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Old 09-10-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
STS-focus
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SCCA Solo National Chamionship wrap up #8 STF

The SCCA or Sports Car Club of America Solo National Championships 2013 was a test of man and machine. The temperatures were blistering hot both days I ran and keeping both the car and myself cool and hydrated was an uphill battle. I had light-headedness and severe muscle cramping despite drinking over two gallons of liquid both days. I stayed away from large amounts of alcohol which would have contributed even more to my dehydration.

The first day of competition brought the long and fast East course with several pin turns and a few slaloms and sweepers. The car felt great and was able to take most maneuvers at no less than 50% throttle with minimal stab braking. After my first run I went to talk to my beautiful wife to make sure she was ok and also to check that she recorded the run from the sidelines, she was and did. Upon returning to my car to check tire pressure and temperature I noticed that my rear exhaust hanger was gone and the tailpipe was an inch off the ground and swinging freely. I quickly attached four zip-ties to the pipe and connected it to the tow hooks in the rear and hoped it would hold, it did. So I bled my tire pressure down to the optimal pressure went out and picked up over a full second on my second run landing me squarely in second place!

My Third run brought overheated tires which I failed to check the temp and spray them down with water to cool them prior to my last run on the East course. Also had a decent amount of "other people's rubber", OPR, caking my rear tires on their contact patch. I simply bled the tires down to the optimal PSI and went on my last run but was a full second off my previous best run, due to lack of traction both under braking and cornering.

The end of first day competition had me Second in my class of twenty-four and a half second out of First place with the last (7th) trophy spot being about half a second behind me. Very tight competition to say the least. Now this is where the mistakes start.

At the end of the day 1 I should have been scraping the OPR off my rear tires which I failed to do. The car was low on fuel and I needed to get a gallon and a half to make it through the next day of competition. I chose to go to Shell to get "premium" fuel and was shocked to see they only offer 91 octane fuel! My car is tuned for MINIMUM 91 octane, and runs like crap with significantly less power on anything but 93 or higher octane, but I was stuck and had to fuel with what they had.



Day two brought the West course which was slower and more technical with slaloms, sweepers and high speed lane change type maneuvers. It also brought clear skies, 95* temps with 95% humidity or at least that's what it felt like. The track surface was easily over 150* which will instantly heat and overheat your tires. I went out on my first run with the usual plan, smooth fast and clean, give them something to think about. But after the first four maneuvers the tires were overheated in the front and the OPR on the rear tires caused me to lose the rear end sliding out from under me at high speed, I lost control of the slide and almost came to a complete stop. Now I am behind the 8 ball and NEED to have a fast clean run on my second if I hope to hold onto a trophy spot.

Second run had Aaron Williams in my grid spot spraying down one sides tires while I sprayed down the other side tires with water to cool them off. We talked about keeping it in line and some driving technique as well as him threatening me if I didn't "clean it up", it was just what I needed. My second run was clean and free from slide/spin outs and I put down a competitive time. My god it was hot, I almost fainted after bending over to check my tire PSI EVERY TIME I bent over, not good, felt sick to my stomach and had random weird cramps everywhere.

Some time later I went to take my last and final run of the SCCA Solo National Championships with everything to lose. Was in second on day 1 and my second run of day 2 put me back into 6th place of 24 in class. I had to pick up some time and keep myself in contention. With more pit help from Aaron and words of encouragement I managed to pick up a few tenths on my last run despite the lack of grip and held onto the 6th of seven trophy spots in the class.

This was long time coming, me taking my car I built in my moms driveway with love sweat blood and tears, bringing it to the National Championships and proving that I had not only turned a grocery getter family sedan into a competitive racecar, But that I myself can pilot a car to a trophy at the biggest stage in Grassroots Motorsports.


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Old 09-11-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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Good report, and glad you enjoyed it, congrats on the trophy.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:30 PM   #3
ecugrad
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Indeed, well done Chris.

Would you mind detailing what you have done to your car, alignment specs and such. Just to help the future cone killers!
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #4
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Thanks guys!

And sure, my setup is as follows;
Suspension: H&R Race springs, Koni Sport (yellow) single adjustable shocks and struts, Eibach front and rear sway bars, SPC front camber plates, Massive Speed System upper strut brace, Massive Speed System Rear shock brace.
Alignment; front camber -2.5 Front toe -0.12
rear camber -2.4 rear toe 0.00
Engine; 2.0 Zetec, Massive Speed System Under Drive Pulley kit, K&N cone filter jammed onto MAF no snorkel, Massive Speed System spark plug wires, MSD coilpack, SCT programmer used to tune (my own custom tune), JBA shorty header, Massive Speed System custom made Magnaflow spun cat catpipe, MBRP catback exhaust, Massive Speed System Dogbone mount
Misc; SVT front brake system, Hawk HP+ pads, Enkei RS6 wheels, Dunlop Dirrezza Z2's in 225/45r16, Bridgestone RE11 in 205/45r16 (for wet days and shorter courses where more torque is needed {on OE wheels}), Corbeau 3pt harness

I think that is everything, if it is not listed it remains OE. Good luck to all who take the very formidable Focus to dodge some cones! STF or the new HStreet/GStreet is where I think the Focus will be most competitive. I am going to something RWD with POWER for 2014.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Re-reading my list shows the three hardest things to get, MBRP catback is no longer available (was the only one for a sedan at the time), Getting Massive to make you a Custom Catpipe using a Magnaflow spun cat, and lastly my tune was derived at the dragstrip making adjustments and taking passes repeatedly until I found the best A/F mix and spark timing with relation to my 1/8 and 1/4 mile times/speeds. Very time consuming but I picked up 1.5 seconds in the quarter with my tune over the SCT tune.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
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And just for fun, here is the external video of my fastest runs;

East Course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEk6RXXLfDk

West Corse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgdJ83cNwbc

Enjoy!
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #7
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There is also some aero work done to the rear quarter panel too. Good job Chris.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #8
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Just FYI, for the next time you're out there. The Harley Davidson dealership right off the freeway next to the airpark has 95 and 100 octane. I was running the 95 the entire week.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:37 PM   #9
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Thanks Mac! Good to know Zewerr, in other hindsight, the Bridgestones would have been the better choice of tires for the gearing and the heat resistance on Friday.
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #10
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There is also 100 octane at a small Sinclair station in Lincoln. It was good meeting both of you (Bill and Chris) BTW.

I still can't believe how well you do with that thing. No matter what you put into it, its the nut behind the wheel.

I'm regreting not running my SVT in RTF. I was .4 seconds raw off of Jeremy Salenius' time this past weekend on a tight course with alot of digs out of corners. I probably could have done pretty well with the high speeds at nationals. I totally sucked balls in STR. Such a competitive class.
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