Tim Minor's VIR Blog
The 2009 F2000 season got off to a great start due to the hard work from everyone on my team. VIR was a great success. Comparing F2000 to the other series out there, our car count looks pretty good.
My weekend at VIR started off pretty slow as I had not been in the car since last year’s season finale in New Jersey. It was a long season and the Thursday morning testing sessions at VIR gave me the opportunity to get used to my car again.
We started off the day just using old rubber from last season, and used the second session to scrub our other set of tires. It was at that point I noticed the car was starting to stumble a bit motor wise. We went back to the paddock to check things out but couldn’t find a problem. The next session we were planning to use as a mock qualifying, but that didn’t last long as by the time I got to turn one the car would hardly run.
Three hours later we found the culprit. During the winter rebuild we decided to install a new fuel cell and as a result the old fuel cell had totally clogged the injection system on the Zetec. I need to thank Sandy at Quicksilver Engines for all his help. Anyone running the Zetec powerplant needs to keep an eye on their injectors and fuel cell age as well as replacing or cleaning your fuel filter on a race-by-race basis.
The plan for Friday morning’s qualifying session for race one was just to run about six laps to save the tires. I put the car sixth on the grid and the plan was going well until the rain gods rolled in and everyone, including us, were forced to make last minute decisions regarding tire choice for the race.
I rolled up to the grid on slick Hoosiers as it appeared it was not going to rain anymore. Boy, was I wrong. I got to turn four on the pace lap and it was pouring. It was a hand full when the race started and I lost a ton of positions but then the rain stopped. I was able to make up what I had lost. By the end of the race I had made it back to sixth and still had all the parts on the car. Not too bad on slicks! I want to congratulate Tom Fatur on the Masters class win in race one, he did a great job.
Saturday brought a new day with some subtle changes on our car setup. Another six lap qualifying run put me sixth on the grid again with the same cast of characters, but the order had shuffled around a bit.
We got the green flag a few hours later and I know nothing about what happened behind me but I got a great start. The top four cars broke away and at one point, being the old man in the crowd, made it up to second. As the race unfolded it was apparent that these four cars would determine the overall outcome. I dropped back to fourth as the car developed a high speed understeer, especially when I was in another car’s aero wake.
With three laps to go I had made up some ground on Audette and going into Oak Tree, he went off the course. I had to slow down rapidly to avoid disaster as we came very close to hitting as he came back on the track. That incident broke us off from the leaders and we couldn’t make up the gap.
At the end of the day I finished fourth and had the second fastest race lap. Not bad for an old man who has driving shoes older than the guys who finished in front of him.
I have to thank my crew for all the hard work. This series is very competitive and you have to bring your best game all the time.