Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CMC Mustang - NASA MW/GL race @ Putnam Park 5.18.2013

I got to Putnam Park about 8am on Saturday.  Just in time to find the car I'd be driving and meet the owner prior to the 8:15am required drivers meeting. This would be my first time ever in a Mustang; and first time in class CMC (Camaro Mustang Challenge).  The specs are 264whp @ 3205 lbs.
We went over the car briefly, as it recently had the shortblock replaced.  The plan was to keep an eye on the temps (of course) and basically just give it hell.
First up at 9:30am were warmups; which would determine the grid for Qualifying as the event was pretty full as usual.  I ran some laps getting used to the Toyo RA1's and shiftpoints as well as the clutch and steering.  The car was fairly well balanced and I was pleased to have power steering for once!  The water temps did start to rise and eventually the car started squirting what looked like oil from under the hood.  As it had started to rain during the session and Putnam is horribly slick in the rain, the session emptied out about halfway through as I ran a best of 1:27.8.  Back in the pits I figured out quickly it was the radiator overflow tank as the car simply ran hot and the water was very rusty and/or dirty.  We also discovered the car did not like to start once it was hot (more later).
After talking with the owner, the fix was to run the fan immediately on HI on track.  Qualifying went ok; after being stuck behing a FFR for a few laps I finally got 2 open laps and put down a 1:25.7 which was 2 seconds faster than my practice time and slotted into 3rd of 10 in class for the race.  However the car overheated again after pulling off the track.  I also got stuck behind another car leaving the track and the idle got low and it died - and unfortunately would not restart since it was hot.  I sat and waited and eventually had a friend come and help pushstart the car and I put it in the tech line as I didn't want to get DQ'd and lose my gridspot.  I was not called into tech but the car died again and we left it to cool down.
With the race not for 3+ hours, there was some new fixes planned.  After eating I found the owner replaced the radiator cap and thermostat I believe along with more water.
The race... it would be a 3-wave start.  Our class - CMC - would be the 3rd wave and would be a standing start which is normal for the class; but my first ever!  I was 3rd and did ok (didn't kill it or light up the tires too much) but I was late based on my video I've watched as I waited for the flag to drop rather than going on first movement.  Newbie...  I fell to 4th going into T1 as I was more watching my mirrors for the rest of the pack rather than going aggressively into T1 and taking 3rd back as I had the inside line.  No matter; I was in 4th and held that for several laps - best of 1:23.5 - best I could manage as the tires started to degrade and the temps started to rise once again.  I was quickly forced to back down the pace in hopes to help out the water temps but eventually I retired after 11 laps into the 35min race.

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