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The Saleen/Bullydog Perfomance Autosport Team has had a fantastic season in the NASA American Iron series and managed to take home the 2011 Championship. Below is the write up from the team about its last two events of the season along with a great video showing driver Chris Cobetto in action. We are extremely proud of to be a part of their team and to see our R40 wheel be pushed to the limit.
Oktoberfast - The End of the Season...
The PAS/Cobetto Racing crew packed up the car for it’s final 2 races at VIR this past weekend. For the first time this entire season we actually didn’t have a lot of adjustments to do to the car after Nationals. The car just needed a look over, make sure everything was tight and good to go and then loaded back up in the back of Cobetto’s trailer. Time to see if what we learned all season and the changes we made for Nationals would turn into a faster lap time at VIR. Before this event we held the American Iron lap record at 2:07.3xx. Now that we’ve had plenty of time on Hoosiers, tons more experience dialing the suspension/aero in, and much cooler weather, we were definitely thinking that there would be some fast laps in our future…hopefully a new lap record.
Friday was just a test day. We needed to get on track to bed in brakes and get ready for Saturday. Cobetto wanted to get some seat time in the car for some fast laps just to get comfortable with the changes we’ve made and how they translated to VIR. During practice, our good friend and competitor Beau Dunnivant had the unfortunate luck of hurting his motor just a few laps into his practice session. Beau then worked a deal with fellow competitor George Winkler to “borrow” his back up car, which is a World Challenge FR500 that he regularly de-tunes and runs in American Iron as well. Since Winkler had his BOSS 302 at the track, he let Beau take out his FR500. The only thing is…Beau needed to supply his own tires. So, a few minutes later after brainstorming with Cobetto, we had a back up set of our own Hoosiers on our HRE R40 wheels on Winkler’s FR500, for Beau to race! This is what NASA is all about, one big family helping each other out. As for us, we got our testing done. Car seemed ok, Cobetto was busy doing his normal Director duties and we just got the car ready for Saturday morning.
Saturday was going to be busy. There was a practice early in the morning, then qualifying, then two races about 2hrs apart. Normally there is one race on Saturday and one race on Sunday, but since this was the final points weekend both races were on Saturday to finialize championship points for all classes. Lucky for us, it was a drama-free weekend and we made it through with little to no issues. I had an 8:00am appointment to be on the dyno at the track to verify where we were at for horsepower because we were thinking of adding some weight to the car and upping the horsepower, but with the brisk morning air, we were already at our upper limit. We didn’t change a thing, didn’t need to add weight, and decided to leave everything alone. We missed practice because Cobetto was again busy being a director and the first time on track for the day would be during qualifying.
Cobetto said the car felt pretty good, but a little loose. The tire pressures didn’t come up as they usually do, so we had hoped that with the track warming up later in the day we’d be ready for the race. The lap times definitely told the story. We qualified 1st with the fastest lap we’ve ever turned in this car, a 2:05.839. Thats almost 2 seconds faster then the official lap record that we set back in March! This was also around 4 second faster then 2nd-4th place. We had the car dialed in pretty well and were quite happy with the progress we’ve made all season. It’s refreshing to see all the hard work turn into fast lap times and a comfortable driver that has confidence in the car he’s driving.
Race time came and Chris went to work. He diced through the field as quickly as he could to put some distance on the other AI drivers as Kienan Weber and Beau Dunnivant in his borrowed FR500 diced it up for 2nd for the entire race. Chris extended his lead and took 1st as Kienan took 2nd and Beau ended up in 3rd. It was a very clean race all around.