Modified Mustangs & Fords
Tony Buffomante's Mustang Challenge Report - Mosport
Round 7 of the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge
For those who have been following along the down...and up...and down-again season for TeamBRE, you know that we fixed our HP issues in Alabama, thanks to Strang Motorsports and Southeast Fleet Services. With that out of the way, we got back on the podium at Barber in Round 3, but also had disappointment in Round 4, getting a questionable drive-through penalty that took us off the podium an out of the points championship. That event caused us to re-evaluate the rest of the season, and sit-out Rounds 5 and 6 of the series (no point in racking up the credit cards even further with no hope of a championship). However, there's only so much beer, pretzels and Speed TV that one guy can take before it's time to get back into the mix. What better place than Mosport, a short 3 hour drive from the where the car lives in Buffalo, NY.?
No Practice...No Problem
Since we'd been sitting out for a couple months, the crew in Buffalo (Dad, Stahl Engineering and MXK Racing) had plenty of time to think over set-ups and make sure the car was ready for Father's Day weekend in Canada. But would the driver be ready? Work schedules precluded us from running the promoter test day on Friday, 4 practice sessions that would have been very helpful, especially since our competition ran them all. I did get a chance late Friday afternoon to jump into the new MXK.com racing Kart Chassis (the Black Kat) and run a few laps. Pretty impressive, and that will whip you into shape in a hurry!
So let's see about Saturday morning, the first official practice. Obviously the layoff didn't effect our game (you sensing any sarcasm?). The right side window net breaks loose on the out lap of the first session, and we spend the next 20 minutes trying to extricate it from behind the dash. We get out for about 6 laps after wasting all that time...Wow, this is not the start we are looking for. We end up somewhere toward the back of the pack on the time sheets and are looking pretty dumb at the moment.
OK, second and final practice before qualifying. We make a bunch of chassis changes off the 6-lap feedback and hey...not bad! Third on the charts and starting to feel pretty racy. Yeah, this is better than watching on TV for sure!
Qualifying comes around and yep, we pickup another second with stickers, but so do the leaders. We end up qualifying 3rd, 2 tenths-of-a-second off the front row. The officials are laughing because they think the people putting on the promoter test days don't like us very much. I tell them, "hey...no practice...no problem". Boy did we get lucky (don't tell anyone, that will ruin our mojo!)
Parting of the "Turn Two Sea"
It's Sunday...and it's raceday! It's good to be back. (Most) everyone seems to be happy that we are back in the paddock. We certainly can't wait to go out there and mix-it-up in race conditions. Heck, it'll be only our fourth official session on the track in two months, so I'm anxious to see what the latest TeamBRE chassis changes will do. What do we have to lose? It's not like we are points racing. Time to hang-it-out and try to meet one of our pre-season goals (no, not that goal...I'm talking about winning a race).
Series officials give me a "talking to" before the race. "Remember, the two guys on the front row are running for points" they say. Exactly. Maybe someone should tell them that the guy behind them isn't running for points? Whatever...let's go racing.
It turns out that maybe someone else needed the talk after all. We go barreling down into turn one on the start. No problem, everybody clean. I slot into third and start up the hill toward turn two, right behind the leaders. What do I see next? The front row guys get together and start sliding off track right in the middle of turn two! That leaves me enough room to get to the inside and head for daylight. Open track...lovin' it. This is what we've been looking for!
Before I get too far, let's take a step back for a second. I'm sitting on the grid, waiting to go out for the recon lap before the start of the race. Dad is going across the track to get a better spotter's view going into one. What do I see? He's climbing a scaffolding tower to get an even better view...cool, what a guy. Wait a minute, he's now sliding into a lounge chair that was placed on the tower! Is he serious? Dad is going to kick-back, smoke a cigar, and watch a little racing with a radio in hand? I call over on the radio (he doesn't know I can see him)..."Hey, you gonna sit for this whole race or what?" The response..."Yep, if you are going to sit for the whole thing, than so am I." So back to the race...I get a challenge down the back-straight for the lead on lap one, but was able to hold off the other driver into the very fast Turn 8. We come around the last turn onto the front straight, the first time the crew can see me. Out in front, for the first time in the series! Great radio conversation for sure. "Hey...did you jump up out of your seat?" "Nope...just get going...turn some consistent laps." Cool as a cucumber that one I tell you.
So there it was. We turn 26 consistent fast laps and go flag-to-flag for a victory over second place Andrew Caddell and third place Jason VonKluge. What a feeling! Many thanks to everybody that made it happen up-to and over the weekend (Captain Lounge Chair, Mike Stahl, Pete Lipp of MXK.com and many others). Lot's of hard work for sure, and I'm glad we got one in the win column for them as a little payback and motivation for the next one.
Enjoy the pics...and follow along for the rest of the year to see if we can keep up the strong finishes.
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