Sunday, August 31, 2014

Final Prep for Nationals 2014

Bumblestook remained parked after coming back from both Wilmington events but it was time to get her out again and make her ready for the big show. I was supposed to get everything done two weeks ago but forgetting both the storage and car keys at home made it impossible to actually get her to the scheduled alignment on time. Steve at SJF Performance was able to carve out some time for me this weekend and he mounted the competition sticker Hoosiers to the other set of wheels and we rechecked the alignment.
Sticker Hoosiers for Nats - SJF Performance - 8/30/2014
Sure enough, all that grip in Ohio caused the little tabs holding the alignment washer in place to bend again and she was showing 0.5" of toe in at the rear when it should be no more than 1/16" total (no wonder I had to crank up the rear bar for the Wilmington Championship Tour). The front alignment remained perfect and didn't need to be touched. Steve reset the rear back to where it should be so hopefully we'll be all set this time around.

Final alignment of the season - SJF Performance - 8/30/2014
We also did a bit more fender massaging since I still managed to catch the driver side fender during the Wilmington Tour. We probably added another 1/8" of clearance so hopefully that's all we need to finally not hit the fender at all. She's all loaded and ready for Nats now.

Ready for Nats - SJF Performance - 8/30/2014
It's been one crazy year and looking back she's already surpassed my hopes for the season. Hoping for a solid performance at nationals against the other 15 drivers in BSP this year and bring home some hardware.

"Bumblestook is my race car. There is nothing like it and this one is mine. My race car is my best friend. It is my life. I must master my race car as I must master my life. My race car, without me, is useless. Without my race car, I am useless. I must drive my race car hard. I must negotiate corners faster than my competition trying to beat me. I must reach the finish before they finish. I will!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wilmington Championship Tour

I stayed in Wilmington after the ProSolo because the Championship Tour was the following weekend. I had to take care of one thing before the event. I blew sound at 101.3dB during the ProSolo and while sound rules made it impossible to really get disqualified for sound during a ProSolo, I knew I'd have to come up with a solution if I wanted to not have any issues during the Champ Tour. Bumblestook and the trailer were being stored at Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Cincinnati thanks to Joe O'Gorman who offered up an inexpensive storage solution for those of us wanting to keep our cars in a safe place for the week in between the events. I asked Joe if he knew anyone who could help me weld in a cone silencer into new 3" exhaust tip and I got pointed to Turn in Concepts in Cincinnati. I picked up a Dynatech Vortex 3" cone silencer at Jeg's in Columbus during the week then brought it over to them. They welded it into 3" piping which I planned to then swap into my exhaust if I blew sound again during the Tour.

Dynatech Vortex 3" Cone silencer
Turn in Concepts welded 3" piping with cone silencer exhaust tip - 7/31/2014
On Thursday night, my friend Rad flew in as he was going to codrive with me for the weekend. We arrived on site on Friday after picking up Bumblestook from storage. The first thing I did was work on fitting the silencer just to make sure everything fit right and found that while the piping was the right diameter, I had given then incorrect dimensions so the tip was too long and was hitting the axle. I reinstalled the normal turndown and we did a few runs on the TnT course to make sure the car was feeling balanced. She felt a hair pushy at the ProSolo so I cranked up the rear bar to half stiff and felt an immediate improvement on the practice course.

Practice Course - Wilmington, OH - 8/1/2014
After practice, we stopped by a muffler shop in town and had them chop off a good 3 inches from the back of the silenced tip and it finally fit with no clearance issues. It turned out to sound really good but without knowing how much power the silencer would rob, I opted to leave the normal turn down in unless I got tagged for sound again but this time I was going to at the very least angle the turndown away from the mic.

Shorter silenced tip - Wilmington, OH - 8/1/2014
Saturday was day 1 of competition. There was a 50% chance of rain forecasted for Saturday and sure enough an hour before we were about to run while putting the cars in grid, the skies opened up with lightning and thunder everywhere and they had to temporarily halt the event to let the storm go through the area. This worked in our favor because sure enough as soon as the rain clouds moved on, the sun came out and we started to enter drying conditions before our first runs.

Starting to dry up after the rain - Day 1 - Wilmington Champ Tour - 8/2/2014
BSP Grid - Day 1 - Wilmington Champ Tour - 8/2/2014
Unfortunately, day 1 didn't turn out too well for us. I managed to cone every single run so I was stuck in 4th place, out of trophies, 1.5 seconds off my codriver in 3rd. My head just wasn't in it and I was making plans to skip nationals if we couldn't put in a competitive time on day 2. Day 2 came around and I was mentally much better and more focused. I really didn't have anything to lose and most of my cones from day 1 were due to me hesitating and not trusting Bumblestook completely to stay in it. After second runs I was closing the gap on Rad's combined time but had another coned run. Rad found another 0.1 seconds on his last run but coned it away. On the last run, I went all out and put together a good run. I had managed to get within a couple of tenth's off Mike Lane's time (who went back from a day 1 deficit to win BSP for the event) and we both were able to raw time SSR that day. It also pushed me ahead of Rad, slotting me in for the last podium spot by a scant 0.015 seconds. The course was great, the grip of the lot was fantastic and Bumblestook survived the brutal back to back events on the grippy concrete. With the solid time in the books, Bumblestook made it known that she wanted to go to Nats so we're back on track to go to Lincoln, NE in a few weeks for the Championship. Also, I never went past 96dB during this event without the silencer so I ended up never using the silenced tip anyway.

Wilmington Champsionship Tour - 3rd Place BSP
Wilmington, OH - 8/3/2014