Eastern State Championship / by Tom Panzarella

Finally posting our update. We had run hard to get all of our customer's cars ready for this one. It was the first time a NASA championship was run at our home track. We wanted to make a strong showing for our Florida Region. Preparation began months in advance. With three Spec E30s flying under our shop banner we had a lot of work to do. The #44 Bellanger car was first on the list. It received a new engine and transmission. We broke the engine in on the dyno and were very happy with our class limit wheel horse power. The #3 Mckay car was also under the knife to extract the most from the car. The net result was again at the limit of the class rules. David Wiley's #21 machine was in for a general look over after already receiving a Panzer built engine early this season. All 3 cars underwent corner balancing on our in house scale setup as well as receiving PFC brake pads and fresh Liquimoly oil

The team cars

The team cars

Thursday

Thursday with all the teams arrived. We ran the Bellanger hard for two and half hours throughout the day. We wanted to shake the car down after a lot of set changes. The results where a drop of 1.4 seconds in lap time. With 33 cars in our class from all over the country lap times where getting faster by the hour. 

Friday

The first real test of the weekend was upon us. The full field headed out for qualifying. Mckay drove the #3 to pole and Bellanger drove the #44 to 11th. The data showed the top 15 cars all within 1 second of each other.  With starting ordered shuffled after p2 and p3 were disqualified due to  track width. The cars lined up for a standing start. The first lap resulted in Mckay still in P1 and Bellanger up to P6. As the first race of the weekend continued Mckay began to pull a gap and Bellanger fought hard to try to advance. By the end of the race Mckay had secured a solid P1 and Bellanger ended with a P9. And not a straight panel on the car. 

friday.jpg

Saturday

We could see our plan working. Scott Mckay drove to a commanding P1 in the race and Olivier Bellanger better his result with a P8 after being up to P5 in the race.  After the race all the cars got a looking over and were prepared for Sunday's Final. 

scott grid.jpg

Sunday

Sunday....Sunday was the definition of Racing. Everything looked great for a real strong shot at a double podium National for us. Until turn 1 of the opening lap while leading. Scott drove a severely wrecked car from last to p11.

Olivier had driven the 44 hard and longer this weekend than ever before. The car and the driver made massive strides.Start P7 and fought hard to P2. Then a tiny piece of the throttle cable left the party and so did our podium chances.

We were all upset and disappointed without a doubt. We can take away a lot of positives from the weekend. We had a great time until it wasn't so great. But major shouts to Carlos for bringing home the big win. Florida had to win the Sebring National and he pulled it out .

Time to plan for the next Nationals at Cota.