~ by Daniel Demaras ~

All summer long, I’ve been trying to get in just one oval race. Between racing in the Canadian Formula 1200 Championships and the K1 Speed e-World Championships in California, just finding a free weekend wasn’t easy. Two weekends, my races got rained-out. This time I finally made it to the track!

I made it through two practice sessions and a heat race. I was feeling like a million bucks, now that the nerves had worn off. A photographer named Ashley from Short Track Musings took some glamour shots to commemorate the moment.

There was a brief rain shower that I thought was going to spoil my weekend, but with a bit of time and patience, I was back on track for the second heat race.

A local broadcaster called G Force TV was filming and livestreaming the event with multiple cameras and a drone camera. Here’s a split-screen video of their broadcast and my GoPro footage.

After the two heat races, I’d be starting 17th for the feature race. the combined grid. We fired up the car and lined up next to the back straight, but as the super stock race before us was constantly interrupted by cautions, our wait just became longer and longer. The sun had set and we were finally ready to go on track.

Unfortunately, all that time spent waiting on the race to start killed my GoPro battery, so I didn’t get any onboard footage. But luckily, G Force TV filmed the race; here it is from green to checkers..

The green flag flew and the field bunched up into the first corner, causing cars to spin through the grass and up the track. I found a lane through the chaos and made up plenty of positions by the time the yellow came out. With no laps having been completed, the restart order was returned to the starting order, and I was sent back to 17th, undoing my good work.

Once the race got underway properly, I began picking up positions around the outside, until running into a slower car who was blocking up the high line. I had to send a divebomb into turn 3 to catch back up to the positions I had lost while behind him. As I got back into the groove, another yellow came out. That restart allowed me a better run of things into the last few laps, making up a few places and chasing down a pack of cars ahead. When I caught them, it became a multi-car battle spanning multiple rows of 2. I tried to make a last corner overtake at the end of the race, but it just didn’t quite work out.

My first oval race ended with an 11th place finish. All together a very satisfying result in what was an enthralling race. So much excitement, constant battles and overtakes and not a second of rest. Short track oval racing is like nothing I’ve done before. After a debut I like that, I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned to go racing again.

But next, I’ll be back in the F1200 car as we travel to road course at Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa.

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