NASA Texas Round 2 was held at Motorsport Ranch - Cresson on March 10-12, 2017. It was a year earlier at this event that I started on a path towards road racing. In the last year, I've participated in each NASA Texas event - progressing through all four levels of their High Performance Driver Education program, competed in the Time Trial category for two weekends, completed Competition School and, finally, obtained my NASA Competition License.
The only significant car preparation for this weekend was installation of a nozzle from the fire suppression system into the engine bay. The systems in the car had existing nozzles in the cockpit and in the trunk near the fuel system. I decided to replace all but the trunk tubing, allowing me to move the cockpit nozzle much closer to my seating position and routing the engine bay tubing through the firewall to the fuel side of the engine.
Testing on Friday was an opportunity to re-familiarize myself with the track. Running under MSR Cresson's rules, passing was limited to 4 straight sections of track. Unfortunately, that made for some frustrating sessions after getting stuck behind a Legends car that was fast in the straights, slow in the corners, and apparently not equipped with functional mirrors. I was able to find 2-3 seconds relative to my times from a year earlier, but that was well off the pace.
There was some excitement going into turn 1 when the car ahead dropped oil and I slid straight off track, clunking the leading edge of some curbing on the way. A quick check of the alignment bolts back in the paddock confirmed things were still straight. At the end of the day, we were able to head out and walk the track - it's amazing how different the surface, camber and line can all look when you stand still to study them.
On Saturday, I qualified 22nd in a field of 26 with a 1:28.7, about a second behind a pack of mid-field cars ahead of me. In Race 1, I did find myself racing in a pack for most of the 25 minute duration. It was exciting to race wheel to wheel and I was able to move up a spot to finish 21st with a fastest time of 1:29.3 (about 4 seconds behind the pace of the top cars). In Race 2, I was able to improve to a fastest lap of 1:28.1 while still racing wheel to wheel. I was able to stay out of any trouble and found myself all the way up to 15th place at the checkered flag.
During qualifying on Sunday, I found another 3/4 of a second to post a 1:27.4 and secure 16th spot on the grid of 23 cars still running. Unfortunately, for much of the 50-minute race, I found myself running alone with some close racing during laps 12-15 of the 30 total laps. Despite struggling to keep my tires from going off, I did put in my fast laps of the weekend during the race - twice posting a 1:26.9 - and finished 15th again.
I pulled together highlights from all three races into a single video shown below. Full video from Race 1, Race 2 and Race 3 are also available.
The next event is scheduled for April 21-23 at Texas World Speedway. In the meantime, we're always looking ahead to Targa Newfoundland 2017. Our team kit has arrived in Newfoundland and I'm awaiting the arrival of my gear here in Texas.
Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.