NASA Race – Summit Point – April 2009



hey guys!  here is the race report from last weekend’s races at Summit Point — it was mid to high 90s, and sunny, with no clouds; dreadfully hot both days, but Sunday was totally brutal (sat race = 25 mins, sun’s race = 40 mins).

both days were good racing, but sunday’s race was incredible; it is by far the toughest race i have ever been in. it was 40 mins of non-stop, knock down, drag-out action, with three of us in the melee mix. i was PRAYING for the white flag to fly! from the drop of the green, til the checker finally came out, there was not a second of rest or relaxation….

scott’s (2nd place white SE-R in PTE) video footage is impressive to watch! at times we were splitting lapped cars and were running three abreast (me, scott, and darren (blue PTE integra driver)). darren was forced off the track at least once by a miata, and once he went on the grass intentionally on the front straight to pass a log-jammed miata pack (all i could see in the rear view was a monster cloud of dust!).    oh, and at the start of the race, i am gridded next to a PTD Miata MX-5 Playboy Cup car (should be much faster than us PTE’ers).  i get a good start and take him and lead the whole pack for a lap, and then he misses a shift and grenades his motor (it was his first test day ever in the car!!!!!). 

the track was disintegrating really badly, due to the extreme heat and the patches were melting and tearing up; off-line was treacherous, and i almost lost it a couple of times when i misjudged the ‘marbly areas’….   i had to constantly watch my mirrors and protect the inside line, to keep the SE-R from slipping by me and into the lead!  even with that terrible track (most classes were turning laps 1.5 to 2 seconds slower than the track record) we got down to within 0.4 secs of the track record (i hold the record at 1:27.110).  if it had been a ‘good’ track and cool weather, i’d have been in the high 1:25s, i am confident of that!).

holy cow, that was some racing! when i was packing up, several groups of folks came by to say that it was one of the most exciting races that they had ever seen, and that they were happy that they had stayed to watch, instead of leaving for home!

here is the 2nd place PTE SE-R’s incar footage:

Sunday’s Race at Summit Point 1 of 4

i can’t wait for the next round (hyperfest at summit point) in june!!!!
PS  that white sentra se-r is gonna really be tough to beat;  he’s got better power to weight than i do, he weighs a lot less (about 250 lbs), and he is running fresh hoosiers every race (that was the 13th race for my used toyos!).

NASA Race – VIR – March 2009

wow, what an amazing weekend of racing at VIR last weekend!  i’ve got stories and vids from both sat and sun, so here goes:
arrived late friday afternoon;  it was raining heavily at VIR friday all day….  unloaded the car, and set up camp (fun fun in the rain!).
sat morning, the rain had stopped, except for occasional light mist.  track was damp everywhere, but it was not raining.  i skipped practice (i wanted to save tires and brakes, and i am mucho familiar with VIR, and had been there twice in the last 4 weeks).  qualifying presented a damp track;  i went out with the ‘dry’ setup on the car (very worn Toyo RA-1s;  this was their 10th race).  it was very slippy and treacherous, but i was in my element!  i qualified very well, up in the front.  got back to the trailer, and proceeded to wait (it was 3 hours til race time).  and wait.  and wait!   zero rain fell, but the clouds were swirling around….  i got the car ready for jacks and waited some more (i had my hoosier radial wets aired up and ready to throw on).  with one hour to go, still the same.  no rain, and the track was drying up very nicely…  with 30 mins to go, still dry, and no rain.  guys that had iPhones or some other wireless communications were saying that it was supposed to rain right in the middle of our race (but then again, what do the weathermen know???).  harper, scott, wade (all guys in my PTE class;  all driving SE-Rs), and i were paddocked close together, and we just couldn’t decide what to do…  harper, scott, and wade had intermediate tires (Toyos with good tread) that they could use, but they didn’t want to run them if it was going to be dry….  i had only very bald Toyos for dry, or Hoosier radial wets for rain…  15 mins til post time, i went up to the false grid and proceeded to belt up;  i had chosen to go with my full dry setup (stiff settings on shocks, big stiff rear bar, disconnected front bar, worn Toyo RA-1s)  see pic below for an idea of how worn the Toyos are (pic of left front tire):
harper, scott, and wade decided to go with drys, too! 
i did a quick ‘prowl around’ on the grid;  most of the other folks had chosen to go with dry setups, but a small percentage had gambled on rain and gone with a wet setup…
the ‘new guy’, dave, in the accord had a fairly fresh set of Hankooks on the car.  Eric Roper had full tread RA-1s bolted up.
they gave the 5 min, the 3 min, and the 1 min.  still no rain!  out went the pacecar with all of us in tow (there were ALOT of cars — 71 started).  and then???? — it began to sprinkle on the pacelap!  !!!!!!!!  and i knew then, that the game was on!  by the time we came around for the green flag, the track was already damp, and my rain-x’d windshield was streaming along nicely…  i dropped the hammer, and did what i think is the best driving i have ever done in a race:
i was driving as hard as i possibly could, without going off the track.  there was little to no grip in parts of the track;  mud was being dragged on by all the cars going off, and was spread like peanut butter across some areas (yum, Skippy!!!).   i like to think of myself as a ‘Rainman’;  i pride myself on my car handling skills and abilities, and i put my head down and went as swiftly as i could….  i searched for grip, i avoided puddling water and ‘peanut butter’ when i could.  i kept my eyes glued to the corner stations (folks were going off EVERYWHERE and getting stuck in the mud/hitting barriers).  most of all, i was letting the car run, and keeping the wheel open as much as possible, and being as gentle on all the controls as i possibly could…  just let it run, and slip, and move where it wanted to, without disturbing the car (and staying on the track, of course!).  well, i was moving along nicely, 1st in class and i think 2nd overall (behind a GTS-2 car on wets), with harper behind me in the beginning, and dave in the accord right on my Six for much of the second half of the race (til he got caught up in traffic near the end).  about 1/2 way thru the race, a small bore honda blew its motor right at the top of rollercoaster, and dropped its entire load of oil there….  i saw the slippery flag, and slowed to what i thought was an appropriate pace (boy was i wrong!).  almost spun, but stayed on track…  many many many cars spun, and continued to spin there!  every time i came around, and was approaching that area, i had to say ‘go SLOW!!!’;  even 15 mph seemed too fast!   anyway, the race was only scheduled for 25 mins, and i knew it was winding down…  all along, though, the rain had been picking up and getting heavier, and my car was definitely aquaplaning in the high speed areas, and skipping over little rivulets, etc.  i just stayed on the power, and let the car slide on through.  with only a couple of laps to go, i came up on a HUGE stream of traffic;  i mean, it looked like rush hour in LA from the bridge up to the top of South Bend (and beyond, as it turned out!).  i don’t think i’ve ever passed that many cars in one lap!!!!   on the last lap, approaching Oak Tree, i saw the lead Spec E30 guys coming up quick;  they were in the middle of an amazing duel (both of them had chosen wets).  they split me in the brakezone above roller coaster, in almost perfect unison!!!!   i continued to take the checker, 1st in class, 4th overall. 
and here is the footage for sun’s race:
it was dry and sunny;  totally the opposite of sat’s race!  i had had a poor qualifying session (got caught up in traffic, and accidents in front of me, and yellows) and as such i had qualified back in the pack.  i knew i had to put my head down and drive 105% the entire time (40 minute sprint race).
i ‘got R done’;  and if you watch the vid, you’ll see it was pretty much all in the brake zones, and in bravery through some of the faster parts…  i was running the same totally burned down Toyo RA1s (they are totally smoked now!!!);  the guys in front were on fresh hoosiers and Z214s;  remember, we are all running the same width tire (225), but those SE-Rs are allowed to be as light as 2410 lbs (i’m running at my min of 2765 lbs).  it kills me to see em walk away from me at the exit of the slow turns (they just plain have a better power to weight) but i was KILLING them in the brake zones, and in the fast sweeper sections!  and the longer the race went, the better i like it (my brakes never change;  ever;  always rock solid and perfect!).   enjoy.
PS  i was driving really aggressively in traffic, due to the fact that we were never separated by more than 5 carlengths!!

NASA Race – VIR – February 2009

hi guys!

wow, what a great race weekend!  other than it being SUPER cold (16 deg F at night!) it was a perfect weekend for me!  report and vids as follows:

here’s the quick down-n-dirty ReidSpeed race report:

saturday: i qualified REALLY well;  i got the pole position with a 2:18.5 (that would be a new PTE track record, if it had occurred during a race!). for the race, i lowered my tire pressures a bit too much, figuring that the tires would eventually heat up and grow; they did not gain enough heat (were at 32 psi when we came in after the race; too low for my car to work well on Toyos). anyway, i got a good start, and the black SE-R (steve harper) and i had a braking contest going into the first turn;  guess who won!   :)   at that point, i took the lead in PTE; and then fought with Joe in the tube frame sports racer for a lap, and then gave up, not wanting to slow me further with fighting (i was running mid 2:20s — the tire pressure was too low, and i could feel it). Wade in the white SE-R caught up behind me, and i drove defensively, keeping him behind me most of the time (he got up next to me a couple times, once at the end of the back straight). wade’s car is FAST! i ended up winning PTE, with some last lap mayhem ensuing between the miata and a spec e30:

here is my incar vid:

here is Wade’s incar vid in two pieces (much more exciting than my incar, cause you get to see the probe for the entire race!): 
Part 1:
Part 2:

man, after watching wade’s incar — when he got the good draft on me and tried to pass going up the backstraight — i never shifted into 5th, and instead just kept the mofo to the wood in 4th and let her eat!  the tach was buried past 8k (the numbers end there!) and right before the brake zone you can hear me hit the rev limiter….  that’s a first for me;  i’ve never hit the rev limiter in 4th!  and in wade’s incar, i think the probenstien is actually totally drowning out his motor with it’s scream….  i’m sure glad she didn’t pop!

sunday: the track was slightly damp in places (just how i love it;  nice and tricky to drive!). steve harper in the black SE-R and i had an amazing ‘race’ during qualifying; probably the most fun i had all weekend! we were both pushing very hard, and he and i can really drive close to each other without crashing…. i qualified first in PTE with a 2:19.5. i got a good start in the race, and started to check out from the rest of the PTE field. i spent the remainder of the race letting the GTS-2 cars by (i didn’t want to fight with them, and hurt their race, or endanger my car). the race ended under full course yellow, due to a bad crash between some 944s in Oak Tree.

i had a really nice weekend; it was great being with all my friends, and good racing action! i just wish it had been a little warmer on fri night; i froze my ass off!!!

the probe ran perfectly; the Ksport GT Pro suspension was incredible at VIR (lopped over 3 secs off my last time there!), and the ReidSpeed BBK gave me the stopping power to outbrake the other PTE’ers.  i never even took the tool boxes or jack out of the trailer; i just added gas! i wish every race was like that!!!



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