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|Mid Ohio Race of Champions||Saturday, June 11, 2022|
|Kev & I met at the shop on Friday at 10am. We did a complete setup on the car including ride height, camber, corner weights and toe in. We loaded up the inTech and drove to Mid Ohio. While loading we discovered the secondary timing belt tensioner was missing on the engine. We believe that was the sound Kevin heard at VIR as he went out for one of the races. Since the car had finished 3 races without it already we didn’t believe it was critical. We got to Mid Ohio and found a mostly level spot in the upper paddock and saved a space for Matt Wolfe. After we took the car off the trailer we noticed the engine was covered in oil. We found that the valve cover gasket was folded over and not sealing properly so we installed a new one and it was fine. We got the paddock setup and drove around and talked with people including Ed Hosni with his new FP CRX. Kevin cooked some bratwurst sausages on the grill for dinner.
Saturday morning we got up and got the car ready for our 9am qualifying session. While we were getting ready to go out, we put the cover on the battery and the car lost all power. Kevin discovered the battery cover was pressing down on the reset button of the emergency breaker. We ran without the cover for the session and fixed it later by drilling a hole on the cover to get the needed clearance, and it allowed access to the button to shut down the car in a hurry if needed. The car ran well and Kevin took the overall pole with a 1:39.110 just in front of David Bednarz in his Miata, but a quite a way behind the track record of 1:37.816.
Carrie and the kids and Grandma and Sheryl arrived before noon. We had lunch and got ready for the race at 1:40pm. Bednarz got a better jump at the start and pulled Kevin down to turn one and came out in the lead. Kevin followed him and passed him at the end of the back straight to regain first place. He never relinquished the lead for the rest of the race and finished about 8 seconds in front. He had the best time in the run group with a 1:39.740. Third was Strittmatter in his Integra who was back 37 seconds.
As we were inspecting the car and getting ready for Sunday we noticed the valve cover had some oil on it and the #3 spark plug tube was full of oil. We discovered that the center nut holding the cover on and holding the coil bracket in place was bottoming on the shoulder bolt before is compressed the tube seals. We replaced the tube seals and made a gasket that allowed proper compression to fix this problem. We also found the right inner CV joint big end had popped off and lost most of its grease, but it still looked OK. I drove the Navi into town and got a container of Mobil1 Synthetic grease, repacked the joint, and reattached the crimped hold down strap. We gave Ed a couple of our old tunes we used on the S300 ECU in the Civic and ITA Integra since he lost the tune that was in his car. Finally, we went over the Cooper pavilion and had spaghetti for dinner. Before going to bed put everything in the trailer and covered the car anticipating rain.
Sunday morning we were surprised that most everything was dry so we took the FP#73 out for the morning qualifying session just to test the CV joint and valve cover hold down. It was overcast but the car really tracked very well. Kevin turned in a 1:39.207, his best lap of the weekend, and the fixes appeared to be fine. Ed got his car running and turned in a 1:46.497. Right after qualifying the family arrived and we had early lunch as our race started just before noon.
At race time the air was still cool at about 75 degrees but the track was hot with direct sun and no wind. The track was definitely not grippy. Kevin started on pole and got a better start this time but when he got around turn one the steering wheel came off in his hand. Apparently, the kids got in the car and put the wheel up onto the shaft without locking it. Then daddy got in and didn’t not check to see if it was locked. Kevin managed to put the wheel back on and get it locked but that allowed Bednarz to get around him for the lead. Kevin followed him a few laps and waited for David to run just a bit wide at the end of the straight. That gave him the opportunity to pass and take the lead. They both weaved around Bspec and lapper prod cars for the next dozen laps or so until Kevin’s rear tires started to get loose. Kevin had to slow to maintain control and David passed Kevin for the lead again. Kevin modified his driving style to cool the tires and regain most of the control of the car to get right back up on David’s bumper with 3 laps left. Just then, they threw the checker flag on lap 18 of a 21-lap race, and no, it was no where near the time limit. There were a bunch of stalled and crashed cars on the track that they wanted to get cleaned up. Although we finished 2nd it was a much more fun race to watch. Bednarz drove very well and proved his engine is every bit as strong as ours as his Miata pulled our Integra in several places on the track.
Unfortunately, Ed blew the engine on his new CRX while in 3rd place in FP, but not before turning in a lap of 1:41.006. Kevin did a 1:40.141 and Bednarz a 1:40.234. Third place in FP ended up being Scott McAllister in his VW Rabbit who finished 17th overall.
Overall the car ran well, and showed us a few items we need to address before the Runoffs. The kids had great fun and the weather was great. Taking first or second meant really nothing to us but Bednarz received a $500 contingency from Mazda for his first place finish. The next race may very well be the Runoffs at VIR, or we may run a regional race just for some test time.
|Two Hoosier Super Tour Wins at PittRace||Monday, May 2, 2022|
|Apr 28, 2022, Thursday
Kevin met me at the shop early Thursday morning so we could get a few things done on the car and get on the road soon enough to get to the track early enough for our annual inspection. We measured the toe-in and camber and realized we had not replaced the bad valve on the wheel that got damaged at VIR in the Saturday race. After getting that done, we were ready to get moving about 12:30. We had to fill the RV fuel tank at Sheetz, and dump the sanitary tanks at Flying J before we could get on the road. After having to turn around due to low bridges on the no-toll route we arrived at PittRace at 4pm and found our reserved spot with a 50-amp power and got set up. We took the car over for an annual inspection and settled in for the night. We fired up the oven and put in Carries enchiladas. It was cold and windy so we were glad the heaters in the RV were working fine. Lacey was with us for the weekend and she was being very good.
Apr 29, Friday
Friday was a bright sunny day with little wind and it got warmer all day, but it started out plenty cool. We microwaved Carries breakfast sandwiches along with bananas for breakfast. We put the car down, made sure we had 5 gallons of Sunoco GT100, cleaned it with Honda cleaner, vacuumed it, and waited for 11am for our practice session. We went out at the back of the pack behind a bunch of super slow BSPEC cars. Kevin picked his way through them for 3 and a half laps before the car died completely in turn 12. They black flagged the session and flat towed us off the track. I was waiting for them as they came off track, and opened the back to reset the breaker, but it was not tripped. I reset it anyway and then everything worked fine, so Kevin drove it back to our paddock. Since the breaker had obviously malfunctioned, we removed it until we can get a new one. Kevin also moved the rear bar up to the stiffest setting. We recharged the battery and got her ready to go out for our 4pm 25minute qualifying session at 4pm. Carrie & kids and Diane & Sheryl arrived at 2:45. We played with kids and got ready to go out. The car gave us some idle issues when we started her up until she was warm, then ran well. Kevin went out and ran a 1:56.714 for overall poll. Our previous best lap here was a 1:57.100. After a drivers meeting and clean up we all went in to town to Dog Gone Bar & Grill and it was excellent. Mom dropped Kev & I back at the track and we rode around paddock in the Yamaha to talk with Chima and the Campbells who were both having problems.
Apr 30, Saturday
We set up the car with two new stickered tires on the front for the Saturday morning qualifying session but did not use the new rear tires as the older ones were still near perfect. Kevin was gridded on pole but pulled over as the group went out so he could go to the back of the group and run slow laps with the new tires. He progressively went faster to temper the tires properly. On his fourth lap he turned in his fastest lap which ended up being the pole time for the session, but it was not as fast as yesterday’s lap. Charley Campbell went faster than yesterday to take 2nd place away from Chima.
The kids had fun on a sunny pretty day with chalk they got from Sheryl. Grandma helped them draw some nice pictures on the pavement next to the RV and Walter decided to decorate daddy’s race car tires with the colorful chalk. When Kevin took the car to grid he got a few odd looks for the tires. Kevin started on overall pole and stayed in the lead for the entire race but it was not easy. Craig Chima challenged him for the first 5 laps of the race but could not get around. Chima turned in the fastest lap of the weekend while getting towed by Kevin around the track. In the sixth lap several cars got together and created a full course yellow. The amount of damage forced a checker flag under yellow which gave Kevin the win. Third place was Charlie Campbell in his Miata and fourth was Workman in his Miata.
After the podium presentations we all went to the participant party which was a bit abbreviated due to lower-than-expected entries – pizza and beer. Our fans headed back to the hotel while Kevin and I got the car and paddock ready for the rain that was coming over night. We fueled the car, put it up on stands and removed the tires and covered it for the night. We got the rains out and got them ready for the Sunday race if needed. Everything else we put into the inTech trailer out of the weather.
May 1, Sunday
As expected, it was raining pretty good Sunday morning. Race #1 got started about on time but had several crashes that extended the race and put the schedule behind. Carrie & the kids came to the track for a while but the threat of rain convinced them to head home so they could watch the race on line. Grandma and Sheryl came back to the track after stopping for breakfast. Even though it looked like the rain was going to stop about at the start of our race, we decided to put the rain tires on as the “safe” choice while on pole. Sure enough, as we were waiting on the false grid for the start of our race it stopped raining and look like it was clearing. Since everyone else had rain tires on, and Chima elected to start at the back since his car is really not good in the wet, and he just wanted a finish, it didn’t matter. We were informed there was going to be a slight delay while they checked a tire wall and Charley Campbell took the opportunity to drive back to his paddock, which was very close by, and install dry tires. He just made it back in time for the 5-minute call. That changed things…. The track was still wet but we knew it would be drying fast. At the start Kevin blasted out in front as far as he could to build up a big lead. Behind him was Mason in 2nd and Charley in 3rd battling pretty hard. Kevin’s lead was up to 22 seconds when a full course yellow came out in lap 7. Of course, that brought everyone back to right behind Kevin. Fortunately, Kevin had just passed 4 BSPEC cars right before the yellow came out so they were between Kevin and Mason/Charley…...for a while. After they got around the BSPEC cars, they again battled hard as Mason fought to keep in front of Charley for 2nd place. In the 12th lap Charley got around Mason and the track was drying fast. At that time, he had about 8 seconds to make up to catch Kevin and about 13 minutes to do it. In the last lap Charley made up 3 seconds on Kevin and finished just 3.5 seconds behind. One more lap would have seen Charley right on Kevin and trying to pass, which would not have been easy. Kevin ran very consistent 2:04 and 2:05 minute laps throughout the entire wet race, and the car ran excellent.
We won both races not only in F Production, but OVERALL, but did not run the fastest lap in either race. The car ran excellent and Kevin drove excellent. We collected lots of data with our new EGT and tire temperature sensors along with all the other sensors. And best of all we had 7 great fans and helpers at the track with us. It was a great weekend and we hope is a precursor of things to come for the rest of the season.
|Hoosier Super Tour Win and Track Record at VIR||Monday, April 11, 2022|
|We had just returned from our family vacation on Tuesday so we only had one day to finish getting ready for the race weekend. I finished up the few things we had on the list and Kevin and I loaded up early Thursday morning and got on the road by 10:30. That put us at the track at 7pm where we got registered and through Tech before we took the Yamaha up to the Oak Tree Tavern for dinner. Since we were paddocked at the top of the hill we relied upon our generator for power. When we first tried to start it, it would not keep running. We kept at it and it finally ran well for the rest of the weekend. I suspect it needs a fuel or air filter replaced since they are 16 years old, and the cold weather didn’t help.
Friday morning everything was very wet from rain so we were glad we didn’t unload the night before. We got up early, got fuel for the race car and unloaded everything, covered the “7”s to make our official number of “3”, and got the car ready to go out for our first practice session at 10am. We only got 2 hot laps and 4 slow laps due to a black flag but we were both very happy to have everything run well in the first session on track of the year. We were the 3rd fastest of 41 cars on track with a 2:12.279.
We put in more fuel and checked for any issues with the car on the many new items before going out for the afternoon qualifying session. Before going out we put in 5 pound lasagna into the oven so it would be ready after the qualifying session. In that session everything went well and we were fastest in FP and 4th overall with a 2:09.063 as Kevin got experience with the new MCS shocks. Ken Kannard stopped by to talk and we invited him to stay and have lasagna with us – it was great.
Saturday morning it was sunny but colder. We put on a set of new stickered Hoosiers so we could temper them in this second qualifying session. We went out last so we could gradually increase speed to temper the tires properly. After they were up to temperature there was no clear track to get in a fast lap so Kevin came in. In that session Mason Workman ran a quick lap of 2:08.78 to take the FP pole for the Saturday race. After the session I went to the Campbell paddock to consult on some electrical issues they were having. Then Kevin & I took the car to a semi-flat spot in the paddock to check the toe-in and camber and make some adjustments and made it in time for the race at 4pm. Kevin started 5th and fell back to 7th before regaining positions back to the front. In the 4th lap the front left wheel destroyed itself. Kevin came to rest after turn 4 and actually started some grass on fire beneath the car. At the same time a couple HP cars had come together and one flipped on the other side of the track, which caused a red flag. That allowed the tow team to tow Kevin off the track and back to paddock.
The damage consisted of a broken half shaft, a loose hub and bearing, a disintegrated brake rotor, and a damaged brake caliper. Fortunately, we had all of those parts ready to go except the caliper, but we found a friend who had a spare caliper and lent it to us. We were also fortunate to have Shawn from Wilwood there to guide us with reassembly of the brakes. By 8 pm we had it all reassembled and went to the driver’s party. The food was quite good with chicken, pulled pork, potatoes, and slaw. And of course, wine and beer. It was another cold windy night so we were very glad to have the RV with everything working.
Sunday morning we finished bleeding the brakes with new fluid, straightened the splitter enough to get it back on the car (damage from the tow truck) and took her to a flat spot in the paddock to check the camber and toe-in with the new knuckle. We arranged for a hardship lap to bed in the new brake pads before the race.
For the Sunday Hoosier Super Tour Race we started on the FP pole, and 3rd overall because we had turned in a 2:08.730 in the Saturday race before we went out. There were a number of people that had issues on Saturday and could not race on Sunday so we started 2nd overall behind a fast Caterham 7. Kevin got a good jump at the start because he wanted to keep the 2nd fastest EP car behind him long enough to get away from him before the straight. It was a very fast car in the straights but held Kevin up in the turns. Kevin blasted out in front of the rest of the field and stayed close to the overall leader Caterham. He ran three laps under the track record and was actually close enough to get a draft from the Caterham down the back straight to beat the track record by a whole second 2:07.099. Kevin ran unopposed for the race and finished 19 seconds in front of the 2nd place car, and Saturday’s winner, Ken Kannard in one of our old Integras, and 31 seconds in front of the 3rd place car, Saturday’s 2nd place, Mason Workman in his Miata. Kevin said the car was almost perfect.
After enjoying the podium celebration, we packed up and got on the road by 3pm. We decided to take the South route with the big rig to avoid the steep mountain route which is 38 miles shorter but only 10 minutes quicker. When we got back to the shop we disconnected the inTech and put the RV inside the building and went home.
We really needed this win to rebuild our confidence. It had been three years ago at VIR when we had last won a race that was not at Mid Ohio. AND it was March 2016 at Road Atlanta where we last won before that.
|Issues with Discovery RV||Sunday, February 27, 2022|
|I have told anyone who will listen that owning an RV is not for the faint of heart. There is always something needed fixed or changed. This year we had to tighten all the new hose clamps on the new radiator hoses to keep them from leaking. Then we replaced the desiccant air dryer-filter since it had never been done. While under the coach I decided to inspect the new timing belt I installed in July of 2020 along with the new radiator. To my surprise I found that the belt had lost 3 of the 8 ribs and was riding up on the A/C pully. Because of that we decided not to go to the Atlanta event so we could fix this issue. Of course getting anyone else to work on anything is damn near impossible lately so I did it myself. Long story short, I found that NAPA had given me the wrong belt that was about 2 inches to long. It went on fine but was not near as tight as a proper belt. It was really my fault for not going to Freightliner in the first place, but I thought even NAPA could do a simple serpentine belt right. It was a big job to remove the radiator assembly just to replace a belt but in our 35ft Discovery but there is absolutely no room to get to it without complete removal.|
|Several changes to the car for 2022||Monday, February 21, 2022|
|We had the car completely reassembled after the Runoffs teardown by November, and it was ready to race. After the massive changes we made to the car in the last two years it was great to have nothing to fix on the car over Winter. Of course, there is always something you can do to make it better.
We decided to make some changes mostly having to do with diagnostic or logging capabilities, or just cosmetic. We found another valve cover, drilled it for vent hoses, sent it in for bung welding, then had it powder coated. It looks great. We also took our HyTech exhaust header and drilled holes for four Exhaust Gas Temperature probes, sent it in for welding the bungs, then had it ceramic coated. It looks great, but the reason we did it was to contain more heat in the header to reduce the heat transmitted into the radiator or the oil pan. It should make the engine run cooler which is never bad. It looks great as well.
Then we purchased EGT probes from AEM and installed them mechanically and electrically in the car and they work well. We can't wait to see just what these new probes tell us about the operation of the car.
Then we decided to install four infrared temperature sensors to measure the temperature of the tires while the car is on track. Kevin can use this information see when the tires are ready for full speed into corners early in the race, or after an extended yellow flag. We also expect to gather information about the how the car is handling in our log after the race. Since that was so easy, we decided to see if we could add four more IR sensors so we would have two sensors on each tire showing inside and outside temps. That should give us an indication of the camber in the car and how well it is adjusted. We completed the electrical software modifications for the second set of four sensors but have not as yet purchased or installed them.
Lastly we decided to get new shock absorbers from our good friend Trever Degioanni at Motion Control Systems. They are triple adjustable with remote reservoirs and could give us better cornering capabilities vs our old reliable Koni 2812 shocks.
We are finally using more of the awesome capabilities of the AEM Dash and Logging system. The amount of data we will have about the car after a session should be pretty amazing. Of course, turning data into information is the challenge.