June 2022 California Speedway

NASA Cal Speedway— ST races, 4hr Enduro and the 24

After many long days it’s finally time to introduce the NASA paddock to our new car the #24. Team Palomar always planned on running 2 cars in the series, specifically to have a second car for the final race of the season, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. While we intended to have the car ready a couple races ago building a car from scratch takes time, even when we are following the formula we have in the #25.

We will still be running the #25 in ST5 trim and in the E2 class for the Enduro, we will run the #24 in ST4 and E1 between now and the NASA Nationals in September. After that it will be detuned to the same spec as the #25 where they will both compete in E2 for the 25 hour race in December.

Both cars are out of the trailer Friday night, decals begin to be applied per NASA rules so we are ready to run on Saturday morning practice. The murder black car looks mean, we didn’t have time to wrap it yet in our Palomar Solar livery, but we have to admit in black it is menacing and the paddock is watching.

Saturday morning begins with Matt Million taking the wheel of the new car, Sonny W is at the wheel of the #25. He will be driving later in the day in the Enduro so we wanted to get him some time in the car. Practice starts and we still have radio issues, but the cars are on track. Four laps later and the #24 is back in the gar-age. Teething problems are expected, but after looking over the car its more than we were prepared to deal with at the track. A steering rack hose burst resulting in issues that snowballed eventually resulting in us parking the car an hour into the day. No sense killing ourselves. The good news, “It felt good” said Matt.

Matt went out for Saturdays ST5 qualifying a bit later and was fighting traffic thoughout, we found ourselves qualifying in an un-familiar 3rd place. Work to do in the race, but we know the car is good. Time to change drivers and qualify for the Enduro with Nik Romano at the wheel. This time the car is on the pole for this evenings 4 hour Enduro.

A couple hours later and its time for the first race of the weekend. At the start we went from 3rd to 2nd, after a great fight with Ryan Bittner in his BMW E46, Matt made the pass in the playground with an aggressive move to put him into the lead. At the end of the race it was Team Palomar for the win and a new track record again!

Not much time to rest as its now time to get ready for the Enduro. Our crew led by Kevin DeSirello and David and Dawson Morton checked over the car, changed tires and set up pit road. At 3pm, we were ready for the 4 Hour race to begin.

Our plan was simple, send Nik Romano out first and set an aggressive but manageable pace that we believed would be tough for our competitors to match. After the first half hour it looked like the plan was spot on, we were in the lead by close to 30 seconds. Soon thereafter our com-petition started to pit and we were a lap above our closest competitor. After an hour and a half we finally brought Nik in on lap 50.

Sonny W got in the car, while the crew flawlessly fueled the car and checked tire wear. Our plan for Sonny was to maintain a very manageable pace but no need to push for fast laps. It was our first time with Sonny in the car in a race, and he did exactly what was asked and at lap 83 he brought the car in for its second pit stop and in went Matt Million to bring the car home.

There was just over an hour and 15minutes to go, we should make it on fuel, but it would be close.

Matt ran the pace asked for the next 30 minutes or so, when he came on the radio, “Sorry about that, I was just having a little fun, back to my prescribed pace.” We looked at the race tracker in amazement. After over 3 hours of racing on the same tires, Matt decided it was time to set the fast lap of the race with a lap time of 1:54.978. Not quite enough to get the track rec-ord we had set just a couple of months previ-ously but impressive none the less.

We were calculating our fuel milage up by al-most 2 laps on our next competitor, rather than sweat making it to the end on fuel, we brought Matt in for 1 more can of fuel on lap 107. He ran another 10 laps to the checkered flag.

Once again Team Palomar Racing won the weekends WERC E2 enduro; we are now 3 for 3 in the enduro season. Perhaps even more revealing as to how dominant the car was, we finished on the same lap as the leading E0 class winner and a lap ahead of the winning E1 class car. Team Palomar is punching above our class and making others take notice of this strong team.

Besides doing flawless pit work for our car, the Palomar crew stepped in to pit our friends at Team MF Racing and even had time for an Ice Cream break!

True to form, the comradery is why we are here.

It’s a rare race weekend when Team Palomar and their friends at MF Racing aren’t putting on a show at the grill. This weekend was no different. This was tasty beyond belief! Chef Wong once again outdid himself. If Mark Francis says, “He ruined it” You can be sure it will be divine. The NASA paddock is starting to understand us.

Sunday morning, one race to go.

Nik called in and said, ”Guys see if Matt is good to go, I’m not feeling well enough to race”. Nearly the whole team had gotten sick after Willow Springs. Nik was down for a week and was still recovering. While he did fine in the Enduro the night previous, the exertion took its toll.

We had planned to run Ryan Keeley in the #24 in the enduro so it was decided to let him “practice” in the car. The car was qualified on the pole and again we had a good race with Ryan Bittner. This time after a few laps Matt took the lead and never looked back. Wouldn’t you know Team Palomar Racing with another win and a new track record. We actually set the new track record with an identical lap time as we set on Saturday 1:54.227

A clean sweep of the weekend and we got to know some of the team-mates who will help us achieve the Palomar Challenge. New to the car were Sonny W and Ryan Keeley, but shortly after the race we had anoth-er driver in the group, our competitor in ST5, Ryan Bittner has agreed to join the team for the 6 hour Utah enduro as well as the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

While we didn’t really get a chance to get to run the new car, we learned quite a bit. We found a couple more weak links in the E36 race cars and have them buttoned up. We continued to up our game as it comes to at track teamwork and we continue to overcome adversity and strive to-wards our goal of winning the Regional and WERC Championships.

Between the work of Kevin putting everything together, and the rest of the team stepping in as possible. We definitely have to thank our friends at Bimmerworld and Apex Race Parts getting us last minute parts to put it all together as well as a new assortment of wheels to keep this show rolling its been quite a busy couple of weeks at Palomar.

Great teamwork Palomar Racing!

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