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Thunderhill Race Report

Old 07-24-04, 11:06 PM
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Cool Thunderhill Race Report

Hi All,

As you may recall from my last report, transmission troubles ended my weekend back in May, losing 3,4, and 5th gears during the Sunday race. What we didn't realize is not finishing 50% of the laps means you only get 50 of a possible 100 points, leaving me in an already enormous points deficit in the PS1 championship. Brad Leabo has already jumped out to a 300+ point lead, making it critical that I make every race for the rest of the year, and he's gotta miss a full weekend of racing to make it possible to catch him.

We headed up to T-hill this weekend with a freshly rebuilt tranny from ISC racing, as well as a new suspension setup, alignment, and cornerweighting by Blaine Fabrications. Given that I'm still running an open differential, I was very surprised to be able to hang in there with the fastest of the Spec Miatas, running a 2:11.0 during morning warmup Saturday morning. That's over a tenth faster than my previous best at T-hill, and the new suspension setup was working great. Heavier spring rates up front meant no more lifting in turn 4 for the transition, and turn 3 and 5 were much easier to stick the car into. I qualified on the PS-1 pole with a 2:12.0, with a 3+ second margin over 2nd through 4th place in class.

I started the race on the outside pole in the third wave, right along side Bob Bradfield in his wickedly fast PS-7 RX-7. As we came onto the front straight, Bob and I saw the green flag flying (for the 2nd wave, consisting of Honda Challenge cars), and Bob got on the gas. I tried to stay up with him, but we ended up getting the whole field strung out, and I couldn't get much of a jump on Bob going into turn 1. Barry Thompson in his PS-7 RX-7 came flying up the inside to force me into third, but as we crested the rise exiting one, I saw Bob frantically waving his hand to slow me down. A Honda Civic had spun in the previous wave, and came back out on track right in front of us. The civic blocked me going into turn 2, and I settled down behind her through turn 6. My car's got more power than most cars, so I was able to pull the pack going up into turn 9, but the Civic cut me off yet again, and I started to spin. Barry in his RX-7 was right behind, and he and I unfortunately ended up smacking bumpers at the apex of 9. He went off in a big cloud of dust, but I think the contact helped settle my car down, and I went on my merry way. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, if not boring even. I learned never to say that during a race weekend, as I learned the next day.

Sunday, some of the PS-1 guys were talking about my car (laughingly referring to it as a cheater car), until Al Butterfield went out with Brad's RX-7 and turned a 2.12.7 right off the bat. So much for cheating, eh guys?? I tried to help out my competitors with some lead/follow during the morning warmup, but I don't think it helped very much. I qualified with a 2:11.9 Sunday morning, having some fun with the Wreck Me Otters, learning their lines and practicing. That was good enough for pole yet again, but one PS1 guy just packed up and headed home without qualifying, and another lost his motor, so it was just up to Brad and I to duke it out for that coveted Winner sticker. (We don't race for trophies, just stickers

Sunday's race, I gather NASA didn't like our start saturday, and most of the blame fell on my shoulders for not staying right next to Bob. So PS-1 ended up starting almost in the back of the 3rd wave, behind all of the Pro7 cars. Pro7 RX-7s are different than PS-7 (or even our PS-1) RX-7s, because they have a lot more restrictions on rules. They can't change wheels, add headers, or add power mods like we can. But they are very very light at 2400lbs with driver, and all of them are crazy So it can be a challenge to have to get through their pack. Typically they all run nose to tail, swapping positions with each lap, depending on who screws up or gets a good run. After about 3 laps, I forced my way through, and opened up about a 10-15 car lead on their pack, before we went full course caution for 2 laps. I ended the race with yet another win in class, running a 2:12.6.

Should be a fun weekend in September for the Hyperfest event at Infineon, I'll have my new Kirkey seat installed, and hopefully a good LSD.

If you have broadband, I've got 2 vids up from the weekend here, thanks to Nick Steel for hosting them!


They're 40 and 56mb each. Enjoy!

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Old 07-25-04, 10:20 AM
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Good stuff (as always)!

Damn, that looks like it's a blast!
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Old 07-25-04, 11:40 AM
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Old 07-25-04, 12:31 PM
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Man being stuck behind an oil burner in traffic always makes me gag - in a race that had to really suck.

I liked that Rich guy's flames - you see his shift points were a lot different than yours. He looked pretty hard to pass, he was really dancing his FB.

And damn but that Daytona Coupe must've had some rocket packs! Gone!

Thanks for the vids Paul!
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Old 07-25-04, 02:32 PM
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man i cant wait for my first hpde in November
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Old 07-25-04, 11:10 PM
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nice job.... that looks like a ton of fun and I need to get back to the track.... not having a track worthy car anymore sucks....

Good job Paul and congrats on the pole and win.

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Old 07-26-04, 01:42 PM
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Hey I have been meaning to ask. Where do you get the music for the vids? I really like most of it and wanted to see if I could find it but I had no leads on the names/artists. Help
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Old 07-26-04, 11:25 PM
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Congrats Paul!

Awesome videos, as always.

I'll be joining you next year, my SCCA super school is October 1/2 and a double reigonal the 23rd/24th to finish my licensing critera.

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