Second (ok, 3rd) at the Yerington 300

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be racers.

UPDATE: Following a review of video of the start of the race, VORRA identified a glitch in their timing system and we dropped from second to third place.

There’s no way to describe this race other than spectacular.

Granted it wasn’t shaping up that way when, driving to Yerington Friday, it was snowing. And snow, rain and a thunderstorm were forecast for pre-running Saturday.

Snow and rain gave way to bitter cold on Saturday. All four drivers – Bob, Romy, Paul and Crusty, got some seat time and we made the best of it by stopping every 20 minutes to change alternator belts to get the new ones stretched.

Saturday afternoon was tech and contingency. It turned out my best friend in the whole world, B.J., was doing tech. I asked if I could take my picture with him. He said yes.

Jesus H. Christ we need to go on a diet.

Race day dawned and morning frostbite gave way to temps in the mid-70s. 1107 was fully prepped and we were second off the line with Crusty driving and Paul co-dogging. Paul had his game face on.

VORRA Race Director Wes Harbor, as is his wont, designed a course to mess with our heads so no one could figure out who was winning until the finish line. The course had long and short laps. Everyone started with a long lap, but then had the option to do a mix of each.

The Class 11 teams – FUBAR Racing 1156, Meeks Racing 1142, CBCFS Racing 1116 and us – confabbed over drinks at Casino West and agreed to three long and two short.

Crusty and Paul delivered a good car and Bob and Dennis Hollenbeck took to Lap Two, six minutes behind 1156, the leader. Our plan was to save the short ones for the end, when it was more likely 1107 would break.

Romy and Jen, looking like race car ninjas, went out for Lap Three. This is when things went hinkey for everyone.

First, CBCFS broke a lower shock mount and limped toward the pits. Then they got stuck. Then their tow rope broke, twice, trying getting pulled out. Eventually a 7 truck hooked them up and they made it back to the pits. Crusty, Bob, Dennis and CBCFS set to work.

Shortly afterward, 1142 rolled in with a broken shock tower. We had them pull in next to 1116 and started welding. 1116 needed a more powerful welder and they moved to another pit to get stitched together. We eventually got 1142 back on course.

FUBAR Racing in better times.

By this time 1156 had gone through four tires and CBCFS loaned them wheels to keep them in the race.

About now we encountered an axle issue and were dead in the water at RM35. If it weren’t for Meeks, we were done for. They gifted us with an axle and we dispatched a chase truck out to deliver it, only having to hike in a quarter mile or so on the course against race traffic. We were back in the running.

Making double sure the new axle bolts were tight this time.

Paul and Bob went out for Lap Four with 1107 back in fighting trim and making up time. Paul delivered a good car and Bob hopped in the driver seat with Romy co-dogging the final lap.

This is where things got interesting. 1142 left the pits a minute ahead of us. We knew they were also running a short lap. We caught them quickly and, in Bob’s words, spent the next 40 miles racing fender to fender for the win. 1156 was ahead of us, but moving slower.

For the first time in four years, at this race, we had the co-driver calling out mile markers as we passed them. Hearing sporadic reports from first place 1156, we knew 1142 and 1107 were rapidly catching up.

Thankfully, Jen is better at math than I am. She is, after all, a Ph.D. candidate. Relaying time splits, the top three cars were closing on the finish line. 10 miles out they were four minutes apart. Seven miles out it was three minutes apart. Five miles out they were two minutes apart. By three miles out it was anyone’s guess and I figured all three would cross the finish line within a minute of each other. It was just waiting to hear the sound of a VW engine.

1156 came charging in alone, working through the pits at 25 mph and headed to the finish line. Because they started last, it was now a race to whether 1142 and 1107 could beat FUBAR’s total elapsed time.

One minute later the sound of two VW engines. It was 1142 ahead of 1107 doing the mandatory 25 mph through the pits, bumper to bumper. 1142 crossed the finish line first.

Because I suck at math, I initially had 1156 first, us second and 1142 third. Then I had us third, and posted as much to the Facebook. When, at the awards ceremony, VORRA announced we had second, I went up to Wes and had him call up the transponder readings. It came down to the exact times each 11 passed the start line and when each crossed the finish line nose to tail. We actually got second.

Casino West was packed. Bob gave a great speech.

Then we all came back to the pits and ate and drank a lot.

This should move us from fifth to second in season points.

The end.

Next up, pitting a new UTV.

A Yerington 300 photo gallery…


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