Story and Photo by Vickie Miller
Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head
If you are a race fan like me, about Wednesday of each week, I look closely at the upcoming weekend schedule to plan any home activities around race times. This past weekend was a busy one for all race fans with IndyCar, Formula E, Pirelli World Challenge at Road America, and the race event I attend at Watkins Glen International (WGI). I attended the TUDOR weekend at WGI which is a 3.4 mile, 11-turn track in upstate New York near Syracuse.
Even the WGI weekend alone was packed with five series racing: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda (LITES), Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama (GT3 Cup); Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series (LBST), Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (CTSC) with two classes (GT/ST), and TUDOR Championship with four classes (P/PC/GTLM/GTD).
If you enjoy watching a race event where many different car types, manufactures, and models are represented, WGI is the weekend for you, where a total of 147 cars were ready to race.
Here is the number breakdown by series racing at WGI: LITES 20 entries, GT3 Cup 26 entries, LBST 21 entries, CTSC 46 total entries, and TUDOR 34 entries.
Yes, I had the typical minor hassle to pick up my media credential but could you imagine trying to register all the teams, drivers, and crew to accommodate all the racing for the weekend. What a difference a year makes. I remember last year at WGI, the heat was miserable but at least the races were held as scheduled. This year Friday turned out to be the best day with rain clouds lurking like the Firestone Firehawk during the Indy race. When I arrived at the track Saturday at 7am, the sprinkles were already making their presence known.
Porsche GT3 Cup was scheduled to race Round 5 and Round 6 for WGI and make up Round 4 which was rained out from NOLA, which turned out to be canceled due to rain again. While the weather was talked about up and down the paddock, the other buzz around the CTSC garages was the new #15 Ford Shelby GT350R-C which took the GS pole by the Multimatic Motorsports driver, Scott Maxwell, who also set the two fastest laps during the qualifying session at 2:01.358
Under the cool facts category: Scotlandâ€™s Robin Liddell won the CTSC Grand Sport (GS) class, while fellow countryman, Stevan McAleer, won the CTSC Street Turner (ST) class. I think this is the first time two Scottish drivers took pole position in two different classes in the same series. Within the 2-1/2 hour CTSC race, the flag was red flagged for 17 minutes due to rain and ended under yellow.
Jeff Mosing, who raced in the GT3 Cup event in the morning during the rain, started on the inside of the GT3 race. Turn one banks to the right and the inside or bottom line was retaining water more than the Hoover Dam. Mosing tried to get to the outside without luck and found himself spinning. I caught up with Jeff during the CTSC fan walk, where Jeff races with co-driver Eric Foss in the Porsche Cayman ST class. Jeff said, â€œwhen you are racing and you see the spray (from the car ahead tires), you know you are on track and all is goodâ€¦.itâ€™s when you donâ€™t see spray you know there are issues!â€.
One unique favorite activity of mine at WGI occurs Saturday morning 7am behind the Jackie Stewart Grandstand. Itâ€™s â€œDonuts with the Prezâ€! The WGI track president, Michael Printup, makes himself available for all fans to stop by have coffee, a donut or two (there are always lots left over), and ask him anything. Last year the questions were centered on the topic of F1 returning to the Glen. This year the topic was resurfacing of the track. Michael was also joined by Jon Beckman, VP of Watkins Glen. I have been to a lot of races and I canâ€™t recall another track president who goes into the fan camping area, and allows fans to ask anything and only to receive honest answers.
The only thing that was on the track more than the cars was rain! The rain on Saturday canceled the TUDOR qualifying session which meant the teamâ€™s lineup for the race in driver points order. Also on Saturday, the late afternoon GT3 and LBST races were canceled. The rain also turned the grass â€œparking lotsâ€ into mudâ€¦.good thing my car was a rental.
In writing this recap, I reviewed my article from last year. I am very happy to announce this year there was no police stopping card on the road at the gate entrance. However, entry to the track is still not a smooth process. If you squint and look real close, you can find signs above each lane indicating the desired fans entry type, such as â€œticketsâ€, â€œpurchase ticketsâ€, or â€œcredentialsâ€. For some reason on Friday, only the credential line was open. Bad idea. I think maybe I should give up on asking tracks to be organized with the gate process. It seems so simple to me, and no I didnâ€™t mention it to the Prez.
While at WGI, I was able to spend a few minutes with Al Carter, driver of the Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT in the GTD class. In case you have been living under a rock, here is a quick introduction to Al Carter:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W0E3or46Wo
Here are my hard hitting questions:
Q: Favorite food? A: Big a$s steak!
Q: Favorite band? A: Foo Fighters followed closely Taylor Swift
Q: If you could go to one track as a fan, what track and what series would you watch?
A: Sebring track to watch the 12 hour race and sit in the infield as a Sebring cows!
Q: If you could spend the afternoon with anyone (politician, entertainer, racer, dead or alive) who would it be and what would you do?
A: Paul Newman. Paul and Al would drive race cars around a closed course Laguna Seca and then take a spin down Route 1.
Q: What is one fact you can share with fans that might surprise us?
A: Al is really shy and reserved. It is sometimes difficult for him to be so public, but heâ€™s getting more comfortable with being around fans.
Q: Al is associated with B+ Foundation. Why do you give so much of your time to visit children in hospital? Please watch this short video to see Alâ€™s passion and commitment to the kids!
To learn more about B+ Foundation, please visit their website and if possible make a donation here: http://bepositive.org/
Find out more about B+ racing: http://www.bpositiveracing.com/
To learn more about Al Carter and Al Carter racing please visit website: http://www.alcarter.com/
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlCarterRacing?fref=ts
If you ever get the chance, I recommend meeting Al and spending time with this talented driver and over-all entertaining guy! And be sure to congratulate him on his win at Watkins Glen.
Thank you all for reading and I welcome your comments. I have no affiliation with IMSA, TUDOR, etc. just a fan. There are many blogs and websites where you will find statistics, results, and scoring from the race; this is â€œjust the way I see itâ€.