Familiar Place, Uncharted Territory
Rennsport Reunion VII
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
1 October 2023
One can be forgiven for feeling nostalgic at Laguna Seca. The iconic track set among, and seemingly part of, California’s rolling hills has a gravity to it that’s hard to ignore. Maybe it’s the names of key sections of the course – Andretti Hairpin, Rainey Curve, Rahal Straight — or the magnificent vintage car shows, or the litany of classic races that have taken place over the years, but taking a breath here feels like you are inhaling close to 70 years of racing history.
For Racing to End Alzheimer’s, WeatherTech Laguna Seca feels like a home away from home. Our very first race car bearing loved ones’ names and hometowns was unveiled here in 2017. Now, with each turn, we’re reminded of teams, drivers and cars of years past.
This year, as we watched Mark Kvamme secure two podium finishes with a season record 185 names on the livery, we couldn’t help but be reminded of how far we have come and how grateful we are for every champion and supporter who has traveled this long road with us.
Slick on Sunday Morning
Race day dawned with challenging track conditions. An eagle-eyed Mark Kvamme set out in qualifying at a blistering pace, sweeping both sessions and earning pole position for the upcoming races.
Early in the first race on Sunday morning, the slick track slowed the No. 43’s momentum. In lap one, while Kvamme and the crew were trying to lock down traction and tire temperature, Scott Noble blasted ahead and took a commanding lead.
Mark worked from behind for the rest of the race, pushing to close what became a significant gap. Even as he laid down good laps toward the end of the race, the lead was insurmountable. When the checkered flag was waved, the No. 43 sat in second place.
Hobbled by the Hairpin
When Sunday afternoon’s race started, it looked as though the No. 43 would run away with the early lead from pole position. For the entire first half, Kvamme built his lead on Scott Noble, gapping him with each passing lap. But, as every driver knows all too well, fast starts don’t always translate to first place finishes.
With a human inferno like Scott Noble riding your bumper, there’s little to no room for mistakes. Unfortunately, Kvamme made a small mistake in turn 11 and another in turn three, opening the door for Noble to edge past on the notorious Andretti Hairpin. In a series like the Carrera Cup, a split second can mean all the difference and the No. 43 crossed the line in second position.
Feeling the Love
Laguna Seca has always been kind to Racing to End Alzheimer’s. It’s a place that has watched us grow, hosting our teams, challenging our drivers and delighting our fans. As the years go on, it’s a place that we feel drawn to and continue to return to with a true feeling of homecoming.
It felt appropriate that we reach the milestone of 185 names here. Race results eventually fade into history, but our driving hope and our guiding mission remain. Somehow, at a track as storied as Laguna Seca, that becomes so clear.
Thanks for tuning in.