Arizona summers are a challenge to endure. There are constant extreme temperatures throughout the day – hot, hotter and hell! The break we get at night is minimal. So how does one deal with this factor when pushing mechanical parts and humans to the limit? Well, you set the time of the event to start after sunset and then – hope for the best!
I’m not 100% certain but I think that the sixth round of the NASAAZ 2012 season was held at Firebird West under the lights. Prior to this event I saw quite a handful of updates and photos of lights set- ups to facilitate the darkness roaming around the web. That night I witnessed some cars that had very dim lights or just one headlight working. They either have no fear or are just oblivious to the situation. (or are simply stark mad.)
One would think that the night will bring a break from the heat. In some aspects this is true but then again the temperature was in the high 90s and maybe even the low triple digits. In addition to dealing with the heat drivers had the challenge of driving at night. Besides lights from track-traffic, there was a lot of spill light coming that could become a distraction. An additional factor – keeping in mind that the track was hot, it was past midnight and fatigue would be smiling at the drivers at that time of night. Surprisingly both days went rather smoothly without any major incidents and that is always a good thing.
Drivers are not the only ones out there who have to contend with these extremes. The people out there taking photos were having a hard time as well. Although not as challenging by any measure as those driving out there, the conditions were nonetheless a battle to contend with for everyone. I was dealing with a cold that weekend, the lack of energy in addition to the extreme heat also made it difficult for me. I normally hate shooting anything past ISO 800 but that night I was shooting at ISO 2000 and though I got decent results, it was something I was not happy with. I saw some spectators with their iPhones, iPads and point-and-shoots out there and I wonder how that worked out for them.
The first session for our friend CJ Bowyer was going great. A couple laps in he was moving up the field but on the third lap when he passed by us, his EG was sounding off and he came off the track to assess the issue. The issue was much greater that he anticipated and his EG was done for the weekend. We hope his EG gets back on the road soon.
Friday night was qualifying night for the Honda Challenge guys. Simon Pavlick was at the front of the grid. During the warm up lap he felt his Integra handling oddly, his front tire was losing pressure and it was going flat. He came in and was done for the night.
The Honda Challenge on Saturday was intense. For most of the race Team LBR and Eric Dayton were fighting for 1st place. The HC2 race seems to never disappoint and it is always very entertaining. Simon Pavlik’s foes continued – this time axle problems prevented him from finishing the race. At the end Team LBR (Marvin Tan and Gabe Ortega) came ahead of the field. Eric Dayton was second and Doug Evans came home in 3rd place.
Sometime during the night, Phil Robles made an appearance to see the battles out there. Everyone is wondering as to whether the EG will be ready for Inde early October. He is very close but only time will tell. Nolan Whitenack also showed up itching to get out there with the TSX. I am excited to see this build and as well and I hope to see it at the track soon. The weekend was a lot of fun, it brought many challenges but overall it was a very successful weekend. Though I was battling the heat and a cold I had a blast and can’t wait for the next event.
Click here to see the official results.
And the rest.