Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 NASA Ruleset Released!

After a few months of waiting, the 2011 NASA Time Trials rules have been released!  This means all competitors can pour over the rules and see what class they want to compete in and prep their car accordingly. 

Let the strategizing begin!  Or rather finalize... (I have a good plan)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Track Records - n' such

So NASA MW/GL decided to give out these little Track Record certificates for Saturday events in 2010.  I collected a few and wanted to preserve them somehow.  So my wife gave me the idea of framing them, and I had enough room to squeeze in the 2010 UTCC in GrassRoots Motorsports magainze and a few other items.  The bottom right is from Phil Wicks Driving Academy; my first ever event!  (yes, my name is misspelled there)
Looks kinda neat I think.  It'll go up in the garage shortly!

Friday, November 5, 2010

929 Evo - 2010 NASA MW TTA Champion!

2010 Overview:
15 NASA TT events. Competed in 3 different regions in 3 different classes.

* 11 wins in 3 different classes
* 4 track records
* 1 Regional Championship --> Midwest TTA

Dating back to 2009:
Last 23 NASA events - 19 wins; 7 track records

17 Days on track this year. A total of 60 on the car. Stock motor, cams, turbo, bottom-end, trans, etc...

Huge thanks to my main sponsors: AMS Performance and AMSOIL.
Also thanks to Forgeline, Girodisc, Hawk, Hoosier, Optima, Buschur Racing, & GRD Performance, Shep Racing

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Vids!

Here's vid from Oct 9/10th @ Putnam Park
Swept NASA TTA with a best lap of 1:17.4

Here's some vid of the practice session which is different than most of the vid I show of just 1-2 clear & open laps. Enjoy. Only ran a 1:19x to get a descent grid spot, then just navigated traffic:

For sessions #2 and #3, I let it fly. Ended up with a personal best of 1:17.4 winning my class by about 1.5 seconds and setting the 4th fastest time of 40 cars.
Session #2, looking backwards:

By Session #3 everyone was agreeing the track was getting pretty greasy. Most were probably like me and using up the last of their old tires to finish out the year?!? I ran a 1:17.5 in this session. Here's vid looking backwards again. Check out the rubber laid down! Running 245's:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Putnam Park! - Double NASA TTA wins!

The final event of the NASA MW/GL regions was last weekend at Putnam Park outside Indianapolis. The forecast was to be gorgeous, and it actually turned out HOT! High of 87 Sat with zero clouds.
The NASA MW/GL region does an end of the year banquet now on Saturday night, so Saturday was to be a double-points day for all classes. For TT, that meant we get 1 warmup session as usual; then 2 sessions for 'event #1' and 2 sessions for 'event #2'.

The bad:  I unlocked the car early Sat morning to find about 3 gallons of 100octane spilled inside the car - assummedly on the trip there so it'd sat at overnight! Needless to say it was nasty smelling. Fortunately I've removed all the interior carpet so that wasn't an issue. It was also in the mid 40's at this time so scooping up the cold liquid wasn't fun. I did the best I could but quickly ran into another issue - the sound deadening that comes on the floor of the car was starting to dissolve and turn into a tar-like substance. Nasty. I took a putty knife and hammer and scraped out as much as I could in the driver's footwell. The rest I covered with some adhesive paper and (you guessed it) duct tape!

So with the car smelling quite ripe yet - but dry and less sticky - it was time to lineup on grid. Doing my best to breathe fresh air (which is difficult when everyone on grid is trying to warm up their cars and most run catless exhaust including me) and be aware if I got dizzy or a headache... I sat out on the opening warmup lap with 40 other cars on Putnam's 1.8 mile curcuit - needless to say it was crowded. Only ran a 1:19x to get a descent grid spot, then just navigated traffic. 

For sessions #2 and #3, I let it fly. Ended up with a personal best of 1:17.4 winning my class by about 1.5 seconds and setting the 4th fastest time of 40 cars.  By Session #3 everyone was agreeing the track was getting pretty greasy. Most were probably like me and using up the last of their old tires to finish out the year?!?

Event #2 (sessions #4 and #5) were to take place between 3-5pm. As the track was already feeling rather greasy from nonstop sunlight all day, I decided to change setups. I added a bit of weight (gas) and switched to a wider tire. The car felt more stable and ran a similar time of 1:17.9 which was enough to sweep TTA for the day!

All-in-all a good weekend. I corded the outside of both of my front tires, I believe because I'm driving too hard w/o enough camber. Really looking forward to new suspension and a much more aggressive alignment next year!
I also confirmed my suspicions; that when running my high-boost tune, my car has been down on power all year long. I've been gaining time as compared to last year in the corners with more aggression, more disregard for tire life, and most recently Shep's upgraded rear diff. I'm hoping it's just a boost leak; perhaps the stock BOV but we'll see.

Thanks to AMS Performance, AMSOIL, Girodisc & Shep Racing.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nov/2010 GrassRoots Motorsports Mag

The November 2010 issue of GRM is out!  The cover story is the UTCC (Ultimate Track Car Challenge) held again this year at VIR.  The UTCC is an invitation only event and I jumped at the opportunity.  I set out on the 900 mile trek alone to a brand new track and it was an amazing adventure. 
6 days and 2100 miles later I came home with a best lap of 2:11.098 and a new tow truck (the other literally died on the way out).  The car performed flawlessly over 200+ miles of excruciating 99-103 degree days with tons of humidity.  VIR instantly became my favorite track with my lap speeds reaching 140+ on both the front & back straights, and about 120mph at the entrance to the climbing esses.
My class included lots of 500-600hp Vipers, Vettes, Porsches, Mustangs, etc as their classing system was relatively simple and unlimited.  In the end I finished 14th in class but I didn't go for the results, I went for the experience and it was insane!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aug/Sept Track Vids!

Gingerman (old/short course) - new TTA record

Gingerman (new/long course)

Autobahn S

Autobahn S - new TTA Record (external GoPro view)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Double NASA TTA Wins & Track Record @ Autobahn!

The weekend started with a trip to Chicago late Thursday night; en-route to an 8am Appt at AMS Performance for some upgrades. Waiting at the shop was an upgraded 12 plate rear diff from Shep racing! Also planned was an AMS Moustache Bar Eliminator to further reduce unneeded weight and improve shifting.

Rain overnight and into Sat provided wet track conditions until about noon. I personally love driving the Evo on track in the rain and knew it'd be a great way to get used to the new Shep rear diff. I also was debuting new front Girodisc 2-peice rotors and Raybestos ST43 pads all around.
I did 2 sessions in the wet, both with Dunlops on (I planned ahead) and had a freakin ball with the new rear diff and some oversteer for once! Around lunchtime things started drying and I mounted up the Hoosiers. Since I was playing in the rain I had the #2 gridspot and stayed up front (and out of traffic) all weekend which was nice.
I was a bit cautious in the first dry session to warm up the tires and really see what this rear diff would do in dry conditions. The ST43 pads were definitely different, they definitely took longer to heat up as compared to the Hawk DTC60's I have been running and also squealed like all he11 for a good 2-3 laps. Once they were warm it seemed they needed far less pedal pressure to stop. This took some getting used to throughout the weekend. Rear diff reacted very predictably and I had some slight oversteer in several of the turns, enough that I had to countersteer a bit. I loved it! I ran a 1:35.2 which equaled my personal best from the July event. The next session I let things fly and set a new TTA track record with a 1:33.9. That also put me in 1st of 8 cars in class.
Absolutely perfect day. After missing the warmup session because I needed to bandaid an intercooler pipe that I bent, I went out in the next session just to put a time down. Ran a 1:35.6 which put me in 1st by just .1. The next session I let things fly again and broke my TTA record from the previous day - 1:33.1. That landed me 1st of 6 in class.

Along with the new TTA track record, I set a personal best by nearly 2 seconds. I did this with rear tires that had 22 heatcycles by the end of the weekend! The ambient temps were great, but with newer tires there's definitely more left in the car. Overall, the transition from TTB -> TTA (where I get 19 more 'mod' pts).

Huge props to John Sheppard for an awesome rear diff. Thx to AMS for the install and great/safe tune as always. Thx to Martin @ Girodisc for talking me through both the rotor purchase and especially the ST43 pad compound differences. Also thanks to AMSOIL & Hoosier.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Girodisc Front 2-piece Rotors!

My new quest of lightening the car as much as possible along with needing new front rotors led me to Martin @ Girodisc!  After some conversation a set of Girodisc 2-piece front floating rotors along with their recommended Raybestos ST43 pads f/r were on the way.  The old front PowerSlot rotors did a good job for a 1-piece but after 14 days there were shot!  This will also be a brand new pad for me, so I'm anxious to see the results.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NASA TTA Win & Track Record @ Gingerman!

Woke up to rain. Got to the track and finished unpacking and it was still raining for the warmup. Even though I was on Hoosiers, I decided to head out just to make updates were all installed correctly. I switched back to TTA mode, meaning I reinstalled my AMS FMIC, AMS LICP, AMS MBC and brand new Buschur UICP (finally dumping the stock UICP for good and all it's troubles staying attached I hoped). I ran just 2 laps of fun in the rain and literally slid through the last turn and into pit lane - but everything shook down just fine.
I went out in the first timed session, and planned to hammer it right away while the temps were still cool. It was a good plan, but I took it a step too far and blew through the first turn on my 2nd full lap. Just a scenic trip through the grass; no harm no foul other than a DQ for the session. Everything mostly felt good except the car liked to understeer out of some corners which seems to be a theme my last few events. It was bad enough in some turns that it was literally hopping while fighting for grip.
Anyways, in the final 3 sessions I put down faster and faster times and ended up with a 1:32.1 which snagged me first of 4 in class and broke the TTA class record.

In the last session I got a soft brake pedal so I figured my already this pads were shot. As soon as the session was over I tore into the brakes. I had put in an older replacement set to hopefully get me through the weekend; but they only lasted 1 day as they were down past the middle wear marker on the RF. Having a new set of DTC60's; I popped them in and rotated the tires to get ready for Sunday. I'm not a big fan of doing maintenance at the track, but this isn't a bad job and the temps weren't bad at all. Much better than how the day began with all the rain!
Sunday we got to run the new config which adds about a 1/3 mile to the track in the form of another carousel turn and a longer backstraight that starts uphill. It took a bit to get used to it as their's really 2 carousel turns and some off-camber downhill stuff - the longer straight...well it's straight! Carousel turns can be difficult to get a handle on, especially if your car doesn't handle well. I think mine handles pretty well, but it seems to be disliking corner exits more and more over the past month; understeering like I mentioned above. It's probably a combination of a few things including the fact my JIC coilovers have 35+ days on them now and likely need refreshed. I also have the camber plates maxed out up front which only nets me about -2.5 of camber. And lastly I've been running a higher class - TTA. Even though I'm not fully utilizing my points allotment yet, I am running more horsepower which in turn seems to make the corner exit understeer that much more pronounced.
Anyways, I dealt with it the best I could in the carousels and came away with a best of 1:40.6. This time I flip-flopped with a TTA Corvette from Sat and finished 2nd of 5.

Old Course vs New Course:
Just to give you an idea of the changes and how they affect the Evo vs others:
  • 1.8 miles vs 2.2 miles
  • Top speed on backstraight of 110mph vs 125mph
Anyone that's competitively tracked an Evo knows that we fall victim to straight-line speed to things like Corvettes! I think the longer backstraight definitely brought this sad fact into play with my finishing order. The longer straight combined with basically 2 additional carousel type turns made for a new course that doesn't seem to flow quite as well. Then again; based on my results over the weekend maybe I'm biased! haha.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shedding some weight!

Every little bit helps!  With NASA, you have to meet certain minimum weight requirements with each car.  Mine is 3263lbs and I can get right down to that mark current with about a 1/2 tank fuel. 

However, you have the option of taking 'mod' points for additional weight reduction.  Personally, I don't think it's the best use of points, but in the absence of something better - why not!  I can always add strategically placed ballast back in to make minimum weight.  Plus the other groups I run with like Redline Time Attack have no minimum weights.

Not pictured is a lot of carpet and sound deadening I pulled from the floorboard and under the dash.  Lots more left...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brake Pad Checkup!

I was changing tires in prep for my next event next weekend.  I usually seem to change out pads and rotors well before they're done since I'm anal about that and do not want ANY downtime on the weekends.  But I knew the pads were getting low, so I figured I'd pop them out and give them a lookover and here's what I found:

Whew; glad I looked!  This was after 3 days and ~200 miles at VIR where my car hits 140+mph twice on each lap!  I think I got my money's worth with these.
Also note that even with the pads this low, driving 10/10th's and ambient in the 101-103 degree range I still had zero brake issues at VIR. 
Thanks AMSOIL DOT4 brake fluid!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Fresh off my first day at VIR (see earlier post) I was just getting started on the weekend's festivities!
After the GRM awards ceremony, I went back to my pit area to transform/downgrade the car into NASA TTB trim for the weekend which besides a small tire and weight different includes about 50whp less! And guess what; it was still insanely hot.
Saturday Morning:
The call was a 7:30am meeting at the track. Because of the heat from the previous day, I felt like I had been up partying all night long even though I wasn't. Great way to start the day and along with the Gatorade and water I was drinking I had to mix in some caffeine as well to get me going!

I had just enough time to tighten everything down and make the morning warmup for TT. I was going to be running my usual TTB trim which is ~300whp & 3280lbs with 245 Hoosiers. Practice went fine although I did pop off a boost line and was overboosting on the last lap so I came in a bit early as I already had a few hot laps in for a good grid position.
NASA Mid-Atlantic does their TT program scheduling quite a bit different from what I'm used to in the MW/GL division. Where I'm used to 5 total sessions; here I was only going to get 2! So that's a lot less track time, and a lot more pressure to have your setup right and a good clean flyer of a lap w/o any offs (4-wheels off = DQ)! I thought I did well, with a 2:13.7 but that stuck me in 4th out of 7! Fortunately I had nearly 4 hrs to figure out where to pick up time.

The final - rather the 'other' timed session was around 5pm. I lined up very early and went out and just kept my foot in it. Just like the end of the day Friday, the track was pretty greasy. Did I mention Sat was even hotter than the UTCC event?? I think the high was 103 Saturday and the track conditions showed it. I was clicking off lower times on each of my laps as I struggled through some traffic. My last lap was my best - 2:11.8 which vaulted me into 2nd place; just .5 off the win. I was pretty happy with that outcome. In a sense, I picked up a 1/2 second from the previous day even though I was running 50whp less, thinner tires and more weight! Not bad... I secured 2nd out of 7 and felt pretty good about my chances on Sunday.

Only prep work was rotating the tires and tightening everything down. The practice session went just fine and in the 3hr gap before our 11:30am timed session I started packing up for the long trip home. We had an 11:30 timed session and then something like a 4:30pm session which I was not planning on sticking around for - not when I had a 900 mile trip home!

Anyways, once the session started I clicked off a few laps and had a 1:11.2 which was my best to date. I took a partial cool-down then hammered out a final lap. I had to pass 3 cars on this lap and still came away with my best ever - my traqmate showed a 2:11 flat. I did about the best I could and hoped it would hold up.
After about 30min of chugging water and packing I went to check the midday results. And this was how close it was:
1st place: 2:10.998
Me: 2:11.028

Yep, that's just .03 off the win... I was sooo close to taing down the win in TTB from the locals! But, I needed to get home so I packed up the car, said a few goodbyes and took off. All-in-all I was insanely proud of the car. I punished it in 100+ degree temps all weekend to the tune of 200+ track miles and it never flinched at all. I ran both a 100oct 26psi and my normal 93oct AMS Performance tune and kept everything in check with AMSOIL fluids. Thanks again for the great products guys! Also a shoutout to Forgeline rims and Hawk pads; great products.

Monday, August 2, 2010

GRM's Ultimate Track Car Challenge @ VIR

Part 2 - UTCC Event
Went out for the morning practice session at VIR! Never been there before, only watched videos. I knew the top cars were going to try and put down a fast lap to get a good grid position. So I was pointing around cars and on lap #2, going ~120mph down the back-straight I see a few fast movers coming - a Porsche GT3 & 2 Vettes - come flying past me probably 30-40mph faster, bang a few gears while downshifting into the corner and gone! Just the shear closing speeds was an instant wakeup call!
Overall for my first session, minus a few key turns, I got the hang of the track rather quickly and felt comfortable at the high speeds. I ended with a 2:23x and was grouped into the '2nd fastest' rungroup which was my plan so I wouldn't feel pushed.
My prep for the first timed session was very minimal. Just some tire pressures and the required stickers for the event really, leaving my boost at 24psi. For the first timed session I put down 2:16x I think. A lot of us were heading for A/C after this session; sweat literally pouring down through my helmet and into my ears just on the warmup lap! It was at least 99 at this point; plus the humidity.

For the 2nd timed session it was around 1-2pm in the afternoon. I turned my boost up a few cranks to what I assumed would be ~26psi. Once on track, all it was showing was 24psi down the straights - just f'in hot! My datalogs showed I was already reaching 140mph on the backstraight, 142mph on the frontstraight and 121mph before the essess! This session yielded me a 2:13x. This also gave me some good comparison data from my traqmate to see where I was picking up time - and I guarantee it wasn't more speed down the sun-drenched straightaways! Have I mentioned it was hot?

Between the 3rd and 4th session I got ahold of a friend that races an Evo in SCCA T2 and got some advice about the track. I was learning that I was being a pussy at the top of the esses and definitely messing up 2 other turns badly as well. With that advice in hand, some more studying of my traqmate and the shear will of knowing my final time goes in a magazine, I went out for the final timed session. I thought it was hot and greasy before... it was horribly worse! I didn't mean to trailbrake in every corner but it felt like that's all the car would do! I thought I was going off more than once in T1 - the hardest braking zone on the track. Braking into T1 at 140+ down to 50 the car just wiggled left-right-left-right as it was fighting for grip.

The final session was about 3:30pm - by far the warmest part of the day. I tried something new - just not let up through the climbing essess - and it was soooo much fun floating through there! On my final lap of the final session I ended with a 2:12.2 which put me 29/66 cars and 14/27 in class.

Ultimate Track Car Challenge @ VIR - 950miles there!

Part 1 - The trip down
As I had to be at VIR first thing Friday and it's 800+ miles, I knew I needed a FULL day of travel. I had to take care of some business in St Louis on my way through, so a slight detour was needed before spending the night in central IL with some family. After about 5hrs of sleep, I left at 5am. It really was a normal trip passing through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Total trip with my detour through STL was about 950 miles and 14hrs of actual drivetime. The mostly downhill 5% grades in West Virginia were ok, and the last hour had 2-lane downhill 9% curving grades (wasn't looking forward to these on the way out!). Got to the track about 7-8pm local and unloaded the car in the all sand paddock area.  It's pretty neat when you enter VIR, you drive over the track and to your left are the climbing esses!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

VIR Odyssey Complete!

What an insane 6 days!  Yes...6 days.  A total of about 2100 miles driven, 52 miles of being towed, 200 miles on track at VIR and a lot of fun!

The track is insanely fun.  140+mph in 2 sections and 120+mph in the esses - per lap!!  102-103 temps all weekend plus humidity.  The car held up just awesome; zero problems.

The truck did not - and was the reason for the towing mileage.  It's actually still in VA; but I don't own it anymore...  Much much more detail to come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NASA @ Autobahn - Another 1st!

Wow, welcome to summer track temps!  It was easily 90+ all weekend with humidity.  NASA was handing out bottles of water to everyone going through the tech/impound shed all weekend!

The results - 1st of 5 in TTA on Saturday and 2nd of 9 in TTA on Sunday.  Good results, but my personal times were disappointing to me.  I'm sure the heat had a LOT to do with it.  I'm trying to figure out if running 100oct tunes on the stock turbo during the midwest summer heat is a good idea or not.  I was holding about 26psi in 5th and ran a best of 1:35.2 this weekend.  For reference, last year I set the TTB (lower class) record at 1:35.3 in cooler temps on my 21psi 93oct tune.  So I was definitely hoping to top that by a much larger margin

I was running in my 'developing TTA' trim this weekend.  Meaning basically my usual TTB trim but with about 50whp more thanks to an AMS FMIC, AMS LICP, AMS MBC and AMS 100oct tune.  I also tossed on a hotchkis RSB to see if that would help as I had it lying around.  It's definitely not an optimal TTA setup and a work in progress as I'm not using all the allotted points so I'm leaving some time on the table to be sure.

As for the RSB I put on for the weekend, I'm not sure if it helped or hurt me.  I had understeer on corner-entry all weekend and it seemed to get worse; probably because I was driving it harder!  Being my own suspension guru - and no expert - I might have made things worse with moving the RSB to full stiff mid-day Sat.  I stiffened the rear suspension more on sunday to try and aid rotation with minimal effect.  Later I did have another TT driver tell me I was lifting my rear tire on turn-in a lot!  I'm planning new suspension next year and definitely someone to help me set it up!

Aside from the minor improvement in times, the car really performed flawlessly.  The water temps, oil temps & brakes all were in check and not any different that previous weekends this year.  I was confident in the setup and pleasantly happy with the results!  I ran about 150 on-track miles this weekend and I pushed hard on ALL of them.  If they had given me more tracktime, I would have taken it too!
All this thanks to the parts & tuning from AMS Performance along with engine oil protection and brake fluid from AMSOIL!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July (mid-year) Maintenance

Mid-year maintenance!  Time to flush out those drivetrain fluids as we're approaching the halfway point in the 2010 track season.  July is a busy month with a quick turnaround for me, so getting to this early.  In case you're wondering, yes I did use that old mustard bottle to squirt in rear diff fluid!

Fluids flushed
  • Evo Rear Diff Fluid
  • Evo ACD Fluid
  • Evo Trans Fluid
  • Truck Trans Fluid

Also, leaving the car in 'TTA' format for my next NASA event.  It'll be in the same format as we ran last Sat at the AMS trackday (same track too) - with some minor changes.

I still battled some understeer so I'm putting my old Hotchkis Rear SwayBar back on the car.  That combined with an updated alignment planned for Friday @ GRD in Chicago and I'm hoping for some good results.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 10th - AMS Track Day @ Autobahn

Made the trip Saturday to Autobahn Country Club to instruct for an AMS Performance track day.  Helped out a few students and ran a few sessions myself as well.  Temps were high and the car performed well once I got all the intercooler hoses tightened back up.  I ran in my developing 'TTA' form and ran some 1:36-1:37 laps with a passenger so I was a good 250lbs over my min weight.  I will be back this weekend running TTA with NASA - so it was good testing!  Got several changes planned this week...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weight Removal!

I was switching my exhaust back last night and looking around the car for more things to rip out (aka lighten it).  I was literally shocked to find these still in the car!  Gone now...maybe 10lbs total with screws and such, but every bit helps!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Misc pics from June Events

(Right)  Here's a pic of the temporarily replaced lugnut from the last track event.  Man was that a huge PITA to try and locate a replacement.  It's got a new ARP extended stud back in there now.  
 And I'll be packing extra's from now on!

(Below) I also mounted a fire extinguisher in the car this June.  It was a requirement for the Redline event, but I plan to keep it in there for extra safety.  It's a 2.5lb bottle mounted at the front of the passenger seat.

(Below Right)  Instead of using AMB transponders to track times, Redline uses RFID tags like this one:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Videos - June 12-13 Events

June 12 - BlackHawk Farms Raceway - NASA TTA class.

June 13 - Autobahn CC - Redline Time Attack - Street AWD

June 13 - Autobahn CC - Redline Time Attack - My Rain Drifto Vid:

June 13 - Autobahn CC - Redline Time Attack -My spectator video of the Super Session.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 13 - Redline Time Attack @ Autobahn

After a challenging but successful trackday with NASA @ BlackHawk Farms here I took 1st in class and set a class record, we were headed to Autobahn for the Redline event. 

The next day I switched to my street tires, got teched and was ready for Street AWD practice.  Because of the previous days issues, the car still had 93oct in the tank that needed used up before I could switch to 100 and up the boost.  My best practice lap was a 1:39.9 I think on pump gas. 

I filled up with 100oct, switched maps, turned the boost up to what ended up being 24psi and was ready enough.  For the first TA; I was gridded 8th of 15 in Street.  They did not tell us how they were dividing us up, I just got pointed at and said go - even though I wasn't even belted in!  I frantically got belted in and to the start/finish where I had to wait for everyone else in the first group to do the same! 

I ran a 138.3 which put me into first!  But only because I was the first car to complete a lap...haha.  The car was understeering badly in T2 and 'patience' and was running with 3/4 tank of fuel so I knew it had more time in it.  I made it through impound where they only looked at my tire wear rating went back to my paddock area.

I ran over to hear the times from the 2nd group in Street and it was a slugfest!  Cobb ran a 35 flat; Prof Awesome ran a 1:34.7 I think and Fortune Auto was right there with a 1:35.7.  Then all hell broke loose.
The cobb car caught fire somewhere on the back-straight, an S2000 blew a motor in the final turn - T14 - obviously spilling fluids on the track.  Coincidentally, T14 was the same spot last year at this same event where I nearly rear-ended another Evo because he was crossing the track from right to left in mid-turn about 30mph when I was coming in at 80+mph with no flags at all.  Anyways, they didn't black flag for either issue this year and things kept going.  The next car through the turn was a FWD civic that slid through the turn, narrowly missing the broken S2000 and stalled in the grass.  The next car was a black evo that again slid through the mess but pinballed off of both stalled/broken cars.  This finally brought out the black flag.  It was a mess and I was soooo happy I wasn't out in the 2nd group and potentially been involved.

So, while they cleaned up the 4 broken cars I went back to make setup changes for TA#2.  I turned the boost up a few psi as I'm tuned for it.  I made a few suspension changes, studied my traqmate data and was about to make some alignment changes when the rain set in.  The track never dried out and all the times stood.  I think with some luck I could have ran a 36-37 which would have had be challenging for 3rd perhaps, but that's how it goes sometimes.

I ended up 4th out of 9 in Street AWD.  I bettered my time time from last year by 3 full seconds but unfortunately just didn't have the horsepower to challenge the top guys.  If I had been at full tilt, my car puts down about 360whp @ 3250lbs, the top 2 cars I know put down 400whp (mustang dyno) and 525whp!  Even if I wasn't prepped fully for the series, it's still great to get out and run and compare your car and laptimes to some of the fastest cars in the country.  If only the Redline series made more than 1 stop within 16 hours of my house perhaps I'd build my car specifically for the series...

They did let Street go back out for TA#2 even though the track was wet, so I went out to try and set the fastest lap in the wet - 2:06! - and then had some Drifting fun.  Vids to come!

June 12 - NASA @ BlackHawk Farms

Sat morning I setup the car, got a practice session in, got a rain session in then went to mount up new Hoosiers. At about 11am I discovered a stripped front wheel stud. With my extra ARP extended studs at home... I seeked out all the other Evo's at the track along with calling parts stores in both IL and Wisconsin for parts - notta. I was able to locate 2 stock length studs in Wisconsin and thought I could make one work, so I sent my finance' on a parts run. While she was out, I sourced an old stock stud off a 2G Eclipse. I dismantled everything (sweating profusely) and although the old stud didn't fit tightly at all, I figured I could make it work with some luck and pressure.

Missing only 1 session, I got in the car to hit the 4th session and it felt like the brakes were stuck on. So I hopped out and tore back into it finding that I had put the spacer on the wrong side of the caliper bolt (spacer for front air cooling ducts). So while apart, I switched out the old stud (which simply fell out w/o force) for a new shiny one and tightened everything down. With only 1 session left and my only official laps in a slight rain I was sitting in 3rd of 3 cars in class.

I lined up about 15min early for the last session of the day (anxious). My warmup lap I hammered the throttle and popped an intercooler hose clamp that I had borrowed from a friend thinking it would be a better clamp - but no dice. Knowing the session is just 15min long I feverishly limped into the pits and switched back in a hose clamp and prayed I could get just 1 clean lap in. Turns out I had time for 2! With fresh R6's I got last November and no time to heatcycle then I drove about 7/10's and took 1st place and the track record with my first hot lap! My 2nd lap was about the same but with some traffic so I backed off looking for space to get another run at a good one - but the checkered was out and the day was done.
Crazy! Afterwards I checked my tire temps and I had 44/45 in the fronts so I was waaay off. All-in-all I suppose the end result was what I had planned. Tons of peole had brake issues as this track is torture on them - no problems for me with my setup! I did get to test a new tire/rim combination that I might use later in the year or in 2011 when I upclass so that was beneficial. Although I didn't even run as fast as I did last year here in a lower class. I didn't get to run my 100octane tune and I was about 130lbs over minimum weight. So, I left a LOT of time out on the track. But, nothing was broke, the car was running great (thanks to my AMS Performance tune and AMSOIL fluids), and I had another event on Sunday to head to!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2 Tracks in 2 Days Complete!

Crazy weekend so I'll try to be brief. The plan was to run Sat 6/12 with NASA @ BlackHawk Farms then drive the 2.5 hrs to run with Redline Time Attack @ Autobahn on Sun 6/13. Short story; it was accomplished but not without some issues! I'll go into more detail later but here's the highlights of the weekend:
Saturday:  I finished 1st of 3 in class and set a new TTA track record
Sunday:  I finished 4th of 8 in Street AWD.  We only got 1 timed session because of the rain, so no chance to make adjustments - and I had a ton of them ready to rock.  Sometimes that's how it goes!

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Seat Installed!

Installed a Sparco Circuit seat this week.  I've been wanting a new seat that held by legs down better - and with the Redline Time Attack rules requiring 2 front seats for Street class - it was a good excuse to pick one up.  I figured it was a good idea to get one with some extra head protection as well, and this model fit well. 

Install is now complete.  The bottom cushion it comes with has got to be 3" thick so I ditched that real quick!  I like to sit low!  I will probably seek a custom mount later to get this thing as low as possible.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New goodies from AMS Performance installed!

Thanks to quick shipping from Chicago, last night I was able to install an AMS FMIC & LICP combination for this weekends events.  I think the quality of this FMIC is what really sold me on AMS Performance.  This should really help out intake temps and airflow, especially when running my 100octane tune.  
Above is a mid-install pic.  Below is my helper with the smaller stock fmic to the left.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deciding June 12-13 Track Plans...

   June 13th I am planning on competing in the only stop the Redline Time Attack series makes within 15 hours of me - Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.  I will be there to defend my 2nd place finish from the 2009 event in Street AWD.  Once again, I'll guarantee that I will be down more than 100hp to several competitors so I'll have to use my usual strategy of driving the sh1t outta the car!
   Saturday June 12th, the RTA series is holding a practice day at Autobahn.  I will be there unless there is a good showing of TT cars at the NASA Midwest event to be held at BlackHawk Farms in South Beloit, IL.  Hopefully TT will fill up (awaiting updated entry list now) and I can hit 2 tracks in 2 days!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prepping the car for Redline Time Attack?

Last year I competed in the RTA Autobahn event and placed 2nd in Street AWD.  For 2010, Redline Time Attack will make it's closest stop to me next month - June 12 @ Autobahn.  It's the only stop within a 15 hour drive for me on the 2010 schedule.  I have yet to decide if I will attend the RTA event or NASA @ BlackHawk Farms which coincide on the same weekend - or split Sat with NASA & Sunday with RTA. 
RTA is under new ownership this year and as such, has a revised rule setup for the classes.  For me to run in Street AWD again, I would need to address a few issues:

  • Misc RTA license registration
  • Figure out tire setup.  Max allowed for street class are 255's and 140+ treadwear
    • 2009:  245 Dunlop Z1 Starspecs on stock 17x8 rims. 
    • 2010:  Same setup?  Or purchase and max 255's? 
      • Mount on stock or old 17x9 5Zigen rims?
  • 3.5" clearance issues.  My Buschur muffler looks to be below the 3.5"
  • Need 2 front seats.  Source & Install passenger seat
  • Need more power!  Stock FMIC and piping is fine for my stockish boost in NASA TTB, but when I use it for my high boost tune, it just gets choked out.  AMS FMIC & Intercooler piping needed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Putnam Park - Double Firsts in TTB!

Last weekend was the NASA Midwest/Great Lakes crossover event at Putnam Park just outside Indianapolis. We had a total of 38 cars in the TT group hammering around the 1.77 mile track. I ran TTB and ended up First in class both days out of 4, and 7th fastest overall with a 1:18.0. My goal was the class record which I missed by .3.

Besides some pesky stock intercooler hose issues and dodging the raindrops, the weekend went very smooth.  It's so great to have an AMS tune that you can beat on without worrying!

Thanks also to my parents for coming by and supporting me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trailer updates!

Purchased a toolbox and had it mounted to the front of my aluminum trailer.  Had a difficult time finding anyone in the area that would work on an aluminum trailer actually.  In the end, it was reinforced and bolted down.  The inside looks to be safe from the elements (aka rain).  Hopefully make packing quicker, easier and free up some room for more tires!

Car is loaded for this weekend @ Putnam!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tire Size Comparisons

From left to right:
275/35-18 on 18x9.5" Volks
245/40-18 on 18x9.5" Forgeline
245/40-17 on 17x9" 5Zigen
245/45-17 on 17x8" Enkei

Left: the 275's vs 245 street tires
Right: Last years 245-17 vs this years 245-18 on 1/2" wider rims.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 17-18 - NASA @ Gateway

The first NASA Midwest region event was held last weekend
at the Gateway Int'l Raceway 'Roval' roadcourse.
  Saturday I won TTB and set the new track record with 1:08.75. Unfortunately there was some oil spilt on the track and we all had to take different lines through T2 to avoid the oil slick they put down so I feel there's more time to gain here.
  Sunday I jumped up 2 classes to TTS for a few different reasons. In the 4th session I was using leftover A6's from last year and actually spun a near 180 between T5-T6 which is pretty hairy to say the least.  I quickly decided to ditch the old A6's and go back to my setup from Saturday. So I put my TTB R6's back on climbed to within .012 seconds of the TTS leader - another Evo.  We both had to go out for the last session to try and squeeze out some more time and in the end I squeezed out a victory by .7 seconds.
  Along with a pair of 1sts (TTB & TTS) and another track record, I debuted the new Forgeline ZX3R's, new Exedy Twin HD clutch, and new PowerSlot rotors.  Everything (save for the old A6 tires) worked out great.
  There's some tweaking that needs to be done to the suspension and alignment before the next event; but that's nothing new!
  Big thanks to AMS Performance for the powerful & safe tune & the new clutch install, AMSOIL for keeping the car cool and lubricated and Forgeline for help with the new wheels!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Forgeline Rims have arrived!

Just arrived last night!  Here's the first look at them - Forgeline ZX3R's in custom US Burnt Bronze.  I worked directly with David @ Forgeline to figure out the style, size, offset, spacing and even pick out a custom color!  Hopefully have them mounted Friday before I leave for the track.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First event this weekend - NASA @ Gateway!

   We're just a few days away from the first event.  I've had 0 test days this year, but Gateway is my 'home' track so there is some level of comfort there.  The car is essentially ready to go, but there's always something that's left to be done.  I've spent this week putting several coats of Zaino wax on the car so it'll be looking super sweet!  
   There's some misc odd-n-ends but they shouldn't be an issue.  I still need to pack everything up and put it on the trailor.  And last but certainly not least, I expect my new set of Forgeline rims to arrive anyday!  Expect a ton of pics here and on twitter!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

2010 prep/maintenance - Rear Brakes, seals, dust boots, fluid & rotors

Through this year, the Evo has about 45 track days and 22,000 miles on it.  All of that is with the stock rear calipers, seals, dust boots & rotors!  As the car uses the front to brake in about a 3-1 pad usage ratio I have been through the front setup many times and finally decided it was time to replace the internals in the rear.  I also took the opportunity to put my Hawk DTC60 track pads back in and do a full fluid flush with AMSOIL DOT4.
Here's a few pics of the fun in progress and a shot of the finished project.

Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 AMSOIL supply!

My 2010 supply of AMSOIL has arrived!  I ran 10w30 'Dominator' engine oil in the Evo last year and the oil analysis reports I can proved that it was a great choice.  No changes this year there or with the AMSOIL DOT4 brake fluid that I quickly grew to love after using Motul for a few years.  New this year; I'll be running a 5w30 synthetic in the tow truck - Nissan Titan.  Also picked up some misc grease.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Rotors installed!

New goodies arrived last week!  With the help of Andrews Racing, I selected all new rotors.  They are relatively new to the market and are an off-shoot of the Stoptech brand.   The fronts are slotted and directionally veined to help pull out heat, while the rears are just slotted.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2010 GRM UTCC Hopefull!

Pirelli Ultimate Track Car Challenge presented by Grassroots Motorsports

July 23 Virginia Int'l Raceway – Alton, Va

Once again, I have thrown my hat into the ring for the GRM Ultimate Track Car Challenge @ VIR in July!  Last year I was honored with an invite, but could not accept due to the timing, other plans and funds.  This year the schedule looks more open and I'd love to get a chance at VIR.
Please login to cardomain and rate me 5 stars to help me out!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rim color Samples - Forgeline Motorsports!

Which to choose?  I've been working with David of Forgeline Motorsports since late last year on a custom set of rims.  I went to Forgeline after I had a fatal crack at my last event of 2009 on a cast-type rim.  David immediately stepped up and agreed to work with me to custom build whatever size, offset, design, color - basically whatever I wanted!  I know Forgeline makes some helli-strong and helli-light forged 3-piece rims that are used throughout the higher rungs of professional motorsports.  Forgeline does not have a bronze as one of their standard colors, so I had David send me out some samples (above).

To the right is a pic of my old rim that cracked - notice both cracks! It's a cast-type rim made by 5Zigen and I used off-and-on throughout 2009. I have another older set - same brand/size/offset but different color - that I've had for years with no issues. But you tend to get faster over the years and put a LOT more stress on parts and it's definitely time to step up to a stronger product like a forged rim.