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Sebring NYE Double 7’s

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8 minutes ago, MoparBoyy said:

 

this is my issue to, i could just hit every car who tries to pass me and then its all 'their fault'

also, during the drivers meeting it was actually discussed that "if you see a car in your mirror or its nose on your side, hes passing you and you should let him by"

It's still a good rule as there seems to be no use of it as abuse, if we judge by IMSA rules I was golden but we are not racing there, thus my questioning how it could have been done better. In this case, the answer is "racing incident" and "check mirrors better"

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1 hour ago, Burningham said:

7.2.2.3. It is the responsibility of the overtaking car to prepare for, plan and execute a FULL and COMPLETE safe pass. The definition of a full and complete pass is when the overtaking car has extended a lead of approximately one car length ahead of the vehicle being passed.

 

Stuff happens at speed, and as somebody else said all of this incident happened in less than 3 seconds and after one of the most hair raising turns in motorsports if you take it like it needs to be taken.  Restarts always puts a lot of cars in one spot trying to make a turn.  Luckily nobody had terrible damage and both cars live to race again.

 

Edit:  One thing I don't like about the rule listed above, how do you plan and execute a full and complete safe pass if you are going down the straight and a car suddenly jogs over into you?  How do you plan for that because it can happen anytime you are passing a car?  You just hope the other car either knows you are there or at least they are predictable in holding their line no matter where on track.

Similar contact happened at Sebring few years ago. A Miata tried to slip under a BMW approaching T10. Both probably at fault, but the BMW was far right on the racing surface and completely moved into the Miata. And this was on a straightaway. 


I'm always very careful and very deliberate when passing under cars in T3. We're faster than a lot of cars in that segment (T1-T3) and if I can't take the far right line, I'll set up to get well into view of the car I'm passing on the left. 

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This is more like a year in review than an event review. This race has always been a nemesis for the Level One Racing Miata. Whether because of mechanical failures or contact, we have always had trouble at this event.

 

In the 2018 NYE race we lost 3rd gear 30 min in, but maintained the class lead and top three overall until the PPF broke at the diff, with less than two hours to go. With overnight repairs completed we started Sunday from the back of the field and made our way up to 7th overall when the #pointbyonthefrontstretchvortexofdangerinturnone contact took us out of contention.

 

Our first race in 2019 was The Daytona 14. The car was brilliant. We were running a consistent fourth overall and leading the class by two laps when the engine relieved itself of lubrication exiting turn three at just short of six hours.

 

Lots of things happened in the downtime until the Sebring 14. While a new ’99 engine was sourced and being freshened we purchased a full, lightweight top and I began the process of building a Lexan/plexiglass rear fastback hatch.

 

We showed up at The Sebring 14 with an all new hammer. A “new” ’99 swap, full roof, Lexan fastback and various other improved little details. The one thing we didn’t do was test our new hammer. Within ten corners of the start, the clutch decided smoking was better than sticking and died a very rapid death. We were all so disappointed we decided against a repair and took it back to the shop.

 

With all clutch/flywheel repairs complete and several small details completed, (I can’t leave it alone) I tested the car at Sebring in late November. I made it about 14 min into the first session when the motor tightened up. This time instead of driving it until it exploded, I coasted in to the short course pits and got towed to the paddock. The car went back to the engine builder where he replaced rod #4 and the crank.

 

Here is where the 2019 Sebring NYE Double 7’s story begins. We entered the PDG HPDE on Friday to test the car. This proved crucial for two reasons. I took the first session. It wasn’t raining but the track was very wet. I slid around for several laps and the car felt good and strong. I also discovered the slick pavement at the exit of T17. I was unable to feed any power if I was on the proper exit line. This would prove disastrous for several teams on Saturday.

 

Nick and Paul showed up and Nick took the car out late for the second session. Paul and I went upstairs to watch. As Nick was bringing the car to pit lane after the session was over, I noticed a strange glow under the car and quickly realized it was on fire.

 

I flew down the stairs and got to our pit just as Nick rolled to a stop and pulled the fire pin. I hit the right front with my 10lb bottle, then opened the hood and got the rest. The fire crew showed up a moment later and cooled it off with water.

 

It looked bad and I was dejected. Without assessing anything I declared we were “done”. It was 10AM!

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Nick being young, and not a tired, old man like me had a different opinion. We pushed the car to our paddock area and washed off as much of the extinguisher crud as possible. Nick mentioned the engine just shut off like it had no fuel. Looking at the engine and shaking things it seemed the fuel lines were moving allot. Nick cranked it over and fuel was spewing from both lines at the intake. The return line had a split and the main line was fully detached. It was at that point I thought it might be fixable.

 

We started a parts list and sent Paul off to the store for fuel line, vacuum line and some purge valves. We also needed a fire suppression system and luckily Discovery Parts had one. A special thanks to Ron for providing us with the parts and installation suggestions.

 

We had the car running by noon but that revealed other parts that were needed. Parts not readily available at AdvanceNAPAZone. We pushed the car to our garage, put it on jack stands and began taking things apart. Thanks to our friends from B Squad Motorsports we found Pablo from Eccentric Auto. Pablo is a SCCA ITA Driver and Drag Racer in Sebring that is hoarding all things Miata. Lucky for us he had a throttle cable, clutch slave and lines and an injector harness. Off to Pablo’s for Paul and John.

 

Nick started on the fire system installation while I rewired the water temp gauge, taped up some bare wires not easily replaced, repaired the melted belly pan and changed the oil. The boys returned with the parts from Pablo and Paul and I started working on the throttle cable while John started cleaning up the car. Nick finished up the fire bottle install, helped me with the clutch slave and line replacement and replaced the injector harness.

 

The car came off the jack stands around 8PM and I “tested” it in the paddock. All systems were functioning as intended so the car was parked and covered. Let the beer drinking begin.

 

Saturday was gloomy with showers predicted on and off all day. I informed the team I would not be driving in the wet. I was perfectly fine being fuel man for the day. Line up would be John Wilding, Nick Soriano and The John Davison. JW would finish.

 

At the drivers meeting the number selection was pit 63. We were pit 7. That meant we would be starting near the back of the field. I mentioned about the drag race start boxes at the exit to T17 and how slick they were during the previous days testing. I have been racing at Sebring for almost three decades and had never experienced that area being so slick in the wet before. Unfortunately, several teams would ultimately lose their cars on the front stretch, partly due to that area.

 

The green flag waved, and we moved up slightly. Then a big crash on the front straight that involved our B Squad Motorsports friends brought the field under FCY. Sadly, the B Squad car was the first of several that did not survive the Sebring concrete walls.

 

At the restart JW radioed that the car was cutting out on right hand turns. He brought it in a lap later and we spent almost five minutes taping and tie wrapping wires. Whatever was causing the problem got fixed because the car was perfect after that. We rejoined the field in 57th position.

 

At this point we were simply driving to stay out of trouble and get what we could get. The track was horrible, but the car was fantastic. The drivers did a superb job of staying out of trouble while making up positions on track, and our pit stops were flawless. Add all that up, mix in several more full course cautions and that got us to an 11th overall finish and a 3rd in class, with a fastest class lap!

 

We bled the brakes, changed the oil, cleaned the car and covered it up. Let the drinking begin.

 

The paddock was fun Saturday night. Elon came over to check on us and invited the group over for some Lasagna. JW, JD, Nick and Paul headed that way while Kellie (my GF) and I took a different route. I guess all the Saturday excitement wore out my 18-year-old son because he made his way to the truck for the night.

 

As we were passing by the restrooms, I noticed a Seafood boil going on. I made a comment like “Hey look, crab le…” and before I could finish, there was a plate in front of me. Lots of eating and chatting about the day ensued. A special thanks to the folks at Hochunk Racing for all that great food. Very much appreciate the hospitality.

 

We made our way to Elon’s just about the time most folks were moving along. Preston and the boys went one way and Kellie and I walked thru the garages to find the FatCrack bunch mingling with the VERY young 20 something kids from the CU-Boulder Racing Team. They were playing beer pong on the hood of their Miata! I really enjoyed chatting with those young minds that are so interested in the sport we all love. I showed them our car, discussed the track and just had a nice time sharing ideas with these young kids. Very impressive to get their team from Colorado to Sebring on a college budget.

 

Sunday was a new day. The weather was supposed to be better and I decided to get in the car for a stint. The grid was inverted from Saturday so that meant we would start near the front. Here was our chance to redeem ourselves. JW started again and we settled in around 10th overall. At about the 30 min mark he radios that the alternator is spiking to 18 volts! We spend the next 24 min changing the alternator, refueling and changing the driver. A special thanks to Dan Pardus from the Agent Chrome team (2nd in class on Sat, Winners on Sunday) for jumping in and replacing the alternator. I was getting tools and the jack and when I got to the car, he already had bolts removed!

 

We rejoined the race in 54th with JD now driving.

 

John steadily moved the car up in the standings and set fast lap of the class as the track was nearly dry. Shortly before his stint was over it began to mist rain. I wavered about getting in but decided to go for it.

 

The track was still relatively dry when I got in, but conditions quickly went from partially dry to full wet back to partially dry. I moved us up some in the standings but some mistakes (two spins in T17 and inadvertently shutting off the ignition switch during a FCY) meant that I had lots of work to do to move back up. I was approaching the end of my stint when the track went FCY. The team decided to call me in slightly early to get Nick in for a run to the finish.

 

Another flawless pit stop and Nick rejoins the race 27th overall and 4th in class. We knew this was going to be a fuel conservation stint as it would be right at two hours to the checkers. The hope was for another FCY (that never happened) for a chance to finish top 20.

 

Nick did a superb job of moving us up the standings while conserving fuel. With about 4 min left on the clock Nick reports the car is stumbling. We were 16th overall, 2nd in class.

With one lap remaining Nick is screaming. “It’s out, it’s out, I’m in T17”.

The checkers flew and we ended up 18th overall and 3rd in class!

I want to thank everyone on the Level One Racing Miata team. The level of dedication, passion and drive to succeeded is only superseded by your epic mustaches. 😂 Thank you Nick, John W, John D, Paul S, Greg P, Kellie C and especially my son Dylan in his first race with ChampCar.

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Congratulations to the winners. This was one of the toughest races any of us have ever been in. Sebring on her own in the dry is challenging. Add all that water and the issues on the front straight and that makes finishing these races all that more rewarding.

 

Thank you to the ChampCar staff. You guys faced your own set of challenges from the Friday Tech and Registration outside to all the crashing and wet weather staffing you need to make these races go smoothly. Very well done.

 

To the young lady that sang the National Anthem. You are a gem. That was an outstanding performance. Thank you very much.

 

Lastly, no, I didn’t pay Randy to say that about me at the meeting on Sunday.😃

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On 1/1/2020 at 9:32 PM, Burningham said:

 

You and your weak ass Maxima.  Haha.

 

The 911's disguised as 986's, Andrew's CRX, Riley's camaro, the 9-4 supra, Gvuley's BMW, GWR, Paul's car.... They all seemed strong when I was out there in Scotty's little Maxima.  I will admit though, as tough as that was, Sebring was tougher.

You going to bring that brown turd up and let us tune it?

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1 hour ago, scottyk said:

You going to bring that brown turd up and let us tune it?

 

Hell yeah, just gotta find time to get it there.  I might stay up there for a race, with all those weak cars up there. 

Edited by Burningham
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On 1/3/2020 at 11:08 AM, Team Infiniti said:

It's still a good rule as there seems to be no use of it as abuse, if we judge by IMSA rules I was golden but we are not racing there, thus my questioning how it could have been done better. In this case, the answer is "racing incident" and "check mirrors better"

Ed- I don't see anything I would have done differently- I would have made that pass everyday...

When critiquing something like this- people should only watch it once at real speed and make their decision and not watch it over and over and at slow speed, etc. and not dissect every little thing that each driver did.

You closed on him fairly quickly, followed him for a little bit, and then he moved to his right (and this is the important part) giving you the lane.  At least that's what it seemed to be until he turned into you.  Things happen very quickly while racing and you have to make split second decisions all the time- to me this was the correct decision, just the outcome wasn't what anyone wanted nor expected.

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On 1/3/2020 at 7:27 PM, Burningham said:

I might stay up there for a race, with all those weak cars up there.

Sounds like a challenge and we might all have to show you how it is done in the north 🙂

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1 hour ago, Team Infiniti said:

Slipping around the track: Day 2 opening laps.

 

 

 

As fun as slipping around can be, I definitely had a lot more fun when it dried out and I could get all that power to the ground!

That said, I had a great weekend driving the legendary shark car for my first visit to Sebring.

 

With all of the rain we had, I wasn't surprised to see the podiums full of cars running RE71's and A052's, but it looks like front runners will need to run them regardless of conditions if they don't want to leave anything on the table.

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23 hours ago, Scribe said:

With all of the rain we had, I wasn't surprised to see the podiums full of cars running RE71's and A052's, but it looks like front runners will need to run them regardless of conditions if they don't want to leave anything on the table.

We couldn't get RS4's. They're out of stock. We have a set we've been holding for Road Atlanta but for Sebring we didn't have much choice so we tried the A052's and were happy with them. I was VERY happy with how they worked in the rain. My stint on Sunday was the only rain we had and it rained for probably 70% of my stint somewhere on the track if not everywhere. During that time we were the fastest car on the track and moved from P9 to P1 in about 45 minutes. The Yokos seem to work pretty darn well in the wet. But I don't expect we'll run them much and will be sticking with RS4's as long as we can get them. 

 

Edited by Snorman

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