What a weekend for the Bluefire Racing Team, Catastrophe, Philanthropy and a Tribute! On a weekend that saw exciting racing and a few tugs at the heartstrings, Bluefire Racing concluded its bid for a Regional Championship last weekend (October 22, 23) in the 2011 National Auto Sports Association (NASA) American Iron series.
“As Maxwell Smart might say, ‘We missed it by that much’” exclaimed Brian Calder, team principal of Bluefire Racing.
Entering the weekend in 3rd place in points among a dozen points collecting competitors, it was going to be tough for the team to advance toward the top spot, but a podium was certainly within grasp. “We wanted to run smart, competitive races – and stay out of trouble”, said Kyri Calder, Crew Chief and co-founder of the team. “We did just that in Race 1, where we saw several of our competitors have issues with contact. We were looking forward to a great weekend”, he added.
Unfortunately for the team, a catastrophic failure of the brake system ruined the plans for the #404 Mustang GT, piloted by Brian Calder as he hit the front straight at midway through Race 2 at Eagles Canyon Raceway.
Brian indicated that the failure was difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate. “It was nuts. One minute there was great feel, excellent performance…the next nothing. When we got the car back to the pits, the pad material was completely gone from all four front pads…right down to the backing plate. We are anal about checking critical parts including brakes, tires, suspension mounts prior to sessions and Kyri and I did our point check before Race 2 as usual. The pads looked new and everything else was buttoned up.
We were running the same compounds we’ve run for years and usually get 3 weekends out of a set of pads…this set, as well as the rear pads, was brand new this weekend and ‘disappeared’ in about 10 minutes of Race 2. We had great performance and feedback from the brakes in practice, qualifying and the first race. In fact the brakes felt awesome right up until the last turn before the off – there were no flags from the corner workers so we really had no indication anything was wrong. ”
With the car suffering damage beyond what could safely be addressed before the last race, the team saw themselves drop from 3rd to 4th in the series points by the end of the weekend.
Focusing on the positive, the team turned their attention to making the most of the weekend by facilitating the collection of donations for DFW Charity Racing, one of Bluefire Racing’s marketing partners.
“We have been looking forward to doing something at a race weekend with NASA and DFW Charity Racing and this weekend we worked with them to organize donations for lunchtime parade laps. One little girl gave her birthday money as a donation…melted my heart and completely made me forget about a torn up race car”, reported Brian Calder.
The team looks forward to a planned event in the 2012 season with NASA and DFW Charity Racing to help bring even more attention and charitable donations to help special needs children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“It was nice to see something positive come out of the trip to the track; we started this team with a firm eye on service to others and this is one small way we can do that” said Kyri Calder. “We also had an emotional lift from seeing all of our competitors in our series, as well as ourselves and other NASA participants, run decals paying tribute to the late Dan Wheldon, IndyCar #77 who was killed in competition at Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. It was a tragic loss and our heart goes out to the Wheldon family”.
2011 saw the team continue a steady progression to the top of the American Iron standings in NASA Texas. To recap:
- In 2008 we competed in our first race and finished 11th in season points
- In 2009 we started as a full Rookie, finished 8th in season points and received Rookie of the Year
- In 2010 we finished 5tt in season points
- In 2011 we finished 4th in season points, just 11 points behind 3rd place, earning our first Poles and Wins!
About Bluefire Racing
Bluefire Racing is a grassroots club-racing team founded in 2007. The team fielded their first car in the National Auto Sport Association’s American Iron in 2008 and received Rookie of the Year in 2009 after their first full season.
You can find out more about Bluefire Racing at the team’s website (www.bluefireracing.com) or on Facebook (Bluefire Racing).