Ho! Ho! Ho!, Let’s go Racing!
BeerTech Racing and NASA South East present: Santa’s Toy Run at Road Atlanta December 5-7th, 2008.
Who races in December? Its cold outside, that wouldn’t be any fun. Guess what, you’re wrong again! Okay, it was very cold but it was a lot of fun also. Atlanta in December isn’t supposed to be so cold. It was in the 20’s a lot of the time but when you have all of your race gear on, its not so bad and as they say, its good horsepower weather.
If you couldn’t tell by previous write ups, NASA likes to theme the weekends based on the venue and time of year, thus we have Santa’s Toy Run in Dec, at Road Atlanta. Each year during this time NASA holds a toy drive for underprivileged kids, which is awesome. Instead of paying an entry fee to the track, we all bring a toy to donate. Jim Robinson wanted to leave his car there for the kiddies but that would just be cruel. That thing is a Grade A turd, read about it here JIM’S BLOG.
This was a three-day event starting with an 8-hour endurance race on Friday and the regular two-race schedule Saturday and Sunday. NASA decided to run an endurance challenge this year with many 3 hour long races, this was the finale and they made it 8 hours. Saturday was a double points sprint race and Sunday was a combined group 1-hour fun race.
Road Atlanta is a world famous road-racing track, has been around for a long time and is an absolute blast to drive. Lots of elevation changes and blind corners make for an interesting experience. Not to mention all of the concrete walls in most cases only 20 to 30 feet off of the edge of the track. Road Atlanta demands respect and will bite you hard if you step over the line. You will not be a habitual line stepper at this track for long.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why do I read these things? They are so long and boring and I’m just trying to waste time at work.” Well, too bad, you’re in this far so keep reading, it will get better…. probably.
So lets get down to it!
I was the Crew Chief for the BeerTech racing car #467 of Scott McMennamy. The Drivers were Ryan Osiecki, Scott McMennamy, Warren Turnipseed and Craig Geiger. Each driver would drive for 2 hours and then come into the pits and change drivers, re-fuel and change tires/brakes if needed.
Ryan started in the car as he had never been to Road Atlanta before and quickly learned the lay of the land and turned in some truly fast laps. The first 4 laps were run under caution so this gave him a good look at the track before it went green. First stint was uneventful and successful. The race started at 9:00AM and the track was icy in some spots so nice job to Ryan for keeping the shiny side up and all of the corners square.
Second to drive was car owner Scott McMennamy. Scott jumped in the car and became acclimated quickly, turning some good laps. About 45 mins. into his stint, coming thru T-12, a very fast, sweeping, downhill right turn which is flat out in 4th gear in our cars he had a moment. The rear end decided it wanted to get to turn one first so it stepped out and started coming around. Scott tried to save the slide but it quickly developed into a spin sending him into the outside wall. There are no tires against the wall in this area because the wall is so close to the track, just lots of thick concrete.
The driver’s rear corner hit first snapping the driver’s front corner into the wall. This bent the whole front of the car over about 3-4 inches toward the passenger side and broke the radiator.
After the car was towed into the paddock, Scott decided we should try and fix the car and get it back out there and we did. Aaron Rankin, Craig Geiger and I worked fast to get the car back out there. A little bodywork, a new radiator, some cutting, banging and cursing and off we went, back into the race. At this time Warren Turnipseed took the wheel and headed out on track. We only lost about an hour and a half in the pits so we had plenty of time left to “test” our handy work and see if anything else was broken.
After Turnip’s successful stint, Craig Geiger took the car out to finish the race. The car took a pretty good hit and handled okay but not ideally. We did finish the race 12th in our class, E2, and 24th overall out of 30 entries. Not bad for having to fix the car half way thru!
The enduro saw lots of carnage for E30’s and we weren’t the only ones doing repairs during the race.
Chuck Taylor (right) and I racing hard.
Saturday was the regular schedule, Practice, Qualifying and Race. Yay!, now I finally get to drive Road Atlanta in my car. This was my second time ever at Road Atlanta and first time in my car. After taking last year completely off I drove in the March enduro with Scott. Practice was good, I just needed to learn my way around the place again and after watching lots of video thanks to Mike Skeen of Mikeskeen.com, I picked it up pretty quick. I ran a 1:48.8 in qualifying, good enough for 15th. Not bad, Ill take it. Like I said before, Road Atlanta demands respect and I was definitely going to give it.
The race went well, a little boring late in the race as traffic stretched out but I was able to finish 10th with a fast lap of 1:46.9. Much better! A few drivers dropped out due to mechanicals and one guy was DQ’d for having an illegal rear end. To his credit I don’t think he did it on purpose, it was the one in the car when he bought it and he had bad intel telling him that model had the correct rear end. Oh well, to the back you go!
Sorry, no video from Saturdays race, I forgot to turn the camera on….again.
(Steve DeVinney using all of the road...with his 4.10 rear end)
Since this was going to be the last event of the year, NASA decided Sunday would be a combined one-hour fun race. This put the Lightning and Thunder groups together. This would be interesting as we had LOTS of fast cars out this weekend. Corvette Z06’s, Porsches, IMSA lites and even two ALMS Ford GT’s. Those guys are crazy to put those million dollar machines out on track with the likes of us!
We drew numbers in the drivers meeting to form a random grid. I wanted to be as far to the back as possible with such fast cars out there. Some cars have several hundred more horsepower than our cars do and that makes for pretty fast closing rates on track. I was lucky and drew #70. Starting 70th of 74 was a good thing. If there were any big wrecks up front, hopefully I wouldn’t be involved. Luckily everyone behaved themselves and there were no car to car incidents. Nice work everyone. See the video for some exciting footage:
Because of our antics at the last event, Rockingham we were all banned from camping for the rest of the year. Great. Who wants to camp in December anyway right? Thanks again to Jim Pantas. For this event we rented a Lake house in Dawsonville GA and had 10-12 people in it. Very nice place, pool table, foosball, ping-pong, hot tub and a lake for when you really get banged up and want to take a swim. Did I mention this is December?
We stayed Thursday night thru Sunday and had a blast. See below:
Thursday and Friday nights were pretty low key as we all needed rest for racing but the smack talk and games were still intense. I beat the hell out of Al Taylor at Pool and Ping-Pong and Skeen beat his ass repeatedly at Foosball. It wasn’t a good weekend for Al in the game room. Sorry Al, hate to do it to you but it’s the truth baby!
Saturday night was crazy! We had some more people over to the house including the BDR crew and had an old fashioned throw down. We all got pretty banged up, played some games, talked some sh*t and had a great time. Oh yeah we also paid Turnipseed $179 and he drank a bottle of Ultra Concentrated Dawn dish soap, green apple flavor! Bleh!
Since he is “The Man”, he is henceforth known and referred to as Officer Bubbles. $179 can get you a sweet nickname too!
HIGHLIGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS:
- Having a 4.10 differential is an advantage when no one else does.
- $179 is the going rate to see someone drink a bottle of soap. Thanks Officer Bubbles!
- Al Taylor sucks at Ping Pong and is mediocre at best at shooting pool.
- Road Atlanta is one of the most fun tracks I’ve ever driven.
- I should get a hot tub.
- If AMP ever becomes a reality, the lake house is where it’s at!
- Jim Robinson listens to Christopher Cross. No, really, the CD is in his truck right now! So what do you do when caught between the moon and NY city? Jim?
That’s it for this installment! Hope you’re still awake! See you next time!
-BeerTech Racing, Car #380 Brian Jones-