Page 43 - PCA Metro NY Region POST
P. 43

A few months ago our friend, Metro NY PCA club member Gary Shemaka called me to ask if I was going to Daytona this year. My immediate response, “Gary, if you want to go, we’re going.” Some conversation ensued and at the end, Gary was in. Much later on, a few weeks before the event, Alan Cohen, pilot of “The Patriot Missile” (a Cadillac) became aware that we were going to Daytona and decided that he wanted in as well. After all for a Northerner, Daytona International Speedway is a “Bucket List” track. Before long we had Gary’s 2009 Porsche C-4S, Alan’s Cadil- lac and my SPB loaded in the trailer. We were ready to go. Departure date was October 24th, it was 5 a.m. Brian McGrath and I were on our way to Daytona International Speedway.
The trip from Rudtner’s home base in Freeport to Daytona Florida was uneventful. We didn’t hit a lick of traffic on the entire trip. The weather was good all the way down, that was until we actu- ally crossed into Florida. After much good con- versation and many laughs Brian and I arrived at Daytona International Speedway on the 25th at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was pouring. Umbrellas manned, we walked to registration. After regis- tering we drove in and parked the rig in our pre- assigned spot. There are so many niceties about being here at Daytona. One of these is the park- ing. All the spots are pre-assigned so the back of our trailer, once parked, is facing our assigned garage. We checked the radar and waited for the heavy rain to let up a bit before we started to unload. Once unloaded and set-up we were off to the hotel and then to a nice dinner.
The morning arrived a little too quickly. Suited up and ready to go I lined up in the false grid to start
the first session of the first day. I realized that the driver who lined up to my right, one position be- hind me was from Florida. I figured he must know the track better than I so I motioned to the grid worker to hold me and let him go in front of me. My thought was that I would follow him around for a lap or two.
After all it was only my second time here. When the session started we had some spots where the track was still wet from the overnight and early morning rain. Quite a few drivers lost grip. One or two wound up in the wall. The guy I let go in front of me was one of the unfortunate. I kept re- minding myself that it’s the first session of a three- day race weekend. “Take it easy”. It’s so easy to loose sight of the length of an event and start driving too hot too soon. The second session was “Black flagged” as another car lost control and hit the wall hard. After sitting back on grid for about 5 minutes the session was cancelled.
Our friend Alan Cohen, running his Cadillac CTSV “Patriot Missile” was participating in the Advanced DE. Alan skipped the first session due to the wet conditions. After his second session Alan came in wearing a huge smile. Alan was quoted to have said, “This is the best track I’ve ever been to”.
At 11:40 the rain came down again. The third ses- sion, usually the qualifying session, was sched- uled just after lunch. I was now thinking, do I go out and qualify in the rain or not? Decisions, de- cisions. The risk was not worth the return. We were a little delayed in getting to lunch. No biggie I thought as I remembered the third session was set to go off at 1:30 for my “Blue group”. We went over to Chick-fil-A. Once I sat down and the food was served I looked again at the schedule to dou- ble-check the time. My session was not at 1:30 but at 1:00. I was mistaken! Then I remembered, in the drivers meeting they made a point of saying that the qualifying session was tomorrow. (Continued on page 42 )
Driven for Speed Bill Rudtner
PCA Club Racing. Daytona 2018

   41   42   43   44   45