Dateline: Thursday, September 21, 2023

Back by semi-popular demand, a little Sebring Haiku.

TURN, bump, bounce, bump, bang,
Bounce, bump, BRAKE, bounce, bang, bounce, bump,
Bang, bump, launch, land, GO!

And that’s just Turn 17.

Getting air under the bridge. Note the poor left-front tire being stripped off of its bead.

Q: Come on. Nobody actually asked for more Haiku.

A: Untrue. Colin Harmer specifically begged for some new prose this past weekend, and Greg Gill has a standing request for as much Haiku as I can muster. So, here’s another:

Bang, bump, bounce, land, bump,
Caution on the out lap, please!
Driver? He ignores.

“Please, no curbs on the out lap, Tyler.”

Q: Haiku aside, I am impressed that you are pushing out a newsletter just days after your last race.

A: Well, our season finale at Indy is less than two weeks away, so I am up against a bit of a deadline here. For this reason, this newsletter may end up being rather succinct. Then again, maybe not. Let’s see how much material I can generate before I go to bed tonight.

Hey look, another podium! The short step, but a podium, nonetheless.

Q: Nothing like jumping right to the punchline. Another podium?

A: Two, actually! As of Saturday afternoon, we had extended our podium streak to six races in a row and had sprayed champagne at eight of the last nine contests. We were not quite as fortunate on Sunday, but our 4th place finish was a solid bookend to a workman-like week.

We switched sides on Saturday to help avoid any confusion with the pictures taken on Friday.

Q: Slow down. That’s a lot to process.

A: Yeah, let’s break this down a little. There were three races at Sebring this past weekend. The first was held on Friday afternoon and was the make-up for the rained-out Race 2 at NOLA (Round 4). We qualified 5th in class and finished 3rd in class. We had a car fast enough for an even better result but didn’t have enough time to get the job done. Click here to see the results sheet.

Saturday and Sunday were the “normal” Sebring races (Rounds 11 and 12). For reasons we still don’t entirely understand, Tyler and I both were way off pace in qualifying. I qualified 9th in class for Race 1 and Tyler qualified 8th in class for Race 2. It was by far our least impressive qualifying effort of the season, but we knew we had a car capable of racing well as long as we had green flag laps.

Q: Did you get green flag laps?

A: It was the proverbial tale of two races. Race 1 on Saturday was littered with so much yellow flag activity that I think Tyler and I got in something like five green flag laps total. Not all at once, mind you. And this severely hampered our ability to march forward. If memory serves correctly, I drove the car from 9th up to like 5th and Tyler took over to maneuver onto the podium just before the final yellow flag came out for the afternoon, prematurely ending the race.

A picture taken at speed on Saturday during a rare interval between yellow flags.

Q: Advancing six positions in class ain’t half bad.

A: Well, I agree. A trip to the podium is always well received, even if it is a little bit underwhelming to be standing on the lowest step two days in a row.

Preparing to get in the car on Saturday afternoon. Colin lurks behind expecting more Haiku.

Q: Hang on. Is that a new helmet?

A: Good job. You noticed! Do you want to talk about that a little bit before we transition into Sunday’s race rundown?

Q: Sure. But it’s a helmet. What’s there to talk about?

A: Oh, not much. To maintain continuity with my old helmet’s themes, it’s red, white, and blue with a big star on the side. My name is found in a cool technical font (this is basically because nobody can tell who I am with the helmet on), the scR logo is artfully done with a tone-on-tone effect just above the eyeport, and if you look hard enough you can see God Bless Texas subtly stenciled across the back.

Q: Who painted it for you?

A: An important question, right? You probably could not tell it was expertly designed and painted by Brett King except for the fact that his company logo appears in about 38 different places around the perimeter. I might not be entirely exaggerating.

Still preparing to get in the car on Saturday afternoon. Colin continues to hope for more Haiku.

Q: What’s your favorite aspect of the new lid?

A: Well, it clearly smells about 100 times better than the outgoing unit. But that pales in comparison to this:

If you don’t love it, prepare to be unsubscribed.

Q: Wait a minute. Did you really do that?

A: Yeah, I really did that. I mean, Brett did that, but I asked Brett to do that. So, that’s like me doing that, right? In any case, angry Hello Kitty helmet for the win!

Q: I really don’t even want to go back to talking about the races. I want to stare that that helmet for a minute.

A: While you do that, I’ll insert another Sebring action photo here.

Tyler defending Turn 7 on Sunday afternoon. I’m off somewhere staring at my new helmet.

Q: Seems like a good weekend all around. Are you still leading the Pro-Am Championship?

A: In what has become a trend, SRO had the most recent points updated on their website by Wednesday afternoon. Amazing! However, this unofficial points tally sheet was discovered floating around the Internet just hours after the final checkered flag flew at Sebring on Sunday afternoon.

You have to admit the artwork (if not the penmanship) is continuing to improve.

Q: What’s with the snake holding the yellow flags?

A: That’s not a snake. It’s an alligator.

Q: Then why does it look like a snake?

A: Look, this was the first time in 52 years that I tried to draw an alligator. And I’m frankly kind of proud of it. So, stop calling it a snake or I’ll write some more Haiku.

Q: Snakes and alligators aside, seems like you are leading by 19 points with only two races to go?

A: That’s right. And while it’s good to be in front, it’s not nearly a large enough gap for us to feel comfortable about it. I have every confidence that Matt and Jason will be setting their Stuttgart-manufactured phaser from ‘stun’ to ‘kill’ for our season finale at Indianapolis. They tend to react well to pressure, and with everything on the line, it’s going to literally be a race to the finish.

You know what this calls for? One more Haiku.

Twenty-seven years.
Championship total, nil.
Nolasport, it’s on.

Q: Anything else worthy of mention that you want to share before we sign off?

A: Only this great picture of Tyler that was photobombed by me and my parents on Saturday afternoon.

There are not many things better than sipping champagne with your parents.

Q: Hey, one last thing. How’s the Instagram competition going with your dog Axle?

A: Almost embarrassingly, we are blowing him out of the water. Poor little guy. I’m sitting at 253 while he languishes at 198. Shelby really needs to increase both the quantity and quality of his content if he is to make any significant gains in the final weeks of the season.

See you at the track!

#82 GT4
@teamscR34 <- click here to follow us!
@axle_sweet_magoo <- click here to follow the dog!