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.
Scoob Edoo,
Feb 8, 2016, 7:10 PM