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Old 09-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #1
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Default Road America and the SCCA Runoffs

After several weeks of thrashing on the town home to get the wiring up to code for the HOA's insurance company, and working on mine and my teammates fp Miatas, I am loaded up and ready to roll. Destination, The SCCA National Championships, otherwise known as the Runoffs. I am a Rookie in the true sense of the word when it comes to the Runoffs, this will be my first time participating, and my first time to drive at speed around the famed Road America racing circuit.

I thought I would chronicle my experience as best I can for those interested. I will do my best to provide daily reports and hopefully provide pics and video.

Looking forward to the adventure...and the time off from work, one more overnight at the hospital then in the truck and off to Wisconsin. I spoke with security at the hospital that I work at, and explained to them that I was bringing my rig to work and wanted them to keep an eye on it for me. They responded by setting me up with parking right along the building next to their office. I have never left my trailer loaded and unattended and the thought of doing so had me worried. When I have loaded prior to leaving for a race I have always spent the night in the trailer. I would rather sleep with my stuff than wake up after a night in bed to find that my trailer is not where I left it. I think we all know someone who has had to deal with that heartbreak and I prefer to take every precaution I can to make sure it doesn't happen to me.

So tomorrow morning at 0800 mountain time, I hit the road, hopefully to start a great week at the track. Any feedback is welcome, I am not a great writer or story teller but thought I would share this for those interested.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:22 AM   #2
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Good luck and safe travels! Post some video of your inevitable winnerships

PS - I need to get up to Denver to see this beast in person!
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:53 PM   #3
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Cool keep us updated and take tons of video.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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<------------ Running an Si in SSB. First qualy session is tomorrow at noon.

What number/color FP car?
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:59 PM   #5
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Good luck to you sir. The weather in WI is usually awesome this time of year. Looking forward to results and pics.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
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A very quick update, well the best laid plans took a total sh*t. 2.5 hours out of Denver the trailer ate an axle bearing, this would be poe dunk nowhere in north eastern Colorado. Spent 7 hours tracking down bearings. Long story short once at the runoffs, I hooked my phone to the computer to use as a internet hot spot and the communication port shot craps, so there were no updates. Just pulled into a Holiday Inn Express to watch the rest of the game and sleep, will update the trip sometime tomorrow.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:12 AM   #7
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This is what I was looking at a couple of hours out of Denver at approx 11am on a Sunday, everything but the local autozone was closed, after poking around Ft Morgan for about 4 hours I made a call to the Sterling Napa; about 50 miles from where we were broke down, they were closing in 45 minutes. We made the made dash for Napa, if we didn't make it there in time, the track walk Tuesday morning would be missed. Did I mention that all this was going on while I nursed a broken nose that became part of my face earlier in the day after I ran into the edge of an aluminum table that was hanging over the edge of the tailgate on my truck?




New hub on the trailer and we are ready to roll...nothing like needing to cover another 1000 miles when I haven't slept in 25 hours; it's 6pm. We made it to some where in Nebraska pulled off the road about midnight, slept in the truck at one of those last chance gas stations, got up about 4 drove another 2 hours and had to sleep again. After a 2 hour power nap, we made it to Dubuque Iowa in time to watch the Broncos loose to Atlanta. Back on the road at 3:30am, we pulled into Road America at a little after 7, registered and were in pit lane by 8:00 to start the track walk.
Attached Thumbnails
Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0693-copy-copy-copy.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0696-copy-copy-copy.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0697-copy2.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0698-copy2.jpg  
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:56 AM   #8
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The track walk was amazing, first impression is how narrow the track is. Also, the straights are not straight, front straight you climb a big hill and the track slopes from drivers left to right, the right side seems to have less incline because of this. Middle straight from turn 3-5, you crest a slight rise then start a down hill run, as you approach the braking zone there is a slight bend to the left, then a larger drop to turn 5, I never did get braking right in this zone but it got better as the week wore on. Last straight from the exit of the Kink to Canada Corner, this straight has 2 bends to the left, and left me struggling to find the absolute shortest distance to the braking zone.

I am not a quick study of tracks and it shows in my lap times and qualifying position, but man it was a blast learning at speed. Qualifying did not go well, I have no previous at speed experience at RA, and had only driven a few pace speed laps in 2004. All I can say is what a track!! The down hill braking zones were tough to dial in, furthermore, knowing where you need to be and actually being there are two different things.

Three 30 minute qualifying sessions and a 13 lap race, I was not quite sure when I would scrub tires for the race but it ended up being during q3. Q1 was black flagged after only 3 laps at speed, I ran low on fuel in q2 and ended up running only 4 hot laps; the session was black flagged at about 17 minutes. So after two sessions I had a total of 7 laps at speed, and I needed to scrub tires during q3. The plan was to run 2 slow, 2 medium, and 2 fast laps, so I had one more chance to get a fast time. Q3 didn't work out as planned as we took to much fuel out of of the map and the car was to lean to run at WOT. My best time was a 2:40.4, this put me within 1.5 seconds of 7 drivers and 16th on the grid. I had only been out on fair tires, so I was hoping that I would find some time on the scrubbed slicks during the race. If everything went right I was hoping for a top ten; a pretty lofty goal at the Runoffs on a track that I was still learning.

As for the car, I ran some ducting to the brakes, ended up replacing both front calipers, and one front hub during the course of the week.





home sweet home for the week, 110 lighting, heat, and satellite tv, what more do you need? There were plenty of showers and bathroom facilities at the track.

I will post a few shots of the track walk after I upload them to photobucket.
Attached Thumbnails
Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0770.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0771.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0769.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0768.jpg  

Last edited by hingstonwm; 10-03-2012 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hingstonwm View Post
I am not a quick study of tracks and it shows in my lap times and qualifying position, but man it was a blast learning at speed. Qualifying did not go well, I have no previous at speed experience at RA, and had only driven a few pace speed laps in 2004. All I can say is what a track!! The down hill braking zones were tough to dial in, furthermore, knowing where you need to be and actually being there are two different things.
Road America's not a track mostly people can learn quickly, it's definitely a tough one to get (mostly) perfect.

Sounds like you did pretty well considering how few laps you had before the race.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #10
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^^^I did okay all things considered. I was hoping to catch on the tail of a fast guy, Its easier for me to figure out a track if I have a rabbit to chase. Unfortunately, after the first two laps I spent the rest of the race making mistakes by myself, and being the rabbit for other guys, though there really was no close racing for me after the first couple of laps. I turned a 2:37.8, the top 2 guys ran :31.8 and : 31.9 so I have 6 seconds to find, better power will get me part of the way there, and I left a bunch of time in turns 1, 3, 5 and the carousel, I will be quicker next year.

As far as my finishing position, there was some attrition, and I got by some guys during the start, I ended up with a 6th place finish. SCCA awards medals for 1st-6th, but only the top 3 get theirs at the track. 4-6 receive theirs in the mail, kind of funny, "congrats on your 6th place finish at the Runoffs, well send your medal to you via usps.


If you get one of these on race day, you did okay!
Attached Thumbnails
Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0838.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0833.jpg  

Last edited by hingstonwm; 10-03-2012 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:53 PM   #11
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If you can make threads like this, you know you are winning at life.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hingstonwm View Post
SCCA awards medals for 1st-6th, but only the top 3 get theirs at the track. 4-6 receive theirs in the mail, kind of funny, "congrats on your 6th place finish at the Runoffs, well send your medal to you via usps.
I'm not so sure about that. 1-3 get metals and trophies, neither of which you get at the track. 4-6 get just trophies, again not at the track. At least in my experience. I think they used to give "medals" down to sixth place but it hasn't been that way for at least a few years.

Last year I finished 4th and received just a trophy. This year I won, and I haven't gotten anything yet, trophy or medal.

My fourth place trophy is engraved/printed, I assume that's why you don't get anything at the track. It takes time to "personalize" your hardware...


Per your race pace versus the leaders, you'd be surprised how much time you can make up and lose at road america. A little mistake in turn three can cost you a second or two. Going just a little bit faster through the carousel can be 2 seconds by the time you get to Canada corner. Tiny mistake on turn 14 can cost you a second, and then another half a second on the beginning of your next lap. I bet you could easily go 4 seconds faster with a little more whp and more track time. Those other two seconds might be a bit more difficult to find.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efini~FC3S View Post
I'm not so sure about that. 1-3 get metals and trophies, neither of which you get at the track. 4-6 get just trophies, again not at the track. At least in my experience. I think they used to give "medals" down to sixth place but it hasn't been that way for at least a few years.

Last year I finished 4th and received just a trophy. This year I won, and I haven't gotten anything yet, trophy or medal.

My fourth place trophy is engraved/printed, I assume that's why you don't get anything at the track. It takes time to "personalize" your hardware...


Per your race pace versus the leaders, you'd be surprised how much time you can make up and lose at road america. A little mistake in turn three can cost you a second or two. Going just a little bit faster through the carousel can be 2 seconds by the time you get to Canada corner. Tiny mistake on turn 14 can cost you a second, and then another half a second on the beginning of your next lap. I bet you could easily go 4 seconds faster with a little more whp and more track time. Those other two seconds might be a bit more difficult to find.
National Champion!! You sir are a STUD. I will have to go to speedcast and watch your race.

Maybe I am mistaken, I thought they were still giving medals down to 6th, If not I guess I gotta go faster to get a medal I have a friend that has been running the Runoffs since Road Atlanta, and he called me today and congratulated me on being a medalist, even if the club doesn't give medals down to 6th anymore, its an accomplishment that racers understand.

So the medals they give on the podium are just props? I guess it make sense, as you say it takes time to personalize, probably the only trophies the club gives that are worth more than a couple of bucks.

I was pretty dialed from Canada Corner back to t1; probably the easiest part of the track, that being said, if you blow t-14 your lap was not going to be up to pace. Really had some issues getting my timing and turn in right in t-1 which costs time getting to t-3. 1 is much faster than it looks, I just couldn't quite find my marks there. I was okay through t-3; I was leaving a little there, but the run to t-5 is so long that if you leave a little, it adds up by the time you get to the braking zone. As the race wore on I started being more aggressive with initial braking in t-5, the issue I had there was how the track takes a dip at the end of braking before turn in. Thought i had it right several times and had just a bit to much momentum which blows your turn in. I was okay through 6 and 7, had some mistakes in t-8, and screwed the carousel the whole race, I was tracked up about a half a car length to high, which had me straddling the crown with my left sides instead of using the banking to keep me planted. I was slow through there, costing myself big time. Was flat through the Kink later in the race, but did pedal it a few times. Seems like there is a lot of time to be lost in the Carousel and you need to carry speed through the Kink or you just lose time huge going down to Canada Corner.

Now that I have driven the track and have my data, I will clean things up for next year and hopefully improve on my finishing position.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #14
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Hingstonwm. Now I understand why your build is great. It is because you are not 16 years old.

Last edited by Faeflora; 10-03-2012 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:07 PM   #15
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Hingstonwm. Now I understand why your build is great. You are not 16 years old.
Fae, I have a few miles under my belt, but like all of us have a long way to go.



As promised here a a few pics of the track walk.

turn 1

turn 3

turn 5

rumbles on the exit of 5

oak tree short shoot between 5 and 6

same tree from the deck of the Gear Box concession stand

turn 7

turn 6 at the top of the hill and 7 at the bottom

turn 8, then under the bridge and into the Carousel

The Carousel, long sweeping and after 1/3 of the way through, down hill

not a great shot but that is the kink up ahead

out of the kink and down through the trees to Canada Corner
Attached Thumbnails
Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0836.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0816.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0717-copy2.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0719.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0722.jpg  

Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0725.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0726-copy2.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0802.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0732.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0832.jpg  

Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0737.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0742.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0747-copy2.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0752.jpg  
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:40 PM   #16
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Fae, I have a few miles under my belt, but like all of us have a long way to go.
In my experience, cool people get cooler as they get older.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:24 AM   #17
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After the race was over and we were released from impound my starter wouldn't engage, I figured it was just a bad bendix. Got a new/used starter and after pulling the old strater found that the teeth had been ground and that the flywheel appeared damaged. Here is what I found.




fortunately I have several trannys, one of these will be donating its bell housing.
Attached Thumbnails
Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0904.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0906.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0905.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0907.jpg  
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:30 PM   #18
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I'm still terrified of the Kink, and the Carousel is no joke either, at least in the cars I've driven there. You just can't get any sense of how nasty those corners are without driving the track.

And I'm not sure why the SCCA changed the medals stuff, but as you said, anyone who knows anything about racing in the SCCA knows that "medal-ing" at the Runoffs means something. The fourth place trophy I got last year is one of the nicest trophies I've received in racing so far.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:32 PM   #19
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why does your car have a flex plate?
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:11 PM   #20
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why does your car have a flex plate?




Working on a new setup for next season, 5 1/2" button clutch with a 8 pound billet steel flywheel. It should be able to absorb harmonics better, and will prevent this from happening in the future.
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Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0574.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0577.jpg   Road America and the SCCA Runoffs-imag0578.jpg  
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