NLS Racing #977 VIR North Course 2020 Race Report:
After a quick turn around from our AMP race with a holiday sprinkled in there, we were chomping at the bit for a good result. The race began on a cold, damp track and our car is not friendly with such conditions. Our goal was to make it through the beginning of the race mistake-free, knowing the track was drying and would come to us. Unfortunately, we blew turn 1 early and found our way into the grass. Somehow we managed to get it free and back on track. Somewhere around an hour in, another off-road excursion resulted in a broken rear toe arm. And wouldn't you know it, we didn't bring our spare subframe, it's sitting in the shop. Lesson learned.
Those of you at the track probably noticed our car didn't look quite right, crab walking down the straights. So we kept an eye on tire wear and carried on, praying it would hold on until the end. About 5 hours in, we were slammed pretty hard in the drivers side on a restart going into Turn 3. Not going to call out anyone, but they were black flagged. They may have actually done us a favor because both remaining drivers reported that the car drove better. We managed with what we had and by the end, we found ourselves at impound in 4th place. Under the circumstances, we were happy with that result.
After a little welding and maintenance the night before, we had some lofty expectations for Sunday's race. Especially since the previous days winner was not there, at least not with the winning car. Day 2 was underway and we wiggled our way up to 3rd when our driver reported no brakes. He pulled it into the pits and we found the LF hub basically broken in half. We had our spares for that and quickly fixed it, changed drivers, topped off the fuel, and away we went to salvage the day. We pressed on for a few more hours with another top 5 actually within reach, as we got back to the same lap as 6th-9th positions with plenty of time left. Unfortunately, our engine had other ideas. Our driver reported a lack of power and smoke, and a pitstop later confirmed the car had lost at least 1 cylinder. We called it a day, packed up our trailer and went home. We can't complain, this has been our best year yet. It's been a trying year for everyone around the world and we're just happy to still be here doing what we love. Thank you to ChampCar Endurance Series, to our family, friends, and everyone else who makes this happen.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at NLS Racing.
See you next year!!!