Friday, July 15, 2016

Final SCCA Majors Race of the Mid-States Season at High Plains Raceway

Since the Pueblo Major over Memorial Day, I took about 60lbs out of the car (including some "up-high" weight like the moonroof), went to 16x7 wheels (max allowed) up from 16x6.5, added a stiffer rear ARB, a front strut bar, a baffled oil pan, and a ProParts custom damper setup with ride height adjustment. Big thanks to Jeff Wong and ProParts for getting me the dampers in time for the race weekend! With the ride height adjustment, I was able to get the car down over 2 inches from stock which looked more like a minivan than a racecar!. I focused on weight, wheel and suspension changes for High Plains. I wanted as much time as possible to dial in the suspension before the Runoffs. I am confident in my ability to drive down a straight and click through the gears, so I know I'll find some pace with more horsepower.
At High Plains, we had three drivers in class, both of whom I raced against at Pueblo. The main goal for the weekend was to see if I picked up enough pace relative to the other guys where it would even be worth it to make the trek to the Runoffs. Overall, I clawed back enough pace from Jeff Jensen, who won both Sunday races at Pueblo and High Plains, to make the Runoffs a possibility this year. At Pueblo, I was 4s back from Jeff J on a 1:50s lap (comparing fast race laps from Sunday). For the High Plains Sunday feature race, I was 1.2s back on a 2m10 lap.
I finished 2nd behind Jeff on Saturday in the rain. He was on rains while I was on slicks, but he had more pace anyway. I came in 3rd behind Jeff and Stan Czacki on Sunday, but it was much, much closer than Pueblo. I crossed the line 2s behind Stan. It was a big learning experience to have a full green 35min race to really push and see how the pace/balance changed over the run. My last lap was within 1s of my fastest lap even with some oil on the turn 6 line. 

Turn 1 in Sunday's race
Mixing it up with an EP RX8
Saturday's Podium

The second goal for the weekend was to qualify for the runoffs. With the 2nd and 3rd place finishes at High Plains, I am now officially qualified - more details on this process later. I'm very much looking forward to my first Runoffs start in September!
There is still much development to go on driver and car before the Runoffs, but I am looking forward to making this econobox as fast as I can. The engine is bone stock, and I still have the open factory diff. By dropping more weight (about 60lbs to meet the min weight) and further suspension development, there should be much pace left to gain overall. 
Thanks to my parents and Ali for helping me thrash on the car over the race weekend and to the Eisele clan and James D for making the trek out to High Plains to watch. Also, thanks to Lane Borg and Stefan Waller for helping me get the car together the week before the race. Also congrats to Jeff Jensen for the double win at High Plains and for Stan Czacki picking up the Mid-States Conference T4 Championship!

Apparently I talk with my hands a lot....

Onboard video from Saturday's race: 

Onboard video from Sunday qualifying:

I had an issue with the GoPro Camera during Sunday's race so I have no onboard video. Next up I have a test session this Saturday at Harris Hill Road for suspension testing. My next race is at the end of July for the Wilmington ProSolo event. I'll be co-driving with my Dad in his C-Street FRS.

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