Carolina Motorsports Park’s new owner repaved the track, and the paddock was 98 percent full. Everyone was excited to test the grip of the new pavement, which means new track records and lots of two- and four-wheels off from pushing the limits. The good news is now you can race Carolina Motorsports Park and still have tire left for the next weekend.
When we went out for warmup we found the new surface to be fantastic. Karl Kondor was already faster than the track record and “The Kink” was flattened to the point where you know the bump is there, but it does not upset the car. We all tried to work our way up to staying flat through it.
Qualifying had a few racers confident they would be setting a new track record today. In H2, Karl Kondor got pole position followed Team Moar Door, with Shane Lovely at the wheel then Michael Kramer. Kramer was having transponder issues and had not recorded a lap time so he was placed in the back. Kondor qualified over 2 seconds faster than the track record, so he had to repeat that in the race to make it official. In H1, Daniel Madamba got pole position followed by Rob Oxford, Andrew Hicks and William Hunter. Both Madamba and Oxford had qualifying times faster than the track record so they also needed to repeat in the race to make it official.
Honda Challenge was at the back of the first wave directly behind Spec E46 then Super Touring. Two turns before the front straight, the Spec E46 cars decided they would let the pace car and ST class get a 10-second gap so they would have a clean start in their class going into the first few corners. Honda Challenge was behind them, but did not know what they were doing because the green flag was waving before they rounded the last corner entering the front straight. One of the Honda Challenge cars saw what they were doing, watched the green flag wave and was gone! The rest of them got hosed.
It did not take long for the rest of the Honda Challenge racers to catch the back markers of Spec E46 and the leader in H1 leader Oxford, who caught the inside gators at apex of Turn 7, which lifted the back of his car about a foot in the air and spun him off track into the grass, sending a dust cloud into the sky.
Now he had to run from the back of the field with Kramer. That put Madamba in the lead for H1, followed closely by the H2 leader Kondor, and they both had their eye on the lap records.
Hicks and Hunter battled for second in H1 while Kramer and Lovely diced in H2. Kramer went flat through The Kink and the rear end tried to lead the way, but being quick at the wheel he tamed the car and continued on, losing no time. After a few position exchanges here and there, Oxford fought his way back through the field trying to catch the leaders, passing all the way back to P2. At the exit of Turn 3, a car had gone off and was over the tire wall and inverted, which brought out the red flag and ended the race a few laps early. Everyone was safe and unharmed.
In H1 Madamba took first place and set the new track record. Oxford took second place and Hicks took third place with Hunter not far behind. In H2 Kondor took first place and set the new track record, Team Moar Door /Shane Lovely took second place and Kramer in third.
Sunday’s qualifying proved that Saturday’s track records would be broken again. Kondor in H2 was hunting for more speed, but the shimmy and shake from Saturday got worse under braking and he could not quite get there. Madamba and Oxford both found themselves faster than the day before and hoped to repeat in the race. Pole in H1 went to Oxford, followed by Madamba, Hicks then Hunter. Pole in H2 went to Kondor followed by Kramer then Team Moar Door by Melissa Lovely.
When the green flag dropped, the Spec E46 field did the exact same self-start as the day before but all of Honda Challenge saw it coming this time. Madamba jumped out into the lead by Turn 1. Kondor’s shimmy was getting worse, so he came in after a lap or two and the field settled into pace. This had Kramer and Lovely in a battle for first in H2. Kramer had been having transponder issues all weekend so he hoped this borrowed unit recorded all his laps. While Kramer was exiting Turn 8, a Mustang in front of him ran wide, put two wheels off then lost control sliding back across track right toward him. Kramer had to cut through the grass avoiding a T-bone with a 3,300-pound horse.
That was a close call, so kudos to Kramer for his awareness and knowing the escape route to avoid being involved. In H1, Madamba put a gap between himself and Oxford as a swarm of Thunder Roadsters started passing him. The next lap, those cars start passing Madamba, allowing Oxford to close the gap, get a clean track and break the new track record in the process. Hicks and Hunter were not far behind, but not within striking distance this time.
The next lap the checkered flag ended the race with Madamba in first place sweeping the weekend, Oxford in second place and setting the new track record then Andrew Hicks in third place. In H2, Kramer takes first place after another close call, Team Moar Door Melissa Lovely in second place and Kondor in third place.