24th Sep2010

CAM at Honda Challenge: Day 2

by Michael Chandler

Problems with Kris’s car were diminished, but a problem with Randy’s car ended his day and threatened to ruin his weekend. I decided to bring my Olympus XA2 film camera, loaded with Kodak Ektachrome slide film along today and get some shots that you normally don’t see…and won’t see until I get the film back from the lab and scanned.

The morning session was over by the time I woke up. The day before convinced me that Kris’s car was the problem child, and that Randy’s was content to be boring and not have any sort of catastrophic problem. Unfortunately I was wrong. While I was asleep, one of the H2 cars (a red Civic with yellow flames) caught fire and Randy’s car encountered a catastrophic problem. I wouldn’t know what the problem was until I arrived, but I knew it was something related to the motor because Frank of Supremacy Racing said “Randy hurt his motor” on Facebook. I quickly closed the instrument of the Personal Digital Apocalypse, grabbed my bag and rushed out to Tooele.

I arrived to find Randy and Kris’s cars on jackstands. Kris’s car was up in the air, but still driveable. Randy’s was in the air, with the hood up and no motor. I asked Brady, a volunteer from UtahHondas.net, what happened. Randy fried a piston in the morning practice session. So much for the boring race car that ran. Mauricio and Eric were rushing to transplant a new K20 into Randy’s engine bay. Sensing this was a situation I could easily screw up, I took off to grab some photos in the paddock and of some of the other classes running at the event.

The paddock was a treasure trove of awesome one could get up close and personal with. The action on the track was good too, but I still didn’t have my credentials so I was stuck shooting from spots I could access without them. I made my way to the Clubhouse as the Time Trial cars were starting their session.

In Time Trial the goal is to set a fast lap, not win a race; however, it’s not like Time Attack where only one car is out on the track at a time. There are multiple cars, from multiple classes, out trying to set fast laps. Some of the cars out in this twenty minute session included a C5 Corvette, an E36 M3, a Lotus Elise, a Mini Cooper S, a Mini Clubman S, and an ’83 Mazda RX-7. Diversity thy name is TT.

I was just shooting away, having a fun time by myself when all of a sudden my camera shuts off. No biggie, I just turned it back on, but then it got weird in a bad way. The card refused to record any data, and said every photo I shot after I turned the camera back on was corrupt. Not good, but there was nothing I could do then. I swapped cards and continued shooting. The session ended, and I headed back to the pit to see what progress had been made on Randy’s swap.

The motor was in, but the harness wasn’t on and the axles weren’t attached. Unfortunately he wouldn’t be running, but Kris was ready to run in the last Honda Challenge session of the day. The camo DC5 and I headed south, him to pre-grid and I to turn one. I made it to the turn before as the previous group was doing their cool down laps, which allowed me to find a proper place to get some good photos.

To me the last Honda Challenge session was a good one. Kris was running fast laps, and came in behind a BB4 Honda Prelude. I took it upon myself to time one of Kris’s laps, and he returned a 2:13:84 lap. Pretty damn quick, at least to me. I snapped some photos of the H2 cars lifting their inside rear wheels going into turn one, fired some off at the following class, and headed back to the pit.

Kris was talking to Eric about what the car was doing, while Mauricio was getting the car in the air. I took this opportunity to take my leave and see about getting my credentials. Thankfully I was able to get them, so the photos from the next two days would be from places other than directly in front of the grandstands.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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