Baby's First IMSA Race Was A Heartbreaker

Baby's First IMSA Race Was A Heartbreaker

I’m a sucker for finales. it doesn’t matter what I’m watching, if it’s the last game/episode/event of the season, I’m in. I’m all in. I don’t need all the details, either. Just tell me who we’re cheering for and who we’re cheering against, and let’s get to watching. Hockey? Soccer? Figure skating? Darts? Oh yeah, let’s go. Some reality dating show? Jasmine! How do you not see you’re way too good for Brad! Do not go down the Funyuns Slide To Matrimony with him! Get your ass to the Fritos Scoops Reunion Room and tell Josè you want him back!

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Heading into last weekend’s Petit Le Mans, it was no different. I’m not what you would consider a Racing Guy, but come on, it was the last race of the season. Yes, I was there with Porsche, but they couldn’t force me to cheer for their team. If I wanted to pull for Acura, what were they going to do? Kick me out? I mean, it probably would have been rude to openly pull for Acura around a bunch of Porsche people, but I write for Jalopnik, dammit. You’re not going to tell me what to do.

Still, I actually was pulling for Porsche. They weren’t in the lead after the last race, but they were close enough that they actually had a shot at winning. Acura and Cadillac weren’t going to go down without a fight, but come on, who doesn’t love a come-from-behind victory? A scrappy underdog eeking out a win in the last race of the season to take the whole thing? I am always going to be here for that.

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In the beginning, I was full of optimism. If Porsche won, I would be right there to see it. We’d get to celebrate, and I’d have an incredible story to write. Also, Jenson Button might show up to celebrate with us, which I would not have complained about in the least. And four hours in, it looked like I might actually get my perfect story. Porsche’s Number 7 car was in first and had quite a lead over the second-place Cadillac.

Pour one out for the number 6 PorschePhoto: Collin Woodard/Jalopnik

Unfortunately for both Porsche and my odds of becoming best friends with Jenson Button, Petit Le Mans isn’t a four-hour race. Or a five-hour race. It certainly didn’t help that the Number 6 Porsche was involved in a crash that took it out of contention. They were able to get it back out on the track, but as I was (conveniently) catching up with old friends right at Turn 7, the 6 car once again sustained too much damage to continue racing and had to be towed off the track right in front of us.

Still, at least the 7 car was still in contention. And as the hours passed, it looked like it still had a chance the win. With just over an hour to go, a Cadillac/Acura crash shook things up and unfortunately sent Acura’s driver to the hospital. The race had been going on for a full nine hours, and everyone was exhausted, but that was not the time to get distracted or leave early. All it would take was another convenient crash, and Porsche would actually have it.

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Except that convenient crash never happened, and just like that, after 10 hours, it was time to go back to the car and sit in a massive traffic jam as we tried to leave the track. It was such a weird feeling having spent the vast majority of my day willing something to happen, getting my hopes up and then seeing them dashed before my eyes. Is this what TCU fans felt like back in January? No, they knew they were going to lose before the second half was even over. This was worse. If only a few things had gone differently, Porsche would have won. But I guess that’s just racing.