After only two days of testing this year it was time to head off to FedEx Field in Maryland for the first big race of the season, the SCCA DC ProSolo. With such limited testing and only getting the car mostly driving the way I wanted last week, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My goal this year was to win a big event but the DC Pro was not likely to be it because I’ve always done poorly down there. I could never figure out how to deal with the huge grip discrepancy on the surface and the severe off camber turns the lot naturally created due to its sloped location. At best this would be a time to take her through the paces and see what we needed to improve on for the SCCA NJ National Tour next week.
|Arrived at DC ProSolo - FedEx Field, MD - 4/25/2014|
In ProSolo, Bumblestook competes in Street Prepared Index A (SPA) that is a combined class of Super Street Prepared (SSP), A Street Prepared (ASP) and B Street Prepared (BSP) competing on PAX index. Although the index was favorable for BSP, it would still prove to be a very difficult task to go up against the much high powered cars of SSP and ASP. Mike “Junior” Johnson was favored to win this event in his SSP Corvette that does super mean burnouts. Lee Piccione, the course designer and DC region member was also highly favored. Bumblestook makes the least torque of all the cars in the class but it also a fair amount lighter with a lot of tire under so what I’d lose in straight line speed I was hoping to make up for in sheer cornering ability.
|1.25" ID Aluminum sway bar collars installed - 4/25/2014|
We got there just after 3pm on Friday with adequate time for me to add the split collars for the front sway bar so it wouldn’t shift under load, get through tech and do some practice starts. I got through the first two but after tech, and driving around paddock I noticed my brake was feeling a bit strange so I did a relatively abrupt stop from about 7mph and the front driver wheel locked up. We looked at the wheel and notice the caliper was hitting the inside. Upon further inspection, we discovered that the bolt holding the caliper to the bracket was completely missing. Somehow between the last event and getting to DC, it must’ve backed off and fallen off the car. I thought my weekend was over but within minutes the word had spread that I was having a problem and without me even asking PJ Corrales was already there seeing if he could help. He looked through his box of bolts and lucked out that we found a bolt that would work (7/8”-20 Grade 8). It wasn’t as long as we wanted but it would work for now. Unfortunately this meant that I missed practice starts which ended up being fine because we got with torrential downpour that late afternoon so the practice starts wouldn’t be useful anyway. I slapped on the fresh tires and tried to get some sleep. Lots of tree pollen in the area, woke up at 2am and couldn’t sleep anymore. Saturday wasn’t going to go well I thought.
|Bottom bolt holding caliper to the bracket was missing.|
Temporary bolt just barely clears rotor - 4/25/2014
Day 1 competition started and after getting the first 2 runs and jitters out of the way, my confidence in her grew as everything just felt perfect. I wasn’t driving a good line but she was doing everything I wanted and the brakes were holding just fine. I wasn’t even looking at the times but after morning session I found myself in 2nd place, half a second behind Lee in his BSP E36 M3. That was surprising! This was only morning session of day 1 and anything can happen so it was too early to tell. It was supposed to warm up in the afternoon so I knew times would start to drop. There was also a chance of rain that luckily didn’t happen until after the event was done. In the afternoon runs, I pushed a bit harder and was surprised to see that I was still holding 2nd place and now only 0.1 seconds behind Lee. I didn’t think he had much more pace in him but after reviewing my own video, I knew I easily had time on both courses in Bumblestook. I got some sleep early and focused. I had to at least find 0.1 seconds the next day and I knew she had it in her.
|Day 1 morning SPA grid - FedEx Field, MD - 4/26/2014|
|Day 1 results - Just 0.1 seconds off first - 4/26/2014|
|ProSolo Action - FedEx Field - 4/26/2014|
Photo Cred: Perry Bennett
|Street Prepared Index A Class Winner - DC ProSolo 2014 - 4/27/2014|
DC ProSolo SPA Class Winning Runs - Fedex Field, MD
Street Prepared is as much a car/builder race as it is a driver’s race and I wanted to thank all those that have contributed to putting into reality, the vision of a BSP car made of the best pieces of every generation S2000 at its core. Jeff DeVos (formerly JDV Motorsports, now at Evans Tuning) for countless hours spent working on her over the years, Jeff Evans (Evans Tuning) for all the custom fabrication and tuning and making this crazy ITB setup work, Steve Farkas (SJF Performance) for never settling on “good enough” and making sure my alignments and suspension pieces are all in order, Dave Corsaro for the meticulous job corner balancing her last week, JoeFis racing for the terrific aero work with the spoiler, Brian Karwan (Karcepts) for putting my diff together, ANZE Engineering for the great job rebuilding and revalving my Moton tripples over the winter, Hoosier for making the most incredible R-comp tire (never gonna give you up!), Honda for producing one of the most incredible roadsters ever made. PJ for saving my weekend. Lastly, I’m thanking all my friends of the NorthEast STR group for their support and being the most fun group of people I’ve had the privilege of knowing. You guys push me harder than anyone else. Farting unicorns unite!