Livengood: Stretching the Chain

May 4, 2011
Livengood got off to a solid start at VIR with a podium effort on in race one

A mutt chained to a post with an insufficient length to roam will do the inevitable. With a limited area to explore the mutt will visit and re-visit every square inch of its lowly space time and time again.

Snout perched high the mutt will walk the earth barren not leaving hardly a blade of grass or a stubborn weed behind. Lead by curiosity of the unknown, the mutt has no choice but to stretch and tug upon its chain and travel the intimacies of his insignificant space until each and every aspect has been fully examined and understood within the limited confines of the mutt’s woefully acute perspective.

Racing, and especially the racing offseason, is akin to the life of the mutt. Confined by the rules provided to us as well as the constraints of engineering, time, and capital a race team has to make many compromises and decisions. Stretching the chain that is these constraints can allow you to gain advantages over your competitors.

Walking at the length of our chain until every aspect of the race team and race equipment has been explored to the point of barrenness can produce an end product and system of products that may perform more swiftly or more streamlined than those of your competitors. In essence, this was the life of my father, John [Walko], and Bruce [Work] over this last winter.

Post Virginia International Raceway (VIR) it is clear that this continuous exploration has paid large dividends in the performance of our racecar. So much so that I believe we have one of the two fastest cars on the F2000 Championship grid. You may have noticed that the lap record was smashed at VIR this year.

The car is tunable, predictable to drive, and provides the team with reliable and consistent results after every track session. This is clearly evident in that I was not once outside of the top four during the entire weekend except for the two occasions that my personal mistakes cost the team dearly. As a result, it is clear that I must now match my own performance to that of the cars.

Luckily, Road Atlanta is a track that I have much clearer perception of. This is in contrast to VIR where I felt as though I had to relearn the track, never feeling completely confident in my performance until Sunday.

Last year at VIR we were solidly in the top ten in pace despite our rookie status. Additionally, I can remember driving a full lap of Road Atlanta which is in stark contrast to my memories of VIR. Finally, the results from last year’s Road Atlanta event show that I was often well within a second of the winner. With this understanding I have additional confidence resting on my shoulders and am eager to get on track.

See you in Georgia,
-Chris