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Author Topic: Cincinnati Region "IT-Spectactular" at MidOhio - August 4 and 5, 2018  (Read 463 times)
Rich Grunenwald
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Street Racer
Posts: 3427

Stirring the pot...

« on: August 26, 2018, 06:04:23 PM »

Aaron's HPDE post and video got me off my butt to do a quick piece on our most recent race.

After our experience at Grissom National Tour, we decided to chill for awhile and do normal people stuff.  This turned out to be a good decision as we've had a chance to enjoy doing some things other than racing.

Yes, Virginia. There is more to life than racing.  Not much actually, but there are a few things worth your time explore.

We missed the OVR Sprints weekend July 14 and 15, and instead took a long weekend to go up to Port Clinton and have some fun on The North Coast.  Visited Kelly's Island, Marblehead, etc.  We did stop by MidOhio on the way back on Sunday to catch the ITA / T4 / other stuff race and hang out with pal Jeff Mabrey and visit with some others.  The plan was to do either the Cincy Region event at MidOhio on August 4 & 5, or the Steel Cities Region event at PittRace on August 11 & 12.  When I saw only 14 in my race group at PittRace, it made the decision easy.

We've made it a habit to get to the track and set up the day before, so on Friday the 3rd we arrived around 2p, and got to hang out with Brian Robertson who was there for a track day in his Corvette.  It was great getting caught up with Brian and watch him turn a wheel in anger. Friday evening we went to the Black Dog Tavern but were disappointed - service was very poor and we had to change tables to get the attention of somebody.  The live music for the evening was a guy playing piano and singing, and it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Got to the track Saturday morning, and got ready for qualifying.  Our race had the potential to be big fun for me as Greg Vandersluis was scheduled to drive an ITA Civic from Sam Myers' Honest Speed Shop, and former autocross nemesis Jeff Mabrey was there in his ITA Civic.  Plus, former autocrosser Dave Kutney was there in T4 in his Solstice, with crew member Rick Barger, another former autocrosser.  Greg, Jeff, Dave, and I were all in Group 3.

What was cool about it is that Jeff Mabrey's car was the car Greg's Grandfather raced in SSC in the early to mid '90's. Kathhy and I raced against Greg's Grandfather back then when we had our SSB CRX.  Then of course, my Mustang was Greg's car from 2010 or so through 2014.  But Greg had to withdraw when his car wasn't ready, so the reunion didn't happen.

Saturday morning qualifying went without drama.  I was 2 seconds off my early June times which I attributed to a slick track and heat cycled tires.  Everybody else was a bit slow also, about 1.5 to 2 seconds off normal times.  I qualified 6th overall in the 41 car field, and Kutney qualified 2nd or so; Mabrey was 4th I believe. Got back from qualifying and was joined by Tom Seigel, a friend of ours, and his grandson.  Changed the front pads on the Mustang, and went over the car to make sure nothing would fall off during the race!

The weather was great, not too hot, and we enjoyed hanging out between qualifying and race.  Talked to Racer Phil, Dave Kutney, Matt Downing, Dan Hardison, etc.  Got ready to get in the car after lunch, and got up to grid.  My starts have generally stunk since I started racing again, so I wanted to make sure I got a good start.  Of course, being 6th instead of 26th on the grid helps!  

Video here: https://youtu.be/9CNNtB3cX_o

Coming out of the carousel, had a good view and anticipated the flag pretty well (5:15 on video).  Good start through 1 and stayed with Mabrey up the hill, sneaking a peak into the chicane, but there was no way.  From there, the leaders pretty much walked away from me as they had all qualified at least a second ahead of me.  Behind me, the ITA Neon of Jonathan Rogers was dogging me pretty hard, and I knew he was faster; he just needed to set me up and pass which he did coming out of Thunder Valley (6:55).  Steve Lin was behind him in his ITA Sentra, also looking to pass but didn't have the speed of Rogers or the others (we qualified at about the same time).  I'd have been happy to let him by if I felt he could run away from me, but he never seemed to get close enough to execute a pass.  However, he drove off track going into Thunder Valley a few laps later (12:00), so it was moot.

The mid part of the race, laps 5 to 10 or so, was pretty boring.  Ran by myself, just focused on hitting marks, etc. Started to catch lapped cars, and had to pay attention - even with my slow-ish T4 car, the closing rate is pretty quick!.  Around this time, started to notice the white VW Beetle getting bigger in my mirrors.  This was actually a full built race car, tube frame, slicks, 1700 lbs or so, from a spec series in Europe.  He got close enough to try a pass at the end of the straight, but couldn't make it, and then I was able to pull away from him - not sure what his deal was as he was much faster on Sunday.  

In any case, finished 6th overall and in one piece, so all was well.  Got back to the paddock and took in some fluids.  Sat around and relaxed for the rest of the day - car prep for Sunday was basically check the oil and clean the windshield.  Fred Robertson stopped by and we shared some beers and got caught up - hadn't seen him in forever.

A banner weekend already - saw both of the Robertson boys and didn't have to work on the car.

For Saturday night dinner, we did the old reliable, and hit Buck's.  Decent food and beer, and they had a special on ribs. What's not to like?

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday.  Got to grid, qualified 7th overall.  Was a little quicker than Saturday, but still off which I attribute to Hoosiers past their prime.  Because, you know, it couldn't be my driving.  Back to the paddock and relax to get ready for our race which was right after lunch.  

Video here: https://youtu.be/1f1TAMlwVpk

This race was a bit more eventful - not for me thankfully, but for others.   Came around the carousel, took the green, and things stack up on the left (I was thankfully on the right).  The polesitter (yellow Miata, 6:43) missed a shift or something, and the entire left lane stacked up to avoid him.  I got a clean start, heading up to the carousel. Dan Hardison (white Civic) did a better job anticipating and got by me going up the hill, as did Steve Linn in his Sentra (red).

However, behind me chaos was happening.  The yellow Miata that dropped back at the start was charging back up, apparently attempting to gain 12 positions or so between turn 1 and the keyhole. He cut across Matt Downing's front, going into a spin, hitting the white CRX, spinning him into the wall.


The sad part is the white CRX was for sale.  So, the value has gone down considerably.  From what I understand the car had been previously crashed fairly hard in the rear, and this crash likely did it in.  Other excitement was the white VW Beetle being blissfully unaware and coming into Dan Hardison's ITA Civic exiting the keyhole.

As the race unfolded, just focused on hitting marks and planning passes. Was chased by a T3 FRS for awhile - guy was a bit wild - and got by the  red Sentra again (12:52).  Pulled away from it and the FRS, and started to close on Dan Hardison in his white Civic. Could pull in a little but couldn't catch him. The T3 FRS caught me and passed me going into the keyhole (19:38), but passed him back on the front straight a lap later (21:00). The polesitter yellow Miata that caused the melee at the start caught and passed me (25:00).  Passed a Miata of some sort and from there it was lapped cars and trying to close on Dan.   Finished 9th OA, the car none the worse for the wear.

Back to the paddock, got loaded up, and stopped by Mabrey's and the ITA guys paddocks.  Heard about the crap that went on with the yellow Miata and the tube frame Beetle.  

All in all, a good relaxing race weekend for us. I did some pressure changes with the car that helped a lot and it was consistent through the sessions.  Now, I need to a bit more work on the suspension and get it handling better overall.  But, there's always something to do.  

Next race looks like VIR October 13 - 14.  They are having a T4 Invitational which should attract a good number of cars.  If it doesn't, we'll be back at MidOhio for the Fall Classic.  Between now and then, the Mustang gets fresh tires, a new clutch and maybe stiffer springs - haven't really decided on the spring / bar setup and don't care to simply guess, especially headed to a new track. 

See you down the road!

« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 10:45:23 AM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
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