Friday, January 11, 2008

Twas the night before BeerTech Christmas

'Twas the night before BeerTech Christmas, when all through the house
Not a person was stirring, except for Brian who was concerned about the Russian Army
Scott and Shelby has prepared the house with diligence and care
In hope that a Santa Klaus soon would be there
Little did they know he blew all his cash
On booze and cheap floozies and now has a cream for that rash

The boys were nestled all snug in their beds
While vision of Lemons (24 hours of) danced in their heads
Rob with his coozie and Brook with her cloak
Had just settled down for a long trip back

When from the back of the house there arose such a clatter,
We all sprang from our beds to see what was the matter
Away to the bathroom we flew in a flash
Tore open the door only to turn back
It was the Puke-A-Potamus giving his drinks back

Then he was harassed into his E30 with Lisser in tow
And away down the street giving the gear box a good row

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

This bedtime story has been brought to you by Ian "Santa" Klaus
(BeerTech Director of Operations)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I lost something at Roebling

With the start of the 2008 season fast approaching, I wanted to weigh in on the last Spec E30 race of 2007 for BearTech. Roebling Road may be one of the further tracks for us to haul (350+ miles), but it's worth every bump South Carolinas I-95 has to offer. The track was resurfaced last fall and that has earned it the BeerTech seal of approval. The votes were split after our last trip down there in 2005 (or was it '04?) for an HPDE with the Dark Side/ Sand Piper PCA. While RRR may not have been the best lapping track, it is one hell of a great place to race.

As JP has pretty much covered... this was a great race weekend for all. And while many of the racers were heard to say "this was the best race ever", those words couldn't have been more true for anyone more than they were for me.

I left for the track a day ahead of JP to get some extra track time in Friday's test-n-tune with Seat-Time. Things didn't get off to a very good start, due to RRR management not letting anyone in until the last minute, no schedule available from Seat-Time and the solo group being sent out on track 2 minutes after the drivers meeting.

Not that I'd complain... but REALLY? Even with one missed session, I was able to get in more than enough time on track that I had a much higher comfort level, going into Saturdays race.

It's been a while... so I'll spare you all the hazy details. But in a nutshell... Saturday was OK.

OK... until the Factory 3 IFU Challenge. (read JP's account for the real details)

Starting up front and having the opportunity to race side by side in a way that I hadn't really been able to do... helped me figure a lot of things out.

One of those things was that the guys I'm out there racing with are really good drivers.

Another was that I can race closer to them anywhere on the track... straight aways, braking zones, turns...

And while all those guys were saying "the IFU race way the most fun they had ever had"... The most fun I ever had on a race track was to be the next day. The Sunday race.

As JP has pointed out (thanks JP)... my Sunday qualifying was less than spectacular. Sure, it was on par with all my other back-of-the-pack postings. And I guess there may have been higher expectations after the IFU? But it wasn't from a lack of coffee or the extra beers the night before... I just didn't want to be overly confident. I wanted to make sure my last race of the season wasn't going to be like my first race of the season.

Never to be.

I don't know when or where it happened? But somewhere at Roebling Road I lost that "turn 10" monkey that had been on my back all season long, and I found my confidence.

I didn't give away any track. I mixed it up. I stayed in close a fought for positions—every turn of every lap.

I know I'm no Skeen. I didn't start in the back and work my way to the front in the 2nd lap. But I finished better than I start. Not just in that last race, but in my rookie season.

I can't wait for CMP.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Roebling Road Race Recap

Very late posting, good thing don't have a following that reads this with frequency!

This was by far the best weekend race experience that we have ever had. We is Scott and I as Brian spent another weekend at home clipping coupons for canned food from the paper so he could eat...... And Al actually washed his car, at the track no less.

Aside from the normal two races we run, Factory 3 Performance sponsored an IFU Race (Inverted Field Unlimited). We took the quali times from Sat. and inverted the field. Good times ensued but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The weekend started on Friday with a LONG haul down to Roebling. On the way I managed to loose both my trailer license plate and a trailer brake light. Who knew towing at 100+MPH would do that? After arriving later than planned I set up camp (literally) and unloaded the car in the dark and without cranking it due to Roebling's draconian rules.

At this point in the season I was simply hoping that the motor would hold together long enough to finish the weekend and not explode on track. I set out for my first session on the track in two years and was surprisingly on pace for the mid-pack. I qualified 13th of 22 with Scott posting a nice 19th of 22. I was well ahead of Robinson but shocked to be so far behind Geeger (6th???) Fortunately both would graciously drive off track to help me move up.

I finished the first race 8th ahead of some truly talented driver, and also Geeger and Robinson. It should be noted that both Geeger and Jim practiced all day on Friday while I was towing down..... Scott was able to maintain a clean race and finished in 18th.

After every other race had ended on Sat. the main event was started, the Spec E30 IFU Race. Everyone at the track was there to watch us. I started in 13th and Scott got to start in 4th! Outside second row. This race was absolutely incredible. There was very little time when you weren't involved in some sort of battle with two or three cars. Scott later said that it was like a year's worth of racing experience in 45 minutes. Invaluable to rookies like us.

I had worked my way up to 4th!!!! before I saw a double yellow fly to remove poor Laura from the dirt berm. Oddly, they had us stop single file on the front stretch. Little did we know that they were going to invert us for a second time, madness. I was heart broken as that forth would have been my best race of the year. So, as we restarted I was forth from last, 19th. By the time the dust had settled I crossed the line three wide to finish 8th. I lost out to 6th and 7th by a bumper. Scott crossed the line in a great 15th with a new found aggressiveness that was lacking before.

The night was spent swilling beers to drown the red dogs and mini bike fumes and listing to lies from Travis about how crappy his car is leaving only his talent to blame for his great race. Lame.

Here is the video. Its long and the sound is turned off due to technical difficulties, but it is still exciting to watch:

IFU Video

The Sunday race had me a little worried because the car was acting up a good bit. The alignment, or lack thereof, was making the car very nervous through T3, a very high speed left hander. Also, I was fouling spark plugs every two sessions due to my crapbox motor's dying rings. Last race of the year, oh well.

I quailied 9th. Two spots better than Sat. but Robinson was right on my heels. Lame. Scott qualied 20th obviously hungover on a great IFU race and maybe some beer.

This race didn't do to much for me other than to reinforce the fact that my motor was done. I would get pulled by everyone down the straights. The video really shows this. An early spin in front of the entire field by Damion left the whole field mixed up. I was up to forth when we all came back on track. Feeling out of place I decided to drive straight off in T9. This put me back in a much more familiar 7th. Fortunately for me Robinson and Geeger were kind enough to realize that I had much more talent than themselves and drove their cars off as well. Good job guys!

I followed Patton for the rest of the race and finished 6th, or so I thought. The pink panther car was found to be under weight and was DQ'd. Preesh fellas. I finished 5th and even squeaked some Toyo bucks out of it. Scott however had the race of the day. He went from 20th to finish 13th. His best race of the year.

Sunday Sprint

It was a great end to a wonderful Rookie year. I really hope B. Jones gets to join us for some races next year.