Virginia International Raceway

Thursday May 10

If the North Course were a woman and we were practicing the rhythm method, we would have 10 kids by now.

Barry Kline - Thursday afternoon

Event 14 - Carolina Rod Shop

Again, no points were deducted, so either everyone is making it or they aren't checking.

Event 15 - V.I.R. #1

Thursday was a day that could not make up its mind.   When I climbed in SP 218 at 5:45 AM to head up to VIR, it was cold.  Believing it would warm up when the sun came up, I left my leather jacket behind.  A mistake.   I had to stuff rags in my sweat shirt to stay warm, but I refused to put the top up. Around Greensboro, dark clouds started to form.  It remained chilly - too cold for me.  By Danville, the dark clouds reached to the ground.  Someone just ahead was getting wet.  By the time I got there, the downpour had moved on, but the highway was under water.   And the clouds were headed west, toward VIR.  The weather held for the first event, but would play a big factor in the afternoon.

With the race this tight at the top, every mis-step counts. VIR was the place for mis-steps this year.  The results are unofficial until tomorrow morning, but these are pretty good unofficial results.

The first event was run on the South course, the one Second Strike uses for its On Track events.  Dennis considers it his home track.  So does Dan Schlickenmeyer, the driver of the #32 Mustang.

Dennis really nailed it, coming in 1st place.  The #57 Corvette GSR came in 2nd, which is good because it increased the gap between Dennis and the other front runners.  The #32 Mustang captured 3rd and the #8 viper 4th.

The first place #10 Dodge Viper ACR hit a cone in the first event.  This is a 10 second penalty and put them out of the top 10 for the event - 14th I believe.  This one error cost them a chunk of their lead.

Barry Kline had a fine run.  He was really in the rhythm of the course and posted a 20th overall.  He was really smiling when he pulled in after his run.

Event 16 - V.I.R. #2

For the afternoon run, it was the North Course.  And VIR was not done for the day.  Around noon it started to sprinkle.  It stopped.   The first run group, including the front runners, lined up and took their warm up lap.  Everything was fine. Unbeknown to anyone, as they staged to run their timed laps, the bottom opened up on the back side of the course.  The unsuspecting #32 Mustang hit the water and took a nasty spin.  Dennis, close behind, nearly T-boned him.  They avoided contact.  Dan straightened the Mustang out, and everyone continued.  Dennis wanted a re-run, but the run stood.  By the time the second run group hit the track, it was dry again.  So only the first group had the wet track penalty.

There are two problems here.  First, the front runners are slower because of the rain.  That isn't so bad if they are all slowed the same.   But it doesn't work that way.  The front runners are spread out in time which allows later cars to fill in the gaps.  In the points race, this can be punishing because it opens the points gap among front runners.  At Waterford in 1999, a rapidly drying wet track quite possibly cost Dennis the overall win in just this manner.

I did get unofficial results after the faster cars had completed their runs.  This time it looks like it worked to Dennis' advantage.

The #57 Corvette GSR, which ran in a later group, took 1st.   The #10 Dodge Viper ACR took 2nd.  A later running #29 RX-7 took 3rd.   Dennis took 4th.

The #8 Dodge Viper fell back to 12th.  The spinning #32 Mustang fell back to 19th.

Barry Kline did well at 32rd, but never got the rhythm of the course, leading the his now famous quote that leads this article.

As a result, the #10 Viper is still in 1st in the cumulative overall standings, at 5660 points, but his lead has been trimmed to 115 points.   Dennis in the #2 Superformance is now in 2nd place with 5545 points and is a full 65 points ahead of the #8 Viper in 3rd with 5480 points.  The hot #32 Mustang has dropped to 4th 5465 points, 80 points behind Dennis.

What a difference a little rain can make.  A 15 point spread from 2nd to 4rd at Atlanta has grown to 80 points.  But it isn't over.   Watkins Glen beckons...

There are more stories and photos from VIR to come.   But it has been a long day and it is late.  I did want to get the results up, because tomorrow is the final day and I wanted everyone to know how it was shaping up.


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