Sunday, 10.30.2011

After a good night sleep, Hugh arrived early at the track to get thing settled for the day.  It was still chilly out but thankfully the rain had stopped early on in the morning.  Hugh once again was faced with problems, as the Green Monster failed to start.  During the storm, water had gotten into the ECU somehow. This was not good.  After some work, the Green Monster fired right up.  Hugh barely made it out onto the track in time and was able to run 7 laps with a best time coming on lap 6, with a 1:32.032.  That would have been good for 3rd position until the car began running erratically and Hugh needed to immediately tend to it. He was disqualified for missing the scales, but the car needed to be looked at.  Hugh was forced to start 33rd overall out of a 35 car field.

Thanks to Risky Projectz for this photo.
"I feel that the car is good.  The brakes and handling are where I want them to be, but this will be a tall order to catch up to the rest of the guys.  We'll see how it goes," Hugh said before the race.

Cecil was running good times at Thunderbolt but during the morning's Practice/Qualifying, the pressure plate broke.  Too many hard downshifted caused one of the pins to break on Lap 6, but he still managed a 1:33.4 which would have placed him nicely in the field of GTS3 cars.  He was disqualified as he too missed the scales after the session was over, but there was no point of going there because the car was clearly broken and unable to be fixed then and there.  The weekend was over for Crazy-Otto.

Thanks to Ray at Garagespec Magazine for this photo.
Jonathan was glad to have moved up to GTS3 in his #127 BMW, until he had an argument with one of the officials and was forced to run in GTSU, with cars of twice the power.  Not a problem though, Jonathan still ran a low 1:32 lap and was happy to be out there racing.

Thanks to VAC Motorsports for this photo.
Time-trialers Gabe P. and David M. ran in between the race group sessions in their BMW M3's.  Gabe, still getting used to the car, ran a respectable 1:41.543 lap in TTA with Dave not far behind him.

Thanks to Risky Projectz for this photo.
The race was scheduled for 2:15pm on Sunday, October 30, 2011.  The track was crowded with cars of all different classes.  Hugh and Jonathan were ready to go as they strapped into their cars.  The green flag was waved as cars went 3 and 4 wide into the first turn.  Hugh was able to overtake 5 cars after only two corners and quickly worked his way up to the back of the lead pack of cars.  After only lap 1, he had gained 4 spots in GTS3, and on lap 4, closing in on teammate Jonathan Vasquez in his Green Monster.  Hugh was on the move and passed Jonathan soon after.

Thanks to Ray at Garagespec Magazine for this photo.
Jonathan stayed with Hugh for another lap or so, until he over sped into the first turn causing him to bail and turn to the left, catching him in the gravel trap.  Unlucky JVR.  Here is Jonathan's video:

After JVR had been pulled out of the gravel trap and the pace car drove back into the pits, Hugh was now closer to the top of the GTS3 field.  During the caution, he caught a break and was able to catch up.  Once the green was waved again, Hugh got back to work and set his sights on Mark Lounsbury in his #151 BMW M3.  A lap after the restart, Hugh caught Mark who had gotten stuck behind a GTS4 car.  

Thanks to Ray at Garagespec Magazine for this photo.
On the final turn of the final lap, Hugh made the move for the thought-1st position.  Al Galossi's GTS4 car ahead got severely sideways going through the last turn, which slowed Lounsbury up greatly.  Hugh saw the opportunity and kept his foot in it until the start/finish line.  He inched past Lounsbury for the position!

Thanks to Ray at Garagespec Magazine for this photo.
The gap between him and Lounsbury? A corner light basically.  The gap was a mere 0.067 of a second.  Quite a remarkable performance by Hugh Stewart.  Unfortunately, Aaron Povoledo finished first in his #126 GTS3 BMW M3 (did not have a '3' on the car to designate his class) which gave Hugh 2nd place.  Regardless, it was an amazing race.  It was a tough battle with the weather over the course of the weekend, but well worth it afterwards.  Here is Hugh's video:

Cheers to a great outcome to the weekend!


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