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Author Topic: Gingerman Raceway - Bert Olsen Majors - July 8 & 9  (Read 284 times)
31rx7
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« on: July 11, 2017, 07:16:11 AM »

Gingerman Raceway – Bert Olsen Classic SCCA Majors – July 8 and 9

The Short Story – Arrived Friday afternoon, drove car off trailer, raced, drove car on trailer, got home Sunday night.  Fully qualified for the Runoffs.

The Long Story:
After Mid-Ohio, our original plans were to do the Grattan Majors in August as our final qualification race, but with a lot of things happening elsewhere in our lives, we figured it would be better to go to Gingerman in July, and then we’d have Grattan as a backup race if we needed it.   I was pretty excited for the weekend with high hopes as I bought a fresh set of Hoosier R7’s and had a fresh set of pads to go all around.  

We left Columbus around 10a Friday morning in order to make the Friday evening practice session.   It rained to beat the band along the drive, and didn’t clear up until we got north of Ft. Wayne.  The tow was uneventful and traffic was mild.  Rolled in to Gingerman around 4p, and found a nice spot in a shady area on the edge of some trees, just outside of the Turn 1 – 2 area. http://www.gingermanraceway.com/about-track-maps.html



Registration and tech were a breeze, and the South Bend Region SCCA folks were friendly and helpful.  As  part of the event, each driver got a six pack from a local craft brewer, Lucky Lady.  Kathy picked the IPA for me, which was delicious. https://luckygirlbrewing.com/beers/india-pale-ale/  Once I was done with on-track activities of course.  

Crew member Travis Robuck rolled in around 7:15p and I got ready for my first session at 8:05p.  I had fresh tires and fresh brakes so a casual session to heat cycle the tires and bed the brakes was perfect.  We ran the “long” track at 2.1 miles.  

It’s a typical club track, with some elevation changes and some tricky turns. The Turn 5-6 combo was probably the toughest for me – I only got it right a few times during the entire weekend.  I felt I was either too slow or way too fast, and had to back off at the exit.  Most of the course was 3rd gear, only shifting to 4th on the straight between 10 and 11, then back down to 3rd for the pit straight.  I was low in 3rd coming out of turns 3 and 10b, but figured I could make it up elsewhere.   The 8 – 9 – 10b section was big fun, really fast high in 3rd, and if you didn’t whoa it down before turning in for 10b, you’d end up in a cornfield.

After Friday night practice, we cleaned up a little and headed into South Haven for dinner.  We picked Clementine’s, a nice casual pub type place with good ratings on Yelp, but were a bit disappointed.  My burger was good, but the cod special Kathy and Travis got was frozen fish.  Ugh.  
Got a good night’s sleep and to the track around 9a for qualifying Saturday morning.  We had 39 cars in our group, with 12 cars entered in my class, T4.  My goal was for a solid mid pack run, and after a few laps came up to speed reasonably well, qualifying with a 1:51.1, good for 6th in T4.  The fast T4 cars were in the 1:45 to 1:47, range, and I attempted to follow one of the Miata’s around but they were killing me out of the slower turns.  Probably didn’t help I was conservative in some spots also.  



Got back, checked the car, and found the driver’s side lower strut bolt for camber adjustment had moved.  Nothing like dynamic camber. This was a problem at Mid Ohio also, and I replaced the bolt and nut with new prior to Gingerman.  Not sure what was causing it but we reset it, put a fresh nylock nut on it plus some Loctite for the race.    



We were Group 6 (out of 7) and our race wasn’t scheduled until 4:20p, so we had plenty of time.  I took a nap in the shade, while Kathy and Travis watched some races from Turn 1.  There was a big crash at the start of the SRF / SRF3 race which put everything behind at least 30 minutes.  By the time my race came along, I was already looking forward to evening beers!  

I was gridded 7th in class, and 29th overall. On the pace lap,  we were all warming tires and somewhere in front of me, somebody did a hard braking, which almost caused a crash, causing the back half of the field to come to almost a stop.  The first 9 or so rows of cars kept going, and so the field was separated by a huge distance – I saw them on the front straight with the green flag when I was half way down Phoenix Straight.  First rule of racing is to stay in formation on the pace lap – so much for that.  

There was a blue STL Miata in front of me, and a red STU Sentra just in front of me, and I had a good race with them for a few laps before breaking free. The fast STL cars were a hoot to watch. Eric Kutil came through with Adam Roberts in hot pursuit.  From there it was improving on lap times and watching for the fast T2 and STL cars lapping me. Had a couple offs at turn exits trying to improve on laps but no harm, no foul.   Ended up in 7th in class, about 25th overall, and improved my lap time by about a second, to a 1:50.1.

Found out after the session the RF camber bolt slipped again, so we tried reversing the bolt in the hole so the forces under load would make it tighten rather than loosen. That’s my business school engineering analysis, and I’m sticking to it.  Rotated tires and did some other prep, and we were ready for Sunday.  



Dinner that night was in South Haven at a new place called Kitchen 527.  Travis had mussels and wings, and Kathy and I had sandwiches.  All very good.  Recommended.  Headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, then up again the next morning.

At the track, we had short qualifying sessions Sunday morning, 15 minutes.  I didn’t get a clean lap and had about the same time from Saturday, a 1:51.2.  This put me 25th overall and 7th in class.   Good news is our fix for the camber bolt seemed to work.  

For the race, we were gridded behind an T4 FRS and the red STU Sentra, and had the blue STL Miata and a T4 Civic Si with OVR driver Ben Linfield.  The start this time was better but we were still strung out more than we should have been.  Why is it so hard for drivers to stay in formation?  The green flag flew and I had the inside line to left hand Turn 1.  As I approached I could see a big cloud of dust on the outside of the turn, indicative of an off by a car in front of me.  Coming around the turn, I saw Adam Roberts’ STL CRX had spun into the middle of the track so I went out to the right into the dirt and got by without incident.  This enabled the cars behind me to close in, and Ben Linfield got by a lap or so later.  Raced the blue Miata and the red Sentra and got by them, and set sights on Ben.



From there, Ben and I had a great battle for the remainder of the race, at least 13 or 14 laps.  I worked my butt off to get around him – his gearing was better coming out of 3 and 10 and he would pull me;  I was better in the 1 – 2 combo and coming out of 8 going to 10b.  I could just about get to his door going into 3, but not enough to make a clean move. Similarly, I could get beside him going into 10b and stay next to him through the turn,  but he took the inside line and came out of 10b stronger.
 
This went on for the bulk of the race.  I tried getting inside going into 5 – 6, using lapped traffic to lead the way, but couldn’t make it happen. On the last lap, I got a good run out of 10b, and stayed close going down Phoenix Straight.  My plan was to do a late brake into 11 to close in on his bumper, and then hopefully he would bobble and I could pass him before start-finish.  Set up, braked hard…AND MISSED THE 4-3 DOWNSHIFT!  ARRRGH!

Ended the race 22nd overall and 6th in T4 from the preliminary results.  It was great fun – the best battle I’ve had in a race car, maybe ever.  Ben came over afterwards, and he was equally jazzed. Good, clean, hard racing.  Big fun for all.

Next event: SCCA Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Qualifying Sept 25 – 28, races Sept 29 – Oct 1.  My race is 1:00p on Sunday, Oct 1.   We have a few tricks up our sleeve to hopefully get a little more power out of the car for the Runoffs, and I can’t wait. Hope to see you there.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
piloti33
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 10:42:32 AM »

It was a blast racing with you. The new T4 Civic's a pokey little EX though.  Wink

The new Si will be a T3 car.

See you at Indy!
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Ben Linfield
The Contour Superleggera - R.I.P. 10/24/11; REBORN 1/27/13!
31rx7
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 04:54:21 PM »

It was a luxo-barge EX? 

Now I really feel like a loser.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
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