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Aleru

UMC The Rocky Mountain 24

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Great weekend despite our silly 240 SX having terrible brakes and breaking up between 4500-5200 rpm all weekend... 

 

Lost and Found - did anyone see or pick up a black Sparco driving suit and yellow F.A.S.T. cooling shirt from garage #6? It was hung up to dry at the end of the race and I can't find it in my stuff at home at the UMC and Champ folks can't said nobody turned anything in.

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3 hours ago, red0 said:

 

That is the point of EC. You could  try out the series in a non Champcar for up to 2 races to see if you like it enough to build a car. 

 

From what I understand you can run EC all you want. It's a separate class.

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34 minutes ago, Crank Yankers Racing said:

 

From what I understand you can run EC all you want. It's a separate class.

 

Yea. I said could, as that was the original rule. It has changed and now you can run EC as much as you want. You used to be able to run any tire too, that way you could show up with your entire setup from another series to try Champ. 

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Hoping the Bandit, Tachophobic, and Son of Andre teams (along with a big turnout from ALL the west coast and nearby teams from AZ, UT, the northwest-and maybe even some long distance teams) come race the Roval at Auto Club in November.  The Detroit V8's should sound great heading down into Turn 1 and thundering along the back straight.  Great chance to unleash all that horsepower.  

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1 hour ago, Voodoo Child said:

Hoping the Bandit, Tachophobic, and Son of Andre teams (along with a big turnout from ALL the west coast and nearby teams from AZ, UT, the northwest-and maybe even some long distance teams) come race the Roval at Auto Club in November.  The Detroit V8's should sound great heading down into Turn 1 and thundering along the back straight.  Great chance to unleash all that horsepower.  

@Voodoo Child your car wouldve done GREAT at UMC!!!!!  

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“Adventure is adversity recounted at leisure.” –Dante’s Dame, sport-touring.net

 

Before I dive into the narrative, here’s the TL;DR version:

  • All vehicles driven by Roto-Plooker Racing team members broke down on the way to UMC
  • Heat, vibration, and fatigue cause problems
  • Forgot about the inertia switch reset
  • Additional crew members are extremely helpful
  • Driving a Ford Transit 150 van at night on the track was fun!
  • Finished 7th; was as high as 5th

 

First of all, we are so glad to have made this race and survived. 24s are so much awesomeness. A big, heartfelt thank you to the very tired ChampCar staff for putting this race on for us crazies.

 

I had the foresight luck to leave Wednesday as I wanted to have a leisurely (ha!) drive and hand over the van and equipment to the ChampCar staff on Friday morning before I went to help my team. Good thing. About 3 miles east of Pearblossom, CA, the mighty ChampCar van’s transmission decided not to work any more. It’s 105°F in the middle of nowhere. I call AAA and get towed to Victorville, CA to the one shop that could actually look at the van that afternoon. Diagnosis: It needs a transmission. No kidding. Get Mr. Chisek on the phone. We get a junkyard transmission with low miles, but it won’t get there until Friday. Call Enterprise and arrange to pick up a cargo van the next morning. Find a hotel, Uber to hotel, get dinner, shower, and sleep.

 

Next morning, pick up van, drive to shop, transfer all the stuff from one van to the other. Big shout out to Big Apple Automotive in Victorville, CA as one of the guys helped me transfer the stuff. Get it all strapped down, get gas, and get on the road around mid-morning. Next stop – Tooele, Utah.

 

Meanwhile, our team captain and driver Mikiel gets on the road at 6am Thursday morning with one of our drivers, Bob, and a crew member Rob. They are packed to the gills with the car, ice chest, tool chest, and spare parts. Which means they have a flat tire in Baker, CA in 112°F heat. No problem; they have a spare. Thirty minutes later, they are on the road again, headed for a KOA in Fillmore, Utah.

 

Later Thursday morning, our third driver, Alan gets on the road. Mid-afternoon, he stops in Jean, NV to get gas and inspects the trailer. Good thing as he found the shackles broke on both sides of the trailer, and the rear axle moved the left rear tire against the fender and pretty much ruined the tire. So he fires up the generator, turns on the A/C in the trailer, and starts to call around for a mobile repair service. He gets a hold of one and the guy comes out, inspects the trailer and says he’ll have to go find parts. Alan may be stuck there until Friday morning. So take a shower (after the water has cooled down a bit – no need to turn the water heater on!) and get some sleep.

 

Meanwhile, Mike P. our fourth driver hasn’t even left SoCal as of Thursday evening. The transmission in his truck needed to be repaired and he had a flat on his trailer. (Note to self: Call Sadie.) But he has a ton of trailer suspension parts. After talking to Mikiel, he calls Alan and determines which parts he needs to bring. He scoops those up and starts driving toward the track. He finds Alan at 1:30am and the two of them repair the trailer. They finish up around 3:30am. Alan thinks he’ll try to get some more sleep, so Mike continues on to Las Vegas. Alan can’t sleep, so starts driving until he tops off the truck somewhere between Las Vegas and Mesquite, where he decides to take a little nap. Mike P. also stops along the way to get some sleep. Eventually they find each other around Cedar City, Utah and caravan to the track.

 

I get to Tooele around 9:00pm Thursday, and check in with the ChampCar staff. I check in with Mikiel and they have dropped anchor at the KOA.

 

Friday morning, I go to the track and we get the van unloaded. We set up Tech and Registration. I do a few gear checks before Mikiel and crew arrive at the track late morning. Two other crew members show up, Marty and Mike Z, and the car and trailer gets unloaded.  Beer drinking commences.

 

Mike P. and Alan show up late afternoon and we get them set up. Beer drinking is now in earnest. Rob and I then go to Wal-Mart to get food, ice, and more beer. I cook dinner while the guys run through pit stops and tire changes. We then make sure the lights work and are aimed correctly. A few more beers to celebrate.

 

Our friend Jamie comes over as we offered him a bunk for the race. Yet more beer drinking. We get people settled in and finally around 11pm we all crash.

 

And the race hasn’t even started yet. 

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On 8/1/2018 at 1:54 PM, Alchemy Autosport said:

@Voodoo Child your car wouldve done GREAT at UMC!!!!!  

 

Would love to race Miller Motorsport with the Z.  I have fond memories of Tooele from my early 20's (I lived in Salt Lake City and have over 200 skydiving jumps at Tooele Valley Airport-nothing like a sunset over the Great Salt Lake while in freefall or under canopy).

 

Unfortunately we are all old and can't stay awake all night anymore.  I know lots of people love 24 hour races (just finishing is an unbelievable accomplishment), but burning through all those tires & fuel and playing "zombie pit crew" isn't my idea of fun.  Give me a Double 8 or 8/7 and I'll be there.

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3 minutes ago, Voodoo Child said:

 

Would love to race Miller Motorsport with the Z.  I have fond memories of Tooele from my early 20's (I lived in Salt Lake City and have over 200 skydiving jumps at Tooele Valley Airport-nothing like a sunset over the Great Salt Lake while in freefall or under canopy).

 

Unfortunately we are all old and can't stay awake all night anymore.  I know lots of people love 24 hour races (just finishing is an unbelievable accomplishment), but burning through all those tires & fuel and playing "zombie pit crew" isn't my idea of fun.  Give me a Double 8 or 8/7 and I'll be there.

 

We were watching the paragliders and parachuters! Big plane making multiple trips to take them up. 

 

You might get your wish with the Double 8 or 8/7. 

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21 hours ago, FlorahDorah said:

Our friend Jamie comes over as we offered him a bunk for the race. Yet more beer drinking. We get people settled in and finally around 11pm we all crash.

 

So thankful for that bunk. I got an amazing ~6 hours of sleep during the 24. I bet i was the most well rested driver out there. 

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5 minutes ago, Jamie said:

 

So thankful for that bunk. I got an amazing ~6 hours of sleep during the 24. I bet i was the most well rested driver out there. 

 

You are more than welcome! 

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On 8/2/2018 at 6:51 PM, Voodoo Child said:

Unfortunately we are all old and can't stay awake all night anymore.  I know lots of people love 24 hour races (just finishing is an unbelievable accomplishment), but burning through all those tires & fuel and playing "zombie pit crew" isn't my idea of fun.  Give me a Double 8 or 8/7 and I'll be there.

I don't know your definition of old, but I do know that if you get enough people and do the race in shifts then no one has to stay awake all night (team 1 does first 12, team 2 does second 12).  Anyway this is part of the dichotomy ChampCar has to deal with.  Some people love the 24 hour events and some do not. 

 

FWIW I am currently at the opposite end of the spectrum.  7 or 8 hour sprints are not my thing.  I entered this series on 24 hour races. In absence of those I like 14 hour events as the endurance aspect has more effect on the outcome. 

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The rest of the story....

 

Interlude

It was delightful to finally meet @Ronh911 - we ended up being pitted near Visceral Racing Group, Wilwood, and MPACT Racing down near Pit-In. Also caught up with @Alchemy Autosport, @Topolinospeed, and @Ron_e. Missed @KDJones2000 but waved to Bucket List Brigade when they came in. 

 

Big shout out to Rusty Rotors as they gave me about a half dozen rotors for trophies (thanks Russ!). And for those of you who dropped off rotors at Registration and at the ChampCar rental van, I thank you. 

 

Big relief to see the Bandit #47 car back in action after a terrible incident at Las Vegas last year. Even better to have them finish the race after they caught on fire! 

 

Our Race

 

The Good:

*Our new tires worked spectacularly and lasted quite a while

*Our volunteer crew was totally awesome and stayed up the full 24 hours, running the fire bottle and filling the car. Not to mention lug nut tightening and changing tires. Drivers were able to get some sleep if they wanted to. 

*The track and facility are awesome! Bathrooms in the garages! 

*And we finished! Better than most at 7th and won the B-class trophy

 

The Bad

Four tows: 

*Forgot about the inertia reset switch after hitting one of those curbs

*Missed the low fuel light (which isn’t very bright in the daytime) so ran out of gas

*Wire from alternator to main fuse failed

*Lights failed because of…. well we don’t know yet. All other lights worked, so Mikiel jumped the lights into a hot wire….and nothing else happened except our lights now work! 

 

The Ugly

Heat messed with our radio batteries continually causing us to rotate out the Vertex radio in the car with the cheap Baofeng radios. @Jamie gave us an adaptor to use so we could attach the Baofeng to the driver, but that was cumbersome to use. Finally just put the Baofeng where the Vertex was and rotated radios in after each stint. At night, we resorted to our pit boards with flashlights and set up a system with the drivers. Three throttle blips down the front straight meant “I saw the sign to come in” or “Last Lap!!! I HAVE to come in.”

 

Heat also vaporized our fuel during the day, reducing stint time to 90 minutes. After it cooled down in the evening, the fuel density returned and we were able to go back to 2 hour stints. 

 

And the worst? Our engine is so tired, Miatas are out-dragging us on the straight. That’s just pitiful. 

 

Bonus

I got to be the pace car driver for the corner worker change at 10pm Saturday. It was fun learning the track at night at 25 mph with Mike Chisek talking me through it like I’m piloting a 747 for the first time. Eek!! So of course I totally suck at driving the track. But hey, at least *I* got out in front of SOA after flooring the van…. that was exciting. Hope they didn’t have to lock up the brakes too badly…. 

 

Aftermath:

At the awards ceremony, we accepted the B-class glass trophy, went back to the trailers, drank beer, and took naps. We paid the track to stay through until Monday morning, so we just talked until we fell asleep in our chairs or went inside to cool A/C. Some people decided to head home. Some had to go to the airport. When it finally cooled off, we loaded up everything, ate dinner, and crashed. 

 

Next morning, I called to make sure I could pick of the ChampCar van on Tuesday. My goal was to make Victorville by the end of the day on Monday, which I did. Mikiel got a second flat tire…. again in Baker…. and had to limp to Barstow to get a new tire as the second spare had a slow leak in it. He made it home around 10:30pm Monday night. Alan stopped in St. George to visit an old bandmate from the glory days of mid-80s LA heavy metal. Mike P left Sunday afternoon and made it home on Monday. Tuesday morning, I showed up at the repair place and transferred stuff from the rental van to the ChampCar van, returned the rental van, got a ride back to the service center, and drove the two and half hours back home. Alan made it home about an hour and a half after I did. Alan gets out of the truck and states: “I am done with steering wheels.” We just left everything. Plugged the trailer in, then sat on the front porch, drank beer, and ordered a pizza. Not much happened after that. 

 

24s are like having a baby; you forget how painful it was once it's over. Looking forward to running the Roval at Fontana - hope to see many of you there. 

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6 minutes ago, Racer28173 said:

^^^^. Completely agree with your assessment of 24s.  And yet I’m running one next week - insanity!

 

Good luck!! I think it's the mystique of Le Mans that sucks us all in. You feel like you are now part of a special group of people crazies. 

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Quick VRG race recap

 

Had 6 drivers (helps keep costs down) 1 driver had driven half the track numerous years ago and the rest had never been here and 2 of them had never driven my car.

The lack of a test day really hurt our team, and we had 2 drivers that could not maintain race pace.

 

We started with 2 new RS4s and 2 used with 20hrs on them from our Nelson race, we finished with the same 4 tires (if SOA really did go through 16 tires that is just incredible!!). 

 

We had 1 minor issue during the race when the car started stumbling just as I was on my very first lap at sunset, I believe it may have been water in our fuel, lost 20 minutes in the pits.

Unfortunately when I got the car back out it was dark with no moon and I had no idea where I was going so first I jumped behind the Plookers RX7 and followed them then I jumped behind the faster Firebird.  After the 991 Cup Car separated us I lost the Firebird and found the coat tails of Gussaks Miata where I finished my stint.

 

Great track and facilities, wish it was a lot closer to me.

 

This was our first 24hr race finish in 4 attempts so we are ecstatic about our podium 3rd place finish. 

 

 

Ron

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@Ronh911 glad we were able to help you out, but none of our drivers had ever driven the track before that day! However, by the time you got in, each of our drivers had driven a stint in daytime. 

 

So glad you were able to finish a 24 AND podium. 

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2 minutes ago, FlorahDorah said:

@Ronh911 glad we were able to help you out, but none of our drivers had ever driven the track before that day! However, by the time you got in, each of our drivers had driven a stint in daytime. 

 

So glad you were able to finish a 24 AND podium. 

 

I agree, I think the lack of a test day (especially this 23 turn track) really hurt a lot of teams.  When I first got out there that night wondering where the heck I was on track  I was wishing I was back at WGI driving in the rain without rain tires!!

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48 minutes ago, Ronh911 said:

We started with 2 new RS4s and 2 used with 20hrs on them from our Nelson race, we finished with the same 4 tires (if SOA really did go through 16 tires that is just incredible!!). 

 

 

16 sticky tires is what it takes to maintain corner velocity to maximize fuel economy.  I track every drop of fuel in and out of our car and we have seen an increase in fuel economy going from the Azenis to the RS-4 to run a comparable lap time.

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5 hours ago, Ron_e said:

 

16 sticky tires is what it takes to maintain corner velocity to maximize fuel economy.  I track every drop of fuel in and out of our car and we have seen an increase in fuel economy going from the Azenis to the RS-4 to run a comparable lap time.

4 seconds a lap worth of tire is worth a fair bit of fuel economy from short-shifting.

 

But we shouldn't sharing these hard-earned fuel economy tips with the haves, let them learn the tricks for themselves like we did. ;) 

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1 hour ago, mender said:

4 seconds a lap worth of tire is worth a fair bit of fuel economy from short-shifting.

 

But we shouldn't sharing these hard-earned fuel economy tips with the haves, let them learn the tricks for themselves like we did. ;) 

 16 tires in a 24 hour race versus four tires as some teams reported they used is a steep price to pay for being competitive in a somewhat low budget series.  But I'm sure somebody will tell @Ron_e  to quit complaining because somebody just proved that a Mustang can be competitive. all you need is a 2 to $3000 tire budget per race versus the cars that have enough fuel to go 2 hours.

Edit:

LOL! I just realized the guys that used 2 new and two used RS 4's  are the same team running the Porsche  with the big motor with a huge fuel tank. Any correlation here between the two makes of vehicle? 

Edited by mcoppola
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Another famous Delma Cowart quotation: 

 

"I'm a dinosaur, there ain't no room for guys like me no more. To me, racing was a hobby. Now, you gotta have money."

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2 hours ago, mcoppola said:

  all you need is a 2 to $3000 tire budget per race

 

We would have to run a little higher budget due to the low Canadian dollar, a set of four RS-4 is $1150 CDN and a set of four RE71-R is $1330 CDN.

 

Whatever, as @Ham Sammich would say, let's get out there and race!

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16 hours ago, Ron_e said:

 

We would have to run a little higher budget due to the low Canadian dollar, a set of four RS-4 is $1150 CDN and a set of four RE71-R is $1330 CDN.

 

Whatever, as @Ham Sammich would say, let's get out there and race!

shoulda picked up a couple sets while you were in the states and taken them home!!!  You can get a set of 225/45-15 RS4s delivered from Tire Rack for ~$600

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11 minutes ago, Alchemy Autosport said:

shoulda picked up a couple sets while you were in the states and taken them home!!!  You can get a set of 225/45-15 RS4s delivered from Tire Rack for ~$600

 

$1150 CDN is mounted, balanced, tire disposal tax.  Tire Rack = $636 USD, convert to USD = $828, add $100 to mount and balance = $928, so yes could have saved ~$200, not sure how the tire disposal tax comes into play when bringing 4 stickers across the border.

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