Thursday, July 28, 2011

7.20.11-7.24 Day 28-32 Another day, another dollar.

7.20.11-7.24 Day 28-32 Another day, another dollar.

Today is set up day at Mosport International Raceway. Just like Lime Rock, we need to park the truck and trailer, set up the canopy and then do a little bit of work to the car. We prepped the car at Lime Rock but left the alignment and corner weighting until we got to Toronto.

canopy going up

Its a bird, its a plane! oh, nope, its just Jake.

For the rest of the race weekends, I will just do one entry since it will pretty much be the same thing over and over again, just different tracks in different states.

Set up day was pretty easy as usual. We got done fairly early so got a nice dinner and tried to go to bed early. Thursday is test day but only two sessions compared to the normal 4. This weekend is fairly slack compared to past events. Thursday and Friday have two sessions, then Sat and Sun have a race each day so as long as nothing major goes wrong, it will be an easy weekend.

Test day was another easy day. The first session is normally just an acclimation session. Get used to the set up of the car, find the marks on the racetrack and just start dialing in the suspension and aero package. Second session goes just as smoothly, we are picking up time with every session so things are going our way. We don’t make a lot of changes today since we have been here so many times the car comes off the scales pretty well set up. While looking at the data, we realize we have some oil pressure issues. We cut open the filter and notice some metal. The metal bits don’t look like bearing material, they are small pieces of gearbox which is normal for these types of cars. The bits are magnetic too so it definitely says gearbox. We check the oil level in the dry sump tank and decide to add some extra oil. The oiling issues are only in left handers so it tells me its not a consistent oil pump issue, its just a pickup issue. We talk for a long time about whether a motor change is necessary. There is good reason to change the motor to be absolutely sure, but we also don’t want to change the motor for nothing since it does cost money. After going through the data and discussing the problem, we decide adding extra oil to help with the pickup issue is the best option. If the problem isn’t alleviated, then we will be changing an engine after qualifying.

Warming up the car before a session

Friday we have one practice session then the qualifying. During the first session, we try taking a bit of rear wing out since the car had a high speed push. Basically we are trying to find the proper aero balance. The decreased down force in the rear works for us and we make plans to take out a little more during the qualifier. We check the data after the first session and it looks like our oiling issue is solved so we are relieved we made the right decision. Now its time to qualify. My driver Jim gets a couple of hot laps in for a qualifying time then comes in to the pits so I can make the aero change. Instead of adjusting wings, I change the gurney flap from the ½ to the ¼ inch. Jim goes out and immediately spins the car at Turn 2 and flat spots the tires. Turn 2 is an extremely fast downhill left hand sweeper with very little runoff. Our cars are capable of pulling 3G’s in the corner. We are lucky that Jim is able to stop the car before he destroys it in the tire wall. But because the tires are flatspotted, we are unable to continue the session and better our time. P3 on the grid was the best we could manage. We also have an issue now because 2 of the tires have bad flatspots but rules say that we can only change one tire before we get bumped to the back of the grid for the race. So we make the decision to change the worst tire, then flip the right front tire on the rim so the flatspot is on the outside edge of the tire so that the driver can’t feel it. With the car prepped and ready to race, we zip up the sides of the canopies and call it a day.

We don’t race until later in the day Saturday, but since Jake has things to do with IMSA we still need to be there at 8am. I spend a little bit of time replacing some wear plates on the floor of the car then basically just hang out until race time. I wander around the paddock a little and talk to some friends and catch up with my old Canadian customers. They started with a small one car team a few years ago and I helped teach them a little bit about the car and showed their crew members a little about racing. Its great to see them as a full fledged team with 3 cars now. I had a lot of fun working with these guys and hope to see them keep progressing and become a strong team.

The canadian team. 6th Gear Racing

Our race went fairly well, no really big incidents. Started P3 and finished P3. Good points for the championship and Jim got to spray the champagne on the podium. For post race technical inspection we had to give IMSA the right rear spring which means loosening the spring preload to get the spring out. Now Ill need to corner balance the car again. While waiting for the spring to be returned, I prepped the car for the race on Sunday then we called it a day around 6 pm. Ill do the corner balance in the morning in case Tom Drewer(driver coach and our old factory driver for West Race Cars) and Jim decided they wanted a setup change.

Dinner during these race weekends are generally pretty nice. We work hard so we play hard. Some nights it gets kind of expensive so it’s a good thing I don’t need to pay for it, haha.

Race day. This is where the weekend got fun. The race started at 10am so it was another early morning. I had originally planned to attend a bike night in Toronto Thursday night with Owen(read blog from 17th) and also Frankie from, but with the late night at the track, I wasn’t able to make it to Toronto. So I invited them to watch the ALMS race on Sunday.

The bigger brother.

We started from P3 again for the second race and at the start Jim was able to move up to 2nd place. Unfortunately he eventually fell back a spot but not before he ran his best time of the weekend. Then under a yellow flag, he was passed by another car which is against race rules, then a back marker held him up so he couldn’t catch up to the pace car when the race went green again so that put Jim way back in 4th. However, since the pass was done under yellow, his rightful spot should have been third. I informed the officials of the illegal pass but nothing was done about it during the race. Often times, the offender is black flagged and brought into the pits for a penalty stop, but this time they decided they would wait until after the race to make the judgement call. This means we wont be on the podium unfortunately. No champagne today. The Canadian team however got a 1,2,3 podium finish. This would later be changed, but they got their podium photograph, ha

After the race, we started to clean up and break down the canopy. At 1pm, Owen, his wife Jennifer and Frankie came to watch the race so I borrowed some passes from the Canadian team and met them outside to let them into the track. I had to finish loading the trailer so I dropped them off at Turn 2 to watch the start of the race. After we were all loaded up, Jake and I jumped on the golf cart Jim left and went to Turn two and caught the start. I found Owen, Jennifer and Frankie and we all took the golf cart around the track to watch from different turns. I hope they enjoyed their first ALMS race. The ALMS cars are pretty impressive, especially at Mosport since its such a fast track.

When the race was almost over, Owen and Jennifer had to leave but we made plans to have dinner that night in Toronto. Frankie would hang out for a bit with me and then we would ride to Owen’s place together. When Jake went to leave in the truck and trailer, we realized the right rear tires on the truck were flat so we spent some time trying to fill it up. It was difficult since we didn’t have the proper air chuck for the truck tires. Eventually we got it filled and Jake went to line up to leave the track. At Mosport, the trucks and trailers have to cross the track to leave so he had to wait until the end of the race. Meanwhile, I had to track down our helper for the weekend and pay him, then return the rental golf cart. That was a whole process in itself since I had no idea where either one of them were. Found Chris, our helper, then drove the golf cart around for a while trying to find the rental place. I just happened to run into the owner of the rental shop and he showed me where to leave the cart. Never would have found it unless I ran into him.

With everything taken care of, I loaded up the bike and then Frankie and I left for Toronto. He had his GoPro camera with him so here’s a cool video he made. Thanks Frankie!

We took a bunch of backroads through Oshawa then finally the 401 to Toronto. At Owen’s place, I changed and unpacked a few things from the bike and we got ready to leave for dinner. While unpacking, Owen asked me what earphones I used. I had mentioned it when I met him a few days ago near Buffalo. I use the iFrogz since they are short and have an extension that helps the helmet slide of the ear phones instead of pulling them out. I told him I bought them at Best Buy and I asked if they had those in Canada. This got a good laugh out of him and he was like, “What do you think this place is?” Hahahaha, there are a lot of things that Canada and the US have in common, but they have slightly different names so I wasn’t sure if it was the same name or not. For all I know, it could have been called Moose Media or something like that. Ha, its terrible how little I know about Canada and how I assume everything has something to do with moose, maple leaves or mounted police. Owen however filled me in about quite a few things at dinner. It’s been a while since Ive had good Korean bbq so I was excited. Last time I had Korean bbq was that junk I had near Cherohala skyway. Not the same at all. Driving through the section of Toronto where Owen and Jennifer live, it really reminded me of Los Angeles, but cleaner. I guess a lot of suburbs look the same, but the strip mall area was just like something out of San Gabriel.

At the Korean bbq place, we had the all you can eat bbq and ate quite a bit between the four of us. It was delicious and my mouth is watering now just thinking about it. Since all three of us had done big rides recently, we talked about that most of the time. It was cool to listen to everyone’s stories and see the differences in each of our rides. Maybe I can convince those two to come down and do the Blue Ridge Parkway to Deals gap one of these days.

We eventually got full and went back to Owens place and took a few quick pictures of us next to our bikes. It’s funny how this all worked out. I had read Frankie’s blog not too long ago since he also tours on a Honda sport bike. I met Owen while we were both touring on our bikes near Buffalo. Frankie and Owen are both on a Toronto area motorcycle forum and now here we all are…Gotta love the motorcycle world.

I stayed with Owen and Jennifer that night. Owen showed me a route to take in the morning to avoid Toronto traffic. Basically I would follow him north to New Market where he works then I would just keep heading west from there. That night, I awoke several times to a massive thunderstorm and I was thinking about how I had planned on camping that night. It’s a good thing Owen and Jennifer offered me their spare room, I was dreading another wet night like Acadia National Park.

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