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For the first time ever, we only had a 15-minute ride to the race track. That’s how far it is from my house to Exit 4 and the much-improved World Wide Technology Raceway. This was the first time that SVRA put on a race at the track and it might just be the last time. Registration was extremely poor in regards to the Vintage Race Cars. Unfortunately, they planned the event the week after the Elkhart Lake Vintage Races and a week before the VIR Speedtour. These are both extremely well attended events and having this event in between those two biggies just didn’t work. Regardless, the weather was perfect and we had a lot of good cars to race against.

SVRA did have 100 Trans-AM cars and they were really something to watch. Their average time was 59 seconds for the 1.6-mile track, hitting between 150-165 on the short straight. We had a good turnout from JAGSL, with John Testrake, Kelly Waite, Jim Atkinson, John and Meg Sipple, Terry Zerr, Lupe Taxman and Gary Sudin all showing up to root us on. We were originally supposed to have 5 practice sessions on Friday, 2 qualifying races on Saturday, and 2 feature races on Sunday. With the poor turnout, SVRA shortened the event to two days, which meant we would have 5 sessions on Friday and 4 sessions on Saturday. That’s a lot of racing, with only an hour or so between races to cool off, refuel, check tire pressure, put battery on charger, check all fluids, and get the XKE ready for the next race. I was blessed to have a great crew helping out over the weekend. Floyd Allyn, Terry Zerr, Richard Schwartz, and Nick Schwartz, all did an incredible job working the pits and paddock! We were rushed, but made it to the grid just in the nick of time for each session.

We had three 30-minute practice sessions Friday morning. It didn’t take much time for me to get back in the groove as I have run many laps on this course in the past. WWTR has a 2 mile and 1.6-mile road course, but this weekend was done only on the 1.6-mile course. Apparently, the 2-mile course, with its two switchbacks, is too tight and too dangerous for the Trans-AM Cars. Both courses feature the big banked curve and then the straight. This makes for some exciting driving.

In practice I found that I could do the following: Down shift to 2nd gear for turn two, up to 3rd for turns 3, 4, and 5. Late apex at turn 6 down shifting to 2nd and staying in 2nd thru turn 7. Then it’s shirt to third gear with pedal to the floor, starting high at the wall and going low thru the long curve. The G-Force on the curve is tremendous! Stay in third till the right before the straight, shirting into 4th with pedal to the floor. Let up off the peddle as you pass the start/finish line and then downshift to third for turn 1 and quickly into 2nd for turn 2. In my race group were there were 10 cars, including 2 Corvettes, 2 Mustang 309s, a Shelby GT500, Elan DP02, Panoz GTS, Ford FR500s, and 1962 Jaguar XKE (Bill Terry’s old Car).

We changed the tires for Saturday and also put in a new set of Spark Plugs. We found that 19 PSI was working well for 3 of the tires, with the left side rear at 18 PSI. Unfortunately, the 1962 Red XKE Coupe, didn’t make it to the final races. In the first full lap of Feature race 1, Scott Young went too hard into Turn 1 and spun and hit the wall. There was severe damage to the right side of the car and unfortunately, we probably won’t see the car at the Ozarks next month.
 
The Friday sessions went fine with my fastest lap being:
9:05 Practice 1:18.669
10:45 Practice 1:18.383
11:55 Practice 1:17.611
2:10 Practice 1:17.583
2:10 qualifying 1:16.991
Saturday’s Fastest Lap:
9:00 qualifying 1:16.680
10:20 Feature Race 1 1:15.390 4th Place Finish
2:30 Feature Race 2 1:17.051 4th Place Finish
3:50 SVRA Closed Wheel Netjets Feature Race 3 1.15.467 2nd Place Finish
 
So, I saved up by best for last and finished 2nd in the Final Race. I improved my times in turns 2 thru 5. After all these races, I was really exhausted and ready for a cold shower and a warm bed. I was disappointed with the turnout, but very happy with my performance and the support from JAGSL members and of course my pit and support crew.

Our next race is with VSCDA at the 2023 OZARKS VINTAGE FESTIVAL at Ozark International Raceway in Gravois Mills, Mo. We raced there last year and the track is a blast! Over 4 miles long, 1500 feet of elevation change, 19 turns, many of them blind, and a roller coaster straight that is incredible! This is a great challenging tract and a mere 2-hour drive for most of us in St. Louis. Any if you attend, they will let you take your car out on the track during lunch time. So…..come down and join us for a fun weekend in the OZARKS.

2023 OZARKS VINTAGE FESTIVAL
OZARK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
GRAVOIS MILLS, MO
OCTOBER 13TH-15TH


See you there, Phil Taxman
 
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