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:. Racing .:. HPR "Brumfield's Bash" R/R



Racing in Colorado can definitely be a bit sketchy. Witness two years ago where we packed up and left early in the Radical, and saw pictures from the next day with Pat Holmes sliding sideways on the main straight at Pueblo, in the midst of a blizzard. Or, last year, where it was beautiful weather for me to try out my newly acquired Stohr.

This year was somewhere in the middle with cold temps, but no moisture hitting us, at least on Saturday.

Having made some changes to the car since the previous HPR national (me, changes?), I was interested to try them out on Friday for the test day. However, a heavy Thursday snow made that more or less impossible, as the melting snow ran off onto the track surface in several spots, making it a white-knuckle ride for those of us with less than a man's weight on each of our four contact patches! I kept the Stohr in paddock but for a few cautious morning laps.

On the upside, my whole family was in attendance for this weekend - Mom, Dad, Jim, and girlfriend Angela. Great to have support and fun together. Jim read, Angela napped, and so did the dog. Jim got out his giant stuffed Nemo and placed it in the trailer for encouragement. Mirth was shared. On the downside, I attempted to take my brother for a few laps in my Audi street car, and the clutch lasted a mere 1.5 laps before giving up the ghost. Mark Baer came and towed the Audi home, I sent Angela home in the Avalanche, and David Jobusch brought down Mark's spare pickup for me to tow the trailer home with. Thanks guys, I owe ya.

This was the first weekend I was trying the car with its new rear WF-1 bellcranks. These give a 1:1 rear motion ratio, versus the .87 or so that the old ones had. Running the numbers, this gives you a ballpark 200# higher effective springrate, for a given spring. This meant that my 1200/1400 combo now really was giving me a 1200/1400 effect, versus perhaps 1200/1200 before, that seemed too rear biased. I had noticed on Friday's brief laps that the car was quite tailhappy on corner exit now. Moreso than the springs, the shocks were now seeing another 15% of movement, so I reduced the rear bump to accomodate for that, and the car ended up basically perfect. I didn't touch the balance all weekend. Check.

I had also returned to wet-sump running, since I didn't have time or motivation to get my spare modified with the oil passage change required to keep sufficient pressure with the dry sump setups. So, I was running my standard oil pan with Rilltech's extended pickup, new baffle, and sump-box extension. Oil pressure was perfect all weekend - it tracked with engine RPM perfectly. Check.

Never touched the chain tension, so the new rear diff bearings solved the tension issue. Check. 15/48 seems to be the perfect sprocketing for that track...Check. Fuel pressure from the new fuel pumps...Check. Temp sensor...check.

Boy, what to do when you come in from a session and have nothing to do on the car? I've forgotten.

By Saturday, the track had dried enough that there were no longer rivers running through it, so we set out at a chilly 40* or so to run our practice session. I was still a bit nervous that something might go wrong, based on how much of the car I had had apart in the recent past. Fortunately, nothing at all was wrong. With the new springrates, nice low ride heights and not a lot of rake, the car was just awesome everywhere. Even with cold temps, I did a 43.5, not too far off my previous bests. My goal was to run as many laps as possible in the practice session to see how the chain would be affected, and sure enough, it stayed perfectly put. Thanks Richard.

Qualifying was not quite so smooth! In classic yer-a-dumbass style, I underestimated how much fuel I had used. I ran my outlap, then started to run a nice qualifying lap, but the car began stuttering as I entered Danny's Revenge. I took the cutoff roads and motored back to my paddock spot, gesturing wildly to Dad to get over there and help me fill the car. Unfortunately, having solved my issue with the radio audio being in-and-out, now the PTT wasn't working, and while I could hear Dad perfectly, I couldn't say anything back!

After a mad scramble, we got the rear deck off, put about 4 gallons in, reinstalled everything, and I rushed back out on track, certain I wasn't going to get a full lap in before the checkers waved. I ran a spirited outlap, warming my tires as best I could, then nailed it as I came out of T13, figuring this hotlap might be my only shot. I put EVERYTHING I had into that lap, on the edge everywhere, and even putting two wheels off at the exit of Danny's Lesson in an effort to get on the gas as soon as possible. As I came around T13, I knew it had been a great lap, and I crossed the line....1:41.695, a new personal best and track record. I spent the cool-down lap fist-pumping like Schumacher, absolutely elated inside the car. What a time! Even now, I'm smiling at what fun that lap was to run.

After that, everything was just icing for me. Ever since July, I've been chasing down that 1:41.x barrier, and now I was able to do it, at least once. Maybe I can do it again later, in races, etc, and continue going better and better. The only disappointment is that I didn't get it on video, in our rush to get myself back out on track and qualified.

The race itself was extremely uneventful. I got a good start at the green, and pulled Rob a bit into T1, and that was basically the end. On about lap 10 I slowed way down, and let Paul and Rob catch up so we could chase eachother a bit and race a little. Unfortunately, Paul's mirrors had come adrift, so he pointed me by, not wanting to accidentally turn on me as I followed him around for a few laps. I motored away and took the final checker of 2009.

Season over, car finally reliable, a season-long goal achieved, and no big problems going into winter. Satisfaction.

Moving On...
Not a lot of technical notes from the weekend, as we packed up early due to awful Sunday conditions. Paul and I pitched in to instruct at the worker PDX, then hit the road.

Looking at the data, the car's top speed seems to be about the same with the integral splitter dive plans + nose dive planes that I had on for this race, versus the splitter-straight-endplate from the N/N. However, at both races, the car saw only about 133mph top speed, versus the 136mph I saw earlier in the year after the dry sump was first installed. Looking at the history of the data, it does appear that the dry sump was worth a bit of power and some top-end. However, I'm wondering if this stocker isn't going a bit soft? We'll know when we'll get it on the dyno over winter. Getting back that 2mph to get back into the 135-136 range at HPR would be excellent. However, looking at the data, pre-aero parts to post-aero parts, the 2mph difference is costing well under a tenth of a second down the straight, but gaining oh-so-much in the corners!
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