Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stripping Winter 2012 version... Update #3

The dash has finally been completely removed from the car!  I had to dig up an exploded diagram to find that last 2 bolts (under the passenger side airbag module)!  But with some help I was able to remove it completely from the car.

Now with a little more room in the car, I plan to pull out any and all remaining sound deadening and firewall protection that was hiding behind and under the dash - as it's unneeded weight at this point! 

This is all in the effort to lighten the car and hopefully provide a better % weight distribution as the car is definitely heavier on the nose!  The up-to-date weight count that I've pulled out is only 10lbs at this point.  I'm sure I'll find more, and this does not count ANY of the plastic trim or dash pieces as I assume a majority of those are going back in.  If they do not go back in, I'll add them to the loss total. 

What's permanently gone:
  • Both front tweeters
  • Drivers front door speaker
  • Passenger airbag module (w/o airbag)
  • Misc sound deadening I cut under the dash

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stripping Winter 2012 version... continued

The fun continues!
As you can see from above, I was finally able to get the entire dash assembly out!  It'll eventually be going back in, but before that I'll be removing as much sound deadening from underneath as I can along with whatever else just looks useless.

On the left is the driver's side door.  I was able to pop off the plastic door 'skin' and so far have only removed the speaker in the lower right.  I haven't decided how crazy I'll get here.  It'll mostly depend on whether I cage it or not.  But I'd like to be able to remove the windows while at the track and reinstall then during transport as I have an open trailer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stripping Winter 2012 version...

Not knowing whether or not I'm going to cage the car, I decided to tear into it either way. If I want to cage it, I can save some $ by pulling the dash out myself. If I'm not caging it, I figure I can still save a little weight by gutting some of the dash.

So, I tore into the dash recently and finally got it completely removed last night.  I also was able to pop off the door skin as well.  I just hope that when the time comes, everything (especially electronically) goes back together smoothly!  haha.

Here's some initial pictures of the process getting started.  The car is actually still loaded on the trailer in my garage!  So space and work has been a little tight, but I'm making progress.

More to come...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rolling the Calendar to 2012

While it's not officially 2012 yet....  Planning for 2012 is well underway.  The tentative plans are once again to build to a specific NASA TT class (2011 was TTA) and compete in the 2012 NASA National Championships in September at Mid Ohio.  However, what class, Time Trials and/or w2w Racing, and what tracks will make up our schedule prior to Nats is very much up in the air.

Here are the main things we are waiting on to firm up plans for 2012:
  • 2012 NASA TT/PT/ST rules updates
  • 2012 NASA TT/PT/ST car classification updates 
  • 2012 NASA Events Schedules -for regions:  Midwest, Great Lakes, SouthEast, Mid-Atlantic, Central & Mid-South
Even without this vital info, steps need to be laid with regards to sponsorships, partnerships, scheduling appointments, vacation requests, budgets, season orders, maintenance planning, misc orders, & research, research, research, etc.  Not to mention keeping the peace at home!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011 NASA Nationals - All Class Winning Times

One thing I never listed out was ALL the top times per class and what type of car won them. So here's the info, along with a brief reminder of the power/weight per class.  Mid Ohio PRO course was the track.
Note; I competed in TTA; with a best of 1:32.8

TTR - 1:27.1 - Radical SR3
TTU - 1:29.7 - Evo IX (BBK turbo + lots of Aero!)
TTS - 1:30.8 - C5 Vette (lots of Aero!)
TTA - 1:32.5 - C5 Z06 Vette
TTB - 1:35.8 - C5 Vette
TTC - 1:36.9 - e36 BMW
TTD - 1:39.8 - Mazda Protege
TTE - 1:41.9 - Honda Civic
TTF - 1:46.3 - Infiniti G20 

  • TTR --> with unlimited power/weight & mods
  • TTU 5.50:1 --> with unlimited mods
  • TTS 8.70:1 --> with unlimited mods
  • TTA 8.70:1
  • TTB 10.25:1
  • TTC 12.00:1
  • TTD 14.25:1
  • TTE 16.50:1
  • TTF 19.50:1

Friday, November 25, 2011

TTS/ST2 class bump - The Downside...

Whether I race or not; a class like TTS/ST2 where it's completely open to mods can be very enticing. I just have to meet a modified power/weight ratio based on the size tire I run - and I can slide the power/weight up or down to my liking! 95% run in the 3050 - 3301 lb range as anything below that starts to get heavily penalized on low weight; plus would involve a lot of expensive weight reduction components!

TTS/ST2 can definitely be $ though. There's always going to be a part that's a little bit lighter or newer or possibly better out there. Do you buy it, test it, screw it? You know someone will...

In TTS/ST2 you also run into:
  1. Full out engine builds. While they are legal, 400whp / 600wtq engines do run - and I'm mostly talking Vettes.
  2. Full out developed aero
  3. Full out carbon fiber bodies - or at least doors, hood, roof, trunk, fenders.
  4. Full out developed custom suspension. We're talking 3-way, 4-way, remotes, nitrogen loaded, $7k-15k Penske, JRZ, Moton setups. Not to mention sways, endlinks, axles, lightened & stiffened rotating mass assemblies and every possible bushing upgraded.
  5. People running the max 250 lbs of ballast in all the right spots and still on their minimum weight!
  6. Vettes, Mustangs, Porsches with 335 Hoosier A6's on 13" wide rims! The Evo can maybe squeeze a 285-295 under stock modified fenders, but nothing past a 10" rim so it won't be ideal. Now per the rules, anything above a 245 or above 275 has to run less HP. But still it's menacing running head-to-head with a 245 tire for example!
  7. MORE drivers with teams of people behind them; who never turn a wrench and pay others to.
  8. Obviously.... bigger budgets!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TTS/ST2 - 2012 NASA classing change??

Playing with the multipliers and possible 2012 racing setups.  There's always the possibility that NASA can update the base class for your vehicle or change the value of certain mods that you are currently using.  Either of these updates can effectively bump you up to the next class.  Likewise, it's just fun to go faster; and that happens in higher classes!

2011 we ran in TTA.  The next class up and logical progression would be TTS.  It employs the same 8.7:1 modified power/weight ratio; but with unlimited mod options.  So there are lots more options and scenarios to build up your car which really helps, but also can really increase the costs to compete.

ST2 is a racegroup, it mirrors the TTS (Time Trials) ruleset. So I could prep and do both orswitch midyear as I work into wheel to wheel racing (w2w) or whatever. Both are 8.7:1 modified ratios.

Here are some example power & weight ratios based on the option of a 245 or 275 tire:

lbs  - ST2/245 - ST2/275
3301 - - 418 - - 395
3251 - - 406 - - 387
3201 - - 400 - - 381
3151 - - 391 - - 372
3101 - - 382 - - 364

  • The numbers across the top (245/275) are the tire size I'd run. You get more hp for smaller tires - less hp for larger ones. The cutoffs are those numbers and smaller so you run the widest you can.
  • The weights are post-race minimums. Meaning if you're going out for 30min you need to carry enough fuel (aka ballast weight) to still make your post-race minimum after the race. Same for the 15min TT session.
  • The power numbers are dynojet whp. Torque is not checked.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Average Speed Per Lap

My Traqmate GPS data is good for a lot of things, probably a lot more than I use it for.  But one of the neat things it'll calculate is the average speed per lap.  So I pulled up pretty much every track that I have data for and here's how they stacked up.  This is using my best lap at each. 
  • 74 mph - Gingerman (Old) - TTB setup
  • 77 mph - BlackHawk Farms - TTB setup
  • 79 mph - Gingerman (Long)
  • 81 mph - Autobahn
  • 83 mph - Mid Ohio (Club)
  • 85 mph - Putnam Park
  • 85 mph - Gateway Int'l - TTB setup
  • 86 mph - Mid Ohio (Pro)
  • 89 mph - VIR Full - TTB setup
  • 97 mph - Road America

Note my older TTB setup is usually 2-3 seconds per lap slower than my 2011 TTA setup.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 Season Recap!

2011 NASA Midwest Region TTA Champion
2011 NASA Great Lakes Region TTA Champion
2011 NASA Nationals 3rd place TTA (out of 14 competitors)
2011 TT Most Improved - Midwest Region
2011 TT Perseverance - Great Lakes Region

16 Regional Events
  • 10 1st place finishes
  • 5 2nd place finishes
  • 1 3rd place finish
5 track records in 2011

My last 38 NASA events dating back to 2009:
  • 29 wins
  • 12 track records
25,000 miles and 83 track days in total on the car, all with the stock motor, cams, turbo, bottom-end, etc. 
As always a huge thanks to AMS Performance, AMSOIL, Forgeline, Hoosier, Hawk, Boostin Performance and Buschur Racing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NASA 2011 MW/GL Awards Banquet

In conjunction with the last event at Road America, the Midwest / Great Lakes regions of NASA held their 2011 Awards Banquet that weekend as well.  I came away with a few expected and unexpected prizes.  The above is the first place awards for TT.  Note a few of us claimed first in both regions (me included)!

The entire haul for the night included:
  • 2011 NASA Midwest Region TTA Champion
  • 2011 NASA Great Lakes Region TTA Champion
  • 2011 TT Most Improved - Midwest Region
  • 2011 TT Perseverance - Great Lakes Region

Monday, October 17, 2011

929 Evo - First trip to Road America!

Ah, the drag strip known as Road America!

Our final event on the NASA MW/GL calendar was a crossover event at Road America. I signed up about 30min before the deadline and decided to go and check out this new track since it was only 350 miles from me and super duper famous! As with any yearend event, I would be trying to use the last of my 2011 supplies of tires and brakes before the winter. I knew I didn't have much of a chance in my class on such a high HP track, but what the hell.

My top 2 competitors - who both eeked me out at Nationals - were there and both of them ran the Friday practice day. I'm pretty decent picking up new tracks and I'd played this on Forza so.... I went out for the first time Sat morning and ran 6 laps in the practice session with a best of 2:35. Not bad eh? It was long and straight with a LOT of braking; way more than I'd thought. My top speeds weren't as high as I'd thought but I figured they'd come up as I got more comfortable. I was 8th fastest out of 38. Lots of C6 & C6 Z06's here!

In sessions #2 and #3 I fought brake fade; badly. My pads were < 50% when I started the day and that makes them heat up soooo much faster. Plus I was probably overbraking as this was a new track to me. I ended up having to pump the brakes with my left foot down the Anyways, a best of 2:30.7 in the morning which slotted me in a respectable 3rd. Top speeds well above 140mph in 2 sections!

For the afternoon I switched out my pads (which were shot) to another set with about 50% as well. I was held up in session #4 by 2 C6 Vettes that wouldn't get the hell outta the way. Did 5 consecutive 2:32 laps behind those bastards; best of 2:31.8.

Session #5 (last of the day) I was lined up behind another C6 that braked waaay early. I was stuck behind him for 3 laps; probably within a car length in several corners; then he'd pull away and I'd catch him in the next braking zone. Rinse/repeat for nearly 3 laps... Getting frustrated I was going to try and dive-bomb him in the braking zone if I had to; but I couldn't get close enough. After watching him in the last few turns on the track from 'Canada Corner' through T14 I had figured my area to pounce. He braked way early for 'Canada Corner' which is about 138mph for me. So I caught him and he strayed a bit wide so I was nearly side-by-side but I had momemtum and the better outside line through T13 and T13A. He finally yielded for T13A as you have to setup on the outside and I was already there! I pitched it in a little sideways and kept it floored; slid to the outside got through T14 and was on the loooonnngg front straight. Then I see that yellow Vette pull out to pass. I screamed 'NOOOO'; all my hard work could be lost. I went deep into T1 and left room just in case but he braked way early and I was going to have a clean lap finally! I made the most of it with a 2:29.2. I took 2nd in the afternoon and that'd finish the competition year. That lap also was the 4th fastest out of 35 in TT. First place was a 2:26x - ran on stickered A6's. I ended up cording 5 They were a bit overdriven from Nationals I think; plus the carousel is hard on them. Top speed of 147.2 mph. Yes...still on the stock turbo!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Road America - 147.2 mph!

147.2 mph was the top speed for the #929 Evo at Road America this past weekend!  I think that's pretty good for a little 2.0 four-banger tuned by AMS Performance!  We had a best lap of 2:29.2 which reached my personal goal of a sub 2:30 lap.  It's a fun track and pretty easy to pick up; with mostly the need to figure out your braking zones as you're going about 140mph in 3 sections on this track!

I'll have a writeup with some on-track pics shortly.  For now, I'll leave you with one from the paddock area!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Road America!

The last scheduled event on the NASA MW/GL schedule is a crossover (aka combined) event at Road America this weekend. I'm signed up and the weather looks crazily great with highs in the low 70's.

So I'm headed the 6 hrs north for what will probably be my last event of the year. Wish me luck!  The car hasn't been touched since we left Nationals - and it's a great opportunity to use up the last of this years brakes and tires that are already on the car. 

Any guesses on my top speed?  Think I'll clear 145 or 150mph more than once per lap?

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 NASA Nationals - Day 4 - Sunday

So entering Sunday I was on top.  I felt pretty good about pushing the car Saturday, but looking at my data Sat evening, I found there was definitely a few more tenths out there in some key corners.

The first session looks to be a good one.  With a good lap on the books, I elected to make a small setup change in loosening the front rebound.  This proved to make the car worse unfortunately and I ran another mid 1:33.  It was also a sloppy session with people pushing very very hard.  Some of my competitors came out on their 2nd or even 3rd set of new tires at this point!  I seen one competitor go very wide and 4-off which didn't get called (you get your times DQ'd if you go 4-off) in my rearview.  I watched intently as I was waiting for him to fly back across the track like most do in that particular part of the course and punch the inside wall.  But he saved it; congrats on that. 

The updated times showed another big changeup in class.  Whereas I'd leapfrogged from 3rd to 1st the previous morning; I'd been leapfrogged today!  It was insanely close with the laptimes showing:
1st  - 132.52
2nd - 132.80
3rd - 132.83 --> ME

There was 1 session left on the schedule in the afternoon.  But it then started to sprinkle a bit.  Then it cleared up; then it sprinkled more.  All I wanted was a dry track and a shot at a legitimate win.  I lined up in grid and it started to sprinkle just 15min before our session - but then it stopped and the rain came out!  It was going to be close!
The track might not have been 100% dry, but it was close enough.  We went out and pushed hard.  The 1st lap felt good so I flew into T1 under the bridge; hit the apex and stuck the accelerator to the floor!  Only the front tires wouldn't hold the speed and I went 4-off wide on track out.  That'd be it as a 4-off means a DQ.  I can't recall if I still pushed hard that lap or if it was the next - just for pride.  But somehow I tallied a 1:32.9 that session; and the corner workers didn't catch my obvious 4-off.  However, per the rules, I admitted to it and that time was DQ'd.  In the end it wasn't as fast as my previous best; but I also wasn't pushing 100% because of the early 4-off.  I'm wondering if I'd kept pushing what would have happened?  lol.  Either way; I wouldn't wanna win like that.  I had my shot at a dry track which is all you can ask for.

The final tally slotted me into 3rd place out of 14 in a crazily fast group of TTA.  The top 4 of us all bested the previous TTA Nationals record set by Gates back in 2008 (in a car that's been reclassed higher since).

In the end, it's so hard to compete on a track with long straights like Mid Ohio with the Corvettes.  We're at an immediate disadvantage with respect to aero, drag, gearing, weight, power, etc.  I was still able to hit 144mph on the backstraight according to my GPS with the stock turbo!  Huge thanks to AMS Performance, AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, Hawk Brake Pads, Buschur Racing, The Winning Formula, AST, Forgeline, and my wife.

And for the record, I was weighed 4-5 times, fully teched with my points sheet once and GPS'd twice.  I think this was pretty close to the other top cars in the class; with a portion of the non AWD cars being dyno'd as well.

The pictures are some that I took in 'Madness' of some of the race groups; enjoy! 

Lastly, here's my highlight/lowlight video.  Showing a lot of the offs, my near T-Bone on Friday and my 4-off in the last session, etc:

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 NASA Nationals - Day 3 - Saturday

Entering Saturday (Day 3 of 4) I was in 3rd of 14.  The biggest factor looked to be the weather.  It'd been foggy every morning, but we were out earlier this morning and the fog was worse!  Couple that with the forecast for 50% chance of rain the entire weekend and it was hard to know if/when we'd have a good session.

So for the morning session I had already decided to push and push hard.  The first hotlap yielded one car with an ABS failure (huge lockup) on the course and a car in the middle of the track for me.  On the 2nd lap I actually had a 100% clean lap with no traffic or yellows.  I made the most of it with a personal best of 1:32.834

I have no idea what my pressures were as I didn't have anyone to take them for me.  And we weren't allowed to touch the cars in the tech area.  I can tell you that they either started too low and I pushed too hard to quickly.  Or I just plain overdrove them.  Check out the pic of the LF, this was after just 3 total sessions too!

For our 2nd session of the day around 1:40pm it was threatening rain.  I had already decided to sit it out so I could watch the Group D race, as I had several friends racing in ST2 (/Ryan, David, Whit & Justin).  I'd missed their 2 qualifying races on Thurs/Fri as I was always being impounded after our afternoon session.  I was being weighed every time, and/or teched and later GPS'd (100% legal).  Our 2nd session was wet and the start of the ST2 race was wet, but dried up quickly.  Then as soon as they got done it started to pour!  Our 3rd session would definitely be screwed - so I started drinking... lol.

I ended day #3 in 1st place out of 14 cars but it was insanely close.  The top 3 spots were 1:32.8, 1:32.9, 1:33.1.

Here's vid from the only session I ran on Saturday.  It was in the morning fog; pretty eerie stuff!  This was my only 100% clean lap of the session too, the other 4 had yellow flags and/or other cars off that I had to slow down for.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NASA Nationals - Day 2 - Friday

Entering Friday (Day 2 of 4) I was in 2nd of 14, but there was a long way to go.  After the politics from the previous day with the rear of the grid, the front of the grid returned the favor with an insanely slow outlap.  I was actually going about 20mph into the carousel as the front guys were trying to get the cars in the rear to bunch up tight.  Needless to say that screwed everyone's first lap.

Finally when we got up to speed, on the quick R-L transition between T9 and T10 I actually had my Traqmate come off the windshield suction cup and fly out my passenger window!  Actually this wasn't the first time this had happened, as last year it happened in T7 at Autobahn; only it flew out the drivers side window there!

Friday also brought about probably one of the top 5 scariest moments of my short racing career.  I had let a TTS Lotus past me on the outlap, knowing him from Regional events in that he was slightly faster than me I figured I'd be nice and not hold him up - the car in front of me did the same.  Well, he didn't return the favor so well!  On the first flying lap, the Lotus went into a corner too hot and lost it, spinning and staying on the track.  If you're familiar with Mid Ohio, you know how many blind corners and hills are there and how dangerous a situation like this can be.  This occurred at the top of 'Thunder Valley' which is T12.  This is a corner I usually pitch the car into sideways and drift all the way to the exit on the right - which is coincidentally where the Lotus was still spinning when I came up the hill.  Now fortunately for both of us, I overbraked the entry so I was well under control and not drifting or sideways and I was able to react!  Only I had no idea which way to swerve as he was still spinning!  Changing my mind from R to L; I swerved Left to avoid and the Lotus actually rolled backwards towards the middle of the track just as I'm trying to scoot by.  Whew; by unscathed!

Once the session was over the Lotus was moved onto his racegroup, so we'd have to catch up on dramatics and apologies later to be sure!  I did have an official come over and deliver my Traqmate to me!  I'm thankful I label stuff...  And yeah; it still works...

Best lap of the day for me was a 1:33.9.  I'd end the day in 3rd place of 14.  Once the grid worked its way out from fast to slow, things were a little better in the afternoon session.  I still had a difficult time setting tire pressures.  They kept coming up way higher than I'm used to.  Perhaps I was overdriving the car; or the fact I was doing all 100% hot laps for 6 laps - but that's not entirely uncommon.

Here's a pic of the gridding area for one of the GTS (German Tourning Series) qualifying races as seen from our paddock area -->

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NASA Nationals Day 1 - Afternoon/Evening

9/8/2011 - Thursday Afternoon/Evening

After piloting through the rain to a 2:13 I started 2nd in grid.  The track wasn't perfect, but it was nearly dry for the afternoon session.  I knew there'd be some very impatient high HP cars wanting around the 12 or so of us that had gridspots because we braved the rain in the morning.

And sure enough, it was an absolute mess.  I had cars dive-bombing me on the backstraight nearly every lap.  Some were safe passes; others not as much.  The worse part was when they would then hold me up through the next several turns after dive-bombing me!
In addition to the crazyiness at the front, there was some politics in the back.  A few of the high HP guys that didn't go out and were gridded in the back decided to gap themselves way back behind the field in order to get themselves open track - even though it's against the rules and was expressly mentioned NOT to do that.  So all kinds of fun stuff.  Oh, and still several offs and yellow flags to work around.  Ended the day with a 1:35.7; 2nd of 14 in class.  Good enough to slot myself into the #12 spot on grid of the 34 cars; pretty much where I thought I'd be.

That night... we got to tour Mansfield Correctional Facility!  This is where they filmed nearly all of ShawShank Redemption, as well as parts of Air Force One and Tango and Cash.  Attached is a shot of the room where Warden Norton shot himself!  Creepy...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NASA Nationals - Day 3 overview

Sorry for the lack of updates. 

It's been a fun event, but a bit difficult to dial in the 'perfect' lap as is needed for TT.  We've got 13 cars in TTA including last years National Champion so it's going to take the 'perfect' lap to win.  Up to this point, I've been slower than my pace in August.  I've been fighting some grid issues, politics, traffic, bad luck, etc. Some of it expected, some of it just bad luck. I have a host of 1:33.9 laps which slotted me into 2nd or 3rd (not sure because of DQ's) after the first 2 days.

But today I slammed down a 1:32.8 in the fog! Leapfrogging into 1st.........

It's still insanely tight, but I'm sitting on top currently!  Wish me luck...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NASA Nationals - Day 1 morning

So the drive Wed afternoon/evening/night was fortunately uneventful.  I made the 450 miles in just 2 stops.  Think about that... 7+ hours with 2 chances to pee.  And into that I was exhausted for some reason, so pushing the water, caffeine and coffee.  I was pretty much a zombie the last 45min.
Got to the track at 7:50; just in time to register.  Unloaded; got food, 10min at the pool to relax; bed.  Oh yeah.... it was raining already.

Day 1... 
Thursday Morning...
So today was... slow!  Only 2 sessions today, when I'm used to 5!  Our initial TT meeting was a full hour long!  Lots of regulations and rules to go over.  Fortunately I have an annual tech, so all good there.  But you have to get your 'tamper proof tape', and all your class & NASA stickers (all good there too) and all your additional contingency stickers straightened out.  Difficult to do with humidity and rain.

Speaking of rain; rained all night, into the morning; and through the morning.  It was obviously going to be a wet day.  I came on my Dunlop street tires, so I was planning on using those the first session.  So I went out in the rain; 1 of only 12 in our group of ~34 that braved the bad weather.  And it was slick obviously.  I piloted the car to a 2:13; earning myself 2nd in grid and 1st in class.  The 20 or so cars that didn't go out... they'd all be stuck lining up in back; first come; first served!

More later...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 NASA National Championships - Sept 8-11th

It's here!  The primary goal for this year and the culmination of the entire year's worth of effort.  The 2011 NASA National Championships kick off at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course on Thursday Sept 8th and flow for 4 days.  For the Time Trials groups, we get 1 practice and 8 timed sessions scattered over those 4 days to set our fastest lap.  It's not a great deal of tracktime, so prepping the car with the right setup is critical.

The #929 Evo is currently loaded up and ready to rock. As the forecast shows chances for rain daily, part in thanks to Tropical Storm 'Lee', we decided to leave the rain/street tires on in prep for our first session Thursday @ 11am. I figure I have plenty of time to (happily) switch to Hoosiers if the weather is good. BUT, if it's wet, I need to throwdown an official lap to start working the grid strategy. My group consists of my class (TTA) and the 3 classes above me, TTS, TTU, & TTR respectively. Should be around 30-35 of us including 13 in my class!

I hope to make some pretty regular updates on the blog.  Possibly nightly even!  But I promise lots of small updates via twitter:!/boomn29
I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of 2011...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finishing Touches - 1 week to Nationals!

In exactly 1 week from right now, I'll be on my way to Mid Ohio for the 2011 NASA Nationals.  With that in mind, I've been completing the finishing preparations.  I got the front rotors, pads and brake bleeding completely earlier in the week.  And last night I even had a chance to wash the Evo!

There's still a few minor things to take care of, including packing up and loading it on the trailer.  Until then I can keep debating my ideas on tire strategy, race lines, etc for Nationals!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Front Rotors & Pads!

I thought my rotors might last through Nationals; nope!  This pic is of the LF and yep that's a nice looking crack.
The RF actually does not look too bad.  Obviously I'm pulling these off in favor of a new set and putting in new pads as well.

More of the same; Stoptech front slotted and directionally veined rotors with Hawk DTC60 pads all coming from Jay at Andrews Racing.  Check out his new website and don't hesitate to hit him up for advice on your setup:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday 8.14.11 Mid Ohio

So somehow we avoided the rain on Saturday. I celebrated the day with several brews! I awoke to clouds but not rain, and it looked threatening all morning. Lining up for the first session it was still dry. We were allowed to line up wherever we wanted, which I didn't agree with because I ended up behind a few cars that I was faster than on Sat. It didn't seem like a big deal until the pace lap started.... It stayed dry for... about 1/2 of the pace lap! Seriously.

So as we're gaining speed for the first timed lap of the day, I'm reaching for the wipers. (see video) Knowing full well I'm on Hoosier slicks as is nearly everyone else. I still hammer it and fly into T2 where I already see a yellow flag. There's 1 car off on the outside of the turn and another on the exit of the turn. I slide it through and hammer down the backstraight but brake early and pass a few cars. After that I take it easy to keep it on track to get a lap down - a 1:55x. They then black flagged the session to pull cars out. My time put me #3 in grid and first in class.

For S2 it was sprinkling, then started to pour in grid. I was already lined up and had a passenger jump in with me so I soldiered on out. I had heard there's a river across the backstraight when it rains. I found out... On the pace lap no less. I started to hydroplane and could not even make the kink. It was like slow motion; in a bad way. I went off, and thought I was going to find the wall with a passenger. As soon as I touched the grass I was able to correct with the wheel and all was good (with more hydroplaning). Disaster averted... Yah!

S3 at 1:40pm was going to be my last; no matter the weather. It'd been a long weekend and I had 450 miles to drive home yet. I prepped for it; and by that I mean reset tire temps; that's it. I packed up and ate a bit during the downtime. Turns out... it would start dry! I ran a 1:33.9 but the car wouldn't turn like I wanted - especially into Thunder Valley. Checking tire pressures when I came in, the RF was 5psi higher than everything else. It was a difficult situation with rain/sun/clouds/repeat for the first 5 hrs of the day and my guess at tire temps was only 3/4 correct!

While it was a good time, it wasn't my best. Once I checked the results of the session, I found myself in 2nd out of 8 in class. That's where I finished for the day. All-in-All it was a really fun weekend. Learned a bit more about Mid Ohio, reinforced some ideas I had and confirmed a setup idea I was pretty confident in. I made nearly 0 changes to the car, so the stress level was low and I was able to visit with a lot of friends.

I've got a few ideas on how to better my times for Nationals next month. I've had a specific time goal in mind and I still think it's possible and probably needed to take the podium. 15 cars already registered for NASA TTA Nationals! Wish me luck...

Sun S1 (rain started): 

Sun dry vid: 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sat 8.13.11 Mid Ohio -1st in TTA & Track Record!

After nearly 600 miles 10.5 hrs of driving on Friday (to Ohio via Chicago)...
Sat warmup was pretty early! I did very little to prep the car, having not even started it since I left Mid Ohio in July! After unpacking it, I adjusted the tire temps a little, slapped on the camera and that's about it! I ran about 6 laps, each a little quicker than the last and qualified with a 1:35.0 - which was nearly as fast as I went in July; so I was excited.
I was sitting 9th in grid and 2nd in class; squeezed tightly by 2 C5 Vettes.

I reset the tire temps for S2, made a few suspension tweaks and knew I'd need to push hard as the morning session would be the fastest - plus there was rain forecasted later. I pushed pretty hard, but safe, and ran a 1:33.2 which was a personal best! It landed me in 1st place and broke the TTA track record by a few tenths.

We had a 2+ hr break until S3. I ate, rotated some tires, reset pressures, moved the camera, put in some fuel, tweaked the suspension - all really quick/minor stuff as the car felt pretty good and was rotating well to my liking. I ran some 1:34's but I didn't better my time. Nobody really improved actually. Same story for S4 (which I sat out). S5 was like 5:30 and I was hoping for better conditions with less sun. The car felt good, but not great. I ran a few 1:34's but no improvement.

My time held up and I finished 1st out of 8 in class, taking the Pro Course TTA Track Record (to go along with the Club Course record I set in April)! The car felt really good all day, neutral, able to rotate a bit under hard throttle thanks to the Shep rear diff. AMS tuned power was good; although the Vettes still walk me on the straights - they've got to be right on the class power/weight ratio!

Monday, August 15, 2011

3 weeks till NASA Nationals!

Just got back from the August Mid Ohio NASA MW/GL Crossover event.  Great weekend.  Learned a bit more about Mid Ohio, reinforced some ideas I had and confirmed a setup idea I was pretty confident in. 

I'll have a complete writeup along with video shortly. 

Until then, I've got a long to-do list to make sure everything is ordered, installed, maintained and ready to go for NASA Nationals back at Mid Ohio Sept 8-11th.  As usual, nothing major is needed.  But the to-do list is long.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shout-Out to AMSOIL - and Scott!

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to AMSOIL for their help this year.  I've been partnering with AMSOIL since 2009 and it's been a great experience.  I previously had been running their 'Dominator' Racing branded 10w30 oil.  However, earlier this year I started to have some bearing wear discovered by the oil analysis reports I send in to an independent 3rd party.  This is probably from a combination of the higher power output, higher revs, and resulting higher temps in this year's full TTA buildup.  Whereas 2009-2010 I'd see 250-265 temps with some higher peaks with extended lapping, I'm seeing lots of 280-290 temps this year.

At about the same time I got the oil analysis report back, I started working with a new rep; Scott.  Scott immediately suggested that we try a run of thicker 15w50 AMSOIL and watch the temps/pressures even closer.  We ran that oil at the July Mid Ohio event where I seen temps peak and hold at 280 every session.  We sent in a sample for analysis and the report can back much better.  The bearing wear was much lower; presumably from the thicker oil protecting better under those high temps.

So, I had Scott send me a case of AMSOIL 'Dominator' 15w50 this week as we'll be running that the rest of the year.  Hopefully everything will stay protected and safe.  The car now has about 24,500 miles and 75 track days on it including 14 so far in 2011.

I run very very few stickers on my car.  And AMSOIL is one of them for a good reason.  If you want to get ahold of Scott, email him at:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Prepping for Aug Mid Ohio Event!

With the knowledge from our trip to Mid Ohio in July, we're prepping the car a bit differently for the next trip!  We'll be back at Mid Ohio for an important NASA MW/GL crossover event, which means double points, bigger fields, more competition, etc.  It's also another chance to improve at Mid Ohio for the National event in September.

So currently the car has the stock wing on it, and it will remain that way!  I really like the Kognition wing and it obviously produces rear downforce as advertised.  However the lack of front downforce produces lift and results in a 'push' especially mid-corner under power.

Therefore we're going to use those 'mod pts' elsewhere on the car.  The fancy AMS FMIC will be going back on the car.  I think the additional power, throttle response and larger powerband will be a welcome addition for the longer Mid Ohio straights!  It should also help counteract some of the high intake temps of the summer.

The picture here is the car as it sits today.  The stock FMIC has been pulled and it's awaiting the AMS FMIC to be bolted back in place.  I'm hoping to get some additional ducting in place on the bumper to help out temps as well.  Time permitting...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mid Ohio Sunday - 7.17.11

Sunday actually started with a fog delay! 
I had decided to run the car with the stock wing today. For that, there would be some prep work needed. I put the best tires back on - which meant the corded tires would no longer be in the rear; lol. I pulled some weight in the car as I had 4pts to play with since the Kognition wing was off the car. I also lowered the LR ride height some to help the car turn left. 1st session...fog delayed! I took a passenger out and the car felt pretty tame (not loose like others in the paddock feared); just ran a 1:42x as I was in slow traffic and the track was slick in spots.

Session #2 was fun. The car rotated very well through the fast right-handers and even turned left where it wouldn't on Saturday! It took a few laps to get used to the rotation with different steering inputs and I was picking up speed until I caught traffic. (And by catching traffic I mean the same horrible TTF car that caused a train of cars every session). Best was a 1:35.1; although I was on pace for a 1:34x... This again locked me into 2nd of 6th.

Session #3 was around 1:30pm and would probably be my last as I had a 7.5hr drive home. I ran a best of 1:35.2 with the same story - I was on pace for a rocket of a lap until I caught the same TTF car and the train behind him.

All-in-All I was very unhappy with the car setup on Saturday. I was making changes to things every session to try and make it turn left and accelerate from mid-corner w/o pushing. I know a big rear wing (with no undertray mind you) just is NOT to my liking. That's where me and my suspension guy have differing opinions. I tried it; hate it. I was up pretty late Sat night trying to decide how to change the car for my next trip to Mid Ohio.

I managed to roll back a portion of the new setup changes on Sunday and was happier with the car. It was much hotter and I was having a tough time finding my braking points and running a solid lap before traffic; a train of traffic on lap #2 or #3.

I keep trying to tell myself finishing 2/6 and around 9 of 56 cars isn't bad for a setup I hated. Besides the 1 TTA car in front of me; everything else was higher classed so it's not like I was slow. 1 lower class; TTB had a winning time of 1:39 so we had a group of quick TTA cars! I already have some ideas on how to prep the car differently for August - and I can tell you the STOCK wing will be on it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sat 7.16.11 Mid Ohio

I lined up in the morning with R6's in the front and crappy (partially corded) old A6's in the rear. I wanted to run a time good enough for top 15 out of the 55 cars registered in TT. I also wanted to be safe with the new setup changes including Kognition wing back on, more aggressive alignment and more toe. I fired a 1:37x that slotted me into #8 on grid and was pretty happy. The car felt pretty good, not scary or loose or anything. The new set of front Hawk pads felt really good!

Session #2 I mounted up 2 new tires in the front (only brought 3 new ones!). I ran a 1:34.7 and the car felt pretty good. It wasn't rotating the way I wanted in the right-handers and the left-handers it was fighting me a bit but it was a great start. That landed me 2nd in class out of 6 with tops being a 1:34.2 ran by a Vette.

Sessions #3 and #4 I stuck with the same tire setup and tried to push the car more. It did NOT like it. The more I tried the less it'd turn left. I made a wing adjustment and it didn't help; loosened the front rebound; didn't help much. It was getting warmer and I was fighting a loosing battle with times, but still wanted to get the car to rotate and turn left for the next day! I ran several 1:35's.

With Session #5 being my last session and still being locked in 2nd of 6 I decided to pull the wing and put the stocker back on and the R6's back to save my best ones. If things felt good; I'd go with it the next day. And guess what... it rotated! The bueaty of my Shep rear diff was back under throttle! My Sunday setup would change!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Autobahn Sunday - 07.10.11 - 1st place in TTA!

For Sunday I knew I needed to make a change. I decided the simplest was to pull the Kognition rear wing and put the stocker back on. The car felt much better when I was there in April and I ran the stocker back then. The Kognition was definitely producing downforce, but since I don't have a front splitter to balance it out, with my current alignment/settings it's just too much for this track right now I guess.

So I lined up Sunday with the stock wing and ran a 1:33.4. Car definitely felt looser in turns 3 & 4 where I had to left off the gas earlier. And the bandaid was still holding! Still though, I wasn't as fast as I was in April. I looked over my traqmate data and see I was loosing time in the braking zone of T1 of all places! So I set out to correct that in S2 and ran a 1:33.4 again! I assumed at this point the tires much be nearly shot.

I was going to run at least 1 more session and I wanted to make some change. Talked it over with a friend and I made a 1-click rebound adjustment - note this is the FIRST TIME this YEAR that I've touched the suspension settings on my new AST's since they were installed (they've been that good). Amazingly enough I felt the 1-click adjustment! The car rotated better through 2 specific corners and I was able to drop a 1:32.5 to end the day. That time held to win TTA for Sunday - although I wasn't able to reset my April track record of 1:32.1

Here's a good vid from Sunday. It's me and Jeff in his Evo; running nose-to-tail 1:33's.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Autobahn Saturday 7.9.11 - Working through Troubles!

Saturday I went out for the morning practice session with a passenger.  I lined up with my buddy Jarrod behind me as it was his first time in TT; 2nd time at the track and I wanted to show him the lines.  I ran a 1:37 and qualified 7th in grid.

I went to switch in 2 grippier tires for the first timed session, but realized an issue.  The car was covered in thick fluid by the driver's front tire.  I figured out it wasn't fluid, but axle grease - apparently from when I had my trans pulled recently.  I cleaned everything up as best I could and decided to go out for just 1-2 laps in the 11am session before the heat really set in as I needed a time.
I ran something like a 1:33.8 but the car was pushing in the turns; at turn-in and I had to get out of the gas more than once as it pushed mid-corner when I went back to the throttle as well.  I had the Kognition wing on and it set to the lowest AoA.  I also had some sloppy lines as I was bothered by the axle boot issue and was getting used to the new shiftpoints in my new longer 4th gear.  I was sitting in 2nd of 5 cars.
But the real fun was a very near incident during the session that caused me to take some evasive manuevering!  I was following another Evo; we were running 1:33-34 laps and we came up on a much slower Miata with a passenger.  The other Evo passed him between T4 and T5 and I was setting him up for an inside pass in T5.  While the other Evo was completing his pass, the Miata started to spin sideways mid-corner.  I left off to not T-bone him as he caught it.  But as I reached back for the gas, he jerked left again and I jerked left and went off-track to avoid him again.  The guardrail was insanely close at this point as well as an upcoming flagstand.  I turned right but the car kept going straight!  I brought the wheel back straight and slowly turned right and it took that input and I was able to avoid hitting anything.  Fun...  Vid below!

I checked the car after the 11am session and it messier yet.  I decided to let it cool and try to figure out a fix (if there was one).  I was posting to facebook for advice and texting with Boostin Performance; who pulled the trans.  I got a few suggestions including tape, superglue, zipties, trashbags, more tape, etc.  I also sourced some fancy volcanizing 'fire' tape from the paddock area. 
I let everything cool and went to work on the car.  I started with superglue; let it dry; then went with electrical tape (sticky) and the fire tape back-n-forth.  Then 2 zipties at the end with some electrical tape over them!  I skipped the 1pm session as I didn't want to rush things. 

Well into the mid 90's by now, I lined up for the 3pm session with no other changes.  Went out and the track wasn't great but I put down another 1:33x and the car was clean underneath!  That in itself was a success for me!  The car pushed worse being things were hotter and greasier at this point.  I chalked it up mostly to the high afternoon temps and took 2nd out of 5 for the day.  1st was a 132.8 that went to the reigning 2010 TTA Nat'l champ who happened to put his car in the wall in the 3rd session.  We'll see if he can get it fixed for next weekend at Mid Ohio so we can battle again!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Config 4K! (yes another config)

Pulled all the brake pads out just to verify them.  Front have more wear in 2 weekends than I thought they'd have but they are ok.  The rear still had ST43's in them, so I decided to put new Hawk DTC60's in there so I had the same compounds all around.

Did a few other maintenance items as well, tightened up a few things, gave it a quick wash etc.

But the bigger news (right) is we'll be debuting yet another new configuration setup for this weekend's event at Autobahn Country Club. We've had Config #1, #2 & 2K so far. We'll call this 'Config 4K' config 4K - for the new longer 4th gear, and the rear Kognition wing.
The pic to the right shows the front bumper off (again) and the stock fmic back on as well.  The gearing change cost us some mod pts so I had to shed something else something and this was the choice.  Hope to get it back together and loaded tonight!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

929 Evo -> AST USA Blog

Got some recent love from the folks over at AST USA in a feature story on their blog.

Check it out:

I searched long and hard for a new suspension setup that would fit into the NASA ruleset and give me the top quality performance I demanded and not empty my wallet!  AST was really the only option that fit all of those critera.  I needed a quality non-inverted shock (non piggyback; no external reservoirs) that was a max of 2 way adjustable.

Enter the AST 4000 series.  I settled on the single adjustable 4100's.  And to this point in the year; we've made absolutely zero changes to them!  Thanks to Aaron at the Winning Formula for all the presale guidance, setup and continued support.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boostin Performance Trans Refresh - Complete!

Went and picked up the car from Boostin Performance Friday night.  Left work around 3:30pm and made the trip up to Chicago.  I got pretty lucky with traffic; going the opposite direction and all.  I spent about an hour at the shop talking with Devin and Kristin about the car and what all it's been through in the past few years.

I packed things up and headed back home; yep it was a turn-around trip!  Made it safely back about 11pm.  Exhausted...

In the pic of my car and my buddy Ryan's white Evo that was coincidentally in for a transmission repair too.  We both decided on Boostin Performance; each with our first trip there!

We'll both be running the cars in a few weeks at the next NASA event - July 9-10th at Autobahn Country Club; just South of Chicago.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Boostin Performance

After my last track event in Michigan, I decided there was a good hole in the schedule to get the transmission addressed. It had developed a small grind into 5th at my first event of the year.

Till this point, the trans has been great. Car has 24,000 miles on it and around 70 days on track. I've been using Redline fluids in the trans for awhile. I change them 2-3 times a year as it's a pretty easy job. But with all the heat generated from road-racing and the fact the car has pumped out 300-370whp since the first month I got it (April/2006) vs the 250whp stock... I knew it was only a matter of time.

So rather than it locking out and screwing me at the track to a DNF, or causing worse damage to the entire gearbox - I wanted to have it pulled before Nationals in September. And this was a good gap in the schedule. Doubley so as I'd be passing back by Chicago on the way home which is where the work would get done.

As to where in Chicago... that's something I've been trying to decide since about April! Quality of work was #1, and cost was a #2. Scheduling, timeframe and availability was #3.

I called around, talked to a few new shops, priced things, got timelines, etc. I ended up deciding to work with Devin at Boostin Performance. Heard a lot of good things, but I'd never even met the guy before. I told him my timeline and he volunteered to meet me at the shop on Sunday for a dropoff on the way back from my Michigan track event. That right there was huge for me; saves me a night in a hotel and a 1/2 day off work (assuming a monday morning dropoff).

Wish me luck...

Monday, June 13, 2011

NASA - Gingerman - 1st in TTA & Track Record - June 5th!

The TT group was the first group out on track - 8am. Very early. I figured the track might be a little damp, but I was wrong. After about 1.5 laps of 'recon' I started pushing it. I ran a solid time of 1:39.6 but I didn't have the optimal tire/pressure setup so I left some on the table as I did not think the track would be optimal. It was almost a grave mistake as another TTA car ran a 1:39.0 but got called for 4-wheels-off and DQ'd for that session!

Session #2 was at 9:45am so still pretty early. I set everything up, left the wing alone and fired a 1:38.9 which was my fastest of the weekend, reset my track record from Saturday and stood for 1st in TTA on Sunday to give me the weekend sweep!

I pushed the car hard through every session this weekend; really hard! Because of the track layout, I think I was pushing near 7500 rpms 4 times per lap. I kept expecting to find the rev limiter on the front straight but never did. So lots of high rpm revving in 4th, high oil temps, lost rubber, cranked up boost, etc. Everything help up beautifully though.  Thx as always for a great tune from AMS Performance.

It's been a pretty good year thus far. 8 wins in 8 events and track records at all 4 tracks I've been to. I've got some ideas for things to change and a lot of mid-season maintenance to take care of before a busy July schedule. Check out the progress via or twitter (@boomn29).

Vid from Sunday:
This is actually my fastest lap of the weekend. Only the audio sucks as the camera is clicking off the window; install error! Still, the car that passes me is a TTS Vette which is 1 class up from me. He's also the 2009 Nat'l champion. We nearly get 3 wide around T6...check it out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NASA - Gingerman - 1st in TTA - June 4th!

After driving up late Friday night (~6 hrs), got up Saturday, unloaded all the remaining crap inside the car, unloaded the car and did a little prep. This was the first time the car had been off the trailer since being loaded at Putnam Park May 15th! Only changes were a quick wash and I had installed a Kognition rear wing on the car since!

With the new wing set at the lowest possible angle, I lined up and ran a 1:43 for the practice session which put me #3 in grid for the entire TT group. Always strive to be in the first couple spots so I can get some clean laps right away!

For S2 (the first timed session) I was lined up behind the current TTA track record holder; what else but a C5 Vette! We did 3 laps hard laps and I could gain on him in a few spots, but he'd pull away in a few spots too. My best was a 1:40.0 - while his transponder didn't register. Sucks... as we had to be close!

For session #3 I made my 1st wing adjustment and fired a 1:39.3 which broke the track record for TTA! The car felt more planted and I liked it! Session #4 was at 2pm and it was starting to get pretty heated up. I made another adjustment and thought the car pushed a bit. Best was a 1:40x. Session #5 was at 3:40pm; hot hot hot. I backed the wing off 1 step and ran another 1:39x but not better than before as track conditions were degrading quickly.
The car was also sorta hopping in low speed turns under hard throttle. It did this a bit last year in 3rd gear corners, I assumed because the turbo comes on so quickly there. With the new 2011 alignment it's been better, but apparently it's back! I can drive around it, but it's not ideal so I hope to be making some adjustments down the road....

My 1:39.3 stood for 1st out of 6 in TTA. I also ended up with FTD of the entire TT group!  It was pushed hard all day through 5 sessions, high revs, high oil temps, high boost, etc and responded with flying colors.  Thanks as always to AMS Performance for a truely terrific tune!

Here's vid from the last session, looking backwards under the new Kognition wing; enjoy in HD!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kognition Wing!

After running the APR GTC-200 wing for 3 weekends this year, we came to the conclusion that we needed a bigger wing.  I know it was helping keep the rear more stable, but I am just not sure how much of an improvement it is over the big OEM wing.  And with the NASA TT point system, a rear wing is +4 pts; so it better be working!

I pulled out my earlier research on wings; prices, sizes, claims, lead-times, etc.  I found a good deal on a trunk mounted option from Kognition and put in my order.  While it was a bit later than expected, it arrived a few weeks back and the Evo will be running it this weekend.  Codename 'Config 2K'.  And I'll be making a LOT of testing changes as this wing is pre-slotted for everything from 5 to 18 degrees AoA (Angle Of Attack).  I fully expect the car to be very push-heavy at some point this weekend; or else we'll be back to the drawing board!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 2011 - "Config #2"

After running March-April in 'Config #1' (look at May 10th entry for details) I was ready for further testing.  I showed up at my May Putnam event in 'Config #2'. I removed the front APR splitter and bolted my sweet AMS FMIC back on. I was actually expecting another package, but the vendor somehow misunderstood my next event date which I think is completely BullShit myself as I stated it several times. Anyways...

Weight wise, this is pretty much a trade. Both configs have nearly the same weight hanging out over the front of the car; equally crappy but that's how it goes.  I didn't expect too much of a difference as my thoughts were the front splitter wasn't installed at the ideal angle given the NASA rules I have to contend with - and the rear APR wing wasn't really huge or anything.

Track Testing!
I had ran a 1:19.5 at Putnam back in March using 'Config #1' on street tires and pump gas. My previous best there was a 1:17.0 last fall in TTA form on old tires; stock aero, a tune from 2008, etc. Meaning not ideal.

I ran a 1:18.0 in the warmup session and was happy with that. I did cord a tire; which I knew could be a problem at Putnam as it's a track that calls for a LOT of camber. Like -4 in the LF perhaps! But no changes for me, so I'd have to deal with it.  1:16.7 in S2 which set a new track record for TTA!  Through the first 2 sessions the car felt a bit pushy in off-camber corners. This is normal, and off-camber corners are a-plenty at Putnam. I wasn't 100% happy with how the car felt as I didn't push it as hard as I wanted. I felt some changes needed to be made. But again; (as my suspension guy tells me) Mid Ohio is the goal for setup perfection; not Putnam.

For S3 I bolted up new tread and fired a 1:15.7 which was my best of the weekend (and new TTA track record).

So is 'Config #2' a winner? I'm not sure.
Putnam is a bit of a wildcard - although it does have a nice log straight where I reach 132mph; over 95mph in 6 spots.  Mid Ohio I topped out at 143mph (over 108mph 4 times).

I'm still debating the 'config' thing......I think 'Config #2' needs more testing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updated Graphics!

Got some updated stickers and graphics on the car I wanted to show.  Besides the obvious name addition, I've been sporting some additional 'MWE' aka graphics. 

Thanks to Scott and the whole group over at that read, support & root for me.  If you haven't been to the site, you should really check it out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

NASA - Putnam Park - Day #2

Having won my class and set a new track record on Saturday before the rain set in; Sunday we woke up to more rain.  It wasn't a hard rain; more of a spray/mist that held out the entire day.  I mounted up the street tires - my 3yr old Dunlop Z1 StarSpecs - and went out for the first session in my #2 gridspot behind the 500hp TurnInConcepts (TIC) Subaru.  I made no suspension changes.  Putnam just blows in the wet; the pavement is like 13 years old and most of the turns are pure ice when wet.  I was figuring something under the 2:00 would be good! 

Like the TIC car, I was able to spin all 4 on the out lap in various spots testing out grip - which is very very rare for me.  The session was pretty much a follow-the-leader deal for about 3 laps before some of us all got daring enough to start passing.  I ran a few laps in the 1:54-55 range with a ton of skidding including a 2-turn combo through T9/10 when I was a full opposite lock for awhile.  I kept turning laps and kept saving the car in turns and was having fun until I was in the wrong spot for T8 and when I went for the brakes there was nothing.  So I had my first off-course excursion of the year.  I just went straight off as I could turn or brake at that point, through some grass, through a small gravel trap, through some more grass, up a few small hills - it literally felt like offroading and I was told I had the car airborne at least once.  I came back and jacked up the car and nothing looked broke.  There was dead grass everywhere; all over the front bumper, inside the wheel wells, jammed on the intercooler, on top of the LICP, all over the wrapped downpipe, etc.  The worst of it was the gravel knicked up the far right of my lower bumper; that's it.  Pretty lucky.

While my S1 time of 1:54.0 would have been good for 4th in grid, I had to start from the end of the pack because of the 4-wheels-off.  I new I'd have to pick my way through traffic and search for a descent lap.  On the straightaway on the 1st lap I think I passed 4-5 cars.  Ended up with a 1:51 in that session and the track actually seemed a little better as that was much less sideways!  Back up to 7th in grid which is much better to work with!

3 hr gap until the 3rd session.  Hoping for dry, I remounted the A6's.  Actually a lot of the guys were running A6's in the earlier sessions too - some on streets - some on fancy Hoosier wets!  The rain slowed to a mist and there was a racegroup in front of us so I knew the track would definitely be better than before at least.  I was gridded 7th overall; just behind the TTA leading Corvette.  I matched my pace with his for a few laps, got around him and ran a 1:34x - about 2.5 seconds ahead of the Corvette.  The time held out for 1st in class and I came away with the 2-day sweep in TTA!  Thx for AMS Performance for the ever incredible tune and Forgeline Motorsports for the new rims (see pic).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NASA - Putnam Park - TTA Track Record!

Headed to Putnam Park this weekend for a NASA MW/GL crossover event that has been sold out for a few weeks.  After a very long week at work, I got to the track about 8am (ET) local. I knew that I had to install that new exhaust clamp that I have overnighted - and that was finished w/o drama - all good. The forecast was about 50% chance of showers throughout the day but it was holding off to this point.  So, I had about 40 minutes till our 1st session, and decided to change tires and put on the Hoosiers.

Went out for the practice session, ran a 1:18.0 cautiously. I had to break in new brake seals, pads & rotors! The car pulled right a few times under braking, the wheel vibrated hard a few times, but I just kept driving through it. In the end, I had corded the LF tire. Not the first time... and Putnam is horribly hard on the RF.

With only 45min till the next session, and my 2nd set of rims still waiting to have new tread mounted up, I decided to take a chance and rotate that corded tire to the RR and try to get just 1-2 laps in the next session. Knowing the rain was on the horizon at any time and there might not be another dry session as we had a 3hr break, I took a chance. It paid off..

I fired a 1:16.7 and eeked out a new track record! Ran just 2 laps that session. The RR came through ok. But the tire I rotated to the LF.... it corded. Now I had corded 2 tires in 2 sessions; both in the LF (Driver's front). I definitely need more camber for this track! The car just isn't setup for this track; as we're concentrating on Mid Ohio for Nationals.

Anyways.... 3 hr break - and the rain held off! I mounted up the new Forgelines (see pic), went out for just 2 laps to try and not punish the new tread too much. Fired a 1:15.7 bettering my previous track record by a full second and setting the 2nd fastest time in TT out of 41 cars trailing only the highly modified Subaru of TurnInConcepts. I was done for the day (to save the tires). No matter... it rained the rest of the day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Replacement Part Needed!

Breaking stuff... it's inevitable. You try to do as much accelerated maintenance as you can, keep everything greased and lubed, buy and use quality parts, use skilled companies for tuning, etc. But shit can, will and does happen.

Besides the above mentioned reasons, there's a few more that'll bite you as well. Like simply being tired or in a hurry. The latter is what bit me this week.
A week of longer days at work and final prep to the car meant my schedule was tight. I had to get the car loaded no later the Wed (don't like to fire the car up late with neighbors and all). So around dusk on Wed I was loading the car and since I removed the front splitter (moving onto Config #2....) I figured I would not need to use the extra 2x12's to load the car. Well, the front didn't scrape, but something else did! The low point in the middle of the car obviously being my exhaust, with a clamp right in the middle. (see pic)

Being I run a Buschur exhaust, I got ahold of them early Thursday morning to find a replacement fitting. With my plans to leave Friday mid-afternoon for the drive to the track we decided to have the part overnighted to my Friday night hotel. So a big thanks to Buschur for working with me and the Holiday Inn Express for (I hope) for accepting and holding my package.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

March-April 2011 - "Config #1"

I spent a LOT of time over the winter researching Aero.  Wings, Splitters, Diffusers, Canards, etc.  And I still feel like I have a very miniscule knowledge on the subject.  It also seems like there are a lot of people that offer advice that they can't confirm - mostly because they are churning out the same supposed 'expert' principles they've read somewhere on the internet and never tested anything themselves.

So, I took the knowledge I could get and decided to test some on my own.  My Evo comes with pretty large wing from the factory as it is - and it's really pretty well balanced in sweepers with regard to predictability.  Now if you upset it, it'll push or come around but there's no crazy snap oversteer or understeer at least with any of the suspension setups I've ran (5 in total).

In balancing a few factors including $, NASA 'modification' points, balance and ease of assembly I decided to start off the year with a used setup consisting of a front APR splitter and rear APR GTC-200 wing with extended mounts.  I nicknamed this 'Config #1'.  After running 6 days with this setup, I feel I've had enough seattime to make some logical conclusions. The sucky part is 3 were at a new track; 1 day was all rainy and all of this was with a brand new suspension and alignment.  However, there's only some much tracktime I can get in a year so you can't isolate everything!

I did get to run 1 session at Mid Ohio with no wing at all! That was beneficial in feeling how no wing felt in combination with the front splitter. My instant conclusion was the rear wing helped but it wasn't making as huge a difference as I had thought. Well either that or the splitter was just f'ing everything up and actually creating lift instead of downforce. But the car wasn't exactly slow...I did break the track record.

Fortunately I ran full speed (9/10's) at Autobahn at my last event and have some good comparable times with the aero. My goal for that weekend was to switch to a 'Config #2' the 2nd day.  Essentially I would have been trading some aero benefits for hp & torque.  But like I said in previous posts; due to the weather we didn't get a chance to test 'Config #2'. But again; the car wasn't exactly slow...I did break the track record.

Conclusion???  Next Steps???  Stay tuned....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Rotors & Pads!

The front calipers are ready to go back in; new seals and dustboots are in place.  Along with them, a new set of Hawk DTC60 pads and Powerslot rotors going in as well - and a good bleed/flush with fresh AMSoil DOT4 brake fluid. 

With this preemptive maintanance, we should be close to good for the rest of 2011 with the entire front & rear brake system.  Depending on the total # of track days, we might need another set of pads, but with the factory Brembo setup, those can be switched in very easily!  I like to plan ahead!

I think preemptive maintanance like this between events is what keeps the car on track - collecting data and getting faster at events!  Instead of on jackstands or the trailer early in the weekend...

Here's a pic of the driver's side put back together -->

Friday, April 29, 2011

Brembo Caliper Maintenance.

I had to pull the rotors & pads off last week as I was working on a big comparison test (coming soon). So I didn't stop there.

I thought about my schedule and I already have 6 days on track in 2011. I usually run 16-18 per year so I'm nearly 1/3 of the way complete! And since I skipped redoing the caliper seals this winter; I figure why not now! Yeah...  Better to take care of it now than have an issue during a track weekend or even worse; at Nationals in September!

I mean hell, the calipers were already unbolted - they have to be to get the rotors off. So I grabbed the 9/16" and loosened the brake lines on each side and tore into the calipers.  The Evo's stock brembo's are very easy to switch out pads, and not too hard to do the seals.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NASA - Autobahn - TTA Track Record!

Sunday morning the TT group was the first ones on track at 8:30!  I decided to go out and defend my gridspot - as we grid by time and all the Sat times were in the 2:03-2:35 range. So I asked a buddy to go with me for the hell of it because I like to scare people! As it was in the 40's it took a bit for the tires to warm up, so the rear was pretty loose for several laps which is quite fun! Eventually we played a few laps of cat-n-mouse with a TTB 350Z and had some fun running mostly 1:38's to keep at the front of the grid.

S2 I went out and hammered it. The car felt good but I was getting held up by a TTR C6 Z06 (check out the vid below). Unfortunately he ruined 2 of my laps and after that the tires were out of their prime. I did manage a 1:33.5 to regain the #1 gridspot so I'd be in front of that C6 Z06 the next session! I was also just .2 off my TTA track record from 2010 and knew it was well within site.

S3 was probably going to be my last as there was a 2.5hr gap afterwards and it'd been a long cold weekend for the wife and dog. I led the group out, took 1 lap to warmup everything and ran a pair of 1:32's with the last being 1:32.1 and breaking my own TTA track record from 2010.

Apart from a few sloppy lines; that was pretty much everything this current config had in it. That in itself was some great knowledge to have. I only wish we could have done all that on Saturday instead of Sunday. As I had a different config I wanted to test; but it'll have to wait.  All in all I ran 1.1 seconds faster that last year and reset my track record. I also had FTD both Saturday and Sunday over the entire TT group.

With zero changes to the suspension, the car is already rotating better on the setup than it ever did last year.  I have to thank Aaron from Winning Formula for the setup, AMS Performance for the power delivery and Sheppard Racing for the trick rear diff.  Enjoy the vid...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NASA - Autobahn - 1st Place in the Rain!

I had big plans for this weekend. I know Autobahn pretty well and I planned to test 2 different configs in 2 days - weather dependent...

We drove up Friday night after work. And by 'WE' I mean myself, my wife (married 6 months ago) and our 3 yr old puppy. It's about 3hrs to Autobahn up by Chicago, IL. The plan was to camp out Fri & Sat at the track. With Severe Weather Warnings and Tornado warnings just behind us, we trekked the 3 hrs N to Joliet, IL and setup the tent in 30+ mph  It was the start of a cold, windy and rainy night!   

Saturday we get up, cold and dry at least. The forecast was for rain most of the day; maybe clearing up late afternoon...maybe. Having the Dunlops mounted I head out for several drift-athons and have fun. I'm at the front of the entire TT pack; but with street tires and AWD and some nerve; it's not all the difficult. The rain broke around noon; just in time for the lunchbreak so we ate in just wind (no rain). TT was first up after that and I literally had 1/2 a lap of no rain before it kicked back up. At this point I had a best lap of 2:03x - still the top of TT but nothing fantastic. I think I ran a 1:57 last year at the Redline Time Attack event in a downpour so I wasn't killing myself out there.
We had 2 sessions left in the late afternoon yet. Checking the radar there was a small break so I decided to mount up the newest Hoosiers (I carried 2 sets in). I figure I'm already in the lead with the rain setup; might as well prep for possible dry conditions right! While I'm loosening lugnuts the rain comes; then the sleet; then the snow. No joke; right about 2:30pm. Keep in mind NASA does not shut down for this and there's a race going on during this crap!

Once again checking the radar and forecast we see nothing better for the next few hours. We also see Sat night dipping into the high 30's so I say screw camping and we book a hotel! The time for our 4th session comes and being it's still raining and I now have slicks mounted I skip it. No change for the 5th session so I painfully skip it and we head for the hotel and a warm shower.

My time held up for 1st in class as well as first overall in TT!  Thanks to AMS Performance for a tune that works in a broad range of temps and weather and Shep Racing for an awesome tossable rear diff!  Unfortunately we did NOT get to test what was planned, but we still were able to secure 1st place and FTD in TT altogether!