You are currently viewing archive for April 2011
Category: SCCA Club Racing
Posted by: Mike
So after a long offseason (filled with lots of indoor karting and iRacing of course) I was finally back on track for the Mid Atlantic Road Racing Series opener at Summit Point Raceway. This would be my second race in the RX-7. We got to the track Friday for practice and resolved some minor issues after the first few sessions. Near the end of the day, I was pushing harder but was not that satisfied with my times. I was slower then what I did in the race last year and not really sure why.

But it didn't matter much yet, as Saturday morning the rain started. I was definitely glad I'd brought up the the rain tires I'd just bought earlier in the week that morning (I couldn't bring up Friday anyway because they wouldn't fit in my Civic with all the other junk!). And after checking the weather forecast and going though all the hassle of buying and bring up the rain tires, I decided I might as well used them. It was a scramble to get the rain tires on in time, but I rushed out to the grid at 8:15AM just as the group was going out on track, and it looked like a lot of guys hadn't even made it to the grid yet. I think some were making last minute tire changes. Once out it was apparent full treaded rains were the right decision, although it wasn't raining too hard, the track was wet enough to see rooster tails coming off the cars, and I quickly found it was quite slick too. The guys in front of me were crawling around, and I was too, but not as much as them! The new Toyo RA-1s with full tread depth were definitely doing their job. Through the session I was slowly picking it up and I was soon feeling pretty confident.

I really enjoy the challenge of racing in the rain and I was working hard in the car to figure out where the grip on the track was and how much. I put down a few decent laps but knew there was still more speed. Then in turn 1 I got it too sideways and got into a tankslapper. Thought I had it saved 5 times before finally spinning around. I slid backwards with the wheels locked but the wet track and grass did very little to slow me down. I was backwards into the tires. After trying futilely to drive it away, a friendly flagger came up to help me out of the car. It wasn't till then I realized The rear of the car was up on a stack of 4 tires! So I stood at the flag station for the rest of the session with 50 things going through my head, then the tow truck came by got the car off of the tires without damaging it further, and I was able to drive it away! The damage wasn't bad at all. A slightly crinkled rear quarter panel, but everything under the car looked fine and the car felt fine driving it back.

So it was on to the race and apparently I had gotten the fasted lap in the class before I spun! I was starting on the pole for my second race ever in the car, and the track was even wetter with puddles everywhere. Not wanting to look stupid, tear up my and a bunch of other drivers cars, or break the no two crashes in a weekend rule, I took it really easy on the start and through the race. 3 guys got by me on the first lap after that I continued at a moderate pace, my best lap 2-3 seconds slower then my qualifying. I maintained my position for the rest of the race and was pretty relived to finish.

Sunday would bring dry conditions. We got to the track early again only to find out that several races had been canceled yesterday afternoon once the rain really picked up, so we would only be going out after their make up races. We had plenty of time to change back to the shaved tires although in a way I almost wished the race was in the wet again due to my lack of pace in dry practice. For the race I would start in 4th but like practice I just could not find any speed. The race was pretty uneventful as I ran by myself for most of the time with my pace about the same as what I'd done in practice. I finished 6th.

The performance in the dry was pretty frustrating, as I was several seconds off the pace of what I did last fall when I expected to lower my times. Maybe I was rusty, maybe the 8 year old tires had just fallen off too much, or maybe I just suck. Perhaps some combination of all of the above. So I'm going to look at a test or practice day before the next race to hopefully try a few things with the car, work on my confidence and maybe try another set of tires.

I have to give a big thanks to the team and my friends, both for prepping the car and supporting me at the track this weekend. Overall, I have to say it was a fun weekend, I was very happy to get my first pole in the SRX7 class, and am anxious to get back out there and figure out where I can improve.

04/08/2011: 2011 update

Category: General
Posted by: Mike
Last year had it's ups and downs and I didn't get to race as much as I wanted, so hopefully that will change this year. My first SCCA race is coming up in a few weeks and I'm planning on running the RX-7 in most of the races. In addition, I'm looking at several other opportunities. The late model test last December was great so I'm definitely exploring options there. And there's also some other things I'm looking at too. A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed that I'd have these leads. It's a lot of work but I actually think I'm making progress and something is gonna come out of all this! Stay tuned!