Trac Day Resources

2008 Championship

Team COOPER '06 Season

USTCC 2006 - Laguna Seca

'05 Competiton

'04 Championship Finale

First Half 04 Championship

Race Team

TireRack Street Survival

Team Cobalt California - USTCC Laguna Seca 2006
Conditions favored AWD but don't tell that to Auston, he took the top rookie honors.  US Touring Car Championship (USTCC) 2006 Laguna Seca opener.  4d-SPORT.com
Conditions favored AWD but don't tell that to Auston Harris, he took the top rookie honors.
Race car drivers are animated in there discussions whether solving car problems or discussing tactics for the track.  Team Cobalt California's Jeff Lepper helping sort out the cars for the 2006 USTCC opener at Laguna Seca.  4d-SPORT.com
Race car drivers are animated in there discussions whether solving car problems or discussing tactics for the track.

As interesting as the clock against the track, so it is in the paddock (NASCAR calls it “behind the wall”). Most of what the typical race fan sees takes place in a fraction of the time that it takes to field a competitive team.

As precious as a few tenths of a second and a driver's talent is on the track, so is a minute or two and the skill of the crew and the driver's tuning experience in the paddock.

Saturday, March 11, 2006, Laguna Seca, Salinas, CA – Snow cover at the 500' level it's cold and damp and the official schedule is in disarray as track time was limited on Friday due to precipitation. Practice has been minimal to non-existent and qualifying sessions called out of sequence with as little as half an hour prepare.


Team Cobalt has the new car set up for 15 year old Auston Harris which he will later use, qualifying on the damp course, to put him just behind the all-wheel-drive cars on grid. Jeff Lepper is standing by to drive the older # 21 Cobalt but with oil over temp troubles and much tuning to do decides to spend his time working on the car with Motorkars.

Tom takes over the driving duties and in the same session that Auston qualifies the #5 near the front Tom successively turns a quicker lap but has to come in with an over heating situation.

After the qualifying session ends full attention turns to the cars. In addition to the engine issues with # 21 the team discusses car handling and brake wear.

The #5 Cobalt is in need of a new set of brakes after just 20 minutes of qualifying so it's up on the stands and the team goes to work. Seems that with all that time Auston competed in karts he learned that the fast way around was to drag the brakes a bit. With this being Auston's first race in a front wheel drive car the team thought he would be aided with a brake light in the cockpit to help him keep a set of brakes in tact for the duration of the race.

Tom had an interesting report when returning from qualifying. Seems he's looped the #21 car; a first ever for him. The Cobalt was on the same springs as worked for Daytona but with a lower temperature track, the dampness and stiffer sidewall tires of USTCC the rear rates were not going to work. Work continues into the evening and with the focus of the crew the cars are readied for the next day's competition.


Sunday, March 12, 2006 – The weather forecast had been for clearing on race day but turned out to be a mix which leaned toward precipitation.


As race time neared the rain had stopped, USTCC declared it a dry race and competitors gridded on their slicks. No sooner than the race got under way the rain returned. While the damp conditions had favored the all-wheel-drive cars during qualifying the rain exacerbated their advantages.


Long story short, Tom had a good chance at third with Auston just behind when on the throttle and into standing water on the track the # 21 over-revved, threw a code disabling the engine and he came to a stop on the side of the track. The # 5 had a much easier time of it and Auston brought it home in fourth, earning the trophy for the first highest finishing rookie. Way to go Auston and Team Cobalt California.

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