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|Third at the Runoffs in a Wounded Car||Monday, September 23, 2013|
|We took the 2010 National Champion FP Integra back to the Runoffs to try to win the race and the Super Sweep again. Since we had already won the Great Lakes Division, the Northern Majors Division, and the National Points championships we were the only car in F Production that was Super Sweep eligible.
We took the race rig over to the track from the Lake house on Sunday Sept 15 to get set up in out paddock spaces in Turn 5. We got set up in the rain while other cars took advantage of the Sunday test day. We watched the Packers spank the Redskins and waited for the sun to come out later in the day. We installed a new Race Energy TDC-30 in the car as the older unit was blowing fuses. We fueled her up and she was ready to go.
On Monday I drove back to the track from the Lake House early enough for the 10:45 AM test session. We had a newly tempered set of tires that we would use all week for qualifying. We ran well while not really going 100% and turned in a 2:35.985 which was fourth behind Carpenter(Integra), Kannard(Miata) and Lamb in a MG. Carpenter was already very fast with a 2:33.018. After the session we put her on stands to tighten the shifter linkage because the car had popped out of gear a couple times. We also adjusted camber on two of the corners, and reconnected the transponder that I had disconnected while troubleshooting the blown fuses in the TDC.
Monday evening Kevin, Carrie & I went to the Elkhart Lake welcome dinner at the Oshoff Hotel with Scott Lunder and Ed. It was a very nice party with great Wisconsin food. This year they held it inside rather than in a tent on the front lawn.
On Tuesday we took her back out at 10:45 AM for our first qualifying session. We thought this session would be the best one of the week looking at the time of day and the weather. Because we were first in National Points they put us first to go out in the long line of FP and HP cars, over 50. First was nice but with that many cars it meant you were going to catch lapped traffic pretty fast. Kevin tried to heat the tires up and get up to speed quickly. That’s not easy to do in the Integra. It usually needs 3 or more laps to get up to temperature in the rear tires. After 3 laps we were sitting about 6th with a 2:35.002 when they black flagged the run group due to several cars off. Kevin drove in the pits but got immediately back in line at pit out while many cars went to pit stalls to check tire pressures etc. thinking they would probably not let us back out again. Fortunately they cleared the track and did let us go back out for three more laps and because Kevin was near the front of the line there were not many cars in front of us to slow us down. In the last lap Kevin put down a flyer. He was actually held up by Mark Carpenter in the last turn but still managed to turn in a 1:33.310, just .1 seconds behind Mark for the pole. Our goal was to start the race somewhere in the first two rows, so this lap was probably fast enough to do that.
After the session they pulled us into tech along with several other cars and did some routine checks on the car. They checked for reverse gear, the emergency kill switch, weight, etc. After tech we put her back up on stands and Kevin went to the “town hall” meeting for Prod and GT cars where there was spirited discussion around the possibility of putting the GTL cars into the Prod class. Later that night we went to the Prod party where all the Prod racers can meet and talk. The group party also raises money to donate to the worker fund. I was not feeling well so I pretty much crashed in the RV.
On Wednesday our qualifying session was at 2:10pm. It had rained the night before and early that morning so we knew the track was not going to be fast so we did not go out. It was a good decision as none of the leaders went faster, although a couple cars that had turned in no times or really bad times did improve their position. That evening the three of us drove to Fond du lac to meet Kevin’s mom and Sheryl for a birthday dinner for me. We went to Blanck’s supper club which is one of my favorites places in Wisconsin. After returning to the track Kevin and Carrie went to the Angry Sheep party but once again I crashed in the RV.
On Thursday we finally uncovered the car later in the day for our last qualifying session at 4:10pm. We did not expect anyone to go faster but we went out anyway since the commemorative picture was going to be taken right after our session with nearly 700 cars on track at one time. Finally the grid was set for the race. It was two Integras in the front row (the only past champions) followed by six Miatas. The first eight cars were an impressive list of drivers – Carpenter, Ruck, Prill, Campbell, Kannard, Hingston, Henry, Harris.
That evening the SCCA held a huge party to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Runoffs. They had great food and drinks and it gave us time to talk with all of our racer friends.
On Friday we had no session on track so we enjoyed the day watching great races. The first two races of the day STU and FB were amazing races that went right down to the last lap. Just after lunch we watched the Spec Miata race with nearly 70 cars. And that afternoon we watched the HP race that we should have been in if our HP Civic would have been ready. After we saw the carnage that occurred in turn one on the first lap we were glad we were not in the race. That evening we went to the Lincoln St. sports bar for fish.
We woke on Saturday to a cool but sunny day for our race. We put on the race tires, charged the battery, bled the brakes, checked the toe, and fueled her up. Diane, Sheryl, Uncle Kevin, Aunt Connie, and Uncle Lyle all came up for the race. We were thrilled to see both Walker cars were ready to go for the race after days of work replacing the engine in the Lotus. Before our race we made good use of the new golf cart with our guests exploring the huge grounds of Road America.
We got to the false grid early while most of our guests watched the race from turn five. At the start of the race Kevin got jumped by Prill and Campbell to fall back to fourth place. He immediately re-passed Campbell in turn five for third, then motored past Prill on the front straight for second. He followed Carpenter closely for the next 12 laps while being briefly passed by Prill in Canada Corner and re-passing him on the front straight. In the early parts of the race the transmission popped out of gear in several of the corners which forced Kevin to hold the shifter while steering through the corners with one hand. In the last few laps the car didn’t want to go back into gear at all without several tries. Prill passed Kevin for second place on the last lap while he was trying to find a gear and that was how the race ended. Kevin did an awesome job of putting a wounded car on the podium in third place.
We finally got out of tech about 9:00 pm after numerous checks and removing our intake and exhaust manifolds. We reassembled the engine and tried to drive it back to our paddock but it had another blown fuse in the Race Energy so we towed it with our new golf cart. That evening Kevin and Carrie went to Siebkins in Elkhart Lake and joined the rest of the racers for fun race conversations.
Sunday morning we loaded up the trailer and RV so we could pull out immediately when we were done watching races. We watched the Rob Huffmaster win the STL race in the morning, and watched the great EP race just after lunch.
After an awesome year, the FP Integra managed to finish one last race, albeit in a wounded fashion. Kevin thought he had the best car on track that day except for the transmission. We went back in our records and counted 48 races and several test days that we had done with that transmission - and that did not include the races it did before we bought the car, and the fact that it was a used transmission out of a street car before it was installed in the race car. That’s pretty amazing anyway you look at it, but it is what we come to expect when driving a Honda. For next year we will get another good used transmission from a salvage car, install the limited slip differential and the final drive, and she will be ready for another 50 races. If we can't find one of those transmissions, since they were only made for two years, and they are getting quite rare, we will rebuild the synchronizers and bearings in the current box. Will we be at Laguna Seca next year? That's a good question that we don’t yet know the answer to.
We have to extend our sincere thanks to our excellent sponsors.
Honda Performance Development paid us contingencies when we won races, provided low cost parts for our race cars, paid for our entry and parking fee to the Runoffs, and provided excellent lunches every day at the Runoffs. They also provide assistance with finding special or hard to find parts as well.
Hoosier Race Tires provided us with the best race tires available. We were approached by other tire manufacturers this year to get us to run their tires but we would not even consider it. The support and expertise we get from Hoosier is second to none, and we like to win.
Slow Motion Motorsports has again provided us with the best engine tuning services you can get. Cory is a magician with engine tuning.
|Another Test & Tune for the HP Civic||Friday, August 30, 2013|
|On Friday Aug 30 we took the HP Civic to a twilight test & tune at Mid Ohio. We wanted to see how it would perform before we entered the weekend regional race. The new suspension parts and spherical bearings we installed worked great on the car. It handled even better than it did before. Unfortunately the new engine was still not performing as it should have. We found ourselves turning in good ITC times which just will not cut it for HP. We need to be turning good ITA times to be competitive with front running HP cars.
We decided we would did not have time to finish the development on the car before the Runoffs race on September 21 so we withdrew the entry.
We did stick around for the weekend races with Bob Lawrence who bought the 1985 ITC Civic from us. He and the car did great in the weekends races.
|Test Day with HP Civic||Saturday, August 10, 2013|
|Kevin took the HP Honda Civic to Mid Ohio on Friday night for their twilight test & tune. In addition to just the first shakedown of the newly converted car it was imperative that we run the car to try to find the issue with the reduced horsepower that we experienced at the dyno the week before.
The new engine should have been an improvement over the ITB engine because it not only has all the improvements allowed by IT but it also has 11:1 compression pistons and a custom designed and ground cam from BiciMoto. However, at the dyno we found less horsepower even after we removed the new cam and went back to an OEM D15B7 cam.
At the track Kevin played with several things to find the problem. He tried resetting the cam timing by a tooth and distributor timing but neither helped. He finally gained some improvement when he disconnected the MSD ignition and replaced the distributor. We have always known that the distributor is probably the weakest link in a Honda engine. That is exactly why we have removed it in our FP Integra and went with individual coils on each spark plug with a crank fire ignition. The HP Civic however, is still running the Honda ECU and distributor.
In the last test session with the MSD removed and the spare distributor installed he finally got the car running fast enough to stay up with the Spec Miatas also running in the group. The car was certainly not tuned and running to its full potential but now we know it is not bad and can be competitive. We also plan to install a full set of spherical joints on the car to improve its cornering. In the next couple weeks we will install all the suspension components and get the engine tuned before we run the car at the OVR regional race on Labor Day weekend. Of course there are still a ton of things we can legally do to an HP race car to make it faster if we want to spend the money.
|Driving Clinic at Gingerman||Monday, July 15, 2013|
|We decided to go to Gingerman to lock up the points championships for the Central division, the Northern Majors division, and the National Points Championship. If we could do that we would be the only FP car in the country that would be Super Sweep eligible. All we then have to do is win the runoffs……
We also wanted to test a couple changes we made to the car. First we replaced the oil pan with the new one that was on the spare engine. The old one was cracked in a couple places and leaked pretty badly. The second thing we wanted to do was to fix the shifter linkage. It was very loose after many years of use. These are both pretty easy and were all done on Thursday night before the race. However as I was putting everything back together under the car, the bolt that held on the left lower control arm snapped like a twig. That was bad since there was no access to the welded-on nut inside the frame where the broken part of the bolt now was. At that point we decided to take the ITA Integra and run it in FP. We know it’s not nearly as fast as the FP Integra but we thought we could do well enough against the field that was entered that weekend. Early Friday morning I decided to try an idea that I had to gain access to the broken bolt, and it worked. I re-assembled the car, pulled the ITA Integra off the trailer, and put on the FP Integra. We took off for Gingerman as soon as Kevin got home from work to try to make the 9pm registration closing. Even though we got there a bit late it was still open on a beautiful evening.
At 9:00 am we put on a set of new front Hoosiers and took her out for the qualifying session. Kevin went slow at first to build heat in the new tires. On the fourth lap he got her up to speed and turned in a 1:45.9 which was enough for the FP pole. Just then Joe Walker turned in a slightly faster lap which slid us to second. On Kevin’s last lap he put down a 1:43.458 for the FP pole and second overall behind Lance Loughman in his EP Datsun 240Z.
We replaced the newly tempered tires with the set that we used to win the Sunday race at Watkins Glen. They were good tires with plenty left in them. We added fuel and she was ready for the 21 lap Majors race. The race was pretty much as we expected. Kevin followed the EP car and the two of them checked out from the rest of the pack, Kevin didn’t bother trying to pass him because there was no need. By the 14th lap he had built up a 76 second lead over the second place FP car and was on pace to lap him before the end of the race. Just then he felt the all-too-familiar feel of a front tire going down on pressure. He pulled it off on turn 7 and watched as the rest of the field passed him by. This was the third flat tire we had experienced while winning a race this summer. We thought we had solved the problem last time but apparently not. Again with a lot of help from Tim from Hoosier we discovered that all of our wheels had slightly loose valve stems and several of them had the wrong inner valve. We replaced all the valves and tightened all the stems. By the way, we finished 6th. First was Sturm on his Miata, second was Gnadt in his MG Midget, and third was Hart in his Turner.
Saturday evening was just beautiful. They put on a dinner for workers, drivers and crew consisting of Polish fare with green beans, sausages, chicken and sweet & sour cabbage that was excellent. There was also ample beer and wine.
The first session Sunday morning was our short 10 lap qualifying race. The cars were gridded based on their fastest lap time of Saturday’s race so we started on the overall pole. The next FP car starting 10th was John Walker driving his father’s Lotus Super Seven. All the other cars between Kevin and John were EP cars and one STL car. It was the only other Honda in the race (a Prelude with a K20 motor) driven by John Schmidt. It was a cool morning and Kevin thought he could possibly break the track record he had set the year before if he could just get in open track in front of all of the EP cars. That meant he would have to out run them to turn one on the start. Since Kevin was on the overall pole he controlled the start. As soon as he hit the straight he floored it to anticipate the green flag. The Integra makes good horsepower but on cool mornings it really moves. He kept the lead going into turn one and that was all she wrote. He proceeded to check out on the whole run group. He shaved nearly a whole second off his own track record to a 1:42.327. The next fastest lap was a 1:43.568 by Simaras in his EP RX-7.
For the Sunday points race we added fuel, replaced the front brake pads, and put on the new Hoosiers we had tempered the day before. Once again Kevin was on the overall pole but it was much warmer at 1pm. However, what the Integra gave up in horsepower in the heat of the day, it gained in handling. Kevin once again blasted his way to turn one at the start and never looked back. He finished the 21 lap race with a 41.8 second lead on the next car and turned in a best time of 1:42.870. The next fastest car in the whole run group of 34 cars was a 1:45.166. Kevin actually lapped the third place finisher in FP (Sturm, Miata) and was close to lapping 2nd place (Walker, Lotus).
Overall it was a great weekend. We accomplished everything we wanted to do. We took down all three points championships, we found solutions to the transmission shifting, the oil leaks and most importantly, the leaking tires. We also think the bolt that broke was defective or cracked and we are thrilled that it broke in the shop and not on the track. We think we are as ready as we can be for the Runoffs in September. Now all we have to do is complete the build on the HP car and get her tested.
|Great Fun at Watkins Glen||Monday, July 8, 2013|
|We decided to go to Watkins only a week before the event mostly because the FP field was so good, the weather looked like it was going to be nice, the car was running fantastic, and because we just love WG. It was Carries first trip there. I was in Oshkosh the three weeks before so Kevin & Carrie had to do any work on the car, do the set up, and load the trailer and RV without me. Even though they were very busy with Red, White & Boom and other things, thankfully there wasn’t much to do on the car so they got it done.
Thursday after RW&B, they drove the rig up to WG, got everything set up, and took the car out on Friday morning for the first qualifying session for Saturday’s race. Within just 4 laps Kevin had bested his own track record of 2:10.703 with a 2:10.645 to take the pole position in F Production. Of course it did not set a new record since the record lap must be done during a race. The afternoon session was the first qualifying for Sunday’s race. He put on 4 new stickered Hoosiers and took them out to temper them for Sunday’s race. When he was ready to go fast he was held up by slow cars, so he didn’t turn in a good lap. But it didn’t matter since the second qualifying for Sunday’s race was going to be your best lap of Saturday’s race, which we thought would be pretty good.
After Friday’s sessions were completed Kev & Carrie borrowed a vehicle from a good friend and drove to Ithaca airport to pick me up. I had flown from Appleton WI, to Ithaca to be at the race.
At 8am we had the second qualifying session for Saturday’s race but we didn’t bother to go out since we were well on pole with a time that would be difficult to beat. We started 1st in FP and 2nd overall behind Rick Kavitski in his fast EP Miata. At the start of most races it takes a couple laps for the FP Integra’s rear tires to heat up and “come in”. Also in the first couple laps Kevin is careful not to get caught up with aggressive drivers and wreck the car. This race was no different. He was passed by Charlie Campbell in his FP Miata and two more fast EP cars. On the second lap Kevin motored by Campbell going into the bus stop to regain the lead. He then steadily built a lead to about four and a half seconds in front of Campbell and Mark Carpenter in his FP Integra. Charlie & Mark traded 2nd place several times until Mark fell out with mechanical problems on the 13th. On the 6th lap Kevin turned a 2:09.681 to beat his old record by more than a second. On the last lap with just 3 turns to go Kevin felt the vibration of a low tire on the front left. He made it through the first two corners that were left handers, but had to go gingerly through the last right hander onto the front straight to the finish line. By this time Campbell saw Kevin slow down and stood on his Miata as hard as he could to catch Kevin. He barely beat Kevin to the finish line by .088 seconds. This was the second race in a row that we lost on the last lap due to a flat tire, both to Charlie Campbell. Previously we had not had a flat in ten years. Kevin pulled off in turn one and radioed to me what had happened. After all the cars went by we decided to limp the Integra to an access road where I met him on the Yamaha with a jack and another wheel to put on the car. If you can avoid a tow from track workers, you do it – it makes for less repairs.
Based on many discussions with Tim from Hoosier, we determined that we were running too low a pressure in our tires. Even though we had run those pressures on those tires for the last couple years, the Integra was generating more speed lately. Remember we took one whole second off our track record from two years ago. We decided to add 2 pounds to all four tires for Sunday and to test the cars handling with the new pressures in the 8:30am warm up session. Unfortunately it poured rain at about 4:30 am and the track was quite damp. There was no point in going out to test high speed handling on a damp track, so we just waited for the race and hoped the change made the tires last longer and didn’t screw up how well the car was handling.
Kevin started on the FP pole and 3rd overall. As usual Kevin got passed on the first lap by two more EP cars and by Campbell. On the third lap Kevin regained the lead by passing Campbell on the back straight. Carpenter and Campbell followed Kevin closely for the next three laps before Campbell broke and Carpenter got loose. That left Kevin all alone in first with a 14 second lead back to Carpenter. Kevin slowed his pace but still built his lead to 26 seconds by the last lap. Second was Carpenter and third was Mason Workman in his Miata. The Sunday race was the race we needed to win since it was the race that was sponsored by Goodrich Tires as a Super Tour event. Charlie came by at the podium presentation to say he had “given us one back”. I was quick to point out that you cannot “give one back” from behind. He reluctantly agreed. Even with great drivers like Carpenter (FP National Champion in 2009), and Campbell (3rd place finish in 2011, and 3rd place start in 2012), Kevin dominated the weekend – and everyone knew it.
It was a great weekend. The weather was nice, the car ran great, and we learned more about the car and her tires. And that new track record will probably be there for a while…………at least until Kevin comes back to Watkins Glen.
|Another easy win for the ITA Integra||Sunday, June 16, 2013|
|2013 IMPROVED TURING – MIATA SHOOTOUT
We haven't run the ITA Integra since last year at this race. We cleaned it up, added gas and put new brake pads & rotors on the front and away we went. We even used old tires from last year that had good rubber still left on them. It was a weird schedule where we didn’t even go on track until Sunday for a 30 minute qualifying session, a 10 lap qualifying race, and a 19 lap trophy race. That did, however, afford us plenty of time to ride around in our new Yamaha golf cart and watch the MX5 cup races, and IMSA races on Saturday.
Before the first qualifying session at 9am on Sunday morning we decided to replace the brake pads and rotors on the front of the Integra. They weren’t really bad but they would have been by the time the 19 lap race came around so we thought we would do it right away and be ready. It had rained hard all night, the track was soaked, and it looked like it was going to rain some more so we decided to go out with our Hoosier H2O rain tires. Early in the session Kevin was faster than anybody but it started to dry out so he came in to preserve the tires. As the track dried some cars started to go faster than were not on rains. That left us 7th overall and 2nd in ITA behind Garret Dunn in Joey Moser’s old CR-X. Third was Steve Sancricca in his CRX.
For the 10 lap qualifying race the situation was very similar. It had just finished raining and it looked like it was going to rain some more so we went out on rains again. Kevin was very fast at the start. He passed 5 cars before turn one and passed the last car in the next lap. He pulled out a lead but then the track started to dry out. Again not wanting to damage the rains he slowed down and let two Miatas pass him but he still won the ITA race.
For the trophy race he started 3rd behind two Miatas but passed them before he got to turn one on the first lap. He then proceeded to check out on the rest of the pack. Kevin ran away from everyone, even the ITS cars who are supposed to be faster. He won the entire run group by over 28 seconds and turned in the fastest lap of 1:42.626. Not as fast as his track record on the PRO course of 1:40.847, but still respectable with no one chasing him and over a second faster than anyone else in the whole group. Second in ITA and overall was Garret Dunn and third in ITA and 8th overall was Steve Sancricca. Fourth in ITA and 10th overall, after starting at the back in 44th position was Sam Meyers in his Ruck Racing built CRX.
Several times during the race Kevin commented on the radio on how easy, stable, and predictable the ITA Integra was to drive. We were considering selling this car since we just don’t use it much anymore, but since we both love it so much we will probably keep it forever.
Kevin, Carrie & I had a great time in spite of the weather and we were thrilled to have mommo and Kevin’s sister Kerry join us for both races on Sunday.
|A Great Win and a Disappointing Loss||Monday, June 3, 2013|
|We took the F Production Integra back to Mid Ohio last weekend for the BF Goodrich Tire, Great Lakes Race of Champions, Super Tour, Majors double race weekend. We thought it would be a tougher race then at MIS the week before. Partly because there were some additional good competitors and partly because Mid Ohio is a more well-rounded track that doesn’t favor our car as much as MIS did.
Even though we took the rig up Thursday night in time for the twilight test & tune we decided we didn’t need to run the car in the test sessions because it ran so well the weekend before, and because Kevin doesn’t really need laps on Mid Ohio.
At 9:30 Friday morning we took the Integra out for her first qualifying session of the day. Unfortunately due to MIS eating brakes we had to bed in the new front pads & rotors so we only got in 2 hot laps. Our time of 1:40.492 was two seconds slower than the track record we own but it was enough to take the pole. In the second session we needed to temper some brand new Hoosiers so once again we only got two hot laps. Kevin managed to turn in a 1:39.990 right before the throttle cable had decided to hold the engine wide open going into turn one. Kevin quickly hit the kill switch and pulled the car into the part of the track not being used outside of the chicane at turns 2&3. After sitting in that spot through the entire next session they finally decided to come out and give us a flat tow back to our paddock. We quickly found the bad throttle cable but finding a replacement was more difficult. After calling 4 different auto parts stores to no avail I jumped in the car and drove back to the shop in Delaware for another cable. Of course that meant we had to miss the third qualifying session of the day which was the first session for Sundays race. We also found out that Rob Futcher in his Lotus Super Seven had edged us out for the pole position in Saturday’s race by .26 seconds. After fixing the car and getting her ready for the next day’s race, we made our traditional trip to the Mexican restaurant in Lexington and their great Margaritas.
The Saturday schedule could not have been better. We had our race just before lunch and no other sessions which allowed all three of us to easily make it back to Columbus to attend Andrea & Jason’s wedding, and to take the Bentley there for some wedding pictures. At about 10 am a couple GT1 cars tangled and destroyed at least 70 feet of Armco and fencing near turn 12. Over the next SIX HOURS the track crew then proceeded to install 8 - 10ft concrete barriers complete with spectator fencing to repair the spot. Of course they started out by saying it might take as much as two hours to complete. When they finally restarted racing they shortened the races, eliminated victory laps, and cancelled the remaining qualifying sessions for Sunday’s races in order to finish the Saturday races by about 6:30. Needless to say we missed the wedding and our only qualifying session for Sunday.
The good news was we won the race. Kevin got past Futcher at the start and held off a pass attempt by Strittmatter going into the keyhole onto the back straight. He then proceeded to drive away from the rest of the FP cars who had a great battle for second place. He ran just fast enough to maintain at least a 10 second lead and finished with a 24 second lead on second place. Futcher, Strittmatter, and Campbell each spent several laps in second place during the race. The final order was Ruck, Futcher and Campbell. Kevin turned in the fastest FP lap at 1:39.349.
Saturday night we had a great time at the Roadhouse with the Huffmaster gang, Moser gang, Buttermores, Lunder gang, and many more. It had threatened rain all day but didn’t rain until we got to the restaurant when it opened up.
Because we had missed the first qualifying session and they had cancelled the second we thought we might have to start the race at the back of the pack. Fortunately because they cancelled the second session they allowed competitors to take their fastest time from the first session or their best time from Saturday’s race. That put us on pole in FP and in 4th place overall, with Futcher, Strittmatter, Campbell, Workman, and Walker right behind us – all good FP cars capable of winning this race.
The overall pole was Halkias with Moser on the outside. These two cars were going to battle hard for the EP win and the battle started before the green flag. On the pace lap after the pace car pulled off, Halkias slowed way down. As soon as Moser slowed to get back in line, Halkias took off. Since Kevin was behind Moser he was passed by several cars on his left on the way to turn one. After the first lap he was in 3rd in FP and 6th overall. Moser did however regain the lead and drove away from Halkias and the rest of the pack. On the second lap Kevin passed Futcher to take 2nd in FP. He followed Strittmatter for 3 laps before making a pass on the outside of turn 6 going into the esses. He then poured it on to put some distance between him and the rest of the FP cars. After building a 4 second lead in lap 9 he hit some oil in turn 12 which send him off in the grass. He maintained first place but that allowed Campbell to catch up right behind him. In the laps 10-15 they ran head to tail turning in laps in the 1:38’s. Kevin’s fastest lap was just .1 seconds slower than his track record. Campbell took advantage of following a very experienced Mid Ohio driver and turned in laps 2 seconds faster than he had ever done at Mid Ohio before. In laps 16-19 despite oil on track and rain falling on most of the track, Kevin pulled out a 2 second lead and was taking it home for the win when his front right tire went flat going through turn one. He tried to make it around for the last lap and a half to no avail and pulled it off in turn seven. By that time Kevin was leading the entire race as Moser had pulled off due to engine problems and Kevin has passed all other EP cars. That handed the FP overall win to Campbell in his Miata.
There are three things that can put you out of a race. First you can allow something on your car to break due to your ignorance or your negligence but either way it’s your fault. Second, you can damage the car by contact with another car or with various barriers, and that’s normally your fault. And third something happens that you can not anticipate or stop from happening like this tire. It’s still a loss, but it does make you feel a little bit better that you did all you could do. You have to take those losses with the wins that happen that way. We finished the race in 6th position in FP and 16th overall but it was undoubtedly the best driving Kevin has done this year.
|Two Big Majors Wins at MIS||Sunday, May 26, 2013|
|It was out first race of the year, our first time at Michigan International Speedway and our first Majors race for SCCA. MIS is a NASCAR oval that is temporarily converted into a road course for our use. It is just South West of Detroit so it’s under a three hour tow for us. Take a look at our tracks tab to see the layout of the track.
We traveled to MIS on Thursday night after Kevin & Carrie finished their volleyball games about 10:30pm. We arrived at the track about 1:30am and slept outside registration in the trusty Fleetwood Discovery. We thought we really needed to do the Friday test day to shake down the FP Integra after a very long idle time since the Runoffs last September. We also needed to give Kevin a chance to learn the track and to get his driving skills out of hibernation as well.
Our first session was at 9:30 and it was windy and cool, about 45 degrees. The sun made it nice but the wind didn’t help. The car ran great and Kevin turned in his best of eleven laps, a 1:26.04. I was just a little shocked to see the cars running counter clockwise around the track rather than our normal clockwise. I understand it’s because the track is set up for NASCAR who always runs counter clockwise.
Our second session was a little warmer but not much, and still windy. We ran 9 laps before the car sputtered low on fuel, but managed 3 laps in the 1:25s with the best lap of a 1:25.06
At 1:35 after lunch we went out for our third session. Since the car was running well and the driver was driving well we decided to use the session to test our spare Engine Position Module. We had swapped it last year once when we weren’t sure if it was acting up or not. It proved to be OK so Kevin ran another ten laps with four in the 1:25’s and a best lap of 1:24.96. We were pretty happy with that but we were not sure what a good lap for FP actually was.
For the fourth session we tempered a new set of tires – running successively faster for 6 laps to set the rubber in the tires. We saw no point in going out for the last session. After the session we stopped at the Tech shed and had our annual inspection done by the guys there. They did a very thorough job and were quite nice.
Saturday was another sunny day but a bit warmer and less wind, pretty much perfect track weather. For qualifying we went to grid very early and met Joe & Bob Moser there with their new EP Honda Prelude. With this many cars and much of the track too narrow to pass, it was going to be critical to get some open space to get a decent qualifying time. Sure enough we turned in a 1:25.918 in the third lap and the track condition went down hill from there. We came in after 6 laps when the track was scattered with gravel, grass and cones from people going off. We hoped that time would be enough for the FP pole. Turns out it was. We were first in FP and third overall with Joey and another EP car in front of us. The next fastest FP car was Rob Futcher in his Lotus Super Seven with a 1:27.432.
Our race was about 3:30 that afternoon. Even though we had the third fastest lap time, we were surrounded by six EP cars that had a bunch of horsepower to pass us on the straights and then hold us up in the corners. That was pretty much how the race wemt, on the tail of the EP cars through the corners and then watch as they pull away on the banked oval, just to catch up to them again by the exit of turn one. Fortunately there were no other FP cars that could even run with the EP cars, so we pulled away from our competition and won with a 30 second lead on Rob Futcher in second place. Dave Strittmatter was in third followed by Scott Lunder in Fourth. As Carrie & I were waiting for our ride along for the victory lap they pull Kevin over at the black flag station. He waited there for a while and then just pulled away to get the checker and pick us up. We jumped in and got to take a lap on the banked track of MIS track. After we got to the podium we found that the race stewards had decided to give us a three position penalty for passing under yellow. Kevin certainly did not do that on purpose but admitted that at a new track that is kind of thrown together it’s pretty easy to miss a flag station. We immediately went back to the RV and got the laptop to download the video from the in-car since we had just 30 minutes to protest this action. Also, if we protest the action and lose the protest Kevin would have penalty points assessed to his license so we had to be sure. We found the incident and decided that he did not pass the car before the flag station. We took it to the stewards and showed it to them. After watching the video and conferring they announced they were going to withdraw the penalty so we did not have to file the protest. Finally we were the winner with a new track record once again.
That night the Western Michigan region put on a very nice dinner for all participants and crew. We then proceeded to have a great time with Steve Smyczek who is a fellow Badger and an EP driver.
Sunday was an even more beautiful day than Saturday. Instead of a morning qualifying session they had scheduled a 14 lap qualifying race to set the starting grid for that afternoon’s trophy race. The starting position was based on Saturday’s fastest lap of the race so we started third overall. Once again we were surrounded by high horsepower EP cars that would hold us up in the corners but blast past us on the straight. About half way through the race Kevin noticed that the battery voltage was low and dropping and the alternator was not working. He started to short shift in the corners and feather the throttle on the straights to minimize power usage in order to finish the race. That worked and he won the race but with Rob Futcher right behind him. That finishing order would determine the starting order for the trophy race that afternoon. After a little hunting we found a broken connector on the main cable coming from the alternator. We borrowed a connector from a friend, and got a replacement fuse from a local parts store, and we were back in business and ready to race.
At the start of the race, Futcher was passed by a couple EP cars and eventually by Dave Strittmatter. He and Dave traded positions a couple time before Dave ran off the track and fell way back. By that time Kevin had pulled out about a 10 second lead. Then Kevin got around the EP car that had been holding him up and he pulled way out in front and broke the track record he set on Saturday. Second was Futcher in his Super 7, and third was Scott Lunder in his Civic who experienced his first “spray the Champaign” podium celebration.
It had all the makings of a great weekend; a track we had never been to before; great weather; a car that was running great; no accidents; no problems with the RV; a great paddock space with power and water; two wins; two track records; and it was our first weekend with the new Yamaha golf cart which we made very good use of. We hope they have this race every year. It’s a nice short tow for us from Delaware and a very fun track. It is the only track we run at where from several places you can see the entire race track at one time.
|Results from the 2012 ARRC||Sunday, January 27, 2013|
|It killed Kevin & I not to be at the ARRC at Road Atlanta last November. It was the first ARRC we have missed since our first trip there in 2001, although we only went to watch in 2002 and 2003. We won the ITC enduro in 2006 and 2007, won the ITA sprint race in 2008 and 2009, won the ITB sprint and the enduro race in 2010, and would have won the ITB sprint race in 2011 but for a brake failure. When we didn’t win we were usually on the podium. Kevin could just not swing the vacation days from his new job as a Durability and Dynamics Engineer at the Transportation Research Center.
We especially wanted to attend because we believe we had three cars that could have won their respective classes.
The winner of ITA was John Carter in his Mazda Miata and his best lap was a 1:43.297. The track record is a 1:41.253 set by Joey Moser* in his Honda CRX, and our best lap is 1:41.900 in our Acura Integra, and we made considerable improvements to the ITA Integra in 2012.
The winner of ITB was Tom Martin in his VW and his best lap was 1:47.779. The track record is 1:45.885 set by Jeff Underwood in his Honda Civic, and our best lap is 1:45.990 in our Honda Civic DX.
The winner of ITC was William Perry in his Honda Civic and his best lap was 1:53.164. Our best lap in our 1985 Honda Civic S was 1:51.751 in 2008, and that was before we improved the engine considerably in 2011.
I am sure we will get to go back to the ARRC sometime. The track and people are excellant and we always have a great time win or lose.
*I do not list the track record set by Brian Price in a car deemed to be illegal*