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...