Saturday, November 8, 2014
On both days jumpers exited a Cessena 206 from an altitude of 4,000. Jumpers parachuted in proudly displaying the American Flag and a "We Support Our Troops" banner. To date, Clark Cares has raised over 2.5 million dollars for many charities. This year, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Chelsea’s Light Foundation were among the benefactors of the money raised.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The parachute team had the honor of parachuting into the opening ceremonies of the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in San Diego on September 7, 2014. Hosted by the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, thousands of people, including whole Fire Houses, registered to climb from the ground level to the top floor 3 times equaling the 110 levels of the Twin Towers in New York City.
From the San Diego Stair Climb Website:
WHY WE CLIMB
"Each year, approximately 100 firefighters die while serving their communities. Many more die from cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders, stroke, and other injuries and illnesses suffered as a result of their service.
But we can work together to honor these sacrifices and care for the firefighters who assume these risks and the families who share them.
Join this living memorial on September 7th, 2014 at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront for the 13th anniversary commemoration of 9/11. Firefighters, Police Officers, Military Personnel, and Civilians will join together in a spirit of remembrance and courage to honor the memories of those lost 13 years ago.
Teams of Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Military and civilians will climb 110 floors the same number as in the twin towers- and each will climb in the name of a fallen Emergency Responder whose life was lost on that day.
We will climb in the memory, and honor of the 343 FDNY Brothers, 23 NYPD Brothers and Sisters, and 37 Port Authority Brothers and Sisters, and to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by firefighters everywhere.
Funds raised will benefit FirefighterAid (formerly the San Diego Firefighters’ Benevolent Fund,) the 501(c)(3) charity which cares for Firefighters and families through sickness, distress, and death."
After a warm welcome, an invocation, a fly over by a Fire Rescue Helicopter, the 3 man jump team exited their aircraft from 3000 feet above the ground. From the helmet of L. Barbiero, here is the actual jump...
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
As the double yellow flags broke out immediately around the track, I looked into my rear view mirror... ...and found I was now last. Traffic and the accident did not help my over all start. After half a lap, I looked again and now saw a Bentley GT who had spun out behind me and a GTS Kia who did some banging with Dean Martin and his Mustang. Whateverm I had cars in front of me I needed to reel in.
Back in the paddock after the race, we jacked up the rear of the car and found the left rear half shaft had broken. Being a relatively new part, we aren't quite sure why something like that happened. However, that's racing...
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
It was GREAT to fly into Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State Buckeyes and see the colors scarlet and grey e everywhere. What a weekend it was at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Thursday was a promoter test day for all teams which gave us 2 extra practices. I missed the first half of the first session because of electrical problems with my car. Just as we were about to pull out of the paddock and head to grid, the mechanics popped the hood and started cranking wrenches to replace a failed alternator. With about 15 minutes left, I left pit entry and headed down to Turn 2. It was a challenging remaining couple minutes as I tried to get my tire temps up, avoid GT cars at almost race pace, learn the track and also figure out how my car is handling and recommend changes to my crew.
The afternoon session was much better and my confidence grew with each lap. I was able to take the car deeper into turns, it was biting more, but the back end was still a bit loose. After a red flag (due to a couple cars that had spun off the track) and with 10 minutes left, I decided to go 85% since the car was oversteering pretty easy and focus on my entry and exit lines. Coming out of Turn 8 and into 9 the back end still kicked out. I caught it, got the car straight and tried to slow it, but the left 2 wheels were in the grass. I went straight off, through a gravel pit that is supposed to slow me down and kissed the tire wall bending a front left side “A” arm. I couldn’t believe it. To calm down, I walked back to the paddock from the opposite side of the track.
The crew wasted no time at all, replacing the couple parts and getting the car back in amazing shape. We were all set and ready for the Official SCCA practice on Friday afternoon when the electrical problems arose again, this time shutting off the car. After we replaced the battery, a new alternator, a new starter, rechecked the fuses and more. I got back on track able to get some more laps in.
Saturday morning, qualifying. I enjoy qualifying. There are fewer cars on the track, we are all relatively the same speed so you don’t have to worry about the incredible closing speeds of GT cars and you let it all hang out. We have 15 to 20 minutes to put the fastest lap time we can down. I usually get that time the later we go in the session. I find my rhythm, the tires are at their best and traffic has usually dissipated enough where you can be unaffected by anyone else. About half way through a red flag was thrown because a faster Aston Martin V8 literally rode up the back and over a slower Nissan 370Z. After the mess was cleaned up, we went back out to finish up and I was on my fastest lap yet by 1.5 seconds when I came into the Carousel and found fluids left behind by the Subaru WRX’s engine after it let go. It spun me backwards and into the grass on the outside. Luckily I was able to get the car stopped before it got near the wall. Unluckily it had me sitting right in front of a wave of cars that were speeding my direction! I had to shut my car down and then turn it back on to restart it as other race cars were losing grip then sliding by either side of me into the grass. I thought for sure I was going to get smacked. I was highly annoyed that my posted qualifying lap used, wasn’t my fastest I could have had. But, that's racing.
Saturday, race day! The cars were prepped and ready to go! Fans filled the stands and the announcers voice was booming over the loud speakers. Time to pull it all together for 50 minutes of “battle”. Formed up and rolling around the track on our parade lap I went to shift gears... and couldn’t! As the field made its way around the track I had to point cars by and hope i could make it back to the pits. I FINALLY forced it into 3rd gear and brought it around, informing my crew of the situation and to get ready for me. They jacked the car up, popped the hood, shut the car down, then restarted it. Somehow the shifter worked great. The green flag dropped, all the other cars took off and I exclaimed to let me go! The crew dropped the car, buttoned me up and I was gone. This could have very well been a blessing in disguise. As I raced to catch up, I noticed pieces and parts on the track. As I swerved to avoid them, I looked further up and saw Lamborghini on the side of the track stopped, a FSR in the grass and a Mustang stopped a little later. Continuing, 2 more Mustangs were badly damaged and off the track. (Video showed the Lambo getting sideways and a flurry of GTS cars trying to avoid it. In the fray, they hit each other. Had I stayed on track and not pitted, I would have been right in the MIDDLE of the action). Needless to say, full course caution ensued.
Once we restarted, the race continued without a hitch as the clouds kept getting darker and closer. Heavy rain drops started falling and soon the track was soaked. The racing line immediately shifted and speeds slowed down as we were all on slicks. As minutes ticked by, more and more cars went off. The resulting carnage was incredible. Before long the Officials initiated Full Course caution and the speeds came to a crawl. Even at 5-10 miles an hour cars were sliding off the track. We had wakes coming off our wheels and in some corners puddles formed. I saw a Mustang send up a wave of water higher than his car when he drove through it! It turned into survival mode. Eventually the Series threw a Red Flag and we all lined up on the front straight. The remaining 8 minutes of the race ticked by, the rain maintained its steady down pour so the checkered flag was thrown. What a race...
Sunday! What wonderful conditions we had. Partly cloudy, sun beaming through and temps that were enjoyable to watch a race. Qualifying positions were based upon drivers fastest lap from the race the day before. Being consistent with the weekend, my cars electrical reared its head once more and kept shutting off the car when the battery level dropped too low so I had to keep the engines RPM’s up the whole time. I am going to need a new clutch...
We all took off when the starting lights went out and immediately there was some bumping and grinding in front of me. A stalled GT car forced traffic to the outside resulting in teammate Andy Lee off to the right and grazing a wall. He drove through braking markers placed on the ground sending them flying in the air for us behind him to avoid. Recalling the destruction that happened during the beginning of Race #1, I decided to give the FSR, BMW, and Aston Martin V8 in front of me some breathing room as they traded paint all the way down to Turn 4. I was behind the FSR and knew that he was going to lose the battle if “weight” became an issue. Last thing I wanted was to T-bone him when he lost and ruin my race.
Unfortunately, giving that space enable a couple cars to pass me in the Turn. However, in the long run it helped me because 2 of the 3 cars banging each other didn’t finish, I ended up passing some that did, and my car didn’t have a scratch on it. I got into an enjoyable back and forth with a Nisan 370Z as I was on his bumper for several laps putting pressure on him. I reeled him in lap after lap until his back and my front bumper were almost touching. Then a wave of GT cars came by, spaced us out again, so I had to reel him in again. Not long after I made my way around him and pulled away to go chase down a Mustang.
Before long a full course caution was waved and we all packed up. This was good because they guy I had to hunt down was right in front of me. Bad, because now I was right in front of the guy chasing me. With 2 laps left the Mustang behind me passed me in a turn. I was annoyed with myself for not defending my line better.
Lots was learned this weekend and what a weekend it was. As important is that the cars is in one piece and headed back to the West Coast. Time to take it back to the shop and sort out the electrical issue. I can’t wait to go to Sonoma!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Pirelli World Challenge racing had its last street race of the season in Toronto!
I LOVE street races. The large number of fans, the energy, the vibe, the tall skyscrapers peering down on the track as our cars horsepower echoes through the city streets. There is nothing like it. The flip side to that coin is constantly changing track surfaces, sealant, street crowns, cement walls on either side and bumpy roads. The worst conditions for a race track. If the driver isn’t careful, and as Race 1 showed, this track can eat cars.
Race 1 had teammate Andy Lee in his #20 Camaro sitting P4 place while I qualified P14 in #40. On the start the GT and GTS field raced towards Turn 1 where the entrance is 54 feet wide... and the exit is 27. Immediately 2 GT Audi’s hit each other, spinning 1 of them and a traffic jam ensued. Lee, who had a great start jumping up to P1 hit the brakes, but ran out of real estate. His front left hit the tail end of a GT Viper and damaged it. He was able to limp to Turn 5 before the car just had enough. It was mayhem as all cars tried to stop in enough time but couldn’t. Two Aston Martins were damaged, Audi R8’s had carbon fiber smashed in, a KIA was sidelined, and a couple Mustangs pulled into the run off areas. Immediately we were under yellow. With my teammate out of the race, it was my job to get it done.
Race #2 was a new day. With Lee not being able to put a full lap in the day before, he had to start near the back with all the other crashed out cars from Race #1 and I started mid pack after my incident. The starter lights went out and we were green! We thundered down the cement canyon and all went smoothly. The Camaro’s have been battling a power issue this season with the series lobbying to get us a smaller size restrictor. Repeatedly we have watched Mustangs and KIA’s pull away from us on straights when we are flat out. I got behind a Mustang early and reeled him in through the turns, then watched as he pulled away on the straights. The whole race was this yo-yo event. Continuing to hit my marks and put pressure on him, he eventually slipped up and I was able to get around him.
The car came in clean, undamaged and good drivers points were earned. Now back to the United States and Mid-Ohio to begin a stretch of running on road courses.
Monday, June 23, 2014
On June 21, 2014 the Frog-X Parachute Team, sponsored by Shadow Works, jumped into the USS Iowa's parking lot in the port of Los Angeles, California. From 5,000 feet above the ground, 5 jumpers exited a Cessna 206 and descended upon the VETNET Working Wardrobes Charity Dinner, hosted by Harry and Catherine Humphries.
Jumpers JC Ledbetter (former SWCC) and Keith Pritchett (SEAL) performed a dynamic water landing into LA's harbor, feet from the watching crowd. Shortly after, landing along side the ship in the parking lot of Pier 2, Jumpers Nix White (former SEAL) flew in an 1100 sq. ft. American Flag, Marc Hogue (former Marine Force Recon) flew the VETNET Banner, and Larry Barbiero (former SEAL) flew in the "Support our Troops" banner.
See the video at http://youtu.be/G1YU5wurIG4
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
When we arrived, Detroit weather gave us a proper welcome with rain and flooded streets. On the way to our hotel, we saw a local, in a pick up truck, decide not to forge a flooded intersection in his pick up truck.Even though in a rental, we decided it was best not to either.
The next morning during load in, tractor trailers were getting stuck and digging ruts into the islands grassy areas. Big Caterpillar tractors had to be brought in to pull them out, while truck loads of wood chips were sprayed like water from a fire hose to help dry out the area.
Saturday morning was an early one, since qualification was slated for 7:05 in the morning. After it was over, Andy qualified 9th and I, 18th, a little over 1.5 secs behind. Less than 2 hours later, it was show time.
The race started off wonderfully for me. The lights went out, the pack sprinted forward and I had a jump on Eric Davis, who was in front of me. I pointed my nose to his right but decided not to go for it, because it would have been a gamble to get through him and the wall. I found my way behind Buzz McCall from GTS Sport and rode his tail for 2 laps before getting by him and pulling away.
I was following my friend, Andy Pilgrim, in his No.8 GT Cadillac CTSV-R during this time. I knew he was gone at the restart so I would try to hang with him as much as possible. With 5 minutes left in the race, the green flag flew.
Still behind Pilgrim we raced into Turn 7, I noticed a Dodge Viper in front of him. As we came into Turn 8, my eye caught a very slow white Aston Martin on the inside. I remember thinking, “that is a terrible place to stop.” As I made my turn in to Turn 8, a loud bang shook my body, another bang filled my ears and then a 3rd bang rang out as I now understood my car to be in the tires. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I do know the white Aston Martin crashed into me, and plowed me into the tire wall with 2 minutes left. 2 MINUTES! I was... not happy.
I was running 12th at the time and because of that, I finished 18th... Andy moved up 1 spot to 8th.
Sunday came around after the crew spent the better part of Saturday fixing my car. I have the best crew who loves their job and will give it their all. I am EXTREMELY thankful for each of them. They are some of the best guys I know. just after 0800 there was a warm up session for the Pirelli World Challenge cars and I wanted to shake down my car during that time. I only ran 6 laps. I wanted to save the car for the race, but make sure that it was functioning properly. I ran about 8/10th’s pace and was happy.
Race time came. On the outside wall this time, there was no where to go but straight forward. If someone ahead of me were to stall, it would be a traffic jam. The lights went out and everyone took off. Friend Nick Esayian did have a stall forcing Tom Landry to stay parked behind him. I got underway smoothly and was battling for position until the pack of cars started to string out. Laps 1 and 2 felt good as the tires heated up and the engine was purring.
Lap 3, everything changed. I was following the Tremec Camaro through Turns 1 and 2. My line was within the norm of what I had been running all weekend. As I started into Turn 2, the turn where a “jump” is in the middle of, I felt the front end of my car wobble. Maintaining throttle, the car compressed on the other side and I felt the back end of the car begin to want to travel around the front. I floored the gas pedal in hoops of squatting the back end down but physics was already in motion.
My car spun around backward and was headed for the concrete wall. My right rear quarter panel hit first, then the front right, and back to the rear again. I was at a loss. Teammate Andy Lee, had mechanical problems with his cars throttle body. It would stick open or closed at the most inopportune times. He couldn’t finish either.
It was a rough weekend all the way around. Detroit beat us up and spit us out. However, #20 and #40 in the Pirelli World Challenge Series don’t lay down. We will be back Detroit, and we will be gunning for you.