Welcome to Nelson Ledges - Garretsville, OH about 25 miles west of Youngstown, OH. This track is not much to talk about from a facilities standpoint and the track itself is generally in a state of disrepair, but it is really fast and fun. Back in October, we ran a 24 Hours of LeMons race here which certainly allowed for a lot of practice on this course. Nothing like lapping for 2.5 hours in the middle of the night to know a track.
Despite the recent experience, I still walked the track and collected my thoughts. Neil joined me just after turn one. It also provides us with some much needed exercise - a good stretch of the legs. Strangely, it looks exactly the same as it did in October. I will admit that I had never walked the track at the LeMons event and it did open my eyes as to the amount of positive camber in most of the turns and the slight up hill portions allowing more grip for turn in or braking.
At 8:30 the call goes out over the PA for the first 15 cars. I suit up and start strapping in for the first session. The pressure is on as Woody is a great driver and we are tied for points in class as we enter the day. There are only three events left and if either of us walk away with two wins over the other the class win is over.
I make it to grid and Brian wishes me good luck, says be aggressive, and kick-ass. His last chore is to turn on the video and remind me it is a cold track. The temperature was in the high 40's as we arrive this am. I get my recon lap complete and it feels good. Coming up to the start finish I replay Brian's words in my mind - BE AGGRESSIVE (meaning.....grow a pair of attachments lad!!!).
I decide at the launch to not over do it and get the customary wheel hop as it just loses time. The run is quick (a total of about 4 minutes) and before I know it I have completed the 3 hot laps. At speed, the track is very bumpy and it makes for some excitement at track out locations and braking zones. As I come off the track I yell out - "I love this friggin' track". It so fun and FAST!
We'll have to wait for the final results of the morning to know if we have a leg up on Woody and Neil going in to the afternoon. Stay tuned.