October 2011

Doug's News

Fight to the Finish! Carrera Panamericana 2011

Hello --

Coming into the last two days of the week long Carrera, we were second overall (of 112 starters), 24 seconds behind the leaders -- same guy who blocked us in Day 2 costing us at least 20-30 seconds. Had he not blocked us we would be tied or slightly ahead.

Through the various speed stages on the Day Six closed off roads we were about even. He maintained his 20+ seconds lead. The last stage of the day was on the .8 mile Aguascalientes NASCAR high banked oval. As I knew nothing about driving ovals I asked former Indy Car driver (and good guy) Michel Jourdain how to drive an oval. He gave some good advice. And we went into Day Six, 24 seconds behind and due to our speed on the oval came out just 9 seconds behind! It all would come down to the Seventh and last day, from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas.

On the various Day Seven stages we battled back and forth, gaining two seconds here, losing four there.

Coming into the last stage of the last day of a 7 day, 1800 mile rally, with just a 10 mile hill climb from the desert flat into Zacatecas via La Bufa separating us from First Place, we were still just 9 seconds apart. The closest Carrera ever and it came down to the two of us, and 10 miles ...

He started first and got a good start. We started 30 seconds later. I blew the shift from 1st to 2nd but recovered, made some great turns heading up the mountain, almost lost it at one point, (with a sheer cliff on the downside, which tends to focus your attention) caught sight of the leader a ways ahead, and just kept foot to floor. 100, 120, as fast as 145 ... Right on the rev limiters ... Over the crest of the mountain and down some very tight and twisty turns to the finish. Car sliding all over, gears crunching, open exhaust roaring from the 630hp Chevy V-8, tires squealing, scenery flashing by ... And all over in a little more than 6 minutes. We got the finish line and there was our nemesis ... groan!

After 7 days, 1800 miles, some 800 miles of speed stages -- he beat us by just 4.5 seconds! Groan again!

Angelica did a fantastic job navigating and never missed a call or a turn -- good thing too! Phil and Oscar did an exhausting job keeping the Olds in top shape -- staying up until 2am one night to change a broken transmission -- and then were on the road at 6am to get ahead of us for the first 11am service some 150 miles down the road.

We proudly wore our Team Mockett hats, as our effort was truly a team effort. Many thanks to all, especially to CYMISA for their support.

And we'll be back for Carrera 2012 aiming for First, as usual.