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Author Topic: 68th Cumberland Classic Hoosier SuperTour - Return to the Scene Of The Crime  (Read 221 times)
Rich Grunenwald
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« on: August 26, 2020, 09:26:50 PM »

Yes, I never learn.

Packed up and headed tomorrow to Pitt Race to the 68th Cumberland Classic Hoosier SuperTour.   

Have (fairly) fresh rain tires this time around. 
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Simi
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2020, 08:49:41 AM »

be safe
have fun
and enjoy!
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2020, 08:02:54 AM »

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The tow from Columbus to PittRace was the best kind - uneventful.  Got to the track around 4:00 pm pm on Thursday, and set up on the North Paddock near the end of pit row. Unloaded, got organized, gassed up the car.  A good place to watch and for Stella.  Registration and tech was a breeze, and got to the Microtel in Beaver Falls by about 7:00pm.   Dinner at Sal's was good, and I was asleep by 10:30pm.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday morning, got to the track about 8:15a. The weather was dry but overcast with showers in the forecast.  We were in Group 6 along with ASedan, T2, T3, STU, and STL. Five cars in T4. There were about 165 entrants and 40 in our group, so they might have thought about adjusting the groups.  We were scheduled for 20 minute practice at 11:30 am, and 20 minute qualifying at 3:30o.

The Alliance Autosport folks were across from us, so went over and said hello, as well as "thanks" for helping Kathy pack up last year after my, uh, incident.  Down to grid at 11:20a.  Our group was a bit of a cluster - AS, STU, STL, T2, T3, T4.  I was figuring the fast T2 and ASedan cars would be lapping us. 

Got on track and there were dark clouds on the horizon.  I was using up some old tires so I didn't push too hard, and admittedly had a bit of trepidation.  Got up to reasonable speed after a few laps, and it started getting darker, to the point where my prescription sunglasses made it too dark! Took them off for a lap and decided that was a bad idea because, well, old eyes.  Came in early with about 4 minutes to go in the session. 

Shortly there after, the rain came in.  We'd get a short shower, it would start to dry, and then shower again.  We were watching the weather radar, trying to figure whether to go with the new pimpy  Hoosier wets or stay on A7's.  I didn't want to burn up the rain tires on a dry-ish track.  There was a dry line through most turns, but some wetness elsewhere.  Looking at the weather radar, we bet on the wets for the first qualifying session, and it was the right decision.

Went to grid for Q1 while it was raining lightly, and started the session.  The rain picked up throughout the session and I got the chance to really exercise the Hoosier rains.  "Wow" is all I can say.  Really great in the rain.  I was able to pass all sorts of cars and qualified 2nd in T4 even being conservative.   I was thinking "a $1300 set of rains would have saved me $6,000 of repairs last year...".

After the session, it rained hard.  We did a quick check on the car, buttoned everything up and covered stuff in the rain, and went over to Greg Amy's paddock for stories and beers - not that we were having a gathering during COVID or anything.  Always entertaining.  Back to Beaver Falls to dry out, grab dinner, and a good sleep.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 11:13:54 AM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2020, 08:23:04 PM »

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Woke up Saturday to a beautiful, sunny, DRY morning.  Changed to dry tires on the car (A7's, 5th heat cycle) and checked fuel level - I've been doing some experimenting on fuel level to help with the car's weight issues.  I've also been adjusting tire pressures a bit with the A7's, particularly on the drivers side that takes more abuse.  A 15 minute qualifying session was scheduled for 11:20 or so, and we got to grid early.

Rolled out according to how we all did in Q1 on Friday.  Thankfully, they moved the A Sedan cars to the GT1, GT2, T1 group, so there were fewer cars and less of a chance of getting in somebody's way.   Session went well, and got into a rhythm.  Car was very good, and drove a few decent laps and qualified 4th right next to 3rd and 2nd.  Only a tenth or so out of third, behind the Miata of Chris Collins.   Chris and I have diced every time we've been on track together.  He's from Maryland and we've competed at PittRace twice as well as the 2017 Runoffs.  He's finished ahead of me twice, and I've finished ahead of him twice.  So, pretty even.  

What makes road racing fun is scenarios like this.  Our lap times are similar but we get there very different ways.  The Miata is less horsepower and skinnier tires, but is also 600 lbs - over a quarter ton - lighter than the Mustang.  It also has a 6 speed transmission vs. 5 speed with better ratios for exiting slower corners.   On the other hand, the 4.0l V6 in my car is a torque monster by comparison, and the Mustang wins on top speed.   When Chris and I race, it's back and forth, sizing each other up for where to pass, watching for mistakes and hoping you don't make one!

After qualifying, checked over the car, had lunch, and took a nap.   Nap time is important for this boy.

The race was at 3:30pm.  T4 was gridded pretty much together, from 24th to 29th overall, with Chris and I beside each other.  I needed a strong start to get around him, thinking that once around him he would have trouble passing me.  Approaching the start at PittRace, you are coming up a hill and can't see the starter's stand, so if you are in row 8 or further back, you need to hear the start on the radio or anticipate it. We were having radio issues, so I was going to have to anticipate from Row 14.

When I looked at the grid sheet, I identified a couple cars that were in Row 9 or 10, and fixated on them during the pace lap.  Coming up the hill towards the start, I pulled out to the left a little so I could see these cars, and as soon as I sensed they were accelerating I hit the gas.   Got a great start moving up about four positions by turn 1, leaving a couple cars between me and Chris' Miata.  As is typical, lots of back and forth and jockeying during the first lap, and by lap 2, I was 3rd in T4.  P1 (Brett Simonson, RX8) and P2 (Tony Roma, Solstice) in T4 qualified about 2 seconds a lap in front of us, so basically they went off and hid.  Chris in the Miata was behind me, about 5 or 6 car lengths.

This was going to be about a 12 lap race (25 minutes) for us, and calculations showed that the T2 and fast STL / STU cars would start lapping us around lap 8.  For the first 8 laps, it was clean and clear in front of me. Chris would close in on the twisty sections (turns 4 - 7, and 8 - 11) and I would pull him on the straights (turns 1 - 2, 13 - 17).  We maintained distance until getting lapped when, depending how and where the fast car got by me, I would lose ground or gain ground on Chris.  

This went on through the race, and the next to last lap, I got held up a bit exiting 17 and Chris was gaining on me entering 1. However, an STU car wedged in between us entering 1, slowing both of our exits.  we were side by side pretty much through 2 and down to 7, and exited 7 together.   He was on my right entering 8,the start of the twisty section, and if he got in front of me there I was done.  I was able to pinch his exit from 8 a bit and pull ahead at 9 and maintain it to the finish.  Great fun and a solid 3rd!

Afterwards, much story telling and recounting the race with Chris. Great fun and a great guy!  Got my trophy on the podium which was nice, and had a few beers. 

Back to the Microtel and ordered take out Italian from a little place called The Boardwalk.  Place didn't look like much but I had the Philly Cheese Steak pizza and it was dynamite.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 03:22:21 PM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
BRZBoy
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2020, 10:33:27 AM »

Nice job Rich.
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CP - 1992 Ford Thunderbird
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 10:39:09 PM »

Will get a story written and vids posted but prob won't be until next week.  Gotta get ready for the OVR Sprints at MidOhio this weekend!

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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2020, 03:43:18 PM »

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Woke up to another glorious day in the hills of western PA.  Sunny, fluffy clouds in the sky, moderate  temps.  Perfect racing weather.

Got to the track around 8:30am and prepped for the race scheduled for 2:40 pm.  Prep was easy - check brakes and fluids and change tires.  I got my life out of the A7's yesterday as two of them with six heat cycles were corded.  Will use up the other two at MidOhio ton Labor Day weekend.

Tried something a bit different this time.  Since this was going to be a longer race (17 laps vs. 12  laps), put R7's on the drivers side and A7's on the passenger side.  Pitt Race has several turns that are hard on the drivers side tires (7, 12 -13, and 17), and the A7's were getting a bit slippery by the end of the race.  Of course, they were well into their last heat cycle, so that didn't help either, but I figured I would try it.

Watched a few races and relaxed from about 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.   Got down to grid in plenty of time - we were gridded according to our best lap times of the weekend, and this time the top four T4 cars were all gridded together.  The RX8 and Solstice were right in front of Chis and me.   The moved the STL cars to the back as they were having a split start - I suspect that the STL folks asked for it as their lap times were similar to T2 / T3 but they got there very differently.  

So, this meant that we'd be getting lapped first by the STL cars (generally 7 - 8 seconds a lap faster), and then see a second wave with the T2 / T3 cars (12 - 14 seconds faster).

I had the same strategy as Saturday - get a jump at the start, get ahead and stay ahead.   It was the right strategy except I was on the inside line, and into the Turn 1 left hander, the inside row got backed up and Chris cruised by on the outside.   We stayed bunched up down to 7 and started to spread out.  P2 in T4, Tony Roma, was just in front of us so I was hoping we could race with him for a while.    

Lap 2, Tony and Chris got caught in traffic which enabled me to close in fast.  Going into 12, they left room on the left (outside of 12) and I took it thinking I could pass them entering 13 - bad decision.  They were on the right as they saw a T2 Porsche 996 slow on the left, and when I went around them I damn near nailed the Porsche!  Thankfully was not around anyone, and broke hard and swerved around him - those autocross skills come in handy!  Tony and Chris of course pulled away, and now I was a good 10 car lengths behind 3rd in 4th.  Tony then pulled away from Chris, and I had my target.

Chris would pull me on the 3 - 7 sequence, and the 9 - 12 sequence, but I could pull him a little better on the 12 - 17 section, and from 1 to 2. Within a four laps I caught him and a couple laps later he was slowed a bit by the STL traffic lapping us that I could use to my advantage, and got by him.  But, it didn't last long as I messed up coming out of 17 and he passed me.  A few laps later, I passed him back and followed a T2 Porsche to 7 but was a bit optimistic and put two wheels off at the exit, so he passed me again.

We were running out of laps and chances for me to pass him but on the next to last lap, I got inside him at 17, making him go wide - and slow - downshifted to 2nd and had the edge exiting 17. THEN I MISSED THE 2 - 3 UPSHIFT!!! ARRGH!  And he drove away and that was my race.  I should have known better as the 2 - 3 upshift has to be done in a deliberate manner - the car doesn't like rushing it - and it cost me another podium.  Totally my fault.

Still, big fun.  Talked to Chris again after the race and he had just a little more fun than me.  He said "I couldn't believe you kept coming back at me!"  I told him "Well, if I could run consistent fast laps, I might have stayed in front!"   

« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 09:56:25 PM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2020, 10:00:56 PM »

Post Race

Back at our paddock, got loaded up, but not without some drama.  The quick release hub stuck in the open position and I could not get it to click on to the column to save my life.  After messing with it for 30 minutes or so, including taking it apart, Kathy came to the rescue.  I was about a minute from saying the hell with it and using Vise Grips to steer it on to the trailer. She said "Some of the hoses on the dialysis machines have a similar way of attaching, and every so often we have to lubricate them so they connect properly."  A little bit of silicone lubricant, and presto! 

You only have to marry the right woman. Everything else is easy.

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