Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 Blytheville National Tour Race Report

Event: 2012 SCCA Blytheville Solo National Tour 
Date: June 10th-11th, 2012
Car: 2001 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Class: E Street Prepared
Tire: Goodyear Eagle RS (AC) 315/35ZR17
Driver (s): Dave Ogburn III, David Ogburn Jr. (my Father) co-driver

Combined Day 1&2 Results
Total Competitors:  203
Class Competitors:  6
Class Finish Overall: P2 (trophy position)
Delta to 1st Overall:  0.775s
PAX Index Finish Overall:  14

Day 1 Results
Class Finish Day 1:  P2
Delta to 1st Day 1: 0.792s
PAX Index Finish Day 1:  35

Day 2 Results
Class Finish Day 2: P1
Winning Margin: 0.017s
PAX Index Finish Day 2: 8th (top production-based racecar)

Results Links
Overall Results:

Satellite Photos of the concrete runway track at the Arkansas Aeroplex

Ali and I arrived in Blytheville on Saturday June 9th after picking up the ESP Camaro from LG Motorsports in Dallas, TX. LG Motorsports performed a dyno tune on the Camaro and found issues with the previous tune. This alone inhibited my pace in Lincoln because I was significantly down on power, but I also wanted to improve the handling balance and reduce the vehicle weight before Blytheville. Before I ran any test n’ tune runs, I changed to a softer rear ARB, removed the 2-pt. subframe connectors, and installed a lightweight battery in the right rear corner of the trunk (20lb weight savings).

After some initial sighting laps on the test n’ tune course, it was apparent that the engine was much stronger than in Lincoln and that the handling was improved – better front/rear balance, improved peak grip, and much better power-on oversteer characteristics. I started with 30psi front and 28psi rear. Unfortunately, the test n’ tune course had limited hours so I was only able to run 3 shakedown laps and was not able to perform any tire pressure studies.

There were 6 competitors in ESP class at Blytheville including 7-time National Champion Mark Madarash. I started off the year at the Texas National Tour approximately 1s behind Mark on outright pace on a 60-70s course. My relative pace dropped in Lincoln due to the car issues so I was looking to improve my pace relative to Mark in Blytheville. He provides an excellent benchmark because he is consistently fast at each event and is the fastest ESP car/driver (by a large margin) in the country. Overall, Day 1 went well. I solidly positioned myself into P2 in class and finished 0.7s back from Mark in 1st. The ESP Camaro felt great and was well-suited to the fast and flowing Blytheville courses. I was having some trouble (especially on Day 1) with some mid-corner understeer especially in long, sustained corners. 

It rained over night which made for a green track Monday morning. Also, track temps were cooler which shifted my car's balance more towards oversteer. Power-on oversteer was still excellent but I was able to rotate the car more on entry and exit and modulate the car’s attitude with the throttle.  With this balance change, I was able to more accurately place the car on track and carry more speed through linked transient elements like off-set gates leading into a slalom. For the first time this year, I set top time for the day in ESP. My 49.913s 3rd run put me 0.017s ahead of the field. With increased tire temperature and adapting to the car/tire’s balance, I was able to improve my pace relative to the top ESP cars which I was very pleased with. Also, I was several tenths quicker than the fastest Super Stock (C6 Z06) drivers which is something I have not done at previous National Events. Another encouraging note is that my fast run from Day 2 was the 18th 60+ second run on that set of tires which shows good wear potential for the Goodyears and that I may have been even quicker with new tires.

Overall, this was my best event of the year in the ESP Camaro. The improvements I made to my Camaro suited the Goodyear tires well. There is still pace to be unlocked from the Camaro through weight reduction and suspension tuning, so I will be working hard this summer to find a few more tenths for Lincoln in September. 

Onboard video from Day 2 fast run: 

Here are photos taken by Ali from my Heat:

Photo credit: Ali Ogburn

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