Witchdoctor Motorsports Chapter 138

TWS MSC DE, April 2009

Wade does MORE driving, Costas does LESS yelling...

By: Wade Zimmer (with additions by Costas...of course...heh)

Time for my second track weekend.  I had a blast back in November at TWS and am ready for the next go ‘round.  

Ready to go with the AWESOME paddock spot!!

I register for this event around mid-month.  Waited too long and it is nearly full up.  There are 120+ driving event cars, and 30+ BMW club racers.  The garages are all full for both days and I am wait listed.  With this many vehicles on site, Costas and I decide that it is best to go out Friday night and stake our claim to a paddock spot.  Neither of us wants to be in the back forty and have to walk a long way to get where the action is.  I go out at 8pm on Friday night and set up camp just inside the paddock gate by the concession stand.  I leave the trailer to block a spot for Costas.  He is coming in to instruct for me on Saturday.  The plan is to get a lot of quality instruction on Saturday so Paul does can go back to San Antonio on Saturday night.  Hey, someone has to feed his pups, Race and Rally!  

BMW club racer...err.....Hunter? Whiskey-tango-fox? Why didn't you tell us????

It rains Friday night but the weather looks good for Saturday and Sunday.  High in the low to mid 80’s, but w-i-n-d-y.  30+ mph windy.  So windy that I got windburn windy.

Saturday morning comes late.  Late? What? On a track day? God bless Misty for moving everything back an hour.  Music to my ears.  Paul goes to the instructor meeting at 8:20 and I head to the driver’s meeting at 8:45.  Late starts are awesome in my book, especially since I only have a 15 minute drive home, and have never been accused of being a morning person! ( I left the house at 0530, pulled into the gate at 0800...so it was still early for me! In fact, a near-pefect repeat of the previous weekend with Alien/Burro at the NASA event at TWS ~Costas)

Paul comes out of his driver’s meeting looking for his other student.  His name is Mike and he is number 197 in a green 2008 Mustang Bullitt.  Unfortunatley, Paul read that as green group, (Yeah, my morning reading skills were weak that day!!! ~Costas) so he is having quite the issue finding his guy J  Green group comes to grid and goes out on track. No Mustang.  Oh well, time for Blue group and my turn to run.  I ran green (rookies) back in November for one day and Blue for one day.  I’m a bit apprehensive about starting in blue again.  It has been 5 months since I have been on the track and I think maybe I have forgotten the nuances that I picked up last time.  Paul and I give Darcie a thumbs up as she directs the THIRTY cars on grid out to the track.  I don’t really remember much about this session except traffic.  Just cars everywhere.  Slow and slow.  Fortunately the session ends uneventfully.  The car is running well and I felt good about the refresher session.  We pull back into the paddock and hop out.  Paul disappears, presumably to find his absent student.  He was mumbling something about Mustangs turning and how it’s just not right J  He comes back and has found his student, now sitting in grid in yellow group.  Super nice guy who has some experience with the Driver’s Edge group, he just has not run with TWS MSC before.  Paul’s going to give him a check ride and see how he does.  The session goes well and Paul agrees to sign the driver off for his next session.  Paul tells me that he isn’t way fast, but consistent and patient and smooth on his street tires. 

Broken foxes emit a high-pitched noise (way beyond normal hearing range) that Wade can easily hear and thus track them down. It rivals his bowstaff skillz.

I go find my buddy Sam who is building up a CMC fox for next season.   I always like to check out the progress on his car so I wander around for a while looking at his car and the other people who came this weekend.  A while later Paul comes up with my new YELLOW group sticker.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?  We have not really talked about moving up another group yet.  I was stoked last time to run green one day, and blue the next, but I am fully prepared to run in the Blue group for this entire weekend.  Paul had mentioned a couple of times about not coming back on Sunday because he had things to do, but only if I was comfortable…Yellow.  Paul says there are only eight cars in yellow and that’s where we are going to run.  Instructor knows best, and I am not going to argue.  We agree to take it easy and follow the fast cars as long as we can keep up.  Watch and continue to learn the good line and be consistent. (Yeah right...it is amazing what folks say before a session...all 'I'm going to take it easy' and then when the green drops, so does the hammer!!! ~Costas)  

I'm gonna get roasted for this pic, I'm sure....but it was after the checker on the cooldown.... :-P 

Yellow group is up.  This is my second session of the day, on my second ever track weekend.  Costas has agreed to ride with Mike again, his yellow group check ride student.  Hmmmm…Paul is gonna ride with Mike, Mike is in yellow, I am now running in yellow…Oh NOES!  What to do? What to do?  Paul assures me that I will be fine.  Just drive my line, watch my mirrors, and watch the corner stations.  I’m not as convinced about not only moving up to Yellow so quick but also making my SOLO run in the same session.  I suggest to Paul that maybe I’ll follow Mike in his ’08 Bullitt for the beginning of the session…as long as I can keep up.  We both agree that this is a good idea and buckle down.  

Wade moving on up the rainbow!!

Thumbs up to Corn this time and a huge grin from Darcie and Misty as I drive by.  More thumbs up all around and we hit the track.  Dang word travels fast!  We run a quick warm up lap and put the hammer down as we pass T13.  I expect the Bullitt to pull away rapidly as he has quite a bit more horsepower than I do.  A maroon C6 Corvette passes me on the front straight but ducks in behind Mike and Paul before the entrance to T1.  And that was all of the passing in this session.  WHAT??  No seriously.  Bullitt Mustang, C6 Vette, and me in the blue coupe running near identical laps the entire session.  No one is pulling away, no one is holding anyone up.  The corner worker realize  that we have a good thing going and there are no passing flags.  Eventually the entire group is caught by a Lotus Exige, and I let him by just before we finish the session.  That’s it, smooth sailing. (That really was a VERY fun session. Mike was pushing as hard as he could and not scrub his Eagle Supercars, the C6 doing the same and Wade clamped onto the two of them like a pitbull!! ~Costas)  

Martin's slick BMW was there for the w2w racing!

The car ran well again this session and we all come back to the paddock.  I sit in the car and let it idle for a minute to let the water temp come back down some.  Mike lets Paul off in our area and proceeds back to his pit spot.  He is in the VIP area under the front straight elevated pit area.  No wonder we couldn’t find him!  The maroon Vette followed him over there, and the driver has walked all the way back to my paddock space before I even get out of the car.  His name is Randy, and he wants to know “What all have you done to this Mustang!?” Costas and I get a good laugh* as I tell Randy about how the car was dyno’ed in December and put down 217hp and 272ftlb of torque.  Randy says his C6 has some mods and is breathing on the magical 500hp number!  Randy leaves a little stunned but wants to follow us in the next session like I followed him in this one!  Hahaha good times. (*We have a good laugh because pretty much every session the first weekend SOMEbody would come up with the 'what all is done to this car??' question. M5 drivers, AMG drivers, C5/C6 drivers...etc. It's kinda comical....~Costas)  

Wade back in the paddock after a session.

Most of the rest of the weekend was delightfully uneventful.  There are four Honda S2000’s in my group, and they all pretty much know each other.  I grid amongst them during one session and follow a black one for the entire session.  That is, until the last lap when he drove off the end of turn one!  I wave and drive by as he checks his shorts.   Two sessions later I get behind the same guy and follow him for most of the session.  He botches the entry into 13, and thus punts on 14 and 15.  He gives me a point by on the front straight and lets me lead for a while.  I run one lap with him on my tail.   He is fast, but not blazingly slow.  I can’t really pull away, but he never was able to when he was up front.  I let him by the next time around on the straight and back off quite a bit.  The water temp is creeping up (230*).  No sense is abusing the equipment.  Half a lap later I am on the gas hard again and I spy the corner worker in turn six frantically waving the yellow flag.  There is a bit of a blind spot as this is basically a 180 degree turn, so I get on the brakes hard and bring my speed down.   The same Black S2000 is sitting in a cloud of dust off the inside of T6!  Again I wave at Harley (we had introduced ourselves by now as he was garaged two spaces down) and I pull away.  He may be just a TAD faster, but I have not been four wheels off yet, compared to his two offs!  Harley is a nice guy and I give him crap about the two red dots on his windshield.  One more spin and you are going home!!  

Wade heading through T4 - AWESOME picture courtesy of Kat. 

The weekend ends without further event and I am on cloud nine.  The car has run spectacularly and I have run right in the mix of things in Yellow group.  I ended up running solo for seven of my eight sessions, even doing one session as a lead/follow with Sam in his CMC Fox and my neighbor Chris riding shotgun with him.  Sam flat ABUSES that car and is faster than me on almost every turn.  I found out later that I was puuuuuuuuuuuuuulllllllling on him on the front straight.  I thought he was lifting to give me some room since he was faster in T1, but Chris said the Blue Coupe was just walking away J  Sam later confirmed this.  That makes me feel good since his motor is fresh and mine has 200,000 miles.  

Wade headed into T4, another nice shot courtesy of Kat. 

Post race inspection finds minor casualties to be a warped front brake rotor and a very small leak around the timing cover/water pump.  I have to find time to fix these soon as Tilton and I are planning to hit the track at the end of May!  Spectacular weekend!  

Awesome job Wade!!!

I had to give a 'check-ride' to a student that was in a car with no passenger seat. After him riding with an instructor I led him for a few laps and then followed for a few laps so I ended up doing some lapping in Miss (I was on streets with street pads) and had a good time. Now, to wrap up this story with some random shots!

Above and below are Miss and I in t4 and both are courtesy of Kat (thanks Kat!!). 

Uber-hot older Porsche!

Sorry...I just love this car....

The sticker on the back of Sam and Darcie's fox. Sweet. 

BMW club racers headed to grid.

Triple stacked in grid. I bet that sports racer is tough to see from inside the 911.