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ANOTHER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Tuesday, September 29, 2015
PRE RUNOFFS PREPARATION
The work needed to be done to prepare for the Runoffs was brutal. The car had been away from the shop for nearly six months while we ran at New Orleans, Texas World Speedway, High Plains, and Pueblo. Actually the time away from the shop wasn't the issue, it was changing the car for the Runoffs at a high banked, high speed oval course like Daytona. While we had the car in Texas at Kevin's house we had already rebuilt the clutch and had all four Koni shocks rebuilt, and replaced the fuel filters on the RV. And at the last race before the Runoffs we replaced all the brake rotors and brake pads.

First, with the help of Sheryl Kirchhoffer, I pulled out the engine and installed our other transmission that was capable of higher speeds. That transmission also allowed us to run at a lower weight (if we could reduce weight) because it had stock gear ratios. While the engine was out I took the opportunity to check out and clean up everything in the engine bay before I put it back in. Then I took it for a baseline dyno test at SlowMotion Motorsports to see if the engine was healthy and to have a number to compare with after I made modifications. I removed most of the front bumper beam to reduce weight and to allow room for a duct that directed all the air that came in the front opening to only go through the radiator or through the brake ducts for improved aerodynamics. Sam Myers built the duct and together we shoehorned it into place. Then I reworked the profile of the air damn in an attempt to have no issues with its legality (more about this later). I re-installed the smaller rear stabilizer bar and put in a new K&N air filter. I dismounted 12 race tires and mounted & balanced 8 new Hoosiers to be used at the Runoffs. I moved and remounted the front tow strap to work better with the new air damn profile. I found one of our half shafts leaking grease so I replaced both shafts and sent the old ones in for a rebuild. After checking the legal wording of the rules I remounted the debris screen in front of the radiator. I checked and rechecked the compression ratio with our Whistler and measured the leak down and compression on all four cylinders. I found cracks in the aluminum race oil pan. After I removed it I found a broken bolt and more cracked welds inside the pan. I replaced it with a stock Honda pan that I found in the shop. I also used a spare head to send off to have a radial cut valve job done to increase the air flow into the head. When I finally got it back it was not cleaned and the valves still had some rust so I had to take it all to my machinist (Mike at M&M) to have it finished. Mike saved me by doing all the work in one day. Then I had to remove the new springs and titanium retainers from our spare engine then install them in the new head, then reassemble the spare engine to take along with us. After installing the new head on the engine I took the car back to the dyno for a final tune. Right before I was going to load the car on trailer I did a complete nut & bolt inspection and found a slight leak in the left front brake caliper so I replaced it with a rebuilt unit, and Sam & I bled the brakes.

The Discovery RV and Dawson trailer actually needed more work than the race car. We had some problems with both on our 5000 mile trip to New Orleans, Texas and Denver and did not want to have problems on the long tow to Florida. The RV needed a new Xantrex Inverter installed; the water system sanitized and partially refilled; the rear window re-mounted; the engine coolant level topped off; the CO/LP leak detector replaced; a melted duplex outlet replaced; the registration sticker obtained and applied; the roof ladder fixed; the bedroom pushout cover made workable; the transmission/exhaust brake hose located and reattached; the engine oil changed; and a reasonable cleaning inside including sheets, towels, etc.

The Dawson needed the new electric jack installed with new wiring; all four new tires with one new wheel mounted & balanced, new wheel studs, nuts & inflation valves, new shore power electrical plug, air hose reel removed, and a good cleaning inside and the entire outside cleaned to remove the white dust that would get on you if your rubbed up against it. I then took it for a test drive behind the Sequoia to make sure the new studs were all seated properly. Sam & I stopped three times in the first 150 miles to re-torque the wheels.

18-SEPT-2015 FRIDAY
Friday morning I bought all the food and supplies we would need for the week and I finished loading the trailer. Friday afternoon Sam & I left Delaware at 4pm and stopped just after midnight at the North Carolina welcome center to sleep for the night. It was a nice drive with Friday night traffic not too bad. Kevin & Carrie left San Antonio about the same time but their drive was about 3 hours longer.

19-SEPT-2015 SATURDAY
We got going again at about 8am after a nice sleep. We stopped at a Flying J to empty the tanks and fill up with fuel just before the track so we could get on the road quickly after the race on Sunday evening. We arrived at track at 4:30 and got through registration quite easily. They directed us to our reserved paddock spots and got our trailer situated with the help of a lift truck. Kevin, Carrie & Jordy arrived and we got all connected to power, water, and cable. We cleaned up and went to Millers ale house for dinner. It was warm and humid but the A/C in the RV was very nice all week.

20-SEPT-2015 SUNDAY (MY BIRTHDAY)
We caught up on a little sleep and got up late and decided to go to IHOP for breakfast for my birthday. It was excellent as always. We set up the canopy, installed the splitter, put the car on stands, and selected the set of tires that we would qualify on and the set we would race on. After cleaning up again we picked up Steve Smyczek and his friend Jeff and went to have dinner at the Wing place for my birthday, and to watch Packers beat the Seahawks. The seven of us put sway 100 wings and extras. They had the waitress girls sing happy birthday to me which was pretty funny.

21-SEPT-2015 MONDAY (FIRST QUALIFYING 25 min at 3:50 PM)
The weather was a bit cooler so it was very nice. We finished getting the car ready and went out at 3:50 for our first qualifying session. We decided to temper both new sets of tires while Kevin took his first laps around the course. It was kind of fun changing all four tires with just Sam, Carrie & me while Kevin stayed in the car. We are probably not ready for NASCAR since it took us about 5 minutes. We got both sets tempered, got our driver familiar with the track and turned in a 2:14.173 for 5th place behind Huffaker (2:12,239), Prill (2:12.355), Campbell (2:12.731), and Kannard (2:13.199). We took the car back to paddock and put her on stands. We cooked burgers & brats on the grill for our dinner. We discussed what we needed to do to get faster since we were amazed that the guy on pole was the slowest on the high banks but fastest in the infield turns - just the opposite of what people had been telling us would happen. Later we went to the beach to Moser's rented condo for some beers and good company and viewing of in-car camera videos.

22-SEPT-2015 TUESDAY (SECOND QUALIFYING 30 min at 11:20 AM)
We decided we would put some camber back into the four wheels that we had just taken out the week before. We also found the wide band O2 sensor had not been reconnected so we did not have good data for the first session. We went out and went .7 seconds faster with a 2:13.411 but that still left us in 5th place as others went faster too. Kevin did tell us that the changes we made were in the right direction. In the evening we went to the Prod party and the Angry Sheep party, then we got to have great drunken conversations with some very seasoned racers.

23-SEPT-2015 WEDNESDAY (THIRD QUALIFYING 25 min at 2:05 PM)
We rotated the tires and discovered some CV grease on the right front wheel. We found it was coming from the inner joint where the rubber boot had just popped off. All the grease was gone so we replaced the shaft with the brand new spare. We decided to put more camber back into the wheels. As we were adjusting the left front we found a huge nasty crack in the upper control arm wishbone. That could have been very bad if it had broken at speed. While Sam & I took out the bad arm, Kevin and Carrie went out and actually found a NAPA store that had the exact part in stock. Not bad for a 25 year old car. We got the camber adjuster installed in the new arm, the new arm installed, and camber adjusted just in time for our afternoon session. If we had been forced to wait for the next morning for the part we would have missed both of our last two qualifying sessions. We were running much better throughout the session. On the last lap Kevin came by with a 2:12.596 which was the best time of everyone in the session but still left us 3rd overall. It was after that session it was our turn to get called to tech for pre-race checks. They checked out compression ratio with the Whistler, took a fuel sample, and checked several other things that did not require tear down. They got upset about the height of our air damn on the front of the car. They claimed it was 1.5 inches too high by their interpretation of the rule. We explained our interpretation and they went away to think about it - for four hours. When they came back to tell us they had decided to penalize us and take away our days qualifying time we entered a formal protest. Since we expected the Friday session to be wet from rain we did not want to lose that 3rd place spot and get kicked back to 5th. The 5th position is very near the guys that have cars that are a lot faster than they are, and they try to win the race in turn one. Another hour later they told us we had lost our protest. That was when Kevin talked directly to the Chief Stewart and appealed to his sense of "fair play". After another hour they decided to let us keep our qualifying time and the car was legal. We finally got back to paddock, cleaned up and went to Cheddars for dinner.

24-SEPT-2015 THURSDAY (LAST QUALIFYING 30 min at 8:40 AM)
It had rained most of the night but to our surprise it was mostly clear in the morning. There was a session before ours that dried up the track pretty well. We went out with more changes to the car and were doing better again. Near the end of the session I radioed to Kevin that the Fiat who was in 9th just turned in a 2:12.002 to take the pole. A couple minutes later Kevin came screaming around the corner and my stop watch said 2:11.009 which I thought was a mistake - but it wasn't. Our car has always liked early morning cool air but on that lap Kevin turned in his best time through the infield turns and just happened to catch Campbell for a draft on the back straight. It was the perfect lap made up of all sectors perfect times for the pole.

We were instructed to come back to tech again to re-check our air damn after we removed the push pins that were in question. It was then that we found out the tech inspector had filed a formal protest against the Chief Stewart for letting an illegal car (OURS) compete, and he was pissed at us - great. I went to the inspector and asked what he wanted us to do and we would do it. He told us, we did it, and everybody was happy - except Kevin was still pissed - but pissed and on the pole. None of the minor changes we made were even visible much less a competitive advantage. I was just glad we had all this drama completed BEFORE the race on Saturday. I was amazed at how much attention Kevin received for the pole position. There were numerous people calling and stopping by to congratulate him, and one writer came to interview him for his magazine.

Thursday night was the big banquet. It was a gorgeous night for an outside venue with great food, beer and wine where they presented the Tire Rack Pole position awards to Kevin and the other pole sitters. Kevin told me later that he was amazed at the level of talent on that stage with him that night, including professional and amateur drivers with numerous national championships.

25-SEPT-2015 FRIDAY
Friday was wonderful and painful. All day we basked in the sun of the pole position, but we had to wait all day with not much to do. Yes we made a few more minor changes to the car, fueled it up, put on the race tires, and watched other races but we were all thinking about our race coming up tomorrow. We also went to a Waffle house for breakfast, and cooked out for dinner before we went up in the stands to watch the Spec Miata race under the lights and in light rain. The race was pretty cool but not nearly as much drama as the Miatas usually provide.

26-SEPT-2015 SATURDAY (RACE DAY at 1:55 PM)
Saturday morning we were all a bit nervous with again not much to do. I spend maybe two hours just checking things on and under the car just to keep busy waiting for our race. Lots of people stopped by our paddock to give us encouragement and wish us luck. It was a pretty warm day around 85 degrees and it was really humid so we decided to install the Cool suit system in the car to keep Kevin cool throughout the whole race. We were ready for it with all the parts and frozen bottles of ice for the cooler. I installed the system and made sure it was circulating before Kevin even got in the car so we would not have pump issues as we have had before. We went to grid fairly early and sent Kevin out to do battle. Sam went up in the stands to spot for him, Carrie went to the infield to spot and watch the race, and I stayed at start-finish in case he needed something.

The Fiat in 2nd place on grid was really slow in the infield corners but was crazy fast in the straights. He could literally drive past anyone to make up any time lost in the corners to get to the line first. Unfortunately he was contacted by another car in the infield which spun him out of contention. Later he left the race due to an electrical pickup malfunction.

The gorgeous little MG Midget in third place driven by Joe Huffaker (13 pole positions and 9 Runoff wins) was not real fast on the high banks but pretty fast in the infield. Most of all it was just consistent, clicking off good laps one after another. On lap 5 he left the race with a cut tire.

Eric Prill's Miata was in fourth and is very fast. He won every race he entered this year. He, the 5th place Miata driven by Charlie Campbell, and the 6th place Miata driven by Ken Kannard (who won the National Points championship for the second year in a row) are the fastest Miatas in the country.

In lap 4, as Kevin was going through the bus stop turns, the Integra's rear snapped around which sent him through a big cone and off track through the grass. He lost 20 seconds gathering the car up and driving back through the grass to rejoin the race. At that time everyone thought his chances for another championship were gone. He kept his foot in it and in lap 8 turned in the fastest race lap which was a new track record for FP. He continued to chase down the leaders. He never lead a single lap........except the last one, by 0.018 seconds to win the race. He timed his exit from the bus stop perfectly to get a run in the draft of Prill and Campbell who went side by side (vs in line). It was the most amazing finish I have ever seen.

Carrie and I were screaming and hugging people we didn't even know. After Kevin's interview on camera we both got in the car with Kevin for the Victory Lap around the high banked oval of Daytona - it was awesome. When we got back they took Kevin off to weigh him and I drove the car into the victory circle which I though was pretty cool too - just like Allison, Petty, Earnhardt, & Gordon have done so many times in that very spot. From there after all the pictures and Champaign I took the car to impound to get it weighted and to start the impound process known as the "second race".

First thing the tech told me was he was going to check the cam lobes, and he wanted me to give him a intake valve, an exhaust valve, a piston with a rod, and the crank shaft; and he said he might need to look at the gears in the transmission. I gasped when he said a crank shaft but then he told me he just needed to see the crank shaft. He also decided against opening the transmission because our weight was much higher than the minimum for the base transmission. We drained the coolant and engine oil, removed the exhaust manifold and pipe, disconnected the intake manifold, and Sam started to remove the oil pan, windage tray and crank scraper. I removed the valve cover, set the valve clearance to zero on #2 intake and exhaust so they tech guys could measure the valve movement. Soon after that they inspected the crank shaft. Then I proceeded to remove the cam shafts and rockers and unbolted the head and removed it. While I removed an intake valve and exhaust valve, Sam disconnected the #2 connecting rod from the crank and pushed out the piston from above. Everything was fine until they told us that our intake valves were too big. What? I almost panicked. As far I knew those were stock Honda valves so I never measured them. I asked how we could be illegal with stock Honda valves?? They said they didn�t care if they were Honda valves or not because they were too big and made us take all 8 intake valves out of the head. The GCR said 31.0 mm and they were measuring 31.08 mm. fortunately there were two Honda engineers from the factory there reassuring us that those were the correct valves. The Honda shop manual said the size should be 30.9-31.1 so someone put 31 in the GCR. The Honda engineers told us they would take it as far as a protest and appeal until the number was fixed in the GCR. Shortly after that the tech guys said we were OK. Can you imagine the stress of possibly losing in tech after that great drive Kevin made to win the race?

So we were done right? No, we spent another couple hours there while they tore up the Miata's. Apparently you have to pull the entire engine out of the car just to remove the oil pan and look at the crank. Prill was told he was going to be disqualified for having a ceramic coated intake manifold. And Campbell was being protested by another driver for on course contact. It wasn't until the next day after noon when they told us we could leave and announced that Prill was OK but penalized Campbell three positions and moved him back to 5th. That moved the 4th place car driven by Ken Kannard up to 3rd. I don't know if they ever did any inspection on his car.

Later that night we four went back to the Wings Place with the Kannards and the Smyczeck crew and watched the Badgers win over Hawaii. Ken bought us dinner for the win like the class guy he is.

27-SEPT-2015 SUNDAY
Sunday morning we made our last breakfast in the RV and watched races while regularly checking to see if our car was released. We got the trailer all hooked up and got ready to load as soon as we had a car to put in the trailer. We finally got loaded and watched the EP race with Joey Moser in his Honda Prelude. He was outmatched by a very fast Porsche but still could have won if he hadn't experienced a bad CV joint which put him out of the race. Shortly after that the Porsche went out with a mechanical problem as well. You've got to finish a race before you can win it. About 4pm we all got on the road for home, Kevin, Carrie & Jordy for San Antonio, and Sam & I for Columbus. Kev & Carrie ended up taking turns and driving straight through to home to arrive about 10 am. We stopped just North of Charlotte about midnight and slept to 8 AM. We arrived at the shop at about 4 PM and unloaded the trailer.

SUMMARY
Needless to say it was a fantastic week. The RV, trailer, golf cart, Elite scooter, and race car all worked perfectly. I believe we had the best car, best driver, best support team, and best race puppy at the track. It was only fair that we won. I don't know how it gets any better than winning the biggest race of the year at that famous track. The other really great thing was many of our friends and relatives got to watch the race live. There was a lot of screaming around the country at the end of that race. And if you missed it you can still watch the race on line at SCCA.com. I counted 21 lead changes in the race.

Here is the link to the FP race => http://www.scca.com/videos/1972540. This race is destined to go down as the greatest Production race of all time.

Two 2nds at Pueblo Motorsports Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Dede & I flew to Denver midday on Thursday and waited at the airport for Kevin to fly in from San Antonio. From there we had to pick up the rental car and hustle down to Jerry’s RV and boat storage in Fountain, CO to pick up the RV and race trailer before the place closed at 6:30. We made it on time and a bit to our surprise everything was well with the RV and trailer after sitting in that lot for nearly 3 weeks. Well not everything was perfect. Since the inverter had been damaged on the trip to Denver the house batteries were not being charged, although the engine alternator charged them some while we were driving. The first thing we did was to go to Walmart to get a new battery for the car, a new high capacity battery charger, and supplies for the weekend. We didn’t buy much food as the refrigerator wasn’t working due to the inverter problem. From there we drove the 35 miles to the Pueblo Motorsports facility.

This place is very different from most other places we have raced. First of all it is huge. After we turned into the gate we had another mile and a half drive to get to the race track. The acreage is mostly used for off road truck and motorcycles having fun in the small hills. The road course uses the drag strip for the straightaway and doesn’t have a lot of elevation change, but it’s still fun and quite nice. We got set up and began trying to figure out how to make the best of a place where we had no shore power, no inverter to charge the battery, and no power in the batteries to start the generator, which left us with no way to charge the race car battery.

We ran the afternoon test sessions on Friday to try to figure out our power situation, to temper some tires, and for Kevin to get familiar with the track. It was hot all weekend, near 100 degrees every day, but the relative humidity was only 12% and there was normally a good breeze so it didn’t feel that bad as long as you were in the shade. We did use the cool suit for Kevin while driving in the afternoon races. Matter of fact just before Saturday’s race we had difficulty getting the cool suit pump to work so we were late to grid. That meant Kevin had to start 19th at the very back rather than the 3rd place right behind Prill and just in front of Hingston where he qualified. Turns out it didn’t matter. Kevin quickly passed most of the cars and by mid race he was in 3rd place in class. As he was catching Hingston, Hingston spun and Kevin passed him for 2nd but he could not catch Prill in his very face Prather Miata. He finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall right where he qualified.

We got help from a neighbor in paddock to charge our house batteries so we could then get our generator running and charge our own batteries. It was not ideal but it worked. It also allowed us to run the A/C on Saturday night when the breeze stopped.

After Saturday we knew the car was down on power and was running hot. We also noticed that the car was not using much gas, 4.5 gallons for the race when it normally uses 6. It was apparent that the altitude (nearly 6000 feet) was messing with the computer in the car and we were running lean. I know just enough about the AEM tuning software to be dangerous, so I went in and added 10% more injector time across the entire range. We decided to go out for the Sunday morning warmup session to see if it helped, or if the car would run at all. It definitely helped. The car ran cooler and Kevin turned in a couple laps under the track record, over a second faster than his previous best. Of course it was much cooler in the early morning but the ECU change was certainly a part of the improvement. For the race I added 7.5% more injector duration.

At race time it was hot and we were the first ones down to grid. We ran much cooler and faster but the outcome was the same. After getting jumped by Hingston at the start Kevin just reeled him in, passed him and drove away. Kevin stayed with Prill for maybe five laps until it was apparent that he might be able to stay close but would never be able to pass him unless Prill made a mistake. So we finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall again.

After getting things packed up we got on the road about 4:30pm. Kevin drove the rental car back to the Denver airport and flew back to San Antonio, while Dede & I started our long drive back to Ohio. We drove maybe 6 hours before stopping for the night at a Loves truck stop. It was actually a beautiful drive going downhill East of Denver in Colorado. Monday morning I got up early, inspected the rig and started driving. About noon just after we got through Kansas City we decided to stop for food at a Cracker Barrel. Diane went in while I walked around the rig to make my usual inspection. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the left front wheel on the trailer was GONE. I have no idea how many miles I had driven with only one wheel on that side of the trailer. We found a trailer place not too far away and had them install a new hub with bearings and mount my loose spare tire on a new steel spare wheel. When we torqued all the other wheels we found the left rear wheel had one broken stud and several loose nuts as well. We got back on the road with everything fixed and drove for 40 minutes. That’s when we heard, and felt, the right front trailer tire blow out. We pulled into a truck stop and installed the other mounted spare tire that we had. Now we had no spare tires left and nearly 800 miles left to go. We stopped frequently and re-torqued the trailer wheels and checked everything. After calling lots of places on our route we finally found a Walmart that had a tire in the correct size but wrong load rating. We pulled in and bought the tire and took it with us loose as a spare. For the next dozen hours of driving we just waited for another blowout, that never came. We made it to Kerry’s house in Terre Haute a little after midnight.

After relaxing and swimming at Kerry’s house on Tuesday we continued on to Columbus on Wednesday. We made it home and to the shop where we unloaded everything and got picked up by Sheryl who took us home. The next day I returned the “spare” tire to Walmart.

We had fun, learned a lot, and it was very nice having Dede with us all weekend but we missed Carrie who couldn’t spare the vacation days from work. It was really a nerve racking weekend. Anyone in racing will tell you that doing 8 races in the race car without having it in the shop for repairs and tuning in between races is extremely difficult. Mostly it is a testament to Kevin’s driving. To not only win races and set new track records, but take care of the car and stay out of the way of other cars is nothing short of amazing. It also meant nearly 5000 miles on the RV and race trailer which was not easy. BUT WE DID IT.


Two Podium Finishes at High Plains Monday, July 6, 2015
The plan was for Kevin and Carrie to drive the race rig 13 hours to Denver on Thursday so they could arrive in time for the test day on Friday at High Plains Raceway. That way Kevin could learn the track before the qualifying and the race on Saturday. I was to fly from Milwaukee to Denver and meet them at the track very early Friday morning. After the weekend Kevin would take the race rig to an RV storage place and leave it near Pueblo where we would be racing three weeks later, and we would all fly back to our homes on Sunday night.

Well first of all, due to the holiday weekend, there was no good place to keep Jordy the puppy, so they decided to bring him along and rent a car to drive back to San Antonio. That worked fine, but after about 5 hours into the drive Kevin & Carrie discovered a severe leak in the RV's exhaust that was overheating some of its electrical systems. They had to limp back a hundred miles to Abilene to the nearest Freightliner dealer to have it checked out. Freightliner found the leak and ordered the part which would not show up until Friday Morning. Kevin and Carrie found a nice place to park the RV for the night and waited to see if it would come in correctly and early enough for them to continue to the track in time for an early Saturday morning session. Meanwhile I decided due to the uncertainty of the situation to cancel my flight to Denver. The next day the part showed up on time, it was correct, and they installed it pretty fast, so Kev & Carrie decided to carry on to High Plains. They arrived near midnight and had a 15 minute 8:30 am practice session the next morning that he needed to attend to learn the track.

Since I was not there I can't put many details in this article but I can give a summary. The High Plains track is very aptly named. It is at a very high altitude and it is definitely on the plains. You can't see a tree anywhere. The high altitude and subsequently thin air made cooling of the car, and driver, a bit of a problem. Whenever Kevin drove in the draft for too long he saw the coolant temperatures rise to over 220 degrees. It seemed to affect the brake cooling and affected the longevity of the tires. Of course the fact that the track had many very slow corners also added to the advantage of the Miatas vs high speed corners that the Integra likes. Fortunately Kevin installed the cool suit system to keep him cool which worked great.

Kevin had the FP pole position in qualifying until Eric Prill threw down a flyer lap to nip Kevin and take the pole. On Saturday's race Bill Hingston got around Kevin at the start. Kevin stayed close to Eric and Bill but couldn't get around them on this track. Nobody ran as fast as they had qualified earlier in the day.

On Sunday Kevin repaired a loose connection on the starter motor and added some Water Wetter to help the engine cool. He decided that at this track he would not be able to overtake the Miatas no matter what he did so he decided to use the tires from Saturday rather than burn up another new set in a losing effort. That was pretty much what happened as he once again fell behind Eric & Bill and then just short shifted to finish the race in third. It also didn't help that the cars battery did not charge as it was supposed to and showed a low voltage alarm in the first lap of the race. Kevin finished well behind Eric & Bill but well ahead of the 4th place car.

We don't like losing, but we realize that some tracks are just not suited for our Integra, and this was definitely one of them. Kevin, Carrie, and Jordy still had a great time driving at a new track and we had our Denver relatives come to cheer for Kevin. Chris & Randy Reyman, Jill & Andy Locken and Amy & Mike Marten all came to the track to watch. Diane & I certainly wish I could have been there as well. In three weeks we will be back to race at Pueblo again near Denver, then Dede & I will finally drive the race rig back to Columbus to get ready for the Runoffs in September at the famous Daytona Motor speedway.

Another Win at Texas World Speedway Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Kevin and I left San Antonio for College Station Friday morning about 7am. It had been raining all over Texas for the last several weeks and it was supposed to continue through at least another week. We drove though a few spots of rain but it was actually pretty nice. When we got to the track we discovered that the tunnel that had to go under the track was too small of the RV. Actually it might have fit but it would have been very close so we decided to go in the back way which crosses the track. That wasn’t a problem since it was lunch time and the track was empty. We parked the RV on a road pretty much in the center of the track which allowed me to go on top of the RV and see 90% of the track.

We got the car off the trailer and Kevin went and registered for the afternoon sessions of the test day. Since it was our first time there (and the last because they are closing it) we really needed the test day to get used to the track. For the first session Kevin went out to just feel his way around and see if the car was OK. He liked the track but he said it had no grip in it, maybe because of the huge amount of rain that had fallen in the previous few weeks. His best lap was a 1:58.xx. On the xx lap he tried a different line and technique to go through the transition from the oval into turn one and he couldn’t hold it so he went off. Fortunately he was smart enough to go off straight. He hit a large wet muddy spot which through mud into the air about 15 feet. I actually saw it from atop the RV maybe a half mile away. He kept it moving and drove it back on track. Of course the car was pretty full of mud but undamaged.

For the second session he used the same tires that we had raced on at NOLA. He could not even turn in a lap less then 2:00 due to no grip. Again he briefly went off in one of the last turns before going back on the oval. After the session we discovered that those front tires were toast and actually had some cords showing through. Apparently the few test laps Kevin did at the Cooper track really ate up the tires. For the next days qualifying session we decided to put the new set of rears on and use the old rears on the front. We don’t normally use the softer tires on the front but for a half dozen laps of qualifying it’s OK. We did the normal things to the car, swap tires, add fuel, check toe in, bleed brakes to get ready for qualifying. There were a lot of people to talk with that evening which we did.

For qualifying Kevin went out and found the better tires on the front made a huge difference. He turned in a 1:56.046 which was the FP pole position and 1.6 seconds faster than the next FP car which was Bill Hingston in his Miata. That time also put Kevin in third overall behind two fast EP cars.

All weekend it looked as if the skys could open up at any minute. At race time it looked just like that but it was still dry. Just as the cars pulled away from grid it started to sprinkle. It never poured hard but it was a heavy sprinkle through most of the race and the track was splippery. There were plenty of spins by most every car at one time or another and Kevin was no exception. In the first turn he was very careful and emerged in roughly 6th place. He quickly passed most of the cars and got up to first in class and 2nd overall. There were plenty of local yellows and two laps of full course yellow while they removed a stalled car on the track in turn one, and Kevin went off on one lap to fall back to 2nd in class but he always managed to just drive back to the front. He won the race but his best lap was just a 2:03.10 on the damp track. Hingston was second and Neal Frank was third. It was a funny end to the race because after they showed the white flag for “one to go” they did not bring out the checker the next time around. Apparently the flaggers had no idea who was winning the race and showed it first somewhere mid pack. Yeah, that sort of sums up how competent this region was.

After the race the Integra was making some horrible noise whenever Kevin pushed in the clutch. Other than the noise it was working fine. We thought it might be a throw out bearing so we pushed the car to get it started rolling each time after that. We rotated the tires, added fuel and checked it out for the Sunday race.

It rained super hard most of the night so it was very wet Sunday morning. On Sunday it was supposed to rain all day so we put the car on stands and waited for the rain to come. It sprinkled a few times but it never rained hard. By 3:30 in time for our race it was a pretty nice day. Kevin started 3rd overall and 1st in class again with Hingston right behind him. As usual the Integra doesn’t turn real well until the rear tires get some heat in them, so the very fast Prather Miata motored past Kevin and out broke him in turn one to take the lead. Kevin followed close behind until the tires came in and he passed him after turn 4 going up the hill. After that is was game over. Kevin just out drove the Miata by at least a second a lap to build up a big lead. However, with British cars in the race you never know what’s going to happen. An EP Lotus Caterham blew his engine and stopped right in the middle of a critical corner so it brought out a full course yellow. Of course they screwed around for 3 and a half laps to clear the track and the pace car drove at an extremely slow pace which cooled off the tires. At the restart everyone was bunched back up with only two laps left. The one corner that the Miata did better than Kevin was turn one, so of course with Kevin’s cool tires, he got around for the lead. For the last two laps Hingston blocked the track as well as anyone to hold onto the lead. Well that’s racing. The best car does not always win. If it did it would be boring.

We went to impound and waited in line to get weighed right behind Hingston. As we were waiting and watching, they said he was underweight by ten pounds and pushed him off the scales. They brought out the calibration weights and checked the scales, turned his car around to weigh him the other way, and put him back on the scale. Of course while they were doing that Kingston was drinking as much water as he could get down his throat. Nope, he was still under weight. Just then one of the local techs said to him “just a minute, stay right there” and went to a cooler and grabbed another bottle of water and handed it to Hingston. Without even looking at the scale he then said “You’re OK” and pushed him off the scale. We could not believe what we just witnessed, and at least a dozen other people just witnessed. We weighed in and showed up 75 pounds overweight. We, and everyone else we talked to, thought the scales were weighing heavy all weekend. We immediately found the Chief Stewart and told him what we had witnessed. He said that should not have happened but since he did not witness it, he could not do anything about it. He asked if we wanted to protest. Protest what, that they do their job? He then said since everyone was still impound he would weigh him again. Of course Hingston had been drinking water like a race horse while they reassembled the scales, calibrated them again, and pushed his car back on the scale. After all that he still weighed 3 pounds under and the Chief Stewart told him he was under weight. Great, Karma had intervened and given us back a win that should have been ours. Not so fast, apparently Hingston protested that decision so the local race officials went off in a room, interviewed the very people that decided to break the rules to see if they broke the rules, then voted to let Hingston keep the win. We were still waiting at the track after every single person had left and no one had told us anything.

We are still reeling from a region giving a win to a car that was weighed three times on scales that had calibrated at least three times and came up underweight all three times. Maybe the rules say you must weigh at least your legal weigh plus or minus 10 or 15 pounds. Otherwise why bother to have scales at all???

HP CIVIC NEARING COMPLETION Thursday, April 23, 2015
Finally after nearly two years we have completed the conversion of the 1992 Honda Civic from ITB to HP. The new engine has been reworked to find the additional horsepower that is needed to be competitive in this class. This car has always been a great handling car so all we needed was the horses. It continues to amaze and delight us how easy this car is to work on. One person can pop out the engine and trans in under an hour and reinstall it in not much longer. We made a pretty huge change that should help a lot. We'll have to see what the dyno says in the next couple of weeks.

TWO MORE WINS AND ANOTHER TRACK RECORD Monday, March 9, 2015
Kevin worked at the Cooper Tire national office in Findley early in the week before the race and drove down to the shop in Delaware on Wednesday. I had the trailer connected to the RV and most of the tools and stuff loaded. When Kevin arrived we finish loading the tires, golf cart & race car and started out for New Orleans. There was a nasty storm that stretched from Mexico to New York that was a mix of rain, sleet and snow that we had to go through. Instead of going southwest we took a south route to get through the snow & ice quicker but we still drove through a bunch of rain. The RV was giving us a low coolant error so we stopped and added some bottled water to the coolant overflow bottle. Then it started giving us a check engine with no other information. We deduced that it might be water in the fuel filter since we had never drained it before. We stopped at a Pilot in the pouring rain and drained out like 6 solo cups of water/fuel and we never had another problem.

We made it far enough so we were no longer in risk of hitting below freezing temperatures and stopped at a rest area about midnight. That left us with only about 4 hours the next day so we slept in and then headed for a Waffle House for breakfast. We continued on for New Orleans and the race track and stopped for an early dinner at a Cajun buffet. We finally got to the track and found our reserved paddock spot with a 50amp power hookup and a water hookup, very nice. Unfortunately we forgot to bring a hose so we had to go back out to Walmart to get a couple 25ft potable water hoses and back to the track to set up.

Friday morning we registered for the test day that was 4 sessions and got the car ready to go. The Integra started but would not run over an idle. Since I had just finished downloading the ECU log we thought there was something wrong with the ECU. I cleared and re-downloaded the firmware and reloaded the calibration and restarted the engine, no change. Just then we noticed that we couldnt hear the fuel pump. We installed the fuel pressure gauge and found only 3 psi instead of the 50 psi we expected bad fuel pump. We pulled out the spare pump and had it installed fairly quickly and made the 2nd session in time for 4 laps. This was all done in 35 degrees with plenty of wind horrible conditions to work on the car.

The engine now ran great but Kevin said he felt something loose in the front right corner. Back in the paddock we found the front right Koni 2812 shock had lost pressure due to a loose end cap. As we were looking at the shock the whole piston came out and gushed fluid everywhere. At that point we thought we were done for the weekend. With a bunch of help from Lee at Koni, and borrowed ATF fluid from OPM we got the cylinder all back together, but we had no way of pressurizing the gas side of the shock to 230psi. We reinstalled it in time for Kevin to go out for the fourth session and put new Hoosier S tires on the car for tempering. The shock held together but it was very soft and bouncy. After getting back to the paddock we decided to fill the gas side of the shock 75% full of oil to reduce the softness of the shock but still maintain some cushion for high impact bumps. We had to wait for qualifying tomorrow to see if that would work. By this time the temp got up to around 50 and the wind had died which felt pretty good.

That evening Diane flew from Columbus and Carrie flew from San Antonio. They cabbed together from the airport to the track about 11:30pm and we all hit the sack.

Saturday morning was much warmer and it turned out to be a beautiful day. Our qualifying session was at 9:40 and we were anxious to see if the shock was going to allow us to get any decent lap times at all. To our surprise we did pretty well with a 1:45.899 which put us on the FP pole and in 2nd place overall behind a very fast EP car. After qualifying we added fuel, rotated the last years R tires, and bled the brakes.

That afternoon we went out for our 30 minute race which lasted 16 laps. Kevin had some problems with the EP cars which are very fast in the straights but hold him up in the corners. He actually fell back to 7th position and just in front of the 2nd position FP car driven by Ken Kannard before pulling away from the other cars into 3rd overall. Kevin pulled out and away from the rest of the pack and turned in a 1:54.828 which was nearly a second faster than the current FP track record. He went on to win the race with a margin of nearly 2 minutes on the second place car driven by Paul Kullman in his Miata, and third place Mark Weber in his Miata. Ken Kannard, who was Kevins only real competition fell out due to transmission problems.

Our fix to the shock had worked pretty well. Although it was not 100% and Kevin had to drive differently to compensate for the bouncy shock, it was not bad. After the race we added fuel, added some more camber to the rears, bolted on the newly tempered S tires, and we were ready for tomorrows race.

Sunday was an even a more beautiful day and our race was not until 2:40 in the afternoon. We had a nice breakfast in the RV and made good use of the Yamaha golf cart to explore this great track. There were several cars that did not make it out for Sundays race but Ken Kannard was there with a wounded transmission. Kevin started third behind yesterdays EP leaders and stayed there for the whole race. He turned in 12 very consistent laps in the 1:55s as he drove the Integra to his second Majors victory of the year. He did not get to the record lap time he set the day before, but actually finished the race 20 seconds faster for the same number of laps. I got to ride with him for the victory lap which was nice because I finally got to see the far end of this very long track. Ken had to drive the last half of the race with both 2nd and 4th gears gone in his Miata, but hung on long enough to finish second in front of our paddock neighbor Kyle Baker who took third.

After the podium presentation and spraying of the Champaign we packed everything up, dumped the RV tanks, and got on the road heading for San Antonio. We had Mike Ogden, Kevins colleague at Cooper Tires ride back with us in the RV. To pay the price for the beautiful day we had to drive the entire 9 hours in the pouring rain. And just for fun, the RV started throwing the check engine code again when we got about an hour from home. We found if we slowed down it was happier. We suspect the fuel filter needs to be changed.

All in all, after working through several problems with the car and RV, it was a great start to the season.

Preparing for the race season Thursday, February 12, 2015
The National Champion FP Integra has been reassembled after they tore us down in Tech after the Runoffs. It also has new rings, new injectors, and a new "ram air" intake system. The totally new dyno tune with new sensor calibrations has been completed and it is even better than when it finished winning the Runoffs. The computer will also will be capable of sensing and taking advantage of the "ram air" at high speeds, the total effect of which is unknown since we aren't able to properly simulate it on a dyno.

We have taken the decision to convert our 1992 Honda Civic into a STL car this year. Since HP and FP always are in the same run group we never got to run both cars. With the Civic in the STL class, Kevin will be able to drive both cars on a weekend and enter both cars at the 2016 Runoffs at Mid Ohio. The STL rules allow us to install any Honda engine and we have selected a B17A1 Integra vtec to put in the car. We have all the parts on order and should be done in time to race the car at Road Atlanta in March.

Preparing for the race season Thursday, February 12, 2015
The National Champion FP Integra has been reassembled after they tore us down in Tech after the Runoffs. It also has new rings, new injectors, and a new "ram air" intake system. The totally new dyno tune with new sensor calibrations has been completed and it is even better than when it finished winning the Runoffs. The computer will also will be capable of sensing and taking advantage of the "ram air" at high speeds, the total effect of which is unknown since we aren't able to properly simulate it on a dyno.

We have taken the decision to convert our 1992 Honda Civic into a STL car this year. Since HP and FP always are in the same run group we never got to run both cars. With the Civic in the STL class, Kevin will be able to drive both cars on a weekend and enter both cars at the 2016 Runoffs at Mid Ohio. The STL rules allow us to install any Honda engine and we have selected a B17A1 Integra vtec to put in the car. We have all the parts on order and should be done in time to race the car at Road Atlanta in March.

Schedule is finally set for 2015 Sunday, February 8, 2015
After much investigating and researching races and dates we have finally come to a schedule for this year. It will be a very different year for us in that we will run 4 tracks that we have never run before to qualify the FP Integra for the Runoffs (NOLA, Texas World, High Plains, Pueblo). Even the Runoffs will be at a track we have never run (Daytona). We are planning on running the HP Civic at the Mid Ohio double Majors race the end of May unless it sells before that.