Monday, June 6, 2011

TCS MEMPHIS race day

On race day, I got there pretty early.  The track would probably keep changing, so I wanted to make at least a couple practice runs to see where the track was headed.  The club decided not to re spray the VHT, so I assumed that the traction would continue to diminish.  Fast lap on Saturday was at 19.1, and I don't think we came within half a second of that Sunday.

I switched to black front springs from gold after the first run I made, mostly because they calmed the front end down a bit, and actually added some turn in.  That may sound contradictory, but I think the car was diving around, but didn't turn in positively.  The car stayed flatter with black springs.  In addition, I added a shim on the front axles, I think a .5mm.  Again, this was just to stabilize the car a bit.

The goal on the day was really to just get the car dialed in with small changes.  Saturday, I was able to get the major stuff out of the way, so here it was just small stuff.  Mostly, this was front ride height, shims on the kingpin, and height on the rear shock, not necessarily in that order.  After a few practices, I started to raise the front end up again.  The car was not getting the forward traction it needed, and raking the car back just seems to get the forward bite back into it.  I had taken all the posts out of the upper deck as well, so the car was able to flex a ton.

The front end actually wound up where it started, raised front ride height and an almost flat upper front arm.  I had raised the arms at the kingpin by 1mm on Saturday, but by this time it was too much.  After i brought the arm back down, the car still had plenty of steering, but I had more confidence to drive it in traffic.

The rear ball on the shock was actually key to how the car worked.  I was amazed at how big of an effect that had on the traction of the car.  I felt like soft rears and kit fronts with stock inserts were the tire to run, and there was a sharp difference between a raised shock and lowered shock.  Really, that tire combo would have been hard to use without raising the shock up.  .

Speaking of the tires, I ran the soft rear and kits in the first round, and I was able to qualify first.  At the same time, I had to stay up on the wheel big time, as it was sensitive.  For the second round, I switched to a set of kit fronts with a sedan insert in the front, but the car pushed at first and never picked up any steering.  I had hoped it would balance the car out, and maybe even be better at the end of the race.  I tend to think that to be fast the car just has to be a bit on the edge unless the bite is out of control.

For the main, the kit fronts with stock inserts went back on the car.  I was starting second to Bruce "Doc" Hickman, who had been fast all weekend.  The track continued to go away, so I figured I would just try to keep it close until the tires warmed up.  Right behind us was Rocky, who was racing F1 for the first time, but he had shown to be a good driver who was still dialing in his "rent-a-ride".  

When the tone went off, I was able to keep pace with Bruce.  We were able to break away from the pack a bit, but both our cars seemed to be a bit slippery at first.  As far as I could tell, he had a slight advantage in the infield, and my car got onto the straight and through the sweeper better.  We went a round a few laps until we got into traffic, and bumped a bit, and I backed off so Bruce could maintain his position.  As all this was happening, Rocky was able to gain ground and come back into touch with us.  I tried to stay close in traffic, and at one point Bruce touched a corner while we were getting around another car.  I was able to get into first at this point.   As Rocky came up on Bruce, I was able build up a decent gap getting onto and off of the straight until I could relax a bit.   At that point, it was going to be hard to make up enough ground in the time left to catch me, so I was able to take the win with a little gap.

I'll try to get the setup sheet tomorrow.

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