Friday, July 22, 2011

Second At A Crowded Mid Ohio

With two months to go until Nationals at Mid Ohio, the July Great Lakes event was PACKED. We had what must have been a record 57 TT cars putting in times and the traffic on the track reflected it.

I came to the track with the same setup and tires as Grattan and was hoping to chase down both the regional TTC record of 1:41.974 and the National record of 1:38.723. However, due to (insert long list of excuses here), I wasn't up to the challenge. Nevertheless, I took home a solid 2nd place finish in a field of 8 TTC cars, behind Aaron Leichty in the #190 S2000 both days. This scored a pair of new tires and extended my lead in the Great Lakes season championship.

Though I did break the previous regional TTC record with a best time from the first timed session of the weekend of 1:40.068, Aaron came out of the weekend with the honors of being the fastest TTC car ever on the Pro course with a 1:38.705 on Saturday. He even bested this time in a lap on Sunday, but in an incident eerily similar to mine in April, put a rear left wheel off tracking out of a right hander and hooked it back into the wall on the inside, DQ’ing the time. Even so, his time from a foggy first session was enough to beat my Sunday best by a mere 2 hundredths of a second. Like my incident, the damage was mostly superficial, and I expect to see Aaron back on track for August!

The next event is back at Mid Ohio in August. A month before Nationals and a cross over between the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, it should be even more crowded. There has already been talk about running two TT groups. I’ve got some setup changes to make and I hope they work because I’ve got a few seconds to drop before Nationals!

Here's my fastest lap from the weekend:

Record At Grattan

Since my last trip to Grattan in 2008 a lot of changes have been made to the 109 and (hopefully) my driving has seen some improvements as well. I've also heard Grattan has been resurfaced recently and these have all added up to a best time from the weekend in June of 1:27.284. This is a new record for TTC, almost 5 seconds faster than previous record, which I set in 2008, of 1:32.153. Despite the thin field, Jason Kohler brought tough competition in his #848 S2000, dropping seconds on Sunday to end in the high 1:28's, also shattering my previous record.

Take a look at the record lap below:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain At Putnam

While the car made a successful return to the track without losing any important pieces, the weekend was dominated by rain, an absolute killer for TT. Saturday started dry, but by the time I had worked up my confidence in the mechanical soundness of the 109 by the afternoon, the rain came and there wasn't a dry a session the rest of the weekend. My best time on Saturday was a 1:52.740, seven tenths behind Aaron, the class track record holder, and good enough for second place in TTC out of a field of seven. My best time in the wet on Sunday was also good enough for second, scoring me another pair of tires for the weekend.

Despite the rain, I accomplished the goals for the weekend of shaking down the repaired car, running under 1:20, and bringing home the tires. I'm looking forward to swapping on some new springs, replacing a sway bar, installing some camber adding front balljoints, and finally getting the car aligned for the first time since the impact at Mid Ohio (oops!).

The wet weekend was also made much better when my friends Jon and Darrel arrived on Saturday to support and spectate. Jon just got a new Canon T3i and used it, along with some of my lenses, to shoot video throughout the weekend. He took the clips combined with some of my in-car footage and edited it into this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wider Fenders

I got the car back from the shop on Friday with repaired door and rear quarter panel. They also painted my trunk lid and a new set of VIS carbon fiber +30mm fenders. I finally finished installing everything today!

Here's a comparison with the daily driver to see how wide the new fenders are. Both are on the exact same tire with the exact same sized wheel. Notice how the tire extends from the fender on the left bit is swallowed by it on the right! The time trial car is pretty slammed, though; hopefully there will be enough clearance.

I received new numbers and letters in from iZoom Graphics that I need to put on this week in addition changing the engine oil and transmission fluid. I'm thinking I should also get the car up on the alignment rack to double check everything after the impact. Then I'll be ready for Putnam!

Friday, April 15, 2011

NASA Great Lakes Season Opener at Mid Ohio

Well...the first weekend of the season was a qualified success. The good news is that I took home the win for TTC on both Saturday and Sunday and earned my free tires from my great contingency sponsor, Hoosier. The bad news is that the track was wet all weekend and even the driest conditions had a stream of water across turn 1 and puddles in the bus stop.

The further good news is that I was getting the flow of the track down and the car felt so good that I actually turned a lap time during the third session on Sunday that would have been good enough for the TTC record for the Club Course configuration we were running (as well as the shorter Pro Course), despite the track conditions. The worst news, however, is that later that session I dropped the rear left wheel off the outside of the track into the wet grass in turn 7 and spun the car across the track into the tire wall, ending my day and DQ'ing the record time.

The body on the driver's side of the car is pretty banged up. Mechanically, it seems good to go, thankfully. I hardly felt anything inside the car (data showed the impact was under 2 g's, the tire wall seemed to do its job), so I was very lucky and got off relatively easy. It's not going to be cheap, but I'm hard at work getting everything back together and should be ready to go for Putnam next month!

Here is video of that 3rd session before the spin. The last lap on the video would have been the TTC record at 1:41.713 had I not DQ'ed myself.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Time to get ready for the 2011 Time Trial season! In a "controversial" new rule, all non-OEM style hardtops have been banned from NASA Time Trials this year. I won't go into any arguments here about the merits of the rule, but either way the result is that I had to ditch my old top in favor of a Honda OEM. This was not a cheap switch, but at least it looks good!

Over the off season (read: one week ago) I moved from St. Louis to take a new job in Sidney, OH. Thanks to Jeff from hardtopguy for making the drive out here to deliver my new top. Just in time for Mid Ohio next weekend! The car is pretty much ready to go. The top is installed and the Hoosiers have been mounted to the RPF-1s. Time to change the oil and get weighed in.