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3rd Place at XDC West Virginia

Category : Events

xdcwv1

After getting the third place finish at Montmagny for DMCC Round 1, I was having an issue with the clutch making a screeching noise when it was depressed. I had a weekend free so decided to take it apart and see what I could find. The bad part is that it’s nearly impossible to remove the transmission from this car with the engine in the car. So out came the engine and trans. I took it apart, and everything looked fine. The throwout bearing wasn’t showing any abnormal wear on the face and wasn’t making any noise when I turned it. The clutch disk and springs looked fine. The pressure plate side of the clutch looked brand new. The flywheel side seemed like it was getting chewed up a bit, but I think that’s normal since it’s an aluminum flywheel with bolt holes in the face of it to bolt the steel part to the aluminum. So the clutch material comes off faster since it gets dug in those bolt holes? I was also having to slip it a decent amount starting out in second gear at all of the events this year, so that didn’t help either.

After scratching my head a lot and looking everything over, I decided to just change everything since I didn’t know what the problem was. I installed my flywheel/clutch/PP from last year, which I was keeping as a spare. The clutch had minimal wear and it was the same model that was already in the car. I also changed the TOB just to be safe. It’s made that screeching noise a couple of times in the two events I’ve done since the change, but it used to do it every time I used the clutch. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m not going to worry about it.

xdcwv2

So last weekend was XDC West Virginia/Hyperfest at Summit Point. This is the only track I’ve gone to so far this year that I was familiar with. It was nice to get back on a track that I’ve driven on in the past. Practice and qualifying was on Friday. We only had 2.5 hours of practice, and there were a ton of drivers, so I only got 7 or 8 practice laps that day. I had driven the track twice before, so I knew what I was doing and just had to get used to the extra grip and speed from the car. With the LS1, I had to downshift to third gear after the first turn, then upshift to 4th again halfway through the course. Now with the LS3, I could stay in fourth the whole way as long as I kept my momentum up through the first turn, which is the slowest. I thought that would be the best strategy to avoid making shifting mistakes and to be able to build more speed without the interuption in power for the upshift midway through the course.

In qualifying, I put in a safe first run and was pretty sure that I was in the show. On the second run, I tried to go super fast but overshot the first turn. I still finished the run fine but had a dirt drop in the first turn, and it probably looked sloppy. I ended up qualifying in 4th though with highest entry speed, which was 76, I think. I helped Angerman change his clutch on Friday night since it was slipping in qualifying. Some Spec Miata guys let us use their garage and lift, so it was relatively easy but still took some time, and we ended up going to bed late.

xdcwv3

On Saturday, there was a one-hour tandem practice at noon. I tried to get a lot of runs to get myself comfortable and get a feel for how fast other drivers were. I was pretty confident I could keep up with everyone after that practice. Doug Van Den Brink would be a challenge, but I thought I had the speed to beat him if I didn’t make any mistakes.

The top 16 competition was at 7pm. It’s hard to get in the car and go straight to competition runs after sitting around for 6 hours doing nothing, so I took it easy at first to get back in the rhythm of driving. I went up against Todd Rich in a 1JZ S14 in top 16. I put a lot of distance on him on my lead run so just had to do a clean run for my follow. He went way wide on the first turn leading me and had the back wheels off course. I ended up pulling up right beside him as he was in the dirt and wasn’t sure if I should try to slow down or just pass him. He spun out towards me and I passed him and finished the run. I wasn’t sure what the judges would think of that because maybe it looked like I took away his line getting beside him causing him to spin, but after some waiting around, I got the word that I would be moving on.

In top 8, I went up against Dan Savage, who was driving the Sikky LS1 S13. His car is pretty similar to mine, but he was on 255s, so I expected him to be slower due to the smaller tires. Like in top 16, I got a big gap on my lead run so knew I had the advantage. I gave him a couple car length gap when following him to make sure I wouldn’t get bogged down behind him, and then I closed up on him coming out of the first turn. I stayed with him pretty well through the rest of the course. I had a bit of a hickup because I forgot he needed to upshift, and I nearly ran into him when he got off throttle to make the shift, but I kept the drift going and got the win.

So now I was in top 4 and would be going against Doug Van Den Brink. He was top qualifier and driving great all weekend, so I was hoping I could get through top 16 and top 8 to go up against him. I put on a fresh set of tires with the air pressure set low. I knew I had to enter right on his door to have a chance of staying with him, so I was focused on getting a good launch off the start line. I put it in second gear, took off, and… wheel spin! Uggh. He got a couple car length advantage on me on the straight and I stupidly tried to make that up by entering the first turn later and probably 10 mph faster than I had all weekend. No amount of brakes would have slowed me down enough to make that corner. I felt like the car was washing out in the middle of the turn, tried to floor it to get it to pull out of the corner, but it just washed out more. I had to get off throttle to slow it down and keep it on the track, straightened out, and that was basically the end for me. I finished the follow run, did the most balls out fastest lead run that I could, but Doug ended up with the win.

I was supposed to go up against James Evans for third place, but his slave cylinder exploded so he had to forfeit. I ended up with third. Overall, it was a good weekend but disappointing because I think I could have kept up with Doug if it wasn’t for that mistake. But I still have a couple more chances at him this year in the remainder of the XDC events. Thanks to Josh, Josh 2, and Bill for changing my tires during the top 16!

All the competition runs are in these videos:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

My runs are at 7:25, 12:00, 14:10, and 1:25 in the second vid.

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