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: