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Triple C Racing Takes On Watkins Glen International Raceway

Saturday, Aug 24, 2013

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If you remember, a little less than a year ago, we sent out a CCC newsletter that asked if anyone wanted to take their driving to the next level and take competiton seriously. Seven did, and they’ve been flying the Clasisc Car Club flag at circuits up and down the east coast as team Triple C Racing. This is a story of their latest exploits.

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The Glen

Ask most people with a thing for speed what their favorite track is and most times, they’ll say “The Glen”, as it’s affectionately known.

Perched up on a hill overlooking the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York, The Glen has a commanding view over the town and surrounding farmland. Speaking of the town, the track used to be a 6.6 mile circuit run through the village and the winding mountain roads around it. To make things safer, an actual track was built in 1956. It’s current format is a 3.4 mile mix of elevation changes, technical switchbacks and big straights.

Over the years, almost every race series has had The
Glen on their calendar, incuding Indy, Formula 1, Grand-Am and even today, the track is a driver and fan favorite of NASCAR.

Aside from “The Glen”, Watkins Glen has another nickname as well – The Tunnel. This is because there’s virtually no safety run off anywhere on track. Rather, it’s lined with ferocious steel armco that’s begging to take a bite out of you and your car. This track has teeth.

Driver highlights include the big, banked righthand turn five that forces the driver to balance between plumeting down the raceway in control and on the edge of breaking loose and turn 1, better known as “The Ninety”, where if a driver’s courage is bigger than his or her brains, they can rocket down it nearly flat all the way from turn in. Just remember, the wall behind it isn’t soft.

But for team Triple C – the best part of the track is “The Esses“, a series of up hill right/left bends after turn 2 that climb up to the back straight. In our Spec Miata race cars, the proper attack for The Esses is to shift into 4th gear before turn two and take the corner flat out, As you climb, the revs climb too and the cars really start to scream. Drivers are best to not so much steer the car here, but rather lightly influence it around the corners while letting it find its own line up the hill. Once you get to the bridge, grab a quick fifth gear and keep the fast momentum before breaking hard for the Inner Loop.

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Race Weekend.

If racing was easy, everyone would do it. but loading up a mobile garage, three cars and two race trailers and driving them hundreds of miles is not for the feint of heart.

Practice started on Friday, so Michael and Adam headed out early with Roxanne, our big truck and trailer hauling two Triple C race cars to get some track time. Michael had never raced The Glen so some laps were in order. After a day of training, it was time for a beer at the Seneca Lodge to compare notes, but JJ, Nathan, Arun, along with Kelli and team mascot Monkee broke down in rig number two with car number three. That was three hours away, so we unhooked Roxanne, headed south, rescued the team and rolled back to The Glen seven hours later, just in time for a disco nap, but we would miss qualifying.

Starting from the back of the grid meant that out and out victory was going to be impossible, but no matter. Being positioned behind 30 cars gave all of us the red mist. With the grid full of Spec Miata racers, it was a mad dash to turn one – Arun calls this corner on the first lap “Miata Pinata” and while we all avoided catastrophy and made up some spaces with quick starts, the wall claimed a few racers that morning.

Throughout Saturday, all three cars ran well. Adam threw down consistent and blitzing 2:22 minute laps in the 95 car and JJ put the team on podium with a 3rd in class. Thanks to our breakdown , Nathan had to tackle the track for the first time ever while racing, but if you’ve ever gone karting with him, you’d know his incredible smooth style and solid car control kept him very competitive, despite not knowing what was around the next corner.

In their first sprint of the day, Arun followed Michael up The Esses and witnessed his more aggressive side, as he went into the Inner Loop three wide on the outside. While that move worked first time around, the second time was over the limit, throwing Prich into a massive tank slapper entering turn 7. All walls were adverted.

The rest of the day was focused on tuning both the cars and our minds to get the laptimes down even further. Tire pressures were experimented with, radiators blown and cleaned and we even added some red paint to our 97 car to mend the battle damage from the past race weekend. Special thanks to CCC member, NASA National Spec Miata Champ, friend and Yushino inventor Yiannis Tsiounis. He’s logged hundreds of very fast laps around The Glen, so we spent hours studying his line on YouTube.

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Sunday brought on the enduros. Prichinello was sidelined by a mechanical issue with car 97, but again JJ put it on podium, turning out blistering laps in the team’s first generation Miata. JJ doesn’t know it, but they’re not made to go that fast.

Nathan, having learned the track, moved his way up five positions in his race and Arun knocked massive chunks of time off of his laps, bringing the car home way up the grid from qualifying.

Adam had a thriller of a race. With three laps left in a 12 lap enduro, he harkened his inner NASCAR racer and drafted the car infront of him two inches from the bumper. With that tow, he was around him at turn 7. Not to be outdone, Adam threw in a few laps in the 2:20s for good measure too. Unfortunately, he crossed the finish line with no fuel, allowing two cars to pass him at the very end, moving him from second to fourth in class.

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Take a lap with Team Triple C.

Thank The Workers

Across the country, racers like us pack up trucks, tune cars and throw our life savings into the chance for glory. But we’d never be able to do it if it wasn’t for all the volunteers. Guys like Bruce here (who’s been flaggin’ at Watkins Glen since it was built) donate their time to make sure racers like us are safe. Without them, we wouldn’t be racers, we’d be cubicle jockeys so make sure if you’re ever on track – buy your corner worker a beer.

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