Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!!!!

The 2009 racing season is here!

After a short winter break we headed to Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw SC to kick it off. This was a rough weekend for Spec E-30.

Let's get right to the action:

Friday: I get to the track on Friday at about 5:00 as the 3 hr enduro is underway with one hour left. Read Jim’s blog for the exciting recount of the enduro. Turnip brought a motor home for this event which was an awesome HQ for us. Unfortunately it meant splitting up the Spec E-30 paddock.

For some mysterious reason I noticed in my garage that my left rear shock was leaking. The car had been in the garage for a couple of months and I didn’t notice anything wrong with it until the week of the race. Great, now what? Chuck Taylor of Factory 3 Performance was nice enough to bring a shiny new one to the track for me. Thanks again Chuck!

The weather was great all weekend but it did get cold at night. Good thing I brought a heater for my tent! It worked great. Friday was a lot of fun catching up with all of my racing friends while eating Mexican food, drinking beers and telling lies….Sometimes when I’m away from the track for a while I think about selling the race car but then another event comes around and it makes all of the hassle and cost worth it. You’ll never meet a better bunch of people than you will at a NASA SE event. More on that later.

Saturday: 7:00 AM. It’s cold outside but warm in the tent with my awesome little heater! Time to change out that shock before hitting the track.

This will be my first event using the new Spec tire Toyo R888’s which replaced our Toyo RA-1’s. The new tires have a stiffer sidewall but are supposed to have the same compound. They require a little bit a different set up on the car to work correctly as testing from others have shown. I still have a set of RA’s to burn thru so I run those in practice. I will have to use my 888’s for qualifying and in the race.

Practice goes well as I shake the cobwebs out of the helmet and get myself back up to speed in the race car and on track.

For qualifying, I throw on the 888’s. I didn’t have time to change the setup on the car all weekend so the settings I use with my RA-1’s will have to do. I haven’t looked at the tire wear yet to see how the setup is affecting them but the car felt good all weekend. These tires do not like to be overdriven so smoothness becomes even more important. Once these tires get too hot they are get greasy and go away pretty quick. I qualified 6th out 18 Spec E30’s.

Now for the race: This year we have a whole new crop of rookies to run with. It’s great to see these guys out here and to know that Spec E30 is alive and well. With more cars on track comes more chance for bad things to happen.

As the race starts there is contact between Steven Canterbury and Brandon Smith sending Brandon spinning. Luckily no one T-bones him and we all continue on. Turns two and three are clean but as we enter turn 4, I make an inside move on Robert Patton who is driving the Pink Panther for Saturdays race. I had a good run on him out of turn three and decided to make the move. As we approached the corner Robert goes for the apex and we make contact sending him around. Turn 4 is a very high speed corner and unfortunately we were all still bunched up at this point. Damion Moses was right behind us and as he came thru four he had nowhere to go. He grazed my driver’s side door and took my mirror off before hitting the panther in the drivers rear with his left front. I went on to finish the race but Damion’s car and the panther were damaged pretty heavily. I finished 6th but was later DQ’s for passing under double yellow several laps later.

We reviewed my in car video of the wreck, (START OF SAT'S RACE) and no one was found at fault for the wreck, it was just a racing incident but it still sucks.

During the same race another Spec E30 driver was taken out by a Miata. It really takes the fun out of it when cars get bent up.

Sunday: We had little more contact on Sunday that damaged two Spec E30’s. Steven Canterbury and Chuck Taylor got together coming out of turn three and wrecked both cars.

Video of STEVEN AND CHUCK Chuck's car:

Man, this is getting old. Racing is a dangerous sport and quick decisions have to be made and these things happen.

As the quote goes: ”The price for men in motion is the occasional collision.” And we had a few of them this weekend.

Sunday was a much better day for me on track though. I had to borrow a mirror from the Pink Panther for Sunday’s race and the guys from Florida thought it would be funny to make that mirror a little easier to see.

They attached an F 250 mirror to the side of my car. See the pic. It was pretty funny…well played.
I went out for qualifying and qualified 5th but a surprise weigh in after qualy put me dead last, 17th, in the field due to being underweight. Our minimum weight is 2750 and I weighed in at 2743.
7 lbs. under! SEVEN!!

That’s one gallon of gas. Dagger!

Oh well, to the back I go and I threw a spare wheel and tire in the trunk to make sure I would make weight for the post race weigh in…which didn’t happen.

Two other guys were found underweight and started in the back with me. I had a great drive and managed a fifth place finish earning me a cool 25 Toyo bucks.


It would have been interesting if all Spec E30 racers had weighed in after qualy but some didn’t. I wonder who ….Hey Craig, what did you weigh in at? It was a poorly run post qualy impound. And no post-race weigh in? C’mon where’s the consistency?! This is all for fun anyway so I don’t really care but it adds to the bench racing and lies later on!

Too much carnage this weekend on track but this weekend really showed the spirit of the Spec E30 racing community. And that’s why we are all here. Our fellow racer and truly great guy Scott Gress had been getting the run around from a shop that was supposed to do some work for him months ago. Long story short they did not do what they were supposed to and messed up the work that they did do. He barely got the car back in time for the CMP event after calling the cops but now needed an engine swap. This would have to be done at the track to get him back out there racing with us.

As I am more of a parts swapper than real actual mechanic, this work would be left to the professionals and guys who know what they are doing. Everyone was determined to get him on track and parts were brought in Friday night from all over to get this thing running. Several people pitched in and they swapped the engine and had him racing on Sunday. This truly is an amazing group of people.

Overall the weekend was fun but all of the on track contact really took the fun out of racing for me. Saturday night was fun, we had the awards banquet and guess what? No BBQ! We had spaghetti! What a great change! I had a great time hanging out with everybody and especially Boogie! I had to add a special shout out just for you! Turnip, Rankin Brooke and Boogie were nice enough to let me hang out in the motor home all weekend and we had a great time together as always. I’m looking forward to Road Atlanta!!

Sorry for the dull write up, I kind of want to get this weekend put away and forgotten. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next one!!

-Brian Jones, BeerTech Racing #380

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