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Nate K
Nate K New Reader
8/15/21 8:11 p.m.

Sprint #2 (7/6/2019) - 45 Minutes - Portland International Raceway:

For the second sprint we decided to swap the order and have my dad start the race. He gets off to a good start, with the #987 Spiral Out Mustang and #39 SMRT Honda Civic ahead of him. The #12 Three Thieves Racing Mustang was putting some serious pressure from the very beginning, and made it by on the straight dropping us down into 4th place again.

Dave pits on lap 14 and I jump in the car. I'm in 10th, but a lot of cars still need to make their required pit stops and I'm working through traffic quickly. On lap 18 I get down to a 1:29.6 and get up into 7th place. Once I get up into 6th place, I am chasing our long time rival #13 Race Invaders in their Ecotec-swapped Miata. We have very similar grip levels and very similar horsepower, so it mostly comes down to who can get around traffic more efficiently. I chase them for many laps, occasionally being the car hung up, them occasionally being hung up, but I just can't quite get past them.

We catch up to the silver #333 BMW of Blue Bulls Racing. That car doesn't have quite as good grip, but has more horsepower, and they are desperate to hold onto their position. They are trying to make their car as wide as possible and holding both Race Invaders and myself up. Even with a good run off of the corners, the BMW has enough horsepower to slowly walk away from us on the straights but he knows we are right there. On the very last lap of the sprint we are coming up to turn 7, which is a very wide entrance to a sharp right-hander. If you are running a defensive line, you need to hug the inside, but the fastest exit speed comes from a wider line there. The BMW and Miata go to the inside, battling with each other, so I go wide trying to get a good run at them.

I get on the gas before the apex, track out nicely, and it is working. I have a good run on the Miata, although the BMW is still able to power away. But as I am catching the Miata, I see a dark Mustang ahead of us and they are not going nearly as fast. I back out of it, and pull behind the Miata to pass the Mustang on the left, as the normal line is to the right by the wall.

That's when I see the BMW decide they are going to try to squeeze between the Mustang and the wall even though the gap is too small! They better hammer the brakes!

Unfortunately.. they just stay in the gas, and slam into the Mustang and launching their car onto two wheels.

And with the scene unfolding in front of me, I am hard on the brakes watching as the horrific scene unfolds in front of me. The Mustang gets sent left, right into the Miata in front of me. I don't see any clear paths at this point and I know that our car is going to be absolutely smashed.

Right after impact the Mustang starts spinning, and I see a gap! I crank hard right, don't hit anything, and jump back on the gas again!

Definitely not a nice way to end a sprint race, but I'm extremely relieved that our car would still be racing the next day!

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
8/15/21 9:23 p.m.

Redemption (7/7/2019) - 7 hours - Portland International Raceway:

Well sprint racing doesn't work out so well for our car, we are more of a slow and steady kind of A-class car. We have to rely on consistent medium pace laps, since we don't have the raw horsepower. After a couple 4th place finishes in the sprints, it's a new day and a full 7 hours. We had been running on Hankook RS4s, but decided to switch to our set of used Direzza Z3s for this race.

I start the race in 16th place behind a big pile of cars going into the chicane. I fight my way through the crowd and get up into 7th by the next lap. The lap after that, I am up into 4th place and following #333 of Blue Bull Racing. Naturally I'm a little nervous after the way they drove yesterday. Happily I get by them with no incident and continue chasing.

I can see Race Invaders in their green Miata with the big wing ahead of me. I can get close.. but not quite get past them. Both of us are sneaking our way through traffic using precision instead of brute power. They have just a bit more acceleration, but if I use the draft I can stay right behind them and not have to lift on the straight. This goes on for laps, them working their way through traffic and me trying to find a spot I can make it by. It is such a blast having evenly matched cars! It's like a game of 100mph chess, trying to see where you can find an advantage.

Finally I have my chance. I see a group of traffic coming up in turn 12, and it looks like there's not a hole. I hold back a bit, getting ready to get on the gas as early as I can while the traffic opens up. I get a good run on Race Invaders, and I am up along side! Unfortunately since they have just a bit more acceleration, even having this run is not quite enough to sail by. We enter the braking zone for the chicane side-by-side, and enter the chicane side by side. Race Invaders is one of the teams I fully trust to race like this, which makes this awesome! I manage to get a slightly better run out of the chicane, and that puts us up into 2nd place!

After #13 keeps some pressure on me for a few laps, I manage to get away and focus on the race leader, the #987 Mustang of Spiral Out Racing. They have a crazy amount of horsepower, so even though we can out-corner them, they can put 20+ car lengths on us on the straight. I try to compress my braking zones and keep my cornering speeds up as much as possible to get my lap times as low as possible. I can nearly bump into their back bumper exiting turn 7.. but as soon as they start putting the power down they are gone. I keep pushing harder, trying to find cornering speed anywhere I can. Turn 10 is one place I can do this, as it's partially a matter of how big your balls are for how much speed is carried there. Get it wrong, and it may be across the grass into the wall. I've never been in the 1:28s before, but I run two 1:28.9s while chasing #987!

I've been braking at the 250 mark at turn 10, and I try to squeeze just a few more feet out of it. Uh oh, that was too much. I am now running too wide of a line in 10, and 11 is coming up quick. I have to choose between braking a turning, and I release some braking to make it through 10. Unfortunately now I'm still going too fast for 11... and after some brake lockup I decide to go off straight. After a little bumping in the grass, I get back on the track with my tail between my legs.. and #987 long gone.

Before the end of my stint however, I catch up to #987 again. This time he is rolling slow on the side of the track waving us around him. I'm not sure what happened.. but we are in 1st place! I pull in to give the car to my dad after having ran my fastest lap ever in Blue Bayou with a 1:28.93!

My dad goes out in 8th place after our pit stop, and after the shuffle of pit stops we end up in 2nd place behind Race Invaders. We are about 30 seconds behind them. Dave isn't able to close the gap, but as long as they don't expand the gap I have a chance of closing it during my stint, I just need him to hold it steady. Unfortunately I see on Race Monitor that we passed a car under yellow. I radio it in to my dad, who pulls in and serves his penalty. This puts us back in 4th, behind the #12 Mustang.

We pit right at the start of a very long yellow flag on lap 117, which makes for a very advantageous pit stop. I leave the pits in 6th place, and as people stop in the pits by lap 128 I am up into 1st place! 2nd place is the #12 Three Thieves Racing Mustang, and I have a minute gap on them. I keep putting in consistent quick laps and I finally catch up to them. As it turns out, they really do not want to get lapped. I chase them for multiple laps before I finally make it by. I need to try to get a comfortable lead for when my dad gets in the car. Next target.. Race Invaders. I am in the zone, running 1:29s and 1:30s through traffic and I catch Race Invaders and lap them.

Kyle keeps me updated on the radio of my next targets and how many laps up I am, when suddenly the car coughs. Uh oh, I running out of gas. I was going to try to stretch two hours before turning the car over, but I need to get back to the pits! I quickly radio the pits to tell them to get ready as I circle around. I pull in on lap 184, having ran a fastest lap of 1:29.2.

My dad gets in the car, and while we are in the pits #12 Three Thieves Racing gets by us. No big deal, they still have one more pit stop to do as well. My dad keeps it clean, and after the #12 pit stop we are comfortably in 1st place. Towards the end of the race Dave radios in that the car coughed, but we just tell him to cruise easy and take the checkered. After such a crazy weekend, we won! That evening we collected our 2nd and 1st place trophies, getting our picture taken with Randy Pobst at the podium. What a weekend!

 

solfly
solfly Dork
8/16/21 4:11 a.m.

Sounds like an awesome weekend of racing!

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
8/16/21 2:01 p.m.

I do love a really entertaining race write-up, and you did a great job making it feel like I was there. How awesome is it that you had so much tight competition too? 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
8/16/21 9:34 p.m.
solfly said:

Sounds like an awesome weekend of racing!

Thanks, yeah that was a great one!

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
8/16/21 9:35 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

I do love a really entertaining race write-up, and you did a great job making it feel like I was there. How awesome is it that you had so much tight competition too? 

Thanks, that's a big compliment! The tight competition is the best part, especially with teams where you can trust their driving and you know they will race you hard but fair. It's a pretty good mix of teams that I love going door to door with.. and teams that I know to be careful around.

Shawneedawg
Shawneedawg New Reader
8/30/21 12:57 a.m.

Thanks for the awesome write up. Is there more coming? Also would you run your power steering setup on your street s13? I've been collecting parts to swap mine over but there are some drifters out there saying it doesn't work well for drifting ( which is probably 5% of what this car sees)

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
9/8/21 12:03 a.m.
Shawneedawg said:

Thanks for the awesome write up. Is there more coming? Also would you run your power steering setup on your street s13? I've been collecting parts to swap mine over but there are some drifters out there saying it doesn't work well for drifting ( which is probably 5% of what this car sees)

Hi! Yes there is plenty more coming, I just need to find the time to write it all up! The way we fit our electric power steering it required more cutting than I would typically do for a street car, as I wanted the motor up and far out of the way (flipped it upside down). As far as feel I would definitely run this in a street car. If I were to do it all over again I think I would look at the Prius or Yaris setup, as it looks like they are a bit more compact and can run in failsafe mode without a need for an extra controller. 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
9/14/21 11:41 p.m.

Howl-o-Ween (10/26/2019) - 8 hours - Portland International Raceway:

We picked up four more Enkei RPF1s and showed up at the track with some Bridgestone RE-71Rs and Hankook RS4s. The Bridgestones are a much stickier and faster tire, but in October it nearly always rains and they would be a much better wet weather tire. Somehow we lucked out and find that the forecast looks perfect for racing!

The morning is brisk and the sky is clear. The first race of the weekend is an 8 hour race. With two hour maximum driver stints, if we want to have a chance at winning this we will need to run the full two-hour stints or we will have an extra pit stop.

Since there is no rain in the forecast, we decide to just start with the Bridgestones and see how they work. I am in the car first, and start in 5th place. The tires feel fantastic! Unlike the RS4s which need some heat, the grip is available immediately with the RE-71R! Turn in is razor sharp and the steering corrections are nearly telepathic. I am a huge fan!

I get into a big battle with the Race Invaders Miata. Our cars are incredibly similarly paced, and their car is being driven extremely well. I get them hung up on some traffic and pass them, then they pass me back under braking, I get them again later with a better run off of a corner.. and that repeats lap after lap. I run a 1:28.1, our fastest ever lap and turn the car over on lap 63 in 2nd place behind the Hall Pass Racing BMW!

Dave gets in the car with 6 hours left. During his stint he also gets a chance to tangle with Race Invaders. We are in 3rd place, and Dave puts in the pass to put us back up into 2nd! While Dave is out on track, a nice Trans Am of Screaming Chickens hits the rear wall and completely demolishes their front end! The driver is OK, but always a bit of a tense situation. The team always clean and considerate, so especially sad to see it happen.

Dave pits in 2nd place on lap 116 having ran a 1:30.7. I jump into the car with 4 hours remaining. I know that for us to have a chance at finishing in 1st, I need to push as hard as I can and give a little bit of cushion for my dad.

I am chasing down Hall Pass, with my sister Jana on the radio calling in updates of where I stand to Hall Pass. 8 seconds. Focus, keep my lines tight, don't scrub too much speed. 4.8 seconds away from 1st place, and now they are in view. Just need to keep it up, they are coming to me. They are definitely faster in the straight, so I will have to make the pass in the corners. In turn 6 I get my chance when they slide and I get by on the inside. I manage to get ahead of them far enough that they just catch me on the straight, then a V8 powered Volvo 240 parks it right in the corner in front of me, and with Hall Pass coming up the right side it's too late to get over and Hall Pass gets the lead back.

I get by Hall Pass in turn 6 again on lap 128, and this time I'm able to hold the position. A few laps later coming into the chicane, the #32 E46 BMW completely dive bombs me into the chicane! I was already turned in by the time the get alongside me, and I have to abort my turn-in to avoid contact. What a jerk move! I take off after them, a little pissed off. They are in 5th place, so our race is not with them, but I want my position back anyway. Their car handles well and has a lot of power, so it's not easy to real them back in. I finally get by them in turn 6, feeling very accomplished with myself. However coming into turn 10.. they have enough horsepower to get by me. I chase them down the front straight, intent on trying to outbrake them.

I get up to the chicane, brake as late as I dare.. and I get a lockup! I am behind their car on the left and catching them too fast. If they don't turn very soon, I will hit the back of their car! I decide that my best chance is to actually quit braking, and try to shoot through the corner before they get there. It's a bit risky, but I manage to stay out of the way enough and make it into the chicane without incident. Ok that was dumb, definitely a red-mist fueled mistake there.

At the 1 hour mark, I have less than 1/4 tank of fuel. Hmm.. maybe I've been pushing it too hard to make a full two hours. The gap on Hall Pass is up to 40 seconds when there is a full course yellow and I am picked up by the pace truck. The plus side of that.. is I get a chance to see what these Bridgestones will do with no traffic! I run a 1:27.9 and a 1:27.6 before I get back around to traffic again. Another lap record for us, these tires are amazing! Now with all that fun, oh yeah.. I'm low on fuel, I should be conserving. Oops! The gas light is on, and I start short shifting and coasting before braking zones with 40 minutes left in my stint.

I get more and more nervous as time goes on, until eventually I'm trying to draft behind the Yoohoo! #37 BMW and barely on throttle trying to cruise in 6th gear. I can see the wideband going lean on the straights and I'm losing power while I try to stretch every last lap out of it. After what feels like an eternity.. it's time to come in on lap 190. I'm in 1st place but the gap has been shrinking while I've been drafting behind a B class car.

After our pit stop Hall Pass makes it by us, and it's Dave's turn to see what he can do with the car. Race Invaders is in 3rd place with a fast driver in their car, running 1:29s and 1:30s while Dave is running 1:31s and 1:32s. We have a couple lap cushion, so we should be OK there. Hall Pass is turning some 1:28s and 1:29s, so we don't really have a chance of catching them at this point. Eventually by the end of the race Dave is starting to cough on fuel as well, but we still have a lap cushion and Dave cruises it home to a 2nd place finish!

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
9/19/21 5:12 p.m.

Howl-o-Ween (10/26/2019) - Sprint Race (45 mins) - Portland International Raceway:

The main endurance race is over and we have very little time to the sprint race. Looking at our tires, the Bridgestones wanted a lot more camber than we were giving them. The outside edge is very worn. The Hankooks must be less camber sensitive as we have never had this problem in the past. The fronts are definitely worse than the rear, so we need to rotate.. and GO!

We get the tires rotated and my dad jumps in for the beginning of the sprint race. The plan is to do his stint while there is some light out, then I jump in and run most of the race. We get the tires swapped and Dave is just in time to roll out on track with the pack. Whew! Only 13 cars chose to do the evening spring compared to 50 during the endurance race. Dave starts in 5th, and the first corner is already exciting. A Miata drives over the chicane curbing, bouncing up and hitting another car, and both fall behind. Dave is up to 3rd, and on lap 5 turns the car over to me.

Soon after I get in the car, it starts to rain. Not enough to be a huge mess, but just enough to start making the track a little slippery. I catch up to the Uboot Rennenwerks turbo Porsche, as they aren't able to put the power down like they normally can. I pass them, but then as the track dries out again they pass me back. It is getting darker, and the #13 Ecotec Miata of Race Invaders comes up behind me. Their lights are so much brighter than mine that as they pass me I just see a huge shadow in front of my car. And it's not just their headlights that are bright.. there is a rain light on the back of the car that is already noticeably bright during the day, and absolutely retina-searing at night! 

As the red light floods the interior of my car and attempts to sever my optic nerve, I find an even bigger problem. When they brake, the light flashes. When it starts flashing it is extremely difficult to see the track ahead of me, and I miss my turn-in point for turn 4! I still make the corner, but I am definitely not going to be able to drive fast behind them, and I have to let them go. Years ago we had installed ChumpCar legal LED lights to replace the retrofitted HIDs that had been damaged with our first car. When we put on our splitter, we supported the bumper much better, and it is partially blocking the lights now. So slightly inadequate lighting turns to wondering if there are flashlights taped up front.

The Porsche gets by me and a while later I get them back. At this point I am using street light reflections on the smooth parts of the track to help navigate through 10-11-12.. and I just want this race to be over.

I hold 2nd place for just three laps before the Porsche freight trains by me on the straight stretch on the last lap. We finish in 3rd, and this is the last time I will race at night with this lighting setup! It's really not the fault of the manufacturer, more that we have stuck with the lumens limited rules from 2014 or so. Time to swap some tires and be ready for the race the next day!

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
9/19/21 7:50 p.m.

Howl-o-Ween (10/27/2019) - 7 hours - Portland International Raceway:

Today is a 7 hour race, which bring strategy into play again. Yesterday we just had to try make it 2 hours each time, today we have anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours per stint where we can try to jump on a full track yellow situation for a pit. If you can pit while the rest of the field is going slow, obviously that is an advantage if they don't do the same. We swap onto a fresh set of the familiar Hankook RS4s, as our Bridgestone RE-71Rs are dead. If we had dialed in a bunch more camber they might have made it two days, but too late for that! As Hankook is coming on board as a sponsor of the series, we also got some fancy Hankook tire stickers. Maybe it's my inner ricer, but I think the tire stickers make it look nice and racey!

The morning is crisp and the tires are brand new and cold. On the warm up laps they spin up like we have 400 horsepower. The green flag drops and grip is not much better. In the chicane I have to take a fairly tight line, and trying to accelerate away the rear tires light up and I am countersteering while I get passed and lose a position dropping me to 5th. These tires will never hit the ultimate grip of the Bridgestones, but I just need to get some heat in them and they will get better. A few corners later I make it up into 3rd place, chasing the #333 silver E36 of Blue Bulls Racing and the familiar Ecotec-powered #13 Miata of Race Invaders. Once we get around to the back of the pack and start lapping traffic, the real chess game comes into play. Each car is an opportunity to hold them up, or hold me up, depending on who does a better job of managing when and where to pass.

I had looked at data from the day before, and my goal for the day is to be more crisp on my transfer from gas to brake at the beginning of the braking zones. I'm really focusing on staying full throttle right up until the instant I am needing to brake. The Hankooks feel like they are fully up to temp now, and I'm exploring the edges of where I can brake and still make the corner. I am trying to reel in Race Invaders, and each lap I'm trying to inch up my speed in turn 10. It's kind of a gut-check corner, as especially with aero you can go faster than it seems like you should be able to. Well, that is until you find that limit, and the car just won't turn in.

Turn 10 is a long left, followed quickly by the right hander of turn 11. I can't get the car down to the apex of 10, which means I'm now completely misaligned for turn 11. Very quickly I get the sinking feeling that I am going to be going off track, and I start trying to scrub speed before going off straight in turn 11! I get onto an escape road, but then have to bump my way across the grass to get back to the track. Argh! That was dumb.. so much for shaving tenths.. I just lost 16 seconds going off course! Ok, reminder.. these tires do not have the grip of the Bridgestones! Maybe we should have ran those the second day instead!

Finally on lap 58 I catch up to and pass Race Invaders to put us in 2nd place, and Blue Bulls pits so we are up into first place. My fastest lap was a 1:28.1, nearly a second slower than the Bridgestone time yesterday. I pit on lap 70 and Dave jumps in the car for the second stint.

While Dave is out there, he gets passed by Blue Bulls and we are running in 2nd place. He is running 1-2 seconds per lap quicker than Race Invaders in 3rd, and manages to pass them and put them a lap down! On lap 125 a fully course yellow comes out, and this is our chance! We dive into the pits to take advantage of the slow lapping field. 

I get back into the car and after our pit stop we are in 2nd place, but as pit stops shuffle through, we are back into 1st! We have a slim lead though, with 2nd and 3rd only 9 and 18 seconds behind. I try to stay consistent and not get held up by cars, and run a long string of 1:29s and 1:30s. I need to try build a bit of a cushion for my dad. I get a lap on Race Invaders, then catch up to Blue Bulls. They are fighting like heck to keep me behind them, and they have the horsepower to make it real difficult. I keep pressure on for multiple laps and fill his mirrors. Eventually I sneak by in turn 7 so we have a lap on both cars. I get a hesitation from the car running out of fuel and pit on lap 195 with a fastest lap of 1:28.7.

Dave gets in the car with roughly 1.5 hours left, so fuel should not be a concern at all. Blue Bulls and Race Invaders are duking it out behind Dave, but both still down a lap. They both have fast drivers in and are pushing hard. Many laps later they unlap themselves, but there is too big of a gap to make up with the time left, and we finish in 1st place! Dave reports the exhaust sounds even louder.. and we see that the bottom of the muffler has completely blown out! Time for a new muffler..

Here is some data for tire comparison: the top graph is lateral G, and the bottom is speed. Red is the Bridgestone, blue is the Hankook. You can see ultimate grip is not drastically different, but the minimum speeds are up in most corners. While the lap times ended up within a second, in the right hands there is more than a second gap. 

Tire comparison video:

 

Race Highlights video:

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
9/30/21 12:42 a.m.

After our successful Halloween race, we spent most of our holiday time away from the race car. Although we did pick up this car for $200, which might come in handy some day. It's a 2005 350Z with a manual transmission that runs, but was involved in a police chase and is a little beat up.

Our next to attack some of the feedback we got from Randy Pobst was to try to improve the mid-corner understeer. On a 240SX lowering the car can really hurt the roll center, and the lower control arms end up pointing up at the knuckle. This makes the tire gain a lot more camber through travel than ideal. A knuckle that lowers the lower control arm pivot point can help this, so I decided to give the GKTech lowering knuckle a try.

First up I wanted to measure what things looked like. With the car sitting on the lift I measured 3.7 degrees angle up towards the ball joint.

Oh wow, first time we had seen this happen! Surface cracks are normal, but we had never had one actually crack through. These are 350Z track rotors:

New "Grip" GKTech knuckle on.

The knuckle is not designed to be ran with a dust shield, but I'm using mine as a brake duct. I ended up just tack welding it to the knuckle.

After the knuckle, our control arms are almost perfectly flat! Right around 3 degrees improvement there.

All back together:

Inside view of the knuckle.

Our muffler was toast.. 

New muffler swapped in:

Some day.. we will swap out some panels and clean up the car. This is not that day, but some day..

These are actually the overfenders that came with the chassis years ago.. but at the time we were running factory wheels/tires and we had put some new uncut factory quarter panels on it.

Our fire bottle was expired, so it was time to swap that out for a Lifeline system.

We also started gathering parts for our next brake upgrade. I've been lusting after the Core4 Motorsports brake upgrade kit for a while, but just couldn't justify the cost. We have been running the smallest piston Wilwood fronts available, which was an OK brake balance, but not good. Hydraulically it was pretty close to factory, but once you factor in the leverage with the larger rotors it was front-biased. We had swapped over to ST45 in the rear with the ST43 in the front to help bias, and that did help. The rear calipers are still stock and are getting harder to find, so I have been nervous about having one of those fail. Yet at the same time I didn't want to be buying up spares when I wanted to put in something better.

Used rear kit:

 

New front calipers:

The front rotor box looks like a pizza box!


 

The last time I raced at night I said I'd never rely on those headlights alone again.. so on goes a light bar:

As we were preparing to load up for our next race.. we found some fuel on the ground:

We found some gas on the side of our tank which was disconcerting..

But then we tracked down that our vent line filter got broken and was leaking down to the tank (picture is after I fixed it):

So with that last little fix, the car was loaded up and ready for a practice day at Ridge Motorsports Park on Friday before the race Saturday!

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
10/6/21 11:07 p.m.

Friday Practice (6/26/2020) Ridge Motorsports Park:

It's been a long break from racing due to Covid, but we are back! There's a few extra stipulations for the race, like having to wear a mask the whole event, no spectators, and spreading out the pits more. Being spread out means we can't all fit in the hot pits, so we have further to drive and mandatory 10 minute pit stops. But today we are just checking out the car on a practice day. Rolling up to the track we see we will be sharing the track with some fun hardware!

The biggest change to the car is the front lowering spindles by GK Tech, correcting the bump steer and roll center. I'm interested to see if I can feel a difference. As I'm getting ready to go out, I can't get the radio to transmit. Using the actual radio button it works, but not the normal button on the e-brake handle. Then as I start rolling towards the track entrance, the right front is making a faint squalling noise that is abnormal. Hmm.. hopefully that clears up with a little heat in it. The ST43 brake pads also squeal like a stuck pig. At least that's perfectly normal.

Even during the first warm up laps, I can feel a difference with the spindles. It is definitely subtle, and only something I would notice in more of a back-to-back type situation, but the car noticeably turns in better. As I get up to speed out on track the noise gets worse... it's another wheel bearing. This is getting disgusting, we never used to have any wheel bearing issues. Now with aero and bigger tires it seems like it is constant. At least this time we came prepared, and have a couple spares.

We get the wheel bearing swapped out and put my dad in the car. His session goes fine, the wheel bearings are good. Finally! Next up is to look into the radio button. It looks like the e-brake is adjusted a little loose, and when it is yanked up it pulls on the button cable. Time to adjust the e-brake and pull apart the button. I find the broken connection, then have to go to the registration building for power and solder it together again. We also raised the front of the car as we were scuffing the splitter pretty hard in turn 8a.

I now have a tire pyrometer, so after the next session out on track we take some readings to look professional and make people think we know what we are doing. I'm pretty sure we at least fooled the old man in the Corvette next to us.

The middle of the tire is a bit hot, so we dial down the pressure a little. The right front seems relatively happy with it's camber setting, but the left front we dial a bit of camber out.

We also discovered that the reason we were pushing fuel out of our vent was our exhaust was heating up the fuel tank. With the supplies we had on hand.. we did a bit of a MacGruber fix using safety wire, a truck hub cap, and some foil tape. Hey, as long as it works, right?

With the suspension dialed, we are now hoping tomorrow we can get Randy Pobst in our car to see if our changes get some better feedback this time around!

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
10/7/21 12:13 a.m.

I also accidentally had our GoPro on the splitter capturing video + pictures, so I got a few interesting views of the track!

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
11/7/21 12:24 a.m.

Salute to the Dogs (06/27/2020) - 7 hours - Ridge Motorsports Park:

It's race day, and after a mostly successful test day (ignoring the wheel bearing issues), we are ready to race. Dave starts the race in 38th place and it's a hectic place to be. There are 57 cars and turn one is BUSY! Cars are off track on the first track and there is an immediate yellow flag. While Dave is out there, we get a hold of Randy Pobst to get in the car. On Lap 36 Dave pulls into the pits in 13th place to turn the car over to Randy.

Randy gets in the car, and I verify the cameras are on. Well, what I SHOULD have done.. is verify they were actually recording. As it turns out, only the rear camera was recording, and the front camera was happily on and ready to record and doing nothing. Randy goes out in 35th place, with us having a bit of an early pit stop. I will always choose Randy's feedback over placing in a race, so no big deal. I'm really curious what he thinks of the car after the tweaks we made based on his feedback. After the last time we got beat by Randy in another car that won the race, they have instituted a "Randy Rule" and he is only allowed to run 30 minutes per car. He gets up to 7th place and runs a 1:57.33 before he has to pull back in.

I ask, "Did you have fun?" Randy says, "This is the best handling car I have ever driven in my entire life!" Previously having been given very constructive criticism about the car, I am blown away by this! He continues with "I wouldn't change a thing. Except the brake pedal firmer and about a hundred more horsepower." Yeah, there we go. I know the pedal is too soft.. we have been running Wilwoods up front with the factory master cylinder, so it is too soft. And who wouldn't want more horsepower?

I jump in the car now, and we have dropped back down to 25th. With the extra pit stop I know a podium is pretty much out of the question, but I tell Kyle that I'd be really happy if we can get to a 5th place. The closest I can get to Randy's time is a little under a second at 1:58.2. I had actually ran a 1:57.3 on a previous outing, and Randy had ran a 1:56.6 at that same event. Huh.. is the track slower, car slower, or are we both slower? With a little pit stop shuffling, we actually pit in 3rd place on lap 90. I had noticed the car was getting a little hot, so I ask to have the radiator checked to make sure nothing is blocking it.

Nothing is found on the radiator, and Dave heads out in 14th place. He runs a nice consistent pace and gets us up into 6th place. He pits on lap 131 and turns it over to me for the final stint.

I get in the car, and soon after discover a wheel bearing making noise. It is worse with the left front loaded up. Another one? We have an hour left in the race, and I need to determine if it's going to make it. We have two sprint races after the main race, and there's just 30 minutes in between races. I hope that it will hold out.. but it just keeps getting louder and louder. We finish the race in 5th, and I run a 1:57.9. Into the 1:57s, but still slower than our last outing. We get straight to work on swapping out the wheel bearing before the sprint race.

 

 

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
11/7/21 1:18 a.m.

We scramble to get the wheel bearing changed out, and we just get it done in time. However when we are about to back out of our space we are told that we are too late and they won't accept us. I am frustrated, I take my belts off, and get out of the car. A couple minutes later, they say that if I get out there immediately, I can still race in the sprint. I jump in the car, start belting up.. only to be told that now I'm too late. I'm disgusted, but at least there is another sprint coming up.

Salute to the Dogs (06/27/2020) - Sprint #2 - Ridge Motorsports Park:

The plan is for me to start the race, then do the required pit stop toward the end and put my dad in the car. Things are going well and I am up into 4th place when the brake pedal goes long. Real long. The brake pedal has been soft ever since we put the Wilwood calipers up front (more fluid to push), but that also cuts into how much margin we have when there is an issue. I can't decide whether it's air in the fluid or a wheel bearing issue. I can pump up the brakes with my left foot and get them to firm up, so I keep driving. I figure it's good to get some practice at doing that, and the issue is not getting any worse. After a while I get used to it, and start trying to beat my previous lap times. At this point I've written off the race itself, but wanting to see if I can beat Randy's lap time.

I am chasing Randy's 1:57.33, and I get down to a 1:58.2, a 1:57.6, a 1:57.4.. I am wringing every last bit I know how to get out of the car and finally at the very end I run a 1:57.38. So close! Randy still had me beat that weekend, maybe next time! We get disqualified for not pitting, but I didn't want my dad to have to go out on a hot track trying to figure out the left foot pumping before every corner.

 

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
11/14/21 11:26 p.m.

Salute to the Dogs (06/28/2020) - 7 hours - Ridge Motorsports Park:

Last night we bled the brakes, and I am very hopeful that this will take care of our issue. I get in the car to head out on track, and .. I hear the faint sounds of a wheel bearing. Again?? Well now it's too late, the race is about to start, we just need to see how it feels. I have a sinking feeling that what I was hoping to contribute to air in the brakes.. was actually this wheel bearing getting sloppy and pushing the pistons back into the brake caliper.

I start the race in 8th place, and happily find that the brakes are definitely much better than yesterday, so bleeding did improve the situation. I make it up into 6th place before there is a red flag on lap 8. Apparently a car blew it's guts all over the track, so they get in the car paramedics to pick up the engine intestines. Before the red flag I could feel I had a good lap going, but our lap timing has been acting up so I don't know what the predicted lap would have been. After we get going again, I get up into 5th place behind a V6-swapped MR2. Things are going well, when I get an unexpected fuel-starve happen in 8a, a right-hander. The 240SX factory tank is usually great at getting all the fuel out, and I still have 1/4 tank of fuel in there. At least it's an odd-hour race, that gives us a little more flexibility with 2-hour max stints. After getting more and more fuel-starve, I pit in 5th place on lap 46 with a fastest lap of 1:58.2.

Due to Covid, they can't fit us all in the hot pits like normal. So we go out into the cold pits and refuel at our trailer, and this also means they moved to 10 minute pit stops. This will actually help us a bit, as that's a few more minutes that we don't have to be on track suffering with fuel issues. My dad jumps in the car and heads out on track in 6th place. Soon after heading out on track, he is next to a Volvo with his bumper up at their door. They don't see him, and he is forced to hit the grass to avoid contact. Being they were just side-by-side going through the last corner, it's a little bit of a head-scratcher, but responsibility is on the passing car, so no harm no foul.

At the Ridge they have to drive the meals out to the corner workers, which means a yellow flag around noon. We had missed it Saturday, so today we have already had the discussion as a team that we have to nail our 2nd pit stop during the lunch time yellow flag. It's after noon, we see the yellow/white flags so we dive into the pits on lap 82 while in 6th place. Dave's fastest lap was a 1:59.9.

As I head out on track.. it's not yellow. I'm confused, as it normally takes quite a while to do all the lunch deliveries. We pit early.. and now we are in 10th place with our faster rivals going to be pitting during the actual lunch yellow. I guess we were a bit too eager! When the lunch yellow comes out and the pace truck comes out, they let the field go until they get to the #177 Finally Racing BMW. I am directly behind #177, so now I am stuck at the beginning of the queue while all the other cars get a free lap on me. Then to add insult to injury, #177 pulls right into the pits so I am directly behind the pace car. All I can do is laugh at this point and then try to make use of the clean air after the yellow ends.

When I am released I pull off a string of 1:57s and 1:58s before hitting traffic again. Eventually I am further up in the order when the fuel stumble hits again. It's bad enough that I even try to give a little steering back, trying to slosh some fuel back. This is bad, as I'm barely under a half tank at this point. This could be a real challenge just to finish this race! I stretch it as far as I can, then pit on lap 126 with a fastest lap of 1:57.4. There is about an hour and a half left, use a light foot Dad!

As people cycle through their last pit stop, we are now in 4th place. Dave drives a bit easy and we finish a lap behind both 2nd and 3rd place and three laps behind 1st (#177). Rats! Our missed call on the lunch hour pit stop definitely cost us a podium, but live and learn! Next time we will ask and make sure we know that it is actually happening.

During our race we could hear the splitter scuffing after the downhill to 8a.. these screws are looking a little flat! Still not too bad for a splitter made in 2018.

When we got back home I checked out the fuel tank to see what had happened. The 'bucket' inside the fuel tank had broken free from its welds, as well as knocking off the vent and sock on the fuel filter.

Video overview:

 

Now for some fixes... we need to fix this gas tank, brakes, and wheel bearing issues!

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