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3rd Place Finish at DMCC Round 1!

Category : Events

DMCC Round 1 Montmagny Podium

 

Here’s a recap of DMCC this weekend. I was feeling more comfortable with the car after NJMP, so I didn’t change anything on the car, basically just reset the alignment and did maintenance. I drove most of Friday and got to Montmagny Friday night. On Saturday, there was practice from 2-6pm, so I got plenty of time to feel the car out and learn the track. It was a banked oval that they ran in a figure 8. You enter one bank, go around through the center, come out and go around the other bank.

dmcc_rd1_01 The most difficult part of the course was entering and staying high on the bank for the first turn without flying off. This track has no walls on top of the bank, so you basically shoot off the top of the bank, hit some grass, and then hit a wall at some point if you go off. It’s hard to judge how high you are on the bank since you don’t see a wall for a reference point. The bank at the other end of the track also doesn’t have a wall. You basically fly off into the woods if you go too high. There were a bunch of ridiculous crashes throughout the weekend. They also moved the start line further back than previous years, so that seemed to be getting people in trouble. Average entry speeds were in the mid 60s, and the highest speeds were low 70s.

dmcc_rd1_02 The other challenging part of the course was linking the section from the middle of the figure 8/crossover to the second bank. The crossover in the middle isn’t actually in the middle of the oval, so you have a really long section of straightaway from the middle to second bank. I took it easy in practice and tried to find the right speed and location to enter the first turn and also the best line to run through the crossover so that I would have the most speed coming out. The track was eating tires quickly since you had to be on throttle for a long time, so I had to conserve by letting off halfway through the bank instead of roasting tires for no reason. I used up one set in practice, then did a couple of runs to scrub in a new set for qualifying.

I did a safe run on the first qualifying pass, and I got a pretty good score with a 75. I went faster on the second run into the first bank, but I had kind of a shallow line going into the crossover which killed my speed, so I didn’t make the cutoff for the second speed trap. I ended up in 5th place. It would have been second or third place if I was a couple mph faster through the crossover.

dmcc_rd1_03 For top 16, I would be going against 12th place qualifier Tania Bourbonnais in Rhys Millen’s old GTO. I set the tire pressures a bit higher because I could see she was one of the slower drivers in practice. I led first, and she had a big correction following me, so I had the advantage. I gave her a one-car lead on the straightaway on my follow run. She was moving with good speed, but just as I clutch kicked into the first turn, she completely jumped off the throttle. I locked front brakes, almost ate the wall, then clutch kicked again and was right on her. She was super slow coming out of the crossover heading to the other bank, so I had to throw the car with huge angle and a lot of e-brake to stay drifting behind her, and I still almost hit her. I was right on her door through the last bank and most of the course so got the win easily. I beat Rhys’ old car and did not lose to a girl… mission accomplished!

dmcc_rd1_04 Next, I went against Mats in the top 8. I lowered tire pressures a bit but the car was getting faster anyway from the track cooling down so I was confident I could stay with him. I had a good chase run with him, lost him a bit through the crossover in the middle of the track but caught right back up going into the second bank and stayed on his bumper through to the end of the course. I don’t think he was able to follow me as closely so I got the win.

In the top 4, I’d be going against Dave Briggs who was, by far, the fastest driver that day. I put on new tires and lowered pressures a lot. I followed him first but gave him a bit too much space on the start, and there was basically a 1-2 car gap between us throughout the whole course. I knew I had to drive my ass off for my lead run to get a OMT or force him into making a mistake. I went full throttle into the first turn and did a big flick entry clutch kicking towards the wall and then throwing it the other way into the bank. I was basically trying anything I could to phaze Dave… lol. I kept the angle low and just tried to go as fast as possible the whole way. I could see in the mirror that I had about a car length on him at the end of the course. dmcc_rd1_05 We waited forever for the decision, and we got a OMT! The judges told me to stop doing “fake entries”… lol.

In the OMT battle, I was so focused on staying with him in the first turn that I wasn’t paying any attention to launching off the line. I ended up kind of bogging it in second gear, and Dave got a big jump on me which he held throughout the course. He followed me pretty well on the next run. He actually straightened through the crossover on his lead run, so I was hoping that was enough to have another OMT, but the judges called it in his favor.

For third place, I went against Evan Tuerck. We had relatively clean runs, and I was able to stay on his door pretty well, so I got the win.

Overall, I’m happy with how I drove. It sucked to lose to Briggs because of a stupid mistake on the launch, but it gives me some confidence to know my car is basically just as fast as his. This event was a blast and set a new attendance record for a DMCC event. The fans were insane and brought a ton of energy to the competition. I can’t wait to drive at this track again.

I’ll be driving next in two weeks at XDC West Virginia.

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NJMP Practice with Club Loose

Category : Events

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I went out to NJMP last weekend for the Club Loose event there. I wanted to make sure everything was good with the car after the “repairs” made from Florida. It was also a great chance to get a practice day and get used to having way more power without having to worry about walls, competition, etc. The “Lightning” track was wide open and fast with a lot of run-off room, so it was good for practicing. We were also hot-lapping so I got plenty of seat time.

I worked on putting the car in the right places and scrubbing off speed on fast entries. It seems like I’m just overshooting corners a lot now with more power, like missing inner clipping points and going too wide on exits. I think I got really used to being able to throw the LS1 car into corners as hard as possible, and now I can’t really do that since I’m going faster and can’t afford much bigger/better tires. Overall, I was pretty happy with my driving and with the car, so I’m going to leave it alone for now.

njmp_02

 

The track was super fun, and I got to try some new stuff like 90 mph gigantic banked turn and 115 mph e-brake entry. I’m looking forward to coming back here later in the year. They also had a sweet go kart track that a bunch of us went on. I think I started our race in 11th or 12th and finished 2nd after much off roading, curb jumping, middle fingers, and karting tandems. The subsequent two days of back pain was a good reminder of the ridiculous go kart jumps that happened.

XDC Orlando Recap

Category : Events

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I did XDC Orlando this weekend. The track was basically a box of walls that you drift into, around, and out of. I started off practice on Saturday with a couple of warm-up runs. Then, I went for a real deal run and ate the wall. I misjudged how much grip the track had on my warm-up runs, entered way too fast/late to make it, and backed in the wall. From the exterior, it didn’t look that bad, but the frame rails in the back totally collapsed, and so did the rear subframe, which moved to the left a couple of inches and basically bent in half.

normal_dsc05656 So the rest of the weekend was just seeing how well I could drive a messed up car. The right rear suspension was locked in place because of the bent subframe, so transitioning to the left turn at the end of the course was a problem. It rained hard the rest of Saturday, so I didn’t practice. I got about five practice runs on Sunday morning, and then it was time for qualifying. I spun out on my first qualifying run but got a decent run on the second one and qualified 9th. There were a ton of good drivers at this event, so I was happy to at least qualify with the car in such bad shape.

I went up against Brian Peter in top 16. We were pretty evenly matched and entering the first turn at the same speed, so we had close tandem runs. We got a OMT after the first set and basically had identical runs again in the OMT. He ended up getting the win probably because my lead run was a bit weaker than his and he closed up more on me towards the end of the course. We were both doing “safe” entries like 90% of other people, so I probably could have beaten him with another sweet 85mph entry on my lead run. Either that or I would have eaten the wall again. Anyway, I had fun driving with Brian in that battle, and he deserved the win.

My top 16 runs are at 5:05 in this video:
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Win at HTL ProAm Round 1!

Category : Announcement, Events

I drove in my first competition of the year this past weekend, “Hold the Line” Pro Am Round 1 at Monticello, and I got the win!

Here is one of the first videos to come out from the event:

This event was a good time. I haven’t driven anything but a Silverado for the past 6 months, so it was cool to be on a track again and not working on the car. The day started out with two 1-hour practice sessions where I got on the “mushroom” course for the first time. The track was pretty fast and super smooth, not a single bump anywhere. It was 4th gear the whole way for me, almost topping out on 4th gear towards the end of the course.

I got used to the car in the practice sessions. I had an easy setup on it to keep it loose/slow. It felt pretty natural, just had to be more careful going into turns now because I was carrying more speed, and the car seemed to have less side grip than I remembered. I ran 255 Federals on it, same as last year, because everyone was telling me the track had a lot of grip. But that wasn’t enough tire. I could only go full throttle for a few seconds down the hill at the end of the course (where most of the video above was shot).

We were supposed to have another practice, I think, but went straight into qualifying for the comp because the event was behind schedule. I lowered the air pressure a lot in the rear and gave the toe arms about half a turn to get some more grip. I didn’t want to overdo it since there was no more practice. I did two decent laps in qualifying and came in 6th place. My entry wasn’t as early or awesome as some others, and I’m sure it was obvious that I couldn’t use too much throttle throughout most of the course, so this is probably what I lost points on.

In top 16, I went against Claude Poirier, who drives an LS3 350Z mostly in DMCC. I had a good lead run and followed pretty close on the second run with him flying off course at the end, so I got the win. In top 8, I went against Evan Tuerck in his new S13, but I think his car was running out of gas because it would die every time he threw it sideways, so I got the win because he couldn’t keep it drifting.

Top 4 was against Zach Caitlin in the 3rd-gen Camaro. We got a OMT I think because I got somewhat phazed in the long right sweeper before the downhill. He looked like he was going to spin, so I went to straighten and avoid, but he kept it going. I didn’t quite straighten but it probably looked bad losing angle and then kicking it sideways again. He was also a lot slower down the hill towards the last turn, so I was having to use massive e-brake, which probably also looked terrible. Anyway, in the OMT, my runs were cleaner, and I got the win. Funniest part of the event was Zach’s car catching on fire every run and him putting it out every time and going for more runs.

Final round was against Mats Baribeau in the JZX really big car (please don’t crush me). I followed him decently well keeping about a car-length distance and closing in towards the end. I would have liked to be closer, but I gave him too much room on the initiation and couldn’t close up enough. On my lead run, he hit the dirt and straightened on the last turn, so I got the win.

Overall, I need to make some adjustments for more grip so I can use more throttle and put on 275s, but I was pretty happy with how the car drove with all the suspension changes and a lot more power. Next event will be XDC in Orlando.

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2011 Schedule Finalized

Category : Announcement

Check out my official schedule for the coming season!

Monticello Shakedown

Category : Events

I got the car out to Monticello Motor Club last week to finally give it a proper test. I broke in the engine in the morning, changed the oil, and ran the car around the unused portions of the track for the rest of the day. Luckily, I didn’t run into any major problems, and it looks like the car will be ready to go for the first HTL ProAm round coming up on May 1st at Monticello. Thanks to Andrew Russell, Andrew Ruggles, and the Monticello staff for letting me use the track.

Thanks to Ray from GarageSpec Magazine for the great pictures. The car will be receiving some new vinyl in the next couple of days to represent 2011 sponsors Extreme Dimensions and Mishimoto, so keep an eye out for an updated look.

LS3 Is Running

Category : Build

I finally started the engine for the first time on Sunday. Everything looked good, so hopefully I’ll be taking it to Monticello this weekend to break it in. Just finishing things up now.


Had to modify the exhaust to go around the newly added rear sway bar.


Here’s how the car is sitting now. Should be getting some new vinyl and the rest of the front end on shortly.

LS3 Is In

Category : Build


All the stuff that comes with the GM controller kit.


Made a mount for the electronic throttle.


I put together a new FPR setup because the stock Corvette filter/regulator always fluctuated a few psi on pressure and is more expensive to change than the Aeromotive filter cartridges.


Cleaned up the transmission and installed new slave.


Disassembled and cleaned the Accusump to check for any wear on the piston or cylinder. Everything looked good. I filled it with two quarts of oil when I assembled it, so that should make it easy to prime the engine before first start.


Swapping the LS1 parts onto the LS3.


As it sits now.

I have a few more things to put on there and have to do some wiring. Hopefully I’ll be trying to start it in a week or two.

LS3 Is Here

Category : Build

I finally ordered everything I should need to finish this car, including the engine. Thanks to Dan Popowich for helping me out with getting the engine through Fred Bean. Still in the packaging:

The fuel pump in my truck died 5 minutes after I left Fred Bean in PA, so it was an 80 mile trip with the LS3 in my truck on a tow truck. Thank you AAA.

I finished up the front lower control arms I was working on:

I started taking things off the LS1 and seeing what I can reuse. Clutch still has some meat on it but might get a new one to make sure it lasts all season.

Also took a week to build an FC cage.

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Bodywork and Front Suspension Done

Category : Build

Since last update, I’ve pretty much finished everything on the car except for the motor. I’ve been doing a lot more research on the motor situation getting ready to order everything. After thinking about it a lot, I decided to get the GMPP controller kit for the LS3 and just do it DBW. I thought about all the pros/cons and decided this was the easiest/cheapest/least retarded way of installing this motor as compared to using the LS1 stuff or going standalone. The Lingenfelter converter box, 90mm cable throttle body, and all the harness conversion stuff really adds up when doing the LS1 PCM route. In addition, I would have to get a wideband to tune it, etc., so it’s actually more money than the controller. Also more work doing all the harness conversion, installing the wideband, and actually having to tune it. Anyway, going to finalize my parts list and order everything this week.

Putting the front suspension on:

Got sway bars and put the back on, need to get the motor in to decide on final spacer thickness for the front.

Painted the rest of the crap that needed to be painted, including fenders, bumper, and headlight parts.

As it sits now:

Decided to convert the front lower control arms to use rod ends on the inner pivot. Bushings bind everything up when trying to get a lot of caster. Also, I wanted to be able to make the control arm longer, which would let me reduce the size of the spacer on the front, reduce scrub radius, etc. Still waiting for the rod ends to be delivered, but started working on the new control arms: