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June 2002, Rose Cup, Portland International Raceway

The Rose Cup is probably the biggest race of the year for me.  I did pretty well, given the huge number of cars that were racing that weekend. 

I'm just pulling out to drive to the paddock, where cars wait until the race begins.

 

We're not racing yet; you can tell because the cars are lined up so neatly.  We go around the track at least once behind a pace car before we get the green flag. I'm close to the front because I did relatively well in earlier qualifying heats. 

 

I'm neck-and-neck with Mike Solomon on the straight-of-way. Driver skill is always a factor in racing, but so is the equipment. Some cars I simply can't beat because they're bigger and heavier.  With others I'm more competitive, although some cars may perform better in corners and others better along the straights.  Cars are organized into classes by engine size, modifications, and other factors to make competition more fair.

 

This is the paddock after the race.  Cars have to wait in "impound" until all problems or driver objections have been resolved. At the Rose Cup, a much larger than normal number of cars attend—as does a greater number of supporters and spectators.

 

In between races, I work on my car in the pits—or rest.  Something always needs doing:  filling the gas tank, checking tire pressures and temperatures, cleaning rubber chips from the undercarriage (tires can get as hot as 200°F on the track, and rubber flies off), and checking problems I may have noticed during the last race.

Cameron brings his bike, and combined with a walkie-talkie, that gives him some freedom to ride around, check out other races and other cars, and occasionally find some friends to play with. Amy comes along, too, and spends a lot of down-time catching up on reading (and taking photographs).

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