Old Speed News Issues

Speed News May 2017

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/818508

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Page 68 of 83

to discourage the guys," he said. "I want second and third to be battling, not working together to chase me down." Some drivers use video and car data extensively, but that's not Grace's approach. He typically reviews video and data when racing at a new track or making changes to the car such as alignment tweaks during test sessions. Grace paints marks on the sway bar and camber plates for the various tracks for quick adjustments. "Places I go less of ten, some of the destination tracks, I definitely keep good notes of that," he said. Grace, who works in corporate strateg y for Rolls- Royce's aerospace division, is also a driving instructor. While he gets paid to help students' on-track performance, Grace freely provides advice to any racer who asks. It's one of many reasons the Spec E30 group in the Mid-Atlantic remains so tight even with Grace's dominance the past five seasons. When Grace won National Championships in 2011 and 2016, his fellow Spec E30 racers cheered him on. Af ter a par ticularly epic run in Spec E30 a few years ago for Grace, a racer created a meme based on Adolf Hitler's last days in a Berlin bunker. The creator replaced the subtitles with hilarious lines such as "That stupid orange pumpkin car always wins" and "I've tried ever ything I can think of. Even the nitrous disguised as a fire bottle has done nothing!" Grace laughed when asked about it. "I thought it was great," he said. "It was creative." The Spec E30 racers in the Mid-Atlantic get together for a barbecue on Saturday during race weekend with Grace's father, Seth, grilling up the steak, hamburgers and seafood that the racers contribute. The barbecue is a great way to recruit new racers to the class, Diradour said, and helps to keep the competition friendly. The tightknit group shares par ts and will work on one another's cars to keep them racing. It's why they suppor t Grace and his winning ways. "I think because the group is so close and friendly off the track, I would hope that has kind of cut down on any of that," Grace said. "It's not like I show up and park by myself, race and go home. I like to think I'm just one of the guys in that group and that's how they treat me." While the racers are closing the gap on Grace, no driver has been able to consistently run with the Herndon, Va., resident. So what will it take to beat Grace in a spec class? "In order to beat him you've got to have perfect equipment, drive a flawless race and get lucky," Cobetto said. "Because he's going to do the exact same thing." — Gregg Mansfield For more information, visit: http://rober tgraceracing. com/SN 69

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