Early Season Race Review 2012

The racing season began in late February with all the usual suspects from North Bay Bavarian starting where they left off in 2011. The February weekend had all cars participating at Infinion, but not all drivers. This week Greg Peterson’s number 76 was driven by Derick Welch. This first weekend had 45 BMW’s on the start grid, and the NBB cars finished well both days.

Bennett McMicking’s red and yellow #17 was 7th on Saturday and 13th on Sunday. The 76 car was 14th and a 6th place on Sunday. Ray Zanotto’s white #20 had a 19th finish Saturday and moved to 10th Sunday. Matthew Row’s #15  was steady at 22nd and Sunday’s 24th place, as was the black, and slightly bent #261 of Rick Row, 27th and 30th. Frank Bushman’s #263 missed the Saturday race, but showed well with a 8th place Sunday finish. Unfortunately, he was DQ’ed because of a fender-bender, and has since decided to retire from the SpecE30 class for the remainder of the year.

With the unseasonably dry weather of February gone, we move to a more rain threatening mid March. The Sonoma track was damp, but not enough to break out the treaded tires. Some changes since the last races had NASA pairing drivers into 2 man teams and combining their finishes to accumulate points. This will be known the “Norcal SpecE30 Pro-Am Championship”. Along with having a lengthy title,  the championship gives drivers a chance of winning $2000 for first place. If you care to see a complete description of the series, click here.

Closer to home, the biggest change is North Bay Bavarian’s reduction in participating race cars. As mentioned, #263 has departed for the year, and so has Rick Row’s #261. Ricks decision was not so much based on point standings, as it was on some issues as to how NASA runs its Spec E30 program. That said, Rick feels he’ll be content wrenching on Matthews car and helping his fellow drivers. We shall see.

Speaking of Matt’s car, the silver #15 has began a new life as a blue a #2 in a different stable. Ricks old #261 has had all the dents taken out, the engine rebuilt, a good sprucing-up and is now #15. As usual, there’s always a couple of growing pains with a new motor, like a mystery oil leak right before leaving for the track. That caused a little anxiety, but was taken care of accordingly.

Saturday’s race was made interesting by NASA announcing before hand that the first 15 finishers would be inverted for Sundays starting grid. With 32 cars lined up, some strategies were probably changed to try to qualify 15th, but it’s tough to try and pick your spot.

The finishing order for the NBB group had Bennett McMicking taking third place, Ray Zanotto in the 13th spot, Matthew Row just missing a pole position with a 16th finish, and Greg Peterson’s first race of the season, finishing in 19th place. With no qualifying, Sundays race was 50 minutes and by all accounts it was very clean racing, no dents. The results had Bennett again leading the North Bay Bavarian group with a 5th place finish. Ray staying close in the 11th spot. Matthew showing well at 17, and Greg in the 21st position.

The next racing moves to Thunderhill in April and May, so stay tuned for more action.