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2022 Harris Hill Fall Race Results


Bill Strong
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It was a heck of a race weekend. It was not a perfect weekend, but overall, we all had a great time and enjoyed some excellent racing. I want to make sure to thank my drivers (Scooter, Travis, and Iyad), friends and family who both came to the race and watched our live stream, as well Christopher from Seat4.sale who came out and supported the team. Still waiting on our video to upload to youtube.

 

We arrived at the track on Friday and could easily tell it was going to be a hot weekend. Being from Phoenix, it felt slightly cooler than home, but our team members from fairer weather places were a bit warm. A track employee tried to explain how parking worked, but only managed to confuse me, but another BMW team pointed us in the right direction.

 

Testing was uneventful, with me working at learning the track as it was my first time here. The rest of the team had some mix of needing to learn the car and/or learn the track. I went on track first since it was going to be the first real driving the car has done since Willow Springs and I wanted to make sure everything felt good. Satisfied, I handed the car over to the other drivers who went and put some laps in. Only real disappointment was the car and one of our easy-ups getting damaged when another team’s easy-up that was not secured blew over into our pit. If they apologized, I never heard it, but I know they were busy fighting some issues with their car and were probably preoccupied with trying to not end their weekend before it began. Outside of that the other team was friendly and pleasant, so I will give them benefit of the doubt that it was just a bad combination of circumstances.

 

Saturday was a bit of a rough day. We prepped the car and thought we were good to go. Scooter was first up to go. Except the car decided it did not want to. It would crank, idle for a few seconds then stall out. Tapping the gas made it stall faster. Checked everything, and another BMW team came over to help and in the end we all were just sitting there thinking “what the heck?” From too much cranking the battery lost too much juice to crank, but I had another battery I could setup as an improvised jump pack. After losing something like 14 laps, the car decided to start up without issues and we did not have starting issues the rest of the weekend. Scooter went out and did laps. At some point he radioed in that he needed to come in because he was getting hot. The team was busy putting up more easy ups and did not hear the radio, so suddenly we seem him pulling in and getting out. No one was suited up or ready. Some unexpected gear the issues and such turned it into something like a 17-minute pit stop.

 

Travis went out for his stint, had a brief off track excursion in turn 2, brought it in to check things out, and everything looked ok so back out he went. Later in his stint he radioed in the coolant pressure light turned on. Knowing he was only on the first 1/3 of the track and how fast we lost the engine at Daytona, I gave the direction to shut it down and get towed in. During the flat tow, our tow strap ripped off. I am going to add a flat-tow procedure review to a pre-race driver’s meeting for my team moving forward. I actually wrote a lesson plan in my day job for it, so its easy enough. When I got towed in at Daytona the track staff went over things just to be sure when they hooked me up, but instructions were not given to my driver here when he got hooked up. Easy enough for me to add at every event for all my drivers.

Adding to this was us embarrassing ourselves by nearly pushing the car over a track worker. We missed him get back under the nose of the car, and discussion about pushing the car led to “push” and well… Fortunately, others were paying attention enough to yell stop and our driver hit the brakes. Embarrassing, and dangerous, but will be having a “push in” procedure for the team moving forward.

 

We let the car cool down and were looking for leaks. No signs of a leak. Once cool enough to open the radiator cap we were greeted with seeing we had a full load of water. I have a spare pressure sensor, but it is a pain to get to (it is in the side of the head under the intake). Turns out, the connector on the back of the light failed, so it was just the light was bad. It was just a bad light. Tested everything else, and sent it back out with Iyad behind the wheel. Iyad’s stint was uneventful and he ran good clean laps even though a few times I saw him getting stuck in the middle of 3 wide in Turn 8. My stint came, and overall it was uneventful. I had an off track in middle of turn 7 after hitting the pre-apex bump just right and bounced a bit of the air in the air and lost the back end, caught the spin but had to go off left to keep straight. Made my way back onto the track safely and continued. In this stint I set the fastest lap for our team of the weekend. 1.32:10. Next lap two Miatas I was following had a little crash in turn 7. I was pleased with it, given it being my first time at H2R and in a 5 series with a stock M52 motor, and not having the rear-diff gears I feel we really needed (currently running a 3.46, but I think a 4.10 would be better suited for this track). I take the checked, and for our 3rd race we actually finished a race for the 1st time. Everyone was very pleased. We looked at our times, and with some luck we knew we had a shot to compete for at least a class position. Before leaving we let another team borrow our 12” Race Ramp pedestals and big high lift floor jack so they could more easily swaps trans in their Miata.

 

Sunday went smoother, outside of starting about 4 laps down. Which, given the smoke screen chaos at the start of the race, might have been a good thing. A caliper bolt turned out missing from the front left caliper. Wasn’t an issue when moving forward, but it locked the wheel in reverse. Another team came to the rescue with a spare caliper bolt (guess what I am ordering extra’s of…). We get on track and everything is good. Scooter gets side swiped by a car passing on the outside of turn 4. I watched the video clip and it wasn’t the best spot to try and pass and two turns of patience could of easily avoided contact. But, damage was superficial so on everyone went. Travis then had his stint with out incident and was just out ready steady laps. Iyad had a mostly clean stint, but another car made a poorly executed pass and hit him twice. I haven’t got to the video of it yet, but the damage is mostly superficial. I finally got into the car again. By this time our tires were almost done. Considering they had time on them from two track days, some laps at two other races, and then full runs here, they were ready to be done. My stint was uneventful outside of watching someone force the 280z C-class leader halfway off the track between turns 5 and 6. By the end of the stint, the car was out of grip, the tires were corded, but clicked off a 1.33 final lap with a VERY slidy car making me work for it. Finished P2 in C class. I’ll take it.

 

I was really surprised at award to receive the Chandler School Sportsmanship Award. I had only gone up there to support the other racers, but I am honored to have received it.

 

A few take away points:
-I am a fan of the Maxxis VR-1. Good feeling, decent wear.
-I need to run higher tire pressure based on our tire wear
-I need to find a “crew chief”, lol
-We are great on fuel.
-The Hawk HT-10 pads are a great fit for our car. Good wear, good feel, great performance.
-Overall, absolute blast of a weekend, even if it wasn’t perfect.

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This was a great race because we finally won!
Big takeaway for next race is to understand tire pressures better and how to set it correctly on cold tires.

Friday:
After doing some pre-race prep (tightening bolts and using 100 zipties) I fiddled with tire pressures and the car felt great. Got a 1:27.2 and 1:28s felt pretty relaxing.
I put on a new set of tires with the SAME cold pressure as the old tires. However I was never to get a good tire pressure for the rest of the weekend.

Do new tires require a different cold pressure???

Saturday:
Started in the top and everything felt great but tire pressures where waay to high and the car was very pushy. Either way could keep my position but unfortunately the exhaust started to fall off and we got black flagged. This pulled us down to the bottom with 10 laps or so from the leader.
But had a great race and ended up 8.

I also started taking a suboptimal line to avoid some of the bumps, I think that was a good call.

Sunday:
Started in the back but first driver managed to get first. When he came in at 1:55 the main tank was completely empty and the surge tank had fumes in it. 2 hours without yellows are difficult for us.
Some of the other fast cars had some issues so the rest of the day was just taking care of the car (bump mangement) and to make sure our pace was fast enough to keep 1st place.


Thank you everyone for a great race, always a fun race with a fun nice crowd. It was fun to see some of the other H2R members do well as well.


 

Edited by turbogrill
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2 hours ago, turbogrill said:

I also started taking a suboptimal line to avoid some of the bumps, I think that was a good call.

Seconded, especially on corner 7. Never really could find a good smooth line around that corner. Was sore after this race likely due to the bumps, lol.

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Love Racing here. Our team has had a lot of laps here at Harris Hill and we felt like we had a chance to run up front with some teams this race. We added a squaretop intake manifold to our miata this race and were hoping to just eek out a tiny bit more power since March we felt like we needed just a bit more straight line to be on par with Touchstone and Winkler. 

 

Practice Day: Just got each driver in the car for some exploratory laps and for our less experienced driver to get a lot of track time. Everyone felt good so we swapped to new pads/rotors. No issues with the car except it was getting a bit hot. Some tape on our aluminum flashing ducting was attempted hoping to seal it.

 

Saturday: Started nearly at the front due to the luck of the draw right behind touchstone. Had very little traffic and an uneventful 2hr stint. Felt like we had good pace but Touchstone on their Cooper Rs3r had quite a bit more pace than us on our RS4 so we ended our first stint in 2nd. Second driver went out without too much issue besides a couple spins. We lost 2nd place during that stint but we had two fast drivers going in next so we figured we could catch back up. 3rd stint we were running a bit faster than the leader and a couple seconds faster per lap to P2 when they broke going up the hill. Because of the big gap to P1, we decided to just take it easy. Last stint I got back in the car and we had some radio issues so I wasn't quite sure what our gaps looked like. Got a radio message that Touchstone was changing back to RS4s and I might have a shot for 1st overall but on that same lap there was a purple 35. They came out behind me and I had no idea if it was a fight for the lead or if we were nearly a whole lap down so I fought to defend hard for a few laps. That was some awesome battling but unfortunately our camera failed after our first stint so I didn't have any footage. Finally got a radio message through to the team who said they were nearly a lap up and it wasn't a pass for position. Decided to let them go up the hill and just cruised to a finish. Our first 2nd place finish ever so we were pumped. We always get a PUY or something when we were running P2 the last couple years at Harris Hill so this was nice to finally get. 

 

Sunday: Changed to new repacked front hubs the night before this race since we have had so many hub issues before and went to sleep nice and early. Started at the back of the pack and knew we had a good shot at getting back to the front. Just want to comment on the smokescreen from the porsche here really quick. This was the most unsafe I have ever felt in all my years racing with Champcar. A complete smokescreen that lasted for like 5 seconds through the dam turn and I was amazed nobody got destroyed. Had some great racing with Touchstone getting through all the traffic and was able to get up into 1st overall and build a 30s lead at the 1hr mark when I started to feel a vibration in right handed corners and the braking zone which felt very much like a hub failure. I took one more lap hoping to give the team time to get parts out but it felt terrible and I didn't want to lose a wheel so I brought it in. Brand new hub failure with only an hour on it. No more cheap chinese hubs for me... Awesome pit stop by the team and we finished both the hub swap/driver change/fueling in 15 minutes and were back on the track. Many laps down now and we knew we were out of contention so just tried to be safe and have fun. Last stint in the car was really special as my dad has been helping me crew chief for 5 years now and he got his first race laps of his life. He had a BMW push him in the grass leading to a spin and had a self-error leading to a spin at the top of the hill but he really improved and ended up putting in a 1:31 which was awesome. He had a blast and even completely missed the checkered flag and ran a couple more laps. While we had the briefest of hopes for a 1st overall today, I was happy to bring the car back to the trailer in near perfect running order.

 

 

Thanks to everyone running and working the race. We always have a great time here and hopefully will be there next year! I'll try to get some video of our stints and the smokescreen up here tonight.

 

 

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9 hours ago, cowboys647 said:

Just want to comment on the smokescreen from the porsche here really quick. This was the most unsafe I have ever felt in all my years racing with Champcar. A complete smokescreen that lasted for like 5 seconds through the dam turn and I was amazed nobody got destroyed.

 

 


Ditto. And that’s after laying multiple (less severe) smokescreens on Saturday. Majority of the field entering the fastest corner after a race start and suddenly I can’t see the car just in front of me. Like… at all. Wow. I still can’t believe there wasn’t a major impact.  Felt like Cole Trickle. Do I punch through or hit the brakes and get hit?

Oil overfilling maybe?  I don’t know those cars. If so please please please don’t do it any more. 

 

We took a still photo in the pits rather than starting our video, so that was disappointing. 

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On 9/28/2022 at 11:03 PM, cowboys647 said:

were nearly a whole lap down so I fought to defend hard for a few laps. That was some awesome battling but unfortunately our camera failed after our first stint so I didn't have any footage

That was fun and clean racing! We had one or two laps where we ran side by side on nearly every corner! I have video from my car I’ll post that stint this weekend. 

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Harris Hill was great clean racing all the way around. 

 

Big huge call out to Rod and Steve who run the place. Steve and his team with a fast toyota Insight. Lol. Yhey were the best pit partners around. Will do my best to pit next to them in the bull ring agian.

 

The smoke screen porsche was the other pit. Newerish motor. 40k on it. I was told low on power. Puffed lots of  blue smoke first lap and was done. Great team to be next to. Super nice. 

 

The orange 86 Kinkle mustang ran well. Fastest car in the straights (fun). Just got miata'd and passed in the corners. Just my son and myself so we turned into a two day test and tune. My son went off on Saturdays 10 minutes before the checker and parked it. Perfect day. 

 

Sunday got in the car and third gear was clunking around. Came in on the warm up lap wondering what to do. Pack it up or break it. Ask my team mate and he understood the hard work into the car and suggested to save the car. Steve pit next to us stuck his head in the car asked the problem and told him lost third gear. His quote " I would race in 4th gear. But I am  wierd that way". Looked at both of them. Took to the track jambed it in 4th gear. Wow we were faster by a second. Car ran perfect in fourth and the V8 had enough grunt in 4th to get out of the corners.

 

Learned something every race. (4 years racing) Car is still a work in progress. Thanks Champ Car people and Ray Franke. We are the best group of racers. Friends the minute you meet one. 

 

Champcar is the cheapest way to go wheel to wheel racing with little rule book. No licences. Plus really cool people.

 

I didn't know anything about racing cars my first race. Bought the car off Jack Kinkle. Showed up, paid and raced. That easy. If I can do it anyone who wants to go racing  can do it too. It's hard fun stuff. 

Edited by 333 Kinkle
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