Featured FRN Driver Diary Road Racing — 07 November 2011

Michele Abbate locks in First Place Finish!

As I headed out to Buttonwillow from Vegas, 90% of the drive was in the rain… and all I could think is, “I hope it rains all weekend at the track!”.  The forecast showed sunny for Saturday and rain for Sunday and I just kept my fingers crossed.  Buttonwillow is always a pretty challenging course and knowing I have only done the #1 CCW configuration I knew I had a lot to focus on.   The first time I ran this configuration with the tC my best time was a 2:20.0 so that was my starting baseline to improve from.

On Saturday it was sunny all day, everyone got some good track time and the real battle was in our last time trial session.  We had some very close times and I had been in the lead in the morning, but we had a new comer jump in and place first just ahead of my fastest time of a 2:17.1 with his 2:16.2.  I was happy with my results, my improvement was obvious and I had beaten my competition that I was aiming for all day.  The 2nd place finish felt great, but I still wanted more.  
Saturday night the forecast still had rain for Sunday, and this is what I was praying for!  When we woke up on Sunday it looked like the rain had come and gone.  Everything was soaked and the track was swimming with puddles and surrounded by mud.  Buttonwillow can be very dangerous in these conditions so we were all very aware of the situation.  We decided to sit out the first session for a couple reasons.
  1.  The times wouldn’t count, it was just a practice session
  2.  I needed new tires and we could use the time to swap them
  3. Give the track some time to get cleaned up by other classes/drivers.
Once it became time for our second session, it looked as if things were clearing up.  It had been sunny for a few hours and the track was drying off.  I wasn’t sure if the conditions would get better or worse so I decided to change a couple of entries into two corners of the track and gave it my best.  The Crawford team was very excited when I came off track, and said that I was flying out there.  The times posted and I had ran a best time of 2:14.9!  The car felt really great on track and I knew I went faster but the time surprised me as well!
We weren’t sure what the weather would bring but shortly after that session some winds pushed through the rain we had been anticipating.  It rained in both of our last two sessions and though our times were much slower, I still placed 1st overall in all of the TT classes; kind of like when it rained at Auto Club Speedway!  My prayers had been answered and I got my rain!  There is nothing more exciting to me than racing in the rain, especially in a FWD!  With the track being so wet, my fastest time was untouchable by any of my competitors and I had finally locked in our first win in our first season of NASA Time Trials!
This finish placed me 2nd overall in points for the season and my teammate Ariel finished 3rd overall.  It has been an awesome year for the Crawford Performance Scion Racing tC’s and I cannot thank our sponsors enough for their continued support throughout year.  Special thanks to Toyo Tires, K&N, TRD, Tein, NGK, Motul, and Advan wheels!  Your support was greatly appreciate all year!  Stay tuned for our last event, Super Lap Battle, which is happening this Wednesday, the 9th of November!
Also, be sure to check out Michele’s facebook page for more updates throughout the year: Facebook.com/M1chele.Abbate

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