Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


vtjballeng last won the day on December 20 2018

vtjballeng had the most liked content!

Community Reputation


About vtjballeng

  • Birthday 06/22/1979

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Mechanicsville, VA

Recent Profile Visitors

1,671 profile views
  1. We had a big aero debate for this track. Our conclusion was that driver confidence, at this level of driver skill, was more important than raw speed. We debated several possible changes with significant mph advantage but ultimately chose to only trim the wing to allow our drivers full throttle for as much of the oval as possible without the need to lift. It was a clear case where the empirical calculations and strategic understanding of the track plus our drivers were at odds. Not Banned Yet Race Report This one is a doozy complete with a backstory! We have to go back a few weeks where an employee suddenly left, leaving many of us with excessive work to make up the shortfall. Soon thereafter a tree fell on our shop. Then a family trip to Atlanta led to my daily driver wagon being stolen from my hotel parking lot on Easter morning. It has since been found with the engine & trans chopped out. We had just rebuilt our engine after a bearing failure at VIR S. Upon firing up the rebuilt engine, a bucket shim got stuck under a cam lobe breaking the cam. To reach this diagnostic point, there was a lot of cranking and disconnecting of systems. We installed a new cam and got the car together in time for the race. As we towed down, we used some gas in our tow vehicle that had excessive water in it, stopping us as we were getting on the highway. We barely made it back up the cloverleaf and were in the way of traffic as we pumped the water out of the fuel line. We finally made it to the track and on race morning, our car quickly died on track. We were towed in as we had several false diagnoses. Ultimately, it was a cascading failure from the broken cam as some of the systems that were disabled for testing weren't properly re-enabled. Our battery failed as a result. Once back underway, we got a nail in our right rear tire somewhere on the racetrack that had @Wyatt hauling at top speed on 3-4 with a deflated right rear heavily loaded tire. The sidewalls were trashed and we were all happy about his ability to diagnose a fault and quickly come in safely! We had another vibration on the car and attempted some remedies. Unfortunately, our next driver in came out of T1 onto the banking out of control and his attempts to reign the car back in led to our hard hit into the wall. I may need to take @Ray Franck's suggestion and play the lottery this week. Our Not Banned Yet #307 car operated under a few names over the years. She earned us hardware, was a continuous challenge, and at times pushed the envelope. We've had a wonderful time working on, driving, drinking near, and building friendships and memories around this car. We're grateful for her service. #307 will be retired as we move on to the next car which will take us some time to debut. In the meantime, we'll still be at the racetrack running with other teams and continuing to develop products like our flagtronics.com system and our many electronics products from our title sponsor, Ballenger Motorsports. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, driven, worked on, and otherwise been a part of our lives while campaigning #307.
  2. Here is the RX7's footwell intrusion. @wvumtnbkr (Rob) would likely have been in the hospital had he not lifted his feet per @Bill Strong. Here you can see the firewall buckled. These aren't directly comparable incidents. NLS had a wreck similar to ours, Not Banned Yet (NBY), but at much lower energy. My understand of the NLS incident is that their safety systems also worked well at least as well or better than ours as they did have a full, proper foot protection bar in place. Here are my observations for the moment. The safer barrier is intended for MUCH higher energy absorption. They are protecting against heavier cars with full tube frames at higher speeds. Our cars run slower, have energy absorbing structure before the cage structure is engaged, and are typically lighter than Cup cars. Therefore the barrier is very stiff for our purposes. A Dash bar is CRITICAL. Footwell intrusion protection is CRITICAL. The A pillar in a caged car offers far better protection than an uncaged modern vehicle. Contrary to some opinions, you want energy absorption in the form of significant crumple zones. Additional safety compared to the rules minimum should be permitted within the driver safety cell imo. Do not install fuel components outside of crash structure when and where possible. Certainly try not to add exposure zones to stock locations. When we added a surge tank to our hatchback, we immediately added a full enclosure bulkhead to protect the driver from a fuel fire. This was years before the bulkhead rule and thankfully this legally questionable addition was given a manual override. It was generally accepted and our diligence towards safety congratulated. We did have a false floor with extra structure to protect the driver. Our next cage will likely have direct cage attachments and a proper footbar and some additional driver specific protection. This may not have been legal at the time we built the car but we plan our next car to take a significant step up in safety even if it means seeking exception or approval. We did make our car safer since it was built. The false floor, improved seat mounts, Halo seat, better belts (Scroth Enduro), and many other small improvements were added over time due to our continuing commitment to safety. An interesting tidbit. Some people suggested the amount that our engine bay crumpled was excessive. That solid engine mounts were a poor idea because without them, the engine could drop and essentially fall away in the case of an accident. This is leveraging some practices from stock vehicle design but isn't viable on our car. Our engine has a cross member that prevents it from dropping out. Our transmission has a cross member that prevents it from dropping out. We also have a front splitter and at our ride height there are few options for the engine to drop below the car. As-is our crumple zone was well suited for this incident. Enough to heavily sacrifice the car without significantly penetrating the driver cell. Had the same incident happened at 100+ mph at the same angle, the story would be a different one altogether. That's where we see room for improvement.
  3. Will do a report in the event thread but wanted to talk about the door bars. @wvumtnbkr, I'm taking some liberty here posting this let me know if you want me to take it down. Here was the result of our incident. Yes I redacted engine bay stuff because I want to talk about cage design and only cage design. The wreck video is above. The car hit the wall at ~48mph (from video, I haven't downloaded data yet). This impact is remarkably similar to the NHSTA Frontal Oblique Offset Crash Test in speed and angle. If you look up this test and results, you'll find most cars with far more damage and intrusion into the area that is caged in our car. Here is an example from a modern car. See our pedal intrusion. The engine & trans moved the transmission about 2 inches to the left and began to twist the firewall. While this performance isn't perfect, it is superb imo. Our driver walked away only with bruising to his body and pride, which is the best kind of catastrophic wreck one can hope for as a team owner / manager. Here is the RX7 wreck. They had a much more shallow hit to the wall but as I understand it at much higher speed, possibly north of 100mph.
  4. You repeated what I said and called it incorrect. 😎 Yes, it is.
  5. Your signature shows Crowd Control Racing, #625 with 4 total points as one of your cars. With respect to #625, your statement is objectively false. There is a way to compete and your chances are statistically significant. If applied to InActiv Motorsports #626 then your statement is true except that it's the top 150+ teams rather than the top 10. If any team in the top 20 of the final list @Bill Strong wins, they immediately win the championship. If anyone in the top 21-28 of the final list wins, they will win overall provided one of the top 9 teams doesn't get 2nd place. If your team, Crowd Control #625, wins overall, you have a fair statistical chance of winning the championship outright. Consider that not every single one of the top 9 or top 20 teams will race in Charlotte, thereby improving your odds.
  6. @JDChristianson please don't do that. Please don't provide hyperbolic or outright false figures to prove a point you're attempting to make. Let your cause stand on it's own merits with genuine figures. If any of the top 16 in this list win, they are the champion for the year regardless of other team's finishing positions to my understanding. I'd argue significantly more than 16 have a statistically significant chance of winning overall. How many viable potential championship contenders does the series need to be TRULY EPIC? https://champcar.org/mainweb/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ChampCar2019NationalChampionship.pdf While I was skeptical of the existing system, it seems to work well with the caveat that there should be a more central location or regional championships. Living in the mid-atlantic, I wouldn't tow to California for the championship and I wouldn't expect Californians to tow to the east coast.
  7. Yes, the front left rotor face. This is with significant ducting to cool the rotor. You'll want to look into coated Lexan / Makrolon to prevent this. Polycarbonate and Acrylic react with fuel. The good stuff is NOT cheap. Another method is to apply 3" wide or similar packing tape to zones that tend to get fuel on them. That wouldn't help with the scope of this problem but replacing tape is a lot cheaper than replacing the lexan. It's essentially a poor mans tear-off. There are some places that will sell custom fit tear-offs too.
  8. Guess I should add brake temp to the video overlay (17.7% of distance under braking, 20.3% by time). RAtl has more cooling time but also heavier braking zones. Peak temps higher at RAtl. Front Left Brake Temps for @Wyatt's lap at VIR South: A similar lap at RAtl (14.6% of distance under braking, 15.8% by time): In short, the extra time on the brakes is mitigated by the lower speeds and lower total brake energy. I haven't measure our pads post VIR to measure wear which provides a good indicator but we weren't in the race that long either ☹️ .
  9. We don't have full aero. I was speaking broadly about my observations. I offered that some of the reliability issues are down to our choices. We are spending points on some reliability items. I am not petitioning for anything here, simply offering my observations. Were I to take all points for parts to address our many reliability issues that are allowed in competing series, it would be far more than 20 points and yes we would become a mid-pack runner overall. The net effect is that we are within the rules and it costs us significantly more to operate this car than it would in other series as a result.
  10. I'm not interesting in muzzling opinions. I want to reduce the noise and hear from current, valid, active participants at the track. Or to say this another way, I want to hear from active teams and I don't want to hear from inactive teams regardless of their opinions relative to mine. You were singled out but you may be representative of a larger group and have more influence here than an inactive nonmember should have in this discussion imo. As for my opinions, I'll say this. Most competing series allow accusumps & coolers for "free." Several reliability issues I've had and several of my friend racers have had made us look to other series for better solutions and consider moving our cars to other series. If the concept is to keep costs down, my personal experience has been failure on the order of several thousands of dollars. The ChampCar ruleset is vastly more expensive for me to run that WRL & AER long term. These are due to my choices and my teams choices in part. I could opt for more reliability components and fewer go fast bits and be a more reliable mid-pack runner. I'm not pushing for anything here, just relating my personal experience an what I've observed. I agree with @MR2 Biohazard 's contention that we want good clean racing with competitors who aren't limping around the track or blowing up motors, preventing them from racing with us. I'd like to win from good racecraft, good strategy, ingenuity, engineering, teamwork, and practice. Not by attrition and wishing for others to fail. I'm also in agreement with @Huggy in wanting rules stability.
  11. There's lots to talk about here but this concerns me. We have forum members who haven't raced with us in years pushing opinions here with a powerful voice that drowns out a lot of real CCES members, racers, & builders. Those racers might not make it here because they're so busy working on there cars, etc. When we're talking about petitions specifically, can we limit the discussion just to members who are active? Does the form you created only allow active members to vote @Bill Strong?
  12. NOT my car. All of the wow. Credit to @Wyatt for the find.
  13. He's on megasquirt which is a solid solution for all the loggers. His MXL2 has direct sensor inputs as well. If you are running stock OBD1 ecu, you wire sensors direction which requires MXm, MXL2, MXS, MXP, MXG.
  14. The SmartyCAM gets it's data from an AiM Logger. Solo2 DL, MXm, MXL2, MXS, MXP, MXG. We have our MXG connected to our ECUMaster. We have the RCP / Podium Connect Telemetry and our own that is pretty basic and we plan to just make an open source cheap system for series like this. We don't have the time to make a fully fledged interface so we'll let the community play with it.
  15. It's hard to represent how much time & energy our SmartyCAM has saved. People balk at price ($1k) but, long term, it pays for itself many times over in our long endurance races. Compared to post-processing with dashrender or similar I'm saving myself hours in file management & processing time every race. It means I get the video up within a couple of days of getting back from the race or less. If I see critical issues, I can get the youtube video up that day and get them to everyone so we can study and refine. If other drivers have laptops or tablets, I can get the video to them at the end of the day or even swap a card in a pit stop for immediate review. If done perfectly, you can maintain brake pressure. If you do release some brake pressure, you are sacrificing time for stability & margin. If you completely mess up, you get this (no heel toe here, just a terrible shift event).
  • Create New...