Racing at Waterford


Waterford is a race track on the outskirts of Detroit. My son, Vaughan, races his Porche 924 there in the ITA class. On the weekend of 28-29 September 2002, he invited me to spend the weekendwith him and to take in some racing at Waterford.

On this weekend Vaughan scored a couple of personal bests. On the Saturday he achieved his fastest ever laptime: 1 minute 23.18 seconds. Then on Sunday morning he won his class race for the first time ever!

Unfortunately I am not as organized as Vaughan and my camera failed me on Sunday morning. The photographs shown here were taken Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, so I have none of his (by now) famous win. However you can see his videos. Also, you can see his official results

Date(s): 28-9 September 2002

Location(s): Waterford Race Track, Detroit area of Michigan

Source(s): photographs by Kenneth Scott

Looking for the motor?
We spend a lot of time looking at the motor

Why won't it start?
That's Gregg, Vaughan's crew chief in the white T. Vaughan is connecting the battery charger. We were having starting problems and wondered if the battery was not charged

The Paddock
The area where the cars are parked and worked on is called the Paddock. In the center of this photograph, just behind the truck is the awning over Vaughan's car. The tan Suburban is Vaughan's track support vehicle.

We have tires. Vaughan is mounting a racing slick tire for dry surface racing. The tires in the left foreground are for wet track racing. We spend a lot of time rotating tires and checking tire pressure.

Gregg gets a tire

and mounts it

Is Merritt supervising or . . . ?

Starter problems
We decide that we have starter problems and Vaughan crawls underneath to check it out. He had installed a new starter and starter solenoid before the meet

Technical consultation
Vaughan is underneath and Gregg is talking with him. Merritt wonders if they really know what they are doing?

A view of the track
taken from the grandstand at the start of a race. The race group is spec racers and Prod (Production class) cars

Sugar 'n' Spice
A Pontiac Fiero which races in the same class as Vaughan -- driven by Steve Perkins, known locally for his 'stardom' in Junkyard Wars and as a Kindergarden teacher. This was taken looking into the Paddock from the viewing platform

Vaughan's Paddock Area
taken from the viewing platform

Merritt rests
we spend a lot of time waiting . . .

In the Grid
Just before a race the carsline up in a predetermined order (based on morning lap time). Here Gregg and Vaughan consult.

Merritt watches
Different classes of cars race at the same time. Vaughan in 77 is in the ITA class as is number 7 on the left. Number 40 on the right, the maroon Mercury Cougar is in a different class

ALmost ready
Vaughan is all geared up and strapped in. Notice the roll bar structure inside the car. The car is also equiped with a fire supression system and Vaughan wears a fire resistant race drivers outfit. (these items are important to his father!)

Getting closer to the start
Visible is the window net (made from nylon mesh), that is clipped into place while racing to prevent the driver's head or arms from going out the window in a rollover, and thereby being crushed against the car.

On the track
From the Grid the cars go out onto the track and, behind the pace car, line up in twos to start the race. This processions takes them around the track and here we see 77 just across from the start line about 1/6 of the way around the track going into the 'Skeet House Turn'

And they're off!
They have just received the green flag and are crossing the start line.

There are a couple of cars off the track at 'Archers Corner'. 77 threads its way through under yellow caution flags. Notice the next race cars heading toward the grid in the lower right of the photo

In front of the stands
By this time in the race 77 has passed 40 and is 'alone' on the track -- Vaughan got his fastest lap ever on this pass

A very happy driver!
Vaughan has learned about his best ever lap time!

Time for a rest
I can't take all this action and need my afternoon nap

Vaughan after his first win
After his victory lap Vaughan was soaking wet -- here he gets out of his fire-retardant clothing and hangs it on the back of the Porshe to dry.

Merritt arrives
Merritt has been faithfully attending meet after meet -- and then she misses Vaughan's big win, arriving about a half hour later

Vaughgan enjoys the congratulations
Here he is talking to flagger and former neighbor Judi Bennett (in the white suit) and another friend Jenn Rutherford (behind Judi in the black shirt), as well as Merritt.

Vaughan gets a big hug from Judy

Gregg's wife Angela is part of the team . . .
but the youngster in the stroller also demands attention!

Checking the tires
Gregg is torquing the wheels - to make sure they stay on while on track, a common problem with less-well-prepared competitors - and checking tire pressures. These checks are part of the pre-grid checklist.

and checking

and still checking

Some drivers start young

A proud team poses with its trophy

Pre-race chat on the grid
Ryan Kuhn's CRX in foreground, after the race (and showing signs of the impact) that gave Vaughan the win... He was ahead of Vaughan in the points race for our class going into the weekend. Not after. Behind that is Vaughan's coworker Scott Amenson's Datsun 240Z, which is an ITS car. His parents were also in attendance. Behind that is another ITS car, a BMW, of course. That's Scott in the black race suit, his girlfriend Holly in the green shirt, talking to his mother in the red shirt. Scott is talking to Chris Thornton (not visible) and Chris's father (in the hat).

pride and joy of Gregg and Angela . . . and a team member and future driver

On the grid for the final race

Going throught the check list

Will he get another win?

Window net in place

77 approaches 'Bluff Bend'

After the race
Gregg checks tire pressure and temperatures while Angela records the readings. While Vaughan is racing one of the crew members times each lap. In addition the car transponder is read by the track timing system and produces official and highly accurate lap times.

More readings

Some drivers really know how to dress up their cars

A happy Driver after a great weekend
Vaughan after the last race of the weekend -- looking very relaxed and happy

A driver and his very, very proud father!
Vaughan carries a checkered flag from his win. I wear a Penske race team hat -- courtesy of Merritt who works at Penske dealing with race team issues -- does life get any better?

Take 2 -- note
the Waterford T that Vaughan gave me -- maybe I could make it as a race team member?

And . . .
if you can't spend enough money racing a car you can dive on the side . . . :)

A winner!
Vaughan going up to get his 3rd place trophy (a sweatshirt) for the Sunday afternoon's race)

Winning Drivers . . .
always get the girls!

Ryan picks up his prize
Ryan Kuhn with his girlfriend picking up a 3rd for his finish in the first race (Saturday) of the weekend.

Steve Jones get his trophy . . .
. . .but with a smile that big the trophy doesn't show! Steve, originally from Oxford, Eng., drive a Spec Neon (SN) and drove in group 4.

Greg Fibley picks up a prize
Greg was on a car project with Vaughan at RPI a few years ago and is also working on vehicle dynamics with a major automotive company in Detroit

Chris Thornton picks up a prize
(but I cannot remember for which race)

Sugar 'n' Spice
Steve shows them how to pose -- I told him he needs to teach his fellow ITA drivers how to properly pose when they win a prize! Steve's daughters were very proud of him

The Emcee
Don't know her name -- and her voice will be so hoarse for a month that she won't be able to tell me!

Vaughan picks up his first prize trophy
He selected a clock with a 1st place inscription -- and I can remember when Vaughan had no interest in time!