It was going to be miserable no matter how I looked at it -- either spend the weekend at home, where weathermen were calling for the hottest, most humid day of the summer so far, or go to Atlanta for a points event so that I could get four of them in before their autumn Champion of Champions event.
I opted to go to Atlanta. The more interesting thing is that Pat decided to join me for the first time ever. Yeah, he's done National Tours and ProSolos down there, but not one of the regional events.
After skating class on Friday, neither of us particularly wanted to be in the car for a few hours, so we left early on Saturday morning. We were going to hang out with some of the Grassroots Motorsports Challenge guys for a cookout, and then head to Turner Field in the morning so we could get our work assignments out of the way early.
The course was designed by Jay Parcon, who has been doing most of the courses in the region of late. The start was similar to the last Turner event I was at, but instead of the slalom dumping into a tight 180, this one opened up and went all the way the length of the lot to the "Taco Bell turn". That 180 was open enough to stay in second gear, dumping the car into a long section that was essentially straight (one small kink to the left). The next 180 was even more open, into a three cone slalom that I never got right, then some off camber stuff leading into the finish.
I chose to run first, and Pat didn't want to ride with me. I guess he figured he'd driven "enough" Subarus to know what he was doing. That's fine. I launched, and drove too tentatively through the course, but it was clean, and as usual, Pat's first run was not.
Since only the first three runs are looked at for Pro class, I decided to push my luck on the second run. The problem with Turner is the wall -- I don't want to get too out of shape and damage the car, but I don't want to be a total wuss either. I bog on the start, and manage to be late in a lot of places, costing me tenths here and there. Then I smack a cone in the offsets near the finish, and a second one coming through the end. Oh well. Pat ended up coning his second run too, so I was still ahead.
I didn't have a game plan before the third run, and I guess that's where my problem was. I hadn't really thought about where I was losing time to Pat (who had much faster raw times), or even where I could improve. I knew I was bogging on the start, but that was really pretty low priority for improving overall.
I still bogged on the launch for the third run, and then when I went to shift, I got crunch. Not a good feeling, but on the second try, it went in. Amazingly, I didn't cone further into the course, but I was certainly still late in the fast sections, costing me valuable tenths.
Even with the bad start and the missed shift, it would stand as my fastest run. The fourth run was marginally better, but suffered from the same sort of mistakes, only without the missed shift, which alone could count for the few tenths improvement.
The car was definitely spinning inside tires. I could see Pat lifting the inside rear through the second 180, about 1-2 inches. I can't wait to get the differentials from Billy and installed. Billy ordered them last Friday, and I have a time scheduled next Wednesday at IAG to get them installed. I hope they arrive before then. I will have an MFactory helical front and a Cusco Type RS 1.5 way rear.
There is a DC event this weekend that Gabe and Pat are both signed up for, but I'm finding motivation difficult. Pat has decided to drive my car at Nationals. I'm excited about the diffs, and I'm looking forward to driving my car once they are installed. I am not excited about driving this weekend, mostly because of fallout from two weeks ago. Eh, we'll see.