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  1. Restarts, fast laps, highlights, and lowlights:
  2. Race weekend #7 for the No Gray Matter Racing team is done and in the record books. This was our second time racing at Thunderhill, having racing in a similarly small field back in February 2016. We've made big changes to the car since then, and gotten much better at driving it. Our previous best time was a 1:40.587, this time around we managed to shave over 8 seconds with a fast lap of 1:31.952 on Saturday. How do you find that much time on such a short track? Well last time we were running 400 tread-wear tires with an engine that was producing 98 hp because the timing was way off and the throttle cable was loose. I think we could have found even more time this weekend as well, but we don't have a cool-shirt setup and all our drivers were suffering from heat exhaustion at the end of each stint and it showed in the lap times. This time out we had no problem going fast, but had our race ended both days with about an hour to go by brake line failure. The first day it looks like the brake hose came loose from the fitting. The next day it seems the replacement hose was able to rub against the boot at the end of the CV shaft and eventually failed as well. Strangely, we noticed both failures at the end of pit stops rather than on track. Despite the early retirement, we still won a trophy for B-class on Sunday by surviving 10 laps longer than Roto Plooker's RX7 tires. We had a great time on track racing with a lot of well matched cars. I think 2/3rds of the field had a fast lap within a 3 second window on Sunday. Great times were had in the paddock as well. We exchanged car setup and track intel with the yellow submarine CRX team and pit stop assistance with the Porsche Defectors. One last thing to report. It looks like we were the only car attempting to live stream the race this time. Since racecast.me went down we tried using the Twitch app. It worked, but is clearly not designed for this "IRL" application. Every time the connection dropped we had to manually restart the stream, so we only got about 1/3rd of the race broadcast. Apologies if you were trying to watch at home. It looks like Bill tried to use our camera for a champcar live stream, but the connection dropped on the parade lap ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Big thanks to all the champ car staff for running a money loosing event so we could come out and have fun. May post a video here later once I've got all the GoPro footage uploaded. See you folks next time.
  3. https://www.twitch.tv/nograymatterracing https://www.youtube.com/user/de3ug We tried using Twitch to stream from Thunderhill this weekend, but found that it did not reconnect automatically when the connection dropped so we only got about a third of the race streamed. I usually post a summary video from the GoPro to my youtube account a week or so after each race. May try live streaming it there in the future.
  4. We had a blast at Sonoma this year and would have loved to go back, but we've only got a time budget of 2-3 race weekends per year. Right now we're thinking Thunderhill, Laguna, plus maybe one new track we've never been to for 2018.
  5. It's been 10 days now, but I think that's well within the statute of limitations for a 'Just got home' report. Funny thing is, there is not much to report. This was the 6th race weekend for No Gray Matter Racing, and for the first time we completed a weekend without spending any unscheduled time in the garage. We lost an alternator mount bolt on the test day (and quietly retrieved it from the 'lost and found on track' table the next day...), and one of our drivers got nauseous and came in for an early stop on Saturday, but other than that it was a perfect weekend. We actually felt kind of strange given how much free time we had before and after the race. We kept thinking, shouldn't we be under the car diagnosing something, or racing to the parts store? I hope we have more race weekends like this in the future, because our list of dumbest mistakes is already pretty long. We finished 10th on Saturday, 8th on Sunday, and won class B for the weekend with 395 laps in our B20 swapped Honda CRX, just ahead of Volunteer Motorsports in their well matched Honda Prelude. The racing was very clean and professional all weekend. I don't think I saw anything worse than a 4-off, and don't recall any red flags or long periods of FCY. Some of this may have been related to the reduced car count. Only 26 cars turned a non-trivial number of laps on Sunday, so we had the track to ourselves at times. All of our drivers set personal best times and went home happy. Here are some highlights (just lonely fast laps, since nothing bad happened): Hope to see everyone at Thunderhill next year!
  6. I like the bent metal bar idea. Are those posts rigid when the bar is not there? I think that was another flaw in our previous design (in addition to the diameter of the posts), is that they would flop about when not tightened. We had a metal plate under the battery box, but the posts were attached like upside down tent stakes.
  7. So I had an incident last Sunday that could have been real bad. Actually, scratch that, it involved a fire so it was real bad, but it could have been much worse. I'm going to share some of the details with the chump community so hopefully this does not happen to anyone else, especially since the specific issue did not seem to come up in the previous few threads about battery containers and hold down straps. So what happened? At our last race (Laguna Seca in July) we had a CV joint bushing explode on Saturday, which smothered our alternator to death in axle grease, which lead to us swapping the battery in and out of the car a few times during the race on Sunday (we didn't have a spare alternator, but we did have a bunch of vehicles in the paddock with perfectly good batteries...). After the race, we put the original battery back in the car, but in the rush to get everything packed up and get home it seems that we did not attach both ends of the metal battery tie down strip. I towed the car home (2 hours) that night and put the car in the garage, no issue with the battery. I spent the last two months going through our todo list for the car (alternator replacement, led trailer lights, new dashboard, etc.), no issue with the battery. I towed the car one hour to one of my teammates house last Sunday, I get out to unload the car from the trailer and everything on the car is fine except... there is a pile of burnt and melted plastic sitting in a pool of acid where the battery used to be. Everything else was fine, didn't melt or even darken the lexan rear hatch. What (do I think) was the root cause? So I'm posting before and after photos. The before is from a few years ago when we first built our box. You can see we have two long bolts which are connected to a metal plate below the box and attached to a metal plate with wingnuts. It's not shown here, but we also had rubber battery terminal covers over both posts, and a lid that snapped in place. As you can see in the after photo, the metal plate (which is grounded, since it's attached to the frame) slid to the right, under the rubber terminal cover, and shorted the battery. Search for "car battery short fire" on youtube if you want to know what happened after that. What should we all do about it? Never leave your battery unattached, especially when moving the car, especially if you are securing your battery with a system like we were using here. Don't assume those rubber or plastic terminal covers will protect you from a short. We tend to focus on safety during the race and relax afterwards, but this is something that can happen at anytime if you make a mistake like this. I'm going to add this to my checklist whenever I move the car now. Now that we have to rebuild our battery box, I'm thinking of ways we can design a mount where this can't happen. Maybe a hinge secured with multiple bolts on one side so the strap can't rotate, or covering the strap completely with an insulator. Looking for thoughts or ideas, preferably with photos of everyone else's much more secure unburnt battery boxes.
  8. This is why ambiguity in the rules or their interpretation on the forum or elsewhere is a big problem. If you want to start a team from scratch it's going to cost several thousand dollars and maybe hundreds of hours of work to get ready. Fear of investing that much time, money and effort only to be turned away is very real and probably keeps some less enthusiastic potential racers away. We had this same fear before our first race and went so far as to tow the car to a chump event we were not planning to race just to get it inspected. We were actually a little disappointed by the inspection. From reading the rules and all the forum banter we thought someone was going to come around with vernier calipers and a protractor and scrutinize our welds with a microscope. The reality was that other than the kill switch test, the inspection was more of a peek through the window to make sure we had everything on the checklist.
  9. turbochargers and superchargers, non-OE: 100 pts turbocharger and supercharger intercoolers, non-OE: 25 pts 4.3.4. Parts included with non-OE turbocharger/supercharger installations are: exhaust/intake manifold, pressure tubing, cooling lines, oil lines, and boost control systems. At some point the underpowered Honda teams will figure out how to take advantage of this rule update. It recently occurred to me that the 4.3.4 rule means a turbo is only 25 incremental points for our team since we already had non-OE intake/exhaust manifolds... Also, the 280Z (Dimsum Racing) that won the Sunday race at Sonoma last month had a Honda Accord engine. Does that count as a Honda win?
  10. The No Gray Matter Racing team had a great time this weekend. Thanks to everyone for making this event happen. We all learned a lot as drivers this weekend, but found driving in the extreme wet on Friday to be particularly illuminating. We spent some time in the garage during the race fixing mechanical problems, but still got plenty of track time and finished 22nd and 23rd. An abbreviated list of issues we had this weekend include: a failing wheel bearing, a blown fuel pump fuse, stuck brake caliper, loose starter wiring (had to push start the car during a few pitstops on Sunday), intermittent comms, and um... we lost a wheel. We got it back, but it was a little embarrassing. Despite all that, we drove the car onto the trailer after the race without anything seriously damaged. This is a first for us, so we are really thrilled that we don't have to rebuild the car again before our next race. We plan to be at Laguna Seca in July. I thought the ChumpCast Live feed was awesome and plan to look into adding a feed from our car for that race. Until then, here are the GoPro highlight from our race:
  11. Does this mean you are giving out 3 x 3 = 9 sets of tires in total or just 3, one per region?
  12. It was very un-nerving at first, but we got used to it after awhile. The problem was that we had almost nobody to race with and felt out of place. At one point some of the other teams put in their green drivers and we had maybe two cars we could sort of race with. That made a huge difference. As a first time team I would not mind getting my doors blown off, as long as I'm not the only one. I think TCV based classes might make it easier for new teams to get started without having to have a Jamaican bobsled team type of race before figuring out how to compete with the teams that have been doing this for half a decade or more.
  13. We did this at Laguna Seca last July. '91 CRX Si with an exhaust header and springs (sub 300 TCV). Finished 31st, 33 laps back on Friday, ventilated the crankcase on Saturday. We were definitely the slowest car on the track. If the rules gave us 15-30 laps and that encouraged more teams to compete at that PWR, that might be worth considering. However our team looked at the competitors at the rulebook at the time and decided to do a B20 swap. With the proposed rules I think we will be at 502 TCV (402 when we get around to cutting a hole in the hood to fit the stock intake manifold). If the classes were TCV based that would be very interesting and probably more meaningful than the displacement based ones we have now.
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