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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Over the River & Through the Woods....

 chillsmall.JPG.....But not to Grandma's house.

Nope, just a few friends making an annual pilgrimage to the 'Dragon.  I don't go up there very often these days even though it's only 45 minutes away..  It's fun, but during the summer there are too many "slayers" (i.e. fat guys on slow bikes), too many wanna-be racing drivers, and the "Fuzz" is thick out there as well.  So while I enjoy a spirited drive through the woods, I could do without a motorcyclist in my grille and/or some type of citation.

This trip was pretty fun though.  We drove through at a relaxed pace, then just happened to stumble into a gas station where there were two other NSXs from Chicago and somewhere else.  

I snapped a few pictures along the way: 


9:21 pm est

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TGP After-Action

chillsmall.JPG Well, I didn't break anything, turned a personal best 1:09.4x, and the weather was great.  'Can't really ask for much better.  

My take-aways from the weekend are that A) I need new rear tires again and B) I would desperately like a data-logging system of some time.  Even a phone ap on which I could look at sector times would be invaluable in sorting out some of the "to shift, or not to shift" quandries at TGPR and other similar tracks. Something to consider...

In the mean time, I've already been to tire rack to address the near-slicks. I think I am going to bite the bullet and replace the right rear toe link "while I'm in there" because I'm not convinced there isn't some dynamic toe change happening that's exacerbating tire wear on that corner.  

9:34 pm est

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just for fun this time.

chillsmall.JPGAfter two CMP events more-or-less back-to-back:  one with the intent of pushing forward my licensing progress, and the other an actual race (of sorts...see write up to the left), I'll be hitting Little Talladega again with "the guys" so-to-speak.

These events are fun because there's no pressure, everyone knows everyone, and since it's TGPR you can turn a ton of laps and really work on your setup in a way that you just can't at a big track. 

I've made a couple of changes on the NSX:

-I should have polyurethane engine mounts handed back to me (hopefully early) this week to correct the engine motion issues I felt at CMP and later confirmed in the garage were due to a rubber mount preparing to fail.

-I've added a stiffening bar to the front of the car that should help with cowl flex.

-I will also be softening the front sway bar a notch to help with the push I felt at CMP.  TGPR should be a pretty good indicator of the wisdom (or not) of that change.  

We'll see how it goes.

10:52 am est

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In spite of appearances on this site, we HAVE been busy.

Having now emerged from the icy grasp of the dreaded "off" season, allow me to reflect on a few months fraught with frustration, punctuated by relief, and highlighted by new acquisition.  

One of us (your humble author) spent the majority of his time digging through, swearing at, and attempting to apply science to the NSX's ALB system.  I finally resolved the electrical issue less than two weeks before the opening track event of the season.  I have also finally brought myself to list my venerable MR2 Turbo for sale with the aim of picking up something that A) Just works all the time and doesn't need paint in a bad way B) is SCCA SoloII class competitive.

The other one of us spends way too much time on e-bay.  The results of which will likely make at least a photographic debut on this site before too long.  Or if you prefer, hit up Cars & Coffee in Knoxville on 3/3, and bring your taste for lavender.


11:02 pm est

Sunday, October 16, 2011


As I sit here typing this on a quiet Sunday afternoon, the NSX sits peacefully in the garage.  Front tires nearly shot, wheels covered in brake dust, with the paint and windshield coated with streaks of oil and melted rubber, it stands as a filthy testament to it's own renewed vigor.  

It completed a 300 mile round trip, something like 70 laps of Nashville Super Speedway, and did this without a whimper, gurgle, burp, rattle, or pop.  It ticked over 232,000 miles in the second session of the day.  May it be the first of many.

Now....it's gonna be a pain to get it clean :)


12:56 pm est

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Familiar Stomping Grounds.
Everyone's  favorite (well, mine anyway) test track, Talladega "Gran Prix" Raceway (TGPR) lies stone's throw from the big oval in Talladega, Alabama.  It isn't the longest track at 1.4 miles, but it has a nice variety of turns and is a real test of your brakes and will definitely expose any incongruities with your car's balance.  I've had some half dozen days of practice on this track but I learn something new every time I go.
The epiphany this time involved a way to take turn 3 that didn't feel horribly awkward and/or slow.  A second revelation manifested itself in the form of a Mitsubishi Evo doing something ridiculous into the 6/7/8 chicane (reference ~11:50 in the first video below..  That, I'm sure, will provide hours of entertainment on my next visit.
I did bring back some video.  The first session is probably the more entertaining of the two since it contains other cars.  The second contains my FTD on lap 5.  

Recent Articles

Southern Discomfort: LeMons racing with the Squirting Coronas.
LeMons1.jpgLeMons2.jpg LeMons.JPG
I journeyed back to Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) this past weekend, but this time to do some actual racing.  Several of my autocross friends had put a team together with a...what's the politically correct term these days?..."Southern, pseudo-Hispanic" theme that drew inspiration from a particular beverage of choice.  The beverage in question should be fairly obvious from the team name if not the livery on our Mercedes 300E "LeMon".  Our motley crew consisted of five drivers, all autocrossers (three with prior road-course experience), and one significant other who took pictures and talked sense (Thanks Jordi!). 
We started fast and our lead-off driver Keith even competed for the lead at points...for about 20 laps anyway.  At that point we got black flagged because the lawn-chairs bolted to the trunk apparently obscured our brake lights (pshh, we were braking later than anyone else anyway).  The chair problem only took a couple of minutes to fix, the issue with the brake lines however...that took a bit longer.  In a classic "it came from E-Bay" moment, we had installed some stainless brake lines before the race, aaaand 3/4 of them had utterly failed.  Not sort-of/kinda/maybe failed, I mean they blew their fittings and were dangling in the wheel wells.  One was only held on by the cosmetic shrink wrap.  Mercifully, Gary (our team captain) had left the 20-year-old rubber Mercedes lines in the toolbox and we managed to turn it around in 20 minutes. 
Back on track, our second driver managed to work us back from deep in the 70s into the 60s in spite of a minor agricultural moment early in his stint.  The car ran flawlessly for two hours as Aaron picked his way through the field and ticked off the laps.  Dry of fuel, we came in and I jumped in the car with a full tank of gas.  After a few tragically slow laps where I couldn't find 2nd gear on the automatic box (there was a dog-leg and I couldn't turn my head far enough between the HANS and harnesses to see this),  I started to find the pace a little and had gotten the Corona/Good-Beer/AMG mercedes (always wanted to say it like that) down into the 50s (out of 84 cars entered).  Tragically, just as I'd ticked off several of the fastest laps of the day on a now-dry track,  the head-gasket let go. 
We tried literally "everything", but to no avail.  For giggles, we put a bucket under the tailpipe as the car was idling (we were adding some stop-leak), and in 20 minutes of idling, the bucket had collected about a gallon of water....thus metaphorically representing the fork denoting exactly how "done" we were.  Ah well, there's always next time.  Even with a short day it was a blast.  Apologies to Gary and Derek, who weren't able to turn a lap.  
Winter Meltdown Indeed: 3-Zero moves into 2012.
Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) isn't the closest track to where we are based in Knoxville, TN.  It is, however, not the worst commute, which is why I've been there half a dozen or so times now.  As such it's probably the closest thing to a "home track" that I could claim at this point, with Talladega GP a close second.  You may recall the last time I made the trip to CMP in February.  Mercifully, this trip was more devoid of blizzard.  In other great news, the NSX performed...well, as you might expect a Honda should.  Although I did find a couple of minor things that need to be addressed, it was a trouble-free weekend on the whole.......also, that thing is a helluva lot of fun to drive when it's acting right.
You'll  find some video below from two of the more entertaining sessions of the weekend.  The first consists of me following an ex-racer in a blown S2000 around whilst dodging antique mustangs.  The second is a busier session, but I get to chase down a not-so-antique Boss 302 pony.  The last lap of the second video is a 1:51.xxx and the quickest I have recorded for the weekend.  Comment/Critique is welcome.


Video(s) of the Month
Not to be completely outdone by those three British guys, the Hungarians can also throw together a very watch-able car review when pressed....yes, I'm partial.