After completing the 1,344 mile trip back home, I can post a bit more on the 2016 Runoffs. First of all, congratulations to Derek Kulach on his stellar drive to his first Runoffs victory and to Nissan for scoring its 100th Runoffs win- most of any marque in SCCA history! That Derek's Z33 managed to win over past champ Chad Gilsinger and his semi-works Acura TL at his home track makes it even sweeter.
My own race was a struggle. At the start, I avoided making any dumb mistakes by going too far off line on a slick track. Since we were the first race out that morning, the early laps were tricky as the field strung out. The setup I prefer on the Z is with just a bit of oversteer dialed in and I hoped the car would be faster as the race wore on. Unfortunately, my lap times stalled in the 1:41s and never dropped from there. That lack of speed meant I couldn’t challenge the BMW and Z car just ahead, as they slowly pulled away.
As stated earlier in this thread, Mid-Ohio doesn’t tolerate pushing too hard and I nearly spun several times in an attempt to shave just a bit of time off in different corners. Pushing the envelope continuously also put me further behind as the race went the full 23 laps with no caution periods. It didn’t help that the ¾ tank of race fuel I started with began running out over the final five laps. Another miscalculation that would seal a DFL finish. One bright spot came when I pulled over on the last lap to allow Derek through and cover his six as we ran under the checkered flag. It was an honor to share his celebration on the cool down lap- two Nissans running side-by-side down the backstraight and waving at each other and the corner station crews!
Still, this was a sobering Runoffs as it’s clear my vision, reaction time and overall driving have deteriorated enough to drop me from the top rank of drivers. This race had a good group of talented Runoff rookies (Like Derek and Lans Stout, who finished third is his Z33) and four former National Champs to contend with. Usually, I hold my own with such company, but not this year. Still, the lure of driving in competition and being part of the short-lived, but intense community in the Nissan tent makes it difficult to give up. I’m not sure what the 2017 season will hold for me, but as far as a finishing position, there’s only one way to go!
Last edited by dkmura; 09-27-2016 at 11:03 PM.