Greetings from Lime Rock!
Here’s some pix taken over the two day Northeast Grand Prix event:
It wasn’t that this year’s Northeast GP was bad, it wasn’t… the constant and lengthy battle in the P1 prototype field, the P2, LMPC, GT and GTC was exciting… the problem was there was only two true contenders in P1… and two true contenders in P2… and only a few in GTC, etc. But even that wasn’t the problem… My problem was again with me managing my expectations. I got extremely lucky with my experiences last year, stuff that doesn’t always happen… and despite the fact I worked the weekend with my bestest flagging friends, shit just didn’t happen like it did last year! And I just found pix to prove it, enjoy!
Photo credit to Chris Raftis: www.flickr.com/photos/gargos/sets/72157634203956491
Of course in 2013 there were a lot more factors that affected my feelings. My goal is always to stay positive no matter how realistic/pessimistic my posts sound. Do read my original post about the 2012 Northeast GP…
I was not feeling it. The whole atmosphere of this year’s Northeast GP was somehow off. It was supposed to be amazing. After all I had just returned from Europe working the actual Le Mans… I was going to work with my friends at Lime Rock, what more could I ask for? Well Friday night I was just one bad decision away from going home and not returning.
Luckily I stayed. Saturday morning, on race day I was still out of it. I asked my buddy Tim where he and Jessie were stationed and he was like: “we’re together dude!” which made me feel a lot better, I mean we were team JRT after all, even though I was totally thirdwheeling the entire weekend. I also found out we were at Turn 1, which made me go “WOW!” that’s one hell of a station to work for ALMS. And finally when the flag chief called station assignments I discovered I was made corner captain, which just made me laugh. Why me? Usually Tim likes this sort of thing… but at least I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck doing something I wouldn’t enjoy. In that spirit, I made station assignments based on people’s requests. It may sound a lot looser than it actually is, but I know from my experience when I’m doing something I enjoy doing, the time flies.
Thanks to the heat the time didn’t fly during the race though. It felt like the exact 2 hours and 45 minutes that it was. Unfortunately for Tim and Jessie, they were marooned across track at the outpost for the entire race. I tried to “create” opportunities to cross with the only full course yellow until that point occurring at our station thanks to a high-sighted prototype challenge car, but it wasn’t happening. All in all, the race was OK… not the greatest ALMS race I’ve been to, not even as good as I remember last year’s race to be, but it was good. Something was holding it back from being amazing. Not sure what.
The station assignment was quite perfect though. We were able to do the grid walk for the Le Man’s style start, and mingle with teams and drivers before the big event. It gave Tim and Jessie a final opportunity to sticker up cars they didn’t get a chance to over the past few days, and they did a spectacular job doing it. These guys have some serious balls doing what they did… I on the other hand would be contacting the organizers, the team head offices, etc. and probably getting rejected at every step of the way, while they went there and had the driver’s put the stickers on the cars, that’s about as good as it gets.
It will be sad not to see prototypes racing at Lime Rock Park next year with the United SportsCar Series… its the second track I’ve lost in my home area in two years, after NJMP lost Grand-Am… but I guess I’ll have to travel elsewhere to volunteer…
The highlight of the weekend was a call I requested that Brendan make to Race Control in the early stages of the race. Pat from Watkins Glen had complained that the blue flag was shredding off the handle, every time we used it. And at turn 1 we used it aggressively. I had a quick look at it, and told him that that’s how flags generally are with the NY SCCA region… but being corner captain and allowing myself to start and finish the race on blue flag, I found my right hand was cramping after only 15 minutes into the race, because I was clinging onto the cloth part of the flag. The grip was so tight because I worried I’d lose the flag when waiving it in a spirited fashion to allow the prototypes to zoom past the slower GT/GTC traffic. Brendan reported our blue flag catastrophic failure to Race Control whom promptly delivered a new flag for us to flog 🙂
I was thrilled, truly pleasantly surprised when our Thursday morning meeting for the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park started with a safety demo featuring the newest same-marque racing series: Lamborghini Trofeo. The powers that be from IMSA displayed various safety features of a brand new racing Gallardo, pointing out the tow loop, fire extinguisher button, electric cut off switch, etc.
It was quick, painless and very informative which is exactly what I think we need at more events around the world. A useful refresher for people (marshals) that are expected to perform at the top of their game under time sensitive and often dangerous conditions.
Thank You! to IMSA, to Lamborghini Trofeo and of course the New York Region of SCCA that ran the Northeast GP event at Lime Rock, you guys are world class!!!
PS. one question that wasn’t asked… What is Change Cola?
A spectacular weekend weather wise. After four or five soggy events back to back, it is refreshing to work a perfectly sunny race. It is actually too good, the temperatures are in the mid to high nineties so it is stincken hot.
We decided to camp at the track this time because last time it worked out really well for Tim and I. Not this time though, not sure if it is due to the caliber of the venue, ALMS is very high profile for Lime Rock, but this time Skip Barber and his high security team treated us volunteers as absolute jerks.
The racing this year seems quite boring too. Not sure what it was that made last year very exciting, the atmosphere this year was sleepy. The much anticipated Lambourghini Trofeo was definitely a major snoozer.
Race day tomorrow. Fingers crossed for an excellent event!