Labor Day at the Races

If it’s Labor Day weekend, then it’s time for the Rock Island Grand Prix.  No long post this year (you can check last year’s for more info) but overall it was a fun weekend.  I’m glad it’s over though.  I’m exhausted, tired, and probably going to catch a cold.  The official news story of how the weekend went is available here.  Here’s the highlights from my perspective:

Oh, just having a blast, I tell you.

Saturday: Rain.  Big ol’ storm moved in and dumped on us.  We were able to get in morning practice sessions but a little after noon, the skies opened up and we got drenched.  It’s kind of hard to tell in the picture but it’s coming down in sheets.   But the Grand Prix is a Rain Or Shine event, so they kept going.

Racing in the rain is a whole different type of driving and it’s incredible to witness.  The karts were spewing up roster tails ten or twelve feet high, splashing through puddles at 70+ mph.  No one can see more than a few feet because their visors are fogged up or covered in water.  Then you’ve got this idiot corner workers who dart out into the track to recover crashed karts.

Overall though, we had fewer cautions in the rain sessions than when it was dry.  We were only able to get in four qualifying sessions before they had to call the day off.  The rain was so hard that standing water in the corners was causing the Tech Pro Barriers to start floating.  Those are the first line of safety and we just couldn’t have that happen.  Plus the lightning.  That was bad too.

Drier, warmer, exhausted.

Sunday:  Cool but at least we were dry.

Because qualifying sessions got cancelled on Saturday, they replaced the practice sessions in the morning with qualifying.  This meant the instant people got on a cold, clean track, they were racing for position.  Overall it led to some intense racing and we saw all sorts of action.

Four red flags, a driver being launched over the barriers and breaking his arm, multiple ambulance calls (no serious injuries, all precautionary), several winners being DQ’ed for tech violations, and a scuffle at the end that led to a driver being taken away in handcuffs.  Hint – you can scuffle with drivers after a race, but you go after a spectator and you’re finished.

Over in Corner 4, we were kept pretty busy but managed to keep everyone out of harms way.  Well, except for ourselves …

No corner workers were injured in the filming of this picture. Embarrassed and teased, perhaps, but not injured.

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