Mid Ohio- Bill Heumann

Everyone expects you to do well at your "home" track but there are some aspects of being at a familiar track that made this weekend more of a challenge for me than some of the others. First, a little definition of home track. Mid Ohio happens to be the closest big boy track to home at about 5 hours away. I had about 13 events at Mid O including my first race, a bunch of successes, and some miserable experiences including wrecks and blown engines.

For me, Mid O is one of the most fun tracks to drive but it is a very hard track to be really good at. There are so many tricks that local knowledge is definitely an advantage. Having said that, many of the guys in the paddock had lots of experience there also. In addition, I have gotten to the point where frequently the difference between me and the fastest laps put down by my team mates is the result of small bad habits that have become part of my driving style. With Seth's coaching I am aware of these and I am working hard to stop doing them. When trying to break a bad habit though, I have discovered that muscle memory is not your friend!

Our cars were set up great right out of the box and there was nothing for us to do except very minor shock adjustments. Between our engineer, Wayne Yawn, the drivers and crew we got the handling of these cars dialed in pretty quickly. Dave, James and Seth were pretty much knocking off good laps from the beginning and working on trimming off a few tenths.

James was really on his game all weekend. This picture was actually shot at breakfast...... Thursday morning.

Despite my home track "advantage," I was struggling through the practice sessions on Thursday and Friday morning and lagging over a second off the right pace. I was driving decently in the last practice session before qualifying although I didn't get any clean laps and the lap times didn't show the improvement.

Between the practice and quali we had one of the humorous interludes of the weekend. Crystal Mueller brought her beautiful daughters Crystin and Solei to the race and they were introduced to the way the pros behave when James and Dave took them along to get coffee and donuts. Along the way they found raccoon road kill. Showing that they had the appropriate parental skill set for a Father's Day weekend, they let the girls get out, touch, and photograph the deceased! I suspect this was the high point of the race weekend for the girls despite their Mom's displeasure. I just wish I had had thought of doing that when my kids were young but at least it didn't stop Sean (24) and me from stopping on the way out to dinner that night to look for the raccoon!

For the 15 minute single class qualifying session, we used the successful strategy we used at WGI. That is, we held both cars until the field had left the pits then both Dave and I went out in an empty section of track with me following him. Dave is an all around awesome driver but amongst all that awesomeness, his performance in qualifying is towards the top of the list. It helped me at WGI to use Dave as the rabbit....... and the tow from his draft doesn't hurt either!

It helped and I put down my fast lap of the weekend with a 1:37.9. I was unable to beat that and it was subsequently good enough for a respectable P7. Dave put down a great lap despite a little bobble in Carousel which was good enough for P1 initially, but he was shortly bumped to P2. He then went on another flier and got a 1:37.1 which held as P1.

Although the forecast and skies threatened rain Saturday morning, it all went South of us and it was clear, and hot, when race time came around.

This picture shows Dave leading the pack through T1. This picture was probably lap 1 or 2 since everyone is still pretty tight. He led for 16 laps or so.....

Although you don't see #81 in the picture I had my best start in the series and got past one or two cars in T7 and Madness.

There were quite a few FCY, due mostly to cars in the gravel traps. My racing continued to get better and I was pleased with the improvement I made in getting focused in a race environment, hitting my marks, correcting on mistakes from the prior lap, and adapting to changing conditions. I wasn't the fastest guy on the track but I was running a consistent pace that kept us top 10. My race craft got a little better also and I defended my position better than I had previously. My biggest mistake of the race occurred when I didn't drive a defensive line out of T1 up to the Key Hole. A Cobalt got inside me at the braking zone. I thought "no big deal" as I would hold him tight on entry then make an "over-under" move on the back straight. The problem was that I got a better run on him than I was expecting and was so close that I ended up pushing him ahead 20',.... and me back 10'! When I brought the car in we were at P5 and the car was running great.

We pitted both cars when a FCY came out at about the 50 minute mark. This put us on a two stop strategy as we would need an additional splash of fuel to finish the race. Our main competitors at Compass 360 were doing the same. James and Seth both went out and started nailing it. They showed why they are top guns in the pro circuit as well as why we love the E90 BMW. Neither put down the fastest laps of the race, but they put down fast lap after fast lap. Our cars are so solid and predictable throughout the race that they are a driver's dream. Our Performance Friction brake systems not only allowed us to out brake our competition, but to do it from start to finish without any fade.

For those of you who think Seth is a nice guy, this is how he looks just BEFORE he gets into the car! It really isn't a good idea to get in his way. Anyone who has raced him... or watched our driver change routine will know what I am talking about!

(of course it may be possible he is po'd because he doesn't think I am coming down pit lane fast enough.)

Seth will have to give the blow by blow account from inside #81 but from the outside he made it look easy. The only really tense moment I had when Seth was driving was when the #171 VW driven by Josh Hurley punted us in the brake zone for Carousel with one lap to go. Seth had been holding a pretty good gap of 3-4 seconds on Josh until a final FCY bunched the cars up again. As it turns out, Josh was slammed in the rear by a GS car which knocked him into us. Seth was able to maintain control and go on to take the checkered flag. Josh made a point of talking to Seth shortly after the race and set things right.

It looked like we would get both cars on the podium this weekend but the traffic and the final FCY conspired to finish #80 with an impressive season best (so far) P4 .

The results of this weekend put BW in the lead in the season championships by one point. It isn't much of a lead so far but we are happy for the moment. We have good momentum and confidence leading into the the final three races of the season.

The biggest take away for me for the weekend is that race at the top of your game you have to be prepared both mentally and physically. To achieve this, BimmerWorld drivers have learned that ice cream really helps. Fortunately at WGI and Mid O we had good ice cream close at hand. For round 8 at NJMP, I sure hope Flipper's Custard is decent!