NLS Racing VIR-North Race Report:
Just over a month ago, we came off our best race weekend ever. A 3rd place (Saturday) and a 1st place (Sunday) for the 240 (#977) and solid running from the 300 (#799) with a 12th and a 16th place at AMP. So naturally, we were fired up for this one. We showed up as prepared as we have ever been. Unloaded, did final prep on the cars, and just kicked back to wait for the action to start.
The race started with perfect weather on the horizon, and we wasted no time moving up through the pack with our #977 240. After the first round of pitstops, we found ourselves in P1 and ready to hammer down some consistent laps. Yet again, the Racing Gods had other plans for us. The engine in our sister car, the #799 300ZX, decided it had enough and let go. Oiling down the track pretty good thru turns 2 and 3. About the time our driver radioed in about the engine, we looked up to our live stream and see our main car (#977) skating through the grass and into the guardrail on turn 3. As fate would have it, the #977 was only about 10secs behind the #799 and getting ready to lap it. With almost no time to alert our driver, he hit the oil and our day was done with both cars out of the race.
What a kick in the you know what.....
With a quick look at all the carnage, we knew there was no way to get either car back on track before the end of the race. We should pack up and go home, right? Not a chance, one of our rental drivers had the best idea of the weekend. "What about the engine in that car?" as he points to our rusty old parts car. We had no idea about the condition of that engine or if it even turned over. But what did we have to lose? We dug in and got to work. Shortly after 6pm, we fired it up and had a running 300ZX. A huge thanks to the guys that loaned us the engine hoist. We owe you some beers. I also believe you guys got the Sportsmanship award, well done. Another big thanks to the crew at Charlie Graingers Hickory for the awesome spread of food. It gave us that boost we needed to push through.
Sunday's focus was to make sure all our rental drivers got seat time and enjoyed themselves. The new engine ran well but was a bit down on power compared to the other. All our guys turned in some respectable lap times given the circumstances. By the end of the day, we made our way up to the top 10. Finishing 9th overall. All things considered, a pretty good result.
Another race, another "what could've been" at VIR. We really want that P1 at VIR that has eluded us for years. We will regroup and assess the damage to see if the 240 can be saved. Or do we back up and punt and build a better, lighter, faster car?
Only time will tell........ We will be back.
And as always, a big thanks to all our family and friends that make this possible. We couldn't do it without your support. Thank you to our rental drivers: Lou Poirier, Ryan Ackerman, Kevin Hanrahan, and Justin Garvin. You guys did awesome. Also, a big thanks to Scott Autrey and Ian Stahscmidt for all your help at the track, we really appreciate it. Thanks to all the track workers, safety crew, fellow competitors, and of course ChampCar Endurance Series for putting on the show and letting us take part in the fun.
One way or another, we're still shooting for a return at Road Atlanta or possibly VIR-South with at least 1 car.......but maybe both.