Tag Archives: VIR

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).



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:  http://www.vimeo.com/3348562

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:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTU_1zJ-PKA
Part 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhE4zRUxIIs

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!!!