A Tale of Two Third Gens!
(or...third gens come and third gens go...)
First Quarter, 2008
Goodbye B4C2, Hello 'Alamo' !!!
First up, the going. B4C2 is now officially out of my personal
stable. She is still under the WDMS umbrella, but now resides in Mike
Countryman's garage. His thought is to have a cheap-to-operate daily driver that
is fun to drive and gets good gas mileage (much better than his truck) and B4C2
certainly fits the bill. Since Mike is a big fix-it-guy too, I'm sure he'll
start updating the things that need attention also and she is in good hands. I
bought the car primarily so it would not go to some punk who'd ball it up or a
"racer" who'd cut it up. Mission accomplished.
Second up, WDMS Pyramid-climber Nick picked up a track-ready 3rd
gen (also a 92) and has already ran "Alamo" (Cody christened her,
you'll have to ask him for the story) at a near-local HPDE. Here is Nick's
Last August I sold the
'01 Z28 to my good friend, Tye Jackson. Autocross is great, but I was
looking to move up the
Pyramid of Speed. Hanging around Costas too much will do that to you ;-) It
also gives you a penchant for saying "gas gas gas!", but that's
Step 1...Find Big Texas Sized Truck for the towing and the gas guzzling.
5.3L V8. Towing Package. Big tayrez. Goodbye gas mileage! (suckit, Al Gore!)
Step 2...find track car.
Now this step is a lot harder than it sounds. Sure, there are track cars for
sale all over the US. Unfortunately, finding a good deal on a decent track toy
in Texas is harder than explaining how a Monza is not in fact a Mazda. I bought
the truck in early September, and it took me until 2 weeks ago to find my new
track toy. There were quite a few contenders around, but all were at least a
two-day drive or tow. Many hours were spent browsing Craigslist, Ebay, and all
the intarweb forums I could think of. One bleary Friday afternoon after a long
week of work I was browsing racingjunk.com, seeing if I could find my new money
pit. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon an ad for what at first glance appeared to
be the coupe de grace.
1992 Camaro...fully caged...5-spd...trailer included...lots of spare parts (3rd
gens like spare parts...VanHornWhat?)
My first thought: "Dude's prolly in Maine..." As I read on, I rubbed
my eyes in disbelief. Lampasas, TX. I know that place! 2 hour drive, easy. I
immediately contacted Sean, the owner, and inquired more about the car. Pictures
and info were sent, questions were asked, phone calls happened. After a few
minutes of talking to him, I realized I had seen the car before at some A&M
autcrosses, and we had met before and knew the same group of "local"
racers that seem to pop up at everything from autocrosses to road races. This
was looking up! Sunday morning my dad and I headed up to Lampasas to see the
unicorn that I was hoping would turn out to be what I was looking for. As we
pulled in, it was sitting under a car cover, kind of off in the corner of Sean's
property. Remember in A Christmas Story when Ralphie discovers his last present,
hiding, in wrapping, in the corner behind the piano? As he tears the wrapping
apart, his eyes go wide, and he's got the grin from ear to ear. Yeah, that's
what it was like when the car cover was pulled. This was my Official Red Ryder
BB Gun ;-) Body looked solid, and everything was as described. Sure it was a
little dirty, so what? Fully legal cage (CMC, AI, etc), check. Race seat, check.
Fuel cell, check. Straight frame, check. The more and more I looked it over and
the more I was told about it, it just got better and better. 355 V8, 5-spd, LS1
rear discs, Torsen diff, spare 305 V8 (for CMC!), spare trans, spare hood, spare
bumper, and more spare parts that can fill a truck bed (and did!). The trailer
looked good, and with the package deal, this find was gold! We talked a bit
more, what it'd need to get on track, etc and struck a deal. Funds were
exchanged, parts were loaded, cars were towed, and it ended up in my garage
later that night. The following weeks were filled with calls to Tire Rack and
Porterfield (Porterfield FTW!), and a few visits to the local parts stores,
prying a set of GTAs out of Costas' hands, and I was in business :-D
Gig 'Em Ags!
Hax0rz haf stoluhn ur inteereor!!
Witchdoctor Mandated Sticker Power
I signed up for HPDE 1 with NASA TX, finally getting my feet wet on
a road course. The car was loaded up on Friday and I was on my way. Pulled in to
MSR Cresson and pitted with our very own Gary Robertson (my favorite martian!)
along with the rest of the contingency of CMC and AI folks. The car was
unloaded, and we headed to registration/tech. Everything went smooth and the
longing for Saturday morning began.
Fixed up, cleaned up, loaded up, and ready to ride to Cresson!
Saturday morning finally came and we started with a classroom
session and a drive/walk thru of the track for us n00bz. The classroom went over
the flags, track rules, etc, and the drive/walk thru was a quick explanation of
each corner and it's intricacies. We were going to be running the 1.7CCW course.
All good stuff! The time was upon us. My first time on track. Helmet, on.
Ignition, on. Clutch, in. First gear, selected. Clutch, out. Here weeeeeee goooo!
I drove out of pit lane and on to the first section. Shift to 2nd, weeeeeee.
Shift to third, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Turnturnturn, gasgasgas, shift to fourth,
weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Brakebrakebrake, turn, downshift,
Me and Alien!
All I can say is....awesome. Freakin' awesome. I speak both of the track and the
car. The track was tough and challenging, and the car performed flawlessly. It
turned where I wanted, the binders clamped down when I asked (a far cry from my
last Camaro), and the gas was guzzled when necessary. My first session out I was
assigned an instructor, Josh, who happened to be a local racer from San Antonio
I'd met at many events. I got some good pointers, what I needed to do better,
and all was well. I felt great after the first session, and couldn't wait for
more. The second session I went solo and once again felt like the car was great
great great. I was learning the track a bit more each lap and figuring out
little by little where I could and couldn't carry more speed.
Although Costas was unable to make it, he was there in spirit :-P "Gasgasgas,
brakebrakebrake, gas, now, all the way down, brake straight!"
We broke for lunch and I was ecstatic. The third session came around and I
was assigned an instructor, James Proctor, who happened to be Rookie of the Year
for CMC. James was great. I like feedback, and James gave it. Carry it out wider
here, duck in tighter here, brake later here. James helped a ton. Once again the
car felt great, it turned well and everything was solid. The session ended and
James and I chatted for a bit and he gave me some more good advice. Awesome
awesome! I think I'm gonna like this whole road course thing :-)
The fourth session came, and I hit a bit of a snag. I went solo on
track, and the first few laps were flawless. The fourth lap came, and as I was
exiting rattlesnake coming up through wagon wheel, the fuel pump seemed to cut
out for a second. Odd, thought I. As soon as the car straightened up, off I
went. Hmmm. No problems through the next 3 right-handers, but as soon as I hit
the horseshoe, it cut in and out again, and by the time I exited tombstone, the
car had died. Crap-a-rooni! I quickly reminded myself how before this session I
had ridden down to the Texaco to fill up, so I knew I wasn't out of gas. I
checked my mirrors and quickly turned the key....Success! The car fired right
up. I rode it easy through the next hard left hander and no complaints. It was
quite odd, and definitely something I need to check out. The problem never
returned the rest of the weekend.
Are you looking at my bum? Cheeky monkey!
So Saturday was at a close and I had had an awesome day. The track was
incredibly exciting to drive, the car performed wonderfully, all the instructors
gave me great feedback, and everyone I had met was extremely friendly and
Sunday rolled around and I was salivating for more track time.
Gimmegimmegimme!! First session rolls around and I was assigned another seasoned
CMC driver as an instructor and got even more pointers. The track session went
smooth and I was told I had a good line, but I know I need to go a lot faster.
And that will come with time. The last session came and went. I ran it solo, and
had another exciting 20 minutes of track time. I had learned a ton in the past
sessions and I could feel that I was pushing the car a lot harder. The tires
were screaming and gripping through rattlesnake, and with a few quick glances
down at the gauges, I could tell I was carrying more speed through the longer
turns and at the ends of the straights.
Luckily, throughout the entire weekend, I never had an off-track excursion. I
saw at least 3 cars go off in front of me, and that was quite crazy. Adds an
entirely new level of thinking and reacting when you see something like that a
few car lengths in front of you when you're both running hard at high speeds. A
couple of them happened in the same place, which was coming out of little bend.
They would duck in tight, and as they exited and came back right to set up for
the next turn, they must have jerked the wheel because it went left, then right,
then left, I think I can save it, and then woooooooooooo all around, and made a
big dust cloud! Must have been great for the instructor riding shotgun.
Lessons learned from the weekend:
-Smooth is key
-Feedback from seasoned racers is worth it's weight in gold
-CMC/AI guys are incredibly friendly
-3rd gen FTW