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HSR. West @ Willow Springs Raceway

This is the second race this season for me, as the first race at Phoenix ended in a DNF, due to a cracked water pump pulley. I still had enough track time to determine the car needed some suspension work.

Saturday morning. I arrived at the track. Ready to try out my front and rear suspension changes. Henry Williamson showed up with his Blue/White Tiger ready to race at Willow Springs for the first time in his Tiger. Also down from Canada to thaw out and spectate, fellow Tiger racers Ad Dionisio, Jim Foster, Dick Aukenlik and Terry (Jag racer).

First session was an untimed warm-up. Even with 50% of the grill opening, tape up it still took 3-4 laps to get the engine up to temperature due to it being about 40 degrees outside. (The Canadians were just about naked). Picked up the pace and just kept pushing the car faster each lap, the car was handling good, just a little understeer going through turn 2, which is a high speed sweeper and where I gauge how neutral the car feels. At the end of the session I adjusted the front swaybar 1 notch softer. Henry was learning the difference between racing a Triumph Spitfire and a Sunbeam Tiger.

Second session, timed practice. During this session your best lap time is used to set the grid for the qualifying race. I was a little late getting out on the track so I was at the back so I ran 3 laps fairly slow warming the car up and also giving myself some clean racetrack so that I could get a couple of decent laps in without having to run through the slower cars. Four laps into the session, I started to make fast laps, the car was running and handling great. Before I new it, I had caught up to the slower cars and was running through traffic. Session over, ran a lap time of 1:32.8!! "SMOKIN" That is an average lap speed of 97 mph over this 2.5 mile track. Not bad for a little 289 powered Tiger. Henry ran a 1:41, not bad for the first time on this track.

Qualifying race, I am third on grid behind a 1989 Greenwood Corvette and a 1965 NASCAR Corvette. Beside me is Tommy Drissi (current TransAm series driver, rookie of the year 2-3 yrs ago) driving Jim Frances 306 cu in Shelby. The green flag drops and I get the jump on Drissi and try to hang with the Corvettes as long as I can, which was about 3 laps all while Drissi is driving the tires off this Shelby trying to get around me. I held Drissi off until lap 6 of our 10 lap race. Coming out of turn 9 on to the front straight I was going a little to fast and put 4 wheels off the track. Anybody that knows Willow knows this is major pucker time due to the high speed and available concrete at the pit road entrance. Well, I managed to keep the car straight and got back on with only losing one place and finishing behind Drissi. The Tiger was turning consistent 1:33 lap times. Henry finished 9th overall, 5th in class and ran a fast lap time of 1:37.

Sunday Race. The grid is Greenwood Corvette on the pole, NASCAR Corvette, Tommy Drissi and me. Green flag drops. Greenwood charges into turn 1 on cold slicks, spins out, NASCAR and Drissi get by, I have to slow down to let the Greenwood car pass in front of me sideways. Within 2 laps I was attached to Drissi's bumper and pushing him hard, hoping he would make a mistake or just waste his tires. Lap 5 I could tell his tires were starting to go away, so I started pushing even harder, poking the nose of the Tiger along side of him just to distract him and keep him wondering were I was at. Lap 6, turn 6, Drissi went over the hill with a bit to much speed and went wide, just about dropping two wheels off, while Drissi was struggling to keep his car on the track, the Tiger blew past him and never looked back, finishing 3rd overall (sometime around lap 8 the Greenwood car passed me) 1st in BP class. Henry had to leave early so he did not run.

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Last modified: Thu Apr 18 01:15:55 Pacific Daylight Time 2002