HPD Blog

Saturday, July 25, 2009

THR at Nelson Ledges Double National

Events: Nelson Ledges, July 4-5

Drivers: Inness Eisele (T3),
Chase Lin (T3),
Matt Staal (SSB),
Chad Gilsinger (SSB)

Vehicles: Honda S2000 (T3)
Honda Civic Si (SSB)

For the 2009 season, THR has been granted the unique opportunity to mount an SCCA National Championship Runoffs campaign supporting the launch of Honda Racing/HPD, Honda’s new broad-based initiative aimed at expanding its presence in grassroots racing by offering products and services for its amateur and entry-level professional auto racing customers.

The first race for the majority of the THR drivers was the double national at Nelson Ledges. Given our limited schedule, finishing each race is critical in order to qualify for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, which added somewhat to the pressure of the weekend While it had been six months since we had been in a race car, we were able to quickly shake off the cobwebs and qualify at the top of both classes. The first race of the weekend went well, with Chad and Inness winning their classes, while Chase and Matt finished second right behind them. With Chad and Chase starting at the front of their classes in Race One, the only excitement for THR was a spin by Chase in Turn 1, which resulted in light contact with the tire wall. Fortunately, the damage was just cosmetic, so Chase was able to re-enter the race and finish second, with help from a late-race crash by his competition. It was nice to get the first race under our belts, and Chase was able to quickly regroup, having learned a lesson.

THR drivers again qualified at the front of the grids in their respective classes for the second race, and after a strong start, we able to hold off the competition and occupy the top of the podium. The durability of the BFG rubber enabled us to run on the same set of tires from the first race on. Unfortunately, controversy over ballast placement emerged in technical inspection for Chad’s first-place SSB car, and he received a “last in class” (fifth place) penalty. The Chief Steward ruled that ballast mounted in the trunk should have been mounted in the passenger footwell instead. The penalty was protested, but ultimately upheld. An appeal to reverse the ruling has been submitted, but resolution is still pending. In the end, it was still a great weekend for THR.

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