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GingerMan 14.25 Race Report


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Live! From South Haven, Michigan... it's the 14.25 Hours of ChumpCar at GingerMan Raceway!

Great weather --- 80 degrees with gorgeous blue skies yesterday with low humidity... and it's supposed to the same today!

Great track --- 2.1 miles, 12 corners, technical, nice elevation changes and LOTS of green grass make for some HUGE run-off areas!

Great teams --- the best from Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Illinois!

And, did I mention some great racing? Cars took to the track at 8:45am for the standard parade laps, transponder checks and warm-ups. Only one car required a little transponder attention (BRE Datsun Z #46) and the green flag fell at 9:02am. And so, the 14.25 hours begins...

As a precursor, tech went smoothly yesterday, starting at 3:00pm. All cars were passed through tech by 3:00pm, except one late arrival (after 11:00pm) that had to wait until this morning. Team Tubby Butterman unceremoniously took the distinction for most penalty laps with their Cheetah Woods E34/36 -- 15 laps. A few additional teams were issued laps for minor value infractions but, overall, GingerMan has attracted a fine group of grassroot crap cans to slug it out, mano-a-mano, bumper-to-bumper, tire-to-door. (Well, hopefully not too much of the latter.)

There are a lot of cars here that are repeat offenders... er, ahh... make that repeat performers in ChumpCar. British-American Racing has returned from earlier events t Brainerd and Iowa... to try again, having been the bridesmaid twice before. Mealtime Racing (a podium finisher at Shannonville) is back for more abuse, as is Team Johnda Deere. Gotta love those Canadians! As noted, Butterman's back, sporting a NEW set of Small Bertha golf clubs in the bag, and our local Chumpster -- Rob Verenna -- is back again with the "Will Race For Beer" team entry.

Another familiar ChumpCar making a return is Team Drive Monkey Drive -- Chris Thompson and crew. This weekend, the Monkey car has a rather LARGE video camera and various sound microphones secured all over the roll cage, as Peter Klutt and the "Dream Car Garage" TV show (SpeedTV) is filming a segment on ChumpCar racing. The chumps are all geared up for great race in the E30.

The SLS (Safety Lighting Systems) have been deployed for the nighttime portion of the event, with nightfall and headlights anticipated around 8:45pm. That should give the teams a solid 2.5 hours of night racing.

Okay -- I'll get the first hour standings for the top 10. Back in a few... B)

John

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It must be the 3-hour curse! (Oh, no, Mr. Bill!)

So, ChumpCar had to throw a black flag on car #7 Saturn for dropping not 1... not 2... but 4 tires off the track --- not once... not twice... but 4 times in the last 20 minutes. We don't usually have to make these kind of calls ------

BUT

Then we called in the #36 Camaro for the same damn thing!

AND THEN

We had to black flag the #4 Subaru Imprezz for dropping 4 off and doing some agricultural racing three laps in a row.

WTH is going on here? We usually go all day long without a black for off-road excursions and we can usually do an entire 24-hour race with only 2-3 black flags for the entire event. It's GOT to be the 3-hour curse! :)

John

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I'd like to submit a minor correction. Team 39, jhonda deer is a 93 Honda civic. not a CRX, though I'd bet they'd prefer one!

That is awful to hear about their head, my brother is on that team and they have been testing like crazy to make sure they had a solid car..... guess when it's time for the head to go, it's just time.

Go Mealtime and Go BRE!!!

Keep up the updates I'm watching with baited breath!

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Results at MyLaps.com


/>http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1628226

If the link does not work, click on "Events Results", search for "ChumpCar" and click on Gingerman, then click on 14.25 of Gingerman.

Photos from the race have been posted on the ChumpCar Facebook page.


/>http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=203732&id=102985012345

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The BRE team just got home and we're dead tired, but I wanted to say what a great time we had and we can't wait to play with you chumps again next year. Sorry if we got in anybody's way while we tried to correct our fuel issues.

For everybody who hasn't tried it, night racing is a real hoot!

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ran afoul of an overheating engine and a driver that forgot to look at the temp gauge...

:(

I remembered, it just took some unexpectedly slow laptimes (hooray palmpilot!) and smoke/steam coming out of the now-dry cooling system to remind me.

On that note, we were probably doomed anyway - we missed a pinhole leak in the radiator, which even if a less absent-minded driver had been in when we ran out of water, it would've been a bunch of time in the pits to diagnose and fix, which would have taken us out of the running anyway. Once the head was swapped, I think we had a leak in the previously-enjoyed headgasket which caused us to continue losing water. At around 4:30, a guy from Mealtime suggested something like a bottle of IronTite, which we got from Autozone. After doing the 12-hour curing procedure in 5 minutes, the engine worked great for the rest of the day.

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Guest gearhead455

Wow that was more fun than I could ever imagine! I’m not even disappointed the engine blew up! But the damn thing lasted 10 hours and the engine had 170K and we never opened it up before the race.

Here is how the day went:

1st driver was our “ringer†Ken, a guy who had been driving Corvair’s in SCCA for 15 years. We where all anxious to see how this car would be on the track because it was its first rodeo. Ken was a little skeptical of the thing from the start but at the end of the first hour run Ken was sold on the Saturn and he absolutely loved it. It was a relief to here from an actual experienced driver that the car was set up good. The car was neutral between over/under steer (the junkyard suspension mods worked – Saturn under steer horribly in stock form) and the brake bias was spot on.

Ken was managing to turn 2.03-2.06 lap times on a car with 300 treadwear street tires and an AUTOMATIC transmission!

I was up second, came out of turn 8 all wrong and spun out on turn 9. I had 4 tires on the grass but the guys where nice enough not to black flag me. I never made that mistake again.

Up next was Scott. He managed to spin the car out 4 times on his first time out! Lloyd had a talk with him and he never got 4 tires off the track again.

Next was Isaac, he was a solid driver and never put the car in the dirt once. Unfortunately he always got the car after everyone else had destroyed the car is some way. He pulled a 2.04 before one of the rod bearings spun out of the lower end.

-3 sets of brakes

-One alternator

-One set of tires

Next time:

Tires Tires Tires, we need Tires!

Swap in a used 1999 – 2002 short block (stronger lower end) and replace the engine bearings.

Dump the automatic, swap in a manual transmission. I’m glad we had the automatic so we could focus on driving our first time out but we are all ready to use a manual. The car would hunt for the gear out of the corner and it was tricky to try to make the power come on when you needed it.

All around awesome time! After we where out of the race our team focused on welding the exhaust downpipe back together on our neighbors with the Alfa Romeo. We got them back on the track with 45 minutes left and they avoided a DNF!

Beer drinking then ensued after the race! :D

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All around awesome time! After we where out of the race our team focused on welding the exhaust downpipe back together on our neighbors with the Alfa Romeo. We got them back on the track with 45 minutes left and they avoided a DNF!

Beer drinking then ensued after the race! :D

You guys didn't take nearly enough beer from our cooler for that heroic fix. There was no way I could've welded that exhaust in place - the joke one of your teammates made about learning to weld from the Home Depot book is uncomfortably close to explaining my welding "skillz"! :lol:

Thanks again and we hope to see you guys at Putnam!

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Guest gearhead455

You guys didn't take nearly enough beer from our cooler for that heroic fix. There was no way I could've welded that exhaust in place - the joke one of your teammates made about learning to weld from the Home Depot book is uncomfortably close to explaining my welding "skillz"! :lol:

Thanks again and we hope to see you guys at Putnam!

I once seen Scott weld a cast aluminum EGR valve to a rusty brake rotor just because he was "bored".

Don't worry, we will get your beer soon! :D

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G-man rocks!!!

Team Butterman would like to say "Grazie Mille" to the Chumpcar Team. They put on a great event and we only regretted not having more cars. Hopefully 35+ take the grid next time. Luckily, most teams were very well prepared and the "done blew up" rate was very low. We had a great time at a great track. Fun was delivered in trainloads. Here are my favorite moments. I'm wiped from the weekend and the 9 hour drive back home:

  • Team BRE's Datsun, easily the best looking car out there IMHO. They ran a great race and only regret not meeting and talking the their team. A downer from pitting at the exact opposite end of the pit.
  • Team Johnda Deere, great racing from a car that looked like it won a "Monster Garage" episode. Their space shuttle landing light mounted amidships lit up the county let alone the track. Their car was very well driven and they were dogging me in the dark. I waved them past only to see them spin into the dirt a couple of turns later. I didn't see them until much later and they must have had a different driver or car problems as they went from kicking my times to survival mode.
  • Team Jeager Bombers, they pitted next to us and were locked into a "cage match" duel with our car. Unfortunately, their engine blew up and caught fire. A few tense moments until everyone learned their driver was okay. They drove the pi$$ out of that car!!! We appreciate their cheering for our car after they dropped out. Their first Chumpcar race and I hope not their last.
  • Team British American Racing (BAR). We sent them a pitcher of beer over to their table at a local restaurant on Friday night before the race. We hoped they'd get wasted and drive hung over then next day. They sent ice cream back to all the kids of our drivers hoping the sugar would keep our drivers up late so we'd be worthless. Fun! They ran a faultless race and a much deserved win. We love competing with these guys!
  • Team Drive Monkey Drive - Enjoyed talking with Peter Klutt the Monkey drivers. They did a great job on track.
  • Team Save the Ta-Tas - We loved the theme. The dd after the 36 made us snicker the Jugs sticker in JEGS typeface was the clincher. They had some wicked fast laptimes, 1:54? At night they were on my butt so I waved them past. I stuck with them until they spun, quite spectacularly and I thought we might collect mid track. Luckily we didn't and I didn't see them again.
  • Red Flag for deer - A red flag lit up (during the night stint) and I stopped on track. I had a load of cars coming up fast behind me. Luckily all stopped without bending metal. Corner worker ran over to tell me that they had deer on the track. They had night vision goggles and were able to see them. I never saw any deer. In the paddock one of the kids announced that there was a three legged deer on the track. It went from wild imagination to widespread rumor like wildfire. Three legged deer??!! WTF? They brought us via Lloyd in his rental car to the front straight and stopped by the start/finish line. After 10 minutes, we headed out under yellow until they green flagged the race. I don't know how other teams survived without a functional car/pit radio. I'm still laughing about a "three legged deer."
  • Team Flying Eagles - These guys ran a great race and were very fast. A good pit execution kept them in contention the whole time. They've had their share of mechanical woes so it was good to see them kick it. Congrats!
  • G-man - This track is fun, has elevation and is beautiful. It's a handful of miles from South Haven, Michigan which is a great resort town. Plenty of great local brews, pubs, and beach. Our families loved it. We may come early and stay late next year. The track reminded us of MAM and had several corner combinations that kept us trying new lines.
  • Night Racing. Unlike Iowa Speedway, this track has NO lighting. It's pitch black out in the cornfields. My fastest laps came when I was behind someone so I could see the track in/apex/track out. Our lights were stock and woefully inadequate. I was like a black and white zombie movie except it was the apexes, corners, etc. kept sneaking up and scaring the sh$% out of me. Funny our blue neon and disco lights didn't help...
  • Trophies - Chumpcar has the most amazing trophies. They are all custom made concoctions welded from various metal and car bits. The first place metal skull with a sword impaled in it was stunning. Keep 'em coming, John!! Every event's are new and fun to check out.
  • I enjoyed meeting and talking to all the other teams. Sorry to see the Infinity out of action. I almost died seeing the graphics they had on their car. Hilarious!

Many Thanks Chumpcar to a great race and a ton of fun!

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Well said Tubby!

My favorite spectating was the fantastic race between the Johnda Deere and Will Race For Beer Alfa in the dark. The Honda tried everything to get past, but from my vantage point, the cars were well matched.

It took me several pit stops to get the lights adjusted right, but once I did, I had a ball. When the lights weren't right, I was driving purely from memory. Turns 4, 5, and 6 were all but impossible to see before we got the adjustment right. The Camaro was FLYING at night.

I felt bad for the 01 Neon. It appeared that they were driving blind after dark with their lighting setup. They did a great job of staying on the track and giving room to pass.

The BRE Z will be back and will hopefully be more competitive next time around. We had the oldest car and by far the least power in the field. It simply couldn't keep up with the pack.

I can't wait to see everybody's photos and videos. We'll post ours soon.

Oh, and thanks to everybody who stopped by and commented on our car and theme. We knew that we wouldn't be fast, but we could at least look good. :)

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Quote, taken from the GingerMan Supplemental Rules (and is also printed in every supplemental where night driving is scheduled):

"Teams MUST bring their cars to the track with headlights and taillights installed and operational. Teams may aim headlights Friday night (after dark)."

Okay, lesson learned (hopefully). :D

Wait, what? Are you saying that WE should have aimed our lights Friday night? Our lights were still aimed from Nelson Ledges last year, but every track is different. We couldn't see the left handers at all at GMan even though we were fine at NL. We aimed the lights the best we could when we used the Z to go get firewood Friday night, but the woods didn't offer the right layout. :)

LeMons had Friday night practice for headlight aiming and transponder checks. It would be a huge help if ChumpCar could do the same.

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Many Thanks John!

Team Butterman would like to thank you, Lloyd, Erik, the Gingerman staff and all the teams for a very fun event. We've been checking our calendars for yet another event this year. We love the series and can't wait until the next race... We might surprise you at a winter race.

We are also going to rethink our lighting. I was driving blind out there on several of the turns trying stay on the track while avoiding the three legged deer.

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