Western Sprints x3 – Sandia Motor Speedway

Saturday June 18th 2011. First time at Sandia Motor Speedway. Practice went well starting out slow to learn the track and adding in more speed every lap. Matthew was able to run the fastest lap in class. Pretty good for a new track. Qualifying also went smooth but this time Mark Miller was able to pick it up and took poll with the fastest lap time.

The beginning of the first race Matthew got a great start and passed two rows of Spec Miatas in front of him. Going into turn 3 Peter Naumburg (a Spec Miata driver) made a dive bomb move on Mattie Whitten (another Spec Miata driver) and made contact spinning both of them. This collected Richard Joseph’s Spec Miata and Mark Miller’s Spec 7 as they both tried to avoid the carnage. This incident also brought out a black flag all and caused the race to be restarted after Mattie and Richard’s damaged cars were removed from the track.

The restart was not as good for Matthew and Mark Miller was first to turn 1. Matthew was determined and soon got around Mark and started to pull a slight gap each lap. Mark finally made a mistake going into turn 3 and Matthew was able to pull a comfortable cushion that he held onto until the finish. Matthew took the win with Mark in 2nd and Patrick Frank in 3rd.

This weekend we were running two races on Saturday with the second race being an inverted start. Matthew got a good start and was on the inside for turn 1. He was slowed slightly in turn 1 and Mark was able to slingshot around the outside for the lead. On the second lap Matthew broke the track record and was gaining on Mark. On the third lap, just as Matthew was closing on the bumper of Mark, it all went wrong. Peter Naumburg, the same driver who took out two cars in the first race and smashed into Matthew in 2009 at PPIR taking him out of the race, hit Matthew while he was in the breaking zone to turn 5, the slowest corner on the track. Peter hit Matthew so hard it bent the axle, axle housing, and watts link locating pin. After Matthew got the car started he took off and attempted to determine the cars drivability. The steering wheel was not centered and there was a little vibration but nothing worrisome. The car did not feel just right but seemed drivable. Matthew pushed the car and worked his way back to 2nd and was working on making up ground to Mark in first when he received the black flag for mechanical. The steward had let him get half way and then pulled him in because they were concerned about the amount the wheel was wobbling. Matthew finished 5th after driving the wheels off the car and taking the track record.

After getting off track Matthew was able to see how bad the damage to the axle was. Mark Miller, Christen Miller and Jerry Wolfe went to the junk yard where there were 5 RX-7s but none of them had the correct rear end. Unfortunately Matthew was not able to compete in Sundays race. Matthew wants to thank his competition for being fierce on the track and willing to bend over backwards to help off the track.

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