Putnam Park 944-Spec Race Synopsis

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Racing

The season ending race has come and gone.  Good times to be had by all with some slightly altered cars going home.  Had some issues with a tie down on the trip there but made it safe and sound after following a couple GTS-4 drivers and the Volvo driven by NASA’s Race Director.

Bryan, Dave & Nick caravan-ed with me

"Lisa" ready to go

Blistered my right front tire at HPT last weekend

Tie down came loose and got run over!








Saturday – Putnam Park Results – 944-Spec

I wound up getting 4th place twice this weekend in our feature races which was a good result considering it was the 2nd time I’ve been to this track (and frankly being terrible for turning in at Turn 7).  Turn 10 is one of those that make you pucker as there is a wall at track out.

  • Race 1 – I started 4th in class and got a good run on Neal into turn 1but was blocked by Angel on the inside of which Sid followed him along.  Several Spec E30 cars were also in the mix.  By the time we got to turn 4 Sid was ahead of Angel and I but spun out in the marbles as he was too far outside.  Right after that we had a major accident in the Spec Miata group which made the entire track full course yellow and brought Sid right back behind me for most of the race.  Sid was faster than me in and through turn 7 (I was using 2nd gear for this corner which really upset the car with having to do two downshifts and trail brake through the corner).  Sid spun trying to out brake me into the corner and went off but right back on only to go off in turn 8 as his tires were still dirty.  I finished the race in 4th alone.
  • Race 2 – Race two was much better as I got a much better start and was able to get ahead of Sid and on the inside of the corner.  I used another car to pick off Angel and get ahead into 3rd place.  I was able then to pass several other slow cars in opportunistic areas and build a gap on Angel.  But Angel slowly drew me back in using faster traffic which slowed me more than they did him.  It took a series of 4 turns for Angel to finally pass me but and Angel built a lead I couldn’t catch up to him by the end of the race.  The video in this race didn’t work for some reason 😦

Friday – Putnam Park Results – E3 Enduro Class

Putnam Park was the season ending 1.5 hour and 3 hour Enduro race.  Sid and I again teamed up to race this year.  We finished 11th overall and 8th in class.  I had quite  surprise as in turn 9 a thunder roadster lost his engine and oiled the outside of the track.  Unfortunately it is over the crest of a hill and the fastest line through there is using the pit out lane.  I didn’t see the oil until it was too late and had quite a bad opposite lock slide but was able to counter steer it without spinning or going off.  The car behind me didn’t as well as several others who had agricultural expeditions there.  Sid also completed the race without getting hit by a Spec Miata – his car is a target for them for some reason.

Crash Photos (last photo…track frame realignment…3/4 ton truck, big chain and big hammer)





Season Points – 944-Spec

Congratulations to Eric for winning the Midwest Region 944-Spec Championship, with Neal a close 2nd and Angel coming in 3rd place.  We were also termed the routiest (sp?) group of racers of the year.

Season Points – E3 Enduro Class

Eric and Neal won the E3 Enduro class by 2 points over its next closest rivals (Spec Miata team).  Angel and Mike came in 4th place b/c of a tie in the overall points and the tie breaker was based on how well the team did in the last race (where they had an exhaust problems with it coming loose and twice having to come into the pits and reaffix it with bailing wire).

Sunday – 1 Lap Shootout

Angel Posing with Kent's Slightly Toasty Car

To end the racing season the Sunday races had no bearings on points – only fun.  The first fun even was the 1 lap shootout which is open to all entrants (racers and HPDE students).  You choose the lap time you think you’ll run and try to match it.  The track is different as they added in a couple chicanes to vary the track so it was different (The Start / Finish line is different so you can’t use any timing system).  To add a bit of excitement the 944-Spec drivers and the CMC drivers switched cars.  The fastest series driver would set their fastest time in their own car where all drivers from the other series would have to have a combined average that comes closest to that time.  I got to drive Kent’s Regional championship winning Pontiac Screaming Chicken and what a difference 700lb additional pounds and 200 more HP makes.  The real fun started when Angel took the car out and proceeded to lock up the brakes and spin it on the main straight chicane – causing the car to stall in the infield causing a small grass fire underneath the car.  The car won’t start when hot (vapor lock – or as I term it…it is a Pontiac) so Angel had to get out of the car fast.  The CMC car now has a nice campfire smell to it.  No damage permanently done except to egos.

Sunday – Putnam 100 Fun Race

Neal Double Winner with Eric and Angel

The 2nd fun race was the Putnam 100 lap which the racers are to maintain an average overall speed over 57 laps.  This includes any pit time, etc.  There were 3 classes 65 mph, 70 mph and 75 mph.  You could drive 1 car w/ 2 drivers; 1 car w/ 1 driver; 2 cars with 2 drivers; or 1 car w/ 3 drivers.  The 944-Spec gang ran away with the race as Eric and Neal won the 70 mph class with an average of 69.898 mph (closest ever to reach the target) and Neal also co-drove with Angel to win the 65 mph class with an average of 65.125 (beating Sid and I with a 65.400).  Funny how our group won 2 out of the 3 classes in this race.

To end the season NASA people drive FLAT OUT!

Special Thanks To:

  • Trackside Support Team: Nick & Matt from Bennington Motorsports and Jim for helping provide trackside support / wrenching on broken cars / pit stop services, etc.
  • My Mechanic Karl Wilen (Doc Karl) for helping me rebuild an engine in 90 degree KS heat and have it reliably ready for a race in 2 weeks.
  • Linda Kuhns for helping organize the entire team and helping feed us.
  • My wife and son for allowing me to chase my dream.

New Stylish Helmets for Next Year

  1. Tyson H. says:

    Awesome post Joel! This looks like SOOOO much fun!!! The in-car video is super sweet, thanks for setting that up, and for sharing!

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