AutoX & Racing Diary


Catching up

posted May 31, 2017, 5:05 PM by Scoob Edoo

I just realized that I haven't updated anything for a while.

I did not do the Barber race this year due to a conflict with Black Belt testing.  Master Kathy was coming and that's not something I want to miss.  So the racing started with the CMP Spring race, in the Constang.  It had been upgraded with a fuel cell that should have increased the stint times to about 2:45.  Sadly it turns out that the fuel pump was pumping harder than the OEM pump, so we were running richer than usual and only gained about 10-15 minutes and we went through much more fuel.  On the other hand, our laptimes improved by 3ish seconds and I was fastest again.  But we went through the brakes again - pads couldn't keep up with the extra speed, so an upgrade to Mustang brakes is in the works.  Also coming soon is a cool-shirt set up.  I don't know when I'll race again, but was hoping for Road Atlanta in November.

On to Autocross.  SCCA finally moved the Blytheville Pro to a better date in May, so I headed out for my first event since Adesa last Sept/Oct.  The weather was just about perfect and we had Tom, Jared, and Jason came out to play.  The courses were the fastest Pro courses I've ever seen.  I geared for ~82 on Saturday and probably hit 80-81.  Not very technical, but pretty fun.  I got third behind Tom and Jared.

The next weekend we had an event at Bristol on the drag strip side, so a similar runway setup to Blytheville (and Warminster).  Both Kieran and I drove and had a blast.  I ran Pro but couldn't find the time I needed oon the first three runs.  I played with the setup a bit and found another 1.4 seconds which would have given me the PAX win by over a half-second.

Next was Spring Nats this week.  We had an uneventful, though wet, drive out to Lincoln a day earlier than usual and had time to relax before jumping into the 4 days of racing.  The Pro courses were a lot of fun but I ruined my Friday morning runs by leaving the choke on... I'm still not used to this PWM carb where the choke stays on.  Oh well.  I partially redeemed myself in the afternoon runs, but still left a lot of time out there and finished 8th out of 11 drivers (yep, 11!).  The forecast for Saturday morning was dead on, meaning big storms rolling through at 7 am or a few hours, forcing them to cancel those runs and then running the challenges after the courses had mostly dried out and before another storm was scheduled to arrive (it never did).  So the family went to a trampoline place that also had a Warrior course to play on so we spent an hour doing both.  My back hurt for three days after that.

The Tour was interesting.  The first day had an excellent John Hunter course with an element from last year's East course run backward and several other familiar elements.  It was fast, but bumpy.  I went out and set a reasonable time on my first run but on cold tires and a dusty surface.  Now get this - my second and third runs finished identically -  by somehting happening to the kart causing the right side pod to leave and the carb/intake to fall off.  Both runs, same thing in the same place.  After I'd fixed it before my third run.  I still have no idea what happened or why or how.  I degreased the intake boot and reversed it and tightened it down, added a cradle to hold it, bent back the bent nerf bar and replaced the side pod with a new bolt and waited for Monday's course.  What to say about that course... It walked oddly, got changed after I'd done four walks, then walked slightly less oddly after that.  Fortunately it ended up flowing a bit better than I'd thought it would and on my third run I set the fasted time for the karts and second fastest for the heat behind the BM car.  That was a fun run, with really only one big issue costing me probably 1 full second.

Now we wait for the Bristol event at the end of June before the double national event over Independence day wekend.

LeMons South Fall

posted Sep 25, 2016, 2:59 PM by Scoob Edoo

Yet another chance to drive with the Lowballers at CMP, still in the ConStang.  Since they won the Spring CMP race, the car was supposed to be in Class A but they hadn't upgraded anything to make it faster.  The Friday I was set to leave coincided with a parent teacher conference day so the two middle school kids were home - and it eventually occurred to me that I could take Kieran to his first LeMons race!  So I did. 

We go to CMP in the afternoon before packing up to go to the Camden parade.  Kieran got to ride on the motorized picnic table in the parade and he was hooked.  During the BS inspection, the team managed to convince the judges that the ConStang should stay in B with the overall tea plan being to win all three classes in the three cars.  A worthy goal but hard to accomplish as we'd later find out.

We had a new team member join us from the Mock Grass team since their car was totaled in a wreck at another race over the summer.  But we only had the four of us driving: David, Keith, Kyle, and me.  Saturday racing started with Kyle driving.  Pretty uneventful but he started fuel-starving early and came in about 20 min earlier than expected so I wasn't ready and David jumped in instead.  Again uneventful stint and handed over to me still in contention for class B so I drove hard but not too hard to not stick out amongst the Class B competitors.  However, both the Geo and the Racevan had issues during my stint and dropped out of contention in their classes - and we were already leading Class B by 5 or 7 laps and we were discussing the inevitable bump back up to A when Judge Phil drove into our paddock spot to discuss that with us.  No problem - we made the change and went to fourth place overall and in A.  So I should have been driving harder the entire time, but we were still in contention so no real harm.

The rest of Saturday went smoothly for us and we finished the day in fourth or fifth.  That evening the entir paddock was treated to an incredible BBQ dinner made by Curt who used to be a competitive BBQ guy. It was an astonishingly good meal, with seriously the best BBQ I've ever had.

Sunday morning came and we decided that I'd drive the two hour session with a splash and go after 90 min, if necessary.  As it turned out, we had a 20 min long double-yellow that helped conserve enough fuel that I didn't need the splash.  And I pushed hard without any discernible fuel-starvation until the last lap of the session.  I got hit one time and locked up the rear tires right toward the session, spinning in the last turn. It felt like I got hit the way the rear apparently jumped up from a bump.  I immediately came in to serve my penalty before they even flagged me so I got off with a drive through only.  Overall I think I dropped to sixth overall with that mistake. The rest if the day was uneventful and I think we finished around sixth, 9 laps behind the winning Z3 AMX.

Kieran helped the team a lot with fuel and supplies.  He helped with tools and cleanup and everyone loved him.  I think he had a lot of fun and would love to drive with the team in a few years.

Catching up.

posted Sep 25, 2016, 2:18 PM by Scoob Edoo

After the miserable experience at Spring Nats, not much was accomplished over the summer on racing activities.  A lot of focus went on our trip to Florida for Taekwondo Nationals Championships where all five of us competed n a few events. Kerry became a double national champ, in individual and team forms.  I have became a national champ in form and got beat up in sparring when I dropped two age groups and up a weight group, but I did get a silver medal to go with the gold from forms.  The kids didn't do as well but everyone had a good time.

I sent my motor to CKT to have them rebuild it as a stock moto that I may run but will likely sell.  Meanwhile I also sent the carb from Carter to have them look at it and ensure it wasn't leaking air in the pump around tubing.  I haven't talked to them in awhile but I expect I'll have everything back sometime in October. 

So during the KAC call in early August Paul asked me if I was coming to Nationals.  I'd decided a few weeks before that after the luck I'd had there was no way I'd make it to Lincoln.  So I said I wasn't coming - and Paul then offered me the codrive in his kart!  It was, of course, an offer I couldn't refuse so I started planning.  First step was to find a ride or codrive out o Lincoln.  Jason Vehige was planning to drive out alone, from Nashville so we teamed up.  We eventually decided to drive the Excursion instead of his Tiguan.  It was also decided that I'd be bringing Cathy's dog Sadie home at the end of my stay there.  So a few weeks later I drove to Nashville to meet up with Jason and then drove to Lincoln all day Sunday of the Pro Finale.  We just missed the Super challenge that Paul won, again, to win the season.

There were no times left on the practice course so I was going to be driving Paul's kart cold turkey on Tuesday morning. The course was the most fun course I've ever driven in the kart - it actually would make an excellent kart track with some modifications to join the start and finish.  The visuals of the course layout were truly horrific, but driving it with a flow (and ignoring the extra 300 cones) really made it come together.  Paul finished the day in first, but by only 0.088 sec over Daniel.  I was in sixth and feeling really good about the kart.  Unfortunately the second day was scheduled for rain - and the forecast was bizarrely accurate. The rain, in buckets, started just a few minutes before we started running.  We made the switch to the rain setup and Paul was first out.  There were huge puddles and it looked slow, but clean.  Then Daniel went out and laid down a time several seconds faster and people started to wonder if Paul was just taking it easy. I went out with second drivers and it was messy - no grip and lots of deep puddles and rivers and seriously off the pace.  Second runs came and Paul improved a little, but still several seconds behind Daniel and several other drivers.  Now we were really concerned. Paul watched video and couldn't find where to find much time, and especially not six seconds.  My runs were utterly forgettable mainly because I had no power. It was somewhat reminiscent of Spring Nats now that I think about it.  My last run was seriously screwed up with water in the carb/motor and then I spun once the water cleared out.  Paul didn't improve and ended up outside the trophies for the first time in a very long time.

So I went to Nats after all, but the experience was decidedly mixed.  If I get another chance to drive that kart, I'll definitely take it. I'd love to have two dry days in it.

Spring Nats 2016

posted Jun 6, 2016, 9:17 AM by Scoob Edoo

The adventure started ten days before we left when I cracked my cylinder at the Bristol Match (Math) Tour.  Apparently I hadn’t fully tightened the nuts after I replaced the cylinder jug over the winter and during my runs it got progressively looser until it cracked and spewed water all over me.  Oops.  So I sought a mod Honda to buy in time for Spring Nats and found Carter Thompson’s for sale.  I made plans to stop by his house on the way to Nebraska with the plan to install in paddock before the Pro started.  It was a good plan.

We made it to his house and picked up the motor and continued on to Lincoln with no issues.  On Thursday I took Kieran to the airpark and got busy getting the motor ready to go on the kart.  I had to fab a header mount since mine was still on the old motor at home, but I pretty much had everything else I needed.  I got it mounted and started on the stand that day, but it didn’t sound quite right so I focused on jetting and thought I had it OK for the Pro.

Friday morning runs were pretty bad – had no launch and then every time I came off the throttle the motor just fell flat, like it was way too rich.  Then just before my 4th run the clutch cable slipped and I stalled.  So back to paddock I went to work on the jetting (I thought).  No matter what I did – changing the pilot from 60 to 55 and then to 52, along with main jet from 185 to 170 – the motor just ran like crap.  Over the next days we checked everything and tried changing ignition components, grounds, stator, carbs, plugs, fuel pumps to no avail, eventually settling on probably bad fuel.  I ran to the VP station and got their last can of C12 2 minutes before closing, thinking that would work for the next day.

In the morning the motor sounded better but I could tell it still wasn’t OK so I drove Jamie Yost’s kart in the last session.  The kart needed some setup help to tame it some so I helped with that.  She then got into the Bonus challenge and broke out in a BIG way, winning the first round by something like 7 seconds which killed her chances for the second round where she lost by 4+ seconds.  But the kart sounded and looked better after that.

Meanwhile the saga with the new motor continued.  I thought the new fuel and further adjustment to the jetting fixed the problem.  However, the first run of the Tour showed that it wasn’t fixed still.  Every time I even hinted at coming off throttle the motor fell flat and chugged as if it were drowning in fuel.  So I went and helped Kieran instead of taking the other two runs.

In the afternoon, without much else to do I went extreme on jetting, going to a 48 pilot with the 170 main and then the motor sounded MUCH better.  I took a few runs on the other side of paddock to see how it felt and thought I’d gotten to the heart of the matter for Monday’s runs.  SO I went to dinner with the family thinking Monday was going to be the day I was waiting for.

Monday’s conditions were similar to Sunday’s so I left the jetting as it was and immediately found that the same thing was happening again, but I could control it a bit better by not coming off throttle so abruptly.  By my last run of the weekend I was only 2+ seconds off the pace, but clearly there was still something wrong.  My best guess now is that the pump-around modification to the carb is failing and air is getting into the carb, making it run too lean and thus flooding when coming off throttle abruptly.  All of the external sealing compound that CKT put at the tube junction has broken up and fallen off so until they tell me differently I’m going with that as the problem.  I was definitely not fuel or ignition or grounding so the choices are slim beyond the carb.

Kieran was frustrated at being crushed by Riley by a few seconds on each course during the weekend so I gave him a good pep-talk before his last run and he dropped down much closer to where he should be and was happier – but his clutch bearing seized as he came off course to get his time and get weighed.  It was the needle bearing at the sprocket that seized and I replaced it this last weekend to get ready for another event at Bristol (but weather precluded our running the karts at that one).

But my continuing adventure didn’t stop there!  We left early on Tuesday for the marathon drive home and about 90 min in the dash battery/alternator light came on and stayed.  I watched it for awhile and realized that the alternator must have failed.  We made a beeline for the “nearest” Walmart – in Leavenworth, KS – to get it checked.  They tested the batteries and found that the new one from January has been damaged by the older battery (remember kids, always replace diesel trucks’ batteries in pairs) so they both needed replaced.  The new one was completely covered under the warranty but the other one was not, so I bought a new one and told the guy to check the status of the alternator.  After 2.5 hours we were back on the road, but the battery/alt light came on again so we turned off the AC, radio, and DVD players and drove like crazy trying to make it home..

Unfortunately, it became obvious that there was no way we’d make it home since the headlights would seriously drain the remaining battery life quickly, so I made alternate plans to stay in Clarksville, TN (same hotel as we’d stayed on the way out) and talked to one of the local AutoZone’s about the alternator since mine had a lifetime warranty.  They had one and I put that address in the GPS and hoped we’d make it before we needed headlights.  We did, but just.  It was getting to be duck when we hit the exit.  I watched the battery meter as I hit the brakes on the exit and the drain was substantial.  The electrical system was so down on juice that the AZ guy couldn’t measure the output to determine if the alternator was dead (hmmm, let me think about that for a minute).  So I bought a replacement alternator to swap in the morning and said I’d bring the dead one back in the morning, assuming I could get the truck started.  And then we headed to the hotel to sleep.

In the morning, after a very good deep sleep I took Rhys out and let him roam while I got my tools and swapped the alt.  No muss and no fuss.  After ~20 min I went to start the truck and it had enough juice and enough warmth from the previous day to turn over and fire.  I left it running while we ate breakfast and got ready.  We had AC and DVDs for the 4.5 hours home and the batteries have no apparent ill effects from being that drained.

So after that adventure I put on my PWK carb from the other motor to see if that would run better (jetting was from Bristol three weeks before so should be pretty close) and it sounded MUCH better than it did in Lincoln on the stand so maybe that will work while I get the other carb and motor evaluated and fixed.

Not sure when the next event is, but it likely won’t be until after TKD National Championships in FL over the July 4th week.

Bristol Match Tour

posted May 18, 2016, 5:15 PM by Scoob Edoo

Well the overall event was a success.  BMS did a great job with the repaving of the crappy parts of the lot and the available area was good enough for a fun, fast 46 second course for the KM guys and low- to mid-50s for most of the classes.  We had 187 people run on Saturday, so one of the biggest Match Tours ever we think.

But it wasn't without some adventures.  When I got there on Friday and Teched the two karts, apparently the scales were off by a considerable amount when I weighed Kieran's kart - to the tune of 22 lbs heavy.  So when I got his kart ready I took off the 10 lbs off of his seat, but when we weighed it came across as 13 lbs light!  I barely made weight myself and Ted came across light, too (he'd done the same thing as I'd done).  Lesson learned - at Spring Nats we'll have the good scales and I'll make sure someone from SCCA staff is there when I do it.

On to the event.  I went on Friday to run the practice course and slowly (sorta) break in the new piston.  The course was very representative of the full course but about 1/2 the time and enough to show me that the 2014 Nationals tires were not going to work on that surface so I left early to get home to mount the new tires before heading to Taekwondo for pictures.  Whilst mounting one of my rear tires, I pushed hard and managed to face plant onto the wheel in front of me, slicing my forehead pretty good.  Nice.

On Saturday we ran 4th heat together and the course was really, really fun.  Both karts were geared within a few mph of perfect, so that was nice.  Mine ran very well and I finished the "morning" runs with a 48.2.  Kieran also ran well, improving on every run and ending with a 55.0.  During the afternoon the wind came up and it was a different atmosphere from the morning session, but after a spin Kieran improved on every run again to finish with a 53.8.  I, on the other hand started the session with a 47.7 and on my second run I was going even better when I realized something was pouring onto my right thigh.  It wasn't hot but eventually the motor started to sputter and I knew it was going to die so I pulled off right at the exit.  I was soaked with water from my cooling system so I was done.  I later looked and found a score on one of the hoses, but it turned out to be a cracked cylinder - in a big way.  I don't know what happened yet, but it looks like it is possibly related to torque on the exhaust manifold.  So no challenge for me on Sunday.  Boo hoo.

Sunday was another spring day, with temps in the 50s in the morning.  Kieran and I stayed home to watch some of the F1 race before heading over.  Kieran ran shortly after we arrived and had two good runs but didn't improve on his Saturday times (the surface was still pretty cool and there was not much sun to warm the tires).  He didn't end up paxing as high as we'd thought, but he showed that he hasn't lost much when driving either.

I contacted Carter Thompson who I heard was selling his CKT motor and decided to buy it and pick it up on our way to Lincoln next week.  It was easier than finding a mod cylinder before we leave next Tuesday.  Then I'll worry about finding a cylinder or having CKT completely build the motor to sell.

Gearing up for the 2016 season

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:24 PM by Scoob Edoo   [ updated Apr 18, 2016, 5:29 PM ]

I rebuilt my motor a few months ago with no problems.  Finally this weekend was nice enough and I had some time on Sunday so I pulled out the trailer and started Kieran's up easily - it ran well.  Then I spent a few hours installing my motor and getting new fuel lines, etc, installed.  Took a bit of effort to start - seems like a vacuum leak from the main fuel pump so I had to prime the carb with a load of fuel and it then started and ran well.  Since the last time we ran the karts was at GoPro, we both still had the Hoosiers on, so Kieran and I swapped all of those off for our MGs.  I did not remember about the weight we took off Kieran's until I'd put them all back away, so I will still need to add some weight at Bristol after getting it weighed and teched.  Kieran probably weighs 10 lbs more this year than last since he's eating more.

Other items: I needed a new helmet and so did Sinea, so I got those around Christmas.  Sinea's is pink.  Mine is steel grey.

I finally found a source for my race fuel - the gas station near the airport, off TN36 has a 110 pump with TurboBlue right out in front!  Yay!  And still only $7/gallon.

Yep, Bristol is getting a National event where we can run karts!  ETR is putting on a Match Tour in mid-May and the best news is that BMS repaved the really nasty section of the lot we use and of course that karts can run (by avoiding the one pole with guide wire).  And we're having more than just this event at BMS this year, so we'll be able to run close to home for a few events.

Still need to buy the Canadian exhaust to run the WF at GoPro.

I was planning to run several National events this year and head to Nationals in Sept, but it's just not going to work with our participation in TKD regionals and Nationals again this year - simply not enough vacation time to go around.  But I do still plan to hit the Bristol MT, Spring Nats Champ Tour and Pro, and the Blytheville Pro.  Maybe one other event depending on my ability to get entered in a timely fashion.

Barber 2016

posted Feb 8, 2016, 7:08 PM by Scoob Edoo   [ updated Feb 8, 2016, 7:11 PM ]

Another year, another perfect race weekend at beautiful Barber Motorsports Park.  The park didn't have any conflicting track days this year and decided to allow us entry starting at noon, so took off the entire day and drove down after teacher conferences with Kieran's teachers.  I ran across the rest of the Lowballers around Chattanooga and Gary and Jordi and I ran ahead of the rest of them most of the rest of the way.  When I saw them my suspicions of the new theme were confirmed: the van was painted flat black and looked a lot like a Ken Block Gymkhana car, confirming the new look for the "Contour".  Upon arrival at the track all together Aaron made me look into the trailer where the "Contour" was hiding.  It was an excellent reproduction of Ken's 1965 Hoonicorn from Gymkhana 7, with the moniker #Hooptiecorn.  Turned into the world's only 1965 front-wheel drive performance Mustang.  They had acquired a tired, damaged, and wholly rusted out 65 Stang for $250 and grafted the body onto the Contour chassis.  It is excellent.

So the weather was more typical of a Kingsport February than Alabama, with temps on Saturday morning about 26.  So cold and frosty with some sun and clouds.  The team decided to go with the Hankook R-S3 tires that work very well at low temps so that was not a concern.  What was a concern was a power steering line leak dripping onto the accessories belt.  That turned out to be a valid concern since the belt started delaminating and that caused some interference with the crank sensor which gave some interesting electrical problems.  David brought it in and we tried to fix it once or twice.  We also found that the passenger front shock insert was loose, giving dynamic camber, caster, and toe.  Then Will went into the car and the belt came off somewhere along the time of the driver change.  He came in for a black flag and we replaced the belt and almost all of the electrical problems went away.  I ran the car and it was flawless.  The tires worked perfectly, the chassis stiffening and stiff rear springs balanced the car better and kept it planted through the turn 2 carousel better than it had been as the Contour.  It was so good that I ran a 1:51.7 during that first stint and consistently under 1:55.  I was very happy and never put a wheel wrong and managed to avoid contact on a few occasions.  There was a red flag situation when the Nash slowed dangerously around turn 10 and the Grassroots Miata rear-ended it and a 944 hit them both.  The Nash ended up on its roof but everyone walked away.  We finished the day running well, but well out of contention for the class win.  Meanwhile the Geo blew a clutch again and they crew did a complete motor/trans swap and sent it back out in the afternoon.  Poetry in motion.  And the #racevan kept plugging along with both motors running the entire day, with no problems except Jerome spinning in the hairpin.

Sunday morning was a few degrees warmer, but still below freezing.  Perfectly clear skies though and it warmed up quickly.  Racing actually started early which was nice since we made it out on track with perfect timing.  Will was out first and was running strong until another black flag brought him it.  David got in to finish the morning stint.  That session ended with the Genesee Cream Ale car hit the pit wall at the last corner.  Again all was well with the driver, so everything was OK for the afternoon session.

I was first out in the afternoon and it was all going so well for about 2 laps until the throttle cable snapped again!  I had just checked it during the break but apparently the fraying was hidden under the plastic sheath.  I stopped right at pit out and the crew was able to tow me out the access road right there.  We got it fixed using two clamps on a new cable and I went back out.  I ran it hard to test out and it seems like maybe we missed full throttle by a few mm since my times weren't back to where they should have been, but still close.  I felt good right up until the brake pedal went long on the downhill for the hairpin.  I kept testing it for awhile to make sure I knew what the problem was.  I called it in but my earplugs weren't in or functioning so I couldn't hear the pit response.  But I let them know and then watched at the pit wall and came in the next lap to hand off to David.  We got the car back to paddock and foud the driver's rear break line had been damaged and worn through so it needed to be replaced and the system rebled.  David got in, but unfortunately, his stint didn't go as well - the axle end snapped again, same as last year.  That killed the car in the hairpin, in the middle of the track.  Very dangerous, but no problems.  Unfortunately on the tow in the hub has damaged so the caliper and knuckle had to be replaced along with the axle.  As usual, though, the crew got it all done and sent back out.  I think Keith went out and had an uneventful stint and turned it over to Aaron to finish out the day.  The Geo ran strong all day and Seanan ran in the 1:48 range just when I thought it couldn't run any faster.  And the #racevan ran flawlessly all weekend, with both motors the entire time!  But the FairlyLame also ran perfectly all weekend and took the Class C win.  So we didn't get any race wins.

Of course LeMons is only partially, and secondarily, about winning on laps.  WHat Aaron and Gary really wanted was the IOE for the #Hooptiecorn.  However, it was not to be - it got the Organizer's Choice award instead (again, the #racevan won last year) - and even Jay said that it was never in question from the time it rolled out of the trailer.  It was the big news in paddock all weekend.  So why not IOE?  Because friend of Lowballers Claybo brought a stylish Jaguar and no team and proceeded to run most of the laps himself and letting several other folks take stints all weekend.  They did nothing to the car and it ran the entire time.  It was hard to ignore and he got the prize and money we wanted.  Great guy and he deserved it.

So another great but flawed weekend.  But honestly the "Contour" is excellent and I loved every minute of it.

Well that was unexpected

posted Oct 24, 2015, 5:41 PM by Scoob Edoo

We were sorta set to run the ETR Adesa event but Kieran's grades were again not good and we pulled out of the event for the first time since we got to TN.  Oh well.  And with that decision, we've concluded our season, such as it was.  For autox, we only ran Spring Nationals.  We also ran two track days (well, Kieran ran two; I only ran one of them since Sinea ran the second one with Kieran).  But I also ran four races so it was a great year for me.

I sold the big trailer a few weeks ago, so no more worries about it.  And no more off-site storage for things like the kart chassis tuning setup.  Today I removed the Roadmaster Active Suspension that I've had installed for 4.5 years to help haul that trailer.  No longer need it so it's for sale.  Also installed a battery tender in the truck along with a short extension cord so when we plug it in, both the block heater and the tender will be running.  So with that and the 5-40W synthetic oil I put in today, we should be set for the winter.

I also pulled out the karts today and checked on Kieran's intake boot that was apparently leaking somehow.  No rips or anything on it, but it's possible it just got tweaked enough over the last few seasons that there was some air getting in somewhere.  I replaced it with the spare new one and it started up and ran perfectly for about 30 minutes while I ran out some of the gasoline in his tank.  Still need to get him the Go-Pro compliant exhaust so we can go back there in the Spring.

For mine one of my fuel pumps was clogged with oil so I had to clean it out and reinstalled.  I got mine running after that and it ran strong for awhile.  But I again saw the water leaking from the weep hole on the bottom of the motor.  I used Google to diagnose the water pump seal is leaking, so I pulled the motor and ordered a new top-end rebuild kit and the new water pump and oil seals.  I already have the gasket kit so I'll get the motor rebuilt this winter to be ready for another year of hitting several autocrosses (instead of so many races).

CMP Fall 2015

posted Oct 4, 2015, 7:58 AM by Scoob Edoo

We went into this race expecting to win if the Contour held together.  Even at the parade and party in Camden a few of our Class B competitors expected us to win it, so we were pretty confident.  The weather cooperated the entire weekend, so it all started so well.

Saturday morning rolled around and Brian got in the car first.  He wasn't blazing fast and reported what he thought was the clutch slipping which couldn't be right since we'd just replaced it at the CMP spring race.  Turned out he was likely just getting on the gas too early and he was overheating the clutch.  He backed off a little and was fine.  Next in was David who confirmed that the car was fine.  He ran times closer to what we'd expected, although with so many cars on track (113 or so) it was difficult to find open track to run good times, but he was in the right neighborhood.  Next in was Will who ran good times until late in his stint when he reported some hiccups.  He tried to warn me but I didn't understand how bad it was until I got in next.  I couldn't get on the gas for any period without the fuel cutting out, leaving my lurching on the racing line.  I eventually got it to a point where I was running consistent laps but 5-10 seconds slower than it should have been running.  And then something changed for the worse and it was cutting out all over regardless of how I was trying to manage it.  I brought it in and after a few tries of fixing something I went back out and it was worse.  The car died altogether after the second turn and I had to get pushed all the way around the track to get back to the paddock.

After many more tries and misdiagnoses it was finally determined that the voltage regulator on the alternator was dead.  A few guys replaced it and trouble-shot a few other minor issues and in the morning the car was in great shape.  They put me in the for the Sunday morning 2 hour stint with an eye to performing a splash and go at some point to make hay while the sun was shining.  I went out and ran it like I stole it, running a few laps in the 1:59 range when I had relatively clear track.  I think the car could run in the 1:57 range on a clear track.  I ran making great passes with few close-calls and overall a great day of racing.

The Contour ran most of the rest of the day without incident.  Until Keith got in at the end and the differential ate itself.  It's the only race we didn't take the checkered flag.

On the other side of the team, they had the Metro in Class A and the Racevan in Class C.  The Geo ran perfectly all day Saturday and finished the day 6 laps up overall!  The Racevan had a reasonably good day but the rear motor again had problems and blew out the radiator on Saturday.  It got fixed Saturday night and was running with both motors Sunday morning when Brian R had a few problems that finished their bid for the class win.

Overall the Geo won the overall race, giving it the distinction of being the only car to ever win all three classes and the IOE.  No idea what they have in mind for it next year, but for sure the theme will be changing for all three cars and I imagine the Geo may find some additional power.

AER race at VIR

posted Aug 19, 2015, 6:04 PM by Scoob Edoo   [ updated Aug 19, 2015, 6:47 PM ]

John Robertson from South Jersey and the "other side" of the Schumacher Taxi Service team contacted me a while ago to ask about a race at VIR.  Absolutely was my response.  AER is one of the new series created out of the LeMons and ChumpCar arena as a simple racing series, as opposed to the complicated ruleset that Chump has grown into and the circus that LeMons is. Justin Stone from Philly Region is one of the principals of AER and this was their third race or so.  The field was pretty small, but there were some pretty serious teams there including 4 teams with pros, so it was going to be a good weekend.

I drove the big trailer over to the track on Thursday night, missing TKD graduation that evening.  But I made it in just over four hours going the long, all highway, way.  Got all set up and waited for the rest of the team and car about an hour later.  It was a beautifully clear night and I sat and watched for the Perseid meteors until they arrived.

The schedule for the race included an open HPDE on Friday morning, followed by open qualifying for Saturday's race.  We each drove about 30 min in each session.  I got used to the car in the morning and then felt pretty good during qualifying.  I think I ended up with the fastest qualifying time, but we were all within 5 seconds I think - and we all knew we had more time to find.  We got classed in the middle group (Sebring class) for the morning.

Learic Cramer was driving through the area after picking up a new trailer so she came by and stayed in the pit lane villas.  She brought us some more beer and we sat around and BS'd for a few hours before we hit the showers.

The morning came much before its time, and we got the car ready before the drivers' meeting.  Somewhere along the line it was decided that I'd drive first which makes me happy.  Learic appeared from her slumber as the cars were gridding and she got some great pictures that she posted for us and AER.

First stint went well, but we found that some people just weren't paying attention to the flag stations since we had a waving double-yellow going into Oak Tree that very few of us heeded.  I was passed by four people under the yellow and subsequent "Code 35" virtual safety car!  But after that I settled into a groove, passing all but a few faster cars.  But it became obvious that while I was fast on most of the course, I still was slow in the corners.  I tried many different lines and speeds, but rarely felt like I got everything right.  Even so I had a good, uneventful stint and turned it over to Kevin in good shape.

My second stint came later in the afternoon and it was more of the same, but without any yellows, just flat-out racing.  I felt OK about the performance, but was ultimately a little slower in that session, likely due to the much hotter temps and lower overall power from the engine.  But again, but the end of the day we were all within about 3 seconds of each other.  We looked at the data from the TraqMate and saw some different lines and braking points so each of us felt like we could improve times on Sunday.  As it stood, we finished the Saturday race in 2nd place in class and 6th overall and the car had no major issues.  The tires looked as good at the end of the day as they had when we put them on which amazed us considering how we were pushing for 9 straight hours.  Even so we decided to swap most of the tires to another set that looked better.  That will be important on Sunday.  We also swapped rear brake pads to some used Hawk HP+ since the PFCs looked pretty thin.  While working on the brakes, Dave crawled around underneath the car and found that the left axle had a rough spot and some clicking.  We decided to swap it out for a new one and that worked well: the old one had very dry bearings, so it could have failed any time.

Sunday morning again came pretty early and with some thick fog, but the forecast was again for another perfectly clear and warm day.  A few cars had been reclassed from Saturday, so the lineups were different and the number of cars racing was lower than it had been at the start of Saturday, but otherwise it was pretty similar.  Dave went out for the first stint and immediately felt like the tires were slicker than on Saturday.  Eventually each of us felt the same way - we just couldn't get back on the power as early as we had the first two days.  Near as we can tell those tires had one more heat-cycle in them, so despite looking like they were better than Saturday's tires, they simply didn't have the grip that we'd hoped for.  A good lesson.  Toward the end of Dave's stint, he also expressed a concern about the clutch slipping.  You could hear the shift to 5th slipping on the front straight, so another thing to think about and nurse along.

As the day wore on, it was clear that the #68 Porsche was the class leader by a few seconds per lap and that the #42 E30 was doing much better than it had on Saturday.  Much of the day we were in 3rd or 4th place in class instead of the expected 1st or 2nd.  But we all realized it was a 9-hr race, not a sprint so we kept on doing our thing without interruption.  My third stint was again uneventful, though the slicker tires made for a few interesting moments when I just knew I didn't have the grip to make a few corners and I had to give it up and take the grassy or less-than-ideal route to keep it in one straight piece.  No damage and no contact so it was all OK, just scarier than Saturday.  I was able to take some of Saturday night's learning and apply it in a few corners that I felt I did better on Sunday, but I couldn't quite match Saturday's times with the slipping clutch.  The clutch never seemed to get worse for me, so it was almost a non-issue for us as the day went on.  Overall I think my fast Sunday time was about 0.9 sec slower than Saturday's fast time.  When I handed it over to Kevin I think we were still around 3rd or 4th on class - and the AER folks had reclassed our pit neighbors into our class and we were suddenly battling it out!

Early in Kevin's stint, the 68 Porsche blew up, leaving the 42 E30 in the lead.  A few laps later the 42 had a brake problem in turn 1, leaving him WAY off the track.  He brought it into the paddock and they jacked up the front to find a solution.  As the laps went by, the race came down to us and the #300 Mercedes.  The 42 got back in on the same lap but just.  And with only about an hour to go it was a race between Jogn in our car and Rob in the Mercedes.  It was the most excited I've been at a race, including a few LeMons races where we were close, because we were pitted next to each other and we all were getting along so well.  Rob was pushing very hard and taking 2-4 seconds out of John's lead almost every lap.  Quick calculations led us to believe Rob would catch John with one or two laps remaining and we could have a serious battle at the end, possibly at the line.  Which was really incredible for all of us to think that after nine hours of hard racing that three cars would be on the same lap, battling for the win.  Alas it wasn't to be as exciting as we'd thought because the Mercedes started fuel-starving on the penultimate lap and John ended up winning by 30+ seconds.  The Mercedes did beat the 42 car for 2nd, but the #300 team owner was heart-broken.

So with the win, we had a 1st and 2nd in class which gave us the points to win the class for the weekend.  That brought with it some money from eEuroparts.com - who ironically were the guys in the #300 Mercedes!  Josh, one of their drivers, came up after the podium celebration and pictures to offer to sponsor the Schumacher Taxi Service because of how much fun they had on Sunday.  It was a very cool gesture and I hope I can race with these guys again sometime.

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