Saturday, November 30, 2013

Autox/Track day double header

In early August it, it was back to the NJ Motorsports park again for another track day but first I did another autocross with NNJR SCCA. It's just too much damn fun to hoon around on Hoosiers. There was this crazy dip in the middle of one of the sweepers that was a bit unsettling causing me to loose time but I think the driving was ok. The SSM classing made it a bit hard to see exactly how I was really driving compared to everyone else since Bumblestook really wasn't a true SSM car but I was happy enough to end up 8th in RAW time out of 85 drivers ( and even more stoked that I was only a tenth behind Don in the SS Z06. Not too bad for a car with only half the power and a lot less tire.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 8/6/2011
Meadowlands, NJ

Right after the event, I drove down to Millville, NJ to spend the night before the track day the next day. No surprise here, rain again...argh! The best part was that I was on 2 year old RS-3s with almost no tread left. It was definitely going to get interesting. Fortunately all this running in the rain gave me a good sense of wet weather car control and I had no incidents to report of.

NASA HPDE - 8/7/2011
NJMP Lightning - NJ
The rain did eventually stop and we were able to get some dry laps in and put the hammer down. There was a bit of shuffling early in the session but eventually it cleared up and we were able to get some clean laps in clean air.

NASA HPDE - 8/7/2011
NJMP Lightning - NJ

Oh and since the last event, I picked up a HANS Sport 2 for added safety.

HANS Sport 2 - 7/29/2011

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rad gets some S2K action

After Poconos, it was back to getting some autocross action. This time it was back to the Meadowlands with MSNE and I had Rad codrive with me to give him a taste of some S2K Hoosier action. Needless to say, I think you can call me the corruptor and he very shortly after bought his own S2K and is now competing in STR haha. Took another win ironically with my first run.

MSNE Autocross - 7/24/2011
Meadowlands, NJ

The following weekend, it was back to the Meadowlands but this time with the NNJ PCA. There were  a lot of novices in attendance that day so they opted to set up a fairly open high speed course which the car absolutely loved since I could really wind her up and make her scream.

NNJ PCA - 7/31/2011
Nassau Coliseum, NY

Friday, November 22, 2013

Poconos Single Infield with NASA

Another track day, this time at Poconos Raceway running the single infield configuration with NASA. Not really my favorite road course but at least we had good weather. Got a chance to test Bumblestook's balance on the high speed sweepers and it was great. Unfortunately, Poconos is just one of those tracks where high powered cars shine which mine isn't so even though I could hang in the corners, I was just getting destroyed on the straights. No biggy though, it's all good fun. Had to dial down the shocks quite a bit at this track. The transition from the infield to the main raceway was quite unsettling and I had slow down more than I wanted to so I wouldn't end up sideways.

Poconos Single Infield with NASA - 7/16/2011
I was having audio sync issues on my computer during this time so in the video the audio seems delayed

Poconos Single Infield - 7/16/2011
Poconos International Raceway, PA

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Track prep for Poconos

After doing some more research, I figured I wanted to get some more reliability mods done on Bumblestook before the next track event. For starters, I felt it would be a good idea to change out the wheel bearings since those had been on the car for 9 years and might go on me since they were unlikely torqued to the new recommended spec to prevent premature wheel bearing failure. While the hubs were going out, I also decided to get some APR extended lugs as a safety buffer in case any of my lugs nuts started backing out. It would also give me the option to safely run spacers if I had to. My shocks were also making some noise and I suspected some wear on the top mounts so I got replacement bushings for that as well.

APR extended lugs
New wheel bearings and top mount bushings
Extended lugs installed - 7/11/2011
Extended lugs installed - 7/11/2011
JDV inspected my wheel bearings and it turned out that they were still fine so we opted to not replace them just yet but still install the extended lugs. At previous tech inspections with NASA I was told to add something to my harness bar to prevent the shoulder harnesses from going side to side so I got these clamp things.

Clamps installed - 7/11/2011
Finally we added a rear tow hook in case I had another off

Rear tow hook - 7/11/2011

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

S2Ki Metro Annual BBQ @ NYR SCCA Autox

S2ki Metro NY wanted to have their annual BBQ and maybe introduce some new people to autocross. NYR SCCA offered to host it at Nassau Coliseum so that's what we did. I really didn't want to run at Nassau anymore due to how stiffly sprung my car was but I had to for moral support and to show the novices the ropes. We had a pretty decent turnout and most of them actually did get some runs in. I always welcome any opportunity where I can introduce someone new to the sport.

S2Ki Metro NY @ NYR SCCA Autox - 6/25/2011
Nassau Coliseum, NY
S2Ki Metro NY @ NYR SCCA Autox - 6/25/2011
Nassau Coliseum, NY
I don't know why but I was enjoying this weird bumper view at the time. It's totally useless since you can't really see the course but for what it's worth this was my fast runs I think. I don't recall why we had a left side and a right side course but we did. Also wasn't worth running Hoosiers so this was on RS-3s.

NYR SCCA - 6/25/2011
Nassau Coliseum, NY

We somehow managed to stick Alan with the job of grill master. I don't think he was very happy and he messed up a lot of the burgers but we forgave him.

Alan's failburger
On the upside I did get a  cool shot of Billman's dog, Kajira, posing in front of Bumblestook

SSM, Hoosiers and NJMP with NEQ

The following Sunday, I had scheduled a track day at NJ Motorsports Park with the North East Quattro (Audi) Club. However, before heading out there I wanted to shake down the car so I actually did an autocross the Saturday before. Since I got bumped to SSM due to the aero mods (even though I was still basically just a STR car with a wing), I figured I might as well enjoy it with some Hoosiers so I picked up a set of 245 Hoosiers, had them mounted on the OZ Allegeritas and off I went.

First event ever on Hoosiers - 6/19/2011
I had never driven on Hoosiers before and my jaw dropped from the level of grip. I came back to grid and kept giggling like a little school girl and I was caught with this super happy Asian face.

Super Happy Hoosier  Asian Face - 6/19/2011
NNJR SCCA SSM - 6/19/2011
Meadowlands, NJ

From this event, I went directly down to NJMP. When I got to the track on Sunday, I was greeted with plenty of rain. Just first track day on a twitchy rear wheel drive car and it's raining AND I'm on RS-3s. I've already been signed off to run solo with NASA but NEQ didn't know me so I was issued an instructor. That was fine since I didn't know this track and actually had a very helpful instructor. I started driving gingerly the first few laps, slowly picking up pace as I got more confident with the car. Things were going well and I kept picking up speed until we got to the end of the second session and I got on the gas a hair early and found myself spinning into the grass (fast forward to the last minute or two of the video for the spin).

Track day with NEQ (wet) - 6/20/2011
NJMP Lightning, NJ
Track day in the rain - 6/20/2011
NJMP Lightning, NJ
No damage after the spin, just a lot of dirt - 6/20/2011
It eventually dried up and I was finally able to see how she felt when I can put the power down. She was incredibly stable and so much fun to drive especially around the bowl. Autocrossing a S2000 is nice but frankly the thrill of rowing through all the gears, winding her up to 9000rpms, heel-toe downshifting, really made me happy. Track days for me isn't about the competition. It's just about enjoying Bumblestook to her full potential without the threat of pot holes, cops, and drivers not paying attention.

Track day with NEQ - 6/20/2011
NJMP Lightning, NJ
Track day with NEQ (dry)- 6/20/2011
NJMP Lightning, NJ
Track day with NEQ - 6/20/2011
NJMP Lightning, NJ

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Birthday...and the rebirth of Bumblstook as a track car

Almost immediately after returning from Dover, the silly plugs on my trunk came off and I reinstalled the APR GTC-200.

APR GTC-200 back on the car - 6/7/2011
There is only one way a car guy wants to spend his birthday and that's a full day to do whatever he wants on his least that's how I like it. The weekend after the Dover National Tour was my birthday and I spent that at Jeff DeVos' (JDV Motorsports) place getting Bumblestook ready for the track day I had coming up. We ditched the soft top.

Soft top out - 6/11/2011
Installed the Hard Dog rollbar with double diagonal, lower harness bar and replacement bulkhead.

Rollbar in - 6/11/2011
We took off the stock steering wheel and installed the Works Bell removable hub and Personal Neo Grinta steering wheel

Steering wheel installed - 6/11/2011
Put in the Sparco 6-pt harnesses on both sides

Sparco 6-pt Harnesses installed - 6/11/2011
All the crap that we took out of the car that luckily Jeff kept for future use (that's for another blog post)

Lots of stuff out off the car - 6/11/2011
I contacted APR about their front splitter but they didn't make one for the AP1 with OEM lip so they had me make a trace and my car became the mold for what is now the part number they have online. Very sexy carbon piece.

APR carbon front splitter - 6/16/2011
We added the Quantum Motorsports brake ducts

Quantum Motorsports Brake ducts - 6/16/2011
Quantum Motorsports Brake ducts - 6/16/2011
Then I went to Ray (S~Factor) to get my hood vented for more cold air to the K&N box and to let the hot air out from the header.

Ray cutting up my hood - 6/18/2011
While Ray was doing that, I was adding the 2.5" riser to the wing so I can get it closer to the roof line where it would be more effective.

APR GTC-200 with 2.5" Riser - 6/18/2011
....and finally she was all ready for her update photoshoot in track trim

Bumblestook in Track Trim - 6/18/2011
Bumblestook in Track Trim - 6/18/2011
Bumblestook in Track Trim - 6/18/2011

Delaware National Tour 2011

The final event for Bumblestook in STR trim was the Dover National Tour in Delaware. Jon and Tory's car was having wheel bearing issues so I offered to have Jon codrive with me in STR and Tory to run it in STR Ladies class. After running the Test 'n Tune course on Friday, we felt that we needed to stiffen up the shocks a bit. On day one of the event we found that the first half the course was a lot bumpier than we expected and with the stiff 1000lb springs all around, we simply couldn't get on the throttle.

Dover National Tour - June 4-5, 2011
This screwed us up big time and I was ahead of Jon by a full second on day 1. On day 2, we dialed it back down and Jon "pulled a Caserta" (Definition: "Pulling a Caserta" is when you put down a smoking fast time on your last run). He put down the fastest time on day 2 but wasn't enough to overcome the day 1 deficit and we ended up mid-pack at 5th and 6th respectively out of 10 drivers with Jon only 0.2 seconds out of trophies (

Dover National Tour - June 4-5,2011
Dover, Delaware

Dover National Tour - June 4-5,2011
Steguis vs Caserta

Lessons Learned:

  1. Never use the TnT course at Dover to adjust your car setup for race day.
  2. If on your first run, the car feels like crap, make a change right away. Don't wait for day 2.

Monday, November 18, 2013

NJ ProSolo 2011

It was finally time for the big show. Friday was practice starts and it was raining again so it wasn't too useful other than getting my first look at the lights. In the 6 years of motorsports until this point I had never gone drag racing so this was a new element for me. I finally got the hang of it and was cutting decent lights so I was ready to go. I also realized looking at the tires that we simply hadn't scuffed in the tires enough so I took the risk of leaving the the wheels and tires on and actually drive home with them that Friday night (one of the best things about having a ProSolo in your home region is sleeping in your own bed).

Dan getting for practice starts - 5/20/2011
NJ ProSolo
I was able to get some extra miles on the tires and scuff them in between the days and so at least that was ready for race day. It was my first big event and obviously my first ProSolo. The sequence of running one side, switching sides and then the intensity of lining up got to me but I pushed as hard as I could. At the end of the weekend, Dan and I finished mid-pack, with Dan in 5th and me in 6th out of 9 drivers ( I was half a second behind Dan which met my personal goals but it was unfortunate we didn't do better. It did however highlight to me how much of a disadvantage it was to run an AP1 in a ProSolo (especially an untuned one). We were just getting left on the line. It was so much fun though and it created a hunger for big events in the future.  I made more friends at this event including that "Jon guy" who consequently won STR.

Part of STR Grid - NJ ProSolo - 5/22/2011

NJ ProSolo 5/21-5/22/2011

Friday, November 15, 2013

Final event before the NJ ProSolo 2011

We were supposed to have two events to scrub in the fresh RS-3s but if I recall one of the events got cancelled so we only got to put them on the last event before the NJ ProSolo. To make matters worse it was raining so the tires weren't going to scrub in the way I had planned it to. This was a really bad call on my part. We should've started running the new tires earlier. The upside for me is that for the first time I was now within tenths of Dan's times. Our time delta between our fastest runs was only 0.3 seconds.

NNJR SCCA - 5/14/2011

Dress Rehearsal - 5/13/2011
Most of the required decals on the car
Oh and I met that "Jon guy" - 5/14/2011
With my paranoia about getting a flat still in effect, I actually used my tire trailer for the first time at this event to bring the race wheels/tires with us. Dan was with me and on our way home, I heard a pop and saw a lot of smoke in my side mirror. I blew the tire on the tire trailer on the cross bronx expressway. I was able to get the car and trailer pulled over in a safe place and we found that I hadn't installed the axle properly and it shifted backwards a few inches when we hit a bump. The tire was touching one of the bolts on the frame and eventually tore into it. Luckily the toolbox was filled with tools and I had a spare trailer wheel so I fixed it right there temporarily and then permanently fixed it when I got back home.

Repairing the trailer on the cross bronx - 5/14/2011

We caused this accident - 5/14/2011
Stop staring at bumblestook and you won't drive
into the car in front of you!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tire Trailer

Knowing full well that going to the track without tools, a few spares and extra wheels is probably a bad idea, I set off to start putting together a small tire trailer. Nothing particularly innovative here. Started off with your typical Harbor Freight 40x48" trailer with 12" wheels.

Harbor Freight Trailer - 4/29/2011
One really important step is to put some proper grease in the wheel bearings. Took the bearing out to clean it in then applied a healthy amount of high temp wheel bearing grease.

Fresh grease on wheel bearing - 4/29/2011
I added upgraded safety chains and a trailer jack up front

I used 2 x 6 pressure treated wood to hold up the tool box and plywood for the part where the wheels will be placed. I then used 2 feet of pipe covered in 2 feet of PVC (to protect the wheels) to keep the wheels in place. I also upgraded the lights to LEDs.

I bolted the toolbox onto the back. Filled it with tools, put the TSWs on there and strapped it down. I didn't have any track tires yet so for now I'd be using it to transport the fresh set of RS-3s since I started getting paranoid about potentially getting a flat on the tires we were going to race on. RS-3s were in low supply at this time so getting a flat would've been a very bad blow.

On the car side, I added a chase race removable hitch and added the necessary wiring to control the lights on the trailer.

Trailer light wiring - 5/4/2011

Chase Race Hitch - 5/11/2011
Finally, put it all together and made sure I had the right amount of tongue weight.

Trailer ready to go - 5/11/2011