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Race Report: St Petersburg WC Touring Car

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Race Report: St Petersburg WC Touring Car

Old 03-31-11, 09:01 PM
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Race Report: St Petersburg WC Touring Car

Well, now that I am back in Denver and actually have a reliable web connection heres the summary of this past weekends racing in Florida!

Lets start at the beginning-

I flew to TN last week, gathered up my crew guy, loaded the trailer, and headed to Alabama to pick up a spare motor on the way to St Pete. Got the motor with no issue, but for whatever reason the GPS decided that we needed to go the back roads, which made out drive take forever!
Arrived in St Pete at about 10:00 AM Wed morning. Spent the day getting the trailer parked, the car etc. unloaded, then stickering the car up. Managed to leave the track around 5:30/6:00ish to head to the hotel.
Thursday got to the track at around 8 am (late for me), and finished checking over the car. SCC Pro Racing guys came by and did the annual tech. We were OK with two fix-it-before-next-event issues- no drivers leg bracing and no scattersheild. Everything else we had more than the required. Also made sure we got our credentials as soon as registration opened, not a big deal, just a lot of standing in line.
Midday on Thursday we had the Driver/Crew Chiefs meeting. Those of you who have been to the Club racing version- the Pro racing version is much much longer and more detailed. Good stuff brought up though, so not too bad.
First big issue: NO TRANSPONDER! Old one was dead, SCCA no longer rents or sells them, so ordered one from I/O port, overnight earliest AM for Friday.
Finshed Thursday out by cleaning up the car, putting on the freshly mounted Pirellis slicks, and again left the track around 6PM or so.

Friday morning first practice was at 8:05 AM. We got there at 7:15 then a few minutes later everyone started lining up at 7:30! Chip had literally JUST gotten there and was barely in his suit as we were pulling around to grid for practice. Nothing really notable about the first practice, we kept our noses clean, took some tire pressures, and thats about it. No transponder so no one but us knew how fast we were
Second practice we set the tire pressures based on the early session, gassed her up, installed our shiny new transponder and away we went. Chip was fastest in practice, and the car performed awesome. Our good friend Eric Meyer lost his brakes while following Chip around, causing him to rear- end us at about 45mph in turn 4. Oouchies!Nothing but urethane and sheetmetal damage though, and Eugene and I managed to get the trunk section pulled back more or less into place using a slide hammer, mini sledge, and some blocks of wood. Meyer was back in acton after a new bumper and some minor bashing with a mallet.

Qualifying was pretty good, Chip went out and set fast lap, then Aschenbach (Honda) and Herbert (VW) set it higher. Chip went back out and layed down an awesome 1:26, but that pesky VW threw down a 1:25, with about 4 tenths seperating us, and there was nothing we could do about it, we were all in. Still outside pole is not a bad start to the season!
After qualifying the trans was acting up, so we dropped it to change it out. We found the pilot bearing had run dry and was coming apart, and by some miracle I had a pilot bearing and seal set in my spares box. We were at the track until about 10:30 or so getting the old pilot bearing out, the new one in, and the clutch etc. ready to go. Ended up finishing the job the following morning in the daylight. Thanks again to Eric Meyer for graciously loaning us one of his spare transmissions!

First race started out well, Chip holeshoted like none other, gaining positions like a madman. He literally passed the S2000 running in GTS BEFORE the guys tires were turning! Into turn 1 it looked like our race all the way, but the GTI was back, using its massive power (cough cough CHEATER cough cough) to blow past us on the straights. Running second, Chip was all over the guy in the corners, and on lap three it happened. What happened depends on who you talk to, but generic version A is that Herbert in the GTI knew he could not keep Chip behind him and was moving over to let us by when he scrubbed the wall, breaking his front rim and shooting him off the wall into our drivers side rear wheel, breaking it. We changed the wheel but lost three laps and the car was unpredictable under power, so we called it a day with I think two laps to go. Version B is not as flattering to the GTI, and more or less has him driving into the back of Chip to cause the flat. Either way, frustrating end when we were passing for first place!
Poor Meyer! Sandberg spun into the wall, cornerworkers were late on the flag and Meyer barely had time to slow down before smacking into Brett. Shea however, rounded the corner and hit Meyer hard (75-80mph?) in the back of the car. The video is just brutal. Mayers #32 was totaled and that ended his competetive weekend.
Race 2 also started well. Once again we were outside pole, starting 2nd in class. Chip hammered the start again and made a hero move on the very slick paint at the end of the straight to save the car and not kill anyone. We were running 2nd most of the race with the GTI in front of us again using all of its turbo power to run away from us. Very frustrating, especially when a GTS Camaro got between the front runners and held us up. CHip could get by in the corners, but the Camaro would just pull ahead again on the straights. Very very frustrating when your running for position.
During a caution, Herbert for whatever reason drove past the entire feild and was given a penalty that resulted in him being put back out right behind us. Chip was holding him off with a 10 car lead when the car started to starve for fuel in the right hand corners, then the fuel pressure started to drop. He radioed in that he was out of fuel, but there was just no way! He came in when the pressure dropped way low, and once again we were out of the race. We found the car had over 1/4 tank of fuel in it, so WTF??? On examination we have found that the transfer pump in the right side of the car (the car we took the hit on) had broken loose and was just sort of flopping around in the tank, resulting in inconsistent fuel flow, which heated the fuel pump up and dropped pressure. Bad deal all the way around for us, but thats racing. I never thought to check the fuel tank after the hit, and we had no time to test the car before the race.
Our friend Eric scored a start-and-stop in Irish Mikes Jetta (For Sale!) and started the race from pit lane, ran a lap or two, then pulled into the pits and spent the rest of the race announcing.
We will be posting the in-car RaceKeeper footage- roof-mounted front cam, roof-mounted rear cam, and cockpit cam- up soon so everyone can see it.

After the race on Monday we did a media day/photoshoot sort of thing with Grassroots Motorsports. Chip was not able to make the event, so Randy Pobst and Aaron Povoledo drove the RX 8 for the magazine shots out on track. The footage from the day should be up anytime now, so we will all get to see that soon as well!
After the media event we drove back to Nashville, dropped Eugene off at the airport, loaded the last of the RX8 and racing equip I left in Nashville, made arrangements to ship the #8 car back via commercial shipper, and hit the road back to Denver.

Cheers,
Don Walker
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Old 04-01-11, 07:12 AM
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was nice meeting ya last weekend. sounds like i may see ya in denver next week if we cant build out a new car for meyer in the next couple of days.....
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Old 04-01-11, 07:38 AM
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sounds like an awsome time glad no one got hurt
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Old 04-01-11, 08:42 AM
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Car will be ready to go on Tuesday Rob!
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Old 04-01-11, 11:04 AM
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Great Report!

Man I wish Eric would set up a webcam for that build...

Hope its going well!
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Old 04-02-11, 08:56 PM
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webcam was brought up. as far as i know he didnt unless he hid one i havent found lol two days into build car is rolling with all drivetrain in. wiring and plumbling in process. still a lot of little details to take care of. car is going on trailer in 24hrs to head to long beach. we'll be there doing formula d with one of our crew members who is a driver. then working on car remaining days before our event
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Old 04-04-11, 01:02 PM
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Don, are you guys going to long beach?

Can't wait to see the footage...
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Old 04-14-11, 11:20 AM
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Awesome indeed. Is there any television coverage and if so what channel and when?
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Old 04-14-11, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gracer7-rx7 View Post
Awesome indeed. Is there any television coverage and if so what channel and when?
It just aired this past weekend on speed... or maybe it was vs. But I got to see it in real time!!! Good racing there in St. pete as usual

-J
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Old 04-14-11, 01:08 PM
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It aired on VS, they covered our car pretty good from what I saw, right up until Herbert smashed into us! They have it so you can watch it online, links are at world-challenge.com
We posted a short vid of the Herbert collision on my facebook, its pretty good.

Getting ready now for Miller, cars are in paint getting thier actual liverys and finalizing the arrangements for the second driver in the #8 car.

Also looking for a couple of crewguys and maybe a volunteer or two at Miller and possibly beyond, feel free to email me at [email protected] if interested.
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Old 04-14-11, 07:54 PM
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Damn. I missed it somehow.

I was at Thunderhill this weekend doing my first Spec Miata and ITA race.

If you have any CA races, let me know if you need a volunteer.
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