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Another great 924 weekend

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Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:53 am    Post subject: Another great 924 weekend Reply with quote

Thank you to all my SCCA friends who encouraged me and kept me from throwing in the towel after after so much adversity. I don't want to do it that way again, but labor day 2016 will be a memory I cherish forever. Special thanks to the following. Drew and Steve Strickland
-there are no classier folks in the paddock. Martin Burk whose mechanical know how and calm demeanor helped me get back in the game. Jeff Janoska, who should have been in the fight, but leant a hand along with his son Nicolas. And most of all Jonathan B. Kinberg who was with me every step of the way. I'm a very rich man.

A friend asked me about the weekend, here's what I wrote. If some of this sounds a little pedantic, remember I wrote it for a friend who knows very little about racing.

It was some weekend. We got there late because among other things Zubie got another eye infection and we took her to the vet. The car was fast in practice but the motor mount broke and parts were somewhere on the track. It took Jonathan and I about 6 hours to get it out and jam the parts together so it would work as a motor mount. I went out to qualify on Saturday and the car was great I was the fastest among everyone but the one guy who has run some pro races. But the exhaust broke, probably due to the motor mount failure the previous day, so I spent another 3-4 hours under the car trying to fix that.

The Saturday race was going great. The car was so good I could stay with the front pack driving at 9/10ths. They were racing each other through every corner and all lapping more slowly. My plan was to attack late, around lap 6 out of 12. I slowed up because it looked like the group in front of me was about to wreck. My friend Kevin took advantage and got on the inside of me for the next turn. That was fine, but the guy behind him made a poor decision and thought he could make it through too. He slammed right into my front right wheel, bent it back around 25 deg, trashed the fender and ruined a race tire.

I came in and was furious, but that's racing. Thankfully, he was amazingly apologetic. No stewards inquiry, no two hour "trial by gopro". He took 100% responsibility, and came over with his father to help fix the car. Way beyond what is expected. Total class act, really impressive.

Other than the fender the damage looked minor. But it took us 4 hours to get the strut out of the car. First we thought it just moved. Nope, then we thought it was just damaged at the bottom. When we finally got it out we realized it was bent. And to make matters worse I forgot to take the tension off the spring so when I took it out parts went flying. The top insert for the camber plate spherical bearing was nowhere to be seen. I went over to the dinner, covered in filth from head to toe looking for Chuck when another friend saw the broken strut in my hand and said "Hey, I might have one like that".

He did.

He loaned it to me and we had all sorts of discussions about if it would fit, and how it was slightly different, but one guy I really trust said we could make it work. But there were missing parts, other problems, and I was totally exhausted from trying to fix three major issues in two days. I called it a night and honestly thought about throwing in the towel, but I figured I'd decide when I got up.

The next morning we looked at all the parts and decided we might be able to make it work. There were 10-12 people all trying to help out. When we jacked up the other side of the car just to see what the strut should look like the piece we spent hours looking for the previous night magically appeared. I couldn't make qualifying, but I made it out for the shorter "Qualifying" race and started last out of 16.

With no test time and nothing but a quick check of the alignment I took the first laps real easy. But the car felt OK so I started moving up and wound up 8th. The car was difficult to drive in left hand turns because the only tire I had to replace the ruined race tire was the best of a two year old practice set with 25+ heat cycles that I intended on leaving in a dumpster. But I actually had a decent lap so I was sixth on the grid for the big Monday race.

My start was ok, but I got pushed so wide I had to back off and by the end of the first lap I was back in 11th. The track started to get really slippery and that's when things got interesting.

I think a lot of us had our tire pressures too high. There's a complicated science to it. But the basic idea is that you want the tires to be at a certain pressure when they get up to race temperature. Too low and they won't get to the proper temperature, not be sticky, and slow the car in the corners. Too high and the car starts sliding too much, the tires overheat and get even more slippery, and the cycle gets worse unless you back off. The day was relatively cool, but because the sun had been beating on the track for 8-9 hours and the track got hot. The effect was everyone's car became harder to drive with every lap.

I haven't seen the video yet because I had to borrow my friends camera, but it was a war. I just kept pushing. It was a freaking bear to drive, the car was on the ragged edge all the time. I made some passes, but half the spots I picked up were from guys spinning off or just cooking their tires. One got a flat, and another broke a wheel bearing. About four laps from the end I made a pass and couldn't see anyone else ahead. I had no idea what position I was in until in an effort to break contact with the guy behind me I started to see the leaders. Even if I could find more speed there weren't enough laps left to catch them. I cruised home to third. On the podium. As satisfying as either of my wins.
Hayes Lewis
1979 924 FP/DP Bibi
1979 924 ITB #6 "Pam"
1990 Miata "Blossom"
2007 Armada
2014 Hyundai Elantra

19?? Cheap Chinese Pedicab with a 1.2HP electric motor "The MULE"
Multi Use Lazy-ass Electric vehicle
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Rasta Monsta  

Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 11373
Location: PacNW

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toofah King Bad
  • Shaggy (1980 931) - Got Boost?
  • Red (1987 924S) - Pro44/Spec944
  • Weiße Scheiße (1987 924S) - In Progress
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Joined: 21 Jan 2005
Posts: 8044
Location: Romania

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasta Monsta wrote:

Ruby-sh 924
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Joined: 29 Jul 2001
Posts: 8164
Location: Royal Oak, MI, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations again.

While it's all well and fun to have clean, undramatic weekends at the racetrack... it's these edge-of-disaster, come-from-behind kind of weekends that really make racing so rewarding.

You can't have the same highs, unless you slog through the lows to get there.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Good Job.
Vaughan Scott
'79 924 #77 ITB racecar
'82 931 Plat. Silver
#25 Hidari Firefly P2 sports prototype
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Qik Nip  

Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Posts: 128
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great racing story! It takes a lot to dig in and make that serious repair after this kind of incident. Having track freinds who can encourage us to dig in can make all the difference!
'79 NA 924 Land Speed Car
Bonneville G/CPRO record @ 149.825MPH
Arkansas Mile G/CPRO record @ 138.0 MPH
Great Lakes SCCA SM points champion '09,'10,'11
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