Tag Archives: probe

Reid Wins – Race Track Combat

A stunning victory for Todd at the Race Track Combat event held at the Lightning track in NJ on 5/20/11.  Amid a field of experienced racers – battling fully sorted Porsche GT3, Cayman, BMW and Corvette competitors, Todd was able to push his Probe-N-Stein through some wet weather to win the event. 


The  day almost ended early when the Probe spun entering the hard left before the lightbulb.  Todd reported a loud bang and then instant spin.  Luckily no damage.  After a short inspection in the pits, it was determined that a catastrouphic failure of the right front brake rotor caused the handling problem.  This was a first as the entire hub of the rotor broke off from the braking surface.  The front rotors are part of the custom ReidSpeed BBK, and had been in service on the Probe for over 3 years of hard racing.  Todd was life cycle testing them, to see just how long the massive rotors would remain serviceable (the stock rotors with stock brake package typically would crack and fail after a single weekend!).   This was the first recorded failure of ReidSpeed BBK front rotor, and it finally happened after 40+ weekends of racing.

A quick change of the rotors and Todd was on-track for the qualifying race.   By posting one of the 10 fastest times in qualifying, Todd was automatically in the Final race.

The Final Race had 15 competitors starting at different times based on their class’s trace record time at Lightning.  The Final race was a 20 lap race.  First car to complete 20 laps wins.  The slow cars started first due to their handicap.  Although the track had been dry all day, a strong thunderstorm soaked the track prior to the Final Race.  The event organizers decided to give the track an extra 1/2 hour to dry and ran the cars around for a half dozen pace laps to help dry out the line. 

Most of the Final Race contestants ran on dry race tires.  Todd began in 2nd place behind the Red Baron.

Todd ran very strong the entire race and moved into first on about lap 6.  Around Lap 10 the weather moved in and the second half of the race was in a steady rain. 

Todd won the race easily with #2 a full 39 seconds behind.

Huge props to the event organizers.  The schedule was flexible and afforded good amounts of track time, excellent competition and was enjoyed by all (except those who don’t like to run in the rain).

A full recap of the race can be found here:  http://roadraceautox.com/showthread.php?t=34829

Reid to Raid the Robin Hood Rally (from Der Gasser, March/April 2010)

By Todd Reid, as told to Dan Newton

I recently applied for the TV reality race show ‘Robin Hood Rally’ (www.robinhoodrally.com).After some consideration, I went ahead and filled out the application and sent in the deposit.  During the weeks that followed, I spoke to many of the people in charge and exchanged emails and phone calls concerning my credentials and driving experience and vehicles, etc.  In January I made a trip to Stamford, CT (I had been invited as one of the finalists to be screened in an interview by a panel of ‘specialists’).  

After waiting a bit, I was ushered off to the interview room. Wow, it was certainly notwhat I expected! The room was full of cameras, lights, and sound booms—really intimidating. You were sat down in a raceseat, and had a huge camera placed right inyour face, with several other cameras circulating around while the interview proceeded. The producers had asked us tobring our race gear with us to the interview(suits, helmets, shoes, etc) and in the waiting area, guys had been walking around in brand new unused race suits (Sparco, etc.—real nice stuff). I didn’t have the heart to take out my 12 year old ‘Gforce’ suit and put it on (it looks pretty shabby after hundreds of races and, to tell the truth, it never was very fancy as it was on special for $139 when I bought it!). I did the interview in my street clothes, which was fine (lots of other guys did too).  

At the table in front of me were the panelists (Stephan Condodemetraky, the executive producer; Frank Markus, editor of Motor Trend, and Charles Hendrikson, one of the hosts of“Pinks All Out”) and they asked tons of questions—mostly concerning driving and racing and my personal experiences on track. I told a lot of stories of various races (both with positive and negative outcomes!), plus the general story of how I had progressed from a DE student,to instructor, and finally to wheel-to-wheel racing. I guess I told a little bit of personal stuff,but mostly I kept it to all race business. I told the panelists that I’d be trying 110%, and that even though I’m driving a heap, that I’d be tough, and fast. And I told them I’d be praying for rain (they didn’t understand that, so I had to explain that I run best in the slippery stuff). I breezed through that stuff, and was told it was over—and I was in! The next day was a nice cocktail party where we chatted with the other participants and met the producer, Michael Noval, who also produces the “Amazing Race” and “Pinks All Out”.
So, I’m in this crazy race now. The way it works is that I’ll be racing at ten different venues,in different states all over the east coast (only your five top finishes count towards the final tally). All are to be on closed public roads, very twisty back-country roads, with the courses ranging in size. There will be no practice allowed on the courses; we get to make 6 timed runs over two days and they’ll be starting us in staggered intervals. It sounds very similar to the Targa Newfoundland way of running things (run in any weather, too. Come on rain!!!).Drive flat out, as fast as you dare, but don’t crash out! The cars are all to be handicapped by power to weight, in an effort to make things even for all the competitors. They are dynoing all of our cars, and then will weigh all of us. Thus, a slower, weaker car can still win even if its raw time is slower than a big bad honking fast car (and most of the entrants are big and bad; lots of Vipers, STIs, 911s, Vettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Ferraris, BMW M cars, etc., etc).I am certainly the underdog entrant in this field! Out of my stable of three, the PERFECT choice would be the Honda Civic Turbo; unfortunately it’s still crunched on the driver’s side to the tune of about $3-$4K (plus it needs to be re-tuned and set up again). No way I am going to risk the Lotus Super Seven in this race (way too big a chance of a wreck to risk my nice “vintage” car).

I am thinking of trying to find a local business in the area to sponsor me and help me get the Honda fixed up and ready to race, and I’ll in turn give them the real estate on the front fenders and the hood for advertising purposes… this program should reach millions ofviewers—I figure that should be some very inexpensive promotional expense for such good exposure? I plan on trying it out on some of the local Honda/Acura dealerships, and maybesome local body shops/parts houses. I have to make haste, as the certification/dyno day is in mid April in NY; and the week after that is a mandatory track day at Pocono Raceway (I guess they will observe us and see our driving capabilities; I’m sure there will be a lot of filming going on there too!).

I think my “schtick” will be to be the guy with the home-built racecar and the well-used gear that much of the viewing public will be able to relate to… I guess maybe I’ll be an underdog competitor (but I expect to run up front, which might surprise some of the big dawg high$$$ entries!). Even in the Ford Probe, I can run strong with some much faster cars. If I get the Honda running well, then I think some of those high dollar exotics are in for a real surprise! My Honda can match a 997 on most any road course (even a GT3, if I’m ‘really standing on it’); I think that most of the guys in this race would be incredulous if they saw me push the Honda hard!

The series organizers of this race cover no expenses; in fact, the total entrance fee is $5k,which I have already paid. That sounds like a lot, but you have to remember that is for 10 races. Plus there is a huge possible payout (around $500k split between the three cars given to the top three finishers). The cost benefit scenario for me is a no brainer, when compared to my usual club racing (a year of NASA club racing typically costs about the same or a little more for me to do).

I asked the organizers specifically if they will allow sponsorship graphics on the racecars,and the answer was a definite, resounding “yes!” I am deferring all other racing activities(except for driver coaching and support) until I see this race series through; I am diverting all my “normal” year-long race funding into running this one special series of races.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to give updates on what’s going on during the actual race because I had to sign a confidentiality agreement that basically said that I can’t say how the races are going—it’s kinda like ‘Survivor’ in that all the races and episodes will be filmed; then they‘ll begin airing the TV show starting at the very end of 2010 or beginning of 2011.

Well, that’s the story up ’til now! I can’t wait for this to get rolling, and for May to be here!  Check out the Web site link above for details and info; it has additions and changes fairly regularly. I’m REALLY excited and can’t wait to get started RACING!

Todd has a degree in mechanical engineering, and has been doing track events since1994. He is a certified instructor for the PCA, BMW CCA, Ferrari Club, Mercedes AMG,Mazda, NASA, CCC, and many others. He ran his first road race in 1999, and continues to race driving different cars (NASA PTE Ford Probe GT [Probenstein], NASA ST-2 Honda Civic[Turbo Terror], and a Lotus Super Seven). Todd can be contacted at 410-441-0201 ord15b7@aol.com. We wish him well!

NASA VIR Race – Triple – October 2009

hey guys!

definitely the best weekend ever at VIR; by far the nicest weather i can remember — not too hot, no real rain, not too sunny, not too cold. just right for the racecars and just right for the humans, too!!!!  i made alot of changes to the old Probenstien the week prior to this VIR race; i changed the ride height, the camber, and the toe.  i built a custom ‘ReidSpeed’ cold air intake system and changed to a much colder range sparkplug. after loading up the car, i said a prayer and hoped the changes would help and not hurt….  i had a pair of clients to coach on friday, and i never drove it any further than out of the trailer and into it’s paddock space (boy i wanted to take it out for 10 mins and see if it was going to GO !!).

saturday dawned very overcast and with a bit of sprinkley rain during our qualifying session (which was the qualifying to count for all three races).   i almost put on my rains, but decided to stick with the RA-1s.   i was second in line behind wade (who told me just to go around him immediately — thanks wade! ).   i took off at the drop of the green and scott followed along with me;  i laid down 2 laps and it started to sprinkle harder;  i was watching in my rear view, and i thought that perhaps i’d been a touch faster than scott (if i was, it wasn’t by a whole lot, though).   i decided to save my brakepads and tires and came in on the third lap — of course it stopped raining immediately, and i was worried to death back in my paddock spot as i watched everyone circulate around (it was a 20 min qualifying instead of the usual 15 mins).   i was hoping that it wouldn’t dry up very much!!!!   as it turned out, i qualified first in PTE, second overall behind a very well driven, fast sports racer (peter krause).   wade was right behind me (.2 behind, i think, and scott was right behind him, .1 slower.   harper was a couple secs back, but he’d been bedding in tires and brakes, i believe).

by race #1 time, it was totally dry and the track was good.   so, i was on the front row, on the outside next to the sports racer.   scott and wade were right behind me in the 2nd row.   i got a good start, and the sports racer flew away (he was about 15 secs a lap faster than us!).   i slotted into first in PTE and scott was right behind me.   we battled for a few laps, and then scott started to slip back (he was on older hoosiers for race #1).   i gapped out a fairly comfortable margin, and the race ended with me in first place — turned a best lap (and a new record) of 2:17.8.   2nd was scott, 3rd was wade, and 4th was harper.   here’s the race video (not particularly super interesting: http://www.vimeo.com/7023109

(BTW, i was an idiot and never checked the ‘zoom setting’ all weekend on the vid camera; it is about half way zoomed in, so you can’t see much of the interior of the car, and the outside view is constricted somewhat)

the starting grid for race #2 was identical;   pretty much got the same start, and it was me, scott, and wade and harper as the front running PTE’ers.   this time, though, scott had installed his new hoosiers, and was ready to go!   he got a good run on me on the first lap coming out of oak tree, and slowly inched past me up the hill on the back straight.   we both braked late, but he had the edge and i left room and he slipped by me at the top.   i followed him CLOSELY (lol) into hog pen and got a pretty good exit;   then caught a draft and drove by on the outside.   i outbroke him a bit, and stayed on the ‘rimshot’ for T1/T2.   i had the line for T3 and he had to submit.   from there we battled a bit, but my RA-1s had come in and i started to pull away little by little.   eventually i had a nice lead (and i think scott’s axle started fail, too; i can’t remember if it was race #1 or race #2 that his CV joint started to shake real bad).   i came home first again with a really nice laptime of 2:17.6; scott was 2nd, and i believe harper was 3rd and wade 4th.   here’s the vid of that one (a much more fun vid!): http://www.vimeo.com/7024135

sunday’s race was scheduled to be a full hour long race;   i inspected the Probenstien after the awards banquet on sat night;   the tires looked good (those RA-1s last L-O-N-G time! i put them on the beginning of the year, and rotated them before this weekend;   they still have 3 weekends worth of tread left on them!).   i had installed new front brake pads at the beginning of the year, too, and sat’s #2 race had finished the passenger side front pads; they were thinner than 1/32nd inch.   the driver side still had 1/8″ remaining (i can’t for the life of me figure out why the passenger side ALWAYS wears out before the driver side?);  anyway, i had some spare used driver side fronts from last year so i did a ‘passenger side only’ brake change.   the angles were worn wrong, so i knew that the first few laps of the race i’d have a real low pedal, til the angles wore flat against the rotor, and then it would be OK.  the disturbing thing i found was that i had spewed grease all over the driver side front wheel — there was a tear in the outer boot, and i’d estimate that at least half or more of the grease had flown out.  it was late at night (and our race was early on sun morning);  i was feeling lazy, and after all it was a ‘fun race’, so i cleaned up the grease and put the wheel back on.  the probe axles are strong, and this one was an Advance axle, which i put on in 2006, and it was guaranteed for life, so i reasoned that if i was going to return it, i wanted to return it grenaded, not just with a lil cut in the boot!

for the 1 hour fun race, the sports racer decided not to attend. therefore, i was on the pole, with wade next to me (who had switched to worn out toyos), and scott right behind me (who had switched back onto his worn out hoosiers), and harper (on worn old tires) next to him (right guys? i’m pretty sure it was wade next to me, and not scott?).  anyway, since i was setting the pace speed to the flag, i ran my 2nd gear up pretty high, so that the SE-Rs would be in between 2nd and third gear.  the flag flew and i took the lead fairly easily. scott slotted in behind me, and wade/harper went to work on each other! it was immediately obvious that scott was on worse tires; it was not too hard for me to stay in front of him, even while conserving my car (i was short shifting and using 5th gear, too, in an effort to protect my tires and make sure that i would not starve for gas before the end of the race).  i moved out to a decent comfortable lead and stayed there, with scott sometimes closing up once i got into heavy 944/miata traffic.  we had an exciting view of Roper’s SE-R spinning off at one point (yahoo! looked like a wild ride).  about half way thru the race, there were some multiple collisions that brought out a FCY.  it took them forever with a backhoe to pull out the miata and the tirewall; they finally restarted the race with about 5 mins to go, and everyone’s tires were cold.  i got a good restart, and was past a pack of miatas when i went into T1;  i practically broadslid through, cause the rear tires were cold and the fronts were still warm! i remember thinking ‘wow, i bet there will be some contact on this restart’ and about 30 secs later we got another FCY, and finished under yellow.  there had been another crash in the lower esses, and there wasn’t time to clear it and restart.  it ended up me, steve, scott, wade.  here’s the race clip (battery died sometime near the end of the FCY, just before the restart):  http://www.vimeo.com/7037076

the changes that i made to the probe really worked; handling was great, and the power level is now back to great; scott barely can crawl around me up the back straight (draft and slingshot) and i can drive past him down the front straight (draft and slingshot).  the ReidSpeed cold air induction kit really did its job, and definitely helped me nab the track record. i’m looking forward to next year too, and have a few changes planned for the probe (some new bodywork is #1 on the list!  i’m tired of the ‘wrinkly’ look!).  i’m planning on going to the NJMP Thunderbolt at the end of the month with NASA NE; anyone else want to try racing at this world class facility?  i’ve done one day on it, and i really liked it (drove my civic there).