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|Kevin wins ARRC race in a EP BMW||Thursday, November 11, 2021|
|It has been 5 years since we have been to Road Atlanta and 10 years since we have attended the American Road Race of Champions there. We used to go every year back when it was considered the National Championship for regional Classes, and we won it several times in several of our race cars. Kevin & I also shared driving at the 3-hour enduro there three times which was great fun. So needless to say, we both love that track, but it’s a bit of a long tow.
This year was a little different for both of us. A friend asked Kevin to drive his E Production BMW at the ARRC to prove it was a fast competitive car in EP. Kevin had never driven a rear-wheel-drive car in a race before. He had driven my NSX on track but not in a race. It was quite a bit heavier and with 80+ more horsepower than our FP Integra. It was also different for me as we didn’t bring a car, no tools, etc. We drove down the Discovery RV pulling the Yamaha golf cart on the Sport Haven trailer.
We left Wednesday morning so we could get there in enough time to check out the car and get parked in the paddock in time for the test day on Thursday. We went over the car extensively to check for safety and we installed our favorite TeamTech 6-point harnesses. Unfortunately, it rained most of the Thursday night and all morning on Friday which defeated the purpose of Kevin driving the car. It stopped raining around noon which allowed us to get the car out for the first afternoon session at 2pm. It was good that we did because almost immediately the radiator fan broke and punctured a hole in the radiator. After just a couple laps the car started acting weird so Kevin brought it into the pits. Lucky thing he did because it was nearly out of coolant. Of course, that kept us from going out for any more test sessions that day. We decided to use JB Weld to repair what was a very simple puncture but needed to dry overnight.
The next morning, we were in group one at 8am. It was not very light out, and it was plenty cool. Kevin took the car out for a warm up lap and one somewhat fast lap (1:48.120) before he brought it back into the pits because he was seeing and smelling smoke. I looked under the hood and with the help of another guy in the pits who knew BMWs, we found a port that was missing a plug and spritzing oil all over the engine compartment. We decided it was messy but not dangerous for the engine to do another lap. Kevin took it back out and turned one fast lap(1:38.905) which qualified him in 3rd place overall and on pole for EP. Kevin knew he could go a lot faster.
Back in the paddock we found a plug for the port and cleaned up the car to get ready for the Friday 10 lap race. Kevin started in 3rd overall and stayed in 3rd while he got the feel of the car. On the 4th lap he caught and passed both cars in front of him to take first overall. He continued to pull away and get faster as the race went on, turning in a very respectable 1:35.898. That was just about a second off of the track record that was just set this year in Jesse Prather’s National Champion EP BMW.
Even though Kevin won the race and the car ran OK, he was experiencing a great deal of smoke in the cabin and out the back of the car, and the car’s throttle response was very poor due to a poor tune in the computer. At full throttle at higher rpm it was fine. We spent the rest of the day trying to find and eliminate the oil smoke and taping holes in the floorboard in an attempt to keep the smoke out of the cabin. I also installed a ducted fresh air port in Kevin’s helmet to make sure he had fresh air for breathing. We believe the differential was dripping on the exhaust which made a lot of smoke with just a little oil.
On Saturday morning we took her out for the longer 20 lap, or 40 minute race. We didn’t really know how much fuel the car used so we put more than 10 gallons in to make sure it would be ok. Our car uses about 6 gallons for a 40 minute race. Kevin started the race 2nd because in the Friday race one of the STL Miatas got a huge tow from Kevin in the draft to turn in the fastest lap of the race, and broke the STL track record. At the start Kevin blasted past the Miata before turn one and pulled away and was leading by 15 seconds when the full course yellow came out. On the 12th lap during the full course yellow Kevin pulled the car off the track because it was out of gas. They checkered the race under yellow on the next lap. Other competitors said they saw Kevin’s car spewing fuel out the back of the car during the race.
Overall, the BMW 325 was a good car, very fast, and very nimble for its size. It just needed a little tender love and care to fix a few issues to make it a reliable front running car. We would have considered buying it but we could never run it on the same weekend as out FP car, since both classes are always run together. Even though we had to work through a few issues, we had a great time. The RV was really nice in the cold rainy weather and for the trip down and back. Kevin’s ability to jump into a totally different car and drive it that well, that quick, is amazing to me.
|SECOND PLACE AT INDY RUNOFFS||Sunday, October 3, 2021|
|2021 RUNOFFS WEEK AT INDY
SATURDAY – I stopped at Lowes to get wire I would need just in case we wanted to reinstall the Race Energy. I met Kevin and family at the shop to load the trailer without moving outside and connecting the trailer. Since the Elite was not running again, we put the Honda Rebel on the trailer. We also added the spare engine up in the attic.
SUNDAY – Kevin & I hooked up the RV, tested all the lights and drove the race rig to Indy. It was really nice to have only a three hour drive to the runoffs. We arrived about noon and got through registration quickly in the gravel lot across the street. We found and set up our paddock in spots NG6 and NG7. We put the trailer in one spot and the RV in the other with the windshield facing turn 6 of the track. We unloaded the trailer and pumped all of the old fuel out of the race car. We bought 10 gallons of the runoffs fuel, Sunoco GT360 100 octane with the marker added, and used it to calibrate the fuel cell level sensor. We rode around the track talking to friends. We used the grill to cook up some sausages and watched the Packers beat the 49ers in the RV.
MONDAY – We took a set of new tires back to Tim at Hoosier that we didn’t need. We didn’t have much left to set up, so we rode around paddock and talked with people, and watched some more of the testing going on. I actually had time to read my book and took a snooze in a chair since it was such a gorgeous day. We took advantage of the shower trailer that was not far from our RV so we could save the water for our guests later in the week. That evening we went to the welcome party with great food and drinks. After eating we watched a great 10-piece band until they finished at 9pm.
TUESDAY – On Tuesday we had our first session on track but before we did anything to our car, we went to help Coyote Black do a setup on his EP Integra Type R. He had just had much of the front end suspension parts replaced and wanted our help getting it all aligned again. We put on our set of tempered qualifying tires and finally went out at 4pm and turned in a 1:53.998 for sixth place, which wasn’t bad for our first time on this track in 5 years. We were not surprised that they pulled us into impound and took a sample of our fuel. For that we waited nearly two hours – no one knew why….. The data from the AEM logger showed that the car was running hotter than usual at 246 degrees. It also showed that the alternator wire and snapped off again in about the middle of the session. We decided to pull out the alternator and re-install the Race Energy. It had just been repaired so it would no longer blow fuses at random times. We got the alternator removed before we finished for the day and cooked the enchiladas that Carrie had made for us.
WEDNESDAY – We continued work on the car early the next morning. I installed the race energy while Kevin added camber to the rear wheels and prepared for bleeding of the brakes. We discovered the front left brakes had one pad that was badly worn apparently caused by a groove cut into the rotor by a piece of gravel that got caught in the mechanism. We put new pads in that caliper only as the right side was still perfect. We finished bleeding the brakes after working through issues with the ¼” Wilwood bleed screws.
I went to talk to some experts about the engine temp being too high. Chad and Joey said they thought 246 was normal on a hot day. They occasionally experience 280 degrees. Based on that I reset the limits on the oil temp warnings & alarms and uploaded a new program into the AEM CD-7L.
After making all those changes to the car, we decided to take her out for a hardship lap about 3pm. All went well and we took her out at 4pm for our second qualifying session with the same qualifying tires. In this session we were combined with GTL which put about 60 cars on track. Kevin could not find any open track so he pulled into the pits and waited for some clear track. On his last lap he finally turned in a 1:53.413 for 3rd in the session which left him 6th overall. The car did not get as hot but we only ran a couple hot laps due to crowding on track. The softer tires in front did not yield any improvement. As I suspected the battery did not do well as it was 3 years old. I borrowed Patrick Gallaher’s car to go to a Wal Mart to get a new battery. By the time I stopped at Taco Bell and returned, the Prod Party was going strong along with other class parties around the paddock.
THURSDAY – Right away in the morning we put fuel in the car, and installed the new battery and charged it. Kevin put MS tires on all four corners to see if that would help add some grip to the car, and of course we inspected all the brakes etc.
Kevin went to the Prod Town Hall meeting at 12:30 and filled in for Sam Henry to run the meeting just as our guests started to show up. Carrie arrived with Walt, Cora & Edwin, Diane & Sheryl arrived, and Kerry and her two boys Delanie and Jace all about 12 to 1pm. I met them outside to get them through registration and give them a paddock parking pass so they could park at the RV. The five littles had a blast playing in the trailer and the race car.
We took the car out for our 3rd and last qualifying session on all medium soft tires. Kevin turned in a lap that would have been on pole on Tuesday or Wednesday but was only 4th today, a 1:51.998. The tires did a little better but almost all the cars did better with slightly cooler temperatures.
After qualifying I finally got some time to spend with the grandchildren. I took all five for a long ride on the Yamaha cart. We went to grid to watch the start of a race and toured just about everywhere. I even braved taking all 5 to the bathroom at the same time – whew. When we got done Delanie & Jace went back to Terre Haute with their mom, grandma & Sheryl. The rest of us went to the big dinner and watched the pole awards. After dinner the other three got ready for their first experience of sleeping in the RV.
FRIDAY – Since we had the day off with not much to do on the car, we spent most of the day watching races (T4, HP, Bspec). In the afternoon we all went off track to Obrien’s Pub for a nice dinner. Then Carrie & the kids went to a hotel for a good night sleep. After they left Kev & I checked out the car and started getting her ready for a possible rain race. We got out the rain windshield and coated it with our anti-fog spray.
SATURDAY – We fueled the car and got her all ready to go for a dry race, but had all of the stuff ready to switch to a wet setup quickly if needed. We watched Joey Moser win the STU race in the dry and watched him take 2nd in the STL race in the rain.
It had rained hard and was slowing but it was still spritzing at decision time. At the last minute we decided the track was wet and had not dried out much at all from the previous run group, so we put on the wet tires. All but two of the other cars made the same decision. Kevin started 4th behind Prill in his Miata, Ira in his DelSol, and Chima in his Lotus Super 7 on the pole. Kevin blasted past the rest of the group on a great start and out braked them in turn one to take the lead. He pulled away to a decent 5 second lead before the first full course yellow came out. At the restart Kevin pulled out another big lead of x seconds until the second full course yellow came out. At the restart Kevin pulled out again to stay in the lead until the fourth full course yellow was shown. By that time the track was drying quickly. Kevin tried to hunt for puddles to cool the tires while Ira was trying to heat his tires up. After the front rain tires were almost gone Ira and Workman passed Kevin for the lead and drove away on dry pavement. Kevin did an awesome job of keeping the car in a podium position even though the tires were toast. Kevin and I knew we had made the wrong call on the tires, but almost everyone else did too. Another one minute of rain during the raced, OR less full course yellows and we win. We are also pretty sure if it had just been a dry race we would have come out on top. We think we had the best car and best driver in the field.
In tech we had to pull off the exhaust and oil pan so they could inspect the connecting rods. They also made us remove the head so they could inspect the intake and exhaust ports and they measured the valve sizes. They measured a bunch of other things like wheel track as well. We went through tech with no issues but about 8pm they told us we could not take the car. It had to stay for the night because there was an action against one of the drivers. We hoped it wasn’t us.
We were beat after a long day. Fortunately, Chris Childs cooked us some sausages on his grill while we were in tech – excellent. We both slept well.
SUNDAY – While we were waiting on the car we watched other races and started packing up the trailer and RV. By about 10am we were told we were elevated to 2nd place after Workman was penalized 3 places due to several on track contacts. We know that second place at the National Championship race is pretty damn good, but it was still a loss to us, especially after last year’s loss where nobody could come close to us and our engine let go with one lap left. The good news is 1-The car ran great, 2-Kevin drove fantastic, 3-The car is ready to go race right now with no damage or issues. Next year might be a good one.
After we got the car back in paddock we packed everything up and left the track. Kevin drove the race rig back to the shop and met Carrie & the kids there to unload everything. I took my CR-V to Terre Haute to visit my daughter and her 2 kids.
|TWO BIG WINS AT MID OHIO||Tuesday, September 7, 2021|
|Ohio Valley Region September Sprints at Mid Ohio
Ok, they were not big important races, but they were important to us since we were testing not only new front suspension parts, tempering our new Runoffs tires, but also testing an entirely new engine. When we built our new engine this last winter, we bought all the parts for a second backup engine as well, and it was time to put her in and try her out. The first engine was excellent to the point of setting a track record at Watkins Glen a few weeks ago. This engine appears to be just as good even though we did not put it on the dyno yet.
We took the race rig to Mid Ohio late Friday night just in time to get to registration before it closed at 9pm. Since it was only a regional race there were only 130 entries which meant we had our pick of paddock spots. We grabbed along the fence at the top of the lower paddock so we could plug in, and because we did not have either the golf cart or the Honda Elite. The cart was still in Oshkosh and the Elite was acting up again.
One of the goals for the weekend was to get both new sets of Hoosiers tempered before the Runoffs and there were only a qualifying session and race on Saturday, and a qualifying race and longer race on Sunday. And since the forecast said there would be rain Sunday morning, we had to get both sets done on Saturday to be sure we get them done. To accomplish this, we recruited Larry Gallaghers cart to haul the tools and wheels, Matt Wolf and crew chief Paul to do front & rear wheels, Bob Lawrence to do the torquing of the wheels, and I handled the jack duties. Kevin did 4 progressively faster laps on the first set of tires and brought her into the pits. We replaced all four tires and retorqued the wheels in just over two minutes. Then Kevin put four temper laps on the second set of tires. At that point we were roughly 11th overall so Kevin did one more hot lap of 1:39.996. That lap put him in second place 5 seconds behind a GT2 car, and 2 seconds in front of the next car.
We discovered that during lunch they were going to have parade laps around the track in honor of Barry Baker who had passed this last year. That allowed Kevin to take the kids on the race track and show them the track first hand. He also got some squeal from the tires through the esses which the kids loved. Mom & Sheryl got there just in time to take the three parade laps as well.
For the race we used the old Hoosiers from Watkins Glen and Kevin started 2nd. The car ran well and he pulled away from the pack. At the end of the race Kevin had lapped all of the other cars in the run group except the GT2 car which had been moved into our run group due to only 4 cars in his original group. Kevin turned in a best lap of 1:38.512 on the club course. Carrie and the kids and mom and Sheryl all watched the race from the esses on a beautiful day.
After the race we checked over the car and found the lower alternator bolt was loose again. We tightened it and added a second nut to lock it in place. We added some fuel and rotated the tires for tomorrow. Looking at the data from the CD-7L dash display we found the car was running cool and strong, and found that the car was low on gas in the last few laps. That was shown by fuel pressure drops in the keyhole and at the end of the straight. Larry Galagher was there with our old ITA Integra running in FP as well. I had helped him install new cams in his car a few days before. He ran well but experienced some cut outs due to a loose connector on the distributor. Actually, another of our old cars was there, our 1985 Honda Civic ITC run by Bob Lawrence. Bob was having trouble with his transmission due to stripped mounting bolts. Saturday night we had the pleasure of going to the Road House with Matt & Paul and Matts parents. The food was excellent as usual.
Sunday morning everything was wet as predicted for the qualifying race. We decided not to risk the car in a wet race. Dan Hardison brought over a friend with a Honda Fit that was running in BSpec. He wanted us to check his compression ratio with our Whistler to make sure he was legal. Since it was still misting outside, we took it into one of the unused garages and checked it out. The Whistler showed exactly 10.4 as expected.
By noon it was sunny and beautiful by the time the kids arrived with Carrie. We helped load up a VW engine into Matts truck that Bob Lawrence provided. It was going to the Runoffs to another VW driver. We weren’t sure where they were going to grid us for the Sunday race since we missed the qualifying race. We found out if you did not do that race, they gridded you at the back in the order you showed up. Somehow that put us dead last, 25th. He had passed about half the group by the time he got to the esses on the first lap and all of the group, including the GT cars by the third lap. It was funny to see him pass the Panoz Roadster and the Corvette cars so easily. However, since he started at the back of the pack, he did get lapped by the GT2 car driven by Scott Rettich just before the checker flag. He turned in a 1:36.79 on the pro course.
We were very glad we did this race since it broke in the new engine, and confirmed all was well with the car. And we now have a brand new, tempered, strong set of Hoosiers for qualifying at the Runoffs, and another set just for the race. We still are going to try to get the car into SloMotion to put the car on the dynamometer to make sure it is optimally tuned. And best of all, the kids got to see daddy race at Mid Ohio once gain on a beautiful day.
|TRACK RECORD AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL||Sunday, June 20, 2021|
|We set the F Production track record at Watkins Glen 8 years ago which was the last time we had been there. Two years ago, Charley Campbell took it away from us so we wanted to go back and see if we could regain it. The Integra was as good as it ever was with its new engine, completely rebuilt fuel, cooling, and brake systems. We were also anxious to try out the new residential refrigerator in the Discovery RV. Our competition would be good this weekend with Charley Campbell (the current track record holder) in his Miata, and Craig Chima, (the current National Champion) in his Lotus Super 7, along with a few others.
We drove up to Watkins on Thursday just after noon and arrived about 6:30 on a gorgeous evening. I had forgotten how gorgeous the middle of New York was. We got through registration and express tech and found a great paddock spot on pavement with a water and a 50amp electrical hookup. We had done a detailed setup on the car the week before we left so it was ready to go. We went to get some race fuel and noticed they did not have the 100octane unleaded fuel we normally use. They had 100octane unleaded but it had ethanol which has less energy than gasoline. They also had 112 Octane leaded without ethanol but we are trying to avoid lead as it messes up the Oxygen sensors on our car. We decided on 112 even though it was leaded and was quite different than our normal 100octane. It was fun to watch the AEM Dash as the AEM infinity modified the tune and corrected for the new fuel automatically.
We had not been in group one for many years. It seems to be reserved for SRF and Spec Miata these days, but we were in group one this weekend so we were the first group out every day. Friday morning at 8am we went out for the practice session. We put on a set of new Hoosiers to temper them so we could use them for the races on Saturday & Sunday. Also, since Kevin had not been there for 8 years it was a good session to get reacquainted with the track. He went out late and went slow for the first couple laps to properly temper the new tires. He turned in a 2:12.483 which was well off our previous best lap of 2:09.111, but it was good enough for 3rd overall and the fastest FP lap. At 12:50pm we went out for our first qualifying session on the tires we had used for both races at Mid Ohio last month. Kevin went faster with a 2:10.684 which was still FP pole and 2nd overall behind a very fast EP car. Second in class was Charley with a 2:11.411 and Chima did a 2:12.463. We made several adjustments to the car’s toe and camber to try to improve its handling characteristics.
The next morning on Saturday we went out for our second qualifying session and I didn’t expect Kevin to go much faster but he did. He was again on the used tires from Mid Ohio and he turned in a 2:09.720. As expected Chima turned in a good lap of 2:10.622, and Campbell improved to a 2:11.008.
Before the race we made more adjustments to improve handling, and bolted on the new tires we had tempered on Friday. At the green flag Kevin blasted out in front and ran away from the pack, with the exception of the one EP car driven by John Hainesworth in his Mazda RX-7, who drove away from us. The car was running and handling as good as it ever has. Kevin kept his eye on the AEM dash which continuously shows him how his current lap compares with his best lap of the weekend, either plus or minus. That is the feature he loves the most about the AEM system. That number told him the car was not quite up to maximum performance for the first couple laps. On the third lap it showed him he was ahead of his best lap and getting faster. He knew that in another lap or so he would start to catch a gaggle of BSpec and HP cars that he would have to drive around. As the lap progressed, he saw his time continue to improve. By the last couple of corners, he knew he was up on the track record so he stood on it. As he crossed the start/finish line he radioed in saying “New Track Record”. He also said “I won’t be able to do that one again!!” He had turned in a 2:08.412 which took 1.3 seconds off his best lap of the weekend, and more than a half second off Charley’s track record. After that lap he started to catch lappers and because he was well ahead, he slowed down to laps in the 2:10s and 2:11s. In the 8th lap he felt the all to familiar feeling of a tire going down. Rather than destroy the tire and all evidence as to why it went down, he pulled off early and out of the way of the race going on. Hoosier took the tire and inspected it, then took it with them for a more thorough inspection back at the factory.
We immediately started working on the car to get it ready for the Sunday morning race. We noticed a wiggle in the left front knuckle which had been on the car for quite a while. I pulled out the spare and installed it fairly quickly while Kevin went to Hoosier and arranged to have a set of 215 wide tires mounted to try in the race tomorrow. At this point we were willing to try anything to keep our tires from going down and costing us wins. When Kevin went to loosen the left front camber adjuster it loosened and then would not move. It wouldn’t loosen and come off, or tighten up to allow us to run. We seriously considered finding someone who could weld it in place so we could race tomorrow but getting it is position to be anywhere close to the correct amount of camber would be near impossible. We also were concerned about the safety of such a move, and then it started to rain. The radar showed us that a lot of rain was coming soon so we quickly packed everything into the trailer to go home. Rather than wait around all night we decided to get on the road. We drove close to Cleveland before we pulled into a rest area and slept the night. We woke up at 6am and continued on to the shop. We quickly unloaded and headed home.
So having finished neither race of the event, it sounds like a total bust weekend, but we didn’t see it that way. We didn’t need the wins to qualify for the Runoffs, and actually since Honda quit doing contingency awards (Due to Covid……?) we didn’t see any advantage in winning. Charley on the other hand got $600 for each win from Mazda – so why are we not running a Mazda again???? We were very happy that the car ran so well, and that we identified problems with the knuckle and camber adjuster that were going to get us later if we didn’t find them now. To get right down to it, we were actually much happier to have the track record – which may be there long enough for Kevin’s son to have to break it.
Update: Turns out, the two knuckles we had been carrying around as spares for the last couple years were not correct. They were very close and would install, but would not allow the proper camber on this car. We have since got two correct knuckles, rebuilt them completely and put them in the spares compartment of the trailer.
|BIG WIN AT MID OHIO||Sunday, May 23, 2021|
|With all that we had done to the car we needed to get some test time so we opted to take it to the Test Day on the Friday before the Mid Ohio Majors race. We had changed out all four shocks to the spares and changed the spring rate on all four corners as well. The test day was not cheap so we hesitated but it turned out to be very beneficial. There were 3 sessions in the morning and four in the afternoon so we got plenty of time to test. Turns out the small bore run group was full (with a waiting list) so Kevin convinced them that we could easily run in the Big Bore group. That was very nice as we were not hindered by a bunch of slow ass HPs or Bspec cars.
The first session at 9am we just went out to see how the car was running with older tires, and it ran fine. We got in 5 hot laps and turned a 1:39.953. In the second session at 10am we put on some new Hoosiers and tempered them in 5 hot laps and turned a 1:38.581 – very close to our best lap there. In the third session at 11am we put the used tires back on and ran 7 hot laps before bringing her in to get tire pressures and temperature data. Our fastest lap was 1:38.903. While we were getting tire data the car died in the pits for no reason and would not restart until we rebooted the Infinity. That was very puzzling……. In our fourth session after lunch at 1pm we ran 5 hot laps and turned in a 1:40.537 as the tires started to go away and it got hotter outside. The car stopped again and had to be towed in because the entire car was dead. The only thing that could cause that was popping the main 200amp breaker that we had installed on the battery. We missed the fifth session as we looked for a problem. We found the cable from the new alternator to the starter (battery) had popped off and grounded itself to pop the big 200 amp breaker. We were very happy we had installed that breaker and think everyone should put one of those in. We reattached the cable (very tightly) and went out for the fifth session at 2pm and the six session to test her out. It worked fine.
While fighting the electrical problems we managed to get a fair amount of tire data, but we were still fighting a car that did not want to turn after the tires got warm. This was due to us not being able to get the proper tires in the harder compound that we always ran. Hoosier quit making them since we were the only ones asking for them.
On Saturday we took her out for the one and only qualifying session at 9am. We went to grid early to try to get in front of the many Bspec and HP cars and it worked. In our third of eight hot laps, right before we started hitting lappers, we turned in a 1:38.841 which turned out to be the fastest lap of the entire run group for the whole weekend. The car ran great and was continuing to run cooler than last year. Our visitors showed up right before lunch. Diane & Sheryl drove up with grandson Drew and his friend Peyton. Carrie also arrived with Walt, Cora & Ed. We waited to put the wheels back on until the kids were there to help.
The Saturday 15 lap race started at 1:45pm in about 86 degree sunny day. Kevin started on pole with Chima and Bednarz right behind. Kevin took the lead and held it for the first three laps until they caught up with the Bspec cars. One of them pulled out in front of Kevin to block him which allowed Chima to get close enough in the keyhole to get a draft off Kevin on the back straight and make the pass at the end of the straight. Kevin stayed very close to Chima while negotiating the myriad of Bspec and HP cars. Finally in the last two laps the car quit running. Kevin just turned the ignition off, and back on, to make the car go again. It happened several times and he finished the race in 2nd place. Turns out the cable we had re-terminated had broken again and was bouncing on ground and shutting off the Infinity. This time we used two 12 gauge wires terminated properly to go from the alternator to the starter (battery). In addition to the electrical issues the car was still not turning the way we wanted. We took the car into one of the many unrented garages to do a complete setup without scales. We actually set 1/8” toe out on both rear wheels to try to help the car turn. We also decided to install the spare Wilwood front brake pads as the current ones were down to about 3/16”. Because we had new pads we decided to go out for the practice session at 8am. Two laps were all we needed to smooth out the new pads.
Sunday morning Diane, Sheryl, Carrie & the kids all came up on a gorgeous day. Kevin was still on pole since no one went faster than his qualifying lap. He jumped put to an early lead and stayed there. By the end of the race he was up by 32 seconds on the car in 2nd overall. The toe out in the rear actually helped quite a bit.
After everyone left we drove away from the paddock spot without doing a walk -around to check everything, not a good idea…..
|CAR RUNS WELL AT PITTRACE||Wednesday, May 5, 2021|
|Hoosier Super Tour at Pittsburg International Race Complex
Great Fun at PittRace
We had a good test day the week before at Mid Ohio, but there were still a few more modifications to the car we wanted before we loaded her up to drive to Pittrace on Thursday Apr 29. We removed the residual valve from the front brake circuit since we did not believe we needed it any longer with the addition of the Wilwood system. The capacitance fuel level probe was working but needed to be calibrated. We also installed the new small 55amp alternator with the stock upper bracket and a custom lower bracket and a new belt. We got the oil & filter changed in the Onan generator since it had not been changed in 4 years, but we don’t use it very much.
We packed up in the rain and drove to PittRace in the rain most of the way. When we arrived we found one of the last spots left on the front straight just before turn 1. Pitt is unique in that they do not have any on-grass paddock. It is all on paved area. Since it was raining and cold, we left everything in the trailer but we did take off the Yamaha to go to registration and express tech. We didn’t have Carrie and the lids along but we did have some of Carries cooking. We fired up the oven and popped in Carries enchiladas.
Friday morning we had a practice session at 10am. The car ran fine for about 4 laps and then died. Kevin coasted to a stop off the track and got flat towed in after waiting for 12 minutes after the black flag cleared the track. It turned out that the Race energy blew both fuses which shut down the car. The TDC30 has a bug in it where it blows fuses if it sees a voltage surge which we knew about but had not gotten fixed yet. For the next session which was our first qualifying session we turned off the TDC30 which we thought would fix the problem for now – it didn’t. It still blew both fuses after just the out lap. It was apparent the TDC30 didn’t like the alternator we had installed so we removed it completely from the circuit. That is not a terribly hard thing to do but it was about 45 degrees and very windy – down right nasty. After making the change I drove her around the paddock to make sure all was good.
Saturday morning we had arranged for a hardship lap to test the car on track and it ran fine. That afternoon we had the last qualifying session and they gridded us 30th. I told Kevin we just needed one lap to get us anywhere near the front. Unfortunately, that is what we got – just one hot lap, in very slow HP and Bspec traffic before they black flagged it again. That lap was pretty bad but it put us in 10th overall and 5th in F Production. For the 13 lap race that afternoon Kevin started 10th and proceeded to work his way towards the front. He passed 5 cars to get to 5th overall and 4th in class. The engine ran very well but the brakes were spongey and the car didn’t want to turn. After we got her up on jack stands we found the rear brakes were worn pretty bad, and we found the left rear hub was flopping around pretty bad. We replaced the hub, the rear rotors and the rear pads. We also completely replaced all of the brake fluid just to make sure that wasn’t the problem. After putting her back down on the ground we found the front wheels were toed out (not good), and the rears were toed out but not enough. We set the fronts just barely in, and the rears out more. We had to reset the rear toe adjuster which was at its limit. The AEM log confirmed that the car was running well and much cooler than last year. That night we went to visit the Prill and Prather paddock for beers and discussions. We had some brats and more enchiladas and made use of the track showers since the water pump in the RV was not happy.
Sunday morning the weather finally was good and we started the 17 lap race in 7th overall and 5th in class. The car ran well again and the brakes and handling were much improved. Kevin passed the EP Honda S2000 and went after Charley Campbell’s Miata for 4th. After passing Charley he quickly caught up to Mason Workman’s Miata. Mason tried his best not to be passed but Kevin got a run and passed him after turn 1. That put Kevin on the podium and within reach of Prill in 2nd. He narrowed the gap down to a couple seconds but could not get any closer due to tons of traffic. Also, the PittRace track does not favor our car. It has 19 mostly short slow turns which the Miatas like. Our car likes long, high speed turns. Kevin finished 4th overall and 3rd in FP behind Chima in 1st and Prill in 2nd. The overall winner was Jesse Prather in his BMW EP car. The FP podium contained 5 of the last 10 National Championships.
Friday and Saturday were not a lot of fun and Sunday was a bit of a disappointment BUT with all we had done to the car and on a brand new engine, it felt very good to finish all 30 race laps. The last time we had finished both races was at Mid Ohio last June. Once again the AEM log confirmed the engine was running very happy and cool although we still have the TDC30 issue, the Fuel level calibration, and a bad coolant temperature probe to fix. We loaded everything up and were back at the shop just after 5pm in time to unload and meet the family at a sports bar for dinner. Hopefully we have most of the Gremlins exorcised before our nest outing at Mid Ohio, where we will have all of the family with us.
|Car Runs Great at Test Day||Saturday, April 24, 2021|
|We took the car the Mid Ohio on April 22nd for a twilight test and tune to test all the things we did to the car. It was a long list but here are just the big items:
ENGINE – We built two new engines with new lightweight and strong “H” connecting rods with CP pistons & rings, Moroso race pan, ACL improved oil pump, ACL race bearings, ATI harmonic dampener, new Ferrea valves, all new coils, wires & connectors, and new Oxygen sensors.
FUEL – We cleaned the fuel cell and replaced the fuel cell foam after 10 years, replaced the in-line fuel filter, installed a new in-tank fuel pump & strainer and got rid of the external pump, re-routed some of the piping, installed a fuel level probe in the cell, re-connected the vent circuit and installed all new injectors, wires & connectors, and we have switched to 100 octane unleaded race fuel.
COOLING – We replaced the radiator & fan, all hoses, water pump, and installed a 165 degree race thermostat.
BRAKES – We replaced the entire front brake system with new flex hoses, new Wilwood 2-piece rotors, and new 4 piston aluminum calipers.
AEM DASH DISPLAY – We completely reprogrammed the display to include the new systems and to match with the firmware version of the software. We also installed an AEM 22-channel CAN enabled sensor input module to support current and future data gathering.
CHARGING SYSTEM – We designed and fabricated a small race alternator system to charge the battery with minimal weight gain and power draw from the engine.
The first session we just wanted to go slow and see if everything was ok. We also wanted to temper a set of new Hoosiers which also worked with going slow. We experimented with filling these new tires with Nitrogen to try to reduce the pressure buildup when the tires get hot. Initially we experienced severe vibration under braking, Kevin thought it was just new pads and rotors and he was right. After a few more laps it smoothed out. The car ran well and we got the tires tempered even though it was only 45 degrees outside.
The second session we used some tires from last year and the car ran well again. Kevin came within a tenth of a second of his best lap ever on the Club course.
The third session we ran the pro course and again Kevin came within a tenth of a second of his best lap ever on that track.
Certainly three 20 minute session doesn’t test everything, but it gave us a good enough feeling to think it is ready to race at PittRace next weekend.
|GETTING READY FOR A NEW YEAR||Sunday, January 31, 2021|
|The year 2020 wasn't a great year but we certainly learned a whole lot from it. We now have a much more reliable dog box transmission that is easier to shift and drive. We have installed new Wilwood brakes on the front wheels which should reduce our brake costs and make the brakes more consistent. We have rebuilt the cooling system with a new radiator and new hoses, and a 165 degree thermostat to keep the engine cooler. We have rebuilt the fuel system with a new fuel pump with improved piping, new filter, new foam, and a fuel level sensor in the fuel cell. We have built an engine that is as strong as last years engine but with an improved oil pump, lighter stronger connecting rods, new race oil pan, and a harmonic balancer that will strip out all the nasty vibrations that can make things go bad. Also, we are building a backup engine so we will always be able to race if we have any kind of engine problem.
We have a simple goal this year - WIN EVERYTHING - culminating with the Super Sweep award just like we won back in 2010.