Sunday, October 19, 2008

Round7 Irwindale

Here is what went down.

We had problems with the motor all weekend. The car kept missing and wasn't producing sufficient power. Missing on the bank of Irwindale was scary. Staying on the high line and missing would risk me of straightening out and hitting the wall.
No excuses however. Luck is a part of skill.

Here is the entire weekend.

Irwindale was probably the worst event for me this year. Let me explain why. We had all year to get the car dialed in and ready to kick ass especially for a local series finale. Because this is a local event for me, all my friends and family would be watching in the audience. To make things worse, I was told that Toyota officials would also be at the event watching me drive. Before the finals event started, I was feeling tremendous pressure. But I was ready. I was ready to take on every other driver. I felt the confidence with myself.
I expected the RS-R Scion tC to be ready too. However, on Thursday, I wasn’t able to practice. The night before, the axles broke on the car and the team had to wait overnight to get the parts delivered. My plans to practice tandem on Thursday were ruined. I only had one warm up lap before they closed down practice. I didn’t let that take me down. Came Friday, I expected to get a full day of practice with no worries. Then the unthinkable happened. On the first session of the seeded practice, I noticed a dramatic power-down. The motor felt heavy and would hiccup here and there. Yet, I would still try to drift the entire bank on the highest line possible without sacrificing speed. I was pretty much killing the engine. During the second practice session, my team had come to conclusion that the #1 cylinder was toast. I was out of words. The worst part is the fact that I cannot blame anyone for these events as it is our first year with the RS-R Scion tC. I have to keep reminding myself that we are still trying to shake out the bugs. I still didn’t give up. I knew I had the most committed staff in the entire series. John, Koji-san, Ben, and everyone else on the RS-R Scion team had stayed up all night til Saturday swapping out the engine. I went home to sleep. As much as I wanted to help, I knew it was in their best interest that I had a good night’s rest. Saturday’s practice session felt awesome. I felt confident once again going into qualify. But, the unthinkable happened again. On my first qualify run, the engine began to miss again on the Irwindale bank and I ended up finishing the run with a score of 84.4. I knew that if I didn’t improve on my second run, I would miss the qualify margin. I began to panic. I knew there was a problem with the engine again. I just hoped that I would luck out and maybe be able to pull off some miracle run once again. But my luck ran out. The engine missed once again on the bank and I straightened out and scored a low 81. I ended up finishing 18th place absolutely out of luck but this is what motorsports is about. It’s like a wave where you have your good times and your bads. This time just ended up being a bad wave for us.

Thanks to everyone that came to watch me drive. Im sorry it was just another disappointment. Now off to Red Bull World Championships!


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