Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Finding more speed....

What do you do the weekend after consecutive National event wins in ESP....

pull the front suspension apart in the pursuit of more speed and some bigger "angles."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The ESP Camaro was Workin' at the College Station Championship Tour

The 2014 College Station Tour wrapped up last weekend. The event was a huge success and reached it's goal of over 200 entries which should help secure it's future on the SCCA calendar. Big congrats to all involved in planning especially Todd Farris who I personally saw work his a$$ off all weekend. Our weekend started with the Friday practice day before the Tour where my Dad took the Evo Advantage class and got some quality (very very very high quality) seat time and instruction in the Camaro. I instructed along with Brian Burdette and Dave Whitener at my first Evo School. I really enjoyed it and appreciate the opportunity by Junior and the Evo School team. I instructed students in a wide variety of classes - AM, STR, BS, STU, and DS with some students taking home some hardware at the end of the weekend! Great job guys. 

Got to drive this amazingly fun and loose A-Mod car

ESP lined up in Heat 1 along with CP and SM. We only had 4 in class with one driver dropping out or changing classes last minute. We didn't find out until we got to grid so there went the chance to win some more HoHos...oh well. Some overnight rain made for tricky conditions in Heat 1. The CP guys did a great job of clearing as much water as possible before we started running but the track was still pretty wet as you can see in the video. This meant the competition was basically a one-lap shootout on Run 3 as it would have much better conditions than the 1st. Luckily, I was able to get a flyer in on my 3rd run with a 66.528 which surprisingly ended up being good enough for top PAX for the day. Like in Blytheville, the ESP Camaro was dialed in. My Dad had a great 3rd run to finish in P3 after Day 1.

I had a healthy lead going into Day 2, but you never know with the stiff competition in ESP. There was no rain overnight so all of the high horsepower cars of SM, ESP, and CP had much better conditions Sunday morning. I laid down a really solid 2nd run with a 67.231 which would have been quick enough to win CP had it not been for one darn cone. For my 3rd run, I was not able to get back to my 2nd run pace as the tires had cooled during an extended break to remove a broken CP car from the course and I just needed a solid, clean run in the bank to preserve my ESP lead. I finished with a 67.917s run with no cones. This gave me the win in ESP by 3.2s win due to some cone trouble by my competitors. I also just snuck away with Top PAX for the event by 0.080s over Lane Borg my former co-driver in his B-Street Corvette. This was my first Top PAX finish at a National Event. 

Here is onboard video from my quickest runs on both days:

Despite the success we have had over the past few weeks, the College Station Tour and the bright yellow 99 decals displayed on many racecars were a sobering reminder that there are more important things than being fast between the cones. With the recent passing of beloved, Championship winning driver Tommy Saunders, clearly the focus needs to be on spending the time we have with great friends and family and having some good old-fashioned fun. I did not know Tommy well, but I do know that he was loved by many in the Solo community and it was always great to see him and his family at the races. The best part of the past 10 days was just spending two 12-hour drives with my Dad back and forth to Arkansas. That's the important stuff.

High Winds, Cold Temps, Long Drives....and some racing thrown in at the Blytheville ProSolo

A bit tardy on this one.....

It was windy.....

My Dad and I kicked off the National SCCA autocross season with a fairly last minute decision to attend the Blytheville ProSolo on the weekend of March 22nd and 23rd. With us not being able to attend Spring Nationals this year, we needed another ProSolo event to qualify for the Pro Finale in September. We arrived at Midnight Friday in Blytheville looking forward to mid-40s temperatures and strong winds all weekend. Luckily, the rain we did get didn't affect the on-track action as we had decent track conditions in all three heats.

I put in some work in on the ESP Camaro before the event.....thanks to Josh Pu'u for the help in the shop!

Headless Josh hard at work!

Ghetto turn plates - trash bags and WD40
Drive shaft out for the pinion seal change
New pinion seal in. Still leaks though...gotta figure that one out!
Now the diff covers are free in ESP, this TA diff cover should do the trick

We were 10 deep in ESP which is a big improvement over Blytheville turnouts in recent years. Overall, the event was a huge success. I picked up my first ProSolo class win and my Dad earned his first trophy at a National SCCA event. The car was working great and the courses suited our Camaro as it was fairly high speed for a ProSolo event - more like a Tour course. We made some minor setup changes to the car over the winter and it worked very well. The car has never felt better I'm happy to report. The bummer for the weekend was Jadrice's great looking Boss Mustang having clutch issues with ended his event after two runs. The event may have very gone differently for the Ogburns with Jadrice still in the field. 

10th in PAX - my best finish at  ProSolo
Fancy Stoplight....

With my win in ESP, I made my first ProSolo Super Challenge and was the 2nd qualifier which actually pays some money! Drivers are seeded by their margin of victory and my 2.1s margin was good enough for 2nd behind Mark Madarash's 2.2s victory. I lined up against an STF Mazda 2 in the first round was able to take the victory and move to the second round. I lined up against Chris Harvey in a C-Street MX-5 in round 2 and my cold race tires were no match for his pre-warmed Dunlop street tires (his co-driver drove right before him in the Challenge). Congrats to the Kim and David Whitener who came home with a pair of Challenge victories. 

Lined up the first round of the Super Challenge

Right after the challenge, we hit the road for the 12-hour trek back to San Angelo where we arrived at 6AM....maximize racing, minimize vacation time! The crazy driving trip was worth the results we achieved in Blytheville and it was good to catch up with our autocross friends from all over the country. Next up for us was the College Station Championship Tour which I will have a recap up shortly. 

Thanks to Sam Strano for his advice throughout the weekend and for helping me continue to develop the Camaro. It was good to catch up with you buddy! Visit Strano Performance Parts for your all of your autocross and muscle car needs.

Back to blogging.....

I've been a little busy over the past few weeks....but updates are coming. In the meantime, here is my dog "protected by Bell."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vaughn Gittin Jr's Backyard

A backyard to aspire to. I still have plans for a backyard kart track, but I don't think it will ever compare to this (ie...I don't have a rock quarry on my yard)....enjoy.

Video Link


2-Post Lift Install

On the trailer
Unloaded in the shop
1st post up 
And there's the 2nd one
Top bar on - now to run hydraulics and the equalizer cables
Arms going on, now for the wiring
It works
A bit higher than my jack stands....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shakin' the Camaro Down with Equipe Rapide

Koni enjoyed her first autocross

I ran my first autocross of the season this past Sunday with Equipe Rapide at Lone Star Park in Dallas, TX. LSP's main lot is huge (length of Mineral wells, but about half the width) and the course took advantage of it. There was also some elevation change that played into the course which is a bit unique. As usual with Equipe Rapide, we got 8 runs split into 2 heats so I had ample runs to feel out the car, give Ali  a few rides, and make a setup change. Mainly this was a shakedown before the National SCCA Solo series starts up. I have not run the car since Solo Nationals last year so I was certainly relieved when the car ran well. I played with rear spring rate to check the direction I had gone last year which confirmed I liked the base setup I ran at Solo Nats.

Changing rear springs between heats

Ali with a big helmet
I ran in the indexed Expert class and was able to start off 2014 with a win. I also had the Top PAX time of the day with my 7th run at a 62.934s. Full results and in-car video of my 2nd quickest run (63.3, didn't get my fast run on video):


Full results here: www.autocross.com/er/equiperapide/modules/content/index.php?id=130

Class Results
PAX Top 20

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bobsledding at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Track in Park City

I need to do this one day....

Or this....

I need to bring my own brakeman for the latter one. Any volunteers to hold on while I learn to drive a bobsled? Don't worry, I watched the Olympics....I know what I'm doing!

See the Park City Bobsled and Skeleton options here: http://utaholympiclegacy.com/sports/bobsledskeleton

Sunday, February 23, 2014

360º View of 2014 Mercedes F1 W05

Looks to be from one of the team's filming days at Silverstone. It's a very cool look at the new 2014 F1 cars. I'm guessing it's an expensive camera setup too!

See the video here: http://www.mercedesamgf1.com/en/car/f1-w05-360-video/

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The 2013 Season in Pictures

February - Autocross season started off with suspension testing in Mineral Wells

March - Close Battle in ESP at the College Station Tour, 3rd in PAX overall
April - First ProSolo event ever, Mineral Wells Pro in ESP
May - First Championship Tour win in the ESP, quick time in ESP on Day 2 in the wet

May - Won  SCCA's Video of the Month for my winning wet run at SpringNationals
June - Got to drive an STS CRX that has won many National Championships
July - Spent two days driving with my Dad at the Nurburgring Nordschleife

July - Drove a Rent4Ring Stage 2 BRZ for a full Touristenfahrten day at the 'Ring

July - Drove a Rent4Ring Stage 2 VW Scirocco for an evening Touristenfahrten session at the 'Ring
July - Hit 100mph on the Autobahn

July - Visited the BMW Welt and BMW Museum with Ali and my Dad

July - Gave GT Academy a try, finished around 540th at our 25,000 Americans

September - Finished 3rd in ESP ProSolo points after the Pro Finale in Lincoln

September - Came home in 4th in ESP at the 2013 SCCA Solo Nationals in

September - Ali ran her first autocross at the Solo Nationals and did great

September - Added this Shiba Inu, Koni , to the family

October - Back to Bondo for a bit of training

November - Our view from Turn 7 for the Formula 1 race at COTA
December - 2-post lift arrived for the shop