Well, it was another tough and exhausting weekend. On Friday for practice we had a problem with a flooded engine. I think we may have flooded it a few weekends before when we were doing some work on the car and having trouble starting it due to a flat battery and some issue with the battery or kill switch circuit or something. The result was I was cranking the engine with the throttle open for quite a while. Anyway, we had trouble starting the car all Friday until the last session which cost as quite a bit of track time. Also, when I went out on an alternate set of tires we wanted to run this weekend, at least one wheel was way out of balance and I experienced a massive vibration, so we had to go back to the original set. To top it off I had an issue setting the GPS timer, the car was still sputtering a little more then my liking, and there was a lot of traffic (as always). It was kind of frustrating to pay $225 for 25 minutes of track time in heavy traffic, but what can you do!

Saturday morning qualifying was pretty uneventful and slow. The car felt fine, about the same as for MARRS1, I was just not going that fast. I finally had some clear track and got back into a rhythm, realizing I was making some mistakes with my line and getting back to the throttle. Last race, I was just off after the long winter and lacking confidence after the spin into the tires in qualifying. Now I was feeling better and picked up half a second or so over my times from MARRS1, but still not near where I wanted to be!

The Saturday sprint race was more of the same. A big struggle was I was doing an extra downshift into turn 5 as taking it a gear higher was just bogging too much now but I was missing the downshift and the upshift pretty frequently. Otherwise though I was slowly picking it up on other parts of the track and improved my times a few tenths more over qualifying, but the field still slowly drove away from me. I needed seconds, not tenths! After the race, SCCA impounded all cars in the class (usually they only impound the top 3) I guess my joking about only following the rules if you finish in the top 3 bit me. I knew we were close to minimum weight and had been using gas to try and make weight, but with all the other things going on I hadn't really made a good enough estimate on how much fuel was in the car before the race. We were underweight and disqualified. It was certainly my mistake and I took the penalty. I certainly wasn't trying to gain an advantage running underweight, it was just carelessness. Didn't matter much since we finished second to last anyway. So no points for Saturday, but we could still race Sunday.

To be safe, we added another 25 pound plate to the car before the race Sunday so we now had 95lbs of ballast on the passenger floor. Sunday was another lonesome race. I went back and forth with another guy for the first two laps (he seemed down on power) before eventually pulling away. The rest of the cars were long gone after that. I pushed pretty hard through most of the race, just lapping, experimenting and doing everything I could to find more time, driving probably harder then I ever had in the rx7. A few times I had the car way sideways and I went four off once in turn 1 but recovered quickly. Although I picked up another half second from the Saturday race, it was still 2 seconds or so off the main pack, and half a second slower from my laps in traffic last year! It was hot and I was pretty exhausted mentally and physically after the race.

So overall I have to say I'm pretty disappointed now. I feel pretty comfortable with the car, I feel I'm improving my driving but the times are just no there, where I thought I could be at this point. Looking over data and video and getting good feedback from the team and many friends helps and gives me ideas, and I already see some things I can do that I'm convinced will pick up some time, but in the end I won't know what works until I get back out on the track again. I'm not sure if the car is off, everyone seems to have different opinions. I definitely don't want look like an ass and always blame my equipment, but so far any way I look at it I haven't been able to account for the 3-4 seconds I'm off from the leaders. Anyway, I have a lot of time now to think about it and come up with a plan before the next race.