Track Weekend - RECAP & Great Stories
It was a great weekend for a track day at Summit Point in WVA.
Pics and video will be posted tonight.
A grand total of TWO (2) SVT foci came out to play. Sadly, only one would survive.
The entire weekend saw a total of 70 cars come out to play. The novice group was light with only 22 “rookies” and 20 instructors to assist them. The instruction was good and the drivers were able to work quickly and efficiently with their mentors. So much so that we “solo’d” 7 novice drivers and that is unprecedented in my experience.
The first day brought heat and more heat. Thankfully, there was a breeze that helped keep some of the air moving. However, the cars performed flawlessly and we had some really interesting cars come out to play. Just a sampling:
- Mercedes Benz 6.3 (This thing sounded like Lucifer’s Hammer on the straight)
- Ford Mustang FR500C Challenge car. (The owner was sorting it out before his first race in 2 weeks)
- 98 Pontiac Firebird (the #46 car that won the Daytona support race at the Rolex 2 years ago – it was the only car LOUDER than the Benz)
- BMW 1 series coupe (the first one that I’ve ever seen. The driver was a novice, but the car looked really good on the track)
- Race prepared NASA Lotus Exige (Easily one of the fastest cars on the track)
As for me, my weekend started and ended with trouble. I’ve been battling shifter cable issues for the last month, but finally came away with a diagnosis. Periodically, the shifter would “pop out of gear”. The cables are all intact and there was no external physical signs of failure. In my first session, a casual upshift to 3rd gear disengaged the linkage and I was forced to coast back into the pits. We tore out the air box and noticed that the bushing that attaches the cable to the shifter linkage was COMPLETELY OFF of the car. The locking mechanism (made of plastic) inside the bushing was broken causing the cable to slip off of the linkage. Some ingenious “West Virginia engineering” and clever use of zip ties got me rolling again. [wrenchin] Thanks to Aaron and Mark for figuring out what stumped me for over 3 weeks. The shifter cable held up for the remainder of the event and performed without issue.
We went incident free for the remainder of the day until the last session before lunch. A Porsche 944 Cup Racer high sided the banking in the carousel and boxed the tire wall. The tire wall won…or so we thought.
The driver loaded the car onto a trailer, took the car to a friends shop. Pulled the frame, realigned the bumper, pounded out the rear fender, replaced the front brakes and was back on track less than 3 hours later. Amazing what you can do with the right tools and resources. [ohcrap]
Day 2 brought humidity along with the heat and thunderstorms. We had to suspend track activity for about 30 minutes because of lightning (corner workers are very exposed). We were able to get rolling again without further delay.
As is almost ALWAYS the case, the last run group tends to have the most dramatic incidents. The same was true for me. Earlier in the day, I tried a new line on the track that enabled me to shave nearly FOUR (4) full seconds off of my previous fastest lap on Shenandoah. I was turning 1:38 second lap times, which is very respectable for an old, fat guy like me with an underpowered car. [woot] By way of comparison, this is about 3-5 seconds slower than the full blown race cars.
Then, near disaster. I was entering “Big Bend”, the final sweeping turn that leads onto the main straight when I encountered a substantial vibration from the front of the car. VIBRATION, VIBRATION, THUMP, THUMP. I was convinced that I had a tire going down and eased to the right side of the track and slowed down pointing cars by. I came into the pits and got out of the car. Once again, no physical signs that there was anything wrong with the car. No fluid, tires were inflated without any tears or cording. We put the car in neutral and began rocking it back and forth to recreate the noise. No noise, but instead were rewarded with a lug nut and a broken stud FALLING OUT OF THE WHEEL !!!! [ohcrap] [ohcrap]
I am VERY meticulous about checking and rechecking lug nuts on the car. Yesterday was no exception. So, how could this have happened? [scratch] [???:)] [scratch]
A lesson here. If you have aftermarket rims and go to track events, invest in STEEL hub centering rings TIRERACK carries them. The plastic hub centric ring that came with my wheels melted and disintegrated allowing the rim to shift on the hub. The cornering pressures effectively rotated the lug nuts and SAWED a wheel stud completely off.
I was very lucky that I didn’t lose a wheel.
The little SVT came away injured, but I was able to limp home at the end of the day. There will be a few hundred dollars in repairs and maintenance, but the little Red foci did her job well.
The same cannot be said for a pretty Sonic Blue SVT. Sadly, late in the day, she carried too much speed into the carousel and high sided the banking. The car ended up 3 feet, nose first, into the tire barrier. The nose was completely destroyed along with most of the passenger side body panels.
Consensus was, from both witnesses and in car video (I did not see the wreck), that the driver did everything right. CROSS-DRILLED rotors lengthened the stopping distance and caused the driver to carry too much speed into the turn. The banking then launched the car out of the back side and hurt the car. Thankfully, the driver was not injured. He was in good spirits (all things considered) about the experience and intends to repair the car and be back out soonest. Only this time, he will have solid rotors, and Hawk pads instead of the cross drilled rotors and Hawk pads.
For me, if I could say there was one highlight to the entire weekend, it was my wife and 3 month old daughter taking their first laps on a race course. The “Wee WeeAsp” was strapped in and Mom was at the wheel and we headed out for a parade lap. My little girl giggled and smiled through the whole trip and waved her arms all the way through the banking. Some might say it was just gas, but I know that racing is in her blood. [driving] [race]
Going to cut and paste from the SVTPERFORMANCE thread so I can eliminate some of the typing on my end, so you may not fully understand some of the chat in the posts.
Diane and I both thank you all for the nice words, and yes, we enjoy having company and entertaining and I think that showed.
We will be doing this again I assure you.
Car still runs fine, not leaking anything, and going to limp it to Burnt Mills this afternoon if you want to come point a finger and laugh.
Greg, thanks for discussions we have had, I have learned a lot from you guys and still have so much to learn, like when it does not feel right don't do it.
If you recall, we were having a discussion about my brakes just before this session and I should have thought more about it I guess. I was just excited and anxious to get as much track time as possible as the days went on I did feel like I was learning every lap, making better lines, and becoming smoother. At least it felt like I was getting around the track OK.
Now the brakes, this is a totally new set up and acted totally diff than the stock brakes, let me try to explain.
Stock brakes when I get on them had an initial hit and then you could put your face to the windshield if you mashed on them pretty good. Hell, I can do that in Dianes SUV.
Now the new brakes, slotted roters and hawk pads. When I get on them, no intial bite to speak of, and then I could mash as hard as I could and still not get anywhere close to the stopping power it seemed I had stock. So, I am thinking this is a normal characteristic of my new setup and that I need to learn how to use them. There was an earlier lap when at the end of the long straight I had the peddle mashed with all of my 220 lbs and the car still just gradually slowed, luckily enough to afford me to make the turn. I was attempting to explain this to Greg and Dave, both good racers, and we determined they may not be getting them hot enough to work properly. Well, I was heatin them up and the grip was just not there. I went into the turn a lot faster than I wanted to, tried to brake a lil and that just made me drift a lil more to the outside...so I thought front wheel drive I can pull through this so got back on the go peddle...ummm that did not work either.
This is a learning experience, I will be back, I will be more anal about how my car drives vice just sucking up track time. The brakes were just not right in my opinion and it is solely my fault for pushing it. I mean it is really hard to explain, but I could brake as hard as I possibly could and still not dive the front end very much, not good.
Tires were good for those of you thinking of the new Nitto NT01's, once I took lil pressure out the stuck very well in a controlled situation. The suspension is awesome, and Jon's race tune had me screaming.
I am not even sore at all this am, well, my feelings hurt like hell and I feel like a total [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)], but other than that I am well and I can still say I had a fantastic weekend.
Diane was worried, but not mad. had this happened when I was married to the now ex, I would have had medical bills to deal with too
Greg, I am looking forward to seeing what we find in the brakes too, I'll keep you posted.
Looks like this may also be the time to do the needed oil pan and mid-pipe I am sure Billy can make it better and faster even yet to keep up with my mad skills.
Actually Tom, it is already dropped off at the shop as I could not stand to see it everyday sitting here. It is getting mended, and will probably make some improvements along the way. I will be back on the track with a diff brake setup I assure you.
I am so kicking myself now for not having you or Greg, or someone else drive my car and give me your opinon of the brake deal. I found a way to work around the brake issue and ended up getting around the track quite well. However, that did not work on the last session and now I am paying for it.
First time on this forum, lots of good info.
Anyone want a set of EBC rotors with about 500 miles on them?
Like I said...
STOP beating yourself up. It happens. [slap]
If I didn't think that you were doing well, I never would have signed you off to drive solo.
Glad to hear the car is being repaired. I am not sure why, but I had it in my head that it was squished too far to be repaired. That is GREAT news.
Even better is the fact that YOU are doing well. [thumb]
sounds like a great time. glad you only had minor damages.
good luck fixing them. and doing shift cables is a PITA btw...ive done two sets. lol. make sure you get the updated ones...from what im told the older ones bushings are terrible...iono tho.
PS. Ken - Welcome to FF. [welcome] Stick around. It is a great community!
i dont actually. but im sure you can get one from mike.
i ordered ones for a 2004 svtf, that is probably the best bet. then just make sure theyre adjusted right, and bam...driving nirvana.
oh and welcome ken to the wonderful world of FF.
GREAT write up... would love to have been there.
Were the rotors on the blue SVT slotted or cross drilled or both?
We use Powerslot slotted rotors with Hawk Pads and have plenty of braking power on the track.
The shop is a full service shop, they are doing the body work and the mech stuff. They have a the lazer frame alignment deal and I am in good hands.
Really only the right front fender, HOOD, front bumber and associated fascia, right head light, and right mirror.
Gonna unbend some stuff up front, and make sure I am straight.
What are your thoughts on new motor mounts at this time as it will be a good time to do stuff like that.
slotted and dimpled Eb
BC rotors with hawk HPS pads...
Thanks for the welcome guys,
Sorry to hear about the wreck. I high sided there last year as well, thinking I could floor it and it would just stick (wrong). Luckily I stayed on the track.
Dimpled rotors are a mistake. Hawk HPS are a mistake. I've had really good luck with cheap blank centric rotors and carbotech hp-10 pads. Also make sure to bed them in properly.
Also for lugs the best are arp. I got mine from massive speed in chicago.
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