Wedge Racing in 2019
Sebring - January (MAJORS Hoosier Super Tour)
The tow down was uneventful - we arrived, signed a waiver to get into the paddock, found a spot and setup, then later went and registered for the event. Since we were the LAST racing group, we had LOTS of time available the following day to unload Bullet and do our pre-race checks.
This event was the first in the country for the new FV SPEC TIRE, however, our first session on Friday morning was a practice, so I opted to go out on a set from last year so I could attempt to compare against the Spec Tire in the next session. The practice went well and our fastest lap was good and quite close our best time in 2017 (we had a conflict with the 2018 event). The second session was Q1 so I went out on a sticker set of the Spec Tires and turned a nearly identical time that was good for the pole with Donnie and Laura close behind. On Saturday morning, times were a little slower, but it appeared that the track had slowed a bit since FF times were also slower. Unfortunately, Dan Grace lost control in the high speed T17 and went headon into the tire wall, bending his front beam and the right front spindle.. ending his weekend.
Saturday Race - Everything started off pretty nice. I got a good start with the FF's and F5's ahead and the Vees all together .. until we got to T7. Up ahead of us, 2 FF's got together under braking and both hit the concrete wall pretty hard just after what would have been the turn-in points. I was confident we'd get the double yellows soon and around T15 onto the back straight, there they came. Coming by T7 the next lap I noticed Harry Schneider off between 7 and 8 (I later found out he had a suspension failure). After 2 laps of yellow, we finally restarted and I kept the lead, but with both Donnie and Laura right on my tail. Going into T4 an FF spun in front of the F5 right behind him.. both JUST in front of me - then the F5 spun to avoid. I got by and so did Donnie before the window closed on Laura, so she dropped back several seconds while Donnie and I soldiered on. At the end oif that lap, Donnie passed for the lead as the 'spun' FF and F5 caught us and went by. About that time, Donnie started dropping fluid ..as has been the case at most races in the last couple of years. Huge plumes of fluid pouring out all over my car and helmet shield and camera as the 2 F5's blew by me going into T17 (guess the 1st spun again) .... putting themselves momentarily between Donnie and I, but I passed 1 of them into T2 - leaving the other just in front of me. The 2nd F5 then passed both vees before T7 about the same time the 1st one SPUN (yes, again) on his own under braking into T7... So, now we are F5-FV-FV-F5 (with the FF elsewhere on the track). Another lap goes by and we get the WHITE (last lap) flag. We are still the same F5-FV-FV-F5 but I have closed up behind Donnie and am now less than a second back. We come onto the back straight and I'm closing on Donnie... closing... I pull out to pass and am I N C H I N G by, but I'm gaining less and less.. DECISION time as we approach T17 at full speed.. I back off at the last instant and try for my best line inside line coming onto the front straight. Donnie goes just a tad wide and I'm in front. He's coming back up on the outside and I leave him room and still manage to JUST hold on for the win even though I got slightly balked by that first F5 that seemed to develop some sort of problem coming through the turn. The last lap finish is available on youtube.. https://youtu.be/1i53VPe57rU if you'd like to see it. Sorry about the stuff on the camera lens .. some times I just don't have enough time to clear it often enough during the race.
Laura, who got blocked by that early FF spin was a few seconds behind Donnie and I but still managed to pull off the LAP RECORD in the new FV Spec Tire era with a 2:42.x while Russell Fredericks rounded out the top 4 as he gained familiarity with his rental ride for the weekend.
Sunday Race - I retained the pole because even Laura's lap record time in Race 1 was still slower than my time from Q1. Coming out of of T17 on the pace lap, Donnie got an unbelievable start and was 2+ carlengths in front of me before the green was waved - but it didn't really matter. Russell also jumped in front of me going into T2, but that also didn't matter (much ). I passed Russell and was in front of Donnie before T7.. but he held the inside line and retained the lead. At that point, another FF hit the concrete ahead of us, and we got DY as we passed T12.. so, no passing from there on that lap. Unfortunate for me since about that time Donnie started spewing oil again - covering my visor and car. We spent 2 more laps under DY until the restart which left the vees in the back - Donnie, me, Russell and Laura (Harry was unable to start due to his broken suspension from yesterday's race). Through T7 and then Russell makes a dive inside of me into T10 while Laura seems to be falling off the pace a bit. Russell seems to have finally gotten a handle on his rent-a-ride and is 'in the mix'.. kinda good for me since HE is now taking the brunt of Donnie's oil spray. Complete that lap and back around to T7 where I am able to get around Russell again and Laura is now well off the pace. Down the back straight I finally make the pass over Donnie for the lead .. but it is short lived since he passes back going into T1. As we come into T1 on the next lap, Linda radios that the SEVEN CAR lead pack of FF is coming up on us. With a little luck they won't catch us until the back straight. Laura is now gone from my mirrors so anything I see must be FF - sure enough coming into T10 I catch a glimpse of 'something', but something must have happened because they didn't catch us for 3 more laps .. and even then they didn't catch us until the back straight. On the next lap, Russell passes both Donnie and I going into T10 and takes the lead. We made it down the back straight and Donnie retook the lead... through T16 and 17, then onto the front straight... suddenly they show up.... 1..2,3,4,5....6..into T1...7 .... T2 .... 8! Wow.. into T4 then # 9 at T10 and #11catches us at T13.. but stays behind the tight battle of 3 vees (thank goodness) and then passes on the back straight. Unfortunately for me, since I HAD to keep an eye on the FF behind ... expecting him to dive inside of me at every turn, Donnie managed to pull out a full 3 second advantage on that lap. Not much to do but give it my best shot... I close at every turn and by T10 I'm less than a second back before another FF comes up on me from behind. I point him by at T11.. but he doesn't pass. I have to leave room for him at T11 and 12 and lose more ground to Donnie.. then he finally passes both of us at T13 .. giving Donnie a nice tow onto the back straight. With my draft from Donnie, I still manage to close up to his gearbox... we should get the White last lap flag at S/F and I prefer to be second coming down that back straight for the last time. Now, I notice that Russell has closed back up on us and we are now THREE.... so have to keep him in mind during the rest of this lap. Donnie seems to be slow... (maybe to keep Russell in the mix? to give me more to think about?) - but I'm still not yet ready to pass him. Around to T14 with Russell falling behind.. then Donnie suddenly slows at T15 - closing both myself and Russell back up behind him... sly trick... Donnie accelerates away, but immediately sees that I'm going to catch and pass him.. so he slows again to make me pass early.. and with no real momentum. I get by him, but then he slows my pass and starts to come back on me.. but not quite enough and backs off just as we enter T16.. he sets up wide and dives inside of me as we turn HARD for T17 ..and then SWEEPS across my nose from inside to outside and I have to lift a tad to not hit him (or get hit), but I tuck in and try to use the tighter inside line just about the time that Russell tries to follow Donnie through and clobbers me in the right rear tire. We both slide sideways a bit but continue on as Donnie opens the gap due (at least) to us going sideways and wins the race. Me second and Russell 3rd. Almost identical finish to Saturday except that Donnie and I are reversed. Laura apparently deveoped an engine problem and came into the pits a few laps back.
Wow .. 2 TIGHT races with Donnie and I swapping 1st and second places each day. Russell also managed to reset the LAP RECORD by digging out a 2:41.9 to just beat out Laura's record from Saturday. Not a bad weekend for our team. A long way to go in the season and Donnie, Myself, Harry Scheider and Dan Voss (who swapped 1st and 2nd at the Homestead race the weekend before) are all TIED for first place in the Southeastern Conference. We'll see how that changes in a couple months after our next race at Road Atlanta.
Fredericks and I going through T1...
I put the last lap on youtube again ( https://youtu.be/wEcwyNDgqFY ). A little earlier in the day so the sun doesn't affect the camera as much and I did a MUCH better job of wiping the oil off the camera lens .
Road Atlanta (#1) - March - MAJORS weekend
VIR (Virginia International Raceway)- April - MAJORS Hoosier Super Tour event
(VIR is also the site for the Runoffs this year)
During the tow up, the motorhome died a couple of times in traffic for no clear reason (more on that later). We drove to a rest area about an hour from VIR and spent the night. The track wasn't going to let us in anyway and we would be some of the first to arrive on Thursday morning when we COULD get in. Since we did not opt for a PAID parking spot on the asphalt or gravel, we were going to be stuck in 'never/never land' on unknown terrain - best we get their early and MAYBE get a better spot.
As it turned out, we had absolutely NO CHOICE of paddock. We were directed INTO the NEXT SPOT in the lines .. so at least we got done pretty quickly. Our spot in the grass was most of the way 'up' the slight slope and the only real issue (it seemed) was that the grass had not been mowed and was something over 6 inches tall. That would mean that we couldn't put the nose on the car until we got to the road. In the first picture below you can see the rough distance to the road that we would have to traverse. Rain was definitely in the forecast ... but we could never have imagined how it was going to turn out. It was also not obvious just HOW BUMPY and uneven that traverse would end up being.
Of course it rained overnight .. a LOT. We would be the 8th race group .. of 9, so their was no rush Friday morning. We got to watch it rain A LOT - off and on throughout the day. All sessions were fraught with BFA's and their were LOTS of torn up cars showing around the paddock. 2 race weekends in a row with RAIN RAIN. Guess it was just our time. Sessions kept sliding down the calendar clock as the day wore on, but it finally started to let up around 9:30a and had stopped by 10.. but still looked threatening. 2 more sessions before us and things were beginning to look up. I started searching for a way to get to the road without any more grief than necessary. By the time we hit the track (some 90 minutes late), the track was mostly damp but drying .. with even a couple of DRY spots here and there. The goal here would be to get in a lap or 2 WITHOUT CRASHING OR LEAVING THE TRACK SURFACE. The outlap seemed..OK... dicey in a couple of places but felt pretty good overall... Started the second lap and made it to T8 before raindrops started falling. Increasing frequency of raindrops as I made my way around and Linda came on the radio and told me to play it safe and come on in. Did I listen .. well, NO. I had a decent lap going (considering the circumstances) and needed to cross the finish line to put it in the books. I did that and came in at the end of that lap as the rain continued to increase. The guys that had gotten out at the head of the group got, by far, the best times - the only ones that completed a lap before the rain, but I ended up in the middle of the field - the only benefit of that PRACTICE session would be that I would start the qualifier a few spots closer to the front of the group next time.
The rain stayed steady for about 30 minutes so the last group practiced in the rain.. then it stopped over lunch and we started up again with Group 1 on a 'damp but drying' track after lunch. Again, essentially EVERY session was full of BFA incidents and the groups continued to fall behind on the time line.. a LOT. We were scheduled to go out about 5P, so we broke out the rain tires and put 2 on and left slicks in the other 2 positions. We got up to Group 5 before the skies opened up again .. I mean REALLY opened up. BFA again and then the tower told all the corner workers to get to safe locations and the track was secured. There were reports of 'tornado like activity' in a storm that was headed our way. About 20 minutes later, the tower CLOSED THE TRACK for the day due to the imminent weather headed our way .. to include 60+ MPH winds. We put Bullet back in the trailer and stowed everything we could to wait. About 4P the rains stopped and the skies seemed to clear. At our scheduled time .. the track was damp but drying and the skies looked pretty good.. but the track was CLOSED. There was no 'storm' and no rain until around 11 that night after all... another interesting day at the track.
More rain overnight and still off/on rain at the start of Saturday morning. SCCA decided to DELETE the Q1 sessions for all groups that didn't complete their Q1 on Friday.. and shorten Q2 for the earlier groups. It's complicated, but Groups 5,6,7,8,9 would only have 1 qual session and G1,2,3,4 would have a short Q2 before racing started. Although it continued to rain off and on, our group had a DRY race! Amazing. Still damp here and there, but a complete dry line anyway. I had managed to squeeze out a decent 3rd place qualifying time in our Q session so had a decent starting spot. At the green, I got a good start and actually held my position going into T1. Made it to the back straight before losing a couple of spots. Bullet was handling pretty decently (although I would hope for better) and the engine was spinning well. The lead pack was about 6 or 7 cars and I think I held ALL those positions at 1 time or another .. except for P1, anyway. We were close and in the hunt. On lap 5 we were going into T1 - I was 6th or so and 2 cars dropped tires off the ouside of T1 and splashed mud everywhere. The pack bunched up really tight and Abbott and Whitston 'twitched' to avoid contact .. then A. Whitston lost control.. Donnie was in front of me blocking my view of the incident until Donnie moved left to avoid .. leaving me staring STRAIGHT at the side of Whitston's car as it went around. I dodged, but Mitchell was on my left and I had no where to go.. I gritted my teeth and HOPED to JUST miss him.... BUT .. tagged him lightly with my RF (to his RR) which pitched me just a bit and WHAM.. I hit him HARD with my RR. It spun me around, across the track to the outside .. with R. Whitston JUST missing me as I slid off the track. I got the engine cranked and eventually managed to get out of the wet grass and back onto the track.. only to realize that something was BROKEN in the back suspension.. my day was done. I pulled as far off the track as I could get in the swimming pool of water that was EVERYWHERE and got out to wait for the wrecker.
They called a Full Course Yellow and sent a wrecker to pick me up. When I got hauled to my paddock spot, I told them to drop me at the road so they wouldn't be hauling me up the (now) quite muddy "road" to our spot (see first picture below...that was before it got REALLY REALLY BAD (mud wise)). I took the nose off and ran and got a jack to release the pressure on the back suspension .. then used a ratchet strap (amazingly) to reattach the RR trailing arm to the axle so I could drive Bullet back to our spot. The race was restarted and probably ran another 5 or 6 laps with Mitchell coming home the winner.
This is the view to the paddock road from just BEHIND our paddock spot.
This is the view from just in front of the motorhome. The Abbott FV camp is just in front of us under the 2 black tents.
It still got worse than this. The mud is about 6 inches deep and you can see tracks from the white car ahead where they
came through OUR paddock spot to avoid some of the mud. We ended up with a LOT of mud in our spot from both
street and race cars pulling through it.
Here you can see the QUAGMIRE down the center where tow vehicles, streets cars and race cars had to negotiate
the trip to the paved road.
WHAT A MESS!! Big DUALLY TRUCKS were getting stuck going DOWNHILL in this
mess. (you can click on these pictures for full resolution to see just what the muddy spots look like close up. This
was STILL not at it's worst - by then we were not wasting time taking pictures.)
It was DARK for the last race group of the day. Most of the cars HAD HEADLIGHTS and those that did were certainly using them. Anyway.. after getting Bullet back to the paddock spot, we took a break and went to have dinner at the social. Then decided to just wait until the next morning to see if we could fix Bullet. It SEEMED it wouldn't be too hard.
It was DRY overnight, but magically started raining again at about 6a... but light thankfully. The track was wet for the first couple of groups, but seemed to dry pretty quickly. I set about fixing the car and it was about what I expected - not nearly as bad as it could have been. Broken rear trailing arm and a bent rim. About 90 minutes of work and Bullet was ready to go .. or so I thought - more later.
Rain stopped for a while.. then came back and more groups ran their races in the rain. Lunchtime came and went as we watched the skies .. wondering if we would have a wet, dry .. or somewhere in between race. We had again, fixed up Bullet with 2 rains and 2 slicks before I finally decided to go with the slicks. The track was starting to show a dry line .. finally and we were out of time considering how long it would take to get to the grid. As I looked around, I noticed that all of the rigs between our spot and the road were now EMPTY. If we did it just right, I could back up a little and turn and go down the hill and across the road without having to drive through the muck. At that exact time, some guy in a 'big rig tractor' pulling a small open wheel trailer, GOT STUCK .. trying to go down the hill.. RIGHT BEHIND ME. He was TRULY STUCK and had to call a wrecker. With his help, I managed to back up JUST ENOUGH to turn the motorhome down the hill and get across the road (where there had been almost no traffic during the massive rains). So .. NOW .. all we had to do was RACE and we had a nice way out.
Since the times in the Saturday race were relatively slow, I maintained my 3rd place grid position and I again got a good start and was able to move into 2nd place coming out of T1. After that, it got a lot more complicated. The lead pack, again expanded to 7 or 8 cars - I ran in the top 3 for 2 laps .. then lost one to Donnie at T5 when I ran a tad wide. Then.. a lap later, I almost lost it at T17 coming onto the front straight. Farnham and Ferguson go by into T1 and I'm now in 6th. Farnham goes too deep and I'm back in 5th. Around again and back into T1 and Jonathan spins, A. Whitston goes off track to avoid - back in 3rd. Around to the back straight and Farhnam gets by as Ferguson almost loses it at T15, then B. Abbott gets by as I recover from dodging Ferguson. About lap 9 an FF 'died' on the track just after T5 - Ferguson lifted and I got by into T6- back to 4th, then Farnham gets Donnie into T7. It was pretty obvious that, if the FF didn't get cranked and move himself, we would get a FCY to clear him. We go down the back straight .. I'm expecting a FCY and as T13 comes into view. there it is. Abbott starts to pass, but sees the yellows... Donnie goes ahead and makes a pass on Farnham for the lead .. despite the yellow flags. A lap of FCY and the FF is still there at T5. Then another and the FF is being moved. Should get a GREEN at S/F next lap... something feeling 'odd?' about Bullet under the yellow ??? Seems to 'pitch' a bit depending on on or off throttle... I'm in 4th and expecting a restart quite concerned about how Bullet is acting... GREEN!! B. Abbott gets a gang buster restart and blasts by Farnham and Isley - I follow by Farnham and take back 3rd as we pass a couple of lapped vees. As we come thru T4, I encounter a lapped F5 and have to slow, giving Farnham just what he needed to get back by me. 2 turns later, we get FCY again... I'm right on Farnham's tail, but can't pass. Coming thru T3 next lap, I see Ferguson's car in the WET grass.. (he had contact with one of the lapped vees last lap). NOW I can feel Bullet lurching significantly each time I apply the throttle.. starting to get a bit scary. There's still TIME in the session .. we might yet get another restart. As we come into T11, an FF suddenly pulls to the right and off into the grass. THAT'S going to extend the FCY to the end of the race (WHEW!). I'm trying to manage my throttle and NOT change on/off whenever possible. I'm not really sure I can make it back to the pits before something falls off. Sadly, the checker does NOT come out next time by.. and we have to make yet ANOTHER lap under yellow.. but then FINALLY into the pits and impound - 4th place. I get out of the car and quickly look at the rear .. the RR trailing arm is WAY LOOSE!! Only about 1 1/2 threads of 2 bolts that hold it together are still there. What a close call. Doubt very seriously if I could have completed another lap. Borrow a loaner wrench from a friend at impound and TIGHTEN those 2 bolts. Obviously, I FORGOT to tighten them after working on the trailing arm fix this morning. A miracle that we did not get another restart .. or I would have certainly CRASHED.. possibly pretty BIG crash too.
Photo courtesy F & S Enterprises Photography
Linda did a great job on the radio and we came out with a top 5 in the Sunday
race .. even though nothing on Saturday. Donnie and I are now TIED for the
Conference lead in points. Donnie also grabbed the Spec Tire LAP RECORD for VIR
with a 1:19.997 .. my fastest lap was only 0.006 secs slower .. so we just
missed it. Remember the motorhome dying a couple of times above? Well.. it
happened a couple MORE times on the way home. I THINK it might be idled
too low .. maybe I just need to raise it a little. Anyway, we're home now.
Great engine and pretty good car. Also should mention that we are running
Spec Tires this year. I bought 2 sets for Sebring first race of the year.
I ran them there and at Atlanta and now at VIR. for a total of 8 sessions on the
first set and 1 session on the second set. The tires felt pretty good here so
it's looking good for the season of Spec Tires. I have uploaded my incar
video to Youtube if you're interested. The links are
Race 1 - https://youtu.be/HxGVaugWLag
Race 2 - https://youtu.be/Cv2udYY1XuA
Summit Point Majors - 4/27-28
We kinda like Summit Point and they finally moved the race a bit down the calendar so the weather wouldn't be quite as likely to be FREEZING COLD/SLEET. So... we went. Remember that motorhome engine dying and idle adjustment I was going to do .. well I FORGOT to do it. So, the engine died 4 or 5 times during the tow up. Thankfully, it has always started right back up as soon as I realize it's DEAD. We did stop for the night on the way this time, so I DID get the idle adjusted during the trip. Unfortunately, it didn't fix the problem. Still something else new and wonderful to FIND AND FIX .. when there's time. Speaking of fixes.. I also got an alert from my TPMS system on the LF trailer tire about 13 miles from the track. We stopped at a weigh station and a quick check showed nothing RADICAL going on. With such short distance to go, I elected to just ADD AIR to the tire to get us there. The alarm went off again about 2 miles from the track - showed that it was leaking decently fast.. but also decently SLOW, so we continued on.
Found a decent place to paddock and got hooked up with power .. as it started RAINING .. !!NOT AGAIN!! ?? No.. not this time. It did rain a good bit on Friday, but racing didn't start (for us) until Saturday and we had at least SOME gravel behind us and we were really close to the road, so none of the MUDDY mess this time. I took a LOOK at the trailer tire, but nothing obvious, so we stayed out of the rain and waited for dry weather. On Saturday morning the tire was flat as a pancake, but not yet at the top of our list.
It had been 4 years since we were here, but hoped I could pick the track back up quickly. I heard that it was repaved before last year's race with a new lap record being set at that race. Just a tad faster than before so didn't expect anything much different. My Spec Tires were getting older and older.. but I decided to use them anyway - otherwise we might never know just how long they'll last. I had 'fixed' the wheel that got bent at VIR in the crash, but found that it wasn't quite so fixed as I thought. It went FLAT on the 1st hot lap of the (only) qualifying session before the first race. I came into the paddock and Linda helped me change to a rear from the 2nd set I have and managed to get back out for about 5 laps before the end of the session. Although Bullet ran a heckuva lot better with AIR in all 4 tires, I was still not happy with the tendency to oversteer. I also found a dragging brake on the RR at the end of the session. I think we qualified 6th of 13 cars. I was pretty satisfied with that having only the 5 laps. After the race I studied the rear suspension .. thinking that something might have happened at VIR that I missed. I found nothing at first glance. Then I bounced on the rear and noticed that the rebound on the shock didn't seem to be working right. I adjusted (tightened) the rebound adjustment a click and tried again... no change.. clicked another .. no change... another .. no change. Then about 6 or 7 clicks MORE to finally notice a change. I decided I needed to know just where it was in adjustment range, so tightened all the way, counting the clicks. I found it WAY looser than it should have been. Maybe I 'played with it' at Sonoma when nothing seemed to be working .. if so, I went the WRONG WAY! SO.. I reset it to where it SHOULD have been for the first race. Maybe that was the only problem. Couldn't find anything else. Also made a small carb jet change and LOOKED over the tires. They would now have 10 sessions, so this race would be the 11th. Wonder how this is going to work out ??
I got a decent start and held my own until I missed a shift at T3. Then lost another spot when Roger came flying by (he was supposed to be on the pole, but got his times thrown out for underweight by 1 pound) - he was making TIME. I'm still feeling Bullet out from the (pretty big) change I made .. need to be sure before I do something I shouldn't. After 2 laps, we had the 'pack' down to 7 cars .. although I was the 7th. By the end of that lap, I started to feel pretty good about the change and passed to take 6th .. closing on 5th. My engine was feeling GREAT .. but these guys also have great engines. CRAP.. that means I have to actually DRIVE the car harder! So... next lap I'm solid in the draft of 5th.. who's solid in draft of 4th .. who's etc, etc, but manage to brake into 5th at T1. Starting to feel more comfortable now.. I take 4th away at T4 and close up behind Kittell in 3rd. Then Gary makes a mess out of T10 and I ease on by him down the front straight. Only Weisheit and Sibenauler in front of me now but Jonathan and Roger are a ways ahead. Another lap.. WHEW!! almost lost it at T10. Still got work to do on that oversteer! I'm marking time with Roger and Jonathan, but can't close any ground, but it does seem that I'm gradually getting away from the group behind me and I continue to get more comfortable with the handling. The lead FF and F5's come through and I gain some more ground against the cars behind me. Couple more laps go by .. and I see .. I see.. what? A red car closing from behind. Another F5? Not closing fast, but closing none the less. Ah.. finally close enough .. it's Rick Shields. He started from the back. Must have had trouble in qualifying. He's right on my tail now. Coming to the white flag ... he can't make the pass into T1. Last lap.. I'm doing the best I can .. keep working. He's not quite close enough to try a pass before T10.. now, it's on ME.. How fast can I get through 10? WHOAA!! Not quite THAT fast... I keep it on the track, but he has the momentum and takes the Checker away by about a car length. Still a GOOD RUN for Bullet. A solid 4th place in a really good field with a car that still needs some 'fixin'. Maybe there's something else I can do .. we'll see. Oh.. and I'm running 11 session old tires. This is the 1st or 2nd race for all of my competitors here, so their tires are only 1 or 3 sessions old. SO .. not bad!!
What can I do for tomorrow's race?? Hmm.... maybe go ONE MORE CLICK on the shock and drop the main jet by one size. I COULD also change tires, but .. I think I'll stay where I am. I don't think the tires are the problem here. Also took some time to investigate the trailer tire. We couldn't find any obvious leaks, but it was FLAT so there certainly WAS a leak .. somewhere. Swapped in one of the spares and left the 'fix' for after we get back home.
Sunday Race - I'm starting 4th today - from 4th fastest time in Saturday's race .. but Jonathan doesn't show up (found he had a master cylinder problem) so I start 3rd. Roger had fast lap (and new track record yesterday). This time I get a better start and beat Shields into T1 to take 2nd place. Car feels a little better I think... and the engine's doing great. Couldn't quite get Roger going into T1.. but he went too long and I tuck in to take the lead - then he zooms right back by going into T10. I close and pass down the front straight, but can't quite clear him - better safe than sorry, so he still leads. Shields loses 3rd place to Flipkowski who's now on my rear and I pass Roger again for the lead. This time Roger can't make the pass before T10, but he gets it done into T1 while Shields takes back 3rd. I'm getting a handle on T10 and am now faster than Roger as we go down into T1 three abreast and I come out first. Another lap and I start to see a couple drops of rain on my shield. Gives me some concern as we approach each turn. The lead F5's come through us again.. then the lead FF and that seems to have helped me in my battle with Shields.. then all of a sudden he's beside me .. and passing at T5.. but I get back by into T1. Then another F5 and FF go by .. and Roger and I are alone at the front. I can see Shields and Kittell battling way back behind us .. suits me just fine . I'm staying with Roger, but he's got me on the bottom end .. or my tires just aren't sticking as well as his. I guess it is possible that 12 session tires are not QUITE as good as 3 session tires... but I'm hanging tough! More drops ..rain? or maybe oil from Roger's car? Lapping a vee up ahead. MAN is he fast on the straight. Roger and I together can't catch him till the braking area.. but we both get by. AND .. that's the way it ends. We do lap one more vee, but I can't seem to quite get by Roger. Along about here, my camera had a hicup of some kind and went all weird on me, but the last few laps are mostly obscured because I couldn't seem to find the time to WIPE THE LENS . We missed good video when the lead F5 spun in front of me .. almost collecting me at T1 and a near collision between the 2nd place FF and Roger going into T3.. but .. not much we can do about that. Everyone made it through and Kittell rounded up Shields at the end to take 3rd place. The best news is that Bullet and I now share THE NEW LAP RECORD for Spec Tires at Summit Point .. just eeking out Roger by a shade over a 10th of a second .. on my 12 SESSION OLD TIRES!. And we loaded a good running car into the trailer for the trip home .. and then MADE it home, despite the RV engine dying a few more times on the way.
Not too much more rain and 2 good finishes .. and Bullet keeps getting better. A terrific weekend in my book. Time to see if we can get the RV problem fixed and figure out where we want to go next... and get the WORK done to get ready.
First of these I've ever received. Nice gesture on their part.
THIS is the method I came up with for tying Bullet into the E-Track in the new trailer. On our first trip, out to Sonoma,
Bullet 'got loose' from the straps when they slid off the tires. These 'lifting slings' split to capture the tire so they can't
fall off during transit. Inexpensive and works great.
OH.. and the trailer tire problem .. back at home, I finally found a CRACK in the RIM of the tire close to the valve stem. Nothing wrong with the tire itself, but the (practically NEW) rim had a crack about an inch long! So much for NEW Japanese rims .. I 'stole' another rim from the old trailer spares and remounted the tire, placing it back in the 'spare tire' storage in the trailer (upper left in the pic above).
For those of you that might be interested, I'm uploading the vids from VIR and
Summit Point now. Check back in the next few days - I'll post links to
them when the uploads complete. Race 1 -
Race 2 - https://youtu.be/CGeKkSB2plg
Mid Ohio - May 31 - June 2
Well.. we decided to GO for this out of conference race and skip the CMS race a couple weeks later. The tow up was about the hottest trip we've made in recent times. The outside temp was about 95 though the Appalachian Mountains in the middle of the day and the motorhome had a pretty tough time of pulling the grades in those temps. The overtemp light came on a few times and the gauge was almost pegged .. but we did make it. Seemed that the cooling fan was not moving enough air. One MORE thing to address when we get home. And... remember that RV engine dying when dropping to idle? Well.. I finally figured out that the 12V power RELAY that provides power to the dash had high internal resistance. I replaced the relay and it seems to be all fixed .. so I say, anyway. The 'dying' issue did seem fixed during the trip.. however, the FIRST time we stopped for fuel, the dash was DEAD when I was ready to crank to clear the fuel pump. CRAP! I had to get out my tools and remove the cover to the power box to access the new relay and then TAPPED on it with a screwdriver... BINGO.. cranked right up. Amazingly, the next time we stopped, the exact same thing happened .. to my BRAND NEW relay. Fortunately, I left most of the screws out of the power box cover so it was a bit easier to access the relay and SMACK it again to get on our way. We stopped one more time for fuel close to the track.. but I left it running that time. After we got to the track and set up in the paddock, I CHANGED that stupid relay and replaced it with another spare that I bought just in case. No more trouble on the way home. The next day, I went back to the 'relay store' and traded the bad one for another new one to put in as a spare for next time.
I felt significantly 'down on power' during the event and found at least part of
the problem in the exhaust collector. It's getting
a little "long in the tooth", but I was able to repair it for the time being.
Before the weekend, I started the process of waxing the motorhome with ZEP FLOOR
wax. So far, it's worked really
well. You can see the difference on the basement doors. I also finally got around to finishing the top, light beige, areas
where the 25 year old paint was chalking badly leaving streaks down the sides anytime it got wet. The wax has cured
that for the most part.
We had a bit of rain, but it didn't interfere badly with our sessions.
I qualified halfway decently considering the exhaust issue, but I still felt
down on power in the races. I did have the wrong
gearbox in the car, but I knew that going in and was just too lazy to make the change. A 5th place finish with no drama on
Saturday a little over 2 seconds/lap off the pace. On Sunday, things just didn't FEEL right, although I could not put my finger
on the problem. After fixing the collector, I had expected better times, but they didn't happen. I ran about the same times
but others around me were quicker and I dropped to 7th place. It was out of conference for me so it didn't MATTER points-wise
but I was still disappointed in the weekend. I think I need to visit that track again next year if we can work out the details and
The ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway! Nope .. skipped it this year.
Roebling Road Majors - July 4th weekend.
After my poor showing at Mid Ohio, I went over Bullet
carefully looking for issues. Unfortunately, I've waited so long to write
this up, I have FORGOTTEN whether I found anything or not. However, the
weekend went pretty well for us as I was on the pole both days and won both
races - a nice way to cap off the regular season and wrap up the SEDIV
Conference Championship. The following weekend, we drove to Texas and back
to pick up a "new" (to us) race car. Bullet has been beaten and banged
against the concrete and the frame is bent in several places .. and has been cut
and patched back together in a couple of other places. Linda and I decided to
see if we could find a decent car to compare him to. A deal showed up, I
made an offer that was accepted and off we went. After spending MANY MANY
hours on the new car, we elected to give her a shot at the Runoffs. More
details in the Runoffs report below.
Runoffs - VIR - October 7-13 - First Race for Vicki
Thanks as always to Rollin at ButlerEngines.com, JR at RoxannesHeaders.com and ... Mike, John, Tim and Bruce at Hoosier tires (RaceTire.com) and Dietmar at QuixoteRacing.com . Not to forget my wife, Linda, who travels with me to almost every race, and suffers me the joy of racing for all these years!
Regular Season team stats(EC races in yellow)
|Sebring MAJOR#1||1st||1st||25||Tight race with Isley at the line|
|Sebring MAJOR#2||1st||2nd||21||Another TIGHT race with Isley|
|Atlanta MAJOR#1||2nd||1st||25||8 laps - end FCY|
|Atlanta MAJOR#2||3rd||2nd||21||full race. TIGHT at the end|
|VIR MAJOR#1||3rd||24th?||0||crashed lap 5|
|VIR MAJOR#2||3rd||4th||17||Good race but ended FCY|
|Summit Point MAJOR#1||6th||4th||Out of conference|
|Summit Point MAJOR#2||4th||2nd||races .. no points for us|
|Mid Ohio Majors#1||5th||5th||Engine not running right|
|Mid Ohio Majors#2||6th||7th||broken collector|
|Roebling MAJOR#1||1st||1st||25||Tight race with Hayes at the line|
|Roebling MAJOR#2||1st||1st||25||Solid WIN for Bullet|
|Season Total SouthEast||159||1st Place in Conference!|
Runoffs/Divisional Finishes for the Wedge Racing Team
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