Thursday, May 31, 2012

Coast 2 Coast

So I've got some big news! I'm moving to Seattle. The land of umbrella's,rain boots and of course rain tires... here we come :)

I look forward to this new challenge and adventure..but also feel sad that i'll be leaving so much
behind. Instead of racing with Team FarFrumWinnin mid June @ Summit for the
3rd race of the season as initially planned, i'll be packing and moving boxes! This also means i'll be missing out on rest of the season. I'll be updating the team's races on this blog going forward regardless.

I already have a few plans when i hit the ground on the rainy hills of Seattle. A childhood friend and his brother (which we united years later) lives here, and they happen to be major petrol heads as-well. So expect some planning,building and racing from us very soon :) More to come on this later...

So lets get back to the main story, last Saturday, under a sunny ~80F degree weather I met up
with Andre Gomes and Ryan Field @ Devens airfield for my last autox in Boston. It was good
to see Andre, i had last seen him kicking ass @ Summit last year during the 24 Hours of Lemons race where the car he drove won in Class C.
This was Andre's first autox, and he would drive his stock miata on old and useless tires. As expected
he set the fastest time in Novice class. The most impressive part was majority of his runs were clean, no cones, no off courses...all clean.Which is a challenge for many people when they start as it is very difficult to read the course and stay out of trouble at speed.

On the other hand Ryan was much more aggresive but still smooth as expected, and he was able to
set some really fast times. He had a 78.x with 1 cone, compared to my 76 clean on a Lotus! That is
a respectful time from a miata. He also looked like he dialed in the car much better with his recent suspension upgrade.

Although i'm leaving town for good, i'm really happy Ryan and Andre finally met,and i look
forward to both of them kicking ass in the autox scene in New England... perhaps even in SCCA one day!

Time to catch my next flight!

Monday, May 21, 2012

24 Hours of Lemons - NHMS - Race Report

As I was driving the Fox slowly in the pits Friday afternoon i said to myself  "Noo not....again!!".
It had just started to rain.

Rain and NHMS, we had some unfinished business.. a moment stuck in time, a moment stuck with me. The moment when i tried to overtake another car last year at the same exact event on turn 12, under heavy rain, under braking. To be more precise I lost, and found myself in the grass... Yes that was my first rain experience, and I had a lot to learn, and I still do...

Since then I had a bit more seat time in the wet, including karts on slicks, and most notably the recent race in Infineon with Team Sex Pistons and the mighty Spitfire with no windshield wipers driving blind with 172 cars on the same track :)

Lets be honest, the car also had some recent upgrades, a stiffer rear suspension to be exact. If it did not feel like a gokart before, now it did. In the rain the car was nervous, a bit twicthy at the rear.
I was suprised by how easy it was to save. As i was sideways on turn 7 with full opposite lock i was bummed to not have my camera with me :) . But personally maybe it was meant to be an experience just between NHMS, rain and me this time.

As I pulled back into the pits after my brief 20 min practice stint, I had really good feelings for the car, and the track... The track which had cursed us last time, when last year we blew the engine a few hours before taking our first victory... felt like it was on our side this time.

WRONG!... Saturday green flag followed 4 black flags for us. Our craptain Tom got rear ended, then got a pass on yellow. I then got taken out on Turn 1 by a blind driver, and last but not least our
family dentist Steve had a pass on yellow. So we had to park the car the rest of Saturday.

However i did capture some videos of those incidents, enjoy :)

And as usual here are some race highlights from my perspective:

So not a really good weekend for us, however now its time to lick the wounds and prepare for Summit next month!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

24 Hours of Lemons - NJMP Race Summary

One either needs the time to come up with an excuse or a story... There are no lazy options available for a blog owner. Maybe a bit of an excuse, a bit of a painful fact.. I have been on the road almost everyday last month. It is only now I have a bit of free time, which means I have plenty of catching up to do...

3am Thursday departure meant we would arrive for Friday practice at NJ by10am.
I was also quite excited to see the team in our first race for the season. However the first practice session turned out to be a complete disaster. We blew the head gasket!

Usually starting Friday practice with a blown and warped head can mean its time to pack and go. Instead of throwing in the towel, the team came together. We found a place to shave the head, got the parts, put it all together before midnight just before Saturday's green flag.

The heroic fix during those 24 hours is forever captured in this:

We focused on optimizing our pit strategy, which paid off with the average 4 minute pit stops compared to last year's 7 minute stop. Also all the drivers drove exceptionally well and we quickly found ourselves in 2nd place. Chasing a first place car which is far more quicker than us, working in the pits, checking the time was a nail biting experience.

At the end, although we couldn't take first place, we came 8th overall out 102 cars ( in a VW FOX!) and 2nd in class B. We also won a honorary 24 hours of Lemons "Lemons Lifetime Achievement Award"! :)

Here are some action shots from my point of view:

Next up is 24 Hours of Lemons - New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which turned out to be far from perfect...stay tuned.