Just how fast can a Front4 car go at High Plains Raceway? That’s what Dan had asked me prior to this event… I responded with an optimistic guess of 2:10, not knowing if we could really pull that off with our 4 cylinder engines and 100-200 treadwear tires. As it turns out, I didn’t give us enough credit… By the end of the weekend, half of our racers would hit that target, with two of us closely battling to set our HPR lap record in the low 2:09’s, and data supported a hypothetical 2:08 or better. Ultimately, Chris Venturini would prove that HPR is his track, setting our lap record at 2:09.176 and winning both races, with the most budget-built race car in our class!
Seriously, a junkyard B20Z that smokes on startup, a bone stock LS transmission with an open diff, Koni Yellows, and eBay parts for most everything else… That’s all you need to be competitive with an Integra in Front4! Other things may help, or may feel good, but anything beyond what Chris has is really a point of diminishing returns right now. We are in part a mild builder class, but it ultimately comes down to the driver to produce the results, and we are always striving to be become better drivers ourselves and helping each other to do the same.
As we headed out to the track Friday evening, there were reports of 3 tornadoes in the area, one of which we later learned had touched down directly across the street from the track. It’s the first time in the 10 years of HPR being open that we can recall this being a concern, but we’re racers and are just crazy enough to not let an EF0-EF1 tornado stop us! After all, we still had to get our camp area set up and then figure out why Chris’ brakes weren’t working. We stayed up late Friday night trying to get them fixed, and eventually got them kind of working, but certainly not optimal. Once racing began, we soon learned that he didn’t seem to need them too much anyway!
Saturday’s qualifying and points races both began with standing starts, where Andrew DeJesus and Mitchell Taylor both proved to be forces to be reckoned with. Chris Venturini led the main race, with Weston Pawlowski on his tail but just not able to close that gap, while Andrew and Mitchell battled it out for 3rd. Ultimately, both Mitchell Taylor and Chuck Taylor would retire early from the race due to mechanical issues, leaving the Integra drivers to take the top 3 spots.
At the end of the day, we had the “Chucksville Challenge”, where Front4, Spec Miata, GTS, and our arch nemesis, CMC, raced each other on HPR’s North course. While an insanely fast GTS4 911 took the overall win, Front4’s Weston Pawlowski took 2nd overall and set our North course lap record at 1:29.715, finishing just ahead of CMC’s head honcho. A crushing defeat for CMC, no doubt! Being the always-humble victors that we are, we then publicly awarded him with a “Mustang Girls Run Wild” T-shirt, size ladies medium, which of course fit perfectly.
Sunday saw the wheel-to-wheel racing debut of CJ Botts’ Integra, although still not fully developed, giving us 6 cars total. Not too bad for our third race weekend ever! Although the main race start was a bit of a mess with out-of-class traffic, Andrew DeJesus and Mitchell Taylor proved that they were strong on flying starts too, and made excellent use of traffic to get ahead of their competitors. As the race went on, CJ Botts and Mitchell Taylor were battling it out, while Chris Venturini led the field, with Andrew DeJesus and Weston Pawlowski closely behind, but once again just not being able to quite close that gap on him. Almost immediately after the white flag was thrown, Andrew DeJesus started to experience mechanical problems, likely an axle or wheel bearing issue, leading him to drive straight off the track in Turn 3, where he got stuck, losing his 2nd place position.
Lap records and season points are updated on our Results page, and individual results can be found below…