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Race Report: Miller Motorsports Park World Challenge RX8

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Race Report: Miller Motorsports Park World Challenge RX8

Old 05-09-11, 01:27 PM
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Race Report: Miller Motorsports Park World Challenge RX8

Well, its been a week and I have finally gotten caught up enough to post a quick and dirty race report for the last race at MMP.

First- the facility at Miller is first class! Very nice and well laid out, lots of good parking and garages, highly recommend if you get a chance to race there.

Our race weekend started actually kind of rough. We rented out the #8 car at the last minute, which for us meant about 10 days out. The car was overdue from the body shop which delayed the assembly and finish work- alot. A week out and we learned we might not have shocks for the race, as no-one could build a set in time or had parts on hand to do so. We thought we were good to go to get a set of Ohlins DTT's, but on Monday (leaving Wednesday!) we were told there was just no way. Found a set of Eibach MX-5 Cup shocks at the very last minute and got them overnighted in!. Finishing work on the car went right up until we needed to leave Wednesday night, and as we were about to load the car into the trailer we discovered the trailer lights were not working. Spent until 2AM trying to get the trailer lights working with no luck, so we sent the #7 car on to Miller with two guys on the open trailer and I stayed back to get a replacement harness the next morning when the dealers opened.

Got the harness at 3-4pm, installed it, loaded up and thought we were good to go. Nope, various small delays including a crew guy getting sick at the last minute delayed our leaving until nearly 10pm. We looked like we would make it, but no, we hit blinding snow as we crossed Wyoming into Utah and it was treacherous going for about 4 hours. Its worth noting that I had not slept but 4 hours in the past 48-50 hours, and I was on wet snow-covered roads sliding the truck and trailer around. Great fun!

Arrived (finally!) in time for the second practice on Friday. Did not bother unloading the #8 car, as with a new, untested car and a new (to the car) driver its just not a good idea to run a pro event, its how cars becomes flaming wads of metal and plastic.
Friday practice went OK but our fueling issue seemed to resurface. Can you say frustration? (now at 72 hours and about 6 hours of sleep) Tore intot he tanks to find that the issue was indeed fixed! Even though the fuel gauge read 1/4 tank the tank was empty! Looks like when I tore it all apart after St Pete I damaged the sender for the fuel level, which is a lot easier to deal with than pumps that do not pick up fuel!

All settled down we waited for qualifing. Never happened because yeap, it SNOWED. Just awesome. We sat in the RV and talked racing until qualifying was officially over then headed to the hotel.

I slept like the dead. Literally.

The race on Saturday was just as frustrating. First, we were gridded by points standing, not practice times, so we went from a hopefull 5th on grid to 11th on grid. The snow/rain/wind from the previous day had cleaned the track of all the rubbery goodness layed down over the weeks testing, so it was green green green. Between the green track and the 40deg temps we (and probably everyone else) had a nice understeer issue where the car had been perfect before. Ahh well.
The start was exciting, Randy Pobst Volvo snapped something on the start, leaving him dead on track and rear-ended by I believe a Mustang. Patrick Lindsey (great guy BTW, sucks to see him having issues) Corvette also broke on the start but no collision for him. Start of the race- 6-7 yellow flag laps! Chip got hosed on the start, having to dirt-track the front straight to avoid the carnage, then hosed again on the restart, as for whatever reason the restart occurred without the cars being bunched back up. When the green flag dropped we were in I think turn 8. Nice.
Under green the understeeer issue surfaced and despite Chips best efforts our lap times just were not on par with what we felt they should be. The turbo cars ran away and left us, literally 10mph faster on the straights. Yay? No, I dont think so. Meyer and Aschenbach were running about the same lap times as we were, but due to the restart we just were not close enough to do anything with it. In the car Chip was concerned the car was losing power and something in the front end was jacked since he was having so much trouble with understeer and the lap times were not where we thought they should be. He brought the GRID-1 RX-8 home in 7th place, and we were happy to have it!

Post-race inspection revealed nothing leaking, broken, or otherwise amiss with the car. However, data showed the engine never reached operating temp, and the highest it managed was 167, and that was while Chip was in the draft of another car. So 167deg engine temps= still running in warmup mode= rich as fawk= not nearly the power we like to make. I had pulled as much cooling off the car as I dared- the upper shroud so air would spill into the engine bay and out rather than go through the rad, etc. but it just was not enough. The diff was also probably running too cool, as I am positive the diff pump was active during the race. Oh well, better than melting it down I suppose.

Chip did an excellent job of driving a car under less than ideal conditions, and we DID manage to move from 11th to 7th. We had nothing at all for the turbo cars (VW and Volvo) and wont until those cars are regulated back down to reality.

We are not going to Mosport and our next WC race will be at Mid-Ohio in August. We are using the time to sort out #8 and train new crew guys, and maybe find a sponsor or two to help pay for some of this stuff. See you there!
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Old 05-09-11, 01:40 PM
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Also FWIW I dynoed the car on Friday on a Dyno-mite dyno rather than my stingy Mustang dyno and it made 224whp/146ftlb torque on a 70deg day, so no apparent loss of power
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Old 05-09-11, 02:08 PM
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im glad you enjoyed my home track. its a fun place for sure but no way in hell am i going out there when its that messy. a few friends were there though.

come back any time
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