WDMS Chapter 164

NASA TWS Clockwise 2.9


Aug 2010


Friday: Test day. Due to all kinds of issues (mostly involving work...ug) I got a late start and didn't roll into TWS until 4pm or so. Misty signed me in for the HAPPY HOUR for the last hour of the day (5-6pm) to shake the car down a bit. I left the transmission covers off to make sure I didn't need any last minute LONG/JERICO interface adjustments and was anxious to get going. Thankfully Nick was already there and unloaded and he came over and we got the car out (OMG LOVE THE WINCH!!) and torque wheels, set air pressures, checked timing and fluids. With that, I grabbed my helmet, HANS, gloves and slid into the car. She fired right up, sounding angry and ready to go. We (Scratcher and I) eased out of the paddock spot and down through the infield/grid and hesitated at the pit-out person. A few seconds later a familiar wave and the clutch drops and the Goodyears bite and in moments we're headed through the esses and I'm trying to put heat into the massive radial slicks and the brakes. My mind catalogs the recent changes and runs through them. Front splitter means more front downforce, radiator ducting out the hood does the same, re-fitted for the jumbo Goodyears means more grip, slightly taller rear tires mean a little more speed for a given RPM, adjustable dampers should be more consistent and offer far more control, shifter should be more firm and solid. Fresh motor, changed displacement and new cam. The one thing I really DID gloss over was the shifter. I wasn't even thinking about it, but that prepped Long unit was banging out perfect solid-feeling and precise shifts that the old Hurst never had a prayer of doing. 

Had the DL1 pulling data and the new CHASECAM up and running and had a nice 3 lap session. Caught Gary in Knocker and I followed him a bit and got some awesome shot of him doing a partial agricultural at the exit of 6 (backwards, remember) and then I scooted by going into 2, but I was headed to the pits. If anything was amiss, I wanted to catch it early. I shut down the DL1 and the CHASE and realized I forgot to pull the lens cap off the CHASE. ARGH. I have good sound tho....heh. 

Second session was longer and ended at 6pm. I got in a good number of laps and got to play with the car a bit. It was simply ripping through shifts both up and down. The grip was extremely high and I noticed no ill handling effects. The new ASTs were feeling great and the control they offered on the many washboard surfaces was VERY nice. I could apply power sooner and not have the rear get skittish and the front never felt like it loaded up the outboard tire in fast turn-ins. Huge improvement!! The overall grip with the big tires was great (14" wide fronts, 14.5" wide rears), and the front end was STUCK. The highspeed stuff was cake with the dampers and the grip. OMGYES!

One time, on the front straight clicking along well over 160 or so, I happened to look down. The tailshaft of the trans was inches from my right thigh and the front u-joint and driveshaft were exposed and I could have set my hand down on them. The speed that thing was turning was mesmerizing and yet it was perfectly still. No wobble, no shake. Just spinning really REALLY fast (~8100 rpm). I was sad to come in, but the shadows were looming large and in several places I was holding my hand up to block the low sun. The new black vinyl on the windshield helps, but not with the sun so low. I made a cool down lap and came in as they were checkering us last stragglers. 

Before dark, Cody showed up and unloaded and went to tech. I put the car in the air, tended to a lot of small issues, (cobble brake ducts, check oil filter, run valves, added stickers, general checks) started the transmission cover re-assembly and when it got dark gave up. Shower, food, supplies for tomorrow and bed. I was optimistic for tomorrow. 


Left: ghetto ducting since the 5-3 adapter didn't show up and the nasal rubber repository, Right: new shields for rear, worked like a champ!!

Another upgrade = metal clips for nose to keep it from separating at speed....worked like a champ too!!

Why yes, my radiator screen IS painted yellow!!

wakey wakey, eggs -n- bacey!!....time to go play!!


SATURDAY! First, the bad news. I had planned on running Saturday in the TTR (TT meaning time trial, and R being the class....time trial meaning fastest single lap wins) and then also in the racing class SU (super unlimited). I had to get a technical inspection and log book issued (passed with no problems) and that wasted the first SU practice session. I then went out and with the motor having some good time on it yesterday, I bumped the rev limit up to a closer-to-actual-rev-limit and did my first (and only) TT (time trial) session. Lots of cars out there, pass anywhere, fastest single lap wins. I was in TTR, the fastest class, sharing track with another half dozen TT classes and everyone trying to put in a nice clean lap. I did 5 laps including an outlap, 3 timed laps, and a cool-down/inlap. I wanted to check the car over more and kept catching traffic at inopportune times so I just cut the session short. The car was smoking a bit out the right rear and I was trying to take baby steps in the car. I put the car in the air and began looking. The valve cover breather, which should only see suction in a dry sump system, had blown a bit of fluid out and made a mess. Some brake clean and towels and it was fine. The sump (in the right rear) did the same thing but with a bit more quantity. More spraying and more towels and a good checkover. Cody headed out to go play in HPDE as he climbs the rungs of the ladder to wheel2wheel and looked great out there. His car is getting closer and closer to CMC2!

Cody in the carousel


So, with the oil level in question, I left it where it was. Perhaps I was running a bit much since the level was still about normal. I finished cleaning and got a timesheet (golf cart FTW!). I knew the track record for TTR was a low 1:50 or so and figured with not really pushing the car and having traffic I doubted I was that quick. I was rewarded with a 1:48.8 and so even if I put Scratcher in the trailer now at least I had the satisfaction of running faster than the class track record! I buttoned the car back up after Cody came in and got ready for the race class (SU) qualifying. Again, I was in the fastest class (Super Unlimited) and we were sharing the track with a group of cars from other classes. Also again, I've not run with these guys so I don't want to pull any banzai moves. I'm simply shaking the car down and stay clean. Having looked at the SU first practice session timesheets (that I missed since I was getting Scratcher tech'ed) my 1:48 would have been the fastest time so I felt pretty good. With everything buttoned up and all my gear on I eased on down to grid.

Not enough ARB and ride heights too high....but dang is this thing fun to drive!!!

SCRATCHER QUALY LAP AT TWS <---- clicky clicky!!!

After a quick warm-up lap, I got one flyer and on the next run the smoke got worse and the low oil pressure light blinked momentarily (activates at 25psi). I eased the car back to the paddock, oil pressure strong, but a bit wonky. The motor had again vented some oil out the front breather and also vented quite a bit out the sump breather. Argh. Cleaned it up and decided today was not the day to try and field repair this. My guess is the dry sump pump has some issues or I've got something routed goofy. I cleaned up the mess and lined the car up for the trailer and gave Cody the bigshade for Zeus.

The good news! Car was awesome! Stable at speed, the front end was VERY planted with the splitter and vented hood. Brakes were incredible. Shifter was an absolute dream and felt perfect. Engine pulled nice and clean although I did not really push it hard. Temps were awesome, even though it was over 100 degrees out and lots of cars had issues, my water temp stayed at 190-195 or so. Lastly, the dampers. I've saved the best for last as they were stunning. Previously the rear could get skittish over light bumps on entry and exit and it was incredibly stable now. Before, on a severe turn in the front end would feel like it was loading up the outside front and now it didnt feel that way at all. I could put power down sooner, trail-brake later and the car was simply stable. This car is an absolute dream to drive. MOAR PLEEZ!!!

The mess was a lot bigger in person!! All this came out of the nose! I've got to build some shielding for sure!!

So, lunchtime. Nick and Gary/Laura had run into town and brought back LAYNE'S!! OMG chickeny-goodness!!! We all sat in bigshade shelter and chatted about the day and the upcoming CMC races. After lunch, I grabbed a qualifying sheet and saw that I ran a 1:49.4 (which was in serious traffic) and was very happy to be under the existing SU track record. Sadly, track records only count during the races so I'd missed out on the double-whammy weekend but I was still pretty darn happy. I winched Scratcher back in the trailer and packed it all up. After Cody's last session, he loaded his car on the trailer (he was only doing Saturday also). We headed north with Nick and Gary/Laura and totally demolished the chips/queso at Ninfa's!! Then our dinners! All that heat and work made for some hungry racers!

Cody and I then headed back to the DFW area as the rest of them stayed and raced the next day also. Hopefully we'll hear from them since I know that Gary ended up on the podium a few times and Nick has some excitement also. I'm sure those are some good stories!!

Some pictures of Scratcher...