CRAIG's BLOG 2007

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Read Craig's blog entries for more information on how Mishael is doing at the track.


Saturday, May 19 2007,  1015 hrs MDT

This weekend at Miller Motorsports Park showed the ups and downs of racing for B-K Motorsports.  Mishael had bad luck most of the weekend that included her crash, gearbox problems, and a few other things here and there.  Her teammate, Gerardo Bonilla, was strong at every session and made the last lap pass yesterday to take the win.

 

Today luck was mixed up again.  For Mishael, her car performed better but she still had downshifting difficulties.  She started 10th in the Lites 1 class and 18th overall among the combined group of Lites 1, 2 & 3.  Qualifying was based on the best lap times from yesterday's race.  Her best time was slow because of the shifting problems and only turning two scored laps.  This morning she moved up in the race to 8th in class and also 8th overall.  A very good move through the field that sported a bunch of passing and at times some back and forth battles.  Mishael said she had to clutch for her downshifts today so that probably cost her a little bit at every corner.  Overall I'd call it a pretty good showing today for her.

 

Unfortunately Gerardo suffered a blown engine and completed only two laps.  He started 2nd and was sitting in 3rd when his engine let go.  It happened just at the approach to the pits so he was able to get off the track and into the pits where they put out the ensuing fire.  He had an excellent run of three wins in a row but the streak and spray of champagne ended today.

 

The team is packing up now and is thinking about changes to make for the next two rounds at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.  The team is planning to do some testing before hand and may work in an SCCA race or two.  There's a good chance they'll go to the June Sprints at Road America June 22-24.


Friday, May 18 2007,  2030 hrs MDT

Race 1 at Salt Lake brought B-K Motorsports another big win by Mishael's teammate, Gerardo Bonilla.  Gerardo took advantage of a late yellow flag condition that closed up the field and an error by the leader braking in turn 1 on the restart.  Gerardo took the lead on the last lap and went on for his third win in a row.

 

Mishael's race proved troublesome for the very start.  Coming down the front straight for the green flag she had gear box problems.  She seemed to be missing fourth gear and during shifting was getting neutral.  In fear of doing further damage to the gearbox and engine she pulled it in the pit on the third lap.

 

The team is taking it apart and should have things sorted out for tomorrow morning's 8:15a race start.

 


Friday, May 18 2007,  1430 hrs MDT

For this morning's qualifying session we had clear skies and windy conditions.  Mishael's car was repaired after yesterday's crash and she was hoping for a long session without incidents so she can get comfortable again with the car and track and continually lower her lap times.

 

Well that basically happened.  There were no yellow or red flags and she stayed on track but she did struggle shifting gears.  Mishael was able to keep chipping away at her lap times while having difficulties with the shifting; first in downshifting and then also upshifting.  She came into the pits just briefly to have the crew take a quick look and adjust the tire pressures before heading back out for a few final laps.

 

Her best lap of the week so far was her final qualifying lap around the 4.486 mile track, a 2:49.204 (95.445 mph) .  That placed her eighth on the grid for this afternoon's race (actually it is at 6:30p but the Lites cars aren't doing "night" racing yet, so I won't call it evening).

 

After the qualifying session the crew discovered some irregularities in the throttle and computer controls.  She may not have been getting 100% throttle and her shifting difficulties may be resultant of the car's computer management.  Hopefully these things will be resolved by the race later today and she'll be a contender for the top spots.

 


Thursday, May 17 2007,  1600 hrs MDT

Mishael's afternoon practice definitely was not what we were hoping for and actually unexpected.  In her second lap she had been working to pass a slower Lites 2 car as they moved toward the back part of the track somewhat out of my view.  Just as she was coming back toward my view I saw a cloud of dirt and her car going straight into the barrier.

 

The barriers here have air bag cushions in front of the guardrail.  The air cushions did their job because Mishael hit at around 115 mph and aside from having no injuries at all, the car only sustained nose and bodywork damage - no chassis or suspension damage.  I have a picture posted (you can find it a number of ways but just go to the photo page and click on the IMSA Lites 1 picture or click here).

 

It seems she had some sort of rear brake failure.  The data shows she was off the throttle and on the brakes.  The front tires were flat spotted down to the cords but without the rear brakes there was no stopping, especially once she was off the track surface.

 

The crew is cleaning up the rocks and gravel and preparing new front bodywork.  They are going through the brake system and all the other checks normally done after a crash.  The car will be ready for tomorrow morning's 8:45a qualifying session.

 


Thursday, May 17 2007,  1200 hrs MDT

I made it to the track last night, got my media credentials this morning and have now set up in the media center.  This is a very nice facility all around.  Looks like maybe they could use more media center seats but so far that is about all I can see that isn't well thought out.

 

Yesterday's testing was pretty much just that - general car shake down, setup and initial testing.  The team needed to compensate for the altitude here in the tire pressures and other things.  Mishael was a little slower than preferred but it was a day to learn the track in the car and start to figure out how best to set it up.  I think she was wanting to go a little looser in the next sessions so it doesn't have as much push.

 

This morning started practice at 8:00am and the IMSA Lites were the first cars on the track.  Mishael methodically chipped away on her lap times and ended up 7th fastest in the session.  This would be typical Mishael Abbott (especially on a new track), gradually improving her times throughout the session.

 


Wednesday, May 16, 2007,  2000 hrs MDT

For those of you wanting to stay up to date on Mishael's racing this weekend, I am trying to continue my blog.  Right now I am on the plane from St. Louis to Salt Lake City and should be landing in less than an hour.  I don't know when I'll get this uploaded for you but it most likely won't be until tomorrow morning.

 

Mishael arrived in Salt Lake last Sunday.  She got familiar to the Miller Motorsports Park track on Monday during a basic driver's school being held at the track.  I understand the Mustang she spent some time in handles much differently than her DP02.  The racing lines are quite a bit different.

 

Miller Motorsports Park (or Miller as many are calling it) is about 30 minutes west (maybe really southwest) of Salt Lake City in Tooele, Utah.  The track is new, having opened I believe just last year.

 

Today Mishael was to get some track time in her race car during a promoter test day. I haven't yet heard how the day went but will find out after I land.  Tomorrow will be the start of official practice.

 



Thursday, March 21, 2007,  2300 hrs CDT

Some of you just received the official news release for Race 2 at Sebring.  Sorry for the delay.  Arriving back home after almost a week at the track means there's a lot to do and get caught up on.  I was also wanting to confirm the Race 2 results and get the official standings.  I never got the standings but I figured them out myself.  As it turns out Mishael is now in 4th place but there are five people just 1 point behind her.

 

You might check out the Video page on the website.  I posted some videos I took with my camera.  They are very big file sizes so only try it if you have high-speed internet.  I'm wanting to try to resave them smaller but we'll see when I find time.

 


Friday, March 16, 2007,  1915 hrs EDT

All the cars went out on rain tires.  Although it wasn't actually raining, it was not even a question of tire choice today.  The opening laps were run under yellow to allow the competitors to get the feel of the wet track.  Unfortunately for Mishael, entering turn 7 on the first lap, her left front suspension dropped down.  She spun and her day was done. 

 

The cause was a bolt that sheared off where the lower suspension connects to the car.  The good news is she didn't hit anything or anyone and there isn't anything else wrong with the car. 

 

We waited and waited for her to return to the pit lane or the team's paddock spot but no Mishael.  We knew she was okay and the car was in good shape so we just waited.  Finally Paul got a call from her in turn 7.  Mishael had borrowed a fan's cell phone and told us that she was still with the car but they weren't going to tow her in until after the next race (or two); a 50 minute race and a 30 minute race.

 

We (Mom, Dad, Aunt Pam, Grandma Dee, and me) decided to walk over and wait it out with her.  It was a long walk pretty much to just get there find out what all happened and then walk back.  We did catch a tram on the way back but it was still a good hike, especially for Grandma Dee.

 


Friday, March 16, 2007,  1600 hrs EDT

Late yesterday afternoon a Florida storm rolled in and I think knocked out the team's internet connection, so I was unable to send out my news release or update the website last night.  Even when I got up this morning it was still down so I worked on formatting pictures and preparing to send the news release emails as soon as it was back up.

 

I did finally get out the emails and posted pictures and some things on the website but another heavy downpour knocked out the internet again.

 

I am now getting back to the blog and can update a few things.  First of all Mishael will start sixth in today's race.  They are starting the cars based on yesterday's fastest lap times and there were a few that had wrecked out yesterday with faster times that we hadn't noticed.  I am hearing a couple cars were penalized for an infraction.

 

The rain has pushed the schedule out an hour at this point.  Mishael's race will be at 5:00p rather than the scheduled 4:00p (which would have been now).  There are still some sprinkles so it's possible the time will slip further.  The Star Mazda race is expected to start at any time.

 

Mishael had a little PR duty today at 12:30p.  Mazda made a big press announcement about their total racing program connecting all the dots up the racing ladders.  In open-wheeled racing beginning at the grassroots karting level through Skip Barber and up to the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda.  Closed-wheel racing progresses from SCCA through MX-5 Cup to Speed World Challenge and the ultimate step, the ALMS LMP2.  Mishael got to "model" Mazda's new driver's suit for the press conference.  I'll try to add a small picture later.


Thursday, March 15, 2007,  1615 hrs EDT

We had some radio difficulties the previous couple days.  I wasn't having any trouble hearing on my scanner so that information actually helped them fix the problem.  They ended up changing or resetting the priority code or something like that in the team radios.  It seemed to have done the trick.

 

Mishael finished 5th in Race 1 this afternoon.  It was a mired by crashes with two full-course yellows.  The first 3 laps went well (no crashes) and Mishael was moving up through the field.  The first incident produced just a local yellow then finally resulted in a full-course yellow for laps 4-6.  The field went green for only a lap before they went back to full-course yellow.  The race then finished under yellow since it was a "timed" event of 30 minutes.

 

The entire B-K Motorsports team finished in the top six with Gerardo Bonilla winning the race and setting a new race lap record and Kurt Roehrig finishing sixth. 

 

The grid for Race 2 tomorrow will be set by the fastest lap during today's race, so Mishael will start fifth.  Her best lap was 2:10.859 (106.397 mph).

 


Thursday, March 15, 2007,  1145 hrs EDT

There was a penalty assessed to #38 car that qualified 2nd yesterday so Mishael will start 9th in the Lites 1 class and 10th of all cars on grid.  Her race includes Lites 1, Lites 2 and Lites 3.

 

The team has taken care of the oil temperature situation from yesterday by installing a diffuser to get more air to the oil cooler.  Should be just fine for the race today.

 


Wednesday, March 14, 2007,  2130 hrs EDT

Race activities are now done so I will get you caught up how the rest of the day went. 

 

Mishael had a lunch that included cold mac 'n cheese and the last of the Snyder's hard sourdough pretzels.

 

Mishael and her teammate, Gerardo Bonilla, both have in-car cameras.  It is definitely a great tool that benefits both.  They can see not just the things to correct next time out but reinforces the things they do well.  I got to see some of the tapes from both of them -- very impressive stuff.  You can really see a lot on the tapes, both good and bad.  The steering corrections and "saves" are always fun to watch. 

 

The Lites qualifying session was from 4:05 - 4:30p.  Mishael had a rear tire go down early on so she had to come in and change it.  Not a good thing during a 25 minute qualifying session.  After a few more laps she got a high oil temp alarm.  The team brought her in, not wanting to risk hurting the engine.  She got back out for a final lap but it basically ended the day for Mishael.

 

Mishael was only able to manage a 2:08.319 (103.805 mph) in qualifying, placing her tenth on the grid.  Lap 3 was her best but she recorded only 7 laps and those included her two trips in the pits.

 


Wednesday, March 14, 2007,  1215 hrs EDT

I am at the race track now and connected to the world (internet connection).  I haven't had a connection since before I left for the airport yesterday.

 

Mishael's final test session yesterday went fine.  The team was still providing a base setup and shaking things down.  Mishael ran maybe only 10 laps in the afternoon.

 

I arrived at Sebring this morning, obtained my credentials and got to the B-K Motorsports paddock just before Mishael headed to the track for the day's 8:00a practice session.  The session went very well.  She finished with the fifth fastest lap time of the session (2:07.482).  There were no incidents and nothing broke so that is a successful session.

 

After the practice Mishael debriefed with the team and reviewed data.  The team is able to make comparisons between all three of their cars.  This is the advantage of a multi-car team and will benefit all three drivers.

 

I was looking for IMSA timing and scoring on the internet but either isn't up or I just can't find it.  So far they have only posted results for GT3 and ALMS, but nothing for the Lites.  http://www.imsaracing.net/

 


Tuesday, March 13, 2007,  1130 hrs CDT

It's my lunch break so I'll get out a quick note.  Sounds like the morning practice went just fine.  Mishael needed to break in a transmission with new disk so she took it easy.  This afternoon's session should show a little more.

 

When Mishael was at Classic Mazda in Orlando on Sunday the car was just painted with no decals (stickers).  Word is her race car has part of the stickers on now but not all. 

 


Tuesday, March 13, 2007,  0700 hrs CDT

I have packed and am basically ready to fly out this afternoon.  I will fly to St. Pete / Clearwater and arrive at the track first thing Wednesday morning - right when registration opens at 7:00a.

 

Mishael and team were getting credentials and setting up at the track yesterday.  Sounds like it was a busy day for an "off" day.

 

Today starts practice.  It is called a testing day.  IMSA timing and scoring on the internet is not available so I'll have to rely on info and updates from Paul and Mishael.

 


Sunday, March 11, 2007,  2200 hrs CDT

Today Mishael flew from Indianapolis to Florida.  She appeared at Classic Mazda in Orlando with her B-K Motorsports team from 5:00-7:00p EDT.

 


Sunday, March 11, 2007,  1400 hrs CDT

I have decided to start a webpage where I will provide journal entries during Mishael's race weekends.  I'm not yet sure how much time I'll have to do this at each event but I thought I would give it a shot.  Hopefully this will serve as a place for Mishael's fans to go and find out a little more about how the racing is going for Mishael during the race event and between races as well. 

 

It would be great if Mishael had time to post her own blogs but Mishael is focused on her racing at the race track and doesn't have the time.  I will incorporate some things from Mishael with my posts.

 

Feel free to email me at any time to ask questions.  craig@mishaelabbott.com

 

I may reply to your emails with answers or I'll just include the requested information in my next blog entry.

 

CRAIG

 

(Mishael's Webmaster, Publicist, PR Representative, Assistant Manager, Marketing Assistant, E-store Manager, Life-long Friend, Biggest Supporter)

 


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