Race Categories => Road Race => : Rich Grunenwald September 21, 2017, 01:13:12 PM

: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 21, 2017, 01:13:12 PM
If you aren't alread aware, the Runofffs will be at iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year.  There are a ton of OVR drivers that have qualified and are competing - including yours truly - so this is a great chance to see the OVR group in action.  

All sorts of details are at www.scca.com/runoffs.  There's even an app that provides lap by lap scoring and results.

Kathy and I are headed over Saturday morning (Sept 23).  Stella the Race Dog will be with us but has to stay back at the hotel as the track won't allow pets in the infield. I have test sessions Sunday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, followed by one qualifying session per day Monday through Thursday.  Championship races start on Friday the 29th.  My race (T4) is on Sunday, October 1, at 1:00p.

I will update this thread with our fun and foibles as I have time.

If you come over, stop by and visit us. We are car #93, in class T4, yellow and black Mustang, in paddock spot MG-62 (Main Grass) just along the Hulman Blvd. part of the track.  


: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 25, 2017, 04:07:52 PM
Course map at Indianapolis.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Indy%20-%20CourseConfigMap_final_zpsjqbrzlee.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Indy%20-%20CourseConfigMap_final_zpsjqbrzlee.jpg.html)

Corners in order of importance:  13, 6a, 10, 1. 

13 is a tight left hander which leads on to the longest straight. The key is not to overdrive 12 before it so you can slow down and get set up so you can come out of 13 strong, and carry your speed all down the front straight. 6a is a tough turn in that it is easy to overdrive the exit at 6, and not be set up for 6a.   A lot of folks have made the mistake of being out of postion and coming out of 6a, they are heading straight to the tire wall along Hulman Blvd. Similar, the 7-8-9 section leading to 10, you need to be to the left leaving 9 to make the right leading to 12.   Finally, whoa down at the end of the front straight for one so you can exit 1 tight and to the right and get on the gas headed to the big loop.

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 25, 2017, 04:09:50 PM
Follow the action live at www.scca.com/live.

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 25, 2017, 04:30:14 PM
Kathy and I decided to drive separately so we would have an extra car at Indy.  I was proud of myself in that I had the car prepped and everything packed ahead of time, but as luck would have it, the rear brakes on the 'Burb decided to wear out, and I spent Wednesday night thrashing in the garage.  

Fortunately, that was the worst of it, and I headed for Indy at about 8a on Saturday morning, the 23rd.  Drive was uneventful, and I arrived to the track at around 11a.  Registration was a breeze, and headed into the track where I was greeted by OVR members and Padock Marshalls Dave and Sue Rupp. who escorted me to our home for the week. Arrived and got mostly set up and long time friend and crew member Andy Toth arrived around 12:30p. Went through express tech, picked up 20 gallons of Sunoco 93 (dyed red to make it "official gas"), and dropped of the spare rims at Hoosier for some fresh skins.  The rest of the day was relaxing and waiting for Kathy to arrive.  She had some delays and didn't get to the track until 6 or so, and we headed for dinner at Union Jack's.

I decided to spring for the test day on Sunday.  I had a 25 minute session in the morning and a 30 minute session in the afternoon.  Between the two sessions, my goal was to learn the track and lines, and scrub in six new Hoosier R7's.  The morning session went well and I got down to a reasonable 2:05.8.  The course is a lot tighter than I thought - 3rd and 4th gear everywhere, thinking of 2nd in spots (1 and 13). Tricky parts (for me) were 1, 6a,  12, and 13. No offs or scary moments - that must mean I need to push harder! Biggest challenge is judging braking, particularly going into 1 and 12.

The second session was in the heat of the afternoon - had to be in the low 90's.  The track was quite greasy and my times dropped about a 1.0.  Still worthwhile as I smoothed out my driving and learned a few things.   The day ended with a few icy colds, and after competition, there was a track walk which was great - got some insight into a couple of corners.  Really recognized the importance of several sections.   The curbing in some spots is smooth and in others rippled and will upset your car.  The track is REALLY SMOOTH.  No patches or bumps.  

Sunday night track walk.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/On%20the%20Bricks_zps0r1aabkj.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/On%20the%20Bricks_zps0r1aabkj.jpg.html)

The Yard of Bricks.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/The%20Yard%20of%20Bricks_zps3jw9xssp.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/The%20Yard%20of%20Bricks_zps3jw9xssp.jpg.html)

The Pagoda.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/The%20Pagoda_zpsdudqfkpw.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/The%20Pagoda_zpsdudqfkpw.jpg.html)

Front Straight.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Front%20Straight_zpsyfcqoru8.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Front%20Straight_zpsyfcqoru8.jpg.html)

My first qualifying session was today (Monday) at 11:30a.  Temps were hot - in the mid 80's at least - and the 41 car T4 hit the track.  I was gridded 31st which was fine with me.  Traffic cleared pretty quickly after the first couple laps, and I got up to speed pretty quickly.  I ran the older set of tires and struggled with a push in 6a and 13.  Just before I went out, the Hoosier TIre rep suggested running hire pressures than normal - 1 lb equals 38 lbs of spring rate - and the big issue with the mustang is that, while she's a good dancer, she's still a fat girl, and more spring would certainly help.   Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to pump up tires before going out.  Ended up slightly faster than Sunday, at a 2:05.5 which was respectable given the greasy track.  But, this puts me back further than I want. I need to get up to the 2:03 range to be where I think I should.

About time to head for dinner.  Videos of Sunday's sessions on YouTube.

Sunday morning: https://youtu.be/a8WraZSK-tg

Sunday afternoon: https://youtu.be/-jHdJm0ls9c

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Miniata September 26, 2017, 08:31:46 AM
Sounds awesome, Rich, you are truly living the dream. Would love to go out for all three days of the Runoffs like I used to at Mid-Ohio when I was younger, but because of family/work/adult responsibilities, I'm only going to be able to make it one day. There are races each of the three days I'd love to see, but Brent and I decided to come out on Sunday and see you race. Really looking forward to it. Love the updates, keep'em coming.

: Re: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 26, 2017, 10:00:04 AM
Sounds awesome, Rich, you are truly living the dream. Would love to go out for all three days of the Runoffs like I used to at Mid-Ohio when I was younger, but because of family/work/adult responsibilities, I'm only going to be able to make it one day. There are races each of the three days I'd love to see, but Brent and I decided to come out on Sunday and see you race. Really looking forward to it. Love the updates, keep'em coming.
Awesome. We are in paddock MG62 near the straight just past 6a. Call or text 61456won3pho1too if you cant find us.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Banshee September 27, 2017, 04:56:15 PM
We were there with PCA mid August. Our layout was a bit different. There was quite a few high speed right handers and I was running street tires, with not enough air in the driver front tire(around 1.5lbs cold, 8lbs hot) on my Type R. It separated between the sidewall and the tread. So, I guess I had a bit of tire rollover. You could see cords underneath. That was after 3 full days on the track, and a 200 mile drive home on them.

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 27, 2017, 10:36:47 PM
Quick update on Tuesday and Wednesday qualifying. 

Crew members Andy Toth and Kathy have been a big help.  The car has been...OK.  Getting a push off of 6a and 13, which is killing my lap times.  Also, I can be more aggressive on braking.   We changed the front sway bar setting (softer) to see if we can get the car to rotate a bit better and reduce the push.  This helped and the car was easier to drive but really no faster - only .5 faster at a 2:05.0.  I am currently 30th and really need to be in the 2:03 range.

For Thursday, the final qualifying day, I have a fresh set of Hoosiers on as well as new front pads, and set the front bar to the softest setting.  All three combined should yield improvement, but we'll have to see. 

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald September 30, 2017, 08:41:44 AM
Qualifying during the week was a bit of a struggle as we were having a push exiting critical turns 6a and 13.  However, the tweaks on Wednesday helped so we went further in that direction for Thursday. Crew member Travis Robuck arrived before Wedneday qualifying, so now we had an extra set of eyes for my sessions as well as hands.  Son Andrew arrived Wednesday afternoon, and daughter Amanda and her friend Mikaela arrived Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday's in car: https://youtu.be/cq-J1d-AtZU

We mounted a new set of Hoosier's and a fresh set of front pads, with the plans of using them for my final qualifying as well as the race.  It was cooler when we hit the track and almost immediately I could tell an improvement with the car.  Some of it might have been the fresh tires and the cooler weather, but it was primarily the fact the car now would get around 6a and 13.  First hot lap was a 2:04.2, a second quicker than my previous best.  Second hot lap was another 2:04.2 - in traffic - and the third hot lap was....not to be.  A black flag all came out due to a car that had beached itself deep in the gravel outside of 6, and another car that had went off track and parked outside of 10.  We all came into the pits for what we had hoped would be a quick extracation of these cars.  

After a few minutes in pit lane, the checker was thrown for the session, which puzzled me because there was still a good 5 or 6 minutes to go and they could have turned us loose for at least two hot laps.  

We finished up qualifying 31st, with OVR member Matt Downing in 30th on the outside row in front of me. Not where we should be, but it will do.  Based on how the car felt in the final session, a mid 2:02 run was feasible, maybe quicker, but even so, this would have only moved us up 5 or so spots.  The Toyota / Scion FRS's at the top of the grid are in the mid to high 1:56's!  Following them and the lighter cars (Miata, RX8 - essentially the rest of the class!), they were picking up time everywhere on me.  Of course, some is driving and setup, but when you are 600 lbs heavier than the rest of the field, you have your work cut out for you.

Still, reasonably happy as the car was trouble free other than the tweaks needed to get it to handle better, and we didn't have to work on it.  Really looking forward to to the race on Sunday as I believe the car will race well - it's been very consistent through the sessions and I don't expect performance to drop off at all during the race.

SRF3 and Spec Miata both were over subscribed and had Last Chance Races at the end of the day Thursday.  The maximum number of cars that can be on track at a time is 72 per SCCA rules.  Both SRF3 and SM were considerably above that - about 95 and 105 entrants respectively. Only the top 72 can start the championship race, so they used qualifying from Monday - Wednesday to lock in the top 60 spots, then the remaining 30 - 40  drivers would battle for the remaining 12 spots in a 12 minute Last Chance Race.   We got to the Turn 1 bleachers early to get good spots for the Last Chance races as they were sure to entertain.

SRF was up first, and did not disappoint.  32 cars bore down on Turn 1, and the field went 5 wide before the start finish!  The incident occurred mid pack and cars went everywhere.  Fortunately, nothing all that serious but a couple cars dropped out with damage.  Similarly, the SM race had its issues providing much entertainment.  

Got up Friday early and to the track around 9:30a to watch some racing.  Most of our spectating is from the bleachers outside of turn 1 which gives a view of the cars coming down straight all the way through 6a.


Spent most of the day Friday watching races and goofing off.  Nice relaxing day.  Talked some trash with Matt Downing.  Went to dinner at a place called Big Woods which was great - all smoked meats and brick oven pizzas.  

Today looks to be another relaxing day.  Looking forward to the races, particularly SRF3 and STL.  

You can follow the races live on video at www.scca.com/live.   Click on the video on the right side of the screen to start the live video.

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald October 02, 2017, 05:19:59 PM
In Car Video from Race:


: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald October 02, 2017, 09:50:42 PM
A few photos taken by Carol Burger.

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%204_zpsskal78uj.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%204_zpsskal78uj.jpg.html)

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%202_zpslogdai6y.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%202_zpslogdai6y.jpg.html)

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%203_zps9ababl5g.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%203_zps9ababl5g.jpg.html)

(http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r228/31rx7/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%201_zpsmrylqfck.jpg) (http://s145.photobucket.com/user/31rx7/media/2017%20SCCA%20Runoffs/Mustang%201_zpsmrylqfck.jpg.html)

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Simi October 03, 2017, 08:26:53 AM
Awesome! Looked like a great time Rich!

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald October 07, 2017, 06:29:06 PM
To finish the story...

Saturday was another relaxing day to watch races and hang out. Travis and I got up early and headed to the local Goodwill store for, uh, team shirts.  We cleared them out of flowered shirts.  The funny part was that there was a team paddocked a couple rows down from us SELLING their team shirts for $25 each.  So, we hung ours up for sale at $20.

The rest of Travis' family - Andrea, Kennedy, and Tristan - showed up just after lunch, and along with Kathy, daughter Amanda, son Andrew, and Andy Toth, we all watched some great races. Former car owner Greg Vandersluis stopped by which was great.  Dinner Saturday night was at the 1911 Grille in Speedway,which is part of Sarah Fisher's kart racing track.  Food was good - not great - and I suspect a lot of it was due to the crowd there that the were unprepared for.  

Early night Saturday, and I have to say, I was a bit anxious.  Lying in bed, thinking about the past few years and getting ready to run at Indy. Didn't sleep well.  It was starting to hit me. Just being here is a privilege few experience.  Over the past few years, Kathy and I have had a number of challenges, ranging from our own personal health experiences to work to the loss and illnesses of parents and loved ones. When I list out all the "life major events" since 2014, it's way too long.  But we managed to make it through , and I am been blessed to still be able to have the Indy experience.  I am a lucky man.  

I got to the track early, even though our race wasn't until 1:30p. I like getting to the track early and making sure everything is in order, and have the chance for some quiet time.  Races started on Sunday at 8:30a or so, and so I watched from a couple places along with Travis. Unfortunately, Toth couldn't stay for the race as the j-o-b took him out of town and he had to fly to California somewhere. Travis and I got the car cleaned up, and double checked everything, and were ready to go by 10a.  We only had to wait another three and a half hours!

Around noon, I decided to take a nap.  There is only so much pacing and race watching you can do while you are waiting.  Woke up at 12:30p, had a very light lunch, got the suit on, took some photos, and got up to grid around 1:00p.  I gridded 31st out of 38 or so, the highest gridding V6 pony car, ahead of another Mustang and a Camaro. Or, as I told Travis, "first in T4 Heavy".  Not to whine too much, but the V6 pony cars could use some help so we can run at least mid pack.  Talked to a few of the other drivers.  Matt Downing was gridded just ahead of me in 30th, and we both told the drivers around us that if you see our hands go up approaching Turn 1, $hit is happening in front of us.

Got the 5 minute to go call, and Travis started the video and headed down to the pits.  A good luck kiss from Mrs. G, and she headed to Turn 1 to watch with the kids.  Seemed like a long 5 minutes but per the video it was pretty much on target.  Whistles blew, and we headed out.  I was gridded on the inside of Row 16.  The plan was to get a good start and pick up a few spots entering 1.  Coming around turn 14 on to the straight watching the Starter and the scoring pylon. GREEN!

I should have anticipated the start a bit better as I was passed by a couple carr (8:09 in the video). Matt Downing saw an opening in the middle and took it, running away from me.  Bastard - my inner goal was to finish ahead of him.  Now I was going to have to catch him.  Turn 1 was crowded but clean and we got through without incident.  

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald October 07, 2017, 11:08:35 PM
First couple laps were clean and intense.  The Acura I passed at 9:00 in the video was a car I looked at last year and decided not to get. Self affirmation. All week long I had been getting walked out of 6a and you can see at 9:07 a good example.  Damn. But, the car was solid through 7, 8, and 9, and I coud close in entering 12 (9:50).  Turn 13 killed me - too low for third gear and too high for 2nd. As a foreboding, the red and silver Miata and I had a great battle throughout the race (10:10) courtesy of the fact he kept running off track!  He'd get by me and then make a mistake and go into the weeds.  

Lap 3 things started to fall into a pace.  I'd pass somebody, somebody else would drop out, another car would catch up and get by.  I was happy I did not see the other Mustang and Camaro in my mirror.  As things spread out on Lap 4, I really started to focus on getting my lines right and exit speeds in 6a and 13.  Laps 5 through 10 were pretty uneventful.  Just hit my marks, and work to get quicker. Chased the silver Miata for awhile, closing in a bit but not enough to pass. The car was really good at this portion of the race - did what I asked and very consistent.  Worked not to overwork the tires.

On lap 10 or so, I saw my nemesis, Matt Dowing, in the gaggle up in front of me. I thought "HA! His used Hoosier A7's were giving out!"  Maybe I can catch him as he races with the others. I stepped it up but just couldn't close the gap - Matt was generally turning 2:03's and I was in the 2:04's. This continued through lap 13 or so where I could see Matt and the others but just couldn't close in (31:12). Lap 14 we started to spread out again.  Matt got away and I was behind the silver Miata again.

The red and silver Miata got by again, and I was watching the two in front of me play with each other, waiting for a mistake. Had an opportunity in turn 2 - 3 but couldn't quite close it. Had another at 13 (39:22) but he did a nice job of pinching me at the exit, so he killed my momentum. By then, we were closing in on lap 18 or so, and  I could see the leaders in my mirrors, and P1 passed me going into Turn 1 (39:50).  P2 and P3 came by shortly thereafter (40:10) heading into turn 3.  Somehow, the red and silver Miata was off track again (40:12) and put me up a spot.  

By this time, my tires were hot and I was feeling it. Really had to tiptoe through the tighter corners. Saw the red and silver Miata in my mirrors (42:25) and thought "Damn, where did he come from." Given it was a lap and a half to go at that point, I was damned if he was going to get by.  Though the car was sliding all over by that point of the race, his tires were hot also, and so I just had to kill his momentum if he got close.

Entering lap 19 (44:00), the next group of leaders were coming through.  The RX8 of Don Knowles passed me into 1, and as soon as we turned the corner, there was a wrecked BRZ and recovery trucks. This slowed the other leaders plus the red and silver Miata chasing me. From there, it was just keeping it clean and getting across the line (45:50).  

Wow! What an experience!

: Re: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - SCCA Runoffs - Sept 23 through Oct 1
: Rich Grunenwald October 08, 2017, 10:12:19 AM
After the cool down lap, we pulled in to the pits and made it back to the paddock.  I took of my helmet, Hans, and gloves and sat there for a few seconds.  I was wiped out! Got out of the car and talked to Paul Azan paddocked next to us who was getting ready to run his E46 BMW in STU.  Travis made it back and wisely handed me a bottle of water - you forget these things when you are decompressing.

Eventually everyone made it back to the paddock. Kathy gave me a bottle of Basil Hayden's bourbon - highly recommended. Took a few photos.  Matt Downing came over and congratulated me on the finish before he packed up and headed out.  After I re-energized, we got everything packed up and watched the STU race and start of the HP race.


It's a week after my race, almost to the hour. Been a busy week - after being gone for two and a half weeks in September with the Solo Nationals and Runoffs, business was backed up. Plus, with the Corvette gone, I've started thinking about a new DD / autocrosser. And, the kids both need work on their cars.

A lot of emotions and thoughts surround the past season, and I am still sorting it all out. Some thoughts in no particular order:

- Gotta get better at starts, particularly when starting from the middle of the grid or further back.
- The car goes on a diet, and maybe me also.  At least 50 lbs in total.
- Really happy that the car has been dead reliable.  Short of changing brake pads and oil, the only repair was a RF hub that I replaced after the PittRace weekend.
- There's some work that needs done under the hood.  With the weight and gearing disadvantage the car has, I really need to help it with more power.
- Similarly, going to write a letter to the Comp Board to get rid of the restrictor plate.
- Those Hoosier R7's rock!
- Pretty satisfied with my racecraft.  Room for improvement but I am much better than I used to be as far as setting up cars two or three turns ahead.
- Also happy with my concentration and focus. Used to be an issue with me - that's why I don't have a radio; easily distracted ("Look, squirrel!"). Only went in the grass once this year, and it was pretty minor.
- Can be more aggressive with my driving.  On the flip side, there are no new marks or dents on the car!

Overall, it was a great year.  We accomplished most of our goals; the only one we missed was being in the top half at the Runoffs.  For the races we attended, the hosting regions and staff was all great.   Many thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and course workers for their tireless efforts so we drivers can have some fun!  Major thanks to:

- Travis Robuck for helping out all year at the track
- Dave Wenger and The Northend Wrench for mechanical and prep assistance, and telling me when I was about to do something stupid with a wrench
- Greg Vandesluis for ongoing consultation and support
- Andy Toth for spending the week at the Runoffs
- Amanda and Andrew for coming over to the Runoffs.  It was great to have them there. First time we've been on a quasi-vacation in years.

And most of all, to the love of my life, Kathy, for support all through the year.  While I get the car prepped and on the trailer, she does everything else to make sure we have a place to stay and something to eat. Plus, business was slow the first half and money was tight, and she figured out how to finance it. Could not have done it without her. Much appreciated.

For 2018, we aren't sure what our plans are. They won't involve the Runoffs since they are at Sonoma in California (unless somebody writes me a big check to transport the car and fly us out there).  At a minimum, we will hit a couple of the iconic tracks like Watkins Glen, VIR, maybe Road Atlanta  and Road America, plus the Mid Ohio races.  Probably a couple track days to give Kathy and Travis a chance to drive the car.

See you at the track next year!


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