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2011 Street Modified: Attack of the Panda - Episode 1: NJ ProSolo

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  • 2011 Street Modified: Attack of the Panda - Episode 1: NJ ProSolo

    Last year ended on a good and bad note for my little race team. On the upside, we had a car capable of winning a National Championship. On the downside, we let that National Championship slip through our greedy little fingers.

    This year we've got one goal: win big

    So far things have been hectic. Work on the ST car has gone slow, and development of the Panda has suffered. Besides basic maintenance and a new transmission, all of the new aero and weight reduction has hit the back burner. With everything getting hectic, we only had 1 event to get ready for our first ProSolo of 2011.

    Thankfully, we rocked that 1 event. Placing 5th in the overall PAX at an event where Pro class went 52 cars deep, all while on shot tires from last season. Going into the NJ Pro as a huge overdog, things were looking up....

    Things looked so good that we never bothered to check the grid sheets. Had I looked, I might've not run on the old tires. Pulling into grid, I found that a new challenger had arrived. Corey Ridgick of BSP fame (placed 2nd in BSP last year at Nats) had decided to move up to SM in Cy Lee's BSP Evo. Despite the class limitations, the Evo guys have combined E85 and the unlimited boost rule to make near SM power. The suspension development is also pretty deep due to the number of cars built for the class. To top it all off, the advantage of AWD adds another 0.3 to 0.4 sec per side before reaching 60ft. Initially, I felt we were a bit under prepared to go up against that kind of heavyweight.

    Into the first round, things actually looked decent. Corey nailed some good runs as expected, besting Dave's best raw times by roughly a tenth on either side with a 30.3 on the left, and a 29.3 on the right. Dave started off with his usual hi-jinx, having cones on both of his left side runs, despite posting raw times right up there with Corey. Having been beaten by Dave all of last year, that wasn't very comforting.

    Going into my runs, I took it easy at first. With the car at only 14psi, it was easy to drive, and I felt like the car had never handled better. It was confidence inspiring, and because of that I was able to kick things up a notch. The next left side run would be one of only two sub-30 second runs for the class on that side. Carrying that speed over to the next side might've had me a bit over zealous at the light, tripping it just 0.008 seconds early to negate a 29.6 that would've put me into the lead. That one was a heart breaker, and many profanities were yelled into the camera beside my head.

    Sitting in second for the following heats was painful. The clouds in the sky were about as dark as they get, and every now and then some raindrops would tickle my face. It was enough that Jenna had the wipers going for one of her runs, but thankfully that's all it amounted to, and things were dry by the time SM came back up.

    The afternoon heat went well. I started off with a 29.8 to knock my right side below 30, and eat into Ridgick's lead. He was able to dig deeper into the 29's, posting a 29.2 while I botched the left with a 30 flat. The next set of runs would eventually determine the overall winner, as I hit the right side running. Posting a 29.2 would give me the slightest lead, which was followed up by a 29.7 on the left that one of my favorite XP guys (Dave Newman) wouldn't even match (which was actually one of my highlights for the weekend, even though he obliterated me on the right with a 28.4).

    Right side run:
    YouTube Video
    ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

    Left side run:
    YouTube Video
    ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

    Sundays at Pro Solos are usually the make-it or break-it day, and unfortunately the latter occured to Cy's Evo. On its first run on some fresh Hoosier A6's, it cracked the transmission case and wasn't able to run the rest of the day. Despite swapping the fresh tires to Micheal Fineberg's BSP Evo (which also runs on corn), Corey wasn't able to better any of his times. In the end, it feels more like a lucky win, as my final run resulted me in pushing the Panda so hard I had my second ever ProSolo DNF as I locked up the fronts cresting a hill, pulling the car to the left while I needed to go right (my first ProSolo DNF was due to a broken transmission, oddly enough).

    Sunday afternoon came with the Gumout Super Challenge, which I qualified 14th of 32 for. This is probably the part of ProSolos I enjoy the most (even just watching from the sidelines). Unfortunately, I paired up with a good friend, Scott Thursby of ES in the first round. Fortunately, that gave me the chance to screw around, so I mounted a couple GoProHD's to watch him get his 2 second per side head start Coming off the first run, I had a 0.8sec advantage (running the faster right side). Knowing it was going to be close, I pushed a bit harder going into the slalom, and paid for it basing a cone with the back tire. Despite having the faster overall scratch time by a few thousandths, I had to concede the win to Scott (only to watch him red-light against a fellow New Englander later on).

    That's about it for NJ. Next up is the Dover Tour in 2 weeks!
    Last edited by AceInHole; 05-24-2011, 09:07 AM.

  • #2
    Good recap. I feel for you on the close finish.

    Reading this just makes me pray that I have my DD ready for the Auto-x on June 25th in my area. I'm not a member of the SCCA yet but I'll be out there to turn the heat up on the regulars anyways. Wish I had wheels I could designate as track wheels and run some Star Specs or NT-05's. Tires will be my weakness this go around.
    Originally posted by Matt93SE
    in engrish, it's all about the length of your shaft... :P


    • #3
      Nice recap! I saw some of the photos were from Steguis photography, I remember him from the boards in my RSX days. He had a beautiful blue Type S. How did the ST car do?
      Chicago Region SCCA SM # 688
      TSSCC SM # 688


      • #4
        The ST car performed well, but not quite good enough. They screwed up the heats and put ST and STX together, which put all 4 drivers in one heat. I think that screwed with Todd and Brian in ST, and definitely didn't help Jenna and Wiley in STX.

        I'll let Jenna post the main recap from the ST point of view, but for the most part the times were there. Todd coned away runs on either side that would've moved him up 44 spots in PAX. Despite not being quite enough to catch Jeff Mabrey (who has a few ST class trophies at Nats), it still shows the car is right there. Also remembering that Mabrey's car has some 8 years of development (so I heard) against the maybe 8 events on our ST 240sx sets a precedent that we should be slower. I'm making some big changes to the ST car this week, testing this weekend, and it'll be under the gun again in Dover the following week.

        Edit: Videos now in first post!
        Last edited by AceInHole; 05-24-2011, 06:11 AM.


        • #5
          Great job PJ,there is something to be said about leaving well enough alone,unfortunately I did not take that route this past winter and feel like I am starting all over with a new car.But you know the XP ladder is a steep one and we were about maxed out with the old configuration.Looking forward to seeing you and David in Lincoln again this August.Good luck.


          • #6
            Nice write up. It means so much more to hear how things went than just reading the results.
            Thanks, and good luck in Dover.


            • #7
              Nice writeup.

              Needs more DefSport parts.
              '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!

              DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!


              • #8
                Lot of fun readng this one! Never fear, if you dont get the title this year, you've found your calling writing articles for the forum. ...holding breath for next round.


                • #9
                  You definately have more engine than tires/diff. That may not be a bad thing though. I drove a friend's 500+ HP WRX and I spent more time on the brakes than on the throttle!
                  Don Johnson (really!)
                  Just so you know.


                  • #10
                    Was that tire shake on the launch? Very nice write up.

                    Hopefully by the time I make it to the Nat's you'll still be racing a SM 240. It would be fun to compete against you.


                    • #11
                      Man, love seeing action photos of your car !!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jason M View Post
                        Was that tire shake on the launch? Very nice write up.
                        I only got wheel hop a few times, which might be due to the camber heim starting to get pounded out. For the most part, the camera shake is just from the wobbly mount. I'm hoping to fix that before this weekend, though.

                        Hopefully by the time I make it to the Nat's you'll still be racing a SM 240. It would be fun to compete against you.
                        I can't imagine racing anything but SM, but it's all going to depend on if Jenna and I can find a house in our price range before next year (and the wedding). We've joked around at having a Lincoln wedding, though :P


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AceInHole View Post
                          We've joked around at having a Lincoln wedding, though :P
                          I wasn't joking. I would be more than happy to get married at Lincoln, and then I would take a victory lap and beat you.
                          Last edited by jdrop; 05-26-2011, 10:33 AM.
                          "This is because I can spell 'konfusion' with a 'k' and I can like it.



                          • #14
                            I'am going to try & convince my co-driver to go the nats this year for his honey moon, since he is getting married the weekend before...


                            • #15
                              What final gear are you running? What kind of speed are you getting out of 2nd gear?