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Author Topic: Great Lakes Race of Champions Hoosier Super Tour - 2020 Pandemic Version  (Read 386 times)
Rich Grunenwald
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« on: July 16, 2020, 07:02:39 PM »

If you want to skip all the drivel, in car video of the races:

Saturday Race: https://youtu.be/TMUgGwXQ4C4

Sunday Race:  - https://youtu.be/crZNXkh6Epw


We are back at it again with the Great Lakes Race of Champions Hoosier Super Tour at MidOhio, conducted by our very own Ohio Valley Region team!  

I believe I have the car ready to go after last year's mayhem.  Brian and Neva Hoover, and the team at Autobody Specialists did a great job repairing the major damage to the car, and I spent December through May doing lots of little things to make sure all the t's were crossed and i's were dotted.  Ran a couple of solo's to get shake things out, and the car seems ready to go.  

Hopefully the driver is!   Stay tuned for updates through the weekend.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 05:40:46 PM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Simi
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 10:55:43 AM »

Thanks Rich, looking forward to your reports!
Hope you have a great weekend.
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 09:32:05 PM »

I have really been working on race prep, not so much the mechanical stuff, but the 30 minutes prior to going out on track.  Torque the wheels, help the driver get settled in the car, make sure the camera is turned on, etc.  Put together a checklist with responsibilities on who does what (admittedly, I am a bad delegator), and showed Kathy what to do - she is an ace at torquing the wheels now.

Woke up to a beautiful, clear, mild morning and got to the track just before 7a, and started getting ready.  We were ready to go around 7:30a for an 8a start, and I was at grid all ready by 7:45a.   Sat there waiting and went out on track at 8a.  Car was good, I was very tentative given all the work done on the car and the fact it's been 15 months since I've been at at speed.

Lap 3 was 85% and so I was ready at lap 4.  Got a good run out of the carousel and coming down the pit straight went to shift to 4th and....no clutch pedal.

Clutch pedal was not doing anything, and I was in neutral.  Couldn't get it into gear, and pulled off just off the right of the chicane, maybe 20 yards off track. 

Sitting there for about 30 seconds, I thought "Ya know, this is probably not the best spot for me to be...", so I wondered "Wonder if the starter would be enough to move me along in first gear?".  Sure enough it was and the car fired up so I could get up by the worker station for the rest of the session. 

Got towed in and dropped off at our paddock, and started looking at the car to see what happened. Figured it was a failure of clutch hydraulics, and I was right.  At first, I thought it was a failure of the slave cylinder (integral with the T/O bearing) which would mean pulling the transmission....which I was not about to do.  Called master mechanic and good buddy Dave Wenger at The Northend Wrench, and he suggested to also check to make sure the hydraulic line didn't become disconnected where it goes into the transmission.  It is a quick-connect type fitting, and they are known to fail.

Good news is that in fact it the quick connect failed.  Bad news is that you can't buy a replacement clip to put it back together.  Loaded the car, took it down to The Northend Wrench, and located a complete line at Ricart.  Ran down there to get it, came back, installed, bled the system, and got back to MidOhio around 4p.

Unfortunately, I missed the afternoon qualifying session, so I have to get it done in the brief 20 minute qualifying session 8a Saturday.  This will determine grid for the 12:30p race, so I need to make it count.

More tomorrow.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
BirdBoy
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2020, 09:11:33 AM »

That's a very hard start Rich. I'm sorry to hear that you ran into those kinds of troubles. After you get through this weekend it might be worth investigating replacing that quick disconnect fitting with a thread on fitting and have a custom line made. I know a bunch of other Ford guys that have gone this route because of the problems you've experienced. It's not a performance mod so I'm hoping that it's something you're allowed to do in your class.

Good luck today. I hope it all works out.
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2020, 07:27:24 PM »

...it might be worth investigating replacing that quick disconnect fitting with a thread on fitting and have a custom line made...

Unfortunately not something we are allowed to do.
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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 #5 on: July 18, 2020, 07:41:31 PM »

Today was a very good day.

Got to the track at 7a for a 20 minute 8a qualifying session.  After missing the Friday afternoon qualifying, I had to get a decent time in so I would at least be close to the folks in my class - Michael Boden (Miata), Ralph Porter (Z4), Matt Miller (yellow Mustang!).   I figured Boden would go off and hide as he has a good car and he is quick, but was hoping to be in the mix with Matt and Ralph.

Son Andrew arrived just before I took to the track on schedule and after a couple warm up laps, started putting in qualifying laps. Track was maybe a little slick but got down to a 1:46.8 which put me close enough. The car was good, I was so-so; inconsistent as I would get one or two turns right then be off on the next one.  Plus, as the laps went on the car changed a bit, and frankly I did not adjust as quickly as I should.  I gridded 23rd, Matt was 22nd, and Ralph was 20th.  So, right in the thick of it.

Back in the paddock, went over the car, checked things, etc. I was planning on changing to fresh pads as I started on front Carbotech pads that already had two sessions on them - trying to use up all my half used stuff - but when I looked at them, they were not even 1/3 worn!  The Mustang got an allowance this year to run the larger rotors from the Mustang GT (same pads and calipers but bigger rotors), so the bigger surface area for heat dissipation must make a difference!

Whatever, I was happy to be ready for the race.

(Headed to dinner)
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 08:48:09 AM by Rich Grunenwald » Logged

I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
Simi
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2020, 04:27:10 PM »

Glad your car woes from Friday were able to be shaken off!
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 10:17:55 PM »

We were the first race after lunch break at 12:30p.  My group was STL, STU, T2, T3, and T4 - total of 34 cars.  There was one DNS, so really 33 cars.  In was gridded 23rd overall, inside row 12, 4th in class, but 3rd (Matt Miller, Mustang) was right in front of me in 22nd OA and outside Row 11, and 2nd (Ralph Porter, T4) was in 20th OA directly in front of Matt outside Row 10.

Mentally, I have been focused on my starts because, frankly, they have generally sucked the past few years.  Went out on time for the pace lap, and coming out of the carousel anticipated the green flag drop.  Got a great start but somebody in front of me didn't and almost ran into them!  Got to the inside for a good run into 1, but messed up by shifting to 4th like an old man driving to Cracker Barrel and ended up behind Matt Miller coming out of the keyhole. Unbeknownst to me, Matt had  a problem with his throttle sticking and tapped his brakes just about at the 3-4 upshift point going down the straight.  Saw the brake lights come on and it scared the heck out of me - I thought all hell was breaking loose in front of him.

Followed Matt around for a few laps and could see second place Ralph Porter in front of him. Felt I was faster than him but I was tentative in passing and just was being wimpy overall.  Decided around lap 5 I needed to pick up the pace.   We were both closing in on Ralph in P2, and I finally got by Matt going into 1 around lap 7.  I could see Ralph ahead in P2 and was closing on him ever so slightly - was hoping to race him for position, but on lap 9 he pulled off track.  Hey, I'll take P2 any way I can get it!

From there it was just trying to be smooth, correct mistakes, and keep a good distance ahead of Matt. Oh, and stay out of the way of the fast T2 cars that were lapping  me!   Finished a solid 2nd and happy to have a clean race.

Video:  https://youtu.be/TMUgGwXQ4C4

First time in the trophies at a Majors and had to go to impound for the usual stuff.  Car is 50 lbs overweight (gotta work on that), got fuel tested for the first time ever, and went through the whole podium photo op thing.  It was fun.  

« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 11:41:50 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 #8 on: July 20, 2020, 10:27:40 PM »

After the race back at the paddock, went over the car to prep for Sunday morning.   New front pads and a quick nut and bolt on things I touched over the past few months, and we were ready to go.  Probably should have looked closer at the tires, but more on that later. 

Watched the Group 5 Spec Miata as well as Group 6 AS, GT1, GT2, T1 both of which were good races.  Got things  wrapped up and headed back to the hotel around 6p.  Stella was wiped out from the heat and welcomed getting back to the room where she promptly ate dinner and then napped. 

We went to Buck's which is tradition, but I got to say it was a major disappointment. Food was not very good and while they were managing social distancing and masks when we got there, by the time we got our food it was out of control.   Got our check and left.
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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 #9 on: July 21, 2020, 05:58:16 PM »

Early to bed Saturday night, and at the track by 7:15a Sunday to prepare for an 8:45a race start.  The weather was hot and heavy, even early in the morning.   Kathy went around and did the checklist stuff - torque wheels, clean windshield, install camera and radio, etc - while I relaxed.  Started getting suited up at about 8:15a and headed to grid at 7:30a or so, ready to go.

Sitting in grid, helmet on, I was sweating profusely thinking "Damn! It's hot!"  They sung the Star Spangled Banner, and we got the 5 to go. Kathy wished me good luck and a few minutes later, we headed out for the pace lap.  This time, Matt  (yellow Mustang) was just behind me on grid.  Ralph (red Z4) was supposed to be gridded in front of Matt but apparently had broke bad on Saturday because he didn't come to grid.    Started on time and headed out for the pace lap.

As I mentioned, really working on my starts, and had another good one.  Got out ahead of Matt and a couple others and after the first lap, started to gap him a bit.  First place in T4, Matt Boden (Miata), was 3+ seconds a lap quicker than us and checked out, so we were fighting for second.  My strategy was to get a 2 - 3 second gap over Matt, then maintain it, preserving my tires for the end.  

This worked out pretty well until the fast T2 cars started catching and lapping us.  Somewhere around lap 13 or so, Matt was closing in and got behind me.  We were being passed by faster cars, and he was able to use them to his advantage getting in front of me.  I stayed hot on his tail, and was able to get a good run out of the keyhole on lap 15 and pass him under braking at the end of the straight.

For the rest of the race, we hounded each other - he passed me again, and I passed him again. We both respected each other's space and gave the other room.  We were very close numerous times, but neither of us did anything aggressive to unsettle the other.  By the last lap, both of our cars were sliding all over - maybe R7's would have been better than A7's on such a hot day!   On the last lap, Matt was on me like a cheap suit, but I managed to stay ahead to take the 2nd over him by .3 seconds!

Fist pumping and woo-hoo's from both of us proceeded on the cool down lap!

Got to impound, and I was wiped.  I don't remember ever being so exhausted getting out of a race car. The combination of heat, humidity, and competition drained me. Many thanks to Deb Hamilton, Susan Downs, and others who brought me water and cold wet towels!  Talked to Matt and we both were exhausted yet happy - big, big fun and the way racing ought to be.   More podium and trophy photos, this time with bubbly from Mazza Vineyards!  

Back at paddock, rested and recovered for an hour or so, and started packing up.  Hung out for the Spec Miata race - a good one - and left around 1:45p.  

Sunday race video at https://youtu.be/crZNXkh6Epw.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 08:10:26 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 #10 on: July 22, 2020, 11:00:03 AM »

Post race:

Car did very well when the tires were under it.  I ran a set of new, but 2.5 years old, Hoosier A7's.  They were fine on Saturday for the 15 lap / 25 min race, but on Sunday, they got slippery for the 21 lap / 35 min race.  As I mentioned above, my strategy was to gap Matt at the beginning, and then take care of the tires particularly in the carousel and keyhole so I had something at the end of the race.

Sunday was about the same temp-wise but with no breeze, so I am guessing the track temp was hotter.  Regardless, got to around lap 15, and they really started to go away.  The last two laps it was all I could do to get around the keyhole and carousel, and have some exit speed. 

Back at the paddock, the drivers side tires showed significant rollover and were starting to cord on the outside edge, both front and rear.  This in only 45 laps or so.  Rarely do I have Hoosiers cord, so it has to be due to the excessive rollover.  The question then is why the rollover.  I should have seen the rollover after Saturday's race but apparently I was asleep at the wheel when I inspected the tires post race Saturday.

I was running my typical cold pressures, and the tires were not over pressure at the end of the race.  The passenger side tires were fine in terms of wear and rollover.   Will have to experiment with cold pressures for the next race.   

On a positive note, the brake pads showed less wear than ever.  Typically, I go through a set of front pads a weekend, and these still look great. I think the difference is that this year we are running a larger rotor (same pads and calipers) so heat dissipation is better.

Also car-wise, need to lose weight.  I am about 45 lbs over.  Losing 30 lbs would go a long way, but I am not sure where to lose it.  A close read of the rulebook is in order.

Driving-wise, I was...fair to OK.  Really messed up when I was getting lapped by the faster T2 / T3 / STL cars.  Watched my mirrors too much, slowing to give them room to pass, and in the process allowed Matt to close in.  Lesson learned.  Also, did not do Turn 1 correctly / consistently.  I think I am turning in a little too early, and need to apex slightly later.  Part of this is visual: The B-pillar and drivers side mirror together block the view on left turns, and it's compounded coming under the bridge.  Need to get better there.
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
erickz
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 10:11:11 PM »

Rich - I havenít seen you in a while but a few years ago I said something similar within earshot of my late wife who remarked that it wasnít the car that need to lose weight.

Enjoyed your race report.
Thanks ez
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Rich Grunenwald
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2020, 07:58:55 AM »

Eric, hope to see you out there sometime.

I have lost 10 lbs so that's progress! Found a set of wheels that will save me 25 lbs...just need to open the checkbook.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
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I have two big heavy 'Murican race cars. Must be an old guy thing.
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