Our weekend was full of ups and downs. I started off breaking in my new X-Factor motor on test day only to find the trans had some drag. After test day we changed that and things seemed to be ok during Friday, although my AFR was still mid to low 11's. Fuel pressure on my dash appeared to be right where it should be, so I didn't think much of it. The group I was in for Q2 just didn't have the pace and I only ended up P11 combined (despite everyone being at the top in Q1). I knew I had my work cut out for me and just chocked it up to bad qualifying strategy.
In Race 1 it became apparent that I did indeed have an issue. I had a problem pulling up to anyone in the draft earlier in the weekend, but now it was just insane getting walked by 10+ car lengths down each long straight. On the start I ran side by side with Stearns through 3/4/5 and next thing I knew Elivan was spearing my driver's side door. I managed to continue with only cosmetic damage. I had Connole and Henderson working with me at different points and when I had their push could make up ground on those in front. On the last lap I found myself in 4th on Haldeman's rear bumper, but just got walked down the back straight and passed by Drago/Pardus. I gave a "push me wave" for the hell of it, but knew that wasn't happening. I ended up 6th after a hard-fought race. Afterward, we found the pressure sending unit was faulty and I was in fact running 72psi of fuel pressure...yes, I said 72psi. I think this may have been a problem during the race all the way back at Indy. We dialed it in as good as we could and crossed our fingers for Race 2.
My lap time from Race 1 bumped me up to 9th for Race 2. I got a decent start and was 7th after lap 1. Then, in Southbend the pack ahead got slowed by what appeared to be Buras and Goring getting together. This killed everyone's run and I managed to leap up to 3rd entering Oak Tree. Just ahead, Carter missed his 3-4 shift as I nearly hit him. With Drago behind me, we pushed Buras around for a lap. On the next lap, Drago passed me on the back straight which bumped me back a spot to third. Haldeman gave me a great push down the front straight as Buras/Drago split. Well inside of Drago under braking and while turning in to apex, I get a nudge from behind. It was just enough to push me into Jim and push him wide (Sorry again Jim). From there, Haldeman, Steyn and I worked well together to settle in for a handful of laps. It worked out that on the last lap Buras made his way up to second when a lap car got in the way in Turn 5. I backed up to him in Oak Tree and thought for sure he would pop on me down the back straight. Once he didn't, I knew he was saving his shot for the run out of HogPen. It was almost enough as he got to my left rear wheel.
It was a great ending to what was otherwise a frustrating weekend. Thanks again to Chris Haldeman for helping me sort out my mechanical issues. It was a blast hanging out Saturday night with Drago, Buras, Haldeman, P$, Henderson, Soufi, Connole, and others. I'll post my Sunday video as soon as I get some downtime to edit.