Forest sees himself racing in Virginia trees

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

Imagine the hockey game is scheduled to go five periods. And the rule says a team has to use both goalies.

That's a cross-sport analogy for the kind of racing Edmonton's Mike Forest is doing this season in the multi-driver, endurance-style Grand Am Rolex Series.

Whether you are the starting goalie/driver or waiting on the bench/in the pits, you've got to be ready to go on a moment's notice.

Or, at least, a yellow flag's notice.

"One of the big determinations is the yellow flags," Forest said yesterday from Alton, Virginia. "When they fall, how they go."

You have to be ready, either way, said Forest.

"You have to do a mandatory driver change and you have to pit in the first 45 minutes.

"If it stays green, you know when your green-flag fuel window is. But when it goes yellow, you start getting ready right away, start putting on the gear."

Tomorrow's Bosch 250 at VIR (12:30 p.m., SPEED) is the second of the 12-race Grand Am series after January's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course at Virginia is a mid-length race on the Grand Am circuit - a mere two-hour, 45-minutes long.

It requires only two drivers. Teams will usually use three in the six- to seven-hour races and, of course, at the 24-hour Daytonas.

Forest will - and won't - be behind the Dynacor Media/Miracle Sealants No. 32 Pontiac GT.

"You try to maximize that first run - to pit after 30 minutes up to 43-44 minutes," Forest said, of making it a perfect two-stop race. "Under green you may not need a driver change and that guy runs the first hour and 35."

Grand Am is a simultaneous series with Prototype and GT cars out on the track. Under yellows, they are waved from the pits separately, so pitstops aren't as manic-panic a scenario as in other series.

Another decision maker in who drives when, said Forest, is Mother Nature.

"Somebody's got to be able to do an hour-plus. Heat will always be a big factor.

"It looks like it might be only 85 (F) here this weekend, which isn't horrible. But it will still be 130-140 inside the car.

"It's not like when it's 90 to 100 (outside the car) where you're trying to switch guys out just to keep them fresh."

ENGINE NOTES: They should hold endurance races in Alberta in the springtime - no worries about overheating!

The NPP late model series was scheduled for a test & tune today at Castrol Raceway, but it was cancelled, said NPP race announcer Gord Craig.

The surface was dry, but track officials were worried that Jack Frost was still lurking below. As of yesterday, test & tune on the dragstrip was still a go tomorrow.

Cool weather is a good excuse to go to the AgriCom for Powerama where there is always plenty of race cars among the classics.


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