TEAM STARFISH Vintage Racing

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Race report- CSRG Annual First Event, March 24-25, 2007

Well, the weekend went well for Team Starfish for a change. The only wrench I had to turn all weekend long was to put on a new set of rear tires for the Sunday afternoon race. I did have a small oil leak to contend with, caused by the o-ring between the oil cooler adapter and the oil filter adapter finally giving up the ghost. The leak was not enough to cause a problem, but did drip onto the right side header collector and caused a small amount of smoke behind the car throughout the weekend. Not enough to earn a black flag, thank goodness!

The only real problem of the weekend was on Saturday, during the morning qualifying session. I took off my glasses to put on my helmet when the 5 minute warning on grid was given, them promptly lost my glasses. They

apparently fell behind the drivers seat. I did not have time to unbuckle and fish around, so I elected to run the session without them!
Luckily I am far sighted, so while I could not read any of the gauges on the dash I was able to race around the track relatively well. I guess that is what they make warning lights for! I could not read the tach, so I had to use the rev limiter in the MSD box to determine the shift points....

We qualified 20th out of 34 entrants with a time of 2.05. That time placed us in a big group of about 10 cars that were within about plus or minus 2 seconds of each other. The grid consisted of about 8 Corvettes, a myriad of 911s, a few Alfas GTV and GTAs, a Ginetta, a Lotus Cortina, and but a single Mustang.
Fastest qualifier was Bill Cotter, down from Seattle with a pristine 64 Cobra.

The race on Saturday was one of the best ones I've had. We had a 4 car freight train with a Frank Jorge's 64 Corvette roadster, the Barracuda, a very nice Alfa Romero GTA and an orange 911. The Barracuda was the second car in the train the whole race. I could out brake the Corvette, but Frank did a spectacular job of protecting the line in the corners. I tried a couple of times to do an inside pass in Turn 11, (Really the best place to pass) but was cut off at the last second. The one time I got brave and tried an outside pass in the same turn I almost lost the car in the "marbles", so discretion WAS the better part of valor, and I tried that ONLY once.... Still, we managed a 17th place finish, up three places from the start, and improved our best lap time to a 2.04. There were no accidents during the race, just one Corvette doing some lawn mowing in the infield with a couple of 360s at the top of Earnhardt Corner (Turn 2).

On Sunday we started right next to the Corvette, but due to traffic ahead of me I was not able to get ahead of him before Turn 2 of the first lap. The race on Sunday was exactly like Saturday, with a couple of exceptions:

1. We quickly disposed of the 911 and Alfa GTA, so the train was down to two cars.
2. Frank broke a rocker or valve in his Corvette about 3 laps from the end and I finally got around him.
3. My fastest lap time was reduced to a 2.03, a personal best.

We ended up the weekend with a 14th place finish out of 34 cars that started on Saturday, but most importantly, in one piece and not broken!

I did hear one comment on Saturday that made me feel REAL good. A spectator came by intrigued by the fact that a Barracuda was at the event. He had never seen one race since the 60s. I commented that there were a lot of high dollar (read multi-millon dollar) cars at the event (a Ferrari 250 GTO and a couple of Birdcage Maseratis), and the Barracuda was a low buck beater by comparison. He replied: "You come to these vintage events and there are always Ferraris and Maseratis racing around. But, you NEVER get a chance to see a Barracuda run!". I kid you not, that is what he said!

I also want to thank Keith of Mopax for coming by on Sunday with his son. It was nice to finally meet him after trading e-mails and phone calls for the last few months!

Mike Ritz




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