"Goblins No Go"

All things specracer!
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Needs a Life!!!
Needs a Life!!!
Posts: 307
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:35 pm
Location: Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:09 pm
Notes from VIR:
Subtitle: Hell AND High Water!
Those of you involved in the sad result of Hurricane Michael at VIR all have your individual stories to tell, and not to be undone by Denny Stripling (sorry Denny if you flew all the way from TX to race there), I thought I would write mine, especially since it is the off season officially for me now.
My wife, Ann, and I looked forward to heading south and left Northeast Ohio last Wed and stayed at her folks which took two hours out of the drive to VIR. All week we had trepidations of rain because of the fast moving hurricane about to hit FL earlier in the week. Luckily Friday looked better and better so we hoped things would work out for all of us competitors. We left early Thur morning with an annoying drizzle and very cloudy skies in Ohio but things looked a bit better as we drove south on I-77. Several pit stops for breakfast and gas later we suddenly came to a halt south of Tamarack. The line of stopped vehicles looked ominous in that we were in a for a long wait. Our phones confirmed a fatality due to a truck-car accident and a mere 2 1/2 hours later we were on our way. An interesting tidbit during our wait was two Corvairs right behind my trailer, one being a Monza. At least my chats with them killed some time. They were heading to a Corvair festival deeper into NC. Both were from Ohio. I wonder now how their weekend went? I was frustrated as we planned to check in to our hotel and spot the trailer and have a nice dinner with Mark Peyser and his cousin, Evan that evening. A 4:30 arrival turned into a 7:00 nightmare. Wind had picked up and moderate rain greeted us as we arrived at the hotel parking lot. The area businesses looked dark in some spots (not a good sign so far).
We stopped at the hotel because Mark texted that we were not allowed to paddock where we normally do because of flooding at VIR and the smaller paddock was already too full for us to bother to use that night. Also, VIR had no power, not an issue so far.
I was not happy about this arrangement as I am one of the last holdouts with an open trailer and parking it at the hotel was not an ideal option, but we had no choice. I already planned to have a wet butt Fri morning on our test day because of all the rain so far even though I protect my Butler pretty well from rain. Mark and Evan met us at the hotel with their trailer as they decided not to spot theirs at VIR that night too. In the meantime, they did not know we discovered that our hotel had no power. Oh joy! After a long drive, 9 1/2 hours, no spotting of our trailer at VIR, hungry and tired, we find out we cannot register and get into our room... And sadly, the Piggly Wiggly next door was down for the count too...
We four decided to pile into Mark's pickup and find some human fuel. And oh by the way, we ran into Tom Goodheart who was patiently waiting at the same hotel since 4:00 PM. Well what businesses had power were inundated with hungry people, Mickey D's and Hardee's over an hour wait. We finally found a Ma and Pa place that served pizza and subs. Long line but the food was more than adequate given the circumstances. Hoping that we had a room when we returned was not to be so my wife, Mark P and Evan sat on the floor in the lobby with others while I retired to the front seat of my Highlander trying to rest after the long drive. The lobby was almost empty of furniture as they were remodeling. What luck for us! I was still thinking that Fri loomed to be a long day with not great rest that night. As I was resting I had visions of Apollo 13 for some reason...
Around midnight, my wife knocked on my Highlander window and told me the manager arranged to allow us to sleep in a storeroom on old pullout couches. More fun but better than my front seat so I thought. Mark P and Evan had one couch, my wife and I another and a third couple had the last one in a dark storeroom. Ours was lovely as I felt every spring and Ann and I sloped into one another due to the age and collapsed structure normally called a pullout couch. She did not sleep at all and mine was fitful at best. I think Tom Goodheart must have used his car for a bed so far. I think now he was better off!
About 1:30 AM, very AM, the lights in the hallway came on and Ann investigated. Yippee! We could check in! A regular bed and shower sounded great. No elevator but what the hell, we were young and the room was on the 2nd floor. Still thinking we had a long test day, I fell asleep fast. About 6:00 AM I woke and knowing we had alot to do for a 9:00 AM first test session, we dressed and found hot coffee but no hot food yet. Hardee's had cars out to the road lined up. We were ok with cold cereal and coffee. Found out our poor haggard manager had been up all night turning away more stragglers coming in looking for a room. In our breakfast area, I suddenly received a text that the test day was delayed until 1 PM with a drivers meeting at noon. Back to bed for us!
Around 8:30 we dressed and headed to the track. Mark P and Evan were already gone. We made it as far as Milton, NC, a tiny town on the way to VIR known for its history, a post office and a great pizza place. There is a bridge over the Dan River before the town which has a nice place to park and launch boats on the river. The boat launch is about 30-40 feet lower than the bridge. What shocked Ann and I as we crossed the river was that there was no boat launch and not much of the valley left! The brown boiling river was right up to the bottom of the bridge...Yikes! Just at that time, Mark P called and told me that the test day and the race weekend was canceled due to the flooding at the track. Turn one was due to be under water soon and many ponds were where they were not supposed to be. The prospects of flying into a pond if we went off course did not sound too good! The track still did not have power but that would have been ok according to them, it was the water issue that killed the weekend...
I met Mark P and Evan back at the hotel parking lot to retrieve our bags from our rooms only to find out the hotel was again with no power! How fitting! And by the way, Hardee's was making a killing!
Fast food has power, our hotel, none...
What I was ok with and Mark P not was our fuel situation. No gas stations were open due to loss of power and he had about 44 miles left on his diesel load. I on the other hand, had a 1/2 tank and two full jugs of race gas, which my Highlander would love I am sure if needed.
We bade our sad good byes. Evan and Mark P were going to share the 90 minute enduro, which we hoped would help cement Evan into buying an SRF in the near future. I trust he will anyway. He has a choice of buying a condo or an SRF. What did we recommend I wonder?
We did not find an open gas station until about 45 miles away near Stuart, VA. Mark P found diesel locally and luckily!
The area we understand lost lives, and many were without power for the long weekend, which was better than what we saw in the news in FL but sadly, lost lives are devastating no matter where they happen. On the face of it, the area looked pretty normal only some downed trees, lost power and flooding as evidence of a powerful after effects of a hurricane turned storm. It is our understanding that Danville, VA was in for a long long weekend...
And for us, the delay on I-77 south on Thur might have been a blessing in disguise. The accident delay kept us out of the war zone that hit Danville that afternoon...
We had a long much easier but sadder drive back to Ohio. Utility trucks were heading south in long packs as we headed north. Back in Ohio, I donated some of my race gas to my father in law's gas can and walk behind mower. Hopefully, VIR will recover without any significant damage and ready themselves for better times for the Runoffs next fall. Many of us not only planned on enjoying VIR during the fall conditions, but see if we were good enough to try to make it back in 2019. Maybe we can enjoy the track under better circumstances next spring!
Happy off season and good luck to those at Sonoma!
Mark Fick

Ready to Write a Book
Ready to Write a Book
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:45 pm
Location: Oregon
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:08 pm

I bet you will re-live this non-race weekend over and over. Then as time goes on, a happening with bring back "your non weekend" over and over.

I am glad everyone was safe.

Forum Hermit
Forum Hermit
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:26 pm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:15 am
I was set up in the main paddock early and when it hit around 1600 it was nasty. Why someone would try (twice) to set up a EZ-up in wind gusting to over 50MPH is beyond me. My Toterhome was rocking around and the dog was looking at me with that save me look in his eyes. Power was lost at around 1645. The water at the paddock entrance was rather deep, but was better by 2200. At first light we noticed the Dan river had taken over some of the main straight, and most of turn 1 & 2. So the early morning announcement about a delay till noon seemed optimistic.

The Dan river crested at 30.01 feet (15 feet above the first level of flood stage) on Thursday night setting a new record height by almost 1-1/2 feet.

Still Learning to Type
Still Learning to Type
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 6:42 am
Location: Connecticut
377, 646
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:57 am
Yup. Quite the memorable experience. As always, its the people who make it special. See you all in March when we try again.

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