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2022 VIR 12-Hour Race Report


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It was a great weekend for @Clapped Out Racing in the #993 black E36 BMW! We finished 3rd in class and 4th overall!

 

Friday practice day: Paid for one 20 minute session. Car felt good and fast, but brakes needed bleeding. We did that in the evening, drove around the paddock and service roads a bit, and called it a night. Easiest car prep the day before the event yet.

 

Race day:

 

Stint 1: By lucky draw, we started the race from 2nd place, as pit stall 8 was selected and we were located in pit stall 9. We put our fastest driver, Greg in for the first stint and he snatched the lead by T1! We held that spot for the first few laps until some of the faster cars found their way through the field. 18 laps in, we got rear ended by the 411 car, but both cars didn't take much damage. They instantly came in to roll their LF fender back out and it took another 15 laps for our exhaust hanger bolt to finally give up. We were "meatballed" for our low hanging exhaust and did not have the exact needed bolt in the pits. With some quick thinking, we wrapped some 14awg electrical wire around the muffler and chassis and were back out within a minute. The insulation instantly melted, but the copper wire amazingly kept it up for another hour until our scheduled pit stop, where we then gave it the proper bolt. The exhaust incident dropped us down to 10th, but Greg fought his way back up to 5th before coming in. The differential mount bolt on the front was also coming loose and I was able to get 3 good turns on it before sending the next driver out.

 

Stint 2: Randy went back out on track 8th and had an uneventful stint. Climbed up to 5th before coming in under yellow around 12:30.

 

Stint 3: I got in the car as our third driver. Went back out on track in 8th and again climbed up to 5th. As it is still technically winter, the team decided coolshirt system was not needed (the correct call), but man did it get toasty in the car for an early March race! Made the pit stop / driver change around 2:20.

 

Stint 4: Hunter hopped in the car as our 4th driver. Went back out on track in 8th. Stayed mostly clean aside from slight contact with the #422 car side to side. The driver of that car came to our pits later and said everything was all good, in that is was light contact and no one was really more at fault than the other. We did get black flagged for the light contact though and Hunter failed to quickly notice and come in. This cost us some time at pit in. Once he left the penalty box, we did a driver change. Hunter had driven the car up to 4th.

 

Stint 5: Randy hopped back in and found himself in 7th. Unfortunately, his out lap was very slow and he came back in with an overheating problem. Hunter had left the car running while penalized and this hurt us.  We fully bled the coolant system in about 8 minutes and were back out on track! Amazingly, we didn't lose a position. Randy continued to fight and found himself in 6th before bringing the car in under yellow around 5:40pm.

 

Stint 6: I got back in the car form my second stint in 7th and quickly got to work. I made a point to not let the darkness slow me down. I was a little slower overall, as the pace of many other drivers and cars had backed off quite a bit and a lot more passing took place. In my almost 2 hours in the car, I only got passed by one car once (Bulldog's very quick E30) 30 minutes into my stint. Heck, I even passed the leader (RVA 411) up the inside into Oak Tree. I assume they had just done a driver change and he was just getting up to speed. I drove the car up to 5th and brought the car into the pits for one final stop.

 

Stint 7: Greg went back out still in 5th and quickly got to 4th, where we remained until race end.

 

Race overview: We lost 10 minutes due to the black flag and overheating incident. Finished 5 laps behind 3rd and 9 laps behind 2nd. A perfect race wouldn't have gotten us 2nd, but a podium position might have been possible. Nonetheless, we as a team are very happy with this result! We first started with ChampCar at this race 5 years ago with a car that still had tags and was the bare minimum to compete. Heck, we were on 300TW tires and stock bushings and springs, replacing Duralast brake pads every stint! Since then, our best time at this track has dropped significantly (1:32.374 in 2017, 1:26.532 in 2019, and 1:22.164 in 2022) along with our driver averages. After the many years of continuous work on the car and development of us drivers, we are proud to have made it to impound and to have a podium capable car.

ClappedOutRacingCarPic.jpg.96c54d1011f0b3c1e2c646ff94d2164e.jpgClappedOutRacingTeamAtImpound.jpg.b65853e1bcc151e75e0c2338fe58f256.jpg

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What a fun weekend! We all lucked out with the weather for sure!

 

This race was really defined by attrition. There were a lot of super fast teams but the name of the game was stay out of trouble and just turn laps. 

 

The flagtronics worked great for me while I was in the car and I have no negative feedback to share. Timing between real and electronic flags is greatly reduced and purple 35 works perfect.

 

Going into this weekend we had repair the chassis from the rear-end incident at PIRC. That crash bent the rear of the car in, bent the exhaust and cracked the transmission mount & bell housing. The car was completely taken apart over the off season. We took a risk of not running the practice day and just dove with both feet into a 12hr race. Luckily we've got good race prep and the car didn't skip a beat (mechanically speaking).

 

Lot's of new logistics prep was done for this race as this was our first time running into the darkness. Head lights worked great (Diode Dynamics Amber SSC3 and SSC1) and the pit lighting was also good.

 

Stint breakdown
9a-11a / Sean driving - good battle at the start with RVA + NLS
11a-1p / Mike driving - first time driving on VIR-S ever, got up to speed after 30min of running. 
1p-3p / Chris driving - first time driving on VIR-S ever! ran out of fuel, then started puking fuel out of the vent (I think our ATL discriminator valve took a poop)
3p-5p / Sean driving - kept it clean but was in/out of the pits chasing the fuel leak issue
5p-7p / Chris driving - kept it clean, first time driving into the darkness
7p-9p / Mike driving - kept it clean, first time driving at night. LOVED IT! 10/10 will race at night again. Steel belts showing on front right (we don't run ABS, oops)

 

We're super pumped to have finished 2nd and happy the car was robust enough to run well for 12hr. I've still got a post race inspection to perform, but everything felt solid in my last stint. 

 

Thanks Champ folk for putting on an awesome event and allowing us to play with racecars!

 

Our next planned Champ race is Mid-O in September.

 

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NLS Racing VIR-South Race Report

 

After our big win at Road Atlanta, we made little to no changes to our primary car. Maintenance and a few odds and ends. Nothing else needed. The 2nd car got a few updates and was ready to rock. A win at VIR has been our goal since day 1 and has remained elusive as ever. We've been so close a few times only to end in heartbreak.

A poor starting position wasn't gonna hurt us, as we had 12hrs to fight to the front. It only took 20mins and we had the lead with our 240SX. Everything going as planned. The 2nd car was doing good, settling into around 8th position. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. The 300ZX wasn't able to change gears, something inside the bellhousing went out. We tried some diagnoses, bleed the clutch master, slave, etc. but all looked good externally. Whether it was the throwout bearing, pressure plate, or something else, we won't know until we get it apart.

 

We made the decision to park it and focus on the 240 as we were still leading. That too was short-lived. On a restart, the 2nd place car decided to try to win the race with only 11hrs remaining. They dive-bombed us into a corner and jacked up our RF suspension. 15-20 mins behind the wall to reset toe due to a bent steering knuckle, we made it back out somewhere around 20th. 10 laps down. Thanks @Hurljohnfor the help.

 

Still lots of time left to claw our way to the front. We clicked off laps for the next 5hrs, working our way up to the 8-9th spot. All the while building excess pressure in our cooling system. A problem that we have been dealing with on and off for a while now. We pitted a few times to bleed the pressure but nothing was working. We decided to call it and use the remainder of the race a test.

 

We swapped radiators, caps, hoses, thermostats, pretty much any part of the cooling system we could get our hands-on. All to no avail. We probably could have finished with what we had, but we threw in the towel and saved the tires, brakes, and car itself. No need to burn everything up just to finish at the back.

 

So we cracked a few beers and watched the rest of the race from the bleachers. Pretty cool to see the Camaro's red hot exhaust glowing at night. It might have been a bad day of racing, but sure beats a good day at work. Friends and family hanging out, enjoying the company and some racing, what more could a guy ask for? Thanks to all that make this happen. We got a lot of time to figure it out before we return to CMP in June. Adios.

 

 

Also wanted to thank @Bill Strong for picking us to win on the podcast. You jinxed us good. But in all seriousness, we do love the podcast, keep up the good work.

Edited by bigyellow
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Victor Newman put a selection of photos on his website here:

 

https://www.victornewmanphotography.com/Other-Photos/Motorsports-stuff/2022-03-05-ChampCar/

 

Downloads are $15 each and other items (prints, mouse pads, coffee cups, etc.) can also be bought directly through the site store. 

 

Participants are welcome to contact Victor through the link on the site to see if he has more photos of their car. This is only a small slice of what he shot that day but he made every effort to include all cars

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