SpeedVentures At Streets of Willow, December 13, 2002
S2000 Championship of the World
Who Will be the King of their Class?
Jason Rhoades shows up with his new Big Ass Ugly Wing
December 12th, 2002
There's a new karting track in town at http://www.grangemotorcircuit.com. It's off the 15 freeway by Apple Valley. Wayne, Jeff, Ryan and I decide to go check it out. Pretty nice track, extremely technical, as there are lots of off camber turns. They modeled it after a pro karting track in Belgium. Wayne and I have to do motor break in, so we have to do three sessions at low speed. Jeff is impatiently waiting for us to hurry up so we can duke it out. After our motor break in, we go out there for some close racing. Unfortunately, Jeff was practicing at high speed, and we were practicing at low speed for the motor break in, so I was going a little slower in some of the turns to get used to the track at high speed. So on our 2nd hot lap together, I hit the brakes too early for one of the turns, Wayne hits the brakes behind me, and Jeff slams into Wayne. Jeff blames me for braking too early, I blame Jeff for rear ending Wayne by being too aggressive after just two laps. We look like total clowns, as Wayne towed the karting trailer, and I towed the 48 foot trailer with the S2000 in it(I was headed straight to Willow after this). So we look like professionals with 100 feet of support equipment. And then we crash.
Jeff needs to replace his steering shaft, brake pedal bolt, etc. which takes about 45 minutes of wrenching to put some new spare parts on it. After that, we duke it out, and Jeff kicks our ass by a second or so. Wayne and I ran identical times, 58.62, until the last session, where he beat me by .2 seconds. Damn. But my kart was sputtering in 2nd gear at low speed, so maybe I need to get my jetting changed. Or more specifically, learn how to tune for jetting.
Nice karting track!
December 13th, 2002
Last Event of the Year. SpeedVentures sells out yet another Friday event, this time at the Streets of Willow. They probably have about 60 cars or so, with three run groups. Around 15+ Honda S2000s are there. John Wurth gives up on his third gen RX-7, and goes out and buys a fully prepped, T1 Z06 with a bunch of wheels. Nice Cheating Bastard move! His reasoning for buying the Vette is as follows:
"Wow, Dearing's out, and I've gotta beat Bregante at this event to take first in T5...I haven't beaten him all year in the 7 due to my f'ed up suspension...and now it's leaking oil like a sieve and'll probably burst into flames if I try to track it...On top of that, I've got a double or nothin carryover bet with Wasserman that's gonna be tough to win. Hmmm...buying a prepped Z06 that won it's region in SCCA T1 this year sounds like a good Hayashiesque cheating bastard tactic, and I'm sure from some crack-induced viewpoint it's completely rational....besides, I've got that $100 on the line with Wasserman I don't want to lose."
John's new Z06. Purchased from a guy in Northwest.
In the S2000 Challenge Mod-R class points race, Bitterman
has 78 Points, and I have 72 points for the First Annual S2000 Mod-R
Championship of the World. Points were given at each of the SpeedVentures
event for the past year for fastest laps. You get 10 points for first, 6 for second, 4 for
third, 3 points for 4th, 2 points for 5th, 1 point for 6th at each event by
I have my S2000 dialed in. I understand how to drive it. I feel like I can kick everyone's ass with my stock suspension and Hoosiers against their VAFC, Lightweight clutches/flywheel, lightweight wheels, Moton/Koni adjustable shocks, springs, superchargers, wings, aero mods, etc. (Except for Dave's Supercharged S2000. But I think I have a chance to beat him at the low speed Streets of Willow)
Will's big ass wing
I am confident. So confident, I didn't even bother mounting new Hoosiers for this event. I got to the track with a crappy set of Hoosiers to warm up with, and one other used set of Hoosiers on my extra rims that are in good condition.
Jason Rhoades, autocross guru that races at the national events, is always working on some interesting mods to his car. Back in July at Big Willow, Jason spun out on turn 9 at 110+ mph or so. He thought the back end was too loose. In doing some S2000 research, he found out that at high speed, the S2000 loses 88 lbs of down force in the rear. He works out the math on some aerodynamic calculations, and tries to figure out rake, drag, etc, for a wing designed for S2000. He comes up with his home brewed design. He decides to build it. He buys a spare trunk lid, and builds the wing. He builds it so that he can easily pull the stock trunk lid off, and replace it with the "race trunk lid". I can see why he designed it to be removable. It's ricockulous looking. I laugh at his futility in trying to beat me with a Big Ass Ugly Wing.
C'mon. Be Serious. It can't possibly help make you go fast!
Last time at Streets of Willow, I ran a 1:32.8. Today,
first session, I run a 1:32.7 on old crappy Hoosiers. heh heh heh. This is
gonna be fun. I plan on taking top time of the
day. I'm crushing EVERYONE today. I have a solid shot at becoming the S2000
Mod-R Champ for 2002.
2/3rd size mini NASCAR machine
I come in from what I think is a great warm up session, and I check the AMB printout for the Red group lap times. I destroyed everyone in the red group. Except for one car. Jason Rhoades runs a 1:31.5, using his big wing and Hoosier autocross tires. Holy Shits! 1.3 seconds faster than me! That can't be possible. He has some other mods, sway bar, lighter wheels, etc. Still, I didn't think he would be THAT fast. Everyone crowds around his car, as we are all blown away by how fast he ran. I noticed that on the downhill two turns from Turn 2, he was picking up 4-5 cars lengths on me. But I didn't realize he was running sub 1:32 laptimes. I don't think I can beat that. If I take 1st place, and Bitterman gets 3rd, we Tie for overall Champion in the Mod-R class. So I need fast lap of the day for the S2000 drivers.
Joe's Viper, ready to duke it out with Wasserman and the S2000 crowd
I immediately mount my better used Hoosiers. But I don't think I can run 1.3 seconds faster. Damn. Shoulda brought a full set of new tires on the extra rims. Next session, Jason just parks his car. He figures he will wait until someone can beat his times. He's a pretty smart guy, he figures no one is gonna catch him, and why waste his good Hoosier tires that he needs for his autocross events. Instead, he gleefully watches us non-aero equipped drivers flog our cars and tires to death trying to beat his time.
Next session, I run a 1:32.14 or so. Better, but still 7/10ths of a second too slow. I am driving the car on the edge of disaster, trying to keep the car on the track, and pedal to the metal. At lunch, I realize that I do have a new set of 275/16 rears that I took to Thunderhill in the very back of the gooseneck of the trailer. Normally, I run 245/16, but I had these 275's thinking they might be good for a high speed track, particularly high speed sweepers like Thunderhill or Big Willow. I get these mounted at lunch at the Willow Springs tire shop. Maybe new Hoosiers can beat Big Ass Ugly Wing.
Big Ass Ugly Lights. It's Ugly car day at the track! (but probably kicks ass at night)
Jason Keeney shows up. He's another autocross wizard who goes to the national events. He runs 1:32.4 or so his first session, using shocks/springs, lightweight wheels, 255 fronts with 285 rears, and who knows what else. He's a scientific racer, and his 1:32.4 puts him easily in the top 6 or so for fastest lap of the day.
3rd session after lunch, I use old tires still. Track is slippery, lap times suck. Keeney mounts Rhoades's trunk/wing combo on his car, and Keeney runs 1:31.4 with it, and now is sitting as fastest S2000 at the track. DAMN! Keeney concurs that the big ass ugly wing works great at the Streets of Willow. It might not work on a high speed track, but it is sticking great on Streets, where we don't really get much over 100 mph. The two autocross guys are kicking my ass all over the track. And ruining my chance to be King. We can't have that happen.
4th session. I put the new 275 rears on my car. The new tires stick real good. But lap times stay the same as earlier, around 1:32.1x. Apparently the new tires are taller, so the gearing is screwed up, and acceleration is slower. Shit, I still need 7/10s of a second to be king. Bitterman and Wurth are happy that their event is going smoothly, as no one has crashed yet. Despite the fact that I insist that one person at every event will drive over their head and crash their car.
S2000 Crowd lined up and ready to have fun at the track. Where were you?
5th session, last one of the day. Jason Rhoades still has his car parked. Time for desperate measures.
Cheating Bastard trick #1 for Streets of Willow (that I learned from Erik at the OTC): Entering onto the skid pad portion of the Streets, the right corner of the track has a dirt patch. Normally, if you put your two right wheels IN THE PATCH, it helps you out, as it straightens out the turn and you don't have to turn as much to the left before this right hand turn. However, this time, the dirt patch (which is like the corner of a square), is about 2 inches lower than the surrounding asphalt. Normally it is level. Which means putting the two right wheels in there is going to give a BIG bump at speed as you dip into the hole, and then squarely hit the asphalt as you come out of the hole.
For this last session of the day, I don't care about hitting the hole and screwing up my alignment or breaking a tie rod/end link, so I dump the right two wheels in there. Car dips, hits the bump, but...heh heh heh....it helps turn the car at speed to help you enter the skidpad. I drop 2/10th of a second to 1:31.9. Heh heh heh. People think I am a moron for banging my wheels into that dirt hole and throwing up a dust cloud and rocks, but they don't know the Cheating Bastard tricks. Amateurs. Rhoades is looking at the AMB computer, checking my laptimes. Next time through I go a little faster into the skid pad, hit the dirt patch, tires and wheels go KA-BAM when I hit the asphalt, but car pivots quickly, as if the dirt hole helps the car turn into the skid pad. I drop another 2/10ths to 1:31.75. Yeah baby....only 3/10ths of a second more, then I become the King for 2002. I can rag on these S2000 guys for an entire year. Jason Rhoades sees my 1:31.75 pop up on the AMB computer, and he starts looking for his car keys, as he knows I am getting dialed in, and he might have to fire up his car to defend his fast lap of the day among the S2000 drivers.
Subaru drivers out in force
Unfortunately, I don't think I can pick up another 3/10ths using Erik's Cheating Bastard Trick. Earlier in the day, Rhoades was saying he was pretty much flat out at the left hander before the bowl. Fuck that Big Ass Ugly Wing, I can take that turn flat out without a wing, and throw the car into the bowl, scrub off speed, pick up 3/10ths, and become King of the First Annual S2000 Challenge Mod-R Class. Who knows, maybe it might even be worth some sponsorship money from someone to compete for next year's S2000 Challenge?
Wasserman makes yet another appearance at the track
I go through the left hander flat out, but on exit, and it appears I am going a little too fast and I am too far on the outside where the pavement becomes off-camber. Car spins before I enter the bowl. Shit. I go off into the dirt at 80 mph.
spun lower down, then shot to the outside here
Oh well. Except the dirt is rock hard, like a stone floor. With lots of little rocks. When I hit the little rocks, it is like stepping on marbles in your kitchen floor. The car ain't stopping, it seems like it is going faster. 100 feet later, I see the chain link fence coming up. Uh oh, this is gonna hurt! I smack right through the fence, ripping the fencing off the poles, and hit the small dirt berm, fly through a small ditch, and hit the dirt berm on the other side. By some huge stroke of luck, I didn't flip the car when I hit the dirt berm, and I did not hit the poles for the fence, I went right between them, and it appears that I went UNDER the fence. The fence is kinda tacked on to the top of the poles.
I went under this fence, and over the berm
I thought I might have totaled the car. I got lucky. My rear passenger quarter panel is scratched up, and the rear bumper cover got caught on something, and ripped off like an orange peel. Doors seems to be fine, front quarters okay, hood is maybe 1/32 off. I pack up the bumper cover thingy in the passenger seat, and ride the dirt motocross track back to the track. I can't get back onto the Streets of Willow, as I can't make it across the dirt berm and ditch unless I get a running start and hit it at about 60 mph......
Ooops. Luckily it is just a lightweight plastic bumper cover that peeled off
Mark Jones in a 2200 lb Cobra ran a 1:31.1 for top time. Next is Jason K with 1:31.4, Jason R with 1:31.5, John Wurth in his new T1 Corvette with 1:31.71, then me at 1:31.74. Shit. If that damn fence wasn't there, I might have pulled it off and beat the Jasons.........oh well. The Jasons are overheard talking about a new wing design to take to Laguna Seca in late January with SpeedVentures, and they are intent on taking down Saini's current record lap of 1:44.45 for an S2000. Well dammit, I intend to take down that record also....but I might need a little aero help myself. I have a feeling there will be a whole slew of people working on rear wings for their S2000 over the Christmas Holidays in preparation for Laguna Seca.....
Rhoades and Keeney take 3rd and 2nd fastest times of the day
Next day. I wash the car, and take a closer look at the damage. It seems like when the car went under the fence, it scraped up the paint a bit, but maybe it will buff out.
S2000 missing the rear plastic bumper cover
I guess it is still possible that maybe a suspension link
failed from hitting the Cheating Bastard Bump at 70 mph, which cause me to wipe
out on the turn before the bowl. I'll have to have a Erik or Larry check
it out later in the week, after I take the car to the body shop.
This is my first wreck in 10 years of racing. I tell the wife that I uh...crashed the car. She says, "You crashed the car at a Time Trial event, and not at a wheel-to-wheel event? How could you possibly do that?"
Mark Jones takes fastest time of the day in his 2200 lbs, 400+ HP Factory Five Cobra
And so ends another year of The NSX-Files. It is about time to start gearing up for the OTC, which will happen April 6 through April 11th. Competition will be fierce this year. The NSX gets bumped up to the Unlimited One class, probably because we came in 4th last year, and had a chance to take all the marbles from the Unlimited Two class. Cars like mine that add aftermarket superchargers or turbochargers get bumped up one class, which puts us against all the big boys.
Door is fine, but scrape by the front of the tire needs to get fixed
SpeedVentures is planning on doing 26 events next year, and is going across the USA and Canada for some of the events. I am sure that I will NOT be at most of those events, but I do plan on kicking ass in the events a little closer to home. But who knows, I could end up in your neck of the woods at Mosport, or Road America, or Texas World Speedway, and you can duke it out with me and the rest of the SpeedVentures track junkies.
Who will be King of the Open Track Challenge in 2003?
The fields are building up for the OTC. The best drivers from around North America 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. Entry fee goes up after January 1st, so get those checks sent in!
Order The Coolest DVD In the World about Real Life Racing Stories for Xmas!
Have a great holiday, and be safe! We'll be back next year. We can even go faster next year if you buy The NSX-Files Volume IV at the Pulp Store to help support our racing effort! Going faster means better stories! The DVD is being duplicated right now, I can probably ship in early January. You can pre-order a DVD now, and send a Christmas Card to a friend promising the DVD is on the way using this Microsoft Word Document or this Acrobat Document. I also have some cool looking black OTC shirts from last year for sale at www.pulpstore.com.
Merry Xmas from Pulp Racing!