Archive for the Pat’s Races Category

How You Look At It

Posted in Pat's Races on September 30, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

You are enjoying a breathtakingly gorgeous day at Road Atlanta for Petit le Mans, and I am enjoying it here from home in Birmingham, Alabama. Oh, how I hate that I can’t be there with you guys! I got in touch with Thomas B and asked him to give you special good luck from me, same from all my friends who will be there, many of whom I know you know. Sniff!

So I was thinking what a rough year it had been for you, but you know, that’s really just the case in ALMS. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Because in many ways, it’s been a crazy great year for you. In fact, in trying to catch up with today’s WC race results, I see that you WON THE 2011 WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP! And Porsche has the manufacturer title in that series, thanks to you, in large part. So that is fantastic!

And of course, I am over-the-moon thrilled that my friend and real-life-sometimes-driving-coach, Mike Skeen, came in 3rd in the championship for this year. I am so proud of him. He’s having a great year, and getting some really fantastic rides and some awesome support. And he is taking full advantage and showing what he can do. He will drive anything with wheels, and he’s such a quick study. And just a great guy. So proud of him!

OK so this weekend, I am hoping you and Joerg bring the #45 home in first! That would be so great. I know it’s a total crap shoot, and in a ten-hour race, anything can happen. Literally! At least we ought not need rain gear and row boats to get around Raod Atlanta this year, right? Looks just fantastic. Thomas says the car is really strong. I’m pulling for you guys! Let’s see what happens.

x0x0x0
VroomGrrl

Hot Diggity Dayam! Laguna Seca!

Posted in Pat's Races on September 19, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Heya Pat,

I wasn’t able to see the race until Sunday morning, but I knew how it ended on Saturday from Jen’s blog updates, and let out quite the big hoot while everybody else in the bar was watching a football game. Hubby and I have run away to the beach for a long weekend to mark our 5th wedding anniversary – our favorite place, Dauphin Island, Alabama. Nothing but sun, surf, and a great mix of physical activity and total ass-sitting.

So there I sat (on my ass, obviously) refreshing my Smarter-Than-Me-Phone over and over to see what was going on in the final moments of the race. Seriously, I love all the “redundant” coverage, because you never know what’s going to work, for whom, and where. Where I am, my phone and the blog were my only way of following the race in real-time. Everybody else was watching the Alabama Crimson Tide. Me? Staring at my phone! And when I saw Joerg had pulled it off and won the thing, I was so thrilled for you guys! Thanks to ESPN3, I was able to watch a high quality replay of highlights on my laptop this morning. Hell’s bells, that was some driving! Finally a great big win for you two. I assure you that all of your fans are over the moon for you! Just like me!

Well, and your race engineer, too – they had a camera on the Lizard pit box as the race ended, and it was such a treat to see Thomas Blam’s face light up when Joerg came across the finish line in first place. Ear-to-ear smile on that guy – well on both of them, I’m sure, and surely you, too.

Alright. It’s amazing I was able to get a connection here, but I am shutting this thing right back down and getting back to my ass-sitting, and then I need to rest up so I’ll be up for lots more ass-sitting tomorrow. Hee!

Congratulations on the fantastic win today!!
x0x0x0
VroomGrrl

Pat Long: From Behind

Posted in Pat's Races on March 30, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

You must still be reeling from your balls-to-the-wall racing weekend. I re-watched both races uninterrupted online last night, at least the footage they have out there. The TV broadcasts will air around April 8, I think (bad fan!). I’ll have to miss that. But I’ve been watching all the in-car video Mike Skeen has posted. In the second race, he started from the back (engine change from the bang-up in race 1). He finished in 3rd. And he gained most of that ground in the last 10 minutes of the race, which makes for some great watching!!

Big congrats again on your weekend sweep, too! The more I watch the race footage, the more amazed I am at the depth of your skill. And Mike is a real talent, too! He has posted video from the first race, and he spent a little chunk of time at the end there nipping your heels. Wanna see what you look like from behind? Here ya go, he catches up to you around 5:20:

You really are at a place in your development as a driver where you can drop in and master whatever is before you. Any car, any track, any format. I’m sure part of the reason you are so successful at everything you do is that you choose your opportunities well. And dayum you are just gooood! Such a joy to watch at work. I know you know what I mean, because I know you get that same joy watching others do well, on the track and otherwise. The talent. You’ve got it good. Just awesome. And very entertaining. So allow me to thank you for that, and for being so great about keeping your followers so entertained with all the social media and stuff.

Anyway enough about you. Snort!

IMAG0544Parting shot: My friend Tom from Denver, the SCCA corner worker who related my best wishes to you in the autograph line on Saturday at St. Pete, well he needed a place to crash on his drive back to Denver. In his Honda Civic that has about 350,000 miles on it. Seriously! Last time I saw Tom was when he was down to work Petit le Mans in 2008. It was sooooo great to have him here at our home, even for just a little while. He got here late and left early, but we got lots of catching up done in our short visit.

Alrighty then, lots going on, lots to do. I’m already working on my next note to you – it involves the 550 Spyder. Stay tuned!

x0x0x
VroomGrrl

Double Whammy! Way to Go!!

Posted in Pat's Races on March 28, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

OK OK well you showed me, didn’t you? Ha! You know I was over-the-moon thrilled to see you take home the trophies this weekend, back to back victories in St. Pete! Yes, I really wanted it for Mike Skeen, but if it wasn’t to be for him, I’m glad it was you with all the booty at the end of the weekend.

And what a weekend it was! That course looked super challenging. And given that it was a real street course, passing opportunities were scarce. Add to that the challenge of multi-class traffic and oh my stars, it was some wild and crazy racing! You are so at the top of your game, too, to drop into a format like that and dominate. Incroyable!

Mike had a mixed weekend. He was so close on your tail in the first race but that S2000 incident took him out. Then on Sunday, he was in the back and worked his way all the way up to P5, and ahead of him, you were dogging Sofronas for the lead. My jaw just dropped watching some of those passes. The live feed, which was available for replay soon after the race, was not a real production, and while they had several cameras in use, it wasn’t..well, produced. I am hoping that the final broadcast version will be much better in terms of showing the real action.

For example, on the live feed/replay, you are doggong Sofronas one lap, then the next time you come around, you’re in the lead! But the announcers fail to notice until about 2 laps later, and there’s no information about how that happened. Same with Mike Skeen. He worked from the back to P5, and by the last lap he was P3, but I have no idea how that happened either. He’s going to be posting some in-car video and I cannot wait to see that. He said it was some of the wildest, craziest racing he’s ever experienced. He loves it, and I’m so happy for him to have a decent ride for the whole season.

So in Pat Long Fan Club news, you must really be thinking I’m a stalker by now. First Eddie from Redline with his phone call during Daytona 24. Then my corner worker friend from Denver tells me he stopped by the autograph table and told you, “VroomGrrl wishes you all the best this weekend,” (using my real name) and he swears you seemed to know whom he was talking about. I know you probably recognize me as one of your many fans when you see me out 2-3 times a year. And I do keep this blog and all. But I promise you, I am not going all stalkery on you! I have some great friends who love to look out for me.

So you’re not mad at me for rooting against you, are you? I hope not. I have never claimed to be the PERFECT fan, but you know I’m almost always rooting for you, right? Except when you run up against Skeen. I may have to split my loyalties, depending on how often that happens as we go forward, or maybe there’s a way to be all Zen about it and root for you both and let the Universe sort it out. Which is what happens anyway. This weekend proves that the Universe does not necessarily take my preferences into account when choosing race winners. LUCKY FOR YOU, BUDDY.

OK OK OK really I’m done with that for now. Until the next WC race, anyway.

Again, heartfelt congratulations to you and your team for the back-to-back victories in St. Pete this weekend.

Life calls…back soon.
x0x0x
VroomGrrl

Your First Pirelli World Challenge Victory! CONGRATS!!!

Posted in Pat's Races on March 26, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

I trust you are taking all my teasing and taunting in the good spirit which it’s intended. I hope you are. Because…it continues until the checkered flag tomorrow! Muuuhahahahahaah!

IMAG0523 The race was streamed live at www.world-challengetv.com and you know I had that baby up and running today! I was secretly glad to have been sidelined from autocross today by my tire that won’t hold air. Because I was able to watch you guys go at it. What a crazy race! Early and looong caution, and then a real 5-minute sprint to the end. That was what, 3 laps??

So there you were, leading the charge! And right on your heels, MIKE SKEEN! You got some space between you a couple of times, but once you caught up to the back of the pack, the traffic got dicey. I understand how this works. Traffic can either create your opportunities in a race like this, or it can be your undoing. I not-so-secretly hoped that you would get caught up behind a slow car and that Skeen would get his chance to get out front! Well, here’s how you described what happened next as reported at http://www.racer.com:

“Mike was running very strong and certainly keeping me honest,” Long said. “As we came into the back of the traffic on the last lap, the black S2000 lost it just coming out of the first of the double rights in the back session. I missed him narrowly, literally by inches, and unfortunately that left Mike with a blocked racetrack and I was able to just slither through. It was unfortunate for him, good for us, and that’s what it’s all about with multiple classes.”

pat long 45 truspeed wc st peteAlas, you got right around that little incident that caught up Mike. Dammit! Heartbreak!!! He got the car fired and took off with bits and pieces of his front end left behind on the track, and timing & scoring shows he finished 9th. He just emailed me to let me know that the car is going to be good to go tomorrow. Maybe you two will end up splitting the weekend! Hopefully it will not be quite as messy.

That course is absolutely breathtaking. I doubt you have time to enjoy it as you’re driving it, but the aerial views and panoramic shots with the water behind yall are just gorgeous. Looks like nice weather, too.

So the autocross I had to miss today? The mayor of the small town where it took place came down to the civic center lot where the event was going on, and WALKED OUT ONTO THE HOT COURSE, ignoring the safety stewards who yelled at him and ran at him to stop him. They had to red flag the driver on course and deal with this buffoon, who made the club give up half of their space. That they paid to use. THE RENTAL OF WHICH HE HAD PREVIOUSLY APPROVED. Unbelievable. They got the course redesigned and had an abbreviated day of it, as it turned out. I’m guessing the club will be looking for a new venue!

Crap. Tornado siren? Eegads. Bye for now!
x0x0xx0
VroomGrrl

P1 – Long, P2 – Skeen: What’s a Girl to Do?

Posted in Pat's Races on March 25, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

Wow I had no clue this was brewing! My friend, Mike Skeen, about whom I have raved to you in previous notes, is in the No. 2 CRP Racing Crager Wheels Corvette in the World Challenge races at St. Pete this weekend. I’ve had my head up my own ass the past week, heavily involved in my work and trying to get my own car out on the track this weekend (AL SCCA Solo Points #1!). I have two friends working corners at this race in Florida, one who’s flown in from Denver at Turns 10-11, and my other buddy from here in Birmimngham, I’ll find out where he is.

AN. Y. WAY. One of them posted the standings in qualifying to Facebook and it came up on my new, smarter-than-me-phone, and wow, I was so psyched! I read up a little. I’ve confessed to not following you as closely as perhaps your Ultimate Platinum Level Fan might do, but if you had said anything about this in any of your press before this week, I think I’d remember. Looks like it came together rather last-minute….

Long’s journey to the front of the grid for Saturday’s opening round at the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit was an eventful one. Signed just this week to drive the No. 45 TruSpeed./Privacy Star/Entrust Porsche 911 GT3, Long arrived from another commitment in Germany in time for Friday’s on track activities. Quickest in the opening practice during the morning, Long set out during the 20-minute qualifying knowing he had a shot at pole position.

I kind of love that you guys are competing against each other! Did you set a lap record? I think you did. Awesome! Now, while the title of this note would suggest that I am in a quandary about who I should root for, I am really not at all concerned or divided in my loyalties. Not a bit. ONE of you has my absolute 100% support in this race. And only one of you. The other of you…MUST GO DOWN! Please don’t be mad at me, Pat, but I am rooting for my buddy Mike Skeen to kick your ass this weekend!!!!

Are you surprised? OK, look. This is how it is. In ALMS? In Le Mans? In NASCAR Camping World East AND West? Zuhai in the Hybrid? Australian V8 Supercars? Daytona 24 in a DP Porsche? I’m your girl. The last time you and Skeen met up, perhaps the first time? Was Daytona 24 this past January. And while I supported Mike’s efforts at Daytona, I was your girl there as well. You are my number one man. But my buddy and real-life kinda-coach, Mike Skeen, is just getting a foothold, long-deserved, in pro racing, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s just gotta get out there and kick you to the curb and do his thing. And by the way, his thing happens to be being the underdog and kicking the ass of the rock star. (It’s not lost on me that that has, at times, been YOUR thing as well….go figger!) Look ouuuuuut! SKEEEEEEN IS COMING FOR YOU!!

OK OK sorry I don’t want to be mean to you. You know I’m crazy about you. You know I’m a HUGE fan, probably, literally, your biggest fan. I have been your faithful one-way correspondent here on this website for over two years now. It’s not called “Dear Mike Skeen,” is it? No. You are my main man MOST of the time. But right now, I’ve gotta root for my awesome friend in his awesome Corvette!

Being a racer and a gentleman, I know you understand.

I do wish you well! And I absolutely do not want you or your car to get hurt in any way whatsoever (I know you had an off earlier behind a slow car and then a flat, and even then you kicked ass!). But this time? Look out, my friend. My OTHER friend Mike Skeen is COMING FOR YOU!!!!!!

Tons of love,
x0x0x0
VroomGrrl

PS I just stole the tiny mini air compressor out of the PCA door prize box in the back of my car and am using it to pump up the right rear tire of my 911 which has gone down to 10 lbs. WISH ME LUCK getting to, and hopefully competing in, autocross tomorrow!!

Can’t Always Get What You Want

Posted in Me, Pat's Races on January 30, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

vroomgrrl and FLM45 DP car 2011 daytona garageWell I know this weekend had its ups and downs! From Joerg putting the car in pole position in qualifying to Seth’s rotten luck on his first stint Saturday. The team got the car back on track, and you all did an admirable job climbing back through the pack, but it just wasn’t to be this time. Just goes to show – you can have every statistical advantage going in, but it’s a 24 hour race. The good news is – anything can happen. The bad news is: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. I was so sad to see the car retired in the 23rd hour! All your fans were. And I’m sure nobody was more disappointed than you drivers & the team. I sincerely hope that Flying Lizard campaigns the DP car as many Daytona 24s as it takes to win one. Next year!

All that said, it was a spectacular weekend of racing! The days were bright and clear, just warm enough, with a light breeze. Last night was mostly clear and cool, and the early morning brought a shroud of fog so thick the caution lasted over two hours. The finish was pretty amazing, too! A real dogfight for 2nd place.

skeenMy friend Mike Skeen had his disappointments this weekend as well. The #56 Bennett Racing Ferrari F430 Challenge car was out when I checked around 3am. It had been in and out of the pits for several hours, and at some point it retired. I’ll have to go dig around for the details. Anyway, it was so fantastic to see Mike and his band of buddies who put this effort together. Just taking that driver introduction walk at the beginning and getting to drive a few stints – I know for sure he is a very, very happy man.

So next year is the 50th birthday of the 24 Hours of Daytona! That’ll be a perfect endcap on what I have decided is THE YEAR OF ME, my own 50th year. I’m “jus doing it” all year long, and this weekend was my first step in that direction. It would have been great to have had my husband along with me. But racing is not his thing, and the weekend is the busiest time for his job (taxi driver) so he took a pass on this one. He and I will have to head to the beach together soon.

IMAG0160In the end, I decided to keep my hotel room for the night. I didn’ get much sleep last night. In fact, my worker friend picked me up in the van and took me to the coolest spots behind the scenes on the track, just like last year. The inside of the bus stop! It was so cool with the cars flying by so close. Once all that fun was done, I moved my car over to the nearly deserted Porsche corral and parked. I fired up my computer for a little while to see Liz Moses doing her live trackside 24 hour marathon coverage, which was a scream. She is awesome. During that two-hour caution for fog, I wrapped up in a jacket & blanket, grabbed my pillow, and went to sleep for a bit.

And woke up a 10:00 surrounded by hundreds of cars, with people milling all around me. Ha! Nice 4-hour nap! I quickly got my shit together, went to the restroom, got some breakfast, and enjoyed the rest of the race. Bittersweet in a way, but I have good friends involved with TRG, so it was great to see them get on the podium. IMAG0170

I took my time getting back here, and actually moved to a much nicer room where I should be able to get some sleep tonight. Then I made use of the last of the beatiful daylight to get my car ready for the long trek home. I took her out and ran a few errands to get her up to temp and checked the oil. Perfect. Tire pressures are all good. I torqued my lug nuts, gave the glass and mirrors a real good clean-up, got the trash out, and got everything sorted to leave by five in the morning. Now a bite of something for dinner, then early to bed. I’m whooped!

me and my 1988 Porsche 911So I’ll have to start digging around the web to see what my favorite driver is up to. I know you’ll be doing the full ALMS season with FLM but you are into so many other things, and you don’t exacty publish your full schedule on your website! (not saying you should either). I’m sure you’ll be going in a thousand directions and I look forward to following you for what promises to be another incredible year.

Wishing you safe travels home,
x0x0x0
VroomGrrl