NASA Texas moved to Texas World Speedway in College Station on April 22-24 for Round 3 of the 2016 season. After learning some hard lessons at a private test day at this track a couple of weeks earlier, I was looking forward to an opportunity to improve my times (and regain some confidence).
With heavy rain and flooding in the Houston area during the week leading up to the event, it was great to start the weekend with a dry track and blue sky. I ran Friday with High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) Level 1&2 - it was the smallest of the 3 run groups that day and traffic wasn't much of an issue. I spent most of the day trying improve my line through Turn 4 and Turns 13/14/15 before the long main straight. The very old tires (shaved Toyo RA1s) were not enjoying the heat and I was working hard to deal with them - skip ahead in the video to the 5 minute mark and watch for the slide about 15 seconds later.
I had my fastest laps on Sunday morning. With an instructor from the Spec Miata group in the passenger seat helping me out, I found 4 seconds relative to times I'd been running on my own on Friday and Saturday. I'm still a full 7 seconds off the pace of the fastest Spec Miata drivers, but I know most of that is driving skill that I'll develop with more seat time (and a small amount is old tires and the weight of my passenger).
On the lap immediately after setting my fastest time of the weekend, I ran out of rubber at about 80 mph in Turn 8. The rear end let go and I fell off the track, popping the right rear tire off the rim and wedging a chunk of mud and grass between the tire and rim on the front right. Similar to my incident on the test day, the alignment bolts were also rotated inwards.
Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.