We can get used to this. In today’s Sport Gold heat there was another near wing to wing run by the front runners. Andrew Findlay had what appeared a relatively—we hate to say easy—time nipping Jim Rust for the win. But it’s always hard to see who’s holding their cards close. Sunday will tell.
In the meantime, we can say today’s race was run at 392 mph by Findlay and 391 mph by Rust, so no one was loafing.
For the spectators point of view, Rust ran low, tight and first for several laps with Findlay high and just behind. Both airplanes were sounding fine and obviously running faster than anything other than the jets; just the sort of performance that had the crowd lining the pit barriers and definitely paying attention. Findlay’s higher, smoother line paid off with a clean pass on the far north side of the course a couple of laps from the finish and that’s where the pair elected to let things stand.
Showing his enthusiasm Rust made a Space Shuttle climbing exit off the course that got admiring shouts from the crowd and no doubt the attention of the Air Force Thunderbird demonstration squadron who was standing by to make some post-race noise.
The race was marred by Jeff LaVelle being sent back to the pits as the race group was taking off. The mic or more likely the wiring to the mic in his oxygen mask failed. Able to receive but not transmit he was not allowed on the course. A substitute mask will take care of the issue, and LaVelle reports the rest of his Glasair is coming together nicely after its major refit the last two years. The six-time champion remains a factor for Sunday’s main event.
Likely not to break through for the win on Sunday but still a contender, Kevin Eldredge seems to have his issues remedied and should be moving into Sunday’s Gold race. He ran away and hid in the Silver group today, thus earning the right to move up.
Unfortunately hope is dimming for Karl Grove to bring his water-cooled Glasair into play after his failure to qualify earlier in the week. Karl flew the AC Aero sponsored airplane after hours yesterday and plans to do the same today, so at least he’s getting some test time on the new combination.