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      02-19-2020, 06:04 AM   #1651
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I'm most impressed with the awesome wife and friends! Good job!
Yes, I am surrounded by great family and friends!
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      02-19-2020, 06:06 AM   #1652
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-5 for no Yokohama lettering on tires.
haha! Yeah, no attention to detail whatsoever.....
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      02-19-2020, 12:07 PM   #1653
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I’ll recap the SuperLap weekend by talking about each day separately. As you can imagine, this weekend was full of ups and downs. I’m finding I say that a lot, but that really is how motorsport goes. Nothing ever goes your way 100%. You just can’t control everything. So, you just do what you can to keep the flow of things going in your favor. I’ll try to step through it as it happened. Of course, I’ve already posted the results of the weekend, so now it’s about digging into the behind-the-scenes. It’s not glamorous. I’ll start by saying that I found myself saying thank you a LOT this weekend.

First, a bit of cool news. Something new for me. Titan 7, the wheel company, provided support for me this weekend at COTA. Two of the owners came out and were very very helpful in getting me setup on Friday, and were in the garage helping me out Saturday. I purchased 12 of their rims in 2018, and since then, I’ve gotten to know them from seeing them when they attend track days and time attacks. Really nice guys dedicated to making a great product. We always seem to end up hanging out and just chatting about all kinds of stuff, not just wheels/motorsport. At SuperLap at Buttonwillow last November, I had randomly parked my rig right next to where they ended up setting up their tent. During the event, one of the owners came over and said they really liked what my car was doing and they would be interested in providing some support for me in 2020. This year, as we talked more about it, it seemed to make sense to move forward. It’s not a massive, splashy sponsorship. It’s a generally organic mellower relationship where they provide some support and connect me with some other vendors that they know really well, and they may document some of what I’m doing this year. Anyway, I really like the Titan 7 guys, and I’m proud to say that I’m affiliated in some small way with them.


Friday Feb. 14

I arrived in Austin around Noon. The trailer rig was being stored in a satellite parking lot that is on the edge of the land that COTA owns. It’s in the middle of nowhere. Nothing and no one around. If you’re at the track, it takes a few miles to drive there. But you can see the tower in the distance.

Did I mention nothing around? (I’m dwelling on this for a reason.)



I headed straight to the trailer so I could work on the car. I had no problems replacing the wheel speed sensors. Very straight forward job. Anyone could do that…….not that it needs to be done very often. However, the gas pedal was another story. I COULD NOT disconnect the electric connector. I was trashing my finger tips trying to press the little side plastic pieces that should release the connector. I tried with a flat screw driver. I tried and tried. I was getting worried that I needed to use my hands for the rest of the weekend but the tips of my fingers were getting trashed and raw on this frustrating task. I called my tech friends. Nobody could talk me through it. I needed help. I was really hesitant to go crazy on it and damage the connector the day before a competition.

A couple weeks ago at the Chin event, OG Shark gave me the name of a tech that could provide help if I needed it. I called him but he was north of the city that day and wasn’t available for several hours. He recommended the same guy that b4hand recommended—Chris Taylor Racing Services. And while we were talking, he started texting Chris and told me that Chris was available. Chris has a shop right across the street from COTA. I called Chris and told him my [embarrassing] problem. He showed up 10 minutes later (!!!) with a handful of picks and flat tools and all sorts of things to dig in there.

He was in there for several minutes, and he’s like “Damn! This thing is really stuck on there!” My first thought was, phew……ok, well at least I wasn’t a complete moron. So, then he really goes after it—in a way that I would have never been willing to do—and a couple minutes later, I hear, “Finally!!” He got it. But he said it was really jammed on there and he had to use quite a bit of force. Several years of dirt and whatnot had it really cemented in there. So, my first big thank you is to Chris Taylor! He would not accept any compensation. We chatted for awhile because he’s going to go to a CA track soon.

So, I put the car back together and cleaned it and drove it around the remote empty parking lot and it drove perfectly fine. I was hopeful that these fixes would take care of my problems.

The reason I have emphasized my loneliness in this parking lot is because I knew the trailer’s rear door was really really heavy. I had not lifted it by myself yet, but I was dreading it because that door with the metal ramps is damn heavy (see pics). The spring-loaded wires did very little to assist holding the door. (It’s not my trailer, so I’m just working with what I got.) My back is prone to spasms due to several bicycle crashes over the years. When a back spasm happens, I’m in pretty bad shape for a couple days…..not exactly ideal in this situation. So, with no one around, it was on me to get that door back up. And it was terrible. I was straining pretty hard to get that door up by myself. My back didn’t spasm in that moment, but it was sore and cranky when I was done and I was worried that it would still spasm later. And I still had a lot of lifting to do that evening to get setup for the next day. All my wheels and tools and gear had to be moved into the COTA garage. Ugh. Not the best time to be fighting back issues.

At 5PM, they were letting people into the paddock. So, I enter, and there’s like 50 shipping containers all lined up in the paddock jamming it up. I wasn’t willing to take the double stacker trailer down near the garages because I was worried I couldn’t get out. So I had to park further away in the paddock from the garage. Here’s where the Titan 7 guys save the day! They did most of the heavy lifting for me and loaded up their minivan in several runs with all the stuff. I think I’d still be setting up if it weren’t for them.

The paddock with all the shipping containers for the Endurance race this coming weekend.


The first task to deal with was getting 8 wheels over to the Yokohama Rig so I could get my new tires mounted before they closed for the night. I’ve never dealt with a big professional tire rig like that at a track. So, the Titan 7 guys take all my wheels over there and I’m talking to the Yokohama Tire guy, and he looks at my wheels, and then gets an annoyed look on his face. He’s says, “Hey, uh, you gotta get those stems and weights off those wheels dude.” I looked blankly at him. My garage mate walked by and laughed and said, “c’mon man, this is real race car shit!” I didn’t know! I’m a moron, remember? So, I ran to the trailer, grabbed my stem remover and a couple screwdrivers and me and the Titan 7 guys are hacking at my wheels to get the weights and HVAC tape and stems off as quickly as possible. Once Yokohama pulled off my Pirelli DH, they had to get back to the trailer. So, the T7 guys took care of that.

And then, we had to get my golf cart rental which was parked over a mile away. Again, another task that requires more than one person.

And then, we still had to load everything in the garage from a trailer that was not near the garage—the car, the tools, other gear and the newly mounted wheels from the Yoko rig. I had to get the car through tech, I had to register, I had to badge up the car with the required stickers/banners. GTA, Yokohama and SCCA had requirements for placement of these items on the vehicle. Man, there was all KINDS of tasks to do. I didn’t prep the car for the next day because I wasn’t out on track until 9:30AM, so I had time in the morning to put new wheels on and get the car ready.

So the final word here is———I’m realizing at a big facility like this, you need some help. I’m so used to doing things by myself with my rig in CA, but at something like this, there’s just too many complicated and spread out logistics that can’t be done in a practical fashion by just one person. I’m learning!

I was exhausted by the end of all this. And I hadn’t eaten all day. The T7 guys took me to dinner.

Everything got done. I was just worried about my back.

Next up: Competition Day 1.

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      02-19-2020, 04:44 PM   #1654
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I volunteer as track support next year. Seriously. I may compete next year but I don't have any kinda race car that requires that much to get set up.
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      02-19-2020, 05:10 PM   #1655
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I volunteer as moral support next year. Seriously. I am very good at drinking beer and cheering people on to victory while not actually helping in any manner whatsoever.
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      02-19-2020, 05:29 PM   #1656
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I volunteer as track support next year. Seriously. I may compete next year but I don't have any kinda race car that requires that much to get set up.
That's very nice of you, but don't volunteer to help me----Go out and do it!! Over the next year, do some time trial with NASA or SCCA or whoever puts on time attack in the Austin area and get some experience under your belt. GTA won't let a novice into the event. They require the driver to have some TT experience. But you got a whole year!

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I volunteer as moral support next year. Seriously. I am very good at drinking beer and cheering people on to victory while not actually helping in any manner whatsoever.
Would love to have you hang out and shoot the breeze for the weekend. That way you can give me a hard time in person instead of over text! hahahaha
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      02-19-2020, 06:02 PM   #1657
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Yeah, COTA is a large complex. Sounds like an eventful first day.
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      02-19-2020, 10:11 PM   #1658
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Saturday Feb. 15 - Day 1 of the competition.

Woke up Saturday AM and checked out my back. It was in better shape than the night before. Phew! I was still very careful with my movements because I’ve been dealing with back issues since my late-20’s and I know how it can act in funky ways. I’ll just fast-forward and say that my back held out all weekend and was not an issue.

I needed distilled water for my misting system, so I ran to Walmart on my way to the track (yay 24-hour Walmarts!). Got to the track early enough to put on a fresh set of slicks before the driver meeting. Speaking of the driver meeting…..hehe….Racewerkz Engineering sent me this little sort-of meme that they were joking around with on a group text…….I don’t know how they found this picture from the Drivers Meeting, but this actually IS from the meeting.



Now you know what kind of friends I have! Hahahahaha

So, I get prepped for my first session. I feel good. The weather is really nice and cool. From a weather standpoint, the first session should have been the best session for setting a lap time all weekend. So, I’m exiting the garage and……..the car will barely move. Same revving problems as before. Heck, it was even worse than before. I could barely get the car to move. I couldn’t even get down pit lane. I’m sitting there on pit lane behind the grid wondering what the hell is going on. I’m so bummed at that point. I was mystified that the car ran perfectly in the parking lot after I switched out the speed sensors and the gas pedal. But now, I could barely get the car to move. I was searching for something, ANYTHING, that could be the culprit. The only thing I could think of that was different than in the parking lot was the AIM was now connected to the car. Two weeks ago, I dropped my AIM Solo2DL on the ground from chest-height while walking in the COTA paddock right before these problems crept up. It continued working normally. So, it didn't give me any reason to suspect that it may have a problem. But now I wondered, could the AIM be wreaking havoc on the CAN bus somehow? So, out of simple shear desperation, I disconnected it.

In the video below, at :53 seconds, I am trying to rev the car in Neutral and it just barely revs. I’m seriously pressing the gas pedal and barely any rev. At :57, the DSC ABS warning light shows up on the dash. At 1:05, if you look carefully at the reflection in the windshield, basically just above where the guy is standing there in the light blue t-shirt, you can see me unscrew the CAN connection cable from the AIM. As soon as I do that, at 1:12, I try to rev again and the car revs normally!!!! AHHHH! I turn the car off and back on. The dash warnings clear out. I slowly make my way down to grid. Everything seems fine. I place myself in the grid and the car never had the revving problem again the rest of the weekend. Yes, the Solo2DL is already on it’s way back to AIM. They’ll have it tomorrow. Really curious to see what they say.



So, I’m feeling good, the car is running, I’m excited to put some hot laps down in this first session and……the Lyfe Motorsports GTR blew up a carbon fiber driveshaft on its first hot lap and parked it on the side of the track just before Turn16. It sat there the rest of the session until they finally Black flagged the session when the emergency workers came out. I stayed out there as long as the session was active just so I could keep working the other parts of the track and get back into the flow. But, the session was a bummer from a new tire and cold air standpoint. Ah well.

I did get up to 159.2mph GPS speed on the back straight though. Was happy about that. Could not do above 156mph the rest of the weekend. The cold is very valuable to the supercharger.

Did a 2:21.00 the first session on the first hot lap. That was a new best at that point. At least the car was running. So, the start was good, but just had to back off due to the broken GTR. Ah well. The expectation was that the GTR team would fix the drive shaft and be back, so I wasn’t worrying about any podium slot. I was just focusing on trying to hit my other goal of sub-2:20.

Hard to set a fast lap with this situation:



The rest of the day was fine from a technical standpoint Didn’t get faster the second session which was really annoying. But then the 3rd session, I started to sort some stuff out and I dropped to 2:20.6.

In the fourth session, I ran 2:20.29. Was super happy with how the day ended. I ended Day 1 in 3rd place. I felt confident that I could break into the 2:19s on Sunday. I was still not worried about the podium because the GTR kept making appearances on track. I told myself, if he just puts in a single hot lap, my podium is gone unless I could beat the Viper at 2:19.6, so don't worry about it. But the GTR kept going out and coming back in before he could set a lap time. The announcers said that the GTR kept dropping into limp mode....that the drive shaft somehow blew some other electronics that freaked out the Nissan computer. I started to think that they didn't want to set a lap time that was worse than the 2:15 set by the GT3. So, they would rather bring it in without a lap time than actually lose to anyone. Who knows. I don't know the Lyfe guys, so I wasn't in any position to know what they were doing.

Throughout the day, it was very social. There were a lot of spectators. GTA said they sold over 1100 spectator tickets on Saturday. Everyone was fantastic. Super friendly. And since I had the only race-prepped BMW at the event, I got a LOT of BMW love. It was great to talk to everyone.

At some point, a dude walks up and says he’s b4hand from the forum. He came to the event to say hi! Awesome! He hung out all afternoon. It was great to chat with him. He got to see me have to spring into action when I discovered that one of my brake pads was down to the backing plate right before a session. I had been aware it was wearing, but that was faster than I thought! COTA is hard on brake pads. So, I jumped on that task and had it done before the start of the next session.

The Titan 7 guys were helping me with wheels changes on Saturday which was great. I was glad to have the golf cart because it made getting gas much easier. The gas station at COTA is not in the paddock. You have to exit the paddock and go a 1/4 mile up the road.

I gave b4hand a lift with the golf cart back to his car. Got to see another Interlagos Blue beauty on some JRZs! He was mentioning that he and his family love to attend endurance races, so they’re gonna be back at COTA this weekend for the FIA World Endurance Championship race. I’m sure that will be a cool event. I was able to see one of the craaaaaazy Endurance Porsches in those shipping containers. All I can say is——wow!

Throughout the weekend, the one comment I kept getting over and over——people liked the sound of my car on the front straight. I was asked many times about my exhaust setup. Gotta love that S65 sound!

The weather on Saturday was about as ideal as you could hope for—high 66ļF. Honestly, I wish we had that on Sunday instead because Sunday was warmer.

A couple pix I took that I like:



Next up: Competition Day 2

Last edited by dogbone; 02-19-2020 at 11:29 PM..
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      02-19-2020, 11:12 PM   #1659
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Really interesting to read about the AIM and how it was causing issues.

Curious to see what AIM has to say
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      02-20-2020, 01:42 AM   #1660
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Sunday February 16 - Competition Day 2 - Part 1 (haha!)

If we thought that Saturday had a bunch of spectators, that was nothing compared to what we saw on Sunday. On Sunday, COTA was hosting a Cars & Coffee in their parking lots. In the Sunday AM driver meeting, Jason from GTA mentioned that they made a deal with COTA that anyone who had paid to enter Cars & Coffee could come and check out SuperLap. You wonder if that really would lead to anything? Haha I don't think anyone was ready for the answer!

I donít normally drink caffeine but in the AM, I decided I wanted a little booster, and I had 1 hour 20 minutes before I drove, so I decided to go to the little gas station right outside the track to get some 5 Hour Energy. You would not believe the number of cars arriving at the track for Cars & Coffee!! There were massive lines of cars down both sides of the street waiting to get into the facility. It was a HUGE event! I was actually worried about having to sit in the entry line with all the other cars. I made a deal with an exit security guard that I could re-enter via the Exit lane. I was thinking that, if even a portion of these people came to check out SuperLap, it would be a pretty wild day. It did not disappoint!

Sundayís weather was noticeably warmer than Saturday, And again like Saturday, my first session wasnít until 9:40AM. I really donít like thatÖÖitís too late as far as Iím concerned. They should give the fastest cars a shot at the coldest air. Iíve talked to GTA about it in the past. They understand what Iím saying, but in their minds, theyíre trying to give the fastest competitors with the craziest builds more time in the AM to get things ready to go in case they had to be up all night fixing things. I guess I can understand that to some extent, but itís still freaking annoying. So, we didnít have the same cold weather for the start of Day 2. Bummer. But I was still hopeful because I could see in the data, that as I was getting more comfortable on the track. I didnít need to rely on the horsepower as much to go sub-2:20. But, the data was clear, the horsepower CAN help. On that first lap of Saturday, I was able to gain up to 1.3 sec just from Turn 9-12 with cold weather/fresh engine horsepower over my other laps. I figured I didnít need a whole 1.3 secÖ..just half a second was enough and I felt the weather was fine for that.

So, I was amped up and hopped up on caffeine and ready to go!! So, the first session comes around. My garage mate, Ryan Schimsk, who ran the fastest lap of the whole weekend didnít attend the event on Sunday. He had been working with a data coach named Michael Skinner who did show up on Sunday and was hanging out in my garage. So, I started chatting with Michael, and he indicated that he was happy to help me look at data, video and would be willing to check tire pressures during the session if I came into the pits. I really appreciated his offer and accepted. Whatís funny is that he has a very nice GT3 and he asked if he could park it in the garage. Of course, I said yes. And I gotta tell ya, his car was getting some SERIOUS love throughout the day! Those darn Porsches get a lot of love! No doubt.

I had a brand new set of slicks on the car for the start of Day 2. I had the track fresh in my head. I was watching video of my best driving from Day 1. I felt like I had a real shot at going sub-2:20. So, I go out first session. And I just wasnít hitting the marks. In the first part of the session, I ran 2:21.4, 2:21.2 and 2:20.9ÖÖ.argh! So I came into the pits and Michael checked pressures. They were actually a bit low. I was encouraged to push the car harder. I collected my thoughts and went back out. The session had time for only one more hot lap. I went out and ran a new fast lapó2:20.13. I mean, how close can you get without getting it? Hahaha. In the video, you can see my hands go up in the air in disgust! Hahaha. But at least we were now getting closer. I mean, can you inch towards something any more painfully???

So, I come in. And immediately, we jump on the dataÖÖand itís the saddest thing I have ever seen. I gave away a 2:19 in my fast lap. Well, letís be more specific. I gave part of it away (0.2 sec) in Turn 8 by braking too early and too hard. And the car gave away the rest in Turn 9 (0.3 sec) because it hesitated shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Oh man, I was bummed. Letís take a look at the data: In the first picture below, the blue line is my fast lap of 2:20.13. The red lap is my fast lap from Day 1, the 2:20.29 (the AIM calls it a .31Ö.whatever.). So, as I approach Turn 8, around 5500 ft, Iím .45 sec up from the fast lap of Day 1. Great. Iím in 2:19 territory. But then the blue lap brakes too early and slows too much. Then as I start accelerating at 6250 ft, the car hesitates shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Thatís not my fault! Ahhhhh! Hahahaha The hesitation causes the car to slow and I lose another chunk of time. That was it. The 2:19 hopes were lost at that pointÖÖbummer. But I was still hopeful that in Session 2, I could clean up that stuff. Again, I wasnít relying on fresh cold air horsepower to make this happen. I was getting into the flow of the track and doing things better.



So, the 2nd session rolls around and Iím super pumped. I got lots of stuff in my head. But the day is getting warmer. I started several laps as good as my 2:20.13 best. And then I get to Turn 8 and I clean all that nonsense up. Iím good to go! In the chart below, you can see that by Turn 11, Iím .50 sec and .60 sec faster than my 2:20.13. I could contend for 2nd place at this moment!!! But then, the warmer air is killing my acceleration down the back straightÖÖand on both of those red and orange laps in the chart, I brake just slightly earlier than the blue fast lap at the end of the back straight. And by the time I get off the back straight and exit Turn 12, the three laps are even. I did well on the Red and orange laps entering T16,17,18, but my exit speed wasnít great and both the orange and red laps overslowed for T19. And those two laps were the last shots I had at 2:19 for the rest of the day. After that it got too hot. To me, what this shows is that I donít have enough experience to be consistent at the track to be going for ultimate lap times. This simply comes with more seat time at the track. I am confident that on my next trip to COTA, I can go under 2:20. However, I donít have any plans to return at the moment.



And then at the end of my last hot lap of Session 2, they hung the meatball flag out for me. Now, you have to understand, at COTA, they put the fear of God into you that if you damage the facility or drop massive amounts of fluid on the track over large sections, they are coming after you to pay for the repairs and clean up. So, I see the meatball and Iím like, oh god, please donít tell me Iím leaking fluid on the track. But the car is driving fine and I donít have any warnings on the dash and I donít see anything behind me and theyíre not waving the flag frantically. So, I come in and the safety worker says that it looks like I forgot to latch my hood on one side. So I come in and check it out and one of my hood latch pins broke. I kept the OEM hood center safety catch when I moved to the AeroCatch hood latches. And this saved me from having any issues. I didnít have any spare hood pins. Of course, I didnít want to drive like that, so the race was on to figure out a solution. And here we go, time to start thanking ANOTHER person!

But before I could deal with that, there was the lunch time Pit Walk for the spectators. Earlier in the day, via the COTA PA system, they asked all the drivers in the garages to please park their cars on Pit Lane at lunch and to please hang out with their cars so that spectators could visit with the drivers and check out the cars. Previously, I mentioned about how the Cars & Coffee crowd was welcome to spectate at SuperLap. The question is, would they come? Haha OH YES! They did most definitely come!! All I can say is wow!!!! There might have been 1000+ people in Pit Lane during that hour. Check out the 8 seconds video I took that shows the crowd.



It was like that whole time. Tons of people! It was awesome! So many people came up to the BMW and gave it some serious love!! I had tech problems to deal with, but I put all that on hold to chat with people. I really enjoyed it. During that time, the announcer Cuban Rodriguez came around on the live feed and interviewed each driver briefly. He asked me why I run in Unlimited. I told him I didnít want to run 100TW tires. Haha!

Ok, time to pause here as the post is getting long and thereís still half a day left.

I would like to end this post with some very cool pictures I just received from someone who connected with me on Instagram. @__jayzuniga reached out and sent me these pix. How cool are they?!! Thanks for sending these over!









Next up: Competition Day 2, Part 2
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      02-20-2020, 09:55 AM   #1661
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      02-20-2020, 10:30 AM   #1662
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Originally Posted by OG Shark View Post
If you ever get tired of the whole music thing you certainly have a future in writing mystery novels. Even knowing how it ends I'm still at the edge of my seat waiting for the last part
Although I'm slightly disappointed the videos don't have an epic score as an intro.
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      02-20-2020, 11:10 AM   #1663
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Originally Posted by Ximian View Post
Although I'm slightly disappointed the videos don't have an epic score as an intro.
haha wait for the upcoming montage! I can only type this stuff up and make videos so quickly!!!!
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      02-20-2020, 12:44 PM   #1664
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Sunday February 16 - Competition Day 2 - Part 2

(A quick comment from the pix at the end of Day 2 Part 1: COTA has a rule that you cannot have gasoline inside the garages. So, you must fuel the vehicles either in pit lane or in the paddock. I guess I need to work on looking a little happier while I pour fuel into my gas tank!)

As the Pit Walk ended, I ran around to a bunch of garages and teams asking if anyone had a spare hood latch pin. No one did. Around that time, a familiar and friendly face showed up in my garage to say hi. It was OG Sharkís race car builder Will from M-Technik who I had met two weeks ago when OG Shark had run at Chin. He brought his son to the event and was just checking out the scene. I asked him if he could help me. And boy did he jump on it!! He assessed the situation quickly and decided that he would pull the pin, turn it upside down because itís really long, drill it, Dremel it, and put it back on the car! And he got it done! The hood was latched again!! We also taped it. The GTA tech people came over to see what was the story with my hood. When I told them that I still had the OEM safety catch on there, they were no longer concerned. Plus I told them that a tech had fixed it.

Michael and I continued talking about driving strategies and approaches to various turnsóget on this berm, stay off that berm, go later on this apex, brake around this marker, etc. He does data for race teams and really knows the track and I was feeling very fortunate to have his continued input. His strategies kept me hungry to go back out on track and try new things. (Chris Taylor, the tech who dealt with my gas pedal, popped in the garage to say hi and see how things were going. That was cool. We chatted for a few minutes. I offered to buy him lunch, but he didnít want track food! Hahaha I couldnít leave the track, so Iíll be happy to hang out with him on a future visit.)

While Will was working on the hood pin, Cuban came back to my garage and said GTA wanted to put a live-feed video camera in my car for Session 3. That was cool with me. So, a few minutes before my session, a tech guy runs into my garage and sets up a GoPro with broadcasting equipment in my car. And on Session 3, the livestream cut to the inside of my car a couple times. Itís pretty wild to think that the jumbo monitors in the stands at COTA were flashing up my live driving. I was happy that my driving was ok during the times they cut to my car. Haha! Session 3 was pretty warm and I wasnít blazing any new trails with my lap times. Iíve captured the video from the livestream and will make a video montage of my car soon. So, Iíll show the in-car live footage that they were broadcasting.

When I came back in after Session 3, I looked at the hood pin, and it was broken again. The tape was still holding. So I asked Will if he could simply zip tie the hood. He said yes and got going on that. I was SO glad to have his help. Iím not sure I would have run again without his tech work. He also would not accept compensation. (Iíve decided how to pay everyone backóófood at their favorite local restaurants!! Iíve been texting mutual friends and Iíve been finding out where they like to eat and getting gift certificates. I hope thatís enough.)

Up until this point, I havenít talked about the podium. The day was so busy with spectator visits, tech problems, live in-car cameras, tire rotations, data and video analysis, driving and who knows what else, that I wasnít even watching the timing results. I didnít eat any breakfast or lunch. I wasnít even sure if the Lyfe Motorsports GTR had run a lap or not. Did the GT3RS get any faster? I was just busy doing my own thing. Finally, as I was prepping for the 4th session, I found out that the GTR still had not put down a lap time. This was the first time I stopped to really consider the idea that I might actually be able to podium at the event. But, there was still one more regular session. If that GTR didnít put down a lap in the last session, I was good for the podium. I didnít let myself dwell on it. I was still trying to put the pieces together for a 2:19. So, I went out and ran Session 4 and there was nothing to be gained timewise. Couldnít make any improvements that led to better lap times. Too hot and the tires were not agreeable. I came back in and learned that the GTR had not put down a lap time. So, I was pretty sure that was it. I got on the podium! 3rd place!!

At that point, I knew I had a ton of packing work to do, so I was going to skip the SuperLap Battle Shootout session. I knew the podium would take awhile and I was being told that we had to get out of the garages very quickly. So, I decided to be done driving and I started assessing the condition of all my stuff spread around the garage. It had to be buttoned up for transport.

A few minutes later, a GTA staff person comes running into my garage and asks me if Iím running the Shootout. I said I was not planning on it. He flat out asked me to run it. I pausedÖ..I really didnít want to, but I said yes. Then I started thinking about it. Why not run the slicks from yesterday? They would probably be in better shape than the tires I was abusing today. In the past, Iíve had experiences at Willow Springs, where in the afternoon, I switched to a scrub tire that hadnít been run that day yet, and I went out and set a personal best. I wondered, could that be the secret to getting my 2:19? Run a tire that hadnít been run yet that day? The last laps on the Saturday were a 2:20.2, so they were still a viable tire. So, Will jumped on that task and swapped the wheels out while I was figuring all my other tech stuff out. I didnít have a ton of time to prep for the Shootout session.

The Shootout session was supposed to be a short one. Just a couple hot laps and come back in. So, I go out, do a warm up lap. I try to keep the pace high so I can heat the tires up in one lap. I get a good start to the lap. The AIM says, Iím only 0.1 sec slower than my 2:20.13 after Turn 2. This is fantastic! Best start of the afternoon by far! If I can keep this up and stay clean through Turns 8 and 9, Iíll still have that 0.5 sec to work with over my fast lap that had the bobble in T8/9! I get excited. And I keep on it very aggressively into Turn 3. As I run through Turn 3, the car starts to slide a bit to the right. Now, looking back, I believe the tires were not sufficiently up to temp yet. As the car slid to the right, I turned the wheel to the right because I was approaching Turn 4 and then the rear kicked around to the left and I slid off track at full pace. I ended up going into the gravel sidewaysÖÖ..argh. That was a bummer. I drove out of the gravel and the car was shaking pretty good. I got back into the pits. I had wondered if the livestream had caught my off-track excursion (I was hoping it didnít). But no one knew I went off track. The livestream was on the Viper when I went off. I asked Will to swap my rims to see if the shaking would go away. It did go away. But the car is pulling a bit to the left now, so something is up. The tech that is transporting the cars is going to look at it later this week. So, now I really wish I hadnít driven the ShootoutÖÖah well. For a moment, in that shootout, I thought I really had a shot at what I had been seeking all weekend long. I still believe if I had driven the whole lap, I would have had a shot at it. But the tires just werenít readyÖÖThis put a damper on the weekend because this was the last lap I drove and I felt like I was leaving the track with my tail between my legs. I hate having the last time on track being an off-track thing, but the event was over so that was it.

And I had to shake it off and start emptying the garage out immediately. They were literally shoving us out the door! The dudes with the leaf blowers and floor scrapers were already out in full force right as I arrived back in the paddock from the Shootout. Me, my family, Michael, Will and a couple other people who were willing to help started grabbing stuff and shoving it outside. We tossed a bunch of stuff in the minivan and then left all the wheels just outside the garage in the paddock and then ran off to go to the podium. It was such a hectic scene. And for me in that moment, there was such a mix of emotions. I had podiumed and that was awesome! But I had injured my car and dinged up the paint and carbon doors a bit and I was really annoyed at that. And just going off track was really bothering me. And I had missed my goal of sub-2:20. And we had to get out of the garage. And we had to go to an awards ceremony and spray champagne. Not to mention that Iím starving because I hadnít eaten all day. And I knew we had to fully pack up and lock down the trailer for transport which was going to take awhile. And now, the fatigue is starting to set inÖÖ.So many emotions all at the same time!

Until the moment when we walked into the building to go to the 2nd floor to the podium waiting area, I wasnít really appreciating the fact that I had podiumed, but standing there in the red-carpeted waiting room behind the podium, it was starting to sink in. I was pretty blown away by the whole thing. I went out on the podium when they called me and there I was standing on a Formula 1 podium---it was quite a moment for meóa privilege. All the bummer feelings from the last session went away pretty quickly. And I really did my best to absorb the experience. I am so glad that my family could share that moment with me. Because I doubt Iíll be able to make the podium in the future if I go back. The plain and simple truth is my car is not really an Unlimited Class time attack machine. Remember, they make me compete against AWD cars. Cuban was right to ask me why I run in Unlimited. I donít have any illusions about what my car is. My car is a decently quick track-day car with an amateur driver who is in a constant learning cycle. But for the cars that are expected to be podium contenders, time attack can be a cruel mistress. At every event, there are amazing cars that should crush my times that never put down a single lap for a wide variety of reasons. I certainly donít wish ill will on any other team. But if another team canít deliver a lap, then me and my car are ready push our limits and see what we can do (as long as the AIM is not wreaking havoc on the CAN busÖ..haha).

Final thoughts:

-This was by far the most high profile and heavily spectated time trial event Iíve ever attended. (And the farthest away.) I didnít achieve my sub-2:20 goal. But I tried damn hard and got damn close. I put everything I had into it. I hope that comes through in my write up. A little more time in the seat at that track will bring about a bit more consistency, and that will get me there. (My virtual best based on splitting the track into 6 sectors is a 2:18.7.) Getting 3rd place was totally unexpected and very satisfying. And in the long run, the 3rd place at this particular event is better for my tracking resume.

-The track and facility of COTA are incredible. I have the highest respect for the difficulty of the track. I did my best to learn it as quickly as possible. For me, COTA and Sonoma are the toughest tracks Iíve visited. Itís hard for me to say which one is harder. Theyíre tough for different reasons. And itís hard to put fast lap times at both places.

-There was SO MUCH open track since there were around 40 cars at the event spread across 4 run groups. I was extremely happy with that aspect of the event. Aside from the first session that got black flagged due to the GTR, only a handful of laps were impeded over the whole weekend. There were times that I felt like I was the only car out there! That was amazing. Compare that to Buttonwillow where they have 90 cars on a shorter track, and itís a night and day difference. At Buttonwillow, you have to REALLY strategize how to find open track. At COTA, it was amazingly open. Again, that felt like a privilege.

-I am SOOO thankful that across both the Chin and GTA events that the weather was great. It rains at COTA all the time, and I feel very fortunate that the weather held out for us. My car sits in the trailer/garage when it rains. I thought the wiper mechanism worked, but when we were in CA prepping the car, and we re-attached the wipers, the mechanism didnít turn onÖÖnot sure whatís up there.

-I hope my writing shows that there was never a dull moment this weekend. hehe Sunday was especially----shall we say----active!

-In the future, if GTA continues to require a spec tire, I hope the proper super soft tire compound is available. Running a medium compound tire was ok, but not ideal. Running a 280 square does not max out the sizing that I can run on the car, but thatís what Yoko offers, so Iíll have to settle on that. If Iím being honest, the 280 doesnít rub all over the place when the suspension is compressed, so it gives you comfort that youíre not grinding away at the fuel filler tube, or the supercharger air intake, or the welds at the back of the wheel well or the back of the headlight housing or theÖ..shall I continue?? And I have to admit, the white Yoko logos swirling on my wheels looked cool on the livestream!!

-The fact that I turned 50 was very far in the back of my mind! Mission accomplished! (Until my wife threw a surprise party on our return home from the airport!!! Hahaha)

So, Iíll say it one more timeóóTHANK YOU to everyone that jumped in and supported me! I really appreciate what you did for me!

A few pix:

Up on the podium. Really cool to be up there.


Holding the plaque with my wife. So glad she could be there.


Me looking like an idiot completely surprised as I entered the house and thereís a huge party waiting!




My wife made this big banner and had it hanging for the party!



Next up: a montage video from the livestream. (I haven't even started it yet, so it might take a bit of time.)
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      02-21-2020, 04:02 AM   #1665
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inspiring. 50 years old and having a great time. it reminds me to tap the brakes on things in my life and focus on the overall picture. i'm about to be 33 and being immersed in the car scene i often feel like i'm doing something wrong- i have a light build of a 10 year old car and i'm not as successful as i pictured myself when i was younger. this past year i have focused on being content (and trying to be smart) in my slow and steady pace.
seeing this kind of stuff is simply a positive reminder that i have 17 more years to go until i'm 50- and to just be patient. the best years are ahead.
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      02-21-2020, 07:21 AM   #1666
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Happy 50th Birthday!

I love your long write-ups. I prefer to try and attempt to document the same way when I can. It's enjoyable to get all of the details and I think on some level helps everyone get to know you a bit more. It's also good to see that at 50 you're still enjoying these things as I hope to be as well.

I can share a lot of the same thoughts as roastbeef above. I'm about to be 34 and we often forget just how young that really is. It's easy when you're 25 to think even 35 sounds old or far away but what time has taught me is that it's not. A lot of days I still feel like I'm 25 and I think that's a good thing.
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      02-21-2020, 10:25 AM   #1667
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Alright, here's a little video montage that combines some livestream footage, my in-car footage and a few photos along with some Epic Score music. Didn't want to make it too long, but I think the vid shows the cool angles the Livestream was getting around the track.

Had quite a bit of fun!....although I'm not a video editor.... hahaha

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      02-21-2020, 12:11 PM   #1668
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Iím not sure Iíd have left the pits with that view right in front of me. I certainly wouldnít have seen any flags waving at me...
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      02-21-2020, 01:11 PM   #1669
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How have the Titan7 wheels held up with the abuse they get put through?
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      02-21-2020, 02:52 PM   #1670
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Originally Posted by admranger View Post
Iím not sure Iíd have left the pits with that view right in front of me. I certainly wouldnít have seen any flags waving at me...
---sigh---You want to know how lame I am? Until you made your comment, I forgot my GoPro was running during that little exhibition. My routine this weekend was to start recording in the garage so I wouldn't forget to record. Should I dig it up? Anyone want to see from a different angle? hahahaha
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      02-21-2020, 03:02 PM   #1671
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How have the Titan7 wheels held up with the abuse they get put through?
I bought 12 rims in Spring of 2018, so they'll be two years old in a couple months. All 12 are still in service without issue. I'm constantly switching out tires because scrubs don't last very long. I try to hang around and watch the rims spin on the balancer. And I always ask the mounting guys to tell me if they see anything funky. Everything continues to look fine. And I think it's fair to say that I am not gentle with them.
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      02-21-2020, 05:40 PM   #1672
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when you're going through the esses at the 24 second mark, it looks like your entire car is over the rumble strip. do they kinda frown upon this, or is it something everyone is doing?
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