WERA West - Auto Club Speedway

Went to Los Angeles last weekend to race in a WERA event.  WERA is a national club vs. the regional AFM I participate in, but the level of racing is perhaps comparable.  It was fun because the points don't count toward anything and I could just grid up and race.  The track in Fontana, California was built chiefly for NASCAR events.  It's a giant oval with seating for tens of thousands.  The motorcycle track uses part of the NASCAR oval, but most of the track is on the infield to make the track interesting. 

I had only been to this track once before, so was excited to get laptimes in the race of 1:36.  My friend who has been here ten times this year and considers it his home track was at 1:36 times before the weekend started.  In the race he got down to 1:34's so I could not keep up with him while competing, but it was fun to try.

WERA racers are NICE.  It was an absolute train wreck at the start of both my races...  I thought we had a two wave race, so I was waiting for the first wave to split before putting the bike in gear and revving the motor and getting ready to start.  Instead I realized it was a one wave race as we were on the two board (starting in about 2 seconds...)  I freaked out, stalled my bike, scrambled to click it into neutral and start it again, then click it down into gear, flip my visor down, and actually launch my start about a half second after the green flag flew and the race was underway.  Despite being slow off the line initially, I guess I'm just getting comfortable racing, I shoved my front tire in front of like four guys (and one girl) at turn three and simply pushed forward.  This would never be possible in AFM, love you guys but simply AFM racers aren't that nice and wouldn't give up a spot just because I had a crazy look in my eye.

I ended up getting second in one race and fourth in the other, which was slightly this side of a miracle given the weekend in the whole.  The air temperature was as much as 108 throughout the day, and the track temperature was up to 150 degrees.  This makes the track slick, and sufficient hydration near impossible. Also, prime conditions to upset my body enough to need to call in professionals to help.

I was practicing during testing sessions on Saturday, and drank three (3) gallons of water through the day.  By the time I pulled off at 4PM to get ready for Sunday races, I was feeling light headed and disoriented.  I tried drinking my way back into feeling normal with water and electrolyte drinks, but after four hours it was 8:00 PM and I still had a splitting headache and was growing nausea.  So off to the hospital I went, which turned out to be a good move.  Testing my blood proved I was hypokalemic and hypocalcemic which sent my body into rhabdomyolsis   Basically my muscles were eating themselves.  But after four hours on an IV and four liters of saline and potassium drinks I was feeling good and dismissed at 2:00 AM.  I left unsure if I would actually proceed to race Sunday, but I was feeling okay in the mid-morning so I suited up and went out there to take it easy and just pull out if I wasn't feeling alright.   Both the studliest and most idiotic thing I've done in quite some time.  What can I say... it's racing!

Again, all is well that ends well.  So that's a wrap on the race season for 2010, time to rebuild my suspension and start the several month season of bench racing (i.e. reading about racing) and getting ready for 2011.  Here's my little trophy room I'm growing.  Feels a little like high school where everyone is a superstar and you get trophies for every possible achievement, but I'll take what I can get.  Ha, ha.

No Racing, No Cry

It's official - my race season is over.  AFM round 7 happens in a couple weeks, but I'm off to a wedding in Oregon.  I asked them to reschedule the wedding around my race schedule, I think it's kinda selfish they won't do it, but c'est la vie... he's a good friend so I'll skip my race and attend anyway.  I will drop down in season standings from currently 4th to somewhere between 6th and 10th... we'll have to see how all the guys right behind me in points do that weekend.

Even typing this plan out in writing tastes like vinegar pouring out of my fingertips.  It would be one thing to race and just get clocked, but in this case I'm going to let the competition beat me by NOT EVEN SHOWING UP.  This goes against most every fiber of my being...  90% of life being participation.  I'm neither the smartest or the best looking guy, but especially in the last 10 years I have good, "being present" skills.  This is a big factor in my career progress and value I deliver to my employer (as with many technology executives, see: 170 flights/ year...)

So to deliver some semblance of internal peace about this race skipping business, I'm doing two cool things:  (a) I raced in the WERA round at Auto Club Speedway in Los Angeles last weekend, and (b) I'm doing a track day at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah in a couple weeks.  I think this is a good way to wrap up the race season anyway, doing fun days with friends in semi-exotic track locations.  I will be checking the laptimes posted on MyAFM during the AFM round 7 though from my phone, refreshing every 10 seconds.

So about now begins the campaign of letter writing to potential sponsors.  Show them I made a race season happen with no crashing (wow!), raced with two clubs, got some top five finishes, graduated to the "expert" license status, racked up some points in three classes, and have my head a little picked up looking out at the 2011 season and my sophomore race season.