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Bill Strong

2018 Brainerd Race Recap

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So what a weekend for our team and we will have a long read shortly as I know one person which will be excited to discuss the racing part.

Our travels to arrive had some major excitement and delayed our arrival until after tech was closed and we were not sure what we had left of a car and parts 

until we got to the track. 

I will provide some thoughts and details but will try to be brief. Heading up I35 at mile marker 36 which is all construction and reduced to two lanes with trafffic

running side by side and a solid line. We were pulling our trailer with my 2000 F250 work horse and followed a semi into the road work area. I was running about 50 mph

and about 250 feet of the semi when all of the sudden he slams on his brakes and comes to a complete stop. Now hit the brakes hard on the F250 and trailer locking all

eight wheels trying to slow to a stop. The rest is history as we ended up in the tail of the semi as we had no other options with the wire guard rail or on coming traffic as

the only other options. Patrick and I both were fine as we knew what was going to happen but the truck was totaled being wedged between 10,000 trailer and a 50 ton

semi. 

I want to discuss trailer loading and strapping down of goods inside after seeing the results. I will say everything in the trailer came forward and I mean everything.

We had everything strapped down to either e-track or to the side walls with d-ring anchors. Varies types and quality and I will say we had straps that snapped, d-rings that

either opened or snapped the anchor bolts and even the heavy car straps one of those the end hook almost straightened out. My point in all of this is we will move to heavier

straps and all the cargo and stronger d-rings and all tie points. 

Damage will need to be fully assessed in the coming days but I do know I have a couple Miata radiators to sell which are both kind of crushed. The car came forward and 

crushed the splitter and front aero which we removed and beat back at the track before day one.

 

Gee I forgot to say what caused this complete mess, seems up in front of the line a construction truck turned off into the work sight with no warning or signal 😞

IMG_6053.JPG

Edited by 55mini
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Gah!

 

Glad yall are okay!

 

Looking at that truck, it did a GREAT job of dispersing the load around the passenger compartment.  The cab still looks brand new!

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3 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

Gah!

 

Glad yall are okay!

 

Looking at that truck, it did a GREAT job of dispersing the load around the passenger compartment.  The cab still looks brand new!

A 250 is a really toughly built truck and you are completely correct as the frame went up just behind the cab and the amount of iron in the 7.3 stopped everything up front.

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I had a very enjoyable weekend. 

 

Thank you Champcar staff and volunteers for putting on the event. 

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TL:DR Lost a tow rig, set FTD Saturday, had cooling issues, 3rd place.  Sunday broken CV, Fixed, Ran FTD and set new ChampCar track record, brought the car back in one piece. 

 

OK, weekend recap post truck incident.  Our day, myself and Tyler @Crank Yankers Racing, left my house around 5:30 am on Friday on our way to Minneapolis to pick up one our drivers(Jacob) that flew in from Tennessee.  We got there around 10 am loaded up and were sitting in the wonderful downtown traffic when I got the call from Patrick saying they had been in a wreck.  Our entire car fell silent as we tried to assess if we needed to head back South to try and assist.  We ended up parking at a gas station and sat for about an hour while we waited for the decision, which was made for us to continue on to the track and make staff aware of our issues.  I really appreciate that @DuncanDana was willing to let us tech our changes via pictures that Patrick sent so we didn't have any headaches there.  (Yes, he did come verify in person before the race so everything was legit) 

 

The three of us arrived at the track, got checked in, went to dinner, talked with other teams, and continued to wait for Patrick and @55mini to arrive.  The save of the day goes out to my stepmom who jumped into @55mini's new company truck(2018 F350) that had just been acquired earlier in the week, special shout out to @Cremaster Racing for the assist on that one!  The car finally arrived to the track a little after nine pm and we began assessing the damage.  Long and the short, we had to rework the entire front aero assembly.  With no good option to help flatten out the undertray portion of the front splitter, we employed the support vehicle  and drove over it until it was back to flat.  After using what could only be called an entire hardware store supply of pop rivets and surviving the onslaught of mosquitoes the size  birds that are apparently immune to any type of bug spray we buttoned it all up at about midnight and headed back to our onsite condo for some sleep.

 

The next morning @55mini was able to sneak out without waking anyone else and began further checks on the car.  As a result of the incident we now had almost 4 degrees of static camber in the fronts, an inch of toe out in the front, and another inch out in the rear.  Got all of that changed back, finished the last two pieces of lexan for the new and improved top and we were ready to drive it to the pit stall.  Patrick got in the car first and we were fortunate enough to start second to last.  The start for us was terrible, the corner worker going into the carousel didn't pull the yellow when the track went green so it caused some confusion, corner workers we a bit sub par IMHO for this event.  Patrick had a great battle with @red0 and the two of them worked up through the field setting fast lap after fast lap and had gotten to only a 7s gap to P1 and P2, unfortunately we had forgotten to tell him that we had added some new heat wrap on the exhaust near the fuel cell.  This started to smoke and Patrick brought the car in for a check.  We were able to see it right away and sent him back out, thankfully still on the lead lap, but now at a 1:30s gap to the leaders.  When Patrick came in he had the FTD by about a second and said the car felt great.  We sent Jacob out, for his first time on the track, and he began reeling off laps comparable to the top cars and then ended up setting FTD as hes was again closing the gap to the leaders.  He mention that he started to see the fuel pressure dropping and our red light coming on.  He was able to short shift and continued on for a full stint.  Next in the car was @Crank Yankers Racing who went out and again settled into a comfortable pace, we had told him to short shift just in case we were burning slightly more fuel than expected.  At about an hour into his stint we received a PUY black flag which I feel was questionable, mainly because the flag was out in turn 4, then at turn 5, there was no flag and we later found out it wasn't manned, this is where the pass occurred btw, and then the incident was in turn six.  That put us down by three laps and we all realized without some bad fortune from the top teams  we were not going to catch them.  What we didn't know is that while the car sat for the penalty, it heat soaked and burped water out of the overflow, more on that later.  Tyler went back out and ran hard for the rest of the stint, but did call in say fuel pressure was dropping and the car was stumbling.  I got in the car for the last stint and went out in third with a six lap lead over the fourth place car so just tried to keep a good pace.  15 minutes into the stint I noticed water temps up to 250 degrees, I immediately shifted to fifth and took my foot off the throttle.  The temps then dropped down to 210 which is normal and I continued on.  This happened the rest of the stint, in left hand turns the temp would spike, then when I straighten back out it would go back to normal.  To be safe I just drove the track in fifth, caught the fourth place car and then just stayed in front running comfortable times and not hurting the car.  Brought it across the line, had a nice time in impound, got it back to the pits and found it was a quart and a half down on water, so our temp sensor was giving a false reading when I would load the car in the corners.  Did a compression and leak down to make sure and all was good.  Put some oil and water in and moved our pits.  Great day and a nice 3rd place finish with FTD of the race.

 

Sunday morning we got up and headed to the pits.  I was starting in the car, sitting in second position behind @enginerd knowing that I was going to go for it from the start, its a race after all.  Well, after the pace car pulled off I went to shift to fourth and my hand slipped and I missed the initial shift allowing him to pull me quite a bit down the front straight.  I kept the gas to the floor and took turn one flat out and passed him for the lead on the straight into turn two.  After that I just wanted to try and grow a gap, knowing they had a good car and great drivers for the race.  Surprisingly the car had a decent pace and I was able to run in the low 2's with relative ease.  Now, as I was coming around the last turn onto the front of the drag strip is when trouble happens.  I get just across the start line, clutch in, drop to fourth, then boom, no more acceleration, try third, nothing, fourth again, same, fifth, nope......Dread sets in as I realize I am stuck on the middle of a drag strip with barrier on both sides and traffic coming at 100+ mph.  I keep the car coasting and considered trying to dive into the pit out location but figured that was a bad idea.  I look ahead and notice a break in the wall on the opposite side and duck into it.  This put me in  what I felt was a safe spot and a place the turn one corner worker could easily see; only for some reason turn one wasn't managed???  I then got to wait for ~18 minutes for safety to come tow me back thinking we had lost a trans and were probably going to be done for the day.  Getting the car on stands we find that we had actually sheared all the splines on the drives side rear axle(it was brand new also)... @55mini does his thing and gets to getting it swapped out as the approaching rain moves in.  We get the swap done and the car ready just as the track goes red....crap.  After sitting through the next few lighting calls we retired for lunch to wait it out.  After some discussion the team was not feeling like they wanted to race as we were out of the running. 

 

I decided that we drove a long ways, lost a tow vehicle, @55mini hustled to change the axle and I wasn't going to just sit and watch.  So, I decided to get back in the car after the delay and see what the car had in it.  I honestly have never felt as in the "zone" as I did during that stint, I was extremely relaxed and just flowing with the track and the traffic.  Once I started seeing the time on the lap timer dipping into the low 1:59's, then 1:58's I just kept driving, trying to make sure I was driving clean and smooth and not lifting into turn one and only a slight lift to settle the car into turn two.  This resulted in a new Champcar track record of a 1:57.050 per race monitor(Harry's had a 1:56.45).  I'll admit, I wasn't trying to push for fast laps, it just felt so dang good and natural.  This was all fine and dandy, until I started to spit and sputter on turn two at 1:48 minutes into the stint.  Was able to bring the car back in on fumes and we put Jacob into the car to try and finish the race out with only 1:58 to go we were hoping maybe to make it by short shifting.  Well, Jacob wanted to try and push for times too(glad he did) and ended up running out of fuel with about five minutes to go in the race. He got it back in, we parked it, high fived, and cheered on the finishers. 

 

My thoughts on the rest of the race.  Clean racing.  Other than a racing incident on Saturday I don't think I saw or heard any complaints about contact or overly aggressive driving.  There was a big speed differential on Sunday and closing speeds were incredible.  Everyone did a pretty good job of being aware and holding their lines.  Thank You!!!  ChampCar Staff put on a well run event and were all very approachable and positive all weekend.  I loved seeing Jay doing tech, he was very thorough and fair in what he found IMHO.  It was great to see a lot of friends out there and I felt like everyone had a very friendly sense of competitiveness and it showed on and off the track. 

 

That said, I get to have back surgery number three on the 24th so this might have been my last race for a long time depending how it turns out.  Personally, it feels awesome to have run the times I did on Sunday, but I have to throw a huge thank you to @55mini(my dad) and Patrick (my brother) for all the time and effort that they had put into the car with all of the changes made before the race. They built and set up a perfect car, just wish we had some better luck and we could have made it an exciting race both days.

 

Thank you again to everyone at the event, please continue to sign up and support the series in the midwest, we have some of the best teams in the series running here and having you makes everyone better as we can all learn from each other.  Good luck to everyone in there next events, I'll be tagging along to Gingermen so hope to see you all there!

 

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Now I feel bad for not asking about unmanned stations during the drivers meeting :(. I knew where they would be, but I know it has caught others out before too.

 

In previous races we have also had a corner worker at pit out to signal the cars when to go, as both courses have tricky locations for joining the track. I don't think it caused any issues, but not sure why we didn't do that this time.

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6 minutes ago, ABR-Glen said:

Now I feel bad for not asking about unmanned stations during the drivers meeting :(. I knew where they would be, but I know it has caught others out before too.

 

In previous races we have also had a corner worker at pit out to signal the cars when to go, as both courses have tricky locations for joining the track. I don't think it caused any issues, but not sure why we didn't do that this time.

I agree 100% about the pit out station.  That can be really sketchy, glad everyone paid attention and nothing happened.  Just felt understaffed from previous years.  Oh well.

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@55mini thank you for the recap on the accident and the helpful insights. Glad you guys were okay and were able to have a great weekend! 

 

@hotchkis23 thank you for the blow-by-blow race recap. I was following along periodically on Facebook, YouTube, and Race Monitor. Never, ever give up. Congratulations! 

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For Bromance Racing, this was our best weekend ever! Day 1 we finished 6th, and 3rd on day 2.

 

Our major weekend issue, our master brake cylinder was going bad. Our braking zone was about half a mile into turn 3! :P

 

Sunday's race was amazing! With about 30+ minutes to go we were in 5th place. We passed 4th with only a hand of minutes left. I checked lap times and saw that 3rd place was trying to save gas. I told our driver and he was able to catch and pass them with 2 laps to go. On the last lap, both drivers turned the day's fastest lap to beat each other. It was an awesome race to the end!

 

Thank you to everyone at the race, we had a great weekend! (I was streaming, I shared the link on our race FB page, I forgot to share it here... Doh)

 

BIR-2018_01.jpg

 

BIR-2018_06.jpg

 

BIR-2018_02.jpg

 

BIR-2018_03.jpg

 

BIR-2018_04.jpg

 

BIR-2018_05.jpg

Edited by Mike.g
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3 minutes ago, thewheelerZ said:

Nice work @Mike.g!!  Congrats on a solid weekend!

Thanks! We were part of a larger group. 3 teams, 10 drivers in total. It was fun to race side by side with Plumb Crazy Neon and we ended the day right next to each other. Super awesome!!!

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I will recap this weekend day-by-day so that the post length is shorter, and so that I can write a bit and post, then go take a nap, then write a bit more... and rest more.. etc.

 

First things first.. this was a well run event and the ChampCar staff was great and very accommodating of an issue we developed on Saturday (more to follow). In general the driving level was high and the Brainerd track crew was great (speedy local yellow pulls all weekend). 

 

Shout out to sponsors:

- Racing Radios -- The radio set we won at NCM was in use this weekend and a nice improvement over our old radios. Thanks guys!!

- SSSquid Tuning (https://www.sssquid.com/v3/) -- Satisfies all our ECU / chip tuning needs. Gave us a nice dyno-verified boost in power and driveability 

- European Auto Garage -- Provides us with a nice discount on BMW parts and provides anyone in the Knoxville area with top-notch service on imports.

- DB Performance -- Fantastic dyno facility outside of Minneapolis.

 

 

Friday: For this weekend our driver lineup was Me, @red0, guest driver @ABR-Glen, and celebrity guest driver Paul Veltum @Paulie!

We set off from Chicago and stopped in Minneapolis to dyno the car at DB Performance. Immediately found that the high RPM misfire which reared its head at NCM had not been solved by the changes I made since then. We were in a bit of a panic at this point because we were not happy with a prospect of short shifting for a whole weekend of racing. I quickly replaced every electrical and ignition-system part that I had spares of and ended up fixing it! We did pulls with 3 different chips, saw good results, loaded up the trailer, and headed on to Brainerd.

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Well I can honestly say I have no interest in returning to Brainerd. Between unmanned flag stations, Mickey Mouse pit facilities, no lights in the rest rooms, and a load up all your crap in the trailer to drive a mile for the  race the next day, I've got better ways to spend my time.

 

On a positive note I found the competition course to be rather fun for the most part, with good competitive racing. I did have t talk with a team captain on Sunday about one of his drivers the previous day who I felt was overly aggressive and he agreed to talk to him. Thank you! I hope I didn't come off as being a complete dick.

 

A very frustrating weekend for us as we had a competitive car with an unknown driveline problem which caused us to retire early both days. Top that off with tow vehicle that is slowly losing power after spending a couple of grand and uncountable hours of labor to get up to to snuff. I'm taking a couple of weeks off to see if I can break my boat too.

 

Hope to see you all at Road America.

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I wasn't at this race but am all for just running the competition course.  The long course is boring for 95% of the cars.  This is the main reason I didn't come to this race.

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10 hours ago, hotchkis23 said:

TL:DR Lost a tow rig, set FTD Saturday, had cooling issues, 3rd place.  Sunday broken CV, Fixed, Ran FTD and set new ChampCar track record, brought the car back in one piece. 

Saying that the Mielan Miata was impressive this weekend is an understatement! Very soon the car will run out of new and bizarre ways to fail you guys and you'll get the win. As always it was a pleasure sharing the track with you guys.

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29 minutes ago, brb said:

I wasn't at this race but am all for just running the competition course.  The long course is boring for 95% of the cars.  This is the main reason I didn't come to this race.

This was my first race at Brainerd and I loved the competition course. The long course was not as fun, but I am thrilled to have now run it... there aren't many tracks where you can take a turn at 120+ mph!!!

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49 minutes ago, enginerd said:

This was my first race at Brainerd and I loved the competition course. The long course was not as fun, but I am thrilled to have now run it... there aren't many tracks where you can take a turn at 120+ mph!!!

Try a 129 in a Miata!!! At least that’s what Harry’s said. That’s hauling taters.

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11 hours ago, Eman911 said:

Well I can honestly say I have no interest in returning to Brainerd. Between unmanned flag stations, Mickey Mouse pit facilities, no lights in the rest rooms, and a load up all your crap in the trailer to drive a mile for the  race the next day, I've got better ways to spend my time.

  

On a positive note I found the competition course to be rather fun for the most part, with good competitive racing. I did have t talk with a team captain on Sunday about one of his drivers the previous day who I felt was overly aggressive and he agreed to talk to him. Thank you! I hope I didn't come off as being a complete dick.

  

A very frustrating weekend for us as we had a competitive car with an unknown driveline problem which caused us to retire early both days. Top that off with tow vehicle that is slowly losing power after spending a couple of grand and uncountable hours of labor to get up to to snuff. I'm taking a couple of weeks off to see if I can break my boat too.

  

Hope to see you all at Road America.

 

Last year was the first year since 2011 I did not make it to Brainerd and I was glad to be back in 2018. 

 

Brainerd is one of the most supportive tracks to grass roots racing, and the competition course facilities are quite nice IMO. 

 

As far as loading up to go to the Donnybrook. It was a privilege to drive this course that so few people have  raced. Of course the pits are not going to be perfect, this course is not regularly used or raced and is 40 years old. I thought it was awesome racing this high speed course that felt like a throwback to the Canam races of the early 70's. 

 

Given the opportunity I would certainly like to race a Brainerd again next year! 

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16 hours ago, Mike.g said:

For Bromance Racing, this was our best weekend ever! Day 1 we finished 6th, and 3rd on day 2.

 

 

Congrats on the great finishes! Your car must have been a h00t on the Donnybrook course, the Maxima is staggeringly fast!

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I got home yesterday from a long weekend.  I left my house on Thursday and enjoyed my time at the race weekend.  Thanks to @55mini and @hotchkis23 for inviting me up to enjoy a very well paced Miata.  I enjoyed competing against everyone and getting some good input from members at the BIR race weekend.  I think that might be my 2nd black flag ever and first for passing under yellow.  The corner workers were very hard to see with the flags.....they should attend a RA race for some practice in the future.  As always thanks to all the Champ staff for putting on a great race.  

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The Donneybrooke was a course I always thought would be relatively boring to run because we are in cars that don't make the power to make it exciting.  I can say I was wrong in that opinion, when in a rhythm I felt like it had a real flow to it and kept you engaged.  I really liked coming in hard to the transition area of the carousel and having to throw it in there and power out under the bridge.  Yes, the long straight is kind of boring, but it gave me a chance to collect my thoughts, look at my lap times and pucker up for turn 1. 

 

I appreciate the opportunity we have to race on a historic track, and while the pits are a bit dated, it was just an awesome feeling and made me feel like we were taking a true step back in time and doing real "grassroots" racing. 

 

This track and the owner really love ours and other series that come to the track and it shows when you talk with him.  FYI, if you want the best accommodations, the onsite condos are cheap compared to the hotels in the areas and are quite nice as well.

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Premium Dudes Saturday Race Recap:

 

Saturday's 8 hour on the competition course started out on a humorous note.... In the driver's meeting, we get to the end and Dana announces that he doesn't have a random number generator on his phone, so he asks if anyone in the crowd can do this task for him. Our celebrity guest driver, Paulie Veltum, then calls out "start with pit 14!!!" (we are pitted in 14), to which Dana replies, "OK, 15 is on pole, then 16, 17, etc."

A very angry @red0 (who is driving the lead stint for us) shakes his fist and gives @Paulie a death-stare as we walk back to finish our pre-race prep.

 

So, Andrew is starting in 28th and hooks up with the MiElan miata (starting 27th) and they carve their way through the field. By lap 11 they are 3rd and 4th, then MiElan pulls to the pits (loses about a minute) and Andrew continues to chase after the e30s of SD Faces and Junk in the Trunk. By lap 15 we had reached 1st place and he started pulling out a lead. At around the 50 minute mark we get a radio call that the clutch pedal is resting on the firewall, but he's got it in 4th gear and it's "not that bad" to run this track with only 1 gear. If you found yourself thinking "why are these guys fast at the end of the straight but so slow leaving the corners", well, there is your answer!! He soldiers on and keeps it in 1st place for the rest of the stint, holding a gap over SD faces of just over 1 minute while we coordinated with ChampCar about how to do our pit stop in light of this issue. (Big thanks to ChampCar staff for accommodating our disability here. They really went out of their way to help us out)

 

Paulie Veltum gets in the car next, holds on to first. Then I get in and also maintain first, but by the end of my stint, the gap back to SD Faces is down to 30 seconds. We are losing most of the time in the pits, as our lack of clutch is extending the pit stop delta by about 15 seconds. We know that this won't be enough of a gap since we are giving up at least 2 seconds / lap by running 4th only and SD Faces is putting their best driver in last. It turns out we were right, as SD Faces catches and passes Glen and we finish in 2nd place.

 

Edited by enginerd
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21 minutes ago, enginerd said:

 

 A very angry @red0 (who is driving the lead stint for us) shakes his fist and gives @Paulie a death-stare as we walk back to finish our pre-race prep.

 

 

200.gif

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2 hours ago, hotchkis23 said:

... and pucker up for turn 1.

I finally loosened up enough today to finally use it! That corner is a blast!

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