Race 7: Another Podium at Harris HIll Road

The weekend of Oct 6-7, we went to Harris Hill Road in San Marcos for a twin-7 race weekend. It’s a normal ChumpCar weekend, with a 7-hour race each day.

We made some changes to the car after the 24-hour race back in May. Basically, we bumped the spring rates using junkyard springs so it wouldn’t affect our value (and possibly incur penalty laps). We also made some brake changes to get some better feel to the brakes.  The front brake ducting was upgraded at the same time.

In testing before the race, the car definitely felt different, and took some time to get used to. But we also seemed to get better tire wear and more consistent temperatures across the width of the tire. But the changes also made the car pretty loose, and it was a handful to drive. Watch the video, and you will see just some of the instances of the car trying to spin. But even with the car being harder to drive, the changes were a net positive, proven by the fact that all 4 of the drivers were 2-3 seconds faster than last year at the same track.

One thing that quickly became obvious on Saturday is that the other teams had also been working on their cars. The level of competition was quite a bit higher than in the past. Clark started the race in 25th position. Normally, he can get in the top ten within a handful of laps, as only the top third of the field is generally competitive. However, with the other teams continually getting better, we can no longer just march into the top 10. Now, we have to work to get there.

The race went incredibly well for the team. All four drivers kept the car on the track and out of trouble, and we slowly climbed through the field. After Clark, the driving order went Thomas, then John, then Tobey. We made it up to 3rd place with about 45 laps left, and managed to maintain that spot for our 2nd podium finish.
Place    Team                         Car      Laps
        Don’t Tread on Me     Miata     216
        Pies and Fries            Miata     216
        Nismorons                240sx    215
4         Team Camoflesh        Miata      211
5         Loose Screw Racing  MR2       210

For Sunday’s race, we put on a new set of tires, and made some changes to tighten up the car a bit. No, we’re not saying what all changes we made; we have to keep some secrets. But the end result was a car that quit trying to spin all the time, and was much easier to drive. Everyone’s lap times improved on Sunday thanks to the setup changes.

Clark started the race again, in 12th place, and was in 5th when he turned it over to Tobey. Tobey entered the race in 9th, and worked up to 6th when he turned it over to John. John got back on the track in 10th, and turned the car over to Thomas in 4th. We only dropped to 5th on this stop by doing it under a full course yellow. Thomas maintained 5th until the #57 CRX had a mechanical failure about 20 minutes from the end. Thomas ended the race in 4th place.
Place   Team                    Car            Laps
1          Looney Tunes      Mustang      248  
2          Pies and Fries      Miata           248
3          Team Dungcar     Miata           246
4          Nismorons           240sx          246
5          Team Camoflesh  Miata           243
As a team, we are very enthused by the continuous improvements we have made in both the car, and in the team’s conduct of the race. This race weekend, we managed to make 3 of our 6 pit stops/driver changes under full course yellow, which means we lose much less track position during the minimum 5-minute stop. Being flexible enough to bring in the car early when the opportunity presents is only possible with a solid, well-prepared team.

We also had not a single pit stop last longer than the mandatory minimum of 5-minutes. In that time, we can add 10-15 gallons of fuel, change drivers, check and adjust air pressure in all 4 tires, and check the oil and brake fluid, and top off necessary. All work but the driver change must wait until the fueling is completed, so we are actually getting a lot of work done in a short amount of time. And remember, we don’t have a professional crew like in NASCAR, it’s just us and a few friends.

So, a special thanks to our friends for helping make our races successful:

Art – Crew Chief

Mark P. – Fueler, helper, and mechanic

Mark S. – Helper and mechanic

Patrick – Helper and mechanic