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I guess I could have started this about 5pm Saturday since our day was over by 11:45 and I decided to make a run for home before darkness. There was a lot of carnage out there due to the heavy rain. Made for a bad day for some. Congrats to the teams that finished and double kudos if you finished well. 

 

We started out with a decent draw, maybe 13th or 14th out and after a few laps Casey called in and said I HAVE NO GRIP, THE CAR IS TERRIBLE.  I said calm down, you are leading the race so apparently everybody has the same issue only worse. It didn’t last. I am always reminded that this sport rewards those that plan well and prep well. We had a caliper bolt that was either left loose of came loose that shut us down for 15 min or so. You just can’t do enough double checking of things that you touch. After getting back out we were working up the field again, changed drivers and Chris was really laying down some good laps. Some of the fastest of the field but just a mile to try to come back from. Unfortunately he was pressing a little hard and spun coming out of the museum and smacked the car pretty hard on the front left. That pretty much ended it for us. Car is most likely repairable but quite a bit of damage. 

 

Thanks for the corner workers staying out there in that junk. Thanks to @zack_280 and the other guys that worked pitlane.  Thanks to Champcar for putting the event on, as always. 

Edited by Burningham
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Due to a busy year, Barber was the first time RPM had its full roster of drivers and crew.  We're somewhat odd in that we kinda look forward to wet races for the driving experience, but not for the soak clothing (I personally changed socks 5 times Saturday).   Jeremy started off our race.  We were somewhere near mid pack to start off.  He worked his way up to 1st, only to find the gravel trap at the end of the back stretch racing Simon Says and we lost 1-2 laps.  After two hours,  we decided to gamble on our fuel after many extended FCY and some fuel saving by Jeremy and go without fuel (stock 1.8 Miata tank , 1.9qt surge tank, and relocated fill to passenger side for safety after drivers were splashed with gas when the system burbs for those who took pictures). 

 

I was in the car next.  Conditions went from wet, to damp, and then back to wet.  It was definitely a challenge not knowing what the grip levels were going to be each time.  It caught me out once when going into the hairpin I had no stopping, so I made a quick decision to release the brakes and head for the grass between the gravel pit and guard rail.  Keeping my momentum up I was able to work around the gravel pit and back onto the track.  After my two hours, we fueled the car and put Brian in the car.  He drove a quick and steady pace.  Unlike Jeremy and I, he didn't take and off road excursions as we slowly worked our way up the pylon.  After his two hours, we gambled again with no fuel and put Jeremy back in the car. 

 

Jeremy immediately reported that conditions were WAY worse than he had in the morning.  Halfway through his stint we were settled into 3rd and just trying to bring it home.  While racing another car, he visit the mud bog that was once the right side of the kink.  Our splitter and air dam dislodged in the excursion, but he powered though to hold to get back on track.  The car he was racing was not so fortunate.  In the media room, we were watching the track CCTV and the amount of water being displaced in the kink was amazing.  We also took to cheering anyone who couldn't get though the kink and ended up in the bog.  In the end, we came home 3rd on Saturday and just parked the car after an exhausting day and decided to investigate the damage Sunday morning.

 

We arrived at the track early (well for us, we are Rarely Prepared Motorsports after all).  We decided everything important was in intact and we'd race.  The engine bay was washed of mud and grass and the remnants of the splitter and air dam were removed.   Water in a helmet mic meant we were late getting Jeremy to the grid and we started nearly last.   Enjoying a challenge, he quickly worked his way up to 2nd place.  His only issue was getting lapped twice by Tom O' Gorman, but it was short lived.

 

Knowing the quiet hour was coming, we shorted pitted to put in Brian and gamble on fuel again.  After Tom O's team experienced a failed head gasket we were in the lead ahead of the 840 Supra by a lap going into quiet hour.   After a change in strategy, it was decided to put Brian in the car and gain a much time as we could and hope we could make 30 mins longer on fuel so we could do 2hr stints the rest of the day.  At around 12:30, the fuel warning light came one like it was listing to our plan.  Back in the car I enjoyed the damp, but grippy track for most of my stint while trying to maintain the lead.  A sudden increase in moisture on the track meant once again I had no braking grip going into 5 and repeated my trip through the grass from Saturday (much to the confusion of the Champ Cast crew).   I was warned that Cone Crushers were 2nd place, the fastest car, gaining fast, but a few laps down.   I tried to make the Miata wide safely, but I pointed them by in hopes of just maintaining my pace. I wrapped up my stint still in the lead by a lap and handed the car over to Brian.

 

Brian drove the car as hard as he could.  Cone Crushers was coming fast, but we knew they had one more driver change and probably wouldn't be taking fuel.  We watched their last stop and a stall and push start to get away from the pit box bought us a little more time.  Brian maintained his pace as the light faded.  Confiding over the radio how he felt everyone had all of a sudden gotta a lot more racey (I felt the same way, but it was likely the stress of maintaining the lead getting in my head).  The last 45mins we watched as Cone Crushers slowly took time out of our lead, but in the end Brian brought home the win by 20 seconds.  For our efforts, we got a free trip to the dyno for the 2nd time this year (in the two races we've done).  Btw, the dyno was reading about 25% lower than what it did at AMP.

 

In 6 years as a team, this is our first win.  We have come close a few times.  We've beaten ourselves most of the time or lost on a gamble.  So to finally win one was amazing.   Besides a few driving mistakes by Jeremy and myself, we don't feel we could have done much better given the conditions.  Our pit stops were flawless (thanks to our crew Mike and Tara).  We're definitely rejuvenated and looking forward to 2019.

 

 

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We loaded up Thursday night, got the car aligned Friday morning, and then loaded up and headed for Barber.  After our long 10 min drive, we showed up as the 3rd trailer in line at the G lot.  Chatted with Dana for a few mins before we headed back home to eat lunch.  Made our way back just in time to go pick up fuel and get let into Barber.  Found us a spot and got power run to the trailer.  Would of been nice to setup pits that night, but it is what it is.  

 

We knew Saturday was going to be a frog strangler, so we decided to go with our rain tires.  Did our pre-race checks and all of the sudden the driver can hear us, but we can hear the driver.  We zip tie a radio in with the volume maxed hoping that would help...but it didnt.  I kinda wish champ could talk one of our coms sponsors to show up every race...it would make life easier.  So anyways, we head out hopeful to repeat a top ten from last year.  Get a good start and we start to follow @Burningham to the front  Driver makes it 4 turns and then we get the call...lost power, car will not restart.....fudge.  He gets pulled in and we spend a while chasing our tails trying to figure it out.  No spark, no fuel pump...keep checking sensors and swapping ones back and forth.  Its been almost 2 hours at this point and then it hits me.  I run downstairs and pop the trunk...the fuse for the ecu had blown.  I put in a new 15amp fuse, car starts right up so we send our driver back out.  He makes it 4 laps, car dies again.  At this point, we are DEAD last.  Well we get to looking and it appears we wired in a defrost blower into the same circuit as our ECU.  So I put in a 20amp fuse, Jack rips the blower out and we send him back out.  Big shout out to @elongoran and his crew for checking in on us and throwing us ideas, owe you guys a beer next time y'all are in town.  We send the driver back out and the car is running great.  We decided at this point, it was a test and tune for tomorrow so we just turn laps for the rest of the day while getting great experience in the rain at Barber.  We tested our new fuel bottle mod and it worked beautifully, draining 5 gallons in 20 seconds without any gas tank vent mods.  Every driver had a blast, avoiding spins and watching drivers plow though the lake at the exit of turn 16.  I was behind @Doc's car during a caution towards the end of the race and it looked like moses parting the red sea.  Can't wait to get the video footage back.  The kink was like fording a river, felt like i was going to slide into the mud pit every time.  Had a good nervous laugh every time I made it though.  The straight after the hairpin was prob the scariest part as the car would just move at will 2 cars left or right at any time.  We turned enough laps to not be 47th and made our way to 40th.  We loaded fifi right onto the trailer, drank a beer, and headed for the house.  Our motor made it and we made it out without any damage...felt like a win to us.

 

The weather forecast for Sunday seemed to indicate a dry day with cloud cover...but leaving the house at 5:30am and it was "Misting" pretty good.  Get to the track and put some RE71's on and send out our ringer.  We had 5 drivers for the day so we attempted to come up with a way to get everyone equal time...what I didn't account for was the reduced fuel burn from wet weather and I did not adjust accordingly.  Our ringer started 20th and gets us up to 4th pretty quick.  FWD is still kicking our butts but we keep pushing.  We get our first stop done and have a record fuel stop for us, had the car full of gas driver ready to go with 2 mins left on the timer.  We continued that type of fuel stop for the rest of the day, pretty pumped about that.  We get to the red flag in 5th place with dreams of an impound dancing in our heads.  We load up after the impound and it seems that the track might be drying out.  Our driver is turning good laps and the car is running well.  Back up to 4th and I hop in the car and it starts misting a bit harder.  Man, that track was slick.  My first lap I had a nice drift though the hairpin and a dance over the tunnel turn.  Once I figured out where the grip was, I had some fun.  Had a good run with the MiElan car for a while until he spun coming out of 5.  Since we didn't have coms, I didn't realize that we would be battling them later for position.  Caught the 84 supra car coming out of the pits and had fun putting the pressure on whoever was driving at the time.  Got around him only to give it right back going into the pits.  I had us up to 4th but dropped to 5 right as I came into the pits.  The track was really slick by this point and it was getting darker.  Our last driver went in and just couldn't find grip out there.  He brought us home in 8th overall but most importantly kept the car in one piece and brought us another top 10 finish at Barber in crap conditions.  We drank some beer, loaded up and headed for the house.  As I am about to get on the interstate I get a call that I need to turn around as we were getting an award.  We ended up with a jar of reeses pieces for breaking on the first lap of the race but sticking with it and getting back out there.  We will eat the candy and use the jar for something cool.  Was really hoping for one of those sweet ass trophies, but glad that we got recognized for our hard work.

 

Congrats to the winners!  It was super tough sledding out there.  Barber is very unforgiving in the wet.  Maybe next year we can have a race that doesn't involve odd weather.  Supposed to be repaved in 2019 so hopefully some of that seam sealer will go away.      

 

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6 hours ago, acowden86 said:

(much to the confusion of the Champ Cast crew)

We are constantly confused...but now we know what RPM really means. Congrats on the win! Hope we stayed out of your way....LOL

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I watched the broadcast a little bit each day. The rain appeared.... biblical when compared to SoCal. That said I can't believe people didn't have lights or didn't turn them on. But then I've seen gray or black cars with no lights on after dusk has fallen. Apparently they can see just fine. Or just the parking lights. Or just the daytime driving lights. People are oblivious I guess....

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We've made it back to Iowa, and had a little sleep.  What a fun weekend, with friends and racing.   Another fine event thanks to the work from the Champ staff.  Special thanks and kudos to Jay and his pit road workers for braving the nasty conditions for entire weekend!  

 

We were pretty excited with our results in the rain.   Let me back up just a moment...our car has always SUCKED in the rain.  We pretty much knew it was coming, and did a little more research and set up work this time and it paid off with a pretty decent car in the wet.  I personally was thrilled to not be terrified for the entire stint.  Its not perfect yet but soooo much better. 

We had some window fogging issues on Saturday morning that necessitated a couple of extra stops to deal with, putting us back to 38th in the first stint.  It wasn't completely solved but good enough to run the rest of the day.  Throughout the rest of Saturday we chugged along and stayed out of the sand and grass and worked back to 13th.  We were wet, and cold, and happy.  We shoved the car in the trailer and headed for a hot shower.  (Thankfully the house we rented had 3 of them)  

 

Sunday morning we, our wrench @55mini, removed the hosed up vibration damper from the differential (it had turned into a vibration creator, and we were ready to go.  We briefly thought about changing set up based on thinking it was going to dry out.  Not trusting the weather weasels we opted for leaving things like they were.    We started mid pack again and worked into the top 10, and floated along from 12th to 8th the rest  of the day.   We finished 7th (without the EC entry) and were pretty excited.    We felt like just surviving was a victory.  To me, Sunday was harder to drive in the varying levels of mist than Saturday was.   It baited you (me) into getting a little confident and doing something stupid.  The entry to 7 tried to kill me a couple times. Sorry if you were behind me when I was suddenly sideways, and thanks for not smashing into me.  ;)     And then there was my run with @Jab31169 in the 3rd stint.  Their light bar was in my mirror for quite a few laps.  I'd think I was going to get some separation and then I would be too slow through traffic or do something dumb and he was right there.  I was just a tiny bit faster, not enough.    Then I had a major pucker moment coming out of 5 avoiding another sideways Miata.  I think I just moved the wheel a bit to fast and touched the gas at the same time and the car didn't like that.  Had to drive in the grass just a bit and carry on but  WUDU was long gone by then.    The last 40 minutes of the race was fun for us to watch with my son Jacob in the car.   He was again chasing down the E36 of WUDU, we thought he might have the pace to catch them and the suspense was building.  The funny part was when he was getting close and the black Miata of Blakes Garage passed us and WUDU for position.  We were so focused on the chase we didn't realize they were catching us.  Jacob did get the pass on the BMW and moved us up a spot with about 10 minutes left.    Whoever was driving for Blakes Garage at the end had some great pace.   Its was our fun little race a little ways down the list.  

 

I felt terrible for all of those that went home with body work and more to do, it was pretty evil and unforgiving.    I had a couple of close calls and would like to think I had something to do with staying out of the walls but I think it was really mostly luck at that point.    Car to car behavior was really good all weekend from what I saw, it was all weather and the track fighting back that caused trouble.   

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Doc said:

We are constantly confused...but now we know what RPM really means. Congrats on the win! Hope we stayed out of your way....LOL

 

Looking back, we realized we were just overly stressing about holding onto the lead.  No one was really racing us that hard.  Your Team was very courteous.  One of the only few I recall sticking their hand out of the window in the rain to let me know they were letting me by.  I'm hoping y'all had a hand warmer cause my left hand was frozen and we can't even get a hand out of the window (two nets).

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@JDChristianson Was a really really fun battle in terrible conditions.  I'd get my run coming out of two up the hill though 4, then we would get to turn 5 (hairpin) and you would leave me.  When I saw you spin out of 5, it was a sad moment for me as I wanted to keep battling.  I was really glad you kept it out of the wall.  Had a great battle with your car on saturday as well at the end of the race, I even lit up the turkey led's when I finally got around your car on the front straight.

Edited by Jab31169
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Alrighty racers: I need those stories in here for the race recap I am writing!!! I know most of you had an uneventful race....no offs or anything like that so make something up. Maybe a heartfelt tome on the loss of your EZ Up that you had since were a child....You know, those stories that bring a tear to our reader's eyes.

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16 minutes ago, Doc said:

Alrighty racers: I need those stories in here for the race recap I am writing!!! I know most of you had an uneventful race....no offs or anything like that so make something up. Maybe a heartfelt tome on the loss of your EZ Up that you had since were a child....You know, those stories that bring a tear to our reader's eyes.

How about "we were so wet and tired that none of us were interested in drinking more than one beer after the race"  

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Just now, Jab31169 said:

Also, as an FYI, cone crushers did sundays race in two fuel stops

 

With just 2 drivers!!! They did have some crew to help on pit stops, but WOW.

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2 minutes ago, Jab31169 said:

Also, as an FYI, cone crushers did sundays race in two fuel stops

 

giphy.gif

Are you sure?  Or are you basing that on quick pit stops?

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11 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

Are you sure?  Or are you basing that on quick pit stops?

 

Well, seeing as a fuel pit stop should take at least 5 mins, and they only had 3 stops, first was a long one as they replaced an ecu and took fuel on lap 27.  Next long stop was lap 112 in which they took fuel.  After that they had a short stop for a driver change on lap 169.

 

21.7 tank size...I think they run a cell so +2 gallons....23 gallons now.  Add in the surge and all that other stuff, close to 25 gallons.  Factor in the reduced burn wet track.  Yea they did it in two fuel stops.  And only did it with two drivers, and had FTD.  They kicked butt and took names

 

Also looks like RPM did it in two fuel stops as well.

Edited by Jab31169

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Not sure what team it was, but I saw one team (technically I just saw a single crew member) "parting out" one damaged canopy to repair another.

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48 minutes ago, acowden86 said:

Not sure what team it was, but I saw one team (technically I just saw a single crew member) "parting out" one damaged canopy to repair another.

The carnage on pit road Sunday morning almost equaled that of the cars on Saturday. 

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58 minutes ago, Jab31169 said:

 

Well, seeing as a fuel pit stop should take at least 5 mins....

That's what Im getting at....

 

If you looked at Road America from the fall this year, you would come to a similar conclusion....

 

regardless, they probably could and did do it in 2 fuel stops.

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49 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

That's what Im getting at....

 

If you looked at Road America from the fall this year, you would come to a similar conclusion....

 

regardless, they probably could and did do it in 2 fuel stops.

 

Nah, this isn't that.  Unless they did a 1:30 second fuel stop, they did it in 2 fuel stops

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5 hours ago, JDChristianson said:

The last 40 minutes of the race was fun for us to watch with my son Jacob in the car.   He was again chasing down the E36 of WUDU, we thought he might have the pace to catch them and the suspense was building.  The funny part was when he was getting close and the black Miata of Blakes Garage passed us and WUDU for position.  We were so focused on the chase we didn't realize they were catching us.  Jacob did get the pass on the BMW and moved us up a spot with about 10 minutes left.    Whoever was driving for Blakes Garage at the end had some great pace.   Its was our fun little race a little ways down the list.  

 

I had no idea you were there! i would have come by to say hi. I was on the Blake's Garage team, and we noticed that our pace was faster than both yours and the e36 ahead of you when we had about 30 minutes left. We were watching the action for the tower, and every lap was exciting for us. Thanks for the clean racing!  The car's owner was in the seat during this action. This was the team's and car's second race and i think all of our driver's first rain race! We were pretty happy with the Dunlop ZIII tires in the rain, and decided after a test day at Grattan that RS4s were not the ideal rain tire.

 

We were very thankful for the hours of iRacing before the event, but i'm not sure if anything could prepare us for the rain, especially towards the end of Saturday. For me entry to turn 7 and into turn 9 were the spots with the biggest puddles, and as someone else mentioned seemed to change every lap. We were shocked at how much more fuel we used Sunday, but decided to take a chance on taking fuel before our 2nd driver, which was was an hour and 15 minute stint before the quiet hour, and then run an hour and half stint on the same tank. It appears to have paid off with the team's highest highest ever finish of 7th place.

 

We had our hood come up both Saturday and Sunday. we are blaming it on the hood pins. We even taped them down and taped the front of the hood for Sunday's race, but it still happened, so we ended up removing the hood. If anyone has any video or pictures form that, I'd love to see them!

 

Thanks to everyone for the courteous driving! It was sad to see the multiple wall hits, but didn't look like a whole lot of vehicle to vehicle contact, which is impressive since visibility was so low!

 

We love Barber and we really want to come back! If you didn't go to the museum, do yourself a favor and attend. It was awesome. My only complaint was that the hours lined up with the race hours so we didn't get much of a chance to attend.

 

We tried using an iPhone connected to Verizon to upload to YouTube live both days, but we only captured the first (my) stint Sunday morning. The stream would freeze after that. Anybody have any tips for that? The team really liked being able to watch live from the vehicle. Our live stream from Sunday: 

 

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3 hours ago, Doc said:

With just 2 drivers!!! They did have some crew to help on pit stops, but WOW.

 

After I drove with them in September they just can't see having anyone else in the car but me so they just run with the two of them.  Green font, more likely they never make that mistake again.

Edited by Burningham
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1 hour ago, acowden86 said:

Cone Crushers had a electrical issue about 1-2hrs into the race.  IIRC they needed to swap out an ECU.

 

Exactly, they went ahead and took fuel then since they were in so long, allowed them to do the fuel strategy later.  Fuel burn was very low, I know the first and only time we stopped I dumped one can and was dumping the second one not really paying attention and spewed fuel about halfway in.  We normally drop 4 cans after 2 hours so had we stayed afloat we would have most likely taken the same fuel strategy somewhere along the line.

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50 minutes ago, Burningham said:

 

Exactly, they went ahead and took fuel then since they were in so long, allowed them to do the fuel strategy later.  Fuel burn was very low, I know the first and only time we stopped I dumped one can and was dumping the second one not really paying attention and spewed fuel about halfway in.  We normally drop 4 cans after 2 hours so had we stayed afloat we would have most likely taken the same fuel strategy somewhere along the line.

 

Yea we watched them fix/replace the ecu.  Our mistake was not moving to a 2 hour stints after the red flag.  We could of made a final driver change with 30 mins to go and might have had enough fuel to make it.  

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35 minutes ago, Jab31169 said:

 

Yea we watched them fix/replace the ecu.  Our mistake was not moving to a 2 hour stints after the red flag.  We could of made a final driver change with 30 mins to go and might have had enough fuel to make it.  

 

Hey, didn’t we have that conversation?

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30 minutes ago, Burningham said:

 

Hey, didn’t we have that conversation?

 

Not with me, roddy says we had that conversation but I don't remember it.  It would of prob put us two spots higher but I dont think it would of gotten us a trophy.  Maybe one day I can talk jack into a fuel cell and we can take that extra 2 gallons so we can do over 2 hours easily

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