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2008 Nationals Recap (A bit late)

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  • 2008 Nationals Recap (A bit late)

    First off, my co-driver and I did the drive out in one shot. It was actually pretty easy, doing 2 hour shifts to not burn out in a long session of driving. 15 - 30 minute naps ever 2 hours worked out great, and we arrived in Topeka with energy to spare. The weather was pretty decent for the trip out, until we got closer to Heartland Park.

    Approaching Heartland Park, things started getting wet, and that was only the start of it. Apparently there was a full blown hurricane scheduled to blow through. Since the ground was wet and we were tired, we unloaded some gear and skipped practice starts. Our wets were still being mounted, as well, so practicing with dry tires on wet pavement wouldn't have been ideal.

    The next day was the race. Timing light issues made for an hour or so delay while they decided to skip morning session times and let everyone run through heats for "practice". When it was time for me to run, the timer gear was working again, and coming off the first heat, I was in the lead, although unofficially since times didn't count (which also bit me in the ass later). In the afternoon, Chris Travis ended up improving on his time and took over the lead. I struggled with the car and had to settle for being a full second back, mostly due to screwing up one course that I was faster on in the morning. Third place was about 2 seconds behind me, so I figured I was at least safe in second.

    During final runs, we made some poor decisions in car setup along with drying weather conditions. I ended up not gaining much time, and never matching my uncounted first heat west course run. The drying condition allowed 3rd place to move up, knocking me out of a trophy and contingency spot. We attempted to swap tires for the co-driver, but were unable to get all 4 on in time, so he ran half rains half dries, and wasn't able to get much of a better time down.

    Overall, I learned a lot from the pro:
    1. Don't listen to other people about setting up your car in a situation where you need to drive it to your limit. Ultimately, knowing what the car is going to do yields the best results from the driving aspect.
    2. Always be prepared. If I had 2 jacks, 2 impact wrenches, and all the tires ready to go (instead of rolling them 100 ft from the truck), it might've been possible for me to have run on dries (and possibly taken a win).
    3. Hoosier wets are only useful when hydroplaning is possible.
    4. Rain sucks.



    Shortly after the Pro Finale, things got worse. My co-driver got a call about a family emergency, which lead to me driving him to Kansas City so he could fly back to Mass. Basically, I was solo for Nationals, and the drive back. Being out of the system (you basically set up a routine after a while of doing national level events, and the co-driver is part of it), having driven poorly in the pro, and basically a bunch of stuff on my mind lead to me driving like a pansy. I think even STS pulled faster times than me, on at least 1 course (maybe both, I'm too depressed to look). I wish I could've blamed it on the car, but knowing that I was well behind people that I'd normally be faster than on a local event level was proof that it was all driver. Suffice to say, day 1 I was way back in 9th place. Day 2 was a bit better, but I was still driving pretty crappily.

    Lessons learned from Nats:
    1. Don't skip the practice day. Unfortunately I didn't have a choice this year (due to the co-driver's circumstances), but definitely not going to miss it next year.
    2. Safe runs suck. I think I spent too much time trying to not cone away my first nationals. I'm already wishing I had hit more cones and at least had a better scratch time.
    3. Have more fun. My week sucked, and although most of it was out of my control, I still think I missed out a bit from stressing out about a bunch of little stuff (which most of was out of my control, so why worry about it?).




    Anyways, now it's time to plan for next year. I've got a few things in mind:
    1. Suspension: I'm definitely going to measure and model my pivot points. I've got the feeling something quirky is going on with my car, because it's not planting power nearly as well as it should. Be it anti-squat, traction rods, or binding. I've got all winter to scrutinize it.
    2. Aero: the top 2 cars (3 drivers) ran massive wings/ splitters. The next car back was 1.5sec, and wingless. There's some debate as to if wings are worth it at 50 - 60mph, but results seem to speak for themselves.
    3. Engine: I'm up in the air as to if I want to run the VQ35 in the future. I might pick one up to build, and drop in the DD if it doesn't go in the race car. Either way, it's not in the cards for next year, so I'll probably just freshen up the head of my current motor and play it by ear next year.
    4. Driver: need to buy that DL1.

    That's all for now. Hopefully next year yields a better thread.

    -PJ

  • #2
    It's an interesting close to a good year. Despite taking only taking 3rd at Nationals...you still took 3rd at Nationals, which is better than any other S chassis has done in SM.
    Between rides...unless you count a WD21...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by veilside180sx View Post
      It's an interesting close to a good year. Despite taking only taking 3rd at Nationals...you still took 3rd at Nationals, which is better than any other S chassis has done in SM.
      Indeed.

      This year will better prepare you for next year.

      As for the VQ35? I always wondered why more folks dont go this route.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by veilside180sx View Post
        It's an interesting close to a good year. Despite taking only taking 3rd at Nationals...you still took 3rd at Nationals, which is better than any other S chassis has done in SM.
        That was a 3rd in the ProSolo Season. My Nationals finish was 9th

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ecugrad View Post
          Indeed.

          This year will better prepare you for next year.

          As for the VQ35? I always wondered why more folks dont go this route.
          The VQ35 in theory would be lighter, although I think the majority of benefit would come from weight distribution, especially since I'm only 100 lbs overweight with a lot of weight up front to remove.

          Power-wise, I think it'd provide much more usable/ controllable power. The KA-T is simply too much of an "explosive" engine, with power surging on, leaving less chance to modulate. I suppose some headwork and possibly retuning the throttle curve might help, so I'll work on that since it's the "quick fix". Other than that, I think the only problem with the VQ is that it'd be much more costly to extract power from. I can push around 400hp to the wheels currently, and matching that with an NA 3.5 would be pretty tough I think.

          Comment


          • #6
            PJ, thanks for sharing your writeup with us and I hope that you come back stronger next year for a top finish .
            -Monty

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            • #7
              You could wait until next year and then put a hemi in your car!

              Just kidding. Congrats on the finish! How did you place against the DSP crowd?

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              • #8
                Ecugrad, when I was looking at the VQ, the engine management was a PITA due to the security features. Alternatively, you could use an AEM system, but that drove up the price considerably. I don't know if they resolved those issues yet?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jmauld View Post
                  You could wait until next year and then put a hemi in your car!

                  Just kidding. Congrats on the finish! How did you place against the DSP crowd?
                  I was well behind the DSP crowd, which I'm usually at least on par with. I believe if I was keeping up with the top of DSP, I would've placed third at Nats. It's definitely something I think I can do barring another driver meltdown.

                  Ecugrad, when I was looking at the VQ, the engine management was a PITA due to the security features. Alternatively, you could use an AEM system, but that drove up the price considerably. I don't know if they resolved those issues yet?
                  I was actually wondering if one could go so far as to run the entire VDC/ABS system in a 240sx. They'd actually be pretty useful if you could tweak everything to work with a built VQ. Otherwise, I'd just have to deal with converting the AEM EMS I already have.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Those DSP cars are monsters! It's amazing to see what they're doing with that ruleset.

                    If you could move all of the sensors over, I don't see why you couldn't run those systems in the 240sx. At some point though, it might make sense to just buy a 350z, unless you just can't get the weight of the 350 down to that of a S14?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can't see a 350z getting into the 2500's without some major surgery. There was one in BSP this year at Nats, and it was around 3150 lbs.

                      If I could get a G35c down to 2900 lbs with G35x front suspension components (AWD) and a custom tranny/ transfer case.... that could be a fun possibility.... Otherwise, it might just make more sense to build up an Evo.

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                      • #12
                        Pictures and video or ban :P
                        "hexa-dodecahedron-triple-threaded-super-eleventy-way-adjustment-spec" dampers. -Def

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                        • #13
                          Congrats on the event and I hope everything is copesetic with your co-drivers family situation.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AceInHole View Post
                            I can't see a 350z getting into the 2500's without some major surgery. There was one in BSP this year at Nats, and it was around 3150 lbs.

                            If I could get a G35c down to 2900 lbs with G35x front suspension components (AWD) and a custom tranny/ transfer case.... that could be a fun possibility.... Otherwise, it might just make more sense to build up an Evo.
                            I would say jump into a 135i and head to DS before the SCCA realizes it's WAY too fast for the class and bumps it.

                            In any case, good run anyway, especially when you consider the STIFF competition in SM at a national level. I'd be happy with just not being DFL.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Strelnieks' 135 was in DS driven by Matt Murray, who usually is a really good driver. He was creamed, though.

                              The surprising thing to me was the E46 330 taking the DSP win. I figured those were too heavy for the class, but I guess they have enough power to make up for it.

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