Week 9 – Mazda on the Phoenix Oval

Star Mazda Race Results

Phoenix International Raceway

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!

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