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Old 03-31-2008, 09:06 AM
jimwheeler jimwheeler is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 5,275
Default Gateway National

There were 7 cars at Gateway. One Mustang was an IT-R and one was an AI car, that ran in ITE, I think. One car, Bill Gray's 92 Firebird, only ran the regional, with new driver Bret Volkamer at the wheel. So, that left Jim Stevens, in his GenIV Firebird, (who sat out last season, racing a SM), John Lechner and me. It was good to see the 92 car out there. Jim ran on Friday and Saturday, testing suspension, etc. He was turning consistent 1:09's. John Lechner was down from Ohio in the ex-Freddie Mustang.
I practiced Saturday and had a hell of a time trying to keep the car on the track. Went off once and came close to hitting the tractor tires (filled with dirt). When I came in, early, I found the pressures were 35/35/37/10.
Sunday qualifying was very wet, so I went out on Hoosier rains. I have had them for three seasons and they had never been on the car. Jim Stevens did not go out.
I got AS pole behind the overall pole sitter in a new T1 Corvette.
wheel 1:25.884
John 1:27.981
Jim No time
With the exception of Charlie Clark, in an EP RX-7, everyone started on slicks. I was on sticker Hoosier "A" compound.
There were only 14 cars in the group, so, even though he Jim had to start from the back, we were all close together going into turn 1. John was right on my ass, but spun in turn 2, leaving it to Jim and me. Jim ran on my bumper for 8, or so, laps. He is fearless on the banked oval and even though there was water seepage all around the banking, he would go through the oval section much faster than I wanted to, so I waved him by going into turn 1. He had a great run on me and, even though he backed off to give me my turn in, I waved him by because it was gonna happen then or on the next lap. I sat on his bumper and just cruised. I could stay with him everywhere except on the banking. The car would do it, but I just couldn't put my foot down enough to stay with him there. The track was still very wet, with puddles at most apexes and running water across the track at two or three spots. On lap 13 he moved inside coming through the left onto the banking (NASCAR turn 3), and I got a great run on him, keeping my foot down more than normal, to stay with him coming onto the front straight. A bit of smoke came out his tail pipe and I made the pass as he pulled to the inside with some type of mechanical failure.
This is my first win, ever, at Gateway. It has always been an unlucky track for me. No more. As usual, I was alone for the weekend, so all the tire changes in the rain, unloading, putting up the canopy, tearing down, reloading, really wears me down. But the win put a little spring in my step.
Thanks to Hoosier, Red Line, Pro System carbs.

wheel 1:15.073
Jim 1:15.952
John 1:17.322

Last edited by jimwheeler; 03-31-2008 at 10:14 AM.
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