all Nascar Chase for the Sprint Cup. All the pressure was on Andy, still reeling from his near-miss in the A final and, with a clear points lead, having everything to lose. Keith, Simon and Deborah on the other hand, had the chance to win a championship!


It was Keith and Andy - in the inside yellow and red lanes - who took the lead from the start, Keith was in front with Andy sitting on his tail a couple of car lengths back. The speed of the two was almost identical - who was on the limit? Who had speed to spare? With Deborah struggling on white lane and Simon dropping back, this was the race for the title.


As the race moved towards halfway, Andy knew he had to start to make a move. Risking a little more speed through the corners, he gradually inched up onto Keith's right rear quarter panel. With both cars on the limit, the pass was going to take quite a few laps - but then Keith overdid it coming out of turn 2, exactly the place Andy lost it in the A final. And that was game over. Keith's frustration lead to another off at turn 3 and Andy had a lap lead - comfortable in the circumstances and he was able to cruise the final fifty seconds to the chequered flag and the inaugural WHO Gen6 Cup.


Congratulations to all our winners tonight - Mike for the race win, Ned as top junior, Alex as top under-11 racer, Andy Phillips who pipped Aiden to top rookie on the night and to Andy Player as Gen6 Cup winner. And even bigger congratulations to our Nascar champions, John and Alex and to the Gen6 Cup champion Andy Player, plus Mike - who clinched the club title - and Andy Phillips who became our 2016 Rookie of the year, with Aiden top junior rookie for 2016.


Thanks to everyone who took part and made it an excellent evening. It has been a great Nascar season with Keith and Deborah guiding the track design and the new Gen6 Cup format with all their knowledge and passion for Nascar. Stephen has run the Nascar races on the evenings with skill and panache. Plans for next year are taking shape and you might just get a little surprise in February…



- Andy P




Heats

Finals

Race Results

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