Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NER Autocross 04/23/2011 Devens

Today started off with guessing what the rain was going to do. There was much discussion of what tires to run. The forecast called for a small amount of rain throughout the day. There were 5 drivers in BSP today, 2 in an RX8, 1 in a ZR1 Corvette, Acejam2k in his STi and myself.

All of us besides the 2 drivers in the RX8 had taken the plunge to run our R-Comps and hope that the rain stayed to a minimum at least. Epic fail! The rain only increased in the morning and the temps hovered in the low 40's. Not a good match for those tires. My first run was in the area of 77.xxx seconds but without any good numbers from comparable cars it was hard to tell what improvements could be made as we were all having issues driving. Second run was a few tenths faster but still in the 77's. It was at that point that Acejam2k and I decided to get back to the paddock and get our street rubbers back on. My current DD street tires are Kumho Ecsta AST's in the 225/45 R17 variety, not a hugely impressive tire to autox on but what an improvement!!! Third run was in the high 62's, shedding 15 seconds from my times!

At this point it was time to go work the course and by work the course I really mean go get soaked, even with rain gear. By the time the second heat was over a drivers meeting was called. Apparently many people didn't want to continue the event in such terrible conditions. So the chairman took a vote of how many wanted to continue. We had enough people who wanted to stay so they said that anyone that wanted to leave could and we would continue the event with the remaining people (all runs completed still counting for the points).

I've never seen so many people leave an autox early! Including most of the Subarus. This I didn't understand as these conditions are not only fun but give us that extra edge. We only got 2 more runs each but that helped us finish the event quickly.

After the morning runs BSP stood with Acejam2k in first and I was right behind him in raw times (my last run had a cone). Once back from my first afternoon run I waited to hear my time as I knew it was fast and clean.... nothing comes over the radio so I run to the truck only to find out there was a timing issue and I needed to re-run. Ok, extra runs are always good.... except when they are dirty! I picked up one cone on my re-run that would have put me in first. This left me with one last chance to get a good, clean run in.

At this point I am totally paranoid that I will blow my last run. I shut myself in my car with the timing truck broadcast turned off and waited with my eyes closed just to calm down, get centered and focus. I said to myself: "The RX8 went home, Acejam2k went home, all that's left in the class is the ZR1 but he is still on Hoosiers and is way behind. All you need to do is get a decent run in and you can beat Acejam2k's time for first!"

Well, it worked! I knocked out a run good enough to get the number one spot! (my first ever in 2yrs BTW) Needless to say I am rather excited right now, and I don't care that I may have been beaten if everyone had stayed. I don't care at all, let that be a lesson for those who didn't want to get wet (yes, Josh, I'm talking to you)! Oh, and for the record the rain let up a bit just in time for the afternoon runs and work details!

In summary, I am ecstatic for my first win. I have come very close before running in BS and have been keeping close behind the better set up cars in BSP. It has been a long time coming but there is a lot of good competition in NER so I wont let it go to my head.

Changing the tires back to the street rubbers in the middle of the heat. Big thanks go out to my father who is always there to help me out!

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