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|GETTING READY FOR 2019||Thursday, December 27, 2018|
|We are doing more work on the two time National Champion Integra than we have ever done in one off season in the past. It’s funny too because it was running better than ever when we shut it down after our last race of 2018 where we ran away from great fields of F prod cars and even beat our own track record at Mid Ohio.
Every year we make some small modifications or “fixes”, and we always make a point to add some safety improvement to the car. However this year, in addition to those, we are making some big changes.
First of all, we are just finishing a complete re-wire of the console along with a new dash. The console has more room for switches on the dash and more room for components inside. We split some functions of the switches for more convenience and brought all of the computer wiring out to terminal strips for better access. The main idea was to make it easier to understand and troubleshoot if there are any electrical issues, or if we want to make any changes or additions. We have also improved the fuse protection to allow the car to survive any minor issues and finish the race.
Second we will install a new head with better valve seal flow and new cams. We tested the cams that we got from another two time National Champion Integra that we bought last year. We will experience only minimal hp gain but the cams will allow us to make hp all the way to 8000 rpm rather than the 7000 that was our maximum in the past.
Third we will be installing Dog Gears in our Integra transmission. That includes all 5 gears, and the ring gear, which are all straight cut, to reduce energy loss. We will be using first gear in the paddock and all four other gears on the track, rather than the 2 or 3 gears we utilized with the Honda gearbox. These gears will be much more efficient at transferring energy, much faster at shifting, and will put the engine in the power band much more than in the past. Matching the rpm with the shift points on the dyno graph shows us gaining roughly 20 hp in every gear compared to before. This dog gear kit is very expensive but may be quite cheap when looking at cost per hp gained.
Lastly, if time allows in Spring, we are planning on stripping off all the graphics, repairing all the small dings, and repainting the entire car back to the orange it was supposed to be originally. We will probably employ one or two other colors with the scheme as well since we are getting pretty good at painting cars.
About the only things we are not touching is the suspension. Kevin’s spring and shock settings, stabilizers and spherical bearings, along with awesome Hoosier tires have always made us the car to catch when it comes to cornering and braking. We just needed a stronger power train to have a prayer of staying with the Prather Miatas.
Needless to say we are excited about the upcoming season.
|NOT VIR BUT STILL FUN||Monday, October 15, 2018|
|On Friday morning Kevin and I were at the shop early to get the last few things on the trailer before we left for VIR. Fortunately Kevin got some messages from friends that said that VIR was hit very hard with 8 inches of rain the night before from Hurricane Michael. Even though the weather was gorgeous there now, the river than runs next to the track was high and rising. Quickly they decided to cancel the weekend and get everyone out of the paddock before they were under water. Fortunate for us there was a race at Mid Ohio the same weekend so we continued to load and drove the rig up to the track, stopping to fill the LP gas in the RV along the way. The hot weather from the week before was gone and we were expecting highs of mid 50s and very chilly nights.
Ohio Valley Region decided to wave the late fees and actually got somewhere around 50 cars that had diverted from VIR. Since we were there before noon on Friday for a two day event we got a great paddock space at the top of the lower paddock and hooked up to a 15amp electrical outlet. We unloaded the car, put on the new Hoosiers and installed the air damn. Then we found out it was going to rain so we put the car back into the trailer for the night. We stayed in and cooked frozen lasagna while it rained pretty much all night.
Saturday morning we were running the Club Course. It had stopped raining and started to dry up so we got the car off and got ready to go out. To our surprise even though we were in run group four the track was still slippery. To make matters worse a car blew an oil hose at the keyhole and oiled down the track which forced a black flag after just 2 hot laps. Between the cold temperatures and the short session the tires didn’t get much of a tempering. We did manage to qualify 5th out of 39 cars (1st in FP).
Saturday afternoon we ran a 20 minute race starting in 5th. Kevin quickly went to 2nd and after just 2 laps was in first. Right about then a car blew an engine at the esses to oil down more of the track. That led to a shortened race with just 4 hot laps. On the last lap Kevin finally got some open track to turn a 1:46.785 which was the fastest lap in the session by a second. It was dry but not at all sunny and quite cool. We wanted to change out the brakes on the car to test the Carbotecs that were given to us but we just couldn’t find the motivation to tear into the car in the paddock. We went to the track dinner just briefly to have a couple beers and see they were serving chili and salad – a typical lame dinner from OVR. We teamed up with the Dunns and some others and went to the Roadhouse for a great dinner – although we had to wait as usual. Even though it was not going to rain we put the car back on the trailer for safe keeping.
Sunday morning we ran the Pro course for a 10 lap qualifying race which determined the starting grid for the afternoon race by finishing position. Instead of running the new tempered tires we ran a set of used 100s/75s. Kevin finished well in front of Garret Dunn in 2nd in his STU CRX, and John Schmidt in third in his STU V6 Honda Accord. The nearest EP car was in 7th and the nearest FP car was in 15th.
Right after the qualifying race Carrie arrived with our Crew – Walter, Cora & Edwin. They loved being at the track and seeing daddy and grandpa. We fueled the Integra and swapped the tires left to right for the afternoon 13 lap race. Carrie, the kids and I all watched the race from the esses on a nice but cool day. The car was running very well and Kevin charged out in front and pulled away. He actually got very close to his best time from the 2016 Runoffs even though the track was still a bit slippery in spots from the previous oil downs. The #4 head which was optimized to 11.0 to 1 compression, along with the new timing belt tensioner had the car running very well.
After the race the Carrie & the kids left and fell asleep quickly on the way home. Kevin & I packed up, dumped the tanks and drove to the shop. We unloaded everything and headed for home. Even though we did not get to run at VIR we did learn what the changes to the engine had done and it afforded Kevin another opportunity to get in the car which is always good. It was also a great time to catch up with old friends. Bob Lawrence was there running our old ITC Civic so we helped him as much as we could.
|Big Win and new Track Record||Monday, June 4, 2018|
|We had not raced the car since the Runoffs last September since we were all pretty busy with two new babies and getting the Texas house ready to sell. Kevin and Carrie were in the throes of finding a new place to live while Kev had already started his new job with Honda Research of America. We had also made some substantial changes to the car (new head). We were not even sure we had a car to race until after the dyno session at SloMo on Monday before the race. There was good competition in the FP race with 4 National champions and 7 other great cars/drivers.
Kevin and I did the setup on the car on Wednesday night and we loaded it all up on the trailer, even though one of our scales decided not to work and the batteries in the camber gauge finally died. On Thursday I took the whole rig up to Mid Ohio and got a great spot just across the grass from the Hoosier guys. I took the Honda Elite to Mansfield to a new Mexican restaurant just for the drive on a gorgeous day. Friday morning Kevin came up and we got her ready to go out for the practice session running the tires from last years runoffs. The car ran very well and Kevin was the fastest car on the track. We were both very happy to see Carrie bring Walter and the Twins up to the track. They left before the afternoon qualifying session. In that session Kevin ran under his own track record and was on the overall pole since Joey Moser had blown his engine - until the last minute when Chima ran faster than Kevin in his Lotus Super Seven. Kevin went home to help Carrie put the kids down for the night. I took the Elite into town to Bucks Bar & Grill.
On Saturday Kevin came back up and I had the car mostly ready to go. I took a couple sticker 100s to Hoosier Tire Midwest and they mounted and balanced them for us. We bled the brakes and put on a set of new Hoosiers so we could temper them for use in Sundays race. Carrie and the kids showed up and we all went to the esses to watch daddy qualify. Since he was tempering tires he went out last and did slow laps to load heat into the tires gradually. In his last lap we took the pole briefly until both Super Sevens went faster. Grandma and Sheryl arrived just after noon and we all played with the babies.
The race was at 3:30pm and we were all ready for it. At the start of the race Chima immediately accelerated when the pace car pulled off and then jammed on the brakes in the middle of the carousel. This was related to me by several drivers who were pretty upset about it because it nearly caused some severe accidents. However, it worked for him because he jumped out to a heavy lead. Most people wondered why he thought he had to do that since his qualifying lap was the better part of a second faster than Kevin’s. Kevin was in only 2nd gear and the transmission popped out of gear when Chima brake checked the field. Then he had difficulty finding the right gear at such a slow speed. He fell back to 7th in the field. As he has done so many times before he charged back through the field to get to 3rd behind Chima and Campbell. We were all surprised that Chima did not pull away from Campbell but for some reason he kept falling back to stay close to Charley. Just as Kevin got close to the leaders Chima’s British vehicle had mechanical problem which took him out of the race. With Just Charley left, Kevin stood on it. He made up over 10 seconds in the last few laps and would have easily taken the lead but for a gaggle of B-Spec cars. Kevin finished less than a second behind Charley. Third place was taken by John Walker in his Super Seven followed by Bednarz and then Gallagher in our old Integra.
Grandma and Aunt Sheryl took Edwin and Cora back home while Kev, Carrie, Walter & I went to the dinner at the Honda Pavilion. After Kevin & Carrie left I was by myself so I took the Elite out for a ride on a beautiful evening.
Sunday morning I fueled the car and removed the windshield to fix the non-working tachometer. Kevin and family arrived and we waited to see what the weather was going to do. At Lunchtime the skies opened up and it poured hard for a few minutes. Fortunately it stopped raining and Race group 5 ran and dried up the track. Our race started pretty much clear completely. After the pace lap Chima in his surprisingly fast Super Seven pulled off, supposedly due to some mechanical problem, although he appeared to be running fine. Several of the drivers speculated if the Data Box installed in his car before the race had anything to do with his decision to drop out…….. Kevin followed Campbell for 6 laps before getting a good run on him going into the keyhole turn. By that time our tires were coming in and getting faster and Charley’s were starting to go away. So much so that Kevin broke his own track record in the 14th lap and won the race by a 14 second gap.
It was a fantastic weekend. The car was excellent, the driver was excellent, the weather cooperated nicely, and the babies were all very happy and had fun.