Locals take to the road
OK, now what do we do with our Sundays? The racing season is well and truly over, so I guess we’ll have to watch football now and wait for Daytona.
Of course, I’ll keep a close eye on off-season changes in teams and drivers, testing results, and other items of interest and pass them along.
Last weekend I was at Infineon Raceway (the track formerly known as Sears Point) along with a contingent of Carson City racers, as I mentioned in last week’s column. Jim Bawden, Brian Colodny, and Tom Waters all got their baptism of fire in road racing, and they all loved it.
“It’s fun, but a little intimidating,” Colodny told me after his first on-track session.
Bawden echoed his sentiments. Waters had taken part in a National Auto Sports Association event earlier, just to get some track experience. NASA has what they call High Performance Driving Experience groups where would-be road racers can bring their street cars or prepared competition cars and get
on-track experience on road courses. I, for one, am delighted that some of our local roundy-round racers decided to check out road racing. As many of you know, road racing is my background and first love, and I’m ecstatic when others find out how much fun it is!
Unfortunately Waters struggled with a recurrent mechanical problem throughout the weekend. The flywheel on the No. 60 Monte Carlo was out of balance, causing a severe vibration at different rpm ranges.
“It shook just about every nut and bolt on the car loose,” said Waters.
The team added weight to the flywheel in an attempt to balance it, and although it got better, it never came right. The team knows a relatively cheap and easy fix, though, so I imagine they’ll do much better next time out.
Colodny improved his initial time of 2:15 to 1:50 by the end of the weekend, finishing sixth in the American Stock Car class in Saturday’s race and fourth in Sunday’s contest. He had the best finishing position for the Carson City crew in both races. Bawden finished right behind Colodny on Saturday, while Waters retired after two laps with the recurring vibration problem. Waters and Bawden did better in the Sunday’s race until Waters’ swaybar came undone, a heim joint loosened by the engine vibration. Bawden suffered from a combination of too much power and too little track time.
“My Tour engine puts out about 700 horsepower, and it was just too much for the first time on the track,” Bawden told me. “The other guys have ZZ4 crate motors, and that seems to be better suited to this track. I’ll have one of those in the car next time.”
Next time? Oh, yeah! All three of these guys really enjoyed their first taste of road racing and vowed to return. There’s another NASA event at Infineon in February and it wouldn’t surprise me to see all three of our heroes there.
I’ve run at that track in February, so here’s a word of advice: stock up on rain tires and get ready for a REALLY hair-raising experience! Of course, you guys will be driving stock cars instead of an open-cockpit machine, so your chances of staying dry are a lot better!
The Colodny family has spent quite a bit of time on the road this year as the Colodny boys, Dallas and Hunter, have been racing their Outlaw Karts in California. After some bad experiences and torn-up machinery at Red Bluff, they switched their venue to Chico where Hunter recently won a Box Stock A Main event, with Dallas finishing third in the A Main. Both boys have won heat races at Chico as well. If Brian starts doing more road racing next season, they’re really going to rack up the miles on the tow rig!
Other local kart racers have done well recently in California. At Red Bluff in late October, Kellcy Bell led Carson City hotshot Jay Primm to a one-two finish in the Beginner Box Stock A Main. Mackena Bell finished second in the Box Stock A Main, while Tom Purcell took second in his 125cc heat race and Jay Dargert won one of the Open heats.
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist.