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Sears Point Report (long)

Old 05-26-03, 11:46 AM
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Sears Point Report (long)

Hi folks,

It was good to see RX-Heven out there in his very fast 2nd gen 'vert, that is a good looking car.

Well, I went to Sears yesterday, originally intending to get my competition license, but alas, NASA was unable to provide licensing instructors for the event, and I was stuck waiting until June 28th to get my license. Frustrating that I had a delay, but in retrospect, this is a good thing. The first session was pretty uneventful, except everyone out there in group 4 was driving very aggressively, I personally saw a lot of 'iffy' passes
(and in one case, made one myself, sorry RX-Heven, I thought about that pass after I had some time to settle down and realized that was a pretty stupid place to pass. I tried to find you later but missed you). Prior to our next session, a Honda Challenge Civic was out on course for their warm up practice, and was cut off (or so I was told) by a Legends car. The Civic, unable to get slowed down in time, jumped over the back of the legends car, flipped 180* mid air, and landed upside down on a K-wall barrier. The cage held, but part of the
roof intruded into the cabin, injuring the driver. His status is unknown, but the prognosis was good. They airlifted him out after cutting him out of the car.

Now, you'd think that an event like that would be a sober reminder to everyone to take it easy. Group 4 finally heads out about 30-35 minutes late with instructions to take the first few laps EASY. So I do, I let the car come up to temp, made a couple of easy passes, and just got in the swing of things. 3 laps in, I spotted a 240Z race car (what would be in my class)
coming up behind me fast. We exited the chute (we ran the NASCAR configuration) with him behind me, by turn 8, we entered side by side. I gave him room as we entered 9, he backed off a bit, but started to move up as we entered 10. I went in too fast, too deep before turning in, instead of taking my line (as my right since he was not along side), I tried to be a nice guy and let the guy have room. Have you ever told yourself you're
doing the wrong thing just as you do it? I was. I ran out of talent, panicked, and jammed on the brakes to try and slow down, but I was already in the corner, back end came around, and slid out towards the wall.
Baaaarely tapped the tires but still had enough speed to carry me up and over onto my roof.

Slow roll too. Boom.. Boom. I knew my cage builder did an excellent job, and unfortunately now I was in the
position to actually test his work. His cage held up GREAT. No deformation, no bending, no failure. I killed the ignition, felt and moved all my extremeties to make sure I was ok, then tried to give a thumbs up out the window, but since I was almost underneath the corner worker stand, I doubt he could see that. I then remembered to undo the window net, but it just hung there (since I was upside down I waited for a bit until I no longer heard cars going by, didn't smell anything on fire but decided I better get out just in case. Undid my belts (remembering to hold myself up
so I wouldnt' fall on my head), and squirmed around until I could get out. ERC arrived just as I started to extract myself. They checked me over, made sure I was ok. They rolled the car over, remarkably the car was in decent condition. Jerry Kunzman came in as race director, made sure I was ok and supervised the clean up, after the roll over he came over and said 'hell, we
can sawzall your windshield out and send you back out!'.. I knew he was joking, but it lifted my spirits.. We talked about what happened, he gave me some pointers for handling that situation next time. We towed the car over to what became the junkyard (plenty of other carnage yesterdya), while the medical crew checked me out. Blood pressure was very high (I just rolled a car, whaddya expect) but they let me out as
soon as it came back down (i'm normally a decent BP).

So, total damage, I need a new passenger fender, new drivers door (or banging out the crease, whichever is easier), some slidehammer work and bondo on the rear passenger quarter panel, new rear bumper skin, straightening the exhaust, and a new roof and windshield. I gotta call Miracle Auto tomorrow and see if they can do the roof surgery, if not I got to find a body shop that can handle that. THen a paint job. Maybe a grand of work. Frame is straight, both doors open and line up, no wrinkles in the front unibody that I can see, so I think I escaped unscathed. Gotta look over the suspension to make sure nothing got bent as well.

Other carnage, misc race cars dinged up, a very nice E46 3 series head on into the wall, crunched up all the way to the block. C5 corvette, into the wall at 11, broke drivers side front and rear control arms, snapped the rear rotor. I'm guessing the big wheels sticking out from the body work, when he sideswiped the wall, caused enough inward force to shear the control arms.
Mucho body damage too. Those are the ones I know of, but they said 11 cars ate the wall thsi weekend, with a third rollover (dunno who). But my car seems to have been the lightest damage of any of them. I'll take my
blessings when I can

I'm hoping to have it back out for Sears in June, cross your fingers Lessons learned. It's your line. Dont' give it away. And don't lift in turn 10, I don't care how fast you enter. That lesson I learned already, I
just need it hammered into my head.

PaulC
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Old 05-26-03, 12:42 PM
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Paul glad you are O'k. I was almost taken out coming into 11 one time as well. I was overtaking a slower car into 11, when he waved me by on the outside. Bad move, no sooner did I begin my pass then he drifted to the outside forcing me into the dirt at 120+! Anyway, I was able to save it and exited onto the pit road at 60+. I have had to lift completely more than once out there. If you get off line, better to lift, let the guy go by, and then get back to racing. Anyway, once again, glad you are O'k. Carl Byck
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Old 05-26-03, 03:17 PM
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Re: Sears Point Report (long)

IS this a NASA event?
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Old 05-26-03, 03:57 PM
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Geez Paul,

Sounds like an exciting weekend for sure. It was a valuable lesson learned even it will cost a bit to fix. You can be thankful that you came out alright and the car is repairable. Keep the faith....

Pauly D
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Old 05-26-03, 04:31 PM
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Damn Paul, I'm sorry about your accident. I hope that you get the car back together for your June event!
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Old 05-26-03, 05:09 PM
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damn... glad you are ok... i mean if anything every happened there would be no more cool videos

j/k. glad u are ok... 1000 USD to fix it and its minor damage? That is one reason why i haven't hot lapped a car at a real race track.

so is the corvette ane BMW write offs? a 60,000 dolalr car and 50,000 dollar car gone... un insured... oh my!
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Old 05-26-03, 10:42 PM
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Paul,

good to hear you are okay. tough weekend of racing out there. I just got back from Willow Springs and we had a little excitement, but nothing to compare with you guys at sears. We did have a guy in a BMW roll over saturday morning that actually came back the same day to finish 2nd overall in the three hour night enduro. his roll over was not quite as bad as yours(drivers rear quarter panel and roof) windshield was undamaged. our yellow 2nd gen managed to finish 4th overall in the same enduro. first was a porsche gt3 cup car, second the bimmer, and third was a well driven crx(damn economy cars, didn't have to make a pit stop).
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Old 05-26-03, 11:19 PM
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hehe, good to see your priorities are straight Cheers I should have some video later, when I feel up to looking at it again.. Not real eager, ya know?

HPDE is a driving school, so they should be able to get insurance to pay for it. The Bimmer was a total, no way that is repairable. The Vette is probably repairable, who knows.

Cossie, yeah, NASA event.. Not their fault, Sears is just a car killer, it doesn't really seem to matter who runs it, someone's going to eat it.. It's a very technical track, with significant challenges, and I for one, appreciate that. It's still my favorite track in NorCal.

Pauly, yeah, it's another feather in my cap, hopefully this will ingrain this in my mind, not to lift.

Tim, congrats on the 4th, I hear ya on the CRXs Damn things are almost fast enough to be in ITS
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Old 05-27-03, 02:38 AM
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Re: Sears Point Report (long)

Originally posted by Silkworm It was good to see RX-Heven out there in his very fast 2nd gen 'vert, that is a good looking car.
Thanks, you're too kind. I thought it held its own for a street car that probably had the worst power to weight ratio of the entire field and the crappy hawk hp plus pads. I was happy with the suspension though.
Originally posted by Silkworm The first session was pretty uneventful, except everyone out there in group 4 was driving very aggressively, I personally saw a lot of 'iffy' passes
(and in one case, made one myself, sorry RX-Heven, I thought about that pass after I had some time to settle down and realized that was a pretty stupid place to pass. I tried to find you later but missed you).
No worries, we both came out OK and when I finally met you it was after your rollover and I figured you didn't need me saying anything at the time. Anyways I saw you coming in hot and let you have plenty of room. To tell you the truth, I thought you were going to wreck right then and there as you were two wheels in the dirt over the inside apex. Remeber that was also turn 10. Turn 10 is THE car killer at sears point. We have lost more cars and had to repair more chassis' because of that turn than any other.

I'm sure you've already heard this by now but I think is worth repeating. If you cannot overtake a car by the exit of turn 9, don't press it into 10. If you are faster through the turn, back off a little in the esses to give yourself some room to start a run on him in 9 for the pass AT or AFTER the exit of the 10. This is especially true under real racing conditions when someone is not readily giving up the line and are at speed. 10 is the most dangerous place to pass at Sears and is certainly doable, but it's like Russian roullette and sooner or later the odds will turn against you and/or someone around you. Don't forget that one of the best passing zones is right ahead going into 11. Patience my friend.
Originally posted by Silkworm So, total damage, I need a new passenger fender, new drivers door (or banging out the crease, whichever is easier), some slidehammer work and bondo on the rear passenger quarter panel, new rear bumper skin, straightening the exhaust, and a new roof and windshield. Maybe a grand of work. Frame is straight, both doors open and line up, no wrinkles in the front unibody that I can see, so I think I escaped unscathed. Gotta look over the suspension to make sure nothing got bent as well.
The car did look remarkably good for a rollover in that spot. Most importantly the contents of the car were only shook up and not damaged
Originally posted by Silkworm I'm hoping to have it back out for Sears in June, cross your fingers Lessons learned. It's your line. Dont' give it away. And don't lift in turn 10, I don't care how fast you enter. That lesson I learned already, I
just need it hammered into my head.PaulC
If it's not hammered in already, I'm sure all the hammering on the car you have to do will make that clear. Hope you get back out there soon.

Now let's see those videos!
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Old 05-27-03, 01:30 PM
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Miracle can do the work, so I'm off to Pick n Pull tomorrow to get the bumper and fender I need

PaulC
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Old 05-27-03, 07:15 PM
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bummer about the flip and crunch Paul. At least you walked away and car is repairable and mostly all there.

people wonder why I don't like to drive Sears Point. Those concrete walls eat too many cars. But it IS a fun technical track.

I was hoping to hear the improvements the track made recently would reduce damage and/or # of incidents. Oh well.....



Brad
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Old 05-27-03, 08:37 PM
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!

Paint it yellow again.
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Old 05-28-03, 06:25 AM
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Paul.. condolences on your difficulties.. thanks for sharing your experiences for the rest of us to learn from.

I don't do open tracking yet, but it is very helpful to me to hear the first-hand accounts of this sort of thing. Actually, nearly all of the first-hand accounts I have heard concerning serious offs include the line, "I tried to be a nice guy and let the guy have room"..

I don't know if I'll be able to avoid my "nice guy" instinct if/when I get to that level, but these tales definitely warn me to the dangers involved in it..

Great to hear you are ok, though!

edit: spelling
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Old 05-29-03, 10:01 PM
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Silk,

My condolences to your ride and I'm very glad to hear you are well. Race cars can usually be fixed, the driver is the most important part. Good luck getting her back together.

Damage aside, I'm glad to see you are learning from the experience. It's the people who make the same mistakes over and over and never learn who are the most dangerous. You will be a better racer for it, trust me.
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Old 05-29-03, 11:40 PM
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I was the red 3rd gen in the open track group, and that was about as much carnage as I've seen in one track day. Running the NASCAR chute shortened the track more than I would have thought, and took away a couple of passing zones.

It was fun to see the F50 running in our group!

-Brett
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Old 05-31-03, 12:06 AM
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hey paul....

who built your cage??....i need one and you just gave a great reference

fabian
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Old 06-01-03, 01:10 AM
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Glad to hear you're okay man. I haven't been to this forum in some time now it seems.
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Old 06-02-03, 07:24 PM
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Fabian,

Alan Blaine built my cage, he does excellent work. Let me find out what his current status is, he's trying to setup a new shop, and hasn't been taking any business recently.

Brett,

Yeah, it did bunch everyone up, and made it a bit of a frenzy going into and out of the esses.. That's a nice looking third gen, hope to see you out there again soon. Stop by and say hi, we've got the yellow and white trailer.

Mech, is that you on Honda-Tech too? I lurk there often, good info on their RR/Auto-X site.

88 Teg,

No worries, it's staying yellow and white. This time the stripes will go all the way down, and they'll be a bit wider I think.

PaulC

Last edited by Silkworm; 06-02-03 at 07:28 PM.
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