TT Nats Friday Morning Notebook: Practice Makes Perfect

Tire Rack Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty got the official green flag on Friday morning, when each of the six run groups opened up for practice on NCM Motorsports Park’s 3.2-mile circuit.

The practice sessions are for learning the track, obviously, in preparation for Saturday’s timed laps that count toward the final event score.

But a practice session in Time Trials is also a “team practice” of sorts. Beginning with the second of three Friday sessions, each run group will be gridded based on time, which should enable drivers to get a cleaner lap.

“It’s an unusual dynamic, because you really have to work together with your competitors to turn your fastest lap time,” SCCA Sr. Director of Experiential Programs Heyward Wagner said. “Friday’s practice sessions are really a dress rehearsal for Saturday and Sunday’s timed sessions. Everyone has to work together to create a gap, use a point by, or just recognize a car that may be faster in a certain area so that everyone can post the quickest time. Additionally, it’s also very important to go as fast as you can today so that you find yourself in the right place on the grid. Everyone is doing a great job, but it’s a great example of the ‘everyone is in this together’ aspect of Time Trials.”

Holley Day Benefits

Drivers in the Friday morning sessions were given a boost by their participation in Thursday’s Holley Performance Day, which included a free track day, a virtual track walk from Andy Pilgrim, coaching and seminars from SCCA partners KONI, Hawk, Apex Pro and Racers360.

Thanks to the extra sessions, drivers were using the official Friday practice session to refine their laps, rather than learn the direction of the track.

“The Holley Performance Day was awesome,” Scott Weatherford, a competitor in the Sport 1 class, said. “I got lots of track time in and learned the track. It’s a very complex track with 23 turns and very technical. I changed the tires and went out this morning and took five seconds off my lap time, so I’m stoked.”

While Weatherford was running in the advanced class, it was equally valuable to those in the Novice groups.

“The Holley Day went great,” Jacob Besemer said. “It was great of Holley to help out and donate that day to us. It was amazing. It’s still a work in progress. We’re still working on gaps and things like that, but I put some good times down yesterday and it’s just a matter of time before I do that today.”

Go-Kart Sub Contest

Racers being racers, there’s no such thing as too much track time. And if you can include more than one competition, why wouldn’t you?

The NCM Kart Track is open from noon to 7 p.m. each day of the event, and drivers have begun to set up an unofficial competition to see who can turn the quickest lap time on the rental karts. Despite only for bragging rights, expect that competition to heat up as the weekend moves along.