Saturday, September 24, 2016

Final event for Bumblestook in 2016

It's been a long grueling season for Bumblestook and she's performed her best this year in the 4 years I've been campaigning her in BSP. After last event I came down with the flu and was planning on not being able to make it today but thankfully I recovered relatively quickly. We took her for her final runs in 2016 with the NNJR SCCA to burn off the last remaining Ethanol so she can be filled with pump gas for Winter hibernation.

Ready for her final runs this year
NNJR SCCA - 9/24/2016
It was the most perfect Fall day. Started out cloudy with some showers but by the time we ran, the course was dry and the sun eventually came out to heat everything up. Unfortunately due to the lower than usual turn out, we were almost hot lapping the cars for the 2-driver cars in Pro class making tire and engine cooling a bit problematic. Thankfully with the temps in the low-70s that helped make things a bit more manageable.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 9/24/2016

Hez ended up getting taken down in PAX by Jeff Hurst in Tamra's DSP RX8 but was able to take FTD of the "normal cars". I think this further extends Hez's lead into the driver's championship in NNJR and should be enough to hang onto it even if we just run Lupa in STR for the final event in late October. I think I was finally happy with the way I drove her today. Maybe it's because I've been stuck at home all week or because I just feel super relaxed but I just felt I could push her and she'd push back and all would be good. I ended up 7th in RAW and 7th in PAX. What a great way to finish up her season.


I got to drive Dan's 997 911 for one run today. It was fun but very different from a S2000. Not sure what I was expecting but it definitely requires a different approach to driving. I think after this car gets fully developed it's going to feel awesome. Thanks for the drive Dan!

Steguis driving Dan's 911 - 9/24/2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Before we left for Nationals, the Hyperblack Advan RSII 17x9 +63 wheels I had ordered for Lupa finally arrived. Since Clyde would be making a long trip, I didn't put the wheels on until we got back. I ordered a fresh set of 255/40/17 Bridgestone RE-01Rs that I had SJF Performance mount on these wheels upon our arrival. I think it's really put the finishing touches on Lupa. I think Lupa can still look low key with these wheels on and with a weight of only 15.6lbs, they are also highly functional.

New Shoes - 9/18/2016
New Shoes - 9/18/2016

SCCA Solo Nationals 2016

Clyde drove Lupa to Lincoln from NJ and arrived on Labor Day. We had some Test and Tune time scheduled the following day and I also invited James to codrive with Clyde for Nationals. James would fly in with his dad on Tuesday. It was the first ever trip to Nationals for all three.

Clyde and James at the Practice Course
Lincoln, NE - 9/6/2016
We went straight to work tweaking the car for concrete. From my experience doing the practice course and what I felt during the ProSolo, the car would have to be set up with some slight push in order to work effectively on the competition surface. They did 3 hours of testing on Tuesday and on Wednesday, it started off with quite a bit of rain that ended up in drying conditions so they were able to get a feel for the car in all conditions. They did 2 more hours on of practice on Wednesday for a total of 5 hours.

More practice - 9/7/2016
Next day was day 1 of competition. STR would be competing on the West course. James coned his first run but was subsequently able to find more time on his next two runs. Clyde coned his first run, set a time on his second but lost it on his 3rd run for a DNF.

SCCA Solo Nationals
Photo by: Perry Bennett
On day 2 they ran on the East course where James put out the same performance as the day before with a cone on his first run and finding more time with each subsequent run finishing up in mid-pack in the very large and competitive STR class. Clyde went for broke, spun his first run getting a DNF, coned twice on his second run and then finally setting a clean run on his last run. Luckily for STR, they all managed to get their runs in before the intense rain that would wreak all kinds of havoc with Nationals this year.

Overall, we really didn't have any expectations for Nats. Both Clyde and James were new to the car and she hadn't undergone nearly the same kind of development as the rest of STR. That being said, Lupa finishing mid-pack out of 64 drivers was beyond what I could've asked for. More importantly the guys had fun at their first nationals and I expect both will be back again next year.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bumblestook is back! NNJR SCCA FTD and Top PAX

Thanks to SJF's efforts, we were able to get Bumblestook back out on Saturday to do a local autocross event. This was a joint event between the NNJR SCCA and the NNJR Porsche Club of America.

Ready for testing - NNJR SCCA - 9/17/2016
We still had tons of OPR and other crap on the tires on the car so that would prove to be a bit challenging for the early runs as we were sliding around everywhere. After a few runs, all of that cleared off and we finally got back onto the actual race compound. She felt fantastic again. That characteristic fast turn in and being able to get power to the ground everywhere was back. I was definitely having difficulty adapting back from the high grip surface of Lincoln to the relatively slicker asphalt of the Meadowlands and coning a lot of my runs. Hez went off to set Fastest Time of Day (FTD) and Top PAX on his final run besting all 110 cars/drivers by a good margin with a flyer 45.1 second run. Let's just say Hez got a little extra excited after that run lol.

NNJR SCCA/PCA Autocross - 9/17/2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Making Bumblestook 100% Again

After coming back from Nationals we discovered several issues with Bumblestook after dropping her off with SJF Performance. We have another NNJR SCCA event this weekend so I wanted to see if we could get her sorted before then and SJF was kind enough to work on the car while I was at work.

Steering rack out - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
We had to replace the steering rack bushings and normally I'd just get solid bushings. Unfortunately that's not allowed in Street Prepared so I ordered a set of Mugen steering rack bushings from King Motorsports which are made of a stiffer rubber but created in the OEM mold for perfect fitment.

Mugen steering rack hard rubber bushings - 9/15/2016
I had ordered a new set of tie rod ends before heading out to Nationals since they started to have some play in them so he replaced those while the steering rack was out anyway.
New OEM Tie Rod Ends - 9/15/2016
In the process of replacing all this, SJF also noticed that the J's Racing offset camber joint was starting to leak some grease so I'll have to add this to the list of items to replace over the winter. It's fine for now but I can't leave it like this for next year.

J's racing camber joint with torn boot - 9/15/2016
The cracked exhaust also got welded up as a temporary fix. I'll likely have to figure out a better way to drive Bumblestook into the storage unit without scraping on the concrete floor on my way up the ramp and then replace this piece altogether.

Rewelded exhuast pipe - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
The diff fluid was flushed as I always do after a big event. Fluid looked good so at least for now I think this diff is in decent shape though I'll likely be getting a new one and make this my spare over the winter. The clutch packs are starting to slip a little, allowing for wheel spin.

Changed diff fluid - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
Lastly, she went back up the rack to reset her alignment. Everything got finished and we're all set to be at the Meadowlands again this Saturday to give her a shake down.

On the rack getting ready for alignment - 9/15/2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SCCA Solo National Championship 2016

We had a 3 day break after the ProSolo Finale where I got some testing done on Bumblestook to make sure the new axle worked fine. Power delivery through the drivetrain felt normal but I did notice that the steering wheel was slightly crooked when going straight so perhaps the toe had slipped in the front. I didn't think much about it at the time since there really wasn't anything I could do about it.

First runs starting - Day 1 - 9/8/2016
Photo By: Clyde Siazon
It was a nice sunny day for day 1 of competition and we got scheduled to run in the first heat so we got there early to get ready and grid up. First day would be the East Course. The course looked fast and fun with a few slow speed digs that would prove to be our undoing. The tires we were running for Nats was the fresh set we scrubbed in at the last NNJR SCCA event but we may have taken a few too many runs and got them too hot as I noticed some purple discoloration on the outer shoulders.

Getting Ready - 9/8/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
On my first run I focused on trying to push hard and get the tires up to temp and scrub off the outer layer and carried too much speed into the curved walloms (eyebrows) and almost lost it. I somehow managed to avoid spinning and came in with a decent first driver time.

Day 1 - East Course - 9/8/2016
Photo by:
Second drivers then went out and put down flyer first runs with Anthony Porta putting in a killer first run in his Mazdaspeed Miata putting an early 1 second lead over the rest of the field. Hez put in a good time slotting him in 3rd behind Chris Edens in the 26 Motorsports Mazdaspeed Miata. Anthony and Hez would not improve on their first runs but Chris would find some time and take the load over Anthony on his last run. Greg Hahn in the BSP S2000 from Florida found time too on his last run and slotted in 4th after day 1 just 0.2 seconds behind Hez. I struggled stringing the corners together and ended up having to settle for 10th after day 1. We simply didn't have the power to weight ratio needed to pull out of those slow digs like the MazdaSpeed miatas did.

Focusing on the course - 9/8/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Day 2 started with some heavy overcast that gave way to sun. When I took the photo below of the BSP grid there was some nice sunshine. Only 15 minutes later and just 15 minutes before we'd begin our runs, clouds started to roll in and we had a serious threat of rain. Jose, James and Clyde hurried off to paddock to get our Hoosier wets in case the skies opened up. Thankfully we were saved and the ominous clouds moved on without so much as a drop of rain come down on us.

BSP Grid - Day 2 - 9/9/2016
We'd be running day 2 on the West Course and although it looked a bit funny as we walked the course both Hez and I actually enjoyed driving it. The corners seemed to flow quite well and we had no trouble negotiating the course. Unfortunately, the MazdaSpeed Miatas would continue their domination on this course and extend their lead. Anthony took the lead over Chris on his 2nd run and despite Chris finding time on his final run, it was 0.3 seconds short and Anthony would take the BSP jacket this year.

Day 2 - West Course - 9/9/2016
Photo by:
Despite enjoying our west coast runs, the odd steering behavior started to plague us badly and the usually crisp, precise steering we've come to know so well from Bumblestook wasn't there. It required too much input for her to change direction which was really unusual. Greg took over 3rd spot from Hez who was now sitting in 4th and I dropped on more spot to 11th after spinning in my first run and running over half a second off Hez's time on my last run.

Hez on Day 2 - West Course - 9/9/2016
Photo by:

SCCA Solo Nationals - East Course - 9/8/2016

SCCA Solo Nationals - West Course - 9/9/2016

Hez was able to end up in the trophies with the 4th place finish, taking his first national trophy and would be the highest position Bumblestook's taken in BSP since I started to campaign her in 2013. Despite this, it's a bit disappointing that her overall pace wasn't enough to really put up a fight against the Mazdaspeed Miatas. We'll keep working at it and come back even faster next season.

BSP Trophy Winners for 2016 - In order left to right
Chris Edens (2), Brian Burdette (6), Michael Bright (5)
Anthony Porta (1), Hezron Laluces (4), Greg Hahn (3)
Hez taking 4th place - 9/9/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Overall I'd still say this has been my most memorable and fun trip to nationals yet. Both Bumblestook and Lupa were there and it was great seeing both of my cars out there racing and spending time with great friends.

Enjoying a good Nebraska dog and lemonade
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Bumblestook and Lupa in paddock
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
When we got the car back to NJ, we took her straight to SJF Performance to get her on the lift. Aside from a cracked exhaust, we found the source of the steering problems. Worn steering rack bushings were causing the entire steering rack to shift as much as 1/4" when we turn the wheel. The sway bar had also somehow come a bit loose. We'll have to get this fixed and get started on the 2017 setup now in case I need to get some more stuff over the winter.

All done - 9/9/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Solo Nationals 2016 Done - Ready to go home - 9/10/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon

Sunday, September 4, 2016

ProSolo Finale 2016

This weekend was the SCCA ProSolo Finale. Hez was coming into the finale tied for the BSP points lead with Anthony Porta from California in his Mazdaspeed Miata and it would be the first time the two cars/drivers would go head to head this year. On Friday I had taken Bumblestook out on the practice course and found her to be a bit too pushy. Normally she should be pushy on the practice course for her to be good on the competition course surface but I felt it was a bit more pushy than normal. I opted to make a some tire pressure changes and she felt a bit more balanced.

BSP Grid - Day 1
Lincoln, NE - 9/3/2016
Saturday started off fairly nicely but with storms looming in the horizon.  We got our morning runs done in the dry and Porta was quick out of the gates. Bumblestook was feeling a bit loose which prevented us from putting down a good time. Hez's left side run and my redlight left side run were only about half a second from Porta's time and after reviewing the video we easily left time out there. On the right side Hez got into cone troubles from the car being loose and I was struggling as well. The morning ended with me having no usable left side times and Hez having no usable right side runs and we were stuck in 3rd and 4th position. No worries though since we'd have both afternoon runs and morning runs the next day to make it up.

Changing to Hoosier Wets
Lincoln, NE - 9/3/2016
We reset tire pressures back to what we normally run at Lincoln to tighten the car up a bit for the afternoon. Before we got to run, the skies opened up and we found ourselves standing in pools of standing water. There was no way we'd be able to go faster so we switched to our wet weather tires to at least do some rain testing and make the most of it. Thankfully the event was instead suspended until the next day so we'd get nice dry runs in the morning. That didn't work out either since on Sunday morning, the course was still wet from some more overnight rain. The conditions could best be described as "drying". The only thing we could hope for was to clean up our runs on our "dirty" sides and try to put in a decent time. Hez was able to find some time on the right course to move up into 2nd but was still off pace. I found time on both sides and coned away a run that would've bumped me into 3rd so ended up 4th, 0.01 seconds off Lee Piccione after the morning session on day 2. This was decent improvement but in the afternoon once the course fully dried we knew we'd be able to make up the lost time as it was fairly obvious reviewing our videos where we had made mistakes and could extract lots of time on both courses.

Broken driver side axle - 9/4/2016
Unfortunately, in the afternoon runs, the perfect conditions for grip also were perfect conditions for finally causing Bumblestook to fail. On Hez's left side course launch, the driver side axle gave way and that ended the event for us. Thankfully no one else found more time so the positions remained as it was from the morning and Hez was at least able to salvage the 2nd place position for the season.

Hez takes 2nd place in BSP for the ProSolo 2016 Season
Lincoln, NE - 9/24/2016

SCCA ProSolo Finale - 9/3-9/4/2016

I always carry spare axles with me to big events so big thanks to Steve Farkas (SJF Performance), Chris Carmenini and Mark Valera for helping us get the axle replace. Bumblestook was back in driving condition and ready for Solo Nationals for this coming Thursday before the day ended. As long as the weather cooperates and we no longer have mechanical issues, I know we can put up a fight this week.