This week was the second of two trips to an oval for the Star Mazda season, at the excellent Phoenix oval. It’s still a little bit muted as it’s almost a full throttle race (can go full throttle for the first few laps, then very minor feathering required) but it’s still a race where you have to drive it very much like an oval race and not a road race. It requires a completely different approach and discipline.
I started 7th of 13 and kept out of trouble for the most part. I raced mid pack and one by one people collided and left the race. It was going really well until I picked up my mandatory 4x hit towards the end (just when I thought I was getting a clean oval race!)
In retrospect I might have been able to slow a bit more quickly, and harder. Generally when I see trouble ahead I don’t jump on either the brakes or throttle – I come off the gas and gently apply the brakes until I can assess the situation more. Usually I’m looking for either a clear path that I can aim for, or for more information (i.e. slow down severely!)
I was able to drag my car to the pits and reset (I’ve never driven a more damaged car… I almost picked up a ton of incident points just by nursing the car to the pits!).
The end of the race was fun. With 13 to go, and 5 on the lead lap, I took the risk and took 4 new tyres. The next under caution saw 3rd and 4th also dive into the pits for rubber (not sure why they didn’t go for new tyres when I did) but I found myself starting 3rd and racing 1st and 2nd who had old tyres. I was able to blast into 2nd easily enough but all I could do with 1st was maintain the 8/10ths gap to the lead. Slowly, as the laps unravelled, my tyres came into play and I started eating into his lead. Unfortunately just as I was pulling into his slipstream for a late late passing move we just ran out of laps so I had to settle for 2nd, 0.2 seconds behind. 128 points to my Mazda season.
In other news Logitech have posted a brand new G25 unit to me (it’s in transit right now) so hopefully I’ll have a working shifter again very soon. As well as a brand new wheel and pedal unit for spares!