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|Second Place in ITA at the ARRC||Monday, November 20, 2006|
|Kevin said it, “Every race we run, every adjustment we make, every thing we do, is in preparation for the ARRC.” So needless to say it was a big weekend for us. Not only did Kevin run his Integra in the ITA race but Brian decided to run the Prelude in the ITS race as well. And just for fun (and to prove we could finally do it) we ran the 1985 Civic in the 2 hour enduro with Kevin and Dick sharing the driving.
As you may know, Kevin took the Integra to the ARRC two years ago and qualified 7th and finished the race 7th. That was our first year in the Integra and we were just learning how to make it finish a race without breaking a half shaft. Last year he qualified the Integra 6th and was thrilled to put it on the podium in 3rd place. This year we set three track records and got the suspension tuned to near perfection by the last race of the year but the engine was still not right. Four weeks before the ARRC we decided to build a completely new engine with all the tricks we knew to make it as fast as possible and still be completely legal. Three Days before we left for Atlanta, we received all the parts and assembled the new engine while removing the old engine from the car. We had to steal a few parts from the old engine before we reinstalled the new engine back in the car. Two days before we left for Atlanta we made the final connections and started the new engine up for the first time. The day before we left for Atlanta we took the car to the dyno for stress testing and tuned the ECU for optimum horsepower. This was a good engine.
On the test day we were not turning times as fast as last year but we discovered that no one was. For some reason the track times in 2005 were very fast. Kevin had difficulty getting his head totally into the track, but on Friday Kevin was feeling a bit better and put the Integra in 5th place behind Amy , Botha, J Moser, and B Moser. The fact that he was fifth didn’t bother Kevin. He knew that he can run at least his qualifying times all day long. He also knows that most of the other drivers can not consistently run the times they lay down in qualifying. On the morning of race day Kevin went out with his best tires, new brakes, and a set up on the car we have never tried before – and it all worked. The car was nearly perfect, and very fast down the straights.
In the first lap he emerged from turn one in fourth place behind Amy in his NX2000, J Moser in his CRX, and Stretch in his Miata. In the back straight Kevin easily drove around the Miata to take third place and was on the bumpers of the 1st & 2nd place cars. On lap four he went off track in the esses and lost a lot of time. Then he missed a shift into 5th gear on the back straight. That was all it took to allow Bob Moser to catch up and draft him and pull out and pass on turn 10A. For the next 10 laps Kevin battled with Bob Moser for 3rd place. They passed each other 11 times before Kevin finally found his groove and pulled away from Bob to hunt down the leaders. Joe Moser’s car broke and put him off of turn 10B. Kevin charged to catch Amy and was picking up nearly a second a lap but there was only three laps left with 8 seconds to make up. Amy drove his car flawlessly to take the win and Kevin took 2nd place. Bob Moser took 3rd place. We were not surprised to see Kevin had turned in the fastest race lap of all the ITA cars while chasing the leaders. We now know we have a car and driver that can race with and beat any ITA car in the country.
As always, the weather was great, the track was awesome, registration was an abortion, and our crew was fantastic. Lots of thanks to Ian Green and Bob Lawrence for crewing for both the sprint race and the 2 hour enduro.
UPDATE: A quotation from page 53 of the February issue of Sportscar Magazine, "Kevin Ruck and Robert Moser were all over each other for second, and keeping Greg on his toes in the process. Ruck's lap 12 pass of Robert Moser in Turn One was awesome, and they finished in that order."
|We finish and WIN the ARRC Enduro !!!||Monday, November 20, 2006|
|On Sunday we entered the 1985 Civic in the two hour enduro race. We entered the car twice before and had yet to finish the race due to mechanical problems. This year we were determined to finish and to win. We knew our car was by no means the fastest ITC car in the race, but if the car kept running, we did a good job with the pit stops, and we drove it perfectly, then it would be very difficult for anyone to beat us. Well that's exactly what we did. Kevin drove the first 50 minutes and pulled out a 1 minute lead on the Devon Box Civic. Devon had just set a new ITC track record at Mid Ohio a few weeeks earlier so it is a very fast car.
The first of two mandatory 4 minute pit stops went perfect. We added 5 gallons of gas and Dick jumped in the car with 15 seconds to spare. We never even checked the oil on the Civic. Dick went out and drove the next 50 minutes - much of which was under full course yellow. By the time Dick brought it in for the second pit stop, we had pulled out a several lap lead over Devon Box Civic.
The sun was getting lower as the race went on and it was getting increasingly difficult to see in turns three, five and seven. Because of this, Dick decided to let Kevin finish the last 20 minutes of the race. At this time, Devon was drivng his car and turning in some very fast laps - nearly four second faster than our best lap. But there was no way they could catch us. Kevin cruised home to take the checkered flag with a 3 lap lead.
Once again, the car was good, but the crew, the driving, and our race plan is what won the race for us.
|Seventh Place in ITS at the ARRC||Monday, November 20, 2006|
|We knew the Prelude wasn’t nearly as prepared as the other ITS cars would be, but we needed to run against the best to see how far off we were, and what we needed to do to be a contender. Brian had driven Road Atlanta several years ago in the Civic so he was no stranger to the track. He quickly remembered Road Atlanta on the test day afternoon and was turning in some respectable times even with the Toyo tires. On Friday Brian put on the new Hoosiers and went out to see what he could do. We were all a little surprised to see him turn in a 1:44.643 for 7th place out of 23 very good ITS cars. Brian found the Prelude to be competitive in braking and cornering but a bit lacking in the straights. Brian’s finish of 8th in the ITS sprint race was well within the top ten we wanted to be. We now can take what we have learned from the Integra and aim for the podium with the Prelude next year.
UPDATE: The Prelude with Brian driving in this race was shown on page 54 of the February issue of Sportscar Magazine.
|Kevin talks about the ARRC||Monday, November 13, 2006|
|Just finally got home about 1pm today and first things first, congrats to Greg on running a great race. He got out front and stayed there, even with Joe breathing down his neck for the first half of the race.
Prior to the race, I was finally feeling good for the first time the whole weekend. Up until then I wasn't very impressed with my driving and the car was screaming at me to quit fiddling around and give it the right setup. To solve the driving like crap issue, I realized that I was driving pretty conservatively in practice and qualifying because honestly, after how the last two months have gone, I wasn't about to wreck the damn thing again and not even make the race. I also spent some time watching my in-car and convincing myself to quit driving like a pussy. I adjusted the setup once again for the Saturday morning warm up session and was finally pretty happy with my driving and how the car felt. Before the race though, I made one more adjustment to the car that I was pretty confident was going to make it rotate a bit better in 7 and 10a. So all in all, I felt pretty good before the race.
At the start, I was able to get past Bob Moser but allowed Bob Stretch to squeeze by into turn one. Down the back straight, I was able to pass Stretch and firmly latch myself onto the back bumper of Greg and Joey up front. At the end of the fourth lap, Greg, Joey, and I were within 3/4 of a second of each other and I had even clicked off two laps in the 1:43's. Unfortunately on lap five, I ran wide going into the esses, took a creative line through the grass, and gave up several car lengths to the leaders and allowed Bob Moser to catch up behind me. Then on that same lap I missed my shift to fifth down the back straight, effectively giving third position to Bob and waving bye-bye to Greg and Joey. A very bad lap that was my fault and only mine. A little frustrating because I really thought I had the car to stay with those guys as it was just a rocket from start to finish. But, I did get to spend the next ten laps racing really hard with Bob Moser. We're both Great Lakes Division guys who know each other well and just as expected, we never once touched. Not a single time. We passed each other eleven times during that race and never once touched or made any ridiculous dive bomb moves. Greg already said the same about Bob's son, Joey. These guys are just awesome and I love racing with them!
Anyway, on the 15th lap, I was finally able to get around Bob for the last time and stretched out on him in a last ditch, no chance in hell effort to catch Greg who was about 11 seconds ahead of me. At the end of the 20 laps, I had cut the gap down to about 7.5 seconds, but I'm sure Greg was in cruise mode by that point.
All in all, I can't be too upset but I wanted that one badly. Really though, only 7.5 weeks prior to the ARRC, the car had been rolled over twice and I wasn't even sure if it was fixable, or if I even wanted to try. But after an absolute metric crap-ton of work by my Dad and I (mainly him!), we got it there, we ran well, and I came home improving on my 3rd place last year, with the fastest ITA lap time, and as the highest placing Integra. I suppose asking for more than that is getting greedy. But man am I glad the off season is here because I need a break!
Oh yea, and Greg, I've never been more excited to pop a head off of a car as I was at about 5pm on Saturday. Good show, old man! Also, you should've seen my face as I was coming down the hill into 10a and saw your car go completely sideways! I thought for sure you were about 1/2 a second from being buried to your axles in the sand trap. The only thing I could think of was "Oh my God, the Great Lakes Division is about to take first through fourth at the ITA ARRC race!" (we were 2nd through 5th at the time, prior to Jan and Joey's mechanical failures). But that all got dashed quickly, as Greg somehow pulled that thing back in! It gave me a great idea though. Since he's selling the egg and looking for something different, how does "Greg Amy, professional drifter" sound?
I'll try and get some of my in-car video up sometime soon so you guys can see Bob and me going at it. It's great video!
|Last Warmup before the ARRC||Monday, October 9, 2006|
|Brian, Kevin, and Dick drove the Prelude, Integra, and 85 Civic last weekend for the final shakedown before the ARRC race in November.
This race was especially important for Kevin to test the repairs to the Integra after it rolled twice 2 weeks before. On Saturday, which was Kevin's 27th birthday, he qualified 2nd behind Joey Moser and finished 2nd after an uneventful race. On Sunday, we installed a new rear roll bar to try to make the car go quicker through the tight corners like the carousel and keyhole. It must have worked because on the 6th lap Kevin turned in a 1:44.1 which was faster than he had ever gone before. On the very next lap he ran a 1:43.309. That was his personal best, a new Mid Ohio ITA qualifying track record, and the overall pole position. The car took all the corners better than it had ever before. Later in the day as it got warmer for the race we considered stiffening up the new bar but decided not to. We should have stiffened it since the warner temperatures made the car tighten up and not able to turn the lap times of the cooler morning. Once again Kevin finished 2nd to Joey but we came away with the knowledge that the car was fine and what to expect from the new stabilizer bar.
Dick drove the 85 Civic in an attempt to find out why the car was slower than it used to be and get it ready for the ARRC enduro race on Nov 12th. After trying several things the car wasn't any faster on Saturday than it was the last time out. Even so Dick finished 2nd behind Shawn Hobbs when Devon Box was punted off the track on the first lap by a Pinto. Saturday evening the team put their heads together, tore into the car and finally found the problem.
On Sunday Dick ran over 4 seconds per lap faster than he had on Saturday but finished 3rd behind Shawn who took 2nd and Devon who won and set a new track ITC record of 1:48.503.
Both Saturday and Sundays race were marred due to some genius combining groups 3 and 4. That put the Spec Racer Fords along with ITB and ITC. The "smurf" cars are fast, low, and travel in packs and should never be run with any IT cars. Both days the mismatch created severe cashes that required full course yellows. The worst thing was when several cars, on both days, passed under yellow, but the chief steward told me "everyone was OK with it" and did absolutely nothing.
Brian ran the Prelude both days with good results. He tempered his new Hoosiers to get them ready for the ARRC and discovered that the transmission indeed would not make it through the ARRC race. He finished 2nd on Saturday but dropped out of the race on Sunday due to the transmission not wanting to shift. Even with the troublesome transmission the only car he could not catch was a questionable BMW that was supposed to be running a restrictor plate but pretty obviously was not. An illegal car is pretty easy to spot - horribly slow in the corners and much faster than it should be in the straights. You see, bad drivers think the only reason they are losing is because the car is not fast enough....... it couldn't be because they suck.
|NASA Championship is a Farce||Monday, September 18, 2006|
|We already new that the NASA organization was less than professional but we were lured into racing their series when we heard of their "National" Championship races which would be held right here at out home track of Mid Ohio. It seemed every week NASA kept coming up with more and more stupid decisions but we still decided to run.
Brian drove the Prelude in H3 and did quite well. He went out and bought his obligatory Toyo tires and we worked hard trying to figure them out. He won all five of his H3 races before the Championship, set a new H3 track record at Mid Ohio and actually beat most of the H2 and H1 cars he came up against. Sounds great...... but it doesn't sound so good when you find out he never ran with more than two H3 competitors. When it came time for the Championship of the entire country only three cars entered and the H3 race was cancelled. Actually there were only 5 cars entered in both H2 and H5 but only three cars showed up for the H5 race.
Kevin ran the Integra in H4 which is the most popular Honda Challenge class. He also bought the oligatory Toyo tires and ended up running pretty fast after substantial changes in setup of the car. He took second in all five of his H4 races before the Championship as he could not come close to beating Colin Botha in his CRX. Colin is a great driver with a great car and the NASA rules with different weights and different suspension rules favored the CRX a bit more than the Integra.
When it came time for the National Championship race there were a total of 17 H4 cars entered. The top contingency awards from Toyo started only after 40 cars. And all 40 cars would have to survive 3 practice sessions, 2 qualifying sessions, and 2 qualifying races with dangerous standing starts with slower cars in front of faster cars in order to start the Championship race. Several cars broke, several crashed, and one just quit before the race because he didn't like the insanity that was happening on the race track. NASA officials continually threatened to disqualify anyone causing a crash due to agressive driving. But the drivers discovered early that no one was going to be disqualified for anything. Even after several cars drove over the pitout berm to pass cars at the start of a qualifying race nothing was done. Cars were documented on film pushing other cars off the track and nothing was done. Cars were found to have illegal engine parts and nothing was done. Cars were seen passing under yellow and nothing was done. The only car disqualified was a Honda R&D Prelude that had a very minor bump but may have actually beaten one of the California cars so he had to be eliminated.
In the first qualifying race Kevin started 6th and ended up winning the race after Colin spun off the track. In the second race, Kevin started 3rd and was thrilled to finish 4th after avoiding several Kamakazi moves by other competitors. Tied for the pole with Colin, Kevin started 2nd in H4. On the 5th lap Kevin was pushed off the track in turn two where he slid across the grass, entered the gravel trap, and rolled the car twice before coming to rest on its top. We were told three times that the offending car driven by Jeremy Croiset was disqualified by the race chairman and by the incident committee. We were even standing there when Croiset was told he was disqualified. We packed up the car and went home to find the next day that......... you guessed it, NOTHING WAS DONE. It turns out that Croiset is a Southern California director of NASA.
Well from a NASA point of view it was a great weekend.....NOBODY GOT KILLED!! Suffice it to say, we will never run another NASA event.
|Kevin crashes his car at Grattan||Monday, September 4, 2006|
|After the record breaking weekend at Road America Kevin decided to try the car on a totally different track like Grattan. The car didn't like Grattan near as much as it liked Road America but it still did OK. Unfortunately in the first lap of Saturdays race, Collin Botha hit Joe Moser and they spun in front of Kevin. Try as he might, Kevin could not avoid hitting Colin's CRX. The crash put both cars out of the races for the weekend.|
|A New ITA Track Record at Road America||Monday, August 28, 2006|
|Kevin and Ian took the Integra on the Featherlite to Elkhart Lake and Road America while Dick was still in Australia. Saturday morning Kevin went out and ran several qualifying laps very close to the track record to take the pole position. After qualifying they weighed all the cars and found Kevin to be 3 pounds underweight. They took away all Kevin's qualifying times and made him start the race at the very back. Kevin was so much faster than all the other ITA cars that he won the race anyway.
On Sunday Kevin made sure to have more gas in the car so he would be above the legal weight. In qualifying he promptly took the pole with laps quicker than the track record. By race time Dick had driven from Columbus to Elkhart Lake. He got to watch Kevin run away with the race and run three laps under the existing track record. Kevin shaved a quarter second off the existing track record that was set eight years ago.
|Kevin completes his NASA requirements||Monday, August 14, 2006|
|Kevin raced in his 4th and 5th races of the year with NASA at Mid Ohio, That qualifies him to compete in the National Championship in the Honda Challenge race on Sept 17th at Mid Ohio.|
|All Four Ruck Racing Cars at Mid Ohio||Monday, July 17, 2006|
|It was a hectic weekend where Mid Ohio saw all four orange cars show up for racing. Caleb drove the 85 Civic S, Richard drove the 92 Civic CX, Kevin drove the 92 Integra RS, and Brian drove the 94 Prelude Si.
For Caleb it was only his 3rd and 4th races ever. Due to a typographical error on his license he was not allowed to go out for qualifying Saturday morning and was subsequently placed at the back of the pack. He finished the race at the back but had fun trying out the new set up on the Weber DGV carb and getting some valuable seat time.
On Sunday Caleb qualified 7th in ITC and finished 6th while turning in a 2:00.414.
Richard had to re-learn Mid Ohio with the new track surface and the Civic since he was coming off a race in the Integra at Road America. On Saturday morning in slightly wet conditions he went out and grabbed the pole position ahead of Fruth, Shearer, and Hobbs. When the race started Fruth took off and was never seen again. He ended up winning the whole run group. Shearer tryed to pass Dick for half the race before he could get it done and pull away. Then Hobbs came along and finally passed Dick for 3rd.
On Sunday Dick wasn't any faster and qualified 4th with a 1:54.003 more than 3 1/2 seconds slower than his best lap. During the race Hobbs started at the back of the pack due to getting there late. He caught Dick and the battle ensued. The two drivers dogged and passed each other for the last 5 laps but never touched one another. For the first time Shawn finished on top by driving very safe and consistant. Even tough he finished 4th, Dick was happy to finally turn in some laps in the 1:52s while racing with Shawn.
Kevin in his ITA Integra ran with Brian and the other ITS cars. He was trying to set up the car for Hoosiers and the new track surface all weekend. He qualified behind Botha and Marhefka in their CRX's. He finished behind Marhefka who won and Bob Moser who took second. He also finished right behind Brian but had a faster lap time by .05 seconds.
On Sunday Kevin finally turned the fastest lap of the weekend in qualifying but could not match that during the race since it was about 95 degrees. He ran a great race to finish 2nd in class behind Marhefka in his CRX and 4th overall right behind Brian.
Brian ran his ITS Prelude in run group 7 along with ITA. He trying all weekend to set up the car for Hoosiers after running 5 races on the Toyos. He qualified behind Huffmaster in his RX-7. After trading the lead several times he finished behind Tim Selby in his RX-7. Third was taken by Brian Shanfield in the Honda R&D Prelude but he was disqualified for being under weight. Third then went to Doyle in his TR8. He finished 4th overall right in front of Kevin.
On Sunday Brian qualified 3 spots behind Kevin but jumped him at the start and finished just in front of him again. He ran a faster race lap time then Kevin by .4 seconds. Brian stayed with Huffmaster and Marhefka who were the two overalll leaders throughout the whole race but could not get around them and finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall again.
All in all it was a great weekend. We had tons of fans to watch us race and some of the smaller ones were even dressed in Ruck Racing team orange. The cars performed fabulously and Kevin and Brian had fun driving in the same race with very similar performing cars but in different classes. Anytime you can put four cars through qualifying and the racing on two different days with no body work needed, it was a great weekend.
|Three wins and three 2nds at Mid Ohio||Tuesday, July 11, 2006|
|Both Brian and Kevin drove at the NASA triple at Mid Ohio last weekend. Brian drove the Prelude in H3 in his 2nd weekend of the year, and Kevin drove the Integra in H4 in his first NASA races but his third race weekend of the year.
Since Brian had the only H3 car there he had no one in his class to race so he concentrated on several fast H4 cars, an H1 car and 2 HU cars. Brian went out with the goal of improving his lap times from his last races in April where he set the bar for H3 on Toyo tires at Mid Ohio at 1:46.623. That was .078 seconds slower than he had run the Prelude four years ago on Hoosiers so he knew he could go faster. On Saturday he went for practice and qualifying and ran a 1:45.81. That placed him 4th on the grid behind Kelly in her H1 Civic, Collin in his H4 CRX, and somebody else. In the race he improved his time to 1:45.38 and took third overall. The next day he improved his time to a 1:44.690 just a hair behind Kevins fastest lap of 1:44.664.
Kevin had to learn the new track surface and the new Toyo tires this weekend. After making numerous changes to the suspension he got his best lap time down to a 1:45.270. He raced well but could not catch Collin Botha in his CRX who was running 1:43s.
|Dick drives his first ITA race and wins.||Tuesday, June 20, 2006|
|Dick drove the ITA Integra for the first time at Road America on Jun 17. Being new in the car he increased his speed slowly each lap in the Saturday morning qualifying session. Even so he ended up in the gravel trap in Canada corner after just 5 hot laps. He qualified in 2nd place behind Patrick Furrer in a CRX by nearly 1.2 seconds. Dick started the race on the inside of row three right behind Anthony Coello in his very fast Miata. Furrer started on the outside of row two. The torque of the Integra coupled with a good anticipation of the green flag allowed Dick to motor right past Furrer to follow Coello into turn one. Dick followed Coello as close as he could for several laps. On the sixth lap Furrer dive bombed Dick in turn 8 right before the carousel. Fortunately Dick saw him make the move and did not turn into him as he slid through the corner. When both cars got re-started Furrer was in the lead. Dick followed him closely all the way to the last turn before the front straight to the start-finish line. Dick got a great run out of the corner and let the torque of the Integra do the rest as he motored past the CRX into turn one. On the last lap Furrer hung it all out to try to make a pass on Dick. He first tryed to pass him on the outside of the carousel but failed. Dick knew that Furrer was going to attempt a late brake and pass at Canada corner so he decided that he would take the inside and force Furrer to go on the outside of the turn. After they both late braked Dick barely made the turn but Furrer did not and slid into the gravel trap. Dick cruised the last few turns to take the checker flag.
On Sunday it poured rain all morning and finally stopped about 3 PM. Dick qualified on the rains which handled quite well, but the engine sputtered in every turn a for some distance down each straight. This was due to a poor location of the air inlet to the wheel position forcing water into the air inlet. Dick ended up in Fourth behind some guy in a VW, Furrer in his CRX, and Eric ?? in a CRX. At race time Dick & his brother Don went to change back to the race tires and discovered a seized lug not on the front left wheel. Since it was right before race time there was nothing to be done.
|2 poles and 3 more wins at Grattan||Monday, May 29, 2006|
|Kevin went out to qualify in group one Saturday morning with the idea that there wasn't any real big names in ITA there for this race. Little did he know that Dave Byersdorf's car #55 CRX was there with a new owner. When they posted the qualifying results Kevin found himself in 2nd place behind Alex MacDonald by .1 second. Alex had been driving his own CRX for several years so he was quite familiar with the way a CRX handled. Unfortunately the race on Saturday between these two good cars and drivers never happened when Kevin got locked outside of the track due to a faulty clock, no calls to grid, and a little stupidity. Alex went on to destroy the rest of the field and win ITA by almost a minute.
On Sunday Kevin went out to qualify ahead of Alex but found himself again in second place by almost 3/4 of a second. Because of the huge differential and because there was no one close to him in third place, Kevin took the decision to make a fairly drastic adjustment to his car which could either make it go through the turns better or make it slide all over the place. At race time, Kevin was the first car to grid.........
At the start of the race Alex pulled out in first and Kevin and Alex pulled away from the rest of the field as expected. Kevin followed Alex closely for 5 laps looking for an opening. On lap 6 Alex left the inside open in turn 10 and Kevin dove inside for the lead. The late braking made Kevin swing a bit wide through the turn so Alex pulled along side of Kevin going up the hill. The two cars drove virtually side by side through turns 11 and 12 all the way down the straight to turn one. Because they were side by side and Alex wasn't able to draft the Integra with his CRX, Kevin pulled out about 3/4 of a car length by the end of the straight to take the lead going into turn 2. From the last 9 laps, Kevin drove a flawless race to stay a couple car lengths in front of the CRX and take the win. We are all sure this will not be the last time these two great cars and drivers will meet.
Dick was set for a couple great races with Shawn Hobbs in his Fiat X1/9 who has been getting faster and more reliable every year. Dick took the pole on Saturday by a very small margin over Shawn and expected a great race. Unfortunately, on the first lap Shawn tried to pass Dick on the inside of turn three and spun his car. That left him nearly 20 seconds behind that he could not make up since Dick was ran consistant laps and made no mistakes for the whole race.
On Sunday Shawn qualified well just behind Dick again but broke his transmission. After replacing the transmission, he was ready for a good race with Dick. Shawn jumped out with an awesome start and passed Dick and a couple ITS cars down the straight for the lead. Dick followed close behind and passed Shawn in turn 3 on the 2nd lap just as Shawn's throttle cable broke and put him out of the race. These two cars will undoubtedly meet again later at Mid Ohio for a rematch.
|2 more poles, 2 more wins and another track record||Monday, May 8, 2006|
|Kevin's first outing of 2006 in his Acura Integra was at IRP on May 6th and 7th. We had to bolt lead weights into the car in order to get to the new legal weight of 2595 lbs. Despite being 115lbs more than last years minimum weight, we only needed to add an additional 30 lbs since we were no way close to the old minimum legal weight.
Kevin went out for qualifying on Saturday morning with two old Hoosiers on the back of the car. The loose car made it great in the tight turns but a bit happy in the fast turns. He spun the car once but still managed to turn in a 1:50.838 to gain the pole - just three tenths slower than his official track record (1:50.526) that he set last year at IRP. During the race, with nearly new Hoosiers on his Team Dynamics wheels, he was way out in front in ITA and racing with a very fast ITS car for the overall lead. He caught a berm in turn one at high speed and ended up spinning off into the grass at approximately 100mph. Luckily, after sliding about 200ft, he was able to get the car stopped just 15 feet short of a chain link fence. The second place 1.8L Miata passed Kevin while he was making his way back onto the track with only 3 laps left. Kevin hustled back quickly to pass the Miata on the next lap, going on to take the ITA win. Before he decided to do a little John Deere driving, Kevin managed to run a 1:49.381 to break his own track record by 1.15 seconds!! Actually, during the 11 hot laps of the race, Kevin ran a lap time under the old track record five times. So not only was the car seriously quick, but it was consistent in doing so.
Ian Green, with his new Ruck Racing engine in his ITA CRX, qualified 2nd and finished 3rd for his first ever podium finish. This was only Ian's 4th race weekend ever and his first ever trip to IRP, so his success was quite a feat.
On Sunday Kevin took the pole again and was planning on just running a smart race by just maintaining a safe margin to take the win. Well, in lap 3 he somehow forgot about that and managed to spin off the track in turn 9 and back his car hard into a tire wall. When the tires quit flying, Kevin managed to get the car running again and back onto the track. However, by this time, Kevin had given up 33 seconds to the field and dropped from 3rd place overall to 17th overall. Fortunately, Kevin still had twelve more laps to the race in order to try and charge up through the field. For the rest of the race, Kevin charged back, taking back 1, 2, or 3 spots a lap until eventually getting back into the ITA lead (3rd overall) on lap 9. Upon getting the lead back, Kevin went into his original plan of running just as hard as he needed to to bring home the class win. Kevin not only won the race but was awarded the "Hard Charger" award by the corner workers for coming from the back to take the win. The car sustained only minimal cosmetic damage from the white paint of the tire wall - nothing an orbital and some buffing compound can't take care of.
Ian Green qualified 2nd again on Sunday with a 1:53.216 but finished 6th due to an unfortunate spin in lap one. Much like Kevin's race, Ian found himself having to work back up through the field from last place after his spin. By the end of the race, he had caught the back of the pack for 3rd, 4th, and 5th but just ran out of time to get around them. Had he had another one or two laps, he most likely would have turned in his second podium finish of the weekend. Another great effort and a tremendous learning experience for a new driver.
|Brian wins 2 and sets track record||Tuesday, April 25, 2006|
|After a 2 1/2 year hiatis Brian Ehmer returned to auroracing to run the NASA Cabin Fever event at Mid Ohio. He drove the Ruck Racing 1994 Honda Prelude Si in the H3 class of the Honda Challenge race.
Saturday morning the track was damp for run group one which forced the lap times to be slower than normal, and Brian was getting his race legs back and feeling out the car and the recent changes to the track. His best lap in practice was only a 2:00.xxx. The actual qualifying session later that morning was sunny and dry so lap times were better. Brian turned in a 1:50.14 which was good enough for the pole in H3 with a field of only two cars. It also placed him 9th overall with 3 H1 cars, 1 H2 car and 3 H4 cars out qualifying him. In the race he steadily improved his lap times to a 1:47.25, won the race and improved his position to finish in 6th place.
On Sunday they ran a practice session and a qualifying race where everyone started the race based on how they finished the race on Saturday. Brian ran a 1:48.23 in the short qualifying race to stay in 6th place. For the real race someone decided to have a split start of three race groups on the track at the same time.........with one of them a standing start (Honda Challenge) and the other two rolling starts. Yup, you're right, they had a slight problem. The standing start group caught up with the last rolling start group before they took the green. It created a mess and one balled up car. At any rate Brian continued to chip away at lap times trying to get to his personal best of 1:46.5 of several years earlier. He managed to run a very respectable 1:46.623 to beat all the H3, H4 and H5 cars and set a new NASA club course track record.
Although he did not quite get to his personal best lap time in the Prelude at Mid Ohio, after 2 1/2 years away from racing, with changes in the car, with changes in the track, and using TOYO tires for the first time, it was quite an accompishment getting two poles, two wins and setting a new track record. With the several things we intend to do to the car and Brian's continual improvement, we think the other ITS and H3 cars should be prepared to see the rear of the orange Prelude quite often this year.