Posts Tagged ‘Chad Marlett’

CFR 2017 Championship Race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Pandemonium Games

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

On Friday, April 13, 2018, Gary Sturgeon clinched the championship of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing series by finishing 4th out of a field of 13 drivers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix held on the Yas Marina track. Garry Kaluzny won the race, his 2nd victory of the season, thus clinching 2nd place in the season standings for Kaluzny. Richard White (2nd place) and Jack Beckman (3rd) were the other podium finishers. The race was held at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan.

Yas Marina track

Yas Marina 2017 track diagram.

Yas Marina CFR track

Yas Marina CFR track.

The qualifying bidding was once again using the standard Championship Formula Racing procedure where all drivers secretly bid a number of their wear and/or skill markers. Each wear marker counted as 1.0 for bidding, while each  -1 skill marker counted as 0.5 towards qualifying. Chad Marlett outbid the competition to get pole position with a bid of 8.5 (6 wear + 5 skill). Starting beside Marlett on the front row was Mike Cook with a bid of 6.5 (0 wear + 13 skill). Cook used his single -3 skill marker and 10 of his -1 skill markers, leaving him with only two -1 skill markers for the actual race. Starting in 3rd place was Jack Beckman with a bid of 5.0 (2 wear + 6 skill). Richard White started 4th with a bid of 4.5 (3 wear + 3 skill). Garry Kaluzny was 5th with a bid of 4.0 (2 wear + 4 skill). Three drivers were tied with bids of 3.0, so they rolled percentage dice for starting positions. Gary Sturgeon (0 wear + 6 skill) rolled 89 to start 6th, Jim Landis (1 wear + 4 skill) rolled 75 to start 7th, and Mike St. Peter (2 wear + 2 skill) rolled 61 to start 8th. Ninth and 10th positions were also diced for, with Brian Robinson (2 wear + 1 skill, rolled 92) getting 9th and newcomer Mike Hernandez (2 wear + 1 skill, rolled 02) starting 10th. Jim Magnanti (0 wear + 4 skill), a Speed Circuit racer from the 1980s who was racing in his first CFR race, started 11th. Greg Lim bid 1.5 (0 wear + 3 skill) to start 12th, and Gary Kempen started 13th with a bid of 1.0 (0 wear + 2 skill).

The starting grid and their car specs:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)            60   60    40   160  4x   3x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard 
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard 
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft 
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   60    40   180  4x   2x   hard 
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)              60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard 
 5 Brian Robinson (Williams)          20   60    60   160  4x   3x   soft
 8 Mike Hernandez (McLaren)           60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 6 Jim Magnanti (Benetton)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (McLaren)                 60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)              20   60    60   180  4x   2x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid at Yas Marina

Starting grid at Yas Marina: 1st row:Chad Marlett (Red Bull) & Mike Cook (yellow Lotus); 2nd row: Jack Beckman (red Ferrari) & Richard White (Brabham); 3rd row: Garry Kaluzny (orange McLaren) & Gary Sturgeon (black Lotus); 4th row: Jim Landis (Benetton) & Mike St. Peter (silver Mercedes); 5th row: Brian Robinson (Walker Racing) & Mike Hernandez (orange & white “driverless” McLaren); 6th row: Jim Magnanti (yellow & green Benetton) & Greg Lim (orange & white McLaren with a driver); 7th row: Gary Kempen (red Ferrari). Yay for the Grid Girls!

When the green flag dropped, Chad Marlett, since he was on soft tires, used a wear to increase his start speed from 60 to 80 mph. Mike Cook, on hard tires, rolled dice to increase his start speed to 80 mph, so both Marlett and Cook made it into the first corner before all of the trailing cars. Richard White took advantage of his soft tires to also use a wear to go 80 mph, thus taking 3rd place from Jack Beckman. Beckman, on hard tires, only went 60 mph, while Garry Kaluzny, who started directly behind Beckman but on soft tires, used a wear to go 80 mph and thus pulled alongside Beckman. Gary Sturgeon (hard tires) only went 60 mph, while Mike St. Peter, even though he was on hard tires, rolled dice to get to 80 mph, passing Jim Landis and pulling alongside Sturgeon. Landis, although on soft tires, only went 60 mph for his start speed. Brian Robinson used a wear to boost his start speed to 40 mph, but nonetheless, Mike Hernandez went 60 mph and got in front of B. Robinson. Jim Magnanti and Greg Lim both went 60 mph to pull alongside B. Robinson, and Gary Kempen merely started at his 20 mph start speed.

The pack races away

The pack races away from the start line! The running order: Marlett; Cook; White; Beckman; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; St. Peter; Landis; Hernandez; B. Robinson; Magnanti; Lim; and Kempen.

On the next move, Marlett accelerated off the corner to 140 mph, thus opening a gap of 3 spaces over Cook as Cook was only able to accelerate to 100 mph as he was stuck on a posted speed space in the middle of the 1st corner. Both White and Kaluzny pulled alongside Cook coming out of that 1st corner. The other drivers stayed in their same positions.

Through the first corner

Through the first corner, Marlett opens a lead of three spaces over Cook, White, and Kaluzny.

Marlett held his lead going into the hairpin just before the longest straightaway, although Kaluzny managed to get to the inside of the track from Cook and White. Mike St. Peter also pulled alongside Beckman, and Landis pulled alongside Sturgeon. Lim got into the 2nd corner in front of both B. Robinson and Magnanti.

Marlett continues to lead

Marlett continues to lead heading into the hairpin.

Marlett slowed to 60 mph for the hairpin curve, taking the inside lane. But White put on a burst of speed, driving 120 mph through the 60 mph corner just before the hairpin, and then taking the outside of the hairpin at 120 mph, thus pulling up alongside Marlett. Kaluzny went 100 mph and got stuck in the outside lane of the hairpin. Cook also went 100 mph, but ended up behind Kaluzny in the hairpin.

White then accelerated to 160 mph coming out of the hairpin, with Marlett (who only accelerated to 140 mph) slotting in behind White. Kaluzny was 3 spaces behind Marlett, with Cook right on Kaluzny’s tailpipe. St. Peter took over 5th place from Beckman.

White takes the lead

White takes the lead down the long straightaway. The running order is White, Marlett, Kaluzny, Cook, St. Peter, Beckman, Sturgeon, Landis, Hernandez, Magnanti, Lim, Kempen, and B. Robinson.

By the time the pack reached the left-right S-curves at the end of the 3-wide section, Marlett’s car was starved of wear, seeing as he had bid 6 of his precious wear markers in his bid to obtain the pole position. Kaluzny passed Marlett for 2nd, and was only two spaces behind White. Cook pulled alongside Marlett just before those S-curves.

Kaluzny moves into 2nd place

Kaluzny moves into 2nd place over Marlett. The running order: White, Kaluzny, Marlett, Cook, Beckman, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Landis, Hernandez, Magnanti, B. Robinson, Kempen, and Lim.

Through the next few curvy sections of the track (although those curvy sections did not have speed limits), White and Kaluzny manufactured a lead of several spaces over the rest of the pack.

White and Kaluzny stretch out a lead

White and Kaluzny stretch out a lead over the rest of the pack.

Coming into the 2nd-to-last corner of the 1st lap, Mike Hernandez was behind a glut of cars that included Marlett, Beckman, Cook, and St. Peter.

Most of the pack is bunched up

Most of the pack is bunched up coming into the second to last corner on the 1st lap. Mike Hernandez is in the orange and white McLaren, directly behind Mike Cook’s yellow Lotus.

Marlett and Beckman continued on at only 80 mph coming out of that corner, and Cook went 100 mph while St. Peter went 80 mph. Hernandez, the rookie driver, plotted 140 mph! After paying 2 wears and successfully making a chance roll to go 60 mph over the posted speed limit of the corner, he then attempted to force pass two rows of cars. In the first row of Beckman and St. Peter, Hernandez elected to force pass Beckman, who tried to block the pass. Hernandez made the pass safely, but had to lose 1 wear in the attempt. Hernandez then decided to force pass Marlett, but Marlett did not try to block, so Hernandez easily made the forced pass dice roll and so he gained four positions with a single move (and only using 3 wear to do so)!

Mike Hernandez has just force passed four cars

Mike Hernandez (orange and white McLaren just in front of Chad Marlett’s Red Bull) has just force-passed four cars to move into 3rd place! White and Kaluzny have just pulled into the pits so they are off to the side of the track.

White and Kaluzny built enough of a lead so that they could both pull into the pits a turn before anyone else on the track. It should be noted that they both expended all of their wear in their gaining the lead over the rest of the pack. But of course, drivers should use all of their wear before deciding to pit, n’est-ce pas?

As the pack came around the final corner before the start/finish line, Hernandez spun out, thereby negating all of the positions he had gained with his magnificent forced-pass of a moment ago. But Hernandez decided to pull into the pits after the spin, so did not affect any other cars that were still trying to negotiate that corner. Also pitting were the cars of Marlett, St. Peter, and Magnanti.

More cars in the pits

Hernandez, Marlett, St. Peter, and Magnanti join White and Kaluzny in the pits.

Mike Cook now became the leader on the track, as he did not pit. As he crossed the start/finish line, he gained 2 wear, as he was on hard tires, to add to his remaining 6 wear, thus giving him 8 wear for the next lap. Beckman also stayed on the track, gaining 2 wear, plus his remaining 6 wear. Sturgeon stayed on the track, gaining 2 wear to add to his 4 wear, and Kempen also stayed out, adding 2 wear to his remaining 3 wear for the 2nd lap. Jim Landis and Brian Robinson now pulled into the pits just as White and Kaluzny were leaving the pits. White and Kaluzny were now both on hard tires.

Cook takes the lead

Mike Cook takes the lead as he forgoes pitting. Beckman moves into 2nd place.

The official classification order after the 1st lap was: Cook (+1); Beckman (+1); Landis (+4); White (0); Sturgeon (+1); Kaluzny (-1); Kempen (+6); Lim (+4); Magnanti (+2); Marlett (-9); St. Peter (-3); B. Robinson (-3); and Hernandez (-3). It was a pity that Hernandez spun immediately after pulling off his brilliant forced pass. That spin dropped him from 3rd to 13th. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position. However, after the pit stops were all resolved, the running order on the track was: Cook; Beckman; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; Kempen; Lim; Magnanti; Marlett; St. Peter; Landis; B. Robinson; and Hernandez.

Running order after the 1st pit stops

Running order after the 1st pit stops: Cook; Beckman; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; Kempen; Lim; Magnanti; Marlett; St. Peter; Landis; B. Robinson; and Hernandez.

After the 1st pit stops, White quickly caught up to front-runners Cook and Beckman, while Kaluzny caught that trio by the hairpin leading onto the long straightaway.

White battles Cook for the lead

White (blue and white Brabham) battles Cook (yellow Lotus) for the lead as Kaluzny (orange McLaren) fights Beckman (red Ferrari) for 3rd place down the long straightaway. Meanwhile, Magnanti’s green and yellow Benetton has spun in the hairpin. A turn later, Landis’s Benetton would spin in that same hairpin.

Down the long straightaway, White passed Cook to take the lead, then Kaluzny also caught and passed Cook to take 2nd place.

Richard White's car takes the lead

Richard White’s car takes the lead. Pictured, from left: Richard White (black shirt); Mike St. Peter (can only see half his face); Mike Cook (dark green shirt); Gary Kempen (red shirt); Chad Marlett (pointing to Richard White’s leading car on the track); Greg Lim (USA shirt); Gary Sturgeon (gray shirt); Jim Landis (light green shirt); Jack Beckman (black shirt & red Ferrari hat). Also pictured is the back of Jim Magnanti’s head in the foreground.

As the cars came to the S-curve at the end of the 2nd straightaway, the first six cars were all bunched up. They were running in the order: White; Kaluzny; Kempen; Sturgeon; Cook; and Beckman. Kempen was doing very well, indeed, to be in 3rd place after starting in 13th place.

Top 6 places are bunched up

The top six positions are bunched up in the S-curve in the left side of the picture. Gary Sturgeon, at far right, anticipates winning the championship as he will clinch the title by taking at least a single point, and he is currently in 4th place, good enough for 3 points.

White and Kaluzny now battled for the lead, also while gaining a few spaces over the rest of the pack. Into the hairpin corner just before the last corner before the start/finish line, Kaluzny pulled even with White.

Kaluzny pulls even with White

Kaluzny pulls even with White at the 2nd hairpin corner. The rest of the running order: Beckman; Kempen; Sturgeon; Cook; Marlett; Lim; St. Peter; Magnanti; B. Robinson; Landis and Hernandez.

Kaluzny now made a move to take the lead as he drove at 140 mph coming out of the hairpin, which put him into the final corner at 60 mph over the speed limit for that corner. He used his last two wears and used two -1 skill markers, and successfully made the chance table roll. He then pulled into the pits for the 2nd time. White, meanwhile, played it safe by only going 120 mph, thus ending his move just short of that last corner. Kaluzny had been talking with White just before this last turn, where Kaluzny mentioned how he had been leading a demo race on this same Yas Marina track, but how he didn’t pit at the end of the 2nd lap, but Jack Beckman did pit, and then Beckman was able to catch Kaluzny for the victory in that demo race.

Kaluzny takes the lead and takes to the pits

Kaluzny takes the lead and takes to the pits while White pulls up short of the corner. Notice the special orange and black McLaren “support” vehicle next to Kaluzny’s orange McLaren race car in the pits. Also notice Kempen’s red #4 Ferrari has spun on the outside of the hairpin.

White cruised into the lead, and the closest cars on the track, Beckman, Sturgeon, and Cook, all had to pit as they had not pitted at the end of the 1st lap. Just as those cars came into the pits, Kaluzny exited the pits, switching back to soft tires, exactly 10 spaces behind White’s Brabham, with Kaluzny having his full 15 wear and White having a total of 5 wear for the last lap after gaining 2 wear when he crossed the start/finish line due to his being on hard tires. White, though, used one of his precious wears in negotiating the 1st corner past the start/finish line at 120 mph, so he only had 4 wear left for the rest of the lap.

White now leads while Kaluzny leaves the pits

White (blue and white Brabham in the near-left corner) now leads while Kaluzny (orange McLaren) leaves the pits. Beckman, Sturgeon, and Cook have just entered the pits. Gary Sturgeon looks on, still anticipating winning the CFR-Detroit 2017 Championship.

As they came around the last corner before the start/finish line, the cars of Lim and Kempen pulled into the pits. Staying on the track were Marlett, Magnanti, B. Robinson, St. Peter, Landis, and Hernandez.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: White (+3); Kaluzny (+3); Marlett (-2); Magnanti (+7); Beckman (-2); B. Robinson (+3); Sturgeon (-1); Cook (-6); St. Peter (-1); Landis (-3); Hernandez (-1); Lim (0); and Kempen (0). Kempen was back in 13th place, where he had qualified, although he had been as high as 3rd place. Sturgeon was now in 7th place, out of the points, but he still stood to win the championship if Mike Cook did not win the race, and Cook’s odds of winning the race were very slim at the moment as White had a 20-space lead over Cook after Cook’s pit stop.

After the 2nd round of pit stops were resolved, the running order on the track was: White; Kaluzny; Marlett; Beckman; Magnanti; Sturgeon; Cook; B. Robinson; St. Peter; Landis; Hernandez; Lim; and Kempen.

White leads by 6 spaces over Kaluzny

After the 2nd round of pit stops are complete, White leads by 6 spaces over Kaluzny as they speed down the straightaway.

Kaluzny slowly crept up on White, then in the S-curve at the end of the 2nd straightaway, Kaluzny finally passed to take the lead. Beckman had managed to pass Marlett for 3rd, and Sturgeon was now in what looked like a safe 5th position, which would give him 2 points and the title.

Kaluzny takes the lead just past the S-curve

Kaluzny takes the lead from White just past the S-curve. Beckman, Marlett, and Sturgeon are approaching the S-curve. Farther back are Cook, Magnanti, B. Robinson, Lim, Landis (spun in the farther S-curve), Kempen, St. Peter, and Hernandez.

Then on the next turn, Kaluzny drove 100 mph and took the inside, eschewing the cornering arrow. White drove 120 mph and pulled up next to Kaluzny’s McLaren, on the cornering arrow.

Kaluzny and White are side-by-side

Kaluzny and White are side-by-side with only a few corners left to race through. Landis, meanwhile, has recovered from his spin in the S-curves at the right of the picture, and now has St. Peter breathing down his tailpipe.

But now Kaluzny took advantage of his having more wear remaining than White. Kaluzny plotted 100 mph, while White could only go 80 mph without resorting to taking chance dice rolls through the next two corners. Kaluzny moved first by virtue of plotting a higher speed, taking the outside of the first corner (through the 80 mph spaces) for a 1-wear expenditure, then moving into the hairpin corner (spending another wear) so as to hog the last space of the corner, forcing White to pull in behind. Far back on the track, Hernandez rolled an unmodified chance at the S-curves in the middle of the two long straightaways and crashed his shiny new McLaren, thereby becoming the only DNF of the race and ending up in 13th place.

Kaluzny regains the lead

Kaluzny regains the lead over White. Hernandez has just crashed in the S-curves at the right of the picture (note the safety car, flatbed truck, and yellow flag).

Back at the 2nd of the S-curves at the end of the long straightaways, Kempen forced a pass through Lim and B. Robinson. Sturgeon and Marlett were having a spirited duel for 4th place.

Kempen has just forced a pass

At the far left of the picture, Kempen (red Ferrari roadster) has just force-passed Lim (orange and white McLaren) and B. Robinson (white and blue car) and is alongside Magnanti (yellow and green Benetton). Kaluzny (orange McLaren) prepares to take the final corner before the checkered flag.

Garry Kaluzny (+4) then cruised to the victory, his second of the eight-race 2017 CFR-Detroit racing season. Richard White (+2) took 2nd place, then Jack Beckman (0) finished in 3rd. Gary Sturgeon (+2) did take 4th place and 3 points, thereby earning him the championship of the 2017 season.

Sturgeon clinches the championship

Sturgeon clinches the championship with a 4th place finish! Cook (yellow car), Marlett (Red Bull), Kempen (red car), and B. Robinson (white and blue car) are all about to cross the finish line. Lim and Magnanti have both spun in the final corner right in front of St. Peter.

There were now four cars, Cook, Marlett, Kempen, and B. Robinson, vying for the final two points-paying positions of 5th and 6th place. In CFR, if cars enter a corner past the finish line, they must pay for that corner using wear or rolling on the chance table the same as if they were still racing. Any car that spins in the corner past the finish line is considered to have finished the race behind other cars that touched or crossed the finish line on that same turn. If a car crashes in that corner past the finish line, it is considered to have not finished the race at all and becomes a DNF.

Cook moved first, at 100 mph. Not wanting to take a chance dice roll, Cook moved into the middle 100 mph space. Next, Marlett moved at 120 mph, taking the outside 140 mph space, also not spending any wear nor rolling on the chance table. Kempen moved next, at 160 mph, and attempted a forced pass on Marlett in the outside lane. Naturally, Marlett attempted to block the forced pass. During the forced pass dice roll, Kempen rolled a “4” on one of the dice, meaning he had to spend a wear; however, he did not have any wear remaining, so his car spun in the same space as was occupied by Marlett’s car. Brian Robinson then moved at 160 mph. He made his forced pass over Marlett by using two -1 skill markers for his dice roll; he then used his -3 skill marker for a chance table roll, successfully making both rolls, and so effectively passed Cook, Marlett, and Kempen!

Brian Robinson (+4) thus was classified in 5th place, and Mike Cook (-4) got the single point for 6th place. Finishing out of the points in 7th and 8th places, respectively, were Chad Marlett (-6) and Gary Kempen (+5).

Brian Robinson forces a pass

Brian Robinson forces a pass over Marlett to take 5th place.

After the excitement of B. Robinson’s forced pass, the rest of the finishers were: Mike St. Peter (-1) in 9th; Jim Landis (-3) in 10th; Greg Lim (+1) in 11th; and Jim Magnanti (-1) in 12th. Mike Hernandez (-3), a DNF, was classified 13th.

Points awarded at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Kaluzny 10; White 6; Beckman 4; Sturgeon 3; B. Robinson 2; Cook 1.

The final points standings of the 2017 CFR-Detroit season after the eighth and final race:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  44
  2   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            37
  3   Richard White (Brabham)            34  
  4   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            32
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             29
  6   Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               8
  7T  Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 6
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      6
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0
 12T  Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)           0
 12T  Jim Magnanti (Benetton)             0
 12T  Mike Hernandez (McLaren)            0

Immediately after the race was concluded, the Championship trophy of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing season was presented to Gary Sturgeon. Sturgeon won two races during the season, and also finished 2nd three times, as well as finishing 4th twice. He only failed to score points in his first race, at Monza, where he finished 7th.

Gary Sturgeon receives the championship trophy

Gary Sturgeon (left, in gray shirt) receives the 2017 Championship trophy from race steward Garry Kaluzny (right, orange shirt). (Greg Lim photo)

After the championship trophy was awarded, it was time to vote for the recipient of the Tom Kane Memorial Award to be given to the most sportsmanlike driver of the 2017 season. Greg Lim was awarded the honor by the vote of his peers, earning 8 of the 13 votes cast. Tom Kane raced in our first Detroit area Speed Circuit campaign in 1984. He was an extremely polite racer, and would shrug off adversity, like bad dice rolls. Unfortunately, Tom passed away near the end of that first Speed Circuit campaign. So we then decided to annually give the Tom Kane Memorial Award to the most sportsmanlike driver, as a way of keeping Tom’s memory alive.

Greg Lim receives the Tom Kane trophy

Greg Lim (USA shirt, right) receives the Tom Kane Memorial Award trophy from race steward Garry Kaluzny (orange shirt, left).

The new 2018 season of CFR-Detroit will begin on Friday, May 11, 2018, at Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan. Race time is 6:45 pm, although drivers are asked to arrive by 6:15pm to setup their race car’s specifications. The new schedule is posted on the CFR-Detroit home page at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/.

Also, check out the records from the 2017 CFR-Detroit season at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/2017/index.html.

CFR Race #5: Detroit Grand Prix at RIW Hobbies & Games

Monday, February 5th, 2018

January 12, 2018, saw 13 racers compete at the Detroit Grand Prix, racing on the old downtown Detroit track. The race was held at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan. When the engines stopped revving, Gary Sturgeon had earned his first victory of the season, propelling him into 2nd place in the points standings. Other podium finishers were Jack Beckman (2nd) and Gary Kempen (3rd), aka Team Ferrari.

Downtown Detroit track used from 1983 through 1988.

Downtown Detroit track used from 1983 through 1988.

When Avalon Hill was creating extra tracks for Speed Circuit in the 1980s, they created a downtown Detroit Grand Prix track based on the 1982 version of the track that had the hairpin at E. Jefferson Ave, but that track was not all that accurate. So, I (Garry Kaluzny) created a new track for Speed Circuit of the downtown Detroit circuit. Here is that track diagram:

Downtown Detroit track suitable for use with Championship Formula Racing.

Downtown Detroit track suitable for use with Championship Formula Racing.

While the bidding for Pole Position at most previous races was rather conservative, most racers upped their qualifying bid quite a bit for this track, as everyone wanted to start up front! I was rather shocked, myself, as although I bid 2 Wear and 3 skill for a bid of 3.5, I started way back in the pack in 9th place (out of 13 starters). As a reminder to folks who are not familiar with the CFR board game bidding process, bidding 1 Wear counts as 1.0, bidding 1 Skill counts as 0.5. The entire bidding results:

Pole Position went to Jim Robinson, his first Pole of the season. Jim bid 2 Wear and 12 Skill (all of his -1 Skill markers!) for a bid of 8.0. Four drivers, Gary Sturgeon (0 Wear, 12 Skill), Jack Beckman (1 Wear, 10 Skill), Greg Lim (0 Wear, 12 Skill), and Mike Cook (2 Wear, 8 Skill), all bid 6.0. They then all rolled percentage dice, rolling 91, 73, 64, and 07, respectively, so Sturgeon was 2nd on the grid, Beckman was 3rd, Lim 4th, and Cook was 5th. Two drivers, Gary Kempen (2 Wear, 5 Skill) and Chad Marlett (3 Wear, 3 Skill) bid 4.5, with Kempen winning the percentage dice roll-off by 44 to 39, thus giving Kempen the 6th starting spot on the grid and relegating Marlett to 7th. Jim Landis slotted into the 8th starting spot with a bid of 4.0 (1 Wear and 6 Skill), and Garry Kaluzny grabbed 9th after bidding 3.5 (2 Wear and 3 Skill). 10th place went to Richard White with his bid of 3.0 (3 Wear and 0 Skill). 11th place was contested by identical bids of 2.5 by Mike Manderachia (2 Wear, 1 Skill) and Brian Robinson (0 Wear, 5 Skill), with Manderachia winning the roll-off by 93 to 90, thus placing Brian Robinson in 12th place. Newcomer Tim Gould started 13th with a bid of only 1.5 (1 Wear and 1 Skill).

The starting grid and their car stats:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)            60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            100   40    20   140  5x   4x   hard
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           100   40    40   140  5x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)              20   60    40   140  5x   4x   soft
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)            60   60    60   140  4x   3x   soft
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)              60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
25 Mike Manderachia (Ligier)          60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     20   80    40   140  5x   3x   soft
10 Tim Gould (McLaren)                60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

It was nice to have Mike Manderachia race with us. Although this was his first race using the Championship Formula Racing rules, Mike used to race with us using the Advanced Speed Circuit rules back in the late 1980s. We also had newcomer Tim Gould in his first race, and Gary Kempen and Chad Marlett were in only their 2nd races.

It was interesting that two cars (Beckman and Cook) opted for a 100 mph Start Speed, while two others (Kempen and B. Robinson) chose 20 mph as their Start Speed. All drivers went with a 140 mph Top Speed (taking a point out of that characteristic so they could use it elsewhere) since Detroit only has one place where a car could conceivably go 160 mph (and probably wouldn’t get the chance if it was in traffic), and all drivers but one (Marlett) went with the maximum Wear of 5x, meaning they would start with 5 x 3 Wear = 15 Wear to start the race (minus any Wear they used in bidding for starting position).

The starting grid for the Detroit Grand Prix.

The starting grid for the Detroit Grand Prix: Jim Robinson (white/yellow/blue Williams) is to the inside of the track, Gary Sturgeon (black John Player Lotus) is to the outside.

When the green flag dropped to start the race, the front row cars of J. Robinson and Sturgeon both boosted their Start Speed to 80 mph, both using wear since they were both on soft tires. As Jim Robinson was to the inside of the track on the starting grid, he moved first, opting to take the cornering arrow for the first turn, thus allowing Sturgeon to take the inside position (and the lead). Beckman’s 100 mph start availed him nought, as he had to brake down to 80 mph to stay behind the two leaders. (Note: If Beckman had pushed his start speed to 120 mph, he could have attempted a forced pass and could possibly have taken the lead.) Greg Lim also boosted his Start Speed of 60 mph t0 80 mph by using a wear. Mike Cook also had to slow to 80 mph from his Start Speed of 100. The top five cars had now opened a two-space gap over the rest of the field. In the back pack, both Landis and White were balked and had to forced decelerate from 60 to 40 mph.

Roaring off at the start of the Detroit G.P.

Roaring off at the start of the Detroit G.P. Sturgeon (black car) has taken the lead from J. Robinson. Then Beckman, Lim, and Cook are close behind the leaders. The 2nd pack is Kempen, Marlett, Landis, Kaluzny, White, Manderachia, B. Robinson, and Gould.

On the 2nd move, Sturgeon plotted 120 mph and went around the outside of the 1st turn. J. Robinson plotted 100 mph and stayed to the inside (thus retaking the lead). Both cars were ready to exit that corner. Lim was right behind J. Robinson’s tailpipe, while Beckman was right behind Sturgeon. Cook had moved just 80 mph (4 spaces on the track) and had just entered the corner. Then came the rest of the field, with B. Robinson lagging back a bit, just to see how things would sort out at this first corner.

Through the 1st corner.

Through the 1st corner, the running order is: J. Robinson; Sturgeon; Beckman; Lim; Cook; Kempen; Marlett; Manderachia (up 3 positions); Kaluzny; Landis (down 2 positions); White; Gould, and B. Robinson.

The pack roared down Atwater Street, then turned right onto Saint Antoine, turned right again onto E. Jefferson Ave., then followed the lazy left-hand curve onto Chrysler Drive, which is the service drive for the I-375 expressway. Then a sharp left-hand turn onto E. Congress Street came next. At the sharp left hand turn onto Beaubien, Sturgeon (+1) narrowly led Jim Robinson (-1). Then came Beckman (0), Cook (+1), Marlett (+2), Lim (-2), Kempen (-1), Manderachia (+3), Landis (-1), Kaluzny (-1), Gould (+2), White (-2), and Brian Robinson (-1). The +/- indicates how many positions a driver has gained (+) or lost (-) from their qualifying position.

Turning left at Beaubien for the 1st time.

Rolling down Congress St. and turning left at Beaubien St. for the 1st time. (Greg Lim photo)

After the left turn onto Beaubien came a right turn onto Larned St. Coming out of that corner, Jim Robinson regained the lead from Sturgeon. Then after a short straight, there was a left onto Woodward Avenue followed by a right onto W. Jefferson Ave. Just at the turn onto W. Jefferson, Beckman and Cook had got right up with J. Robinson and Sturgeon. Manderachia was up to 5th place, having gained 6 positions since the start of the race.

Turning onto W. Jefferson.

Turning onto W. Jefferson. The pack has bunched up.

The pack raced down the short straight on West Jefferson, passing the Pontchartrain Hotel on their right just before making a sharp left turn onto Washington Boulevard right in front of Cobo Hall (before it was renamed Cobo Center). They raced down the steep incline around Cobo Arena, then turned right at the more than 90-degree Kodak Camera Corner, followed quickly by a hard left turn onto Atwater. Into the Goodyear Tunnel under Hart Plaza for the first time, it was Sturgeon with a two-space lead over Jim Robinson. Then came Cook in 3rd, Beckman in 4th, then Manderachia, Marlett, Kempen, Landis, Kaluzny, Lim, Gould, White, and Brian Robinson.

Through the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon leads the pack.

Through the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon leads the pack.

Coming out of the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon led the pack through the right-left Ford Corner, then Sturgeon was the first to pull into the pits. He was quickly followed by J. Robinson, Kempen, Manderachia, Landis, Marlett, and Gould. All of those cars switched from soft to hard tires.

The 1st pit stops are under way.

The 1st pit stops are under way. Although Sturgeon pulled into the pits first, technically Jim Robinson leads the first lap as his car’s nose is on the start/finish line.

A couple of turns after the leaders, the cars of Lim, White, and B. Robinson also pitted to switch from soft to hard tires. Cars not pitting were those of Beckman, Cook, and Kaluzny. The official order after one lap was: Jim Robinson (0); Beckman (+1); Cook (+2); Kaluzny (+5); Sturgeon (-3); Brian Robinson (+6); Lim (-3); Kempen (-2); Manderachia (+2); Landis (-2); Marlett (-4); Gould (+1); and White (-3). However, the running order after the pit stops at the end of the 1st lap were all completed was: Beckman, Cook, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Kaluzny, Kempen, Manderachia, Landis, Marlett, Gould, B. Robinson, White, and Lim.

Running order after 1st pit stops.

Running order after 1st pit stops: Beckman in the red Ferrari leads from Cook in the yellow Lotus.

During the 2nd lap, the pack got stretched out after the pit stops. Beckman continued to lead for about a half lap, and then Cook took the lead on Larned St.

Cook passes Beckman on Larned St.

Cook passes Beckman on Larned St. Faces pictured: Tim Gould (at left); Jim Robinson (green shirt); Jim Landis (burgundy shirt); and Gary Sturgeon (gray shirt).

Cook takes the lead from Beckman

Cook (in the Green Bay cap and shirt) enjoys his lead over Beckman and the rest of the pack. Brian Robinson (Dodge sweatshirt) stands next to Cook.

But Beckman fought back going through the Kodak Camera Corner and through the left-hand corner leading into the Goodyear Tunnel, and retook the lead.

Gamers take their racing seriously!

Gamers take their racing seriously! Pictured, from left: Mike Manderachia; Tim Gould; Chad Marlett (standing); Mike Cook; Brian Robinson.

Beckman led through the Ford Corner and then into the pits where he was joined by Cook and Jim Robinson. J. Robinson was pitting for the 2nd time in the race. Garry Kaluzny was feeling frustrated that he couldn’t make it into the pits on the same turn, and his ending up two spaces short of being able to pit on the same turn with the leaders cost him, as when he did finally come out of the pits, the rest of the pack swallowed him up. Those four drivers all switched from hard to soft tires for the final lap.

The 2nd round of pit stops begin.

The 2nd round of pit stops begin. Beckman, Cook, and Jim Robinson have pulled off the track and into the pits. Kaluzny’s orange McLaren is two spaces short of being able to pit. The first space where cars can pull into the pits is the 60 mph space just this side of the orange barrel; the final space is at the lower edge of the picture, two spaces past the finish line.

Kaluzny did get some satisfaction after his next move, though, as when he did pull into the pits he was officially the leader of the 2nd lap, although that lead was very short-lived.

Kaluzny takes the lead after pulling into the pits.

Kaluzny takes the lead after pulling into the pits, as his car has reached the finish line. Too bad for him there is another lap to go!

When the cars in the pits finally got back on the track, Gary Sturgeon had built a 5-space lead over his closest pursuers, Marlett and Kempen.

Gary Sturgeon takes the lead!

Gary Sturgeon takes the lead at the start of the final lap!

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: Kaluzny (+8); Sturgeon (0); Marlett (+4); Kempen (+2); Beckman (-2); Manderachia (+5); Cook (-2); Landis (0); J. Robinson (-8); White (0); Gould (+2); B. Robinson (0); and Lim (-9). However, after the pit stops were well and truly sorted out, the running order on the track was: Sturgeon; Marlett; Kempen; Beckman; Manderachia; Cook; Landis; J. Robinson; White; Kaluzny; Gould; B. Robinson; and Lim.

Sturgeon's lead has shrunk to one space over Beckman.

Sturgeon’s lead has shrunk to one space over Beckman at the end of Congress St.

Beckman then made a supreme effort to pass Sturgeon, and succeeded by out-braking Sturgeon at the end of Larned Street. Beckman then did everything he could to hold his lead, while points leader Cook leap-frogged a couple of competitors and got into 5th place.

Beckman holds his lead over Sturgeon.

Beckman holds his lead over Sturgeon heading into the Goodyear Tunnel for the last time. Note that Marlett’s Red Bull has spun between the two orange McLarens of Kaluzny and Gould. (Greg Lim photo)

Kaluzny successfully made a forced pass of Marlett on the ramp leading down to the Kodak Camera Corner from Washington Blvd. Marlett attempted to block, but Kaluzny rolled low enough on the Forced Pass table to not only get by Marlett but Kaluzny also passed Jim Robinson with that same move. However, one of the dice showed a “3” which meant that the defending car (Marlett) had to lose a wear. But Marlett’s car was out of wear, and that meant his car spun out. (See the above picture to see Marlett’s Red Bull car facing the wrong way on the track.) Marlett had also spun on the previous corner, and the two spins dropped him from 5th to 8th, and then he fell further to 9th place by the time he got back up to speed.

The drama continued of what would be a nail-biting finish to the race! Through the Goodyear Tunnel, the 2nd Ferrari of Gary Kempen got by Gary Sturgeon’s Lotus, taking over 2nd place from Sturgeon. The two Ferraris held their side-by-side lead over the Lotus through the Ford Corner.

The Ferraris lead over Sturgeon's Lotus.

The Ferraris lead over Sturgeon’s Lotus with only one more chicane between them and the end of the race.

But the Ferraris were wear-deprived, and they both only went 80 mph through the chicane, leaving them both one space short of the finish line. Sturgeon pushed his car to its limit, going 120 mph through the chicane, and then he pulled off a successful forced pass of the Ferraris to win the race! It was Sturgeon’s first victory of his racing career, and it was a memorable one after starting 2nd on the grid. Beckman (+1) came home in 2nd, and Kempen (+3) was 3rd.

Sturgeon wins in the black Lotus.

Sturgeon wins in the black Lotus after forced passing the Ferraris.

The rest of the pack finished in a rather less dramatic fashion. Cook (+1) took 4th, then came Manderachia (+6) in 5th, and Jim Landis (+2) was 6th, the last car to finish in the points. Finishing out of the points were: Jim Robinson (-6) 7th; Garry Kaluzny (+1) 8th; Tim Gould (+4) 9th; Brian Robinson (+2) 10th; Chad Marlett (-4) 11th; and Richard White (-2) 12th. After Richard White spun in the final chicane, it caused Greg Lim (-9) to crash. Lim was thusly classified 13th, although he was officially a DNF.

The points awarded at the Detroit Grand Prix: Sturgeon 10; Beckman 6; Kempen 4; Cook 3; Manderachia 2; and Landis 1.

The updated points standings after five (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            29
  2   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  25
  3   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            21
  4   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             18
  5   Richard White (Brabham)            14
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 4
  7T  Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               4
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0

The 6th race of the CFR-Detroit racing season will take place on Friday, February 9, 2018, at Guild of Blades at 774 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, Michigan. The race will start at 7:00 pm sharp! So drivers should be there by 6:30 pm to settle in and to set up their car’s specifications for the race. We didn’t start the Detroit G.P. until 7:42 pm, and we had a difficult time getting the race’s three laps completed before the 11:00 pm closing time of RIW Hobbies & Games. It should be noted that Guild of Blades also has an 11:00 pm closing time, which is why we must start exactly on time, especially since we had 13 drivers at the race.

CFR Race #4: Belgian Grand Prix at Pandemonium Games

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

On Friday, December 8, 2017, the Belgian Grand Prix was contested at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan. Twelve drivers competed on the Spa-Francorchamps track using the Championship Formula Racing (CFR) Rules. Mike Cook won the race from the pole position; it was his second consecutive victory and enabled him to take over the points lead. Joining Cook on the podium were Richard White (2nd place) and Garry Kaluzny (3rd place).

Map of the real Spa-Francorchamps race track.

Map of the real Spa-Francorchamps race track. (from Wikipedia)

The Spa-Francorchamps track diagram, from the 1980s.

The Spa-Francorchamps track used with CFR, from the 1980s.

The Spa track is a bit unusual, in that it has the slow La Source hairpin turn right after the start-finish line. Any car that can get through that turn first at the start of the race has a big advantage over following cars. That being said, Mike Cook (1 wear and 9 skill) and Garry Kaluzny (5 wear and 1 skill) both bid 5.5 for the pole position, with Cook earning the pole by a better dice roll than Kaluzny. (Note: Qualifying order in CFR is determined by how much a driver secretly bids, using his wear and/or skill markers. Each wear counts as a bid of 1, and each skill is 0.5. Any ties are resolved by dice rolls) Greg Lim and Gary Sturgeon each bid 4, each bidding 1 wear and 6 skill. Lim won the resulting dice roll, so he started 3rd and Sturgeon was 4th. Jim Robinson started 5th, with a bid of 3 (2 wear & 2 skill). Four drivers bid 2.5, and started in this order after the resulting dice rolls: 6th place was Brian Robinson (0 wear & 5 skill); 7th place was Richard White (2 wear & 1 skill); 8th place was rookie Chad Marlett (1 wear & 3 skill); 9th place was another rookie, Gary Kempen (2 wear + 1 skill). Jack Beckman started 10th with a bid of 1.5 (1 wear & 1 skill), Jim Landis started 11th with a bid of 1 (0 wear and 2 skill), and Russ Herschler started in 12th after he bid zero.

The starting grid and their car stats:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)           60   60    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)               60   40    60   180  4x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus) 20   60    60   160  5x   2x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   60    60   180  3x   2x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    20   40    40   180  5x   3x   soft
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   60    40   160  4x   3x   hard
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)           60   60    60   160  3x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            20   80    60   160  4x   2x   hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
23 Russ Herschler (Minardi)          60   60    40   180  3x   3x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 4x of Wear would receive 12 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid for the Belgian G.P.

Starting grid for the Belgian G.P.: 1st row: Mike Cook (inside, yellow car); Garry Kaluzny (outside, orange car). 2nd row: Greg Lim (inside); Gary Sturgeon (outside). 3rd row: Jim Robinson (inside); Brian Robinson (outside). 4th row: Richard White (inside); Chad Marlett (outside). 5th row: Gary Kempen (inside); Jack Beckman (outside). 6th row: Jim Landis (inside); Russ Herschler (outside). Notice the  temporary starting grid that was used to ensure all cars started on non-numbered spaces. (Greg Lim photo)

At the start, Garry Kaluzny automatically boosted his starting speed to 80 mph without having to roll dice as his car had started on soft tires. Mike Cook, who started on hard tires, had to roll to increase his starting speed to 80 mph, and he successfully made the roll. Therefore, the pole sitter Cook moved first and took the inside lane through La Source. Kaluzny, not wanting to use forced deceleration, went around the outside to keep his speed at 80 mph. The rest of the field followed through La Source. By the time he passed through Eau Rouge on that first lap, Cook (0) had pulled out a 3 space lead. Jim Robinson (+3) and Greg Lim (0) had passed Kaluzny (-2) for 2nd and 3rd place. (The parenthesized numbers indicate how many spaces each driver gained (+) or lost (-) from the start.) Then came these drivers: 5th, Gary Sturgeon (-1); 6th, Brian Robinson (0); 7th, Chad Marlett (+1); 8th, Richard White (-1); 9th, Gary Kempen (0); 10th, Jim Landis (+1); 11th, Jack Beckman (-1); and 12th, Russ Herschler (0).

The field goes through La Source and Eau Rouge on the 1st lap.

The field goes through La Source and Eau Rouge on the 1st lap. Chad Marlett (behind the #71 marker) looks on. (Mike Cook photo)

As the field went through the Les Combes and Malmedy corners, Kaluzny passed both Lim and J. Robinson to regain 2nd place, and was now only 2 spaces behind the leader Cook at they approached the Rivage corner.

Approaching Rivage, the running order is Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, then a small gap, then Marlett, White, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler.

Approaching Rivage, the running order is Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, then a small gap, then Marlett, White, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler. (Mike Cook photo)

After a few more corners, Cook stretched out his lead to 5 spaces over Kaluzny, but then led by only 4 spaces through the Fagnes corner. Most of the running order stayed the same: Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, White, Marlett, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler.

Cook increases his lead through the Fagnes corner.

Cook increases his lead through the Fagnes corner. (Greg Lim photo)

As the field came around to complete the 1st lap, Cook touched the finish line to complete that 1st lap in 1st place, but several other cars had bunched up right behind him. Those other cars then all pulled into the pits, as they had all used up their starting wear points. Pitting were Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim,  and B. Robinson. All of those cars switched from soft to hard tires. Meanwhile, in the back of the field, Kempen tried to force a pass on Marlett, but got balked. Kempen lost a wear on the failed forced pass dice roll, then had to spend his last wear and rolled forced deceleration roll (using 1 skill marker) so he could slow from 160 to 120 mph.

Cook's yellow Lotus leads the 1st lap while Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim, and B. Robinson's cars are all in the pits.

Cook’s yellow Lotus leads the 1st lap while Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim, and B. Robinson’s cars are all in the pits. (Jack Beckman photo)

The cars of White and Marlett didn’t pit, but stayed out on the track on their hard tires. White’s car gained 3 wear when it crossed the start/finish line, while Marlett’s car gained 4 wear. That’s the advantage of hard tires in CFR, if you don’t pit, you gain a few wear at the end of a lap. The cars of Kempen and Landis originally were not going to pull into the pits, but when they saw all of the cars that were ahead of them pull out of the pits and take up all of the track spots, then Kempen and Landis did decide to pull into the pits for new tires. In particular, Kempen really needed to pit as he had no wear remaining. Herschler also decided to pit at the end of the 1st lap. Kempen and Herschler switched from hard to soft tires, while Landis got hard tires to replace his soft tires. Beckman also stayed out on the track, and gained 3 wear when he crossed the line.

Cook leads White by 6 spaces while a gaggle of cars are either entering or leaving the pits!

Cook leads White by 6 spaces while a gaggle of cars are either entering or leaving the pits! (Mike Cook photo)

The official running order for the 1st lap: Cook (0); White (+5); Marlett (+5); Kaluzny (-2); Lim (-2); Beckman (+4); Kempen (+2); Landis (+3); J. Robinson (-4); Sturgeon (-6); B. Robinson (-5); Herschler (0).

The 2nd lap saw Cook hold his several space lead over White, and then White was 9 spaces ahead of Marlett. Kaluzny was battling side-by-side with Beckman’s Ferrari for 4th and 5th place, then a couple of spaces behind them came J. Robinson and Lim who were fighting for 6th and 7th place. Sturgeon was two spaces further back in 8th, then B. Robinson was another 5 spaces back in 9th place. Herschler, Landis, and Kempen brought up the rear.

Cook (yellow car near the #3 sign at the top of the picture) leads from White (whose car is near the #20 sign). The rest of the field is strung out, with the back-markers being almost a half-lap behind the leader.

Cook (yellow car near the #3 sign at the top of the picture) leads from White (whose car is near the #20 sign). The rest of the field is strung out, with the back-markers being almost a half-lap behind the leader. (Mike Cook photo)

Cook and White maintained their lead during the 2nd lap, until finally they came around to the pits. Since they had not pitted after the 1st lap, they needed to pit, not only to change tire compounds (they both changed from hard to soft) but because both cars were out of wear.

Cook's yellow Lotus has just pulled into the pits at the end of its 2nd lap. White's car is just about to enter the "Bus Stop" chicane, and it too will pit shortly. The rest of the field is still strung out far behind.

Cook’s yellow Lotus has just pulled into the pits at the end of its 2nd lap. White’s car is just about to enter the “Bus Stop” chicane, and it too will pit shortly. The rest of the field is still strung out far behind. Greg Lim points towards the leader’s car. (Mike Cook photo)

Kaluzny had been battling with the Red Bull car of Marlett for 3rd place for most of the 2nd lap, but then Marlett had to pit because he had not pitted after the 1st lap. (As a side note, with the 3-lap races we run for our CFR season, cars must use both hard and soft tires at some point during the race, which means everyone must make at least one pit stop.) Kaluzny decided his only chance for victory was to stay out on the track, and try to pass Cook while Cook’s car was in the pits. Kaluzny did manage to get into the lead, but Kaluzny only had 4 wear left for the last lap,  while Cook had his full complement of 12 wear after his pit stop. Also, at the end of his 2nd lap, Kempen failed a deceleration dice roll while trying to slow for the La Source hairpin, thus lowering his car’s deceleration to 40 mph (it had been 60 mph) for the rest of the race.

Kaluzny's orange McLaren takes the lead from Cook's yellow Lotus at the La Source hairpin as they begin the 3rd and final lap of the race.

Kaluzny’s orange McLaren takes the lead from Cook’s yellow Lotus at the La Source hairpin as they begin the 3rd and final lap of the race. (Mike Cook photo)

After the 2nd lap, besides Cook, other cars that made pit stops were White, Beckman, and Marlett. All three of those cars switched from hard to soft tires. The official running order after 2 laps was Cook (0), White(+5), Kaluzny (-1), J. Robinson(+1), Beckman (+5), Lim (-3), Sturgeon (-3), B. Robinson (-2), Marlett (-1), Herschler (+2), Landis (0), and Kempen (-3). But after the pit stops were all sorted out, the running order on the track was Kaluzny, Cook, White, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, Marlett, Beckman, Kempen, Landis, and Herschler.

Kaluzny managed to hang on to the lead until the Rivage corner, when Cook passed Kaluzny for the lead, and White’s Brabham pulled alongside Kaluzny while coming out of Rivage.

Cook's yellow Lotus pulls alongside Kaluzny's orange McLaren while heading into Rivage. White is right behind them.

Cook’s yellow Lotus pulls alongside Kaluzny’s orange McLaren while heading into Rivage. White is right behind them. (Mike Cook photo)

By the time Cook had reached the Stavelot corner, he had pulled out to a 5 space lead over Kaluzny and White. Then close behind, J. Robinson was battling with Sturgeon for 4th place. Lim was 6th, in the final points-paying position. Then came Beckman, Marlett and B. Robinson, then Landis and Herschler. Kempen’s race had ended when his brakes totally failed at Les Combes. Kempen thus became the only DNF, finishing 12th.

Cook leads Kaluzny and White by 5 spaces at Stavelot with only about 1/3 of a lap left to race.

Cook leads Kaluzny and White by 5 spaces at Stavelot with only about 1/3 of a lap left to race. (Mike Cook photo)

During the last third of the last lap of the race around the Spa-Francorchamps track, Cook (0) cruised to an easy victory. Kaluzny and White were battling side-by-side to the end.

Cook has already won the race, while Kaluzny and White battle for 2nd place.

Cook has already won the race, while Kaluzny and White battle for 2nd place. (Mike Cook photo)

On the final turn of the race, although he had the inside position and would have moved first in case of a tie for plotted speeds, Kaluzny only plotted 60 mph, which left him just short of entering the La Source hairpin. White plotted 80mph, which meant he did enter the La Source hairpin at 40 mph over the speed limit. White (+5) used his last wear, and rolled a chance  for the corner, and he made the chance roll without spinning or crashing, which gave him 2nd place, relegating Kaluzny (-1) to 3rd place. It should be noted that cars have to pay costs for entering corners after the finish line, and if a car crashes, it is considered to have not finished the race at all, and will be classified behind all other cars that do finish the race. if a car spins in a corner past the finish line, it is considered to have finished the race, but will finish behind all other cars that crossed the finish line on that same turn.

Finished just behind White and Kaluzny were Sturgeon (0), Jim Robinson (0), and Lim (-3), for 4th, 5th, and 6th places. Finishing out of the points in 7th through 11th places were: Brian Robinson (-1); Beckman (+2), Marlett (-1); Landis (+1); and Herschler (+1). As was noted earlier, Kempen (-3) DNFed and was classified 12th.

The finishing order: Cook; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; J. Robinson; Lim; B. Robinson; Beckman; Marlett; Landis, Herschler.

The finishing order: Cook; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; J. Robinson; Lim; B. Robinson; Beckman; Marlett; Landis, Herschler. (Greg Lim photo)

Points awarded at the Belgian Grand Prix: Cook 10; White 6; Kaluzny 4; Sturgeon 3; J. Robinson 2; Lim 1.

The updated points standings after four (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            26
  2   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            21
  3   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  15
  4   Richard White (Brabham)            14
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             12
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               5
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 4
  9   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 10T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 10T  Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               0
 10T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0

The 5th race of the season, the Detroit Grand Prix (racing on the downtown track), will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018, at RIW Hobbies & Games, 29571 Five Mile Rd (SW corner of Middlebelt Rd) in Livonia, MI. Race time is 7:00 pm, although we ask drivers to try to arrive around 6:30 pm so you have time to set up your car’s specs for the race.