This seems to be a community build thread type place now, I can start a built thread separately if y'all like, but here's a copy/paste.
NASA Great Lakes Mid Ohio April 23/24
We have “completed” our rental car/Jordan’s DE car. So Darren took Friday off to take the truck and trailer up, get a good spot in the paddock and run both cars though tech inspections. My car cleared first try for a logbook. It’s officially a Racecar now. Woot.
Because Mid Ohio is my home track, I figured that I could double dip in both PT and TT fairly easily since I wouldn’t have to worry about learning a new track like NCM last month. That turned out to not be quite true.
Going into the weekend, I knew there was some stiff competition. Chris Kopitski was registered. He now owns 949 Racing’s “Bubbles”, the stillborn successor to “Crusher”, that he had TC Design finish after buying the tub from Emilio. It is a front running Nationals car for sure, and he was the clear favorite heading into the weekend.
Aaron Leichty from KY who won at Gateway and Dave Montgomery, who set the pole lap at gateway were both registered. Both are in vvt swapped NAs with aero and are both very quick drivers. In my mind, a highly optimistic goal was to finish 4th behind these three. There would be some good competition from a regional front running Civic, rented/driven by Justin Crick, and a nationals attending E36 BMW from Wisconsin, driven by Michael Nueman as well. Plus the other 12 cars!
Saturday morning came quickly. The ”Lightning” group warm-up session goes green at 8:00. I was stuck in a Time Trial meeting until like 7:55and ended up too late to grid and missed warm up. This meant I later had to start the qualifying session from the back of the grid. I learned at the drivers meeting that Aaron didn’t make it and the couple Spec E30s that showed decided to jump into PTE instead of running SpecE30, so we were up to 18.
When you race with NASA you typically get a 20min warm up session, 15min qualifying session and the 35min race both days. TimeTrial gets 4 or 5, 15 minutes sessions per day. So double dipping is a TON of track time and a TON of running around.
I ended up skipping TT session 1 on Saturday in order to mentally prepare for qualifying. I lined up at the back, passed a couple cars that waved me by on the outlap and laid down a decent 1:43.xx. We had 64 cars in the run group. It was a ton of traffic, but I landed 2nd out of 18 in my first qualifying session ever. I was VERY happy with that.
I squeezed in a Time Trial session after qualifying and ran a 1:42.3 with far less traffic. That was more like it! Then grabbed some lunch and downed a couple bottles of water.
The PT race was next. Gotta be to grid 10 minutes early, engines off for the Anthem. I pull in behind Kopitski, in front of Dave. I’m nervous as **** at this point. I’m not sure I belong this far up the grid in my first race.
So after the anthem, we fire up and start rolling out, warm the tires, break into our little 30 car PT group, and line up side by side for the start.
I’m on the front row at my home track for the drop of my first flag. Here goes.
Flag drops, I go. I grab 4th, Kopitski revs 3rd out seemingly for ever before grabbing 4th. His late shift drops him back a couple feet before his extra power pulls hims back around me. We go into the braking zone side by side. I am ARGUABLY in front of him for a moment. His fresh R7s are ready to go, my 4yr old SM6s aren’t.
He pulls around the inside of turn 8 and the civic tries to dip underneath me and follow him around. It doesn’t stick. Civic spins, hits Dave. Dave spins a full 360 the opposite way. As soon as he catches it and straightens out, an Integra that was in 5th-ish smacks him in the rear, my buddy Stuart smacks the integra in the rear. 4-5 cars are out of the race almost immediately.
I watch Kopitski slowly drive away corner after corner, I see nobody in my mirrors, and just start clicking laps. By lap 3 or 4 I have caught the back of the spec miatas and 944s. Traffic messes with me really badly. I check up in several places where I should have tucked inside and passed. Nueman shows up in my mirror. He is heavier, but has quite a bit more power. So when we get slowed by traffic in front of me, he is easily able to motor around and away. A few more laps go by, his tires start going off and I catch him. We end up getting separated by a PTC car that laps me before the track goes full course caution.
We finish under 3 laps of full course caution. I land a 3rd place podium in my first ever w2w race with 18 starters.
We exit the track, top three get sent to tech, then to the dyno. I can’t touch my car until it comes off the dyno. There are 11 cars in front of me, so I end up missing the afternoon TT sessions.
The car finally gets loaded onto the dyno and makes 130.17whp. WTF?!
As I posted earlier, I am running on a 130whp/2320lb reclass because I couldn’t make my car any lighter and it left me plenty of room to play with intake and exhaust options after my car made 114 on the local dyno.
Rules say to round to the closest whole horsepower. So I am safe. 3rd place is final!
Unfortunately, I missed the award ceremony while sitting at the dyno!
While I was sitting there, I was watching the TT times throughout the afternoon. Derrick, who beat me in the rain on Sunday at the last event at NCM, was 3-4 seconds back. So I ended up with a win in TT as well! That’s two more Hoosier R7s and $150 Hawk Bucks, which more that pays for the double dip into TT!
Saturday night there is always a big party, TT trophies, food and beer provided by NASA. It’s a good time.
Sunday morning sneaks up quick.
I decide that yesterday’s qualifying from the back situation actually worked out pretty darn well, so I skip Lightning warmup and instead run TT session 1 and 2, both in the mid 1:45s on a cold track.
In qualifying; Nueman goes a couple seconds faster than yesterday while I pretty much repeat a 1:43.xx. I end up 3rd behind Kopitski and Nueman, who both ran 1:41s. Dave wasn’t able to fix his car and went home in the night. Crick in the Civic is 4th behind me.
After qualifying I bleed my brakes, rotate my tires and roll out to grid for the pre-lunch TT session. The brakes felt WAY better and the weather pretty much peaked. I run a low 1:42. Super happy.
So for the race, Kopitski decides to switch sides on pole. So I end up behind him, but still on the inside for turn one.
Flag drops, Civic goes vtech right by me. I slot in into fourth, single file by the third turn. Everybody makes it through clean. I quickly go to work pressuring Crick in the Honda. We battle for a couple laps and I eventually outbrake him into the Keyhole which leads onto the long back straight. By getting inside him under braking, his line onto the straight is totally messed up. This allows me to hold him off until the twisty back half of the track where I slowly pull away by running 4 1:42 laps back to back to back. I see a predicted 1:41 flash every now and then, and on lap 8 I click off an absolute flyer: 1:41.64. New personal best. Faster than 21Flavors, faster than my morning "Golden Hour" TT time. Awesome.
I'm catching Nueman now. He qualified with a 1:41. I'm not sure how I caught him running mostly 1:42s, but oh well.
We battle for several laps. Battle. Back and forth. That PTC Subaru from yesterday finds his way in between again. I actually pass inside of him and he backs off to let us go at it. Later, he actually tells me he wanted to watch me get by Nueman. He could tell I was much more consistent lap after lap and that Nueman had started sliding around a bit as his tires went away.
I get a super good run off the keyhole and we run side by side down the back straight. I dip inside under braking, squeeze by, and Eric in the BRZ follows me through. I am able to hold the gap Eric creates for the rest of the race and finish second behind Kopitski who resets the PTE lap record in the process.
Exit the track, weigh in at 2326. Cut it close.
Go to the Dyno hot. 131.90whp. ****.
DQ. Disqualified from the PT race.
I also get DQ'd from the previous competition session, which was my lunchtime TT flyer session.
Derrick ends up running a 1:46.x or so.
I hang on with my 1:45 morning time.
Won TT both days.
Podium in my first ever race.
Drove around two nationals drivers on Sunday to finish in second behind the new lap record holder.