Precursor to Round 4: Gingerman Raceway

Posted: June 1, 2011 in Racing

What’s that you say?  – Putnam was Round 2 and we are at Round 4 – Do I know how to count?  It is not a typo, as NASA Midwest had their 3rd race the weekend following Putnam up at Brainerd International Raceway (near Minneapolis, MN).  This was already set up that I would not attend as 2 race weekends in a row is taxing.  Not to mention BENMS was not planning on making that race.  That didn’t stop some of my competitors such as Ken Huey who went out to make up some points.  This leaves me very, very far behind in the regional championship with only 2 points scoring races.  The good thing though is at the end of the year you mark out your 6th worst points races – so the 4 races I score zero in are now used up.  Here’s to doing much better from here on out.

The Past 3 Weeks

At Putnam 3 weeks ago my engine would not run right.  After getting it back to Nick’s shop he discovered the wiring harness was worn through grounding out a wire to the ECU causing the engine to run rich down low and lean up top – not a good recipe.  This would explain an issue I had – down the long straights in Round 1 I would notice I’d lose more ground to my competitors (in the rain it wasn’t noticeable but in the dry now with hindsight it made sense).  I thought I wasn’t getting all that great a launch out of the corners – which still maybe the case.

After going through the engine – there was leakage around all 4 cylinders and leakage in 3 of the four around the valves in the head.  To sum it up – if your engine cannot maintain compression (tight seals when the gas is ignited) you lose power and slowly the engine gets worse.

Nick though had his work cut out for him as not only my engine issue, but Ray’s engine needed rebuilding, Sid had some off road excursions which bent his front sway bar, and Ken while at Brainerd broke his transmission.  Nick in order to make sure I will make the Gingerman weekend is putting in his spare motor in my car so he can focus on getting the other’s cars ready for the race.  This will also give Nick time to rebuild my motor before our July race at Autobahn – the lesson is if you rush an engine rebuild it comes back to bite you.  A lesson I learned as I bought this motor last July in a parts car but never had the head or rings done – just belts and seals.

Gingerman Raceway

I’ve never been to Gingerman before thus have no idea how to drive it.  Gingerman made changes to the turn 10 complex adding another 1/4 mile of track in late summer 2010.  In order to prepare for an event like this I’ve been watching video and trying to imagine driving the track.  Racing tends to be a big mind game – it is your ability to make yourself confident in your abilities.  The more mentally prepared and confident you are – the better you’ll do.  I fly up to Chicago Friday and hope to be at the track by lunch time.  Friday is a test and tune day so I will try to get on track and get in some laps.  I do plan on walking the track that evening which gives me an upfront look and helps me mentally prepare.

Also, while at Gingerman I will be helping out with the event.  Since our Regional Director Eric Kuhns will not be making the race (work conflict) I will be assisting with his roles as Regional Director of NASA Midwest 944-Spec series.  We are hoping to have a dry weekend and as of now have at least 6 cars signed up.

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