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Old 05-22-2007, 01:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Scotts Valley, CA
Default Highs and Lows at Laguna Seca for GOTO:Racing

5/19/2007 Monterey, CA

Much like the on again off again weather this weekend, luck refused to smile upon Chris Lock and Michael Neujhar for any great length of time. The US Sports Car Invitational, 5th round of the Koni Challenge ST series, would be a weekend mixed with trials and triumph, but ultimately an untimely retirement.

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Old 05-22-2007, 02:03 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Scotts Valley, CA

I thought I would add some greater detail about our weekend for the people in this forum. Here is my play by play:

Thursday Testing

We went out extremely confident in the car. Even though we had yet to find our setup again since changing to Konis, we had sorted many other areas of the car since last year, not the least of which was the braking and the motor. Last year we were consistently out muscled, and it didn't help that we couldn't handle the big braking tracks with our massive weight. But Mike at GST spent alot of time this year getting us the power we needed while working under the boost restrictions. We also had added a massive brake duct system since the previous year, and had been braking well since our outing at Miller.

Michael Neujhar has joined us this year with Process Engineers as his sponsor, and he took the car out first. It was great to see him laying down laps times consistent with our race pace of the year earlier(1:44.1), but he was complaining of a push, something that we thought we had addressed since Sears Point testing. Strange....

So I jump in that afternoon, and sure enough, it's still pushing. Not only that but the thing is porpoising in turn 4. It is great on power, but just goes numb on turn in. The crew inspects the travel indicators and now suspects that the shocks are bottoming out internally, our bad for not sizing them right. There is not much we can do now but figure out how to setup AROUND the problem. Despite this, I pulled off the 9th fastest time in Practice, at a 1:43.6. So we were not worried at all.

Friday Practice

Michael jumps in on friday morning to try a new spring setup. The crew had upped the rear springs to help the rotation. It made it better, and he broke into the 1:43s. But the entry push was unabated. Then a few laps in, he couldn't get a gear! No practice run for me then. We went back to the paddock and started to rip out the tranny. 25 minutes later, we were looking at a broken clutch disk. My dad had to race back to Scotts Valley for the forgotten replacement, giving the guys only 1 hour to replace the transmission before the next session. They did it in 37 mins . No sweat.

Session 2 had me reporting the same thing, if not worse. Push on entry. We are really getting frustrated now, as the competitions lap times are falling into the 1:42s. Michael takes the car out to qualify, we have no choice. He literally was hurling it around the track trying to get it to behave. His heroics gave us a respectable 16th position, even though we had originally been running Top 10 times.

Race day

We had a single 20 minute session left to us to figure out how to make the #93 car turn with the shocks like this. Before I took it out for the final time, my brother Mike had the idea to just dump the bump setting on all four corners. In the first turn, the difference was immediate. It still pushed on turn in, but running underdamped allowed the car to get alot more unstable in the transition, it seemed. Now I could rotate the car with a patient turn in followed by a liberal throttle application. I reported the fact to the crew, then got to work trying to see how much faster we could go like this. A 1:42.3 came up on my ADL, a time worthy of 4th spot in yesterdays qualifying! Everyone was excited and I brought the car in straight away to save it for the afternoon.

Michael took the first stint and also reported that the car was much improved. His race pace was in the low 1:43s, gaining on the race leaders. He quickly took 3 spots, and reported the car was getting better and better. Historically, the rest of the field starts to slow about 30 minutes into the first stint, so we were getting ready to start moving up the field. Lap 15 came about, so it was time to get my stuff on in case we had a yellow. Just as I pulled on my helmet, I heard a crunch in Turn 11. Our car was sideways. Brian radioed Michael, who was ok, but upset. He and one of the I-MOTO car were racing into Turn 11, fighting for 12th spot. Turn 11 had a major bottleneck going on, and traffic was moving slow as the two of the came in hot trying to late brake each other. One of the Roar Racing RX-8s, who had already been muscled to the outside and late brake, assumed the way clear and made for the apex. This surprise Michael and the I-MOTO TSX, who tried to move lower down to the apex. The RX-8 really only left space for one car when there were two. Not his fault at all, but clearly someone was not making it out of their without damage. The Roar car clipped the nose of our car in a strange sideways impact. Normally, we could continue, and the Roar car did, but the sideways nature of the hit bent the frame rail into the cam gear, so the engine stalled and wouldn't refire.

It was pretty heartbreaking since we had just finished calculating a one stop strategy that would have put us in the top ten with the times we were running. But I guess crashing happens sometimes in a series like this. And it was more competitive than I have ever seen it, even if the field is a little smaller. Well, Mid-ohio is coming. Life is full of second chances.

Last edited by goto_racing; 05-22-2007 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:03 PM   #3
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shame to hear that, but thanks for the nice write-up! good luck at Mid-Ohio!
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