TCRA, Speedventures, TCRA, Dromo One, JM/KRC Cup
August 24 - October 30, 2002
"Serving Pulp Racing"
James Sofronas, World Challenge Driver, brings one of his spare cars to Willow with TCRA
(note: this page is big, it takes a long time to load if you do not have a high speed connection. On my cable modem, it downloads everything in about 10 seconds. The Wall Street Journal says that 100,000 people a week are signing up for cable modems, and we should have critical mass in the next year with 20 million people with high speed internet connections. Guess who's gonna have the best racing content for those 20 million people! If you have an AOL or MSN dial up connection, well....you suck and are slow, and it will probably take ya 10 minutes to download this page!)
(note: Also, there is a big file download near the bottom of this page, which may also slow things down initially. Not sure how badly it will degrade my new Qwest line, but if it gets too slow, I will delete the download and beg for other people to support the download on their server)
Yeah, I know, I know, it has been a long time since I updated the site. Stuff got real busy over here with a couple of racing events, combined with the fact that we moved residences. It took about 3 weeks to pack up all the junk we have accumulated over the years. We hired movers to transport the boxes to the new place, which is 10 minutes down the road . We had so much junk and were so disorganized that we had the movers help us on three separate occasions over a two week period to move the boxes to the new place. It is ugly when you have three big moving guys help you on three separate days, eight hours each day, moving all your crap. So that took about five weeks, and then we had to UNPACK all the crap. Once you get the stuff moved to a new place, you lose motivation to unpack, and instead you just sit around in a daze watching the Tivo, looking at the hundreds of boxes of stuff that have to be unpacked out of the corner of your eye.
So I guess I will do one quick update on a bunch of events that came up over the past couple of months. It's kinda of a half-assed update, but I better do it before I get too far behind.
So this update will include stories about:
Touring Car Racing
Willow - August 24/25
2. Speedventures at Buttonwillow - September 20
3. Touring Car Racing Association at California Speedway - September 21/22
4. Dromo One Enduro - October 9
5. KRC / JM Racing Supercup at Las Vegas - October 20
Thanks to all of you that emailed me asking, "Where's the next update? It's been months!". "Did you go broke and stop racing?" "Is everything alright?". The emails are a big motivator in helping me to get the stories finished. I figure it takes about 30-40 hours to write the story, edit the pictures, edit the text, etc.
Grid for the final TCRA race at Willow. Glenn is on pole with the ex-DC Sports Integra
July 13th or so
So I get this phone call from the guard gate at our complex. Apparently some private investigator wanted to talk to me about my competitor. The guard refused to let the PI in, and instead took their business card. Curious......my stress level goes up....why would a PI want to talk to me? I call, and the PI is probing about someone I know who goes to the race track. The PI is fishing for information, and I repeat the standard answers when confronted by someone who sounds like a lawyer who wants vague info so they can "spin it" their way. You know how irritating those lawyer-types can be. So I start spewing, "Uh.....I don't recall." "Uh....I don't remember." "Uh....not sure." The PI, who apparently is of Japanese decent then says, "Japanese person to Japanese person, can you tell me more about this person we are discussing." So now I am even more offended, with this yahoo trying to pull the race card. Apparently this guy I know had a brand new mountain bike that had a brake component failure (caliper snapped), thus causing him to crash and rendering him unconscious. He feels that the bike company should pay for his back operation. Apparently the bike company believes that if one of their brand new brake components failed, it is "tough luck". I decline to answer any more questions. After some probing around, it seems that the PI got my name from www.nsxfiles.com while doing an Internet search on my name and someone else's name. Bastards. I think nothing more of it.
Gridded 5th behind Higashi's racing Civic. I gotta get my racing fix somehow.
The NSX is still dead in the water. I am on the fence at the moment.....should I get my existing 3.0 low compression motor fixed, or should I shoot the moon and build up a killer 3.2 motor? (which supposedly has better oiling characteristics). In any event.....I don't have the cash to fix it, so it just sits for right now. At least I have the S2000, so I can still get my "Go-Fast Crack Pipe" fix once a month at the track.
The Touring Car Racing Association says that if I want to run the S2000 in their race group on a regular basis, I have to put in a racing seat and an ignition kill switch that a corner worker can access and cut off the power in the event of a catastrophic crash. I get Erik to throw in a Cobra seat with one on his custom made brackets. I purchase a kill switch, using the diagrams from Karl's setup , and then I drop it off at the Costa Mesa Honda and I have Dick install it for me. Cool.....now I can pass inspection for the race group.
Springsteen is playing in Vegas on August 18, so the wife and I make plans to meet my sister, her boyfriend, and my recently married cousin in Vegas. We have reservations, etc, that we made a month or so ago.
Another racing buddy gets subpoenaed to appear in court on Monday, August 19th about this court case. Shit....I will still be on vacation. I don't want to cut my vacation short, and I ain't gonna miss the Springsteen concert due to some court ordered appearance about something that I really don't know anything about. The weekend after the Springsteen concert there is a track event, which means I need at least two days to get the car and trailer ready. Humm....looks like a process server is headed my way.
Glenn's car. He's whupping my ass in the 2.2 Liter and below race group
August 9th or so.
Another racing buddy gets subpeonaed. He is pissed, as he got served right in front of his daughter, and they made it look like he was a criminal. He doesn't know why he got served, but since it is something wacky, he figures it someone had something to do with me. I explain to him that a bunch of us seemed to be targets to appear in court by the bike company and the well known chain store that sold the bike, and testify about something that we really don't know anything about, on the chance that we might say something wrong that could help their case. I tell him that they might have gotten his name from uh......my website. He says, "I shoulda figured as much.....".
I leave for Vegas in six days, the process server is hot and heavy trying to catch various people from what appears to be my website.....which means they are probably trying to target me next. And dammit, I am going to Vegas. If the bike company lawyers would just give me a friendly phone call, we can quickly discuss what I don't know, and it would be over. But it appears to me that they want to strong arm me to come in and testify in court, or come down to their office in Los Angeles. And those of you live in Orange County, know that us OC dudes never go to the armpit called Los Angeles, especially during the weekday rush hour traffic, where a 35 mile drive can take two hours. I gotta prepare for Vegas and the TCRA race, and I ain't spending any time in court. I told the PI a month ago that I know nothing about the case. So now it becomes "Serving Pulp Racing".
The neighbors report that someone has been knocking on my door
at the house in the early to late evenings. Curious....I didn't tell the
guard gate to let people in to see me. Someone then tells me that the
guard gate has a legal obligation to let a Process Server into the complex to
serve a subpoena. Oh great....now all the neighbors think I am a criminal.
They are probably thinking, "I knew that guy was a criminal, probably a drug
dealer or a stock analyst. He's a renter, and he drives all these souped
up red cars".
Especially when the Process Server comes once an evening looking for me.
What the bonehead Process Server doesn't realize is that "Dammit, I have a company to
run", and I am working late hours at the shop, preparing the trailer/truck/S2000
for the TCRA event.
Cars gridded 7th through 9th in the 2.2 Liter and below race
Tuesday, August 13th or so
A friend of ours had access to an F50 for about 30 minutes. I got to drive the F50 for about 3 miles down Pacific Coast Highway. The car is tight. The sound is awesome. Shifter and clutch is real easy, like an NSX.
The reason why I buy lotto tickets twice a week
Acceleration is mind boggling. The vibration from the carbon fiber tub makes it feel like you are in a full on Le Mans Prototype race car that weighs 2000 lbs. It's scary to drive, as all the cars on the road try to to swoop in next to you to get a good look. If only the NASDAQ coulda made it to 7000 back in May of 2000(and we cashed it all in)....we could be terrorizing Southern California in an a pair of F50s! Instead, we are scrambling for cash to buy karting tires.....
I had a video camera mounted in my F355, and was following the F50 and Wayne's 360 going down PCH. Nice video, great sounds. Unfortunately, as soon as I hit a bump coming out of the driveway, the camera switched to "Off", so I have no footage. Damn. Damn.
Wednesday, August 14th or so.
The wife says that UPS called, and says that I have a large package that was delivered to our old address on Barlovento Street. She told them Barlovento is our old address, and we are at a new address the past 3 years. "UPS" asks if I am at home, and the wife says no, I am working at the shop. "UPS" then asks what is the address of the shop, and the wife says, "Uhhh...I dunno....I'll have him call you later." I get home, and call UPS. They reiterate that I have a package to be delivered. I ask them who is it from and they say, "Uhh...I am just a dispatcher." I tell them to drop it off the shop, and I give them the address of 1-800-Phoneguys. "UPS" says that I have to sign for the package. I tell them, "There's a bunch of people working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the shop, so have one of them sign for it". "UPS" says that only I can sign for it, and when will I be there. I tell them I will be there Friday, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Then I start thinking about it....hummm....UPS never requires a SPECIFIC person to sign for a package, they just care that some human being signs for it. I call the phone number back, and at the exact same time, someone at the number I am calling picks up the phone to dial someone, so we sorta get cross connected. They say, "Hello is Mrs. Johnson there". I say, "Uh..no....is UPS there". They say, "We have a check for Mrs. Johnson, where should we deliver it?". I say, I am returning a call from UPS. They say, there is no UPS at this number, this is Express Delivery, and we have a check we want to deliver for Mrs. Johnson, and do I know where she is at. Okay, so now Mr. Process Server and Mr. Lawyer assholes think they are slick, and are going to pop me at the shop with a subpeona right before my vacation, by impersonating a UPS driver. Isn't that illegal? So if they want to play games, they are screwing with the wrong person...heh heh heh......I tell the dudes at 1-800-Phoneguys to be on the lookout for a "UPS package" on Friday.
More cars in the 2.2 Liter and below race
Friday, August 16.
Wayne said someone resembling the female version of Humpty Dumpty came waddling into 1-800-Phoneguys promptly at 1:00 p.m., with a big smirk on her face, saying she has a meeting with Doug Hayashi. Bobby says, "He ain't here, he's gone on vacation". Everyone now has to stop what they are working on and put in their two cents. "Yeah, he's gone, went up north or something like that". Wayne stops by, "Can I help you? You need me to sign for a package for Doug?" By now everyone in the office is snickering at the Process Server, as she was thinking she is brain surgeon by impersonating a UPS driver delivering a package. She now realizes that everyone is in on the joke except for her. She proceeds to get pissed, and whips out her badge out of her size 64 pants. "Alright, I wanna see ALL your ID's right now". Bobby then says, "We ain't showing you nothing, and I am calling the Police right now". The Process Server then says, "Isn't this Pulp Racing". Bobby then says, "Uhh..Pulp Racing is next door, this is The PhoneGuys". Process Server then says, "Oh....". She cruises over to my side of the building and of course I ain't there, I am at home getting ready to go to Vegas. And I ain't answering the door for anyone.
Saturday August 17, 8:30 a.m.
Time to go to Vegas. I look out the back window. Humm...suspicious white SUV on the street. I look out the front window. Hummm....suspicious VW in the street. Damn....I don't want to get served today, as I want to enjoy my vacation in Vegas. I tell the wife to check out the vehicles, and see if anyone is in there, so we can make a quick getaway. Worse case, I can have the wife go out the front door, and I go out the back door and hop over the balcony, and she picks me up around the corner. She says that no one is in either car, so we blast out to the airport. I detect a Volvo following us, and I start to panic, and get ready to see where on the Pyramid of Speed the Volvo driver resides. The wife says I am paranoid, and I have been watching too many episodes of HBO's "The Wire". We make it to the airport without getting served. The vacation is on!!
Alamo/National Rental Car in Vegas SUCKS. It took us 55 minutes to get a car.
Sunday, August 18.
I am invincible in Blackjack. I am playing that wacky new blackjack game, which only pays 6-5 on Blackjack (which is really bad), but you can double down on any number of cards, and it is single deck, $10 minimum. So I bet 10 bucks or so on the first hand, and if the ratio of 10's to non-10's in greater than 2.25, I increase my bet to $40-$75. I am up about $600....and I feel a new NSX engine coming my way. Everything is working great. The deck is 10 rich, so I bet $50 bucks, dealer gets a six on top, flips her down card, has a 10, needs to take a hit, and dealer gets another 10 and busts. Yeah baby. I lose a few $10 hands in a row waiting for a deck that becomes 10 rich, then bet bigger, and win again. I am up $600 playing this stupid little game. I figure I can average $150 an hour playing blackjack, and checking out the waitress and hot chicks that cruise by the table. This could be a cool job. Later that night, we checkout the Springsteen concert. Highly emotional, highly uplifting concert. It makes seemingly "normal" people go off on the deep end in their enthusiasm.
Monday, August 19.
Unbelievable. I can't win even when the deck turns 10 rich. 15 cards are dealt out on the first hand, no 10's out at all, so I bet $70 next hand, dealer gets a 6 on top and a 10 on the bottom, and instead of getting at one of the fifteen 10's left in the deck, the dealer gets a 5 to make 21. This can't be happening. I try it at five different casinos, and the results are all the same. Loser at Paris. Loser at Sam's Town. Loser at the Palms. Loser at the Rio. Loser anywhere I go. Back in SoCal, the trial has started. Ha ha ha. They didn't catch me.
Grid for Saturday's Qual race in the 2.2 Liter and Above race.
Tuesday, August 20th.
We get back home late Tuesday afternoon. The neighbors said that the process servers were there Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday morning, Monday night, Tuesday morning. The neighbors caught one of them looking in my mailbox. Hey, isn't that a federal offense? The neighbors then called the guard gate, who then called the cops and tried to chase down the process server. Let's see...I am off to Willow Springs on Friday morning for a test day before the TCRA event on Saturday and Sunday...which means that I need to get moving so I can get the S2000 ready for this weekend. I have to ditch the process server for two more days. I hear that the trial didn't start yesterday, so I could still get subpoenaed. I stop by the shop, and the guys there said that someone in a white Mustang keeps driving by the shop every couple of hours. So it looks like they are still trying to get me.
Sample of practice session for the race group. (Not sorted in order)
Wednesday, August 21st.
I wake up in the morning. In my boxers and T-shirt, I take a peek outside before I get the newspaper. There is a white van parked about 3 doors down. Hummm....but the neighbors mentioned that their son was coming down to stay with them. I go out to get the newspapers (Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Orange Country Register), and as soon as I get to the driveway, the back door of the van pops open, and a guy comes running out like he was on a SWAT team. "Are you Doug Hayashi?". Damn......I am caught. He caught me fair and square. I accept the subpoena. It says that I am supposed to appear in court August 19th, which was two days ago, or I should call the lawyer's phone number. I call the phone number, tell him I am being served, but will be out of town on Friday through Sunday on vacation.
Closeup of Greico's Viper
Thursday night. August 22nd.
The lawyer never called me. I head off to Willow early, so I can get a good nights sleep. I guess he didn't need my testimony?
Friday, August 23rd.
Test day. I wanted to tryout some 275 rear tires on the stock S2000 rims. Rylan has a theory that the 275's will help lap times. Erik disagrees, saying that he thinks the car will push too much. In any event, I turn a 1:35.6 on the new rear tires, my fastest time ever at Willow in the S2000. Driving the car is so much fun, that I uh...probably do more laps on the new rear tires than I should have, as I was hoping to get to 1:34.xx. But that ain't gonna happen today.
Gridded 2nd and 3rd for the qual race
Saturday, August 24th.
I qualified around 6th or so in the 2.2 liter race, with a 1:36.1. Wayne qualified 3rd in the big boy group. James Sofronas, World Challenge driver, brought one of his club racer cars to the track that he is selling. But it seemed like he was having an axle/diff problem, so he didn't get a chance to qualify. So he and Fabrice called their buddy who was surfing, and told him to get to their shop, and bring some parts to the race ASAP.
Dearing's Viper, gridded behind Wayne
So James is gridded last in the 2.2 Liter and Above race. But his car is well prepared and sorted out, and he is a good driver. I tell Amy that this is going to be a great race to watch. Green flag drops, and James passes about 5 cars going into turn 1. By the end of the first lap, he goes from about 21 to 13, and is still marching on. Another three laps, and he is in 4th or so. Two more laps, and he is battling it out with Wayne for 3rd. Two more laps, and James is in 2nd place, and is starting to dog Grieco's Viper for first place. James's car is hooking up real good in turns, but Greico has lots of power down the straightaways to hold him off. James makes a pass and goes into first place momentarily, but then Greico gets him at the finish line, despite the fact that Greico had a tire that was virtually flat at the finish line. James is selling this car. It is a BMW with everything you could want in it to be a terror at your local club racing events, or if you decide to step up and want to race with the professionals. But, he sold it already. He has other cars for sale, like the white BMW below. In addition to fielding, setting up, preparing, building and racing BMW's, he also sells all the parts to help you BMW drivers go faster. One-on-one instruction for racers in training is also available. Contact him at http://www.globalmotorsportsgroup.com.
You can buy this BMW from GMG!
In my race, I am duking it out with Higashi's Civic, and am never able to make it by him. I end up taking 6th or so. I immediately park the S2000 in the Willow Springs Garage, jump in the truck, and head off to the Inglewood Forum(ex-home of the Lakers) to see Springsteen. Donald and I have General Admission floor tickets. We enter the Forum late, about 7:30 p.m., but we end up only about 30 feet from the stage, standing up for the whole show. It's a tremendous, emotional, soul stirring performance. It's like being in a 2.5 hour long wheel-to-wheel sprint race!
Higashi's Civic. Pretty damn fast.
Sunday. August 25th, 2002. Final Race
I get just an okay start. Coming into turn 1, I am duking it with Don M. and Rick H. for the fastest of the "mid pack dudes", as we can't catch the racing Integras or Andy's CRX. Don in his racing CRX and Rick in his racing Celica are damn fast in turns 8 and 9. It also makes me realize what a moron I was on Friday, as I probably should not have used the new tires as much as I did on that day, as now they are starting to get a little slippery, and the car is pushing now, just like Erik thought it would. I use some of the power of the S2000 to catch them on the long straights, and we are playing cat and mouse for about 4 laps. I finally get by both of them, but then we catch up to some slower traffic, and I didn't realize how much slower. I tuck in behind the slower car, coming down into turn 5, but Rick and Don blow by both of us on the inside. Damn.....stuff like that doesn't happen in the "2.2 liter and above" race. In that race group, it is hard to pass on the short downhill chute between turns 4 and 5. Now I have to chase them down again. It takes another 4 laps of cat and mouse with Don until I get by him, and then I set my sights on that damn Celica that Rick is expertly piloting.
Newbies at the track. Their life is over with, they are now on the Go-Fast Crack Pipe.
Rick gets by Higashi's Civic, which is rare, as Higashi is usually faster than us mid packers. Perhaps his tires are dying. I also get by the Civic, and now I got Rick about 100 yard in front of me. I make up time on the straights, trying to chase him down. They throw the white flag, signaling one more lap. I get on his butt going into turn 5, and then use the power of the S2000 to get by him on the inside of turn 8. Now, here's the tricky part. Rick's race car handles better than my street car, and I am on the far inside line coming into 8 and 9. Rick's car has less power, but sticks a little better, and he takes the extreme outside line through 8, and 9, trying to get a good launch out of these turns towards the finish line. Since I am on the inside of 8 and 9, I am going slower than usual, trying to hold my line, and trying to give Rick a little room on the outside at the exit of 9. He's gonna be going full blast, and my car is gonna swing out, and I want to make sure we don't bang doors at the exit.
Map of Willow. Turn 8 is the sweeper turn, and Turn 9 is where the action happens
We go blasting into turn 9, and Rick gets a much faster launch, but gets two wheels off in the dirt on the exit of 9 (he probably wasn't sure if I was going to shut the door on him or not). We exit the turn and he is about four car lengths in front of me, I try to use the extra HP of the S2000 to beat him to the checkered flag....but he gets me by two car lengths. Damn. But that was good fun. It also shows that I need to get a little faster in turn 9. And that Rick is damn good at piloting a low HP car around Big Willow.
In the big boy race, Wayne takes third, and Sofronas gets by Greico to take the win. Wayne said that his 944 Turbo was shaking a lot during the race, so he might have a shock/suspension problem, but he wanted to finish the race and take third place. So what if his front end felt like it was gonna fall off in turn 8? Race results for Sunday's race are here.
Later on, I hear that our friend lost his court case against the bike company. Bummer.
Grid for Final race on Sunday. James ended up winning the race
Friday, September 20th, 2002
Next event was the time trial event at Buttonwillow with Speedventures. If you recall from the inaugural Bitterman time trial event (now called Speedventures), I crushed all the S2000s going clockwise. This time, we are going counter clockwise, using the Star Mazda hairpin, and the Bus Stop turn. I think this is my favorite configuration, in terms of thrills. The S2000 gang is there, the Viper dudes are there, and the rest of the usual characters.
Some of the S2000 folks hanging out in the garage - photo by Kathy
For most of the day, I am running 2:15-2:16 laptimes, but Dave in his highly modified S2000 (supercharger, Motons, springs, brake package, etc) is beating my MOD-R stocker (meaning stock shocks, stock springs, Hoosiers, stock engine internals, brake ducts, straight pipe, CAI) by just a tiny bit.
Some of the cars ready to duke it out at Buttonwillow - photo by Kathy
In an effort to beat Dave, I throw on some new tires for the next to the last session, but come up short. In the very last session, I am determined to keep my foot on the accelerator as long as possible on some of the sweeper turns. I am running a blazing lap, full throttle, pedal to the metal around the Truck Stop Turn, and then the unthinkable happens. I spin doing about 95 mph, and it is a big ugly spin, going about 200 feet down sideways down the track, and then getting four wheels off in the dirt. Damn!
I spin entering the red section of the Truck Stop(CCW)
John W. complains that I screwed up his best lap, as he was right behind me when it happened. I pull off into the pits, check for rocks in the tires, apologize to the starter for spinning, and get back out on the track for another Hail Mary attempt.
Viper dudes at Willow. I womped on all of them except for Dearing and Wasserman
I try to be a little more careful this time, but still with the foot pedal to the metal on a couple of turns, and I turn a 2:14.594. After the session, I immediately check out the posted AMB times for our group, and I narrowly miss beating Dave, who runs a 2:14.512 as his fastest time of the day. Damn.....lost by 8/100ths of a second. Anyways, I get third fastest time of the day, behind Dave's S2000 and John D.s' Viper, who runs a blazing 2:07.442. But at least I beat John's OTC partner, Ron W., who is also running a a Viper. I also get my third consecutive win in the MOD-R class of the S2000 Challenge. As I get ready to put the S2000 on the trailer, the tires sound funny, like there is a lot of rubber built up on the tire from my blazing run. Results are here, click on "lap times" to sort them out fastest to slowest.
More cars for race group at Willow
Right after this event, I pack up the trailer and drive three hours over to California Speedway. The Touring Car Racing Association scored by getting the big road race track at California Speedway, and they are running time trials and their usual race groups at this event. Wayne passes on this event, as he still needs to get his car fixed, while still maintaining his "budget" that he is trying to live on. Wayne's budget is weird......we figured that since he eats at a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, he is spending about $1500 a month on eating out instead of cooking something at home. Some budget......
Russell's Miata gets its first shakedown at Buttonwillow
Saturday morning, September 21, 2002
I have Dana, Wayne's nephew, show up at California Speedway to be my crew chief. Early Saturday morning, we put the S2000 on jack stands, and swap the old pads to new Porterfield R4 pads and bleeding with ATE Superblue brake fluid. While taking the tires off the car, I notice that I have flat spotted two virtually new Hoosiers(one front, one rear) from that big spin at Buttonwillow the previous day. DAMN.
Flat spotted new Hoosiers. SHIT!
That's $420 worth of tires toasted with that one spin, as the rest of the tire is in great shape, but there is a section of each tire that is worn down to the cords. No wonder the tires sounded funny when I was putting the car on the trailer, it is because the tires were sorta square from the flat spot. Hey, no wonder Dave beat me by 8/100ths of a second, it was because my Hail Mail Lap had lumpy tires! <grin> Luckily, I had a spare set of fresh rubber mounted on my second set of rims, as I wanted to be prepared if I punctured a tire at the track. On goes the good rubber....there goes the racing budget for the weekend.....
Some sample AMB lap times from an early morning practice session
Anyways, I felt like I was running pretty good at California Speedway. There are about 20 cars in the 2.2 Liter and below group. I qualify seventh, picking up a little more speed each time. We have a standing start for the qual race. I kinda hold my position for a change on the start, losing only one spot to blazing fast black Integra going into the chicane at the end of the straight. After the chicane, we go back up on the oval, hit max speed of about 120 or so, and then back down into a 55 mph turn. All the front wheel drive cars are smoking their tires as they lock up their brakes at this turn. Heh heh heh....I might be able to get them at the start of the final race. Let's file that for now in memory...... Andy gets two wheels off, and I pick up 7th again, but then Andy grabs it back. A couple of these guys look like they need a big brake upgrade, as they are blowing turns and chicanes left and right. Unfortunately, I got a little too much weight in my car to take advantage of it, and all these racing Civics and Integras are kicking my ass on the straights. I make up a little of it under braking and in the turns, but California Speedway is a big time horsepower track. Higashi gets by me on the coming on the 2nd part of the bank, and I am stuck behind him, trying to dog him to get by, but he isn't making any mistakes. I end up 7th.
The Schley Viper that Erik has been working on for months goes through shakedown
Sunday, September 22, 2002
So I am gridded for the final race in the 7th position. I should had more pictures, except Dana boneheaded and didn't take pictures of the front runners in the 2.2 Liter and Below race. This time I am ready. TCRA says that they have photographers all over the track with camcorders, as they want to shoot a promotional video about their event. Cool, I could be a star! I was being cautious in the qual race and the practice sessions, checking out how everyone drives. I think I can out brake these guys, as they were all smoking their tires going into the tighter turns. I figured I can aggressively dive in on them on the start after the second part of the banked curve, and pick up a position or two. My lap times are coming down to about 2:03, and I think I can hold the 5th or 6th position. I dive in, I pick up a position from the black Integra, and I leave a little room on the inside of the apex in case Mark is right on my door. Unfortunately for me, I should have practiced this outside line through the turn in the practice session, as I can see I am going to get two wheels off on the grass. I try to correct, but I am unsuccessful, I get two wheels off in the grass, car spins, and I end up in the middle of the track, backwards, looking at 13 other cars coming through the turn at 75 mph right at my sorry no-driving ass.
Blue area is the chicane they put in to slow cars down on the oval. Green is where I spun
Luckily, the other 13 cars use me an big aluminum cone, and make violent right or left hand turns to avoid hitting me. I screw Don up in his Civic, and he spins also. I try to start my car by hitting the ffing start button, the car won't start. DAMN.
180 degree spin. Cars coming forward. White CRX spins because of me. I suck.
I try again. Ooooopss...maybe I have to shut off the ignition, turn it back on, then hit the start button. 20 seconds later, I get car started, and let's start chasing down cars. Damn....that will probably be on the TCRA promotional video. Either that, or they will decide to scrap the video, as my spin makes the race look very dangerous. The new name of my race team is "Thoughtless Racing". I almost took out the entire middle pack of the race group.......
Schley's calipers are bigger than my shoe!
Anyways, I get back on the track, and I pass about 7 cars or so. But it is pretty boring race for me, since I am so far behind the guys I usually race with. After the race, I apologize to the guys behind me and thank them for not hitting me. I haven't spun in a wheel-to-wheel race in probably three years.
More cars from Willow TCRA race
Tuesday, October 8th.
We enter the Dromo One indoor karting enduro, which is a 90 minute race. Wayne, Dave and I team up again, hungry for revenge after screwing up our pit stop at the last enduro to the tune of 5 laps. We lost the race by 6 laps, so we coulda been a contender. All three of us feel faster this time. I start out, and by luck of the draw, I get a crappy kart. I am in third place or so out of about 9 teams after 25 minutes, but the 1st and 2nd place teams are about to lap me, despite me blocking the crap out them for about 20 laps. Lap times are about 24 seconds a lap. They get by me, and I signal to Wayne and Dave to do a driver change, as each time you change drivers, you get a new kart. We do a correct pit stop, and Dave is re-joining the chase, one lap down or so from the front runners. Dave and another guy go into a turn wheel-to-wheel, with the other guy spinning out and crashing into the padded wall. Ha ha, you sucker! Except then Dave gets black flagged, despite the fact that he isn't the aggressor. He has to go to the black flag penalty box for about 30 seconds, and we lose another lap and a half, and drop from 3rd to 5th. DAMN. Dave goes back out, and someone tries to take him out again in a turn, but Dave craftily steers out of it, and the other guy spins into the wall. See ya, dipshit! Except they black flag Dave AGAIN, despite the fact it wasn't him being the aggressor in the turn, it is just that Dave got out of the collision intact. So now we lose another 1.5 laps, and now are fighting for 5th. Those Cheating Bastards! The flagger probably has a buddy running in first place, and they fear the Pulp Racing Team. We can't make up the time, and end up 4th or 5th. Dammit, we'll be back!
Vision is selling this car! Motech, sequential tranny, 600+ HP. You could be on Pole!
Friday, October 11th.
Wayne, Sinbad (aka Al Pacino Jr.) and I go to Amago for a day of karting practice. I just got my motor rebuilt after blowing it up at the Streets of Willow a couple of months ago, and I need to do a motor break-in and get some practice before we go to Vegas next week. I bring my 10 speed bike home from the shop, figuring I better do some cardio before the Vegas race to get in shape. Practice goes pretty good, using old tires, I run a 33.01, with Wayne running a 33.02 as his fastest lap. Ha. I know I am faster....
Saturday, October 19th, Las Vegas Karting Track.
We cruise into the Xyplex Karting Track around noon. Since we are on a budget, we don't stay in Vegas for 3 or 4 nights during a karting weekend like we used to. Instead, we figure we cut it in half and just stay Saturday night and Sunday night. Luckily we still have a good hookup so we get to stay in a big suite at Bally's hotel. They are much busier in Vegas this week, since the Mr. Olympia contest is in town, so instead of getting our 3000 square feet, two bedrooms and a living room suite, we instead have to make do with one bedroom and a living room. We ain't complaining.....
Sunday, October 20th, JM Racing's series.
It is starting to look like JM Racing is taking over management duties for the KRC Cup series, and renaming it the uh...I guess the JM Racing Cup. Anyways, they held race number 7 of the series at the Vegas Karting Center, located about 20 minutes south of Vegas off the 15 Freeway. We missed quite a few races this year, as we are on a budget like just about everyone else is these days. But we can't skip a race in Vegas. It looks like Alex Barron might be merging his karting series into the JM Racing series, as his karters with their Honda powered karts were in the same race group as our 125cc Vortex motors. Alex had his Tony Kart fitted with a Vortex motor, so he will be duking it out with us wanna-be-professional drivers.
Slew of Vipers trying to beat my 1:35.6 at Willow
JM Racing has a few of their factory kart drivers in the Red Bull F1 Driver Search. Current and former JM factory drivers Scott Speed, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Philip Giebler, Patrick Long and Rocky Moran Jr have become finalists for the prestigious Red Bull F1 driver search. The Red Bull driver search finds aspiring up-and-coming Americans and helps them break into Formula 1 by funding the costs of competing in Europe's junior racing formulas. This year, 14 finalists have been chosen. Out of those 14, 5 were JM factory drivers. (Their factory drivers don't race with us, they run in some of the professional karting series.)
About a year and a half ago, we tried to hire Alex Barron for a day of "Cheating Bastard" practice so we could get a little faster in our karts. If we could just pick up a half second a lap, we could be podium contenders, but we can't seem to get that little bit more we need to be on the podium. Back then, for a half day of instruction, his rate was about $450 or so. We never got our schedules coordinated, so we never got the lesson from him. Since then, he got a sponsored ride in the Indy Racing League, came in 4th at the Indy 500, won the Nashville Superspeedway IRL race, and took 5th overall in points for the year in the Indy Racing League! The only guys that beat him in points for the IRL title are Hornish, Castroneves, de Ferran, and Giaffone! So I guess his private lessons are probably now $4000 an hour. Damn....we screwed up by not hiring him last year.
Race Grid. Alex Barron on right side, on pole. Wayne and Gene kneeling with him.
For qualifying, I run something like a 46.5, which puts me 6th on the grid out of about 20 karts. In front of me are Alex Barron, Sean "The Kid" Neilson, Gene Sigal(3rd in the KRC points race), The Barker Brothers (always fast, and Jeff Barker is an ex-Formula Atlantic Driver). Alex Barron, running a newly installed, sealed, spec motor from JM Racing(that way we know he didn't hop up the motor), destroys the field with something like a 45.5 or so. The Kid and Gene are around 45.99 or so, and the Barker Brothers are between me and Gene. (remember I told ya I need half a second to be a real contender for the podium) Old Man Greg is behind me. Greg is about 57 or so. Bad back. He's won the last two KRC Cup races, whupping ass on all us "youngsters". Hurt his thumb ligament, so he had it all taped up for this race. To make it works, he also cut open the top of his thumb on his kart trailer right before the qualifying race, so he is bleeding all over his kart. But he is an ex-triathlete, so he is mentally and physically tough. Worse yet for us, he used to race motorcycles and own a motorcycle shop, so he is fast, fit, and technical. Behind him is Wayne. And behind Wayne are a bunch of other guys, including Wally, a Ferrari 360 Challenge driver.
Normally Aspirated, tube frame 944 that Wayne was duking with at Willow
Green light drops, and we are off! The front part of the pack makes it through the first turn without wiping out. It is an 18 lap race, and Vegas is really tough on your body. I forgot to ride my 10 speed bike last week, so I didn't do any cardio, but I figure I can catch the Barker brothers, who are hinting that they are out of shape. Last race here, Jeff Barker got tired, and I caught up to him. But this race, the guys in the front part of the pack are running good, and I can't catch them. I figure I will save my tires and my strength for the final race, and just hold my position. But then a kart behind me bumps me, and I get on my horse so he can't pass. Who the hell could it be? It can't be Wayne, can it? Nope, it's not a blue kart. I get bumped from behind a couple more times. It is now clear that I am kinda holding up his parade. Going down the main straight, I let him by, and decide to follow his line to see if I can pick up any tips. Damn, it's GREG passing me. 7 laps to go. I am sure he is gonna tire out, so I try to get on his butt. Unfortunately, Greg is getting stronger and faster, and I am getting weaker and slower. Shit. I concede sixth place to him, and I end up 7th on the grid....right next to Mr. Mello for the final race. Wayne and I could be in a field of 100 cars, and we will still end up gridded next to each other for the final race.
Just like the Formula One pre-grid!
I tell Wayne not to take me out on the start, or I will kick his ass. He tells me not to botch the start, or he will blow by me. The clutch on my kart is working good, and I am getting pretty fast launches from the standing start. Green flag drops....I launch forward, and Gene has problems with his start. About five people whip by him, including me. Wayne sticks his nose towards the apex, but decides not to go for it, or else he will cause a big wreck. There are five of us in close formation, with Alex Barron way in front of us, already kicking our ass after one lap. I am in sixth place. Going through the 75 mph sweeper turn, the Kid drops two wheels off on the exit, thus slowing down, gets back on the middle of the track. I blow by at 85 mph on the right hand side, Bob Barker blows by on the left. Unfortunately, the Kid veers to the left, and he and Bob touch karts and go spinning off into the gravel trap. Yeah baby....that puts me in 4th place!! I have visions of a podium finish. After five more laps, I try to get a good launch on Greg in front of me and setup for a wide entry to the hairpin to get on the gas early....but Gene sneaks by on the inside with a clean pass. DAMN! Back to 5th. Greg and I are stalking the remaining Barker, and Greg gets by him on the back straight, and I get by on the front straight. Back to 4th! Yeah baby......podium is coming.
Tube frame Boxster that ran at California Speedway
I check behind me, and Jeff and Wayne are duking it out, but I have breathing room. So now it is just Alex, Greg, and Gene in front of me. Gene and Greg are fighting it out, which slows them down a bit, which helps me to stay about 10 kart lengths behind them. Unfortunately, since they are about half a second faster a lap, they start extending their lead over me. I check behind, and I still got room. We are on lap 17 out of 25 laps, and I am getting tired, but at least I am in 4th place, which will be my best finish all year. Coming into the turn before the front straight, my kart suddenly locks up, kart spins in the middle of the track, and the motor stalls. Jeff Barker taps my kart, as I spun right in front of him, thus screwing up his rear axle, but he is still running. What the hell.....I jump in the kart, and try to push start it, but the kart stops dead as soon as I put it in gear. Looks like yet another motor blown up. Those Italian Vortex bastards. Meanwhile, Jeff Barker and Wayne and are now battling for 4th, and with one lap to go, Wayne dives to the inside on the hair pin, but Jeff shuts the door on him, and Wayne goes up on the back of Jeff's kart. Luckily for them, they don't crash, but continue on and finish the race. Wayne takes 5th place!
Another car from the Willow event
Later that night and the next morning, Wayne takes Vegas for about $1000. I end up losing coming home less $350 in cash for the weekend, not too bad. And I figure I am only one second a lap from being a contender for the Indy 500 podium, based on the extrapolation of my lap times to Alex Barron's lap times to his 4th place finish at Indy. (I guess that is quite a stretch...isn't it!)
And just to let you know how cool 125cc shifter kart racing is, if you have a fast Internet connection, try downloading this 20 meg Windows Media file. Right click here and select "save target as" to download
Need some reading material?
So you think you are fast at the track after your first two track days, and you think you need 700 HP? Check out this entertaining thread and what Pat has to say. I start the link on page 2 of the thread.
Cool Christmas Gift!
I got this cool plaque from Monroe. Check out the thread at What racing is all about.... It would make an ideal Christmas present for the racer in your family. $150 bucks, and then every time some moron asks you, "Why do you race?", instead of giving him a glassy eyed, Go-Fast Crack Pipe, 10 minute long explanation, you can just point him to the plaque that Monroe can make ya. PM him at www.corner-carvers.com if you want to get one for a Christmas present. Careful, if you read the plaque at your house, you will get so pumped up that you will start charging Go-Fast parts on your credit immediately so you can go to the track next weekend.
Who will be King of the Open Track Challenge in 2003?
The 2003 Open Track Challenge (OTC) schedule has been released. The best drivers from around North America (yes, Canada is making the roadie) will duke it out from April 6 - 12, 2003 beginning and ending in the Las Vegas area. The great thing about OTC is that you are in the hunt for at least one trophy no matter if you are Michael Schumacher or the average weekend enthusiast. OTC has become the go-fast equivalent of the US Open. Even if you aren't in it for the accolades, OTC is a great way to see some great tracks at one time. Entries are looking strong in the first two weeks and the level of hardware in the upper rungs is simply amazing. For more information visit www.opentrackchallenge.com or contact Brian Provost at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think my next event will be the Speedventures event at Buttonwillow on November 15th. After that, Traknutz is doing a big, back-up-your-smack-talk event at Thunderhill on November 24th. Traknutz is sold out, but Speedventures still has some openings.
Wayne and I need to figure out a way to scam two of these......