Thursday, April 30, 2009

NASA Driver Spotlight!

I'm famous! Well, a little...
Got an email from the head of the NASA organization today. I've been chosen for the spotlight driver for NASA Midwest over the next 4 or so days. It's not much, but it is kinda neat. Click HERE for the link.

On the right side, if you view my profile you can see some of my highlights, mods, and of course sponsors! So probably a good time to thank everyone that's gotten me this far which; especially AMS for helping tune such a reliable car for track abuse. Also, Muellerized for delivering me a suspension that actually turns the car w/o understeer!

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 18-19 Putnam - Data Aquisition Analysis

While on track, I run a data aquisition tool called Traqmate. Traqmate records everything and lets you compare laps from throughout the day, from another day or even another car. You can compare everything from speeds to braking to g-forces.
Looking at the data from April 18th specifically as compared to last April at Putnam with a different suspension setup, my entry speeds are lower across the board from my last trip. My exit speeds are similar however. The mid-corner understeer I used to fight all the time; I did not notice at all. I believe this is what allowed my corner exit speeds to catch back up and my laptimes to be equal - even on less power and older tires.
So, I'm pretty happy with this outcome. I was not pushing the car for my best lap, and believe that I have another 1-2 seconds left out there especially with the new Hoosier R6's that I will be running. Next event - May 16-17 - Putnam Park with NASA Midwest!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 18-19 Putnam Park w/ MVP TrackTime

A weekend at Putnam Park with MVP Tracktime. MVP puts on great lapping events with a ton of gourgeous high $ cars, good drivers and a lot of tracktime. I use their events for testing because of the extensive tracktime - usually 6 20min sessions.

Saturday was a great day; around 70 and sunny. Car performed flawlessly through the day and the laptimes kept coming down. I ended up equalling my best from last year even though I was running older tires, more retrofitted stock parts and down about 25hp. I did this to run in my 2009 TTB setup.

Sunday started with spotty rain and the promise for a lot more come afternoon. I left my stock street tires on and they proved to be horrible. They are really old, really hard, a few sizes smaller and 2 of them are nearly shot. Even after learning the 'rain-line' I slid everywhere on the track. Definitely adding some sort of rain tire option to the shopping list!

Click HERE for Video!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NASA Announces Contingencies!

Racing is an expensive hobby, there's no way around that fact. We try to supplement the best we can by working directly with specific sponsors for help. In addition, each sanctioning body works to bring a few contingency sponsors to the table as well. To qualify for the contingency, usually you need to run a specific brand part and display those logos - and of course place at the top of your group!

Hawk Performance Brakes. Hawk is continuing their contingency from last year.

Hoosier Tires! Hoosier extended contingencies to the NASA TT crowd.

I switched to Hawk pads last year; the DTC60's and was planning to run them again. Tire choice was a big decision. I had it numbered down to 3 choices, but with the contingency announced, I'm definitely going with a Hoosier R6.

Monday, April 20, 2009

SCCA PDX Event - 4/8

First day on-track for my in 2009! Instructed for the SCCA by user mock role-playing for new instructor candidates. Good event, good turnout, and good new class of graduating SCCA instructors!Had the Evo out hot-lapping at a slow pace. I was able to get 1 session of hot-laps in at the last however. I ran data aquisition but haven't analyzed anything yet. The car felt good, of particular interest was my new suspension setup and engine maintenance. The new JIC's felt solid and very predictable. Everything held up just fine; big thanks for Ron at Raw Performance for the maintenance work!

Pics from the event courtesy of Keith:

Friday, April 17, 2009

NASA Midwest 2009

My main objective this year is to challenge for the NASA Midwest TTB Regional Championship. I will mix in some other events including test-n-tunes, instructing for the St Louis Region SCCA and possibly some Redline Time Attack (street awd). The car was unmodded and remodded with the NASA TT ruleset and points system in mind. With that being said, here are the Midwest dates, track info and state location:

NASA Midwest Schedule
April 25-26 - Road America - Wisconsin
May 16-17 - Putnam Park - Indiana
June 13-14 - BlackHawk Farms - Illinois
July 18-19 - Autobahn CC - Illinois
August 8-9 - BlackHawk Farms - Illinois
September 5-6 - Gingerman - Michigan
Sept 10-13 - NASA Championships at Miller Motorsports Park - Utah
October 10-11 - Putnam Park - Indiana

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Planned changes for 2009

With every 'off-season' in the midwest comes a host of new parts for the car! Last year my single biggest complaint related to my suspension. Mid-year I had the car professionally aligned at AMS which did vastly improve the feel, but I still did not think it suited my driving habits or abilities. So, a large portion of time was spent researching and talking to the suspension guru's in the Evo land! I ended up selecting John Mueller's custom JIC's. These were at a very reasonable price-point, were already proven in TA competition, and used the correct amount of 'mod-points' for my series. Best of all, John and his staff agreed to work with me and further dialing in my setup as the year progresses. They also recommended a few bushings to upgrade as well.

Complaint #2 was that the car was running hot at the last 2 events. I talked with AMS about this issue and we believed this was probably related to high boost and added stress. To play it safe, I decided to accelerate some maintenance on the engine, add ARP headstuds and go with a larger radiator.

So listed below are the highlights of my changes for 2009. Note that to slide down to group TTB, I had to demod in a few areas to shed some of my 'mod-points'. I talked extensively with Mueller and AMS to get recommendations.



  • Remove HKS Air filter setup - re-install stock airbox
  • Remove aftermarket UICP & LICP - re-install stock piping

Misc (not including basic maintenance):

  • Install ARP Head Studs - This will allow me to safely run higher than stock boost when needed
  • Install STRi Oil Temp, Oil Pressure & Boost gauges - For safety and analysis
  • Install AMS 5 speed shifter bushings - For improved shifting
  • Install Mishimoto radiator - For safety as it provides more cooling ability than stock

Monday, April 13, 2009

Class Change for 2009 - TTB

In NASA TT; every car has a base class. From there you can perform modifications that will add points to your car that may bump you to a higher class. The trick - I have learned - is to use all your points for a particular class - and use them wisely!

My 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX has a base class of B. Last year, I had enough modification to bump me into the middle of A. Not knowing much about NASA and what I wanted to do, I ran without being maximized in the A group.

Per some rule changes for 2009, I decided to slide down to group TTB and be sure to maximize the car out. I spoke a lot with AMS Performance; particularly Chris about my power options given some more limited modifications. You really need to find the best recipe! I also reached out to about every suspension guru around including AMS Performance, GTWorx/RRE, Robispec, Muellerized, PIC/Pure, and Cusco/Nakabe to name a few. I could either strive for the max hp in my car, or really trick out the suspension. I would not have enough to do both. Of another big concern is what size and type of tire to run. In the end, I chose to run the best DOT tire I could in a modest 245 size - go with a reasonable 2-way adjustable suspension and use the rest of my points for power. I am excited...

Friday, April 10, 2009

2008 was full of a lot of firsts!

I installed and ran my first full set of aftermarket suspension, I ran my first timed event, I had my first major 'off', and I obtained my first sponsor just to name a few. I also met a host of great people and learned a ton along the way!

Coming from 2007, I had decided to upgrade the brake system and add in some extra safety via harnesses and a rollbar for the coming year. My abilities as a driver were quickly increasing and thus making the car faster and faster around the track. I would be venturing out of the DE/HPDE world and hopefully run some timed competition events.

Starting in April, I obtained my Time Trial (TT) licence with the Midwest region of NASA. My car in stock form fits into their 'B' group, but since I have some modifications already done, I landed in 'A'. Therefore, I competed in 3 events in their TTA grouping running against some Evo X's, C5 Z06's and heavily modded M3's and Mustangs to name a few. TTA is historically dominated by the C5 Z06 at both the Regional and National level and there were a lot of them out!

I ran the car as-is for most of the year. I was able to obtain sponsorship from AMS Performance mid-year. AMS helped tune my car, get me some replacement maintenance and upgraded parts, further align the care for the track, and just generally helped to answer a barrage of questions that I always seem to have. They've been great and I look forward to continueing our relationship and bringing them to the podium in 2009.

In the 3 events I competed in, I took a couple of 2nd place finishes, just missing out on a 1st at my last event. I quickly realized that to be competitive, one really needs to maximize their car for your specific group - one thing I planned for 2009!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Inaugural Post - What's in store for 2009!

This blog is devoted to the 2009 Racing season for my 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. I will participate in NASA Midwest TTB, various DE's and also instruct for the SCCA - St Louis region. Stay tuned for LOTS of updates!