Saturday, May 13, 2017

Season Opening Race at NJMP

It's been a long off season, and this blog has been silent since the end of last year.  There have been much goings on with the AMT Motorsport C5Z race car as well as the business of AMT Motorsport.  Our product offerings have gained quite a bit of traction in the marketplace in the first few months of 2017.  Items are moving faster than expected and we've been expediting bringing new products to the marketplace that our customers have demanded.  I'll discuss these new products in upcoming blog posts shortly, but for now let's recap the first race of the year - The NASA Northeast Shakedown at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Thursday May 4th -

After a long off season the car finally was back together and running around the middle of April.  Almost every body panel on the car was replaced.  Peter Agapoglou and his crew at Autosport Fab in Plainville Connecticut we instrumental in the rebirth of the car after the accident,  We added a new wing, a new hood, and did some pretty extensive modifications to the front of the car to aid in downforce and cooling.  We tested the car at NJMP in April with Audi NEQ and while the car had some warts, it ran well in its re-born state.

 The car was trailered down to NJMP Thursday May 4th and we setup shop in the paddock.  Forecast was for pouring rain on the Friday test day so there were no plans to unload the car before Saturday morning.  I was skipping the Friday test session to spend the day in NYC with my wife and in-laws to enjoy a viewing of Hamilton.  It's a hard knock life.

Friday May 5th -

The weather persons got their forecast right - nothing but rain on Friday and lots of it.  I did get to the track around 7am to prepare for the weekend and hoped for a break in the rain so I could get the car through it's annual race tech inspection.  That break in the rain came around 9:00am and I hurriedly started to unload the car to get it through tech before the rain re-started. I misjudged that window.  Around 9:05 it started coming down in sideways sheets.  My car has no windows, no wipers, and the air intake is now at the base of the windshield, so in a panicked state I through wood over the air intake to keep the sealed air intake box from filling with water.  I was barely able to navigate to the tech garage through the down pour. A mix of driving through the paddock with my face out the window and wiping the windshield with my hand found me safely through tech and loading the car back on to the trailer as quickly as possible.  I might as well have jumped in a pool.  I had to wring the water out of the dollar bills in my wallet that resided in my back pocket - that's how wet it was.  I hurried back to the hotel in my drenched state and headed off to New York City. I was not jealous of those who stayed behind and got to use their Hoosier Wet Tires all day for Friday practice.

Saturday May 6th -

My Friday in New York was wonderful.  I left NYC at 4:30 am on Saturday to make the 2 hour drive back to NJMP to get back to the track by 7am.  After several meetings and check ins with our race group leaders, the time had to come to practice on track with our race group.  My race group is the Thunder Race group which is comprised of the fastest cars in the NASA organization.  Most cars in this group will be running lap times from the 1:15s to as low as 1:06s for the fastest no-holds-or-wallets-barred Super Unlimited Group.  My group is ST2 where the only real restriction is a power to weight ratio of 8lbs per horsepower.  The group is made up mostly of Corvettes with the odd Factory Five Daytona, Mitsubishi Evo, or crossover BMW coming to play as well.

I had the luxury of having 2 sets of sticker Hoosiers for the weekend, since both sets were unused on that fateful day in September where the car was crashed at the National Championship.  I went out on new tires and had practice times in the low 1:12s.  Not terrible, but certainly not what I was hoping for given that I had qualified last year with a 1:10.0 and that the car had significant upgrades made to it over the winter.

I went out again for the Thunder qualifying session about an hour later and had more unhappy results. I qualified with a 1:12.2 which would put me 9th overall but find me starting 5th on the grid for the actual race. That's more than 2 seconds off my qualifying time from last year. During the qualifying session I managed to pick up a rock in my brand new windshield.  The car didn't have a nick on the windshield in the 4 years I owned it and now on the second session out I pick up a rock chip.  To add insult to injury my right rear inner fender liner ejected itself at about 130 mph.  I saw smoke coming out the back from the tire rubbing and then a BANG - fiberglass went sailing through the sky and the car behind me collected the fender liner on his hood.  I'm assuming it did no damage otherwise someone would have found me in the paddock and complained.  Sorry about that.  Final salt in the wound was my brand new front left tire had a puncture when I came back to the paddock, and it was flat as a pancake and un-repairable.  First time that's happened as well. Pissed about my flat tire and not so happy about my qualifying times, I slapped on my second set of Hoosiers for the upcoming race at 3pm.  Still not sure why I was going so slow I wasn't particularly positive about my chances in the race.  I'd had a lot of bad luck since Friday and was at the stage where I sometimes wonder why I'm even doing this.  I decided I should probably take it easy in the race and just finish the best I could and come back stronger on Sunday.

The Thunder Race grid found John George in his beautiful brand new Factory Five Daytona Coupe in P1 with a 1:10.3 in qualifying. Adrian Wlostoski was alongside in P2 in his C6 Corvette Grandsport with a 1:11.0.  Adrian won the regional championship last year by a fair margin and has basically become the man to beat in my class.  John won a lot of races last year in his Factory Five Cobra (including the National Champtionship in ST2) but this year brings a brand new and undeveloped car. However his practice and qualifying pace showed he was going to be as fast as ever.  Michael Kuna made the switch from the all-German series GTS4 to race with us in ST2 and would be starting in front of me with a 1:11.1.  Behind me were some American Iron Mustangs as well as some ST2 competitors who didn't fare as well in qualifying.  John Gatzemeyer crashed his C5 Corvette in qualifying and made contact with Doug Winston in his C5 Corvette as well. Both guys would be out of the race for Saturday.  John Robbins had problems with this Mitstubishi Evo 10 so he wasn't starting the race and Alan Cohen was DQ'd in qualifying so he'd be starting at the back of the pack in his 550hp Patriot Missile - a Cadillac CTS-V weighing in at something like 4400 lbs.  All told, of the 10 cars that had signed up for for ST2 only 5 would be taking the green flag.

We rolled out on the formation lap and started warming our tires.  As we started to fall into our positions around the backside of the track the pace car kept us around 45mph.  This was a great speed for me since that allows me to use my very potent second gear for the start of the race.  The leaders tend to set the pace after the pace car merges off for pitlane, and that pace usually winds up around 65 mph - right out of second gear range for me and the low RPM range of third gear.  I happily shifted to second gear and waited for the starter to drop the green flag. Greg Miceli was not racing this weekend and was on the radio with me.  He spotted the flag and shouted "Green Green Green!" through my ear and off I went.  The car took off like a rocketship and I jumped two cars right at the start - Michael Kuna in his BMW and an out of class SU racer in a Factory Five Cobra.  I got great drive out of turn 1 and managed to pass Adrian on the inside going into turn 2 for second place.  The car felt great, but in my excited state with not-so-warm tires I over cooked my entry speed into turn 4 and took a long trip through the grass.  I dropped 2 places and found myself back in 4th place behind Kuna, John, and Adrian.  I buckled down and got on with the race.

I didn't know if it was the brand new set of tires I was running or just my elevated heart rate for the race, but the car and myself were on fire.  I quickly and easily passed Michael Kuna and looked down at my lap timer and saw I was knocking off laps in the high 1:09s!  That was faster than I'd ever gone and you generally don't set your fastest laps of the weekend during a race.  I could see John and Adrian about 5 to 6 seconds up the road so I focused on doing all that I could to catch them.  To my amazement I caught up with John in about 10 laps.  Catching a guy is one thing but passing him is something completely different.  Luckily a misstep by John in turn 4 found him with 2 wheels in the dirt.  I capitalized with a good run through turn 4 and 5, and kept my speed advantage all the way through the back straight, and passed him with relative ease into turn 7.  I had a big sideways moment through turn 7 (see video below) but managed to keep it together and stayed ahead of John for the rest of the race.  Adrian had checked out by this point and was 9 seconds ahead by the time I got around John.  He would end up 13 seconds ahead of me to win the race - myself in P2 and John rounding out the podium a few seconds behind me.

I'd somehow managed to clock the fastest lap of the race with a 1:09.45 with Adrian just a smidge off with a 1:09.49.  I had an absolute blast during the race and it made me remember all over again just why in the hell I do this.  It was refreshing after the weekend I'd had up to this point.  The beers went down smooth for the post race celebration, and I was thrilled to take the podium with my fellow ST2 competitors and friends Adrian and John.  Excuse my metal face - it's just in my nature when I take publicity pictures.

Here's a fun high quality video from the cockpit of John George.  I make my entrance at the 15:00 mark, and you can see my save/near disaster at 15:05.  I would love to show you the video from my car, but my GoPro battery died just as the race started.  I feel like I'm the only one who makes rookie mistakes in his third season.

Sunday May 6th -

Knowing I had a rocketship I was pumped for the morning practice/qualifying session.  If I put a 1:09.4 down in the race I figured there was no reason I couldn't whip out a 1:08.something in qualifying.  Sadly, all I could muster in qualifying was a 1:11.656 putting me 6th overall and 4th in my class.  Adrian blasted the 1:08.9 I was looking for.  My college buddy Jake Namer brought his RX-7 racecar down and managed a 1:10.8 for P2, and Alan Cohen pipped me by .005 with a 1:11.651 for P3. John Gatzemeyer patched up his C5 but it was wonky in the rear and he got a 1:14.1. John Robbins got the Evo kinda running-ish but only crapped out a 1:19. Kuna ran a 1:12.1 but was DQ'd and would start from the back of the pack.  John George blew his motor in qualifying, bringing the grand total of ST2 starters to 7.

I was starting to think that I'm only good at driving in racing, since I couldn't seem to drive fast for TT or qualifying.  Perplexed, I brought the car on the trackside dyno to make sure it was making the full 380whp that it was tuned to only 4 weeks before.  Sho' nuff, the thing ran 380whp on the nose.  You could have overlayed the two graphs from the two different dynos and not have told the difference.  I decided I just must suck at qualifying and made it a point that I would sift through the data to figure out how I can be faster in qualifying.

As we took to the grid, my buddy Jake put his RX-7 in front of mine on the grid, revved it to 6000 RPM and quickly shut it down.  His car sounds like a couple of two stroke chain saws rattling around in a 55 gallon drum so I asked "Jake, do you just like to hear your car make noise...?" He told me he was advised by an old timey rotary tuner that the quick blast of high rpm cleans out the injectors and makes it easier to start the next time.  "OK" I said, and got into my car and buckled in at the 5 minute warning.

As we took off for the formation lap, Jake's car wasn't starting.  The starter gave him about a minute to try and get his car started, but when it wasn't happening the starter let the rest of the field take to the formation lap, leaving Jake alone and silent on the grid.  Turns out his motor blew with that last rev of the stupid rotary engine, and I was the last person to hear it's sweet terrible song.  He tells me I owe him a motor.  I tell him he owes me a tire for reducing the car count to 6. We'll call it a wash.

Again the pace car had us at 45mph and I was ready for a strong second gear start, but as soon as the green flagged waved and I mashed the loud pedal I knew this was going to be a different race than yesterday.  The car just didn't have the power it had on the Saturday race.  Instead of making ground at turn 1, I just watched as the leaders Alan and Adrian started to pull away.  I got by Alan within one lap since his 4400 sled is not exactly the fastest car through the turns or hardest on the brakes.  I managed to get on Adrian's bumper through turns 4 and 5 on Lap 2, but after that his tires were up to temp and he just pulled away from me every time the road got straight.  I managed to keep Alan behind me while he kept me honest for a few laps, but I'd built up a pretty comfortable lead after 5 or 6 laps.  I had some fun slicing through slower traffic while managing what seemed to be a huge power deficit.  Cars I just motored past on Saturday I was even with on the straights, so I had to do my passing on the brakes and in the turns.  I pulled out another 2nd place finish after a full 24 laps of green flag racing.  Adrian finished 31 seconds in front of me with a fast lap of 1:09.4 just like yesterday.  Despite my power problems I'd had whittled my fastest lap down to a 1:10.8.  Having to struggle in the straights allowed me to be more aggressive at turn entry and exit so I should be able to combine the data from my two races and get a pretty good idea of the cars' ultimate pace.  The track record for a race lap is a 1:08.9 and I'm confident when the stars align I can get my time down a mid to low 1:08.

As I packed up the trailer and got ready for the journey home, I shared my plight with Alex Rubenstein and Ben Lesnak - two Corvette gurus who could maybe shine some light on what I was convinced was a definite power issue.  After a couple e-mails back and forth the issue was identified.  My factory GM temperature gauge is having some sort of electrical issue that is spiking the gauge to 260 degrees intermittently.  The car is actually running at 170 degrees (verified by another water temp sensor I have wired into my RaceTech Dash) but because the factory gauge is pegged at 260, the ECU actually thinks the car is running at 260 degrees. The car then goes into a protection mode where it pulls 7 degrees of timing from the power band.  Alex surmised that equates to about a 50hp loss, and judging by the speed at which I was left in the dust by my competition I concur.  So, I don't actually suck at qualifying.  We're working on a solution to the problem now and it should be a straight forward fix.

Very much looking forward to the next race in June at NJMP where you can rest assured that I'll show up with all 380 of my ponies and hopefully race for the win!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Let the rebuild begin

If anyone here checks the Facebook page, you know by now that the season ended with a bang at the NASA East Coast Championships. Not a good bang.  A buddy of mine was driving my car in Thursday practice and #265 got away from him at Turn 9 at Watkins Glen.  Not a very forgiving place to go sideways. He hit the wall at about 45 degree angle at 33 mph and subsequently tagged the back corner in the resulting spin after the hit.  He came away perfectly unharmed, all the safety gear doing exactly what it's designed  to do.  But we were done for the Championship before it even started, and the season was over.  T'was a shame since with the new clutch and brake master cylinder the car was running as good as it had all season.  I think we could have fought for the win on Sunday, though perhaps not considering what a crash fest the Championship race turned out to be.

The damage was extensive. Unless you're a real Corvette nerd it would bore you to hear the the list of parts needed, but you can get the idea from this picture.  Thankfully motor and suspension parts were unharmed.  Frame needs to be cut, straightened, and a new section welded in.  Of course it would be silly to not make upgrades as long as the car is getting torn apart, so we're adding an AJ Hartman carbon fiber hood and leaning forward a new racing radiator and ducting the air out the hood for increased downforce and better cooling.  While we're at it we have to flip the intake manifold and run the air intake into the cabin.  So we might as well add a Fast 102 intake manifold as well as an LS2 throttle body and fuel rails to take advantage of the new ST2 rule allowing more horsepower next year.  Yay racecars.  We'll also make a new splitter but this time use 3/8" thick wood and wrap it in carbon fiber for stiffness and lightness. I'll be doing the carbon fiber work so I assure you it will not be pretty but it will be functional.

The wing itself has minor repairable damage, but all the mounts need to be replaced.  Seeing how far all the aluminum bent, it's quite a testament to the strength of properly made carbon fiber parts. Thanks to Kognition Racing for making a solid wing! AMT Motorsport will be making all new mounting hardware milled from carbon fiber plate this off season, and we'll take the opportunity to move the wing a little higher and further back on the car. Car is also getting new wide fenders put on so we can run the absurdly wide 335 Hoosier A7s that have become the norm on racing Corvettes.

The car finally made it to Peter Agapaglou at Autosport Fab in Plainville, CT last week.  Pete got right to work taking the broken bits off the car and taking inventory of any extra parts that needed to replaced that we hadn't already acquired.  Luckily there were no surprises.  

See? Not that bad-ish.

Engine needs to be removed to facilitate frame straightening, cutting, and re-welding.  Oh hey and while the engine's out we may as well get rid of the needle bearings that run the rocker arms and switch to a solid trunnion  upgrade! Yay racecars!

Trunnion upgrade comes from Straub Technologies. Price is actually quite reasonable and the quality is high.  Point of these parts are simply to remove any little metal bits that could possibly come apart in the heads and grenade the motor.  The stock rollers have needle bearings with hundreds of tiny little cylindrical metal pieces.  Just one of those failing would cause big engine damage, so we're being proactive in taking those out of the equation.  While the motor is out Pete will do a full inspection to make sure everything still looks good in the bottom end of the motor.  Motor doesn't have 20 hours on it so the damn thing better be cherry.

Clear shot of the frame damage.  We'd hoped that maybe the damage was isolated to only the front of the car since it was bent so heavily, but it appears the car may have a sway all the way to the back.   That's no big deal - the car had to go on a frame machine anyway so once they start tugging the frame with 30 tons of force, it'll get back to where it's supposed to be.   The car is now at AC Automotive in Hartford, CT and they're taking care of all the body damage. Oh, and of course the steering rack will be taken out and sent out to Turn One for a full re-build and upgrades.  Yay racecars.

In other news, we finally have some official AMT Motorsport product on the shelves and ready to sell!  One thing I thought I'd be doing with this blog is more product information and now that the season is over and we're waiting for the car to return we're finishing up projects at a good clip.  We currently have Full Floating Rotor Kits ready to ship as well Upper Control Arm Stud Kits.  Within 2 weeks we'll be shipping Camber Kits. Shortly after that we'll be accepting control arms for spherical bushing upgrades.  After that we'll be finishing up our low profile seat mount brackets.  We have camera mounting equipment and zero-clearance racing mirror mounts coming shortly as well.  

As always thanks for anyone out there reading this!  Please respond with any questions and comments you might have and pass the blog along to any of your friends who might be interested in all this absurd Corvette stuff.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Still waiting for a trouble-free weekend

Round 4 of the NASA NE race series took us to Palmer, Massachusetts and The Thrill at Whiskey Hill on July 23-25.  The actual name of the track is Palmer Motorsports Park but it's built on the side of a mountain known as Whiskey Hill.  Palmer is a 2.3 mile roller coaster with 190 feet of elevation change.  It is a winding, technical track where the main straight isn't really straight at all, and there is very little run off and room for error.  The track is brand new and only opened in the beginning of last year.

However, no one actually wants a race track built anywhere near where they live.  Most new race track construction is met heavily by political road blocks and a few (but very loud) local voices screaming "Not in my town!"  Thusly the biggest issue met by most racers this weekend was the strict 100 dB sound limit.  On the Friday test day many racers were scrambling to quiet down their too-loud exhausts by adding turn downs (exhaust extensions that point the sound in a different direction), baffles (material in the exhaust to knock sound waves down) and in many cases running to NAPA to bolt or weld on elaborate (and often hilarious) muffler setups.  Luckily we took the AMT Motorsport C5Z to Palmer 3 weeks prior to test our own exhaust setup against the dB meters.  A combination of turndowns with baffles installed them snuck us in at 96dB and thusly had no concerns about the 100 dB limit.  Several cars in racing in ST2 were well over 100 dB which caused them problems all weekend.  Between the sound limit and lack of at-track facilities it would surprise me if NASA continues to run races there in the future which is a shame since Palmer is a great drivers' track.

Saturday July 24

We got to the track around 7:15am and it was already 80 degrees and muggy.  Forecast was for mid-90s and high humidity so I was very happy to get a new piece of cooling gear for my helmet.  It's called a Cool-a-Clava and it hooks into my Cool Shirt setup and runs ice water through my helmet.  It proved to be worth its weight in gold this weekend.  Special thanks to Robert Zecca from Driving Impressions for the fast turn around on this new product to have it ready for the race weekend.

My friend, championship winning, Rainman-Corvette-guru and all around awesome dude Ben Lesnak was going to be driving my car this weekend in the TT sessions while I was sticking to racing.  Ben needed some more TT points to qualify for the East Coast Championship and I offered to have him drive my car for the weekend. The previous month at NJMP he'd rented a "race car" (using the term loosely) 30 seconds per lap slower than the rest of the field, so I'd hoped he'd have a lot more fun in a fast car at Palmer.

Those hopes were dashed within 2 laps.  Ben only got one reconnaissance lap for his TT session before the clutch pedal went to the floor, would not return, and the car would no longer shift.  Seems the pedal was not releasing the clutch mechanism after the car got hot.  Peter Agapoglou from Autosport Fab was on hand for the weekend providing track side support, and quickly got to work bleeding the clutch. The fluid coming out of the clutch was black and toasty, so we'd hoped that would be the cure to our woes.  We went out in the Race Practice session with our fingers crossed but to no avail - the clutch stopped working within one hard lap.

Qualifying went as expected with only 4th gear available. John George in his Factory Five and Adrian Wlostowski in his Corvette Grandsport both laid down scorching lap times at 1:40.9 and 1:41.9 respectively.  Pat McMahon is his Factory Five managed a 1:44.4 while I was 1.5 seconds adrift with a 1:46.0. Doug Winston was fighting the dB level issue all weekend, and had to shift at way low RPMs so he brought up the back of the ST2 field with a 1:58.  There were several out of class BMWs splitting the ST2 cars, but because GTS starts the race in their own wave, I'd be starting 4th in ST2 and 4th overall out of 23 cars.

I got to grid for the race and noticed Adrian was absent in the P2 spot.  He ended up getting to grid too late and started the race Dead F'ing Last.  I knew how that felt from my last race at NJMP.  He's fast enough that he'd easily make his way past everyone and probably finish P2 overall and have fun doing it, but to start in last when you qualified P2 overall sucks.  He'd be driving with a fist full of anger.

I was hoping I could get at least 2 minutes out of my clutch so I could race hard for the opening lap.  I knew it was a matter of time before I started dropping places using only one gear.  Coming to the start/finish in 3rd gear I was looking way down the track for the green flag, only to realize the flagging station was much closer than I realized.  I didn't floor the throttle until I heard everyone else do it, and by then it's way too late.  So I quickly gave up one place to AJ Hartman in his all-carbon fiber American Iron Mustang before turn 1.  However because the Mustangs don't exactly fly through the turns and AJ knew I was racing the 2 Factory Fives in front of me I easily got by him between turns 3 and 4 - AJ courteously lifting off the gas for a moment to get me by with haste.  3rd gear worked for the remainder of the lap, so I was able to close the gap to Pat in P2 throughout the lap. I got a run on him on the main straight and snuck past him on the outside into turn 1.  However coming into turn 4 the car would no longer shift, so I was forced to putt along through the slowest turn on the track with about 3000 rpm less than I would have liked.  I pointed Pat by at the exit of turn 4 and figured my race was pretty much over.  All I needed to do was to complete 7 or so laps so I could get credit for finishing the race.  However Pat had an oil line blow off his car right in front of me before turn 5.  Oil covered my windscreen, and Pat went careening off the track backwards at turn 5, barely nudging the tire wall and causing no real damage to his car.

I assumed the tow truck would come to rescue him since he was not in a very good place to be stranded, but oddly (I thought) the race continued with only a standing yellow at the scene of his accident.  We raced for another 7 laps and in that time Adrian made his way through the pack and zipped by me while I was stuck in 4th gear.  I wouldn't have had much for him anyway - Adrian was flying all weekend.  However 2 laps after he passed me, he dove into the pits!  I assumed he had some problem (which was the cause of him coming to grid late) and he had to pit because of it.  Turns out that he too was victim of the low dB limits.  He was black flagged for being too noisy and forced to finish at the bottom of the ST2 cars.

With Adrian gone and Pat on the side of the track I'm now sitting pretty in second place with John George half a lap up the track in P1.  I figured I might as well keep driving the car in 4th gear to see if I could wind up with a trophy!  I ended up running a best lap of 1:45.4 stuck in 4th gear and did finish P2. Poking around in 4th gear forced me to keep my entry and mid corner speeds up - felt like I was driving a GTI again.  After looking at the data the lack of gearbox cost me at least 2 seconds of lap time in acceleration alone.  Still doesn't get me into the blistering 1:40s that John George was getting, but respectable enough.  I received my second place trophy and went to dinner.  I knew I only got second due to attrition and luck, but I'll take it. I hoped my luck would continue on in to Sunday.

Sunday July 25

Sunday morning started much the same as Saturday - hot and humid.  We got to the track around 7:30 am and Pete was already busy adjusting the alignment on my car.  The man is dedicated - his daughter was born only 2 days prior and I told him he was certainly allowed to skip our event.  My wife would have divorced me had I left 2 days after the birth of our son.  Anyway my car seemed to be chewing up the outside edge of the front tires, so he put another degree of negative camber in the front tires.  Happy to say the AMT Motorsport camber plates made adjusting the camber an easy process, and we locked it in solid at a little more than 3 degrees.  A quick toe adjustment with Pete's string setup and we were ready to qualify.

The car seemed to be getting worse the more it drove and the hotter it got.  For this qualifying session I was not even able to get a half lap before the clutch started acting up.  I managed a 1:44.3 which put me 3rd in ST2 and 7th overall out of 21 cars.  John and Adrian both upped their game from the day before - Adrian with a 1:40.4 and John with a disgustingly quick 1:39.9.  Pat was a little less than a second behind me in P4 and Alan Cohen in his massive Cadillac CTS-V was P5 in ST2 with a 1:48.8.  Allen's car has a bunch of horsepower but also a bunch of weight, and Palmer is a track that really favors light, nimble cars.  Lots of power doesn't do much for you here.  Doug Winston went home Sunday unable to get his car quiet enough to even get on track.  Adrian on the other hand rigged up a ridiculously silly but effective turndown system and was finally able to sneak in under the 100 dB limit.

I started P3 overall for the race - John and Adrian in front of me and Pat starting next to me on the outside of the track.  I got a much better start at the green flag but was balked by John George who missed a shift. I was slow going into turn 1, and because I couldn't shift down a gear I wasn't able to pick up speed out of turn 1 and lost a position to out-of-class American Iron racer Albert Watson in his Fox body Mustang.  Behind me now was AJ Hartman again who was racing Al Watson, so I let AJ go by so he could focus on his race with Al.  Unfortunately that meant I was stuck behind this battle for basically the remainder of the race.  Even with only 4th gear I was still 2-3 seconds per lap faster than the two AI cars, but with no power out of the slow corners I would just have been holding them up at those key spots and getting in the way of their race.  After a couple of laps the GTS traffic started to catch us, and seeing as those guys were battling for their race as well I let all them all go by quickly and efficiently.  With 5 or 6 laps to go I started to see Alan Cohen in his CTS-V making ground on me.  Now I was getting worried - it was one thing to be cordial and let out-of-class racers by me but I wasn't about to hand over a position to a car in my class 2-3 seconds per lap slower even if I was wounded. Just as I was starting to figure out ways to hold him at bay a full course yellow came out.  My very good friend Greg Miceli was stranded at turn 3.  His ST3 E36 BMW M3 just decided to shut off on him, so the field bunched up under the caution period while he was flat bedded off the track.  At the restart Alan was right behind me.  Luckily the slow laps allowed the clutch to cool off enough that I could get it into third gear for restart.  I was able to pull away from him on the main straight and maintained the gap til the end of the race.  Unfortunately the race was ended when John George and Adrian came together at turn 1 battling for 1st position.  John nudged Adrian in the right rear, sending him spinning off track at a fairly high rate of speed and Adrian hit the tire wall at a pretty good clip with the right front of his car.  Adrian is perfectly fine and it seemed the damage was mostly cosmetic (but lots of it and expensive).  John felt terrible but it appeared to the Race Director to be a "racing incident" between two guys going hard after each other.  Adrian finished in last place with a DNF and John kept his 1st place win.  I finished in third behind Pat, due to Adrian's DNF.

So yet again the weekend was a bit of a bust due to more mechanical issues.  It's becoming a theme for the season this year.  Good news is that the issue appears to be bad clutch master cylinder.  I replaced the part today in about 30 minutes and will try and drive the car "around the block" in the next few days to see if that cures the issue.  If not then it's a slave cylinder which entails a lengthy and expensive transmission tear down.

I'm hoping all mechanical woes are cured in time for the East Coast National Championships at Watkins Glen in September.  The fastest racers in the Eastern US will be in attendance vying for the National Title.  If the car finally comes together and runs well at The Glen then at least we'll have a fighting chance at bringing home the trophy.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hard Charging

June 17-19 marked round 3 of the NASA Northeast Racing season.  We found ourselves back at New Jersey Motorsports Park racing at the Thunderbolt circuit.  NASA NE might as well build a head quarters there since that's where 80% of the racing is this season.  It's a track I enjoy very much and also where I got my first (and only) two race wins in October of last year.

Week of the race:
The AMT Motorsport C5Z was dropped off at 12:30am on Tuesday morning.  That is indeed an odd hour to accept a race car but there was still lots of work to be done before the car could be loaded up Thursday afternoon to head down to NJMP.  The car had a 4 stage ARE dry sump installed over the past several weeks that took longer than expected so we were behind the 8-ball. We missed the chance to test the car on Monday the 13th at Palmer Motorsports Park so it's maiden voyage would be a race weekend.

Tuesday was spent making billet brackets to hold the Race Tech Dash2Pro as well as a plate to hold the buttons to control it on the steering wheel.  We came up with a real nice and easy mounting solution if you use a stock steering column in your C5 or C6.  Most dash installs are custom jobs, but we have a plug and play solution going forward that we think anyone who installs a product like this would appreciate.  Pictures attached of the work.  These are prototypes - the finished product will sit lower so you can see the entire dash through the steering wheel.  As it is the shift lights are not easily visible by the top of the wheel.  Another 1/4'' lower or more and it will be perfect.  The steering wheel button plates will be available shortly as well.  

Second order of business was to install the AP Racing rear brakes on the car.  The car is not terrible with the stock brake setup in the rear, but the AP kit allows for thicker pads that last much longer than stock pads. We can also use our AMT Motorsport full floating rotors for always-solid stopping power and rotors that will last seemingly forever.  Big thick pads and big rotors also lead to confidence on the brakes, and coming three wide into turn 1 at 145mph you appreciate confidence. I'd hoped I'd never have to be worried about the rear brakes again, however testing on Friday would prove otherwise.
Friday, June 17
Friday was a test and tune session where racers, TT'rs, and advanced HPDE drivers can get 2 hours of track time throughout the day to sort out the car.  As per usual the Corvette had undergone yet another major change since the last time it was driven in anger, so the testing time was necessary.  First order of business was to do 3 or 4 installation laps just to get the car warm and bed the brakes.  There were dozens of fittings and lines added with the dry sump system so it's important to go through all of them and make sure nothing was leaking.  No leaks were found, and the dry sump appeared to have done it's job in keeping oil out of the intake system, thusly eliminating the smoke screens we were laying down 2 months ago.  Other major function of the dry sump is to keep a steady supply of oil running through the motor in all conditions (especially high G turns) where the standard sump might run out of oil and blow the motor.  Also working as planned - so far so good.

Second test session was run at something closer to race pace, with lap times in the 1:28-1:29 range.  Car started out OK, but the brakes started to feel like poop early in the session.  The car was engaging Ice Mode every time I hit the brakes.  Essentially something was causing the ABS to freak out and rather than the car allowing ABS not to engage, it instead engages ABS way too early and the car stops like crap and the brake pedal feel is terrible.  Data would show that in Ice Mode the car is only braking at 1G, where with my setup should easily be over 1.5Gs.  Again losing 50% braking force is neither fast or confidence inspiring, so it was definitely cause for concern.  We checked tire temps and while the temperature spread was good (meaning the setup on the car is correct) the left rear tire was way hot - over 220 degrees after a slow lap through the pits! We hadn't yet thought about the new left rear caliper being the cause of our issues, but time would tell.

I drove my buddy Tony's BMW GTS2 car between my second and third sessions.  Tony hadn't been to the track before and I was hoping I could set a faster lap so he could compare the data with his AIM MXL2 dash.  The car was a peach to drive, and I ended up 3 seconds quicker than his previous best - a 1:34.something.  Happy to report that Tony ended up in the 1:33s by the end of the weekend and came in third place in the Sunday race.  Congrats Tony!

Drove the third session of the day which went more or less the same as the second session - not so great.  Brakes were still bad and there was smoke coming from hood when the car was slowed.  Upon inspection we found the oil was coming from the left valve cover, which pointed to a bad valve cover gasket.  The oil loss was not great, but of course it's dripping right onto the headers hence the smoke.  Smoke from the hood of your car is also not confidence inspiring, so we put it on the trailer and would install a new valve cover gasket that night.

Best time of the day was a 1:28.1.  Not good enough, but not bad considering the brakes were crap and the track was much hotter and slicker than the last time we raced here in October.  New suspension felt fantastic and all mid-corner speeds were higher than they've ever been, so the car (and driver) are definitely heading in the right direction.

Friday 6:00pm - Saturday 3:30am
We started working on the car at AJ Hartman's shop just 10 minutes from the track.  Valve cover gasket was an easier job than expected and was replaced in less than an hour.  The remaining 8 hours was spent wiring in the fancy new Dash2Pro.  My friend Ben Lesnak had offered to do the install because he's an awesome dude and because AMT has made him a couple simple parts for his own ridiculous ST2 Corvette.  Hopefully his car will never actually be finished because when it is an amazing car with a great driver will be really (REALLY) hard to beat.  Ben did a fantastic job wiring in the Dash using all pro-style materials and pro-style expertise.  Unfortunately the process took a bit longer than expected but that happens when you aim for perfection.  The Dash worked great, and I got to the hotel at 3:45 and set my alarm for 7:15. Lovely.

Saturday, June 18
After a 2.5 hour nap it was back to the track.  We were met there by Tyler Cooke, pro driver for Bimmerworld and racing in the competitive ST Class in the Continental Tire Racing Series.  Tyler was there to help extract every ounce of lap time the car and driver had available as well as provide tutelage on the radio in regard to race craft.  Unfortunately Tyler was mending an injured wrist and not able to drive the car to set a flying lap to compare against.  Fortunately his assistance on the radio would prove very important.

Practice for the Thunder Race group was at 10am.  To our chagrin the brakes were no better on Saturday than they were on Friday even though we changed pads in the hopes it would cure the braking woes.  Additionally, the replaced valve cover gasket did not stop the small leak coming from the valve covers. Slightly better, but not fixed.

We went out in a TT session to try and get more time out of the car and put to practice some of the pointers Tyler had given on finding more speed on the track.  The car lasted only half a lap before smoke started billowing out of the engine bay and filling the cabin with smoke.  Luckily this was not my first time experiencing such a thing, so I calmly poked my way back to the pits and brought it into the paddock to source the problem.  Oil pressure was good throughout the ordeal so I was confident nothing catastrophic had happened.

We popped the hood and the engine was covered in oil.  We took a few things apart and found that a line from the oil cooler had sprung a leak and was squirting oil all over the place at a ridiculous rate.  Think about a super-soaker squirt gun volume of oil spraying everywhere.  Dejected by my constant bad luck during the weekend, I was ready to put the damn thing back on the trailer and go home.  Again Tony Bodine came to the rescue.  He wouldn't allow me to not try and at least fix the car.  

I know nothing about AN lines or how to deal with them, so I rode across the paddock to see Pat McMahon, fellow ST2 competitor, engine expert, and all around awesome dude.  Pat lent us some tools, told us what needed to be done, and we were on our way.  We disassembled the hose, cut the hose for a fresh seal to the AN fitting, slapped it back together, fired up the motor and we had fixed the leak.  Again "we" is a loose term.  Tony Bodine did all the real work on my car, at the expense of his own track time.  He finished my car, and with a couple minutes to spare hopped in his car to go qualify for the GTS2 race.  Unfortunately I had more work to do to finish the car and wasn't able to qualify.  I'd be starting the race from the back of the grid.

And not just from the back of my grid, but apparently from the back of the entire grid!  Generally ST cars and GTS cars start in two different waves.  I assumed I'd be starting from the back of the ST field, but ended up starting behind the GTS2 cars all the way back in 43rd place.  Knowing I had no shot at the podium Tyler assured me this was going to be a fun race and I was going to learn a lot about race craft.  He was absolutely correct.

As the green flag dropped I quickly made up 5 or 6 spots before turn 1.  One would hope so, since I have double the horsepower of most cars at this end of the grid.  After turn 1 I went on a tear for the next 14 laps passing as many cars as I could and having a blast along the way.  Most cars were easy to get by for the first half of the race due to the power difference.  I then came up on higher horsepower cars from my own field, and passes on these vehicles needed to be made under braking or by being a bit brave through the high speed turns.  I had one particularly good 3 lap battle with an out-of-class ST1 Corvette with probably 75 more horsepower than my car.  He was fast in the straights but parking it in the turns (like most Corvette drivers).  Tyler watched this battle unfold and was feeding me tips over the radio.  Eventually I was able to get a run on him out of the Octopus where I'm flat on the power through the very fast turn 12 and some perhaps less-brave folks are not.  I got about a foot off the ST1 Corvette's bumper, rode it all the way down the straight, and despite my miserable braking performance got him under braking into turn 1.  I shouted to Tyler over the radio and went after the next cars in sight.

Unfortunately on Lap 14 two very fast SU cars (Super Unlimited - meaning no power to weight restrictions) came together on the front straight about 5 seconds in front of me.  I saw a plume of dust coming from the track and originally thought nothing of it.  I quickly realized at about 130 mph that there were two stricken cars sitting in the middle of the track as well as a slew of parts that had been scattered in the wreck.  I slowed the car in a hurry and diced between the two cars and their various parts, only to find the race had been Red Flagged before I made it to turn 1.  Rightfully so - it was a massive wreck that took time to clear and the medical staff needed to make sure both drivers were OK (they were, thankfully).

By the time the dust settled I'd made it up to 12th place overall, 6th out of 7 in my class, and made 28 passes earning me Hard Charger award for the race.  Would I rather have been battling for 1st instead of 6th?  Absolutely.  But the race was an absolute blast and I made more passes in one race then some cars make in a season.  With Tyler coaching me on the radio I received a master class on race craft in 30 minutes.  

Earlier I used the word "luck." There's a not a ton of luck in racing.  You do the work, you prepare the car, you practice your driving and your technique and THEN (with maybe just a dash of luck) you can win races.  I was in no position to come away with wins this weekend with an untested car that had undergone major surgery.  Unfortunately time ran out and we weren't able to put the car through it's paces before it came time to race.  Things didn't break because we were unlucky they broke because we hadn't prepared.  A lot of learning was done this weekend and we'll be back stronger for the next race.

So besides a not so great weekend the car ultimately held together, we have a great base going forward, and the data showed that once again, with the car running properly I absolutely have the pace to run at the winning end of the pack.  We'll see if we can put it all together for the next NASA race at Palmer Motorsports Park in July.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"If You Ain't First You're Last." - Reese Bobby

April 15th marked the start of the NASA Northeast racing season at New Jersey Motorsports Park.  Friday was a test and tune while Saturday and Sunday were the qualifying and sprint race days.  Having made a bunch of very serious suspension changes to the car over the winter I was really excited to get the car on track for the first time since October of 2015, where I lucked in to winning my first 2 races.  Apprehension was added due to the fact that I picked the car up from the shop on my way down to NJMP on Thursday afternoon.  The car was just coming off the lift when I got there. Talk about finishing in the nick of time.

After an unfortunately long tow on Thursday afternoon, the car and trailer were dropped off at the track Thursday night.  Friday morning started with sunshine and temps in the 50s.  Forecast was for sun and 70 all weekend long.  Perfect racing weather.

Friday's testing session went fairly well but not without some issues.  My motor is creating a ton of oil mist, which is then getting collected in the catch can.  The catch can fills in about 3 laps of running, at which point the oil has to go somewhere so it goes back into the intake, and gets combusted - leaving a rather embarrassing smoke screen through a couple of corners.  I was black flagged a couple times Friday by concerned corner workers who assumed my car was blowing up. "No, it's just a Corvette, everything's fine..." I assured them.  We figured that in a 30 minute session the car is burning through about 1.5 quarts of oil.  Not good and not particularly reassuring to look back and see smoke bombs going off when you're supposed to be driving at 10/10ths.

So at the end of the day I went about a second faster than my best lap last year on old Hoosier A7s.  Happy to say that all AMT Motorsport products performed flawlessly.  The monoball control arm bushings are a revelation, especially since I've been running on 12 year old rubber bushings this whole time.  The car is super responsive and very easy to put on the edge.  Between those and the new Penske 8300 Double Adjustable shocks and coil overs, the car is hooked up.  A little more seat time to get a feel for the car, and I'm confident I'll get another half second out of it and be looking at track-record lap times.


More beautiful weather met us Saturday morning.  My brother Kevin snuck into my room late Friday night, and we were up at 6AM to scarf some waffles and get to the track in preparation for the day. Kev has a BMW 325i race car that he bought from Bimmerworld last year.  Our track obsession became a family affair bout 5 years ago when Kev started tracking his Jetta.  He then switched to a 2012 Mustang GT and landed on the purpose-built Beemer last year.  Car is a blast.

The morning test session went well.  Still running on old A7s I had a best time of 1:10.7.  Definitely not setting the world on fire but very respectable for the age of the tires.  Car was still blowing smoke but there wasn't much I was going to be able to do about that for the rest of the weekend.

Qualifying was a bit of a disappointment.  I made the mistake of getting to grid right in the middle of the pack.  There were 40 or so cars in our race group on the 1.8 mile Lightning track we were running at NJMP.  Our classes are all mixed, so the fast guys can qualify in the 1:08s with cars running as slow as 1:18s.  May not sound like much but it would be like me trying to race Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France - not even in the same realm of speed.  I knew I was in trouble when we left the pits and I was warming my tires and was immediately passed by a GTS2 car who just had to get in front of me so he could get a clean lap.  Yeah, right.

I pushed as hard as I could ( a little too hard - had a big 4 wheels-off at turn 1) but was held up everywhere by slow traffic.  There really should be more cooperation between racers in qualifying.  It's possible that everyone could get 2 clean flying laps with a little bit of discussion.  Instead it's treated like a 5 lap race where no one wants to let anyone pass and we're all fighting each other for position.  I wound up qualifying with a 1:10.114.  More than a half second faster than my previous best but still slow on sticker A7s.  I had at least another easy half second of pace that I couldn't realize due to traffic.  P1 in my class (and P1 overall) was Adrian with a 1:09.239 with Paul in P2 right on his heels at 1:09.544.  I wound up P3 out of 7 in my class and would be starting the race P5 overall.

The race for me, was quite short.  I'm embarrassed to say I'll have a new nickname in the paddock after this event.  All the cars left on their formation laps and for this race we did two formation laps, one of which was in the Missing Man formation in honor of Carl Mehne a beloved GTS3 racer who we lost 3 years ago.  Not lost while racing mind you, but his memory and family have been honored every year at this event since his death.

Adrenaline started building as we approached the Start/Finish line.  My brother Kevin keyed the radio and shouted "Green Green Green" as soon as the starter hinted at moving his flag.  I got a decent start but was held up coming in to turn 1 by an out of class Viper who started in front of me.  I got through turn 1 clean, and shut the door in T2 on Pat McMahon in a Factory Five Cobra.  He told me at the beginning of the race that he'd be all over me like a swarm of gnats, and he was right.  I left him too much room coming up into turn 5, and he snuck in at the apex, darting in with his 2800lbs car like, well like a gnat.

It was around this time I started to feel a vibration on the left side of the car.  It quickly got worse, and I told Kevin over the radio "Awww shit, I think my wheels are falling off."  I went into the pits, pulled up to my trailer, and sure enough all five lugs on the left rear were coming off.  Remember when I said I'd have new nickname in the paddock?  That name is "Torque," as in "torque your lugnuts before every time you get in the car you moron!"  I unsuited, got to the stands, and watched the rest of the race as a spectator, quietly telling my surrounding friends that I skipped one of the first rules of driving on track.  A buddy of mine texted me (Corvette racer and an ST1 Champion) to make sure I was OK, and when I told him what happened he said "Hey, I forgot to put gas in my car once and didn't even get through the first lap." So it sucks and it's embarrassing, but it happens.  I got a DNF for the race, and having won my first two races I could officially say that, at least in my case "if you ain't first you're last."

I entered a TT (time trial) session for the last outing of the day.  I had to sign up for TTU (Unlimited) meaning it's an unrestricted class for power and weight.  No one had signed up for my actual TT class that corresponds with my race class (ST2/TT2) so I hoped if I'd ripped off a flyer in TTU I could still win a couple tires on Saturday.  Traffic was again an issue as it was with qualifying and honestly I was tired and discouraged from the day, and could only muster another 1:10.1.  I later checked the data at the hotel and found I had a best "Rolling Lap" of 1:09.4, meaning that at some point I strung together a lap that fast but it wasn't from the Start/Finish line.  So maybe from Turn 7 to the next Turn 7 I did a 1:09.4.  That was encouraging since it was only .2 seconds of the ST2 pole, but again I need to make that flying lap happen from Start/Finish for it to count.  But it tells me the car (and I) certainly have the pace to be on pole and fight at the pointy end of the field.  I have a lot to learn about racing and race craft but I can at least drive the car at a competitive speed and I see another easy .5 second that I can shave off the lap with better driving. I ended up P2 out of 6 for the day in TTU, just high enough in the standings to come home with a big fat pile of nothing.


More perfect weather was forecast for Sunday.  The morning preparations were a little more relaxed since there is no practice session for racers on Sunday - only a qualifier and the race.
This time I got to the qualifying grid as soon as it opened, and I was second in line behind my very good friend Jeff Segal racing his E46 M3 in GTS4. GTS is a class for all-German cars, numbers again relating to power to weight.  A GTS4 BMW will run a very similar lap time to an ST2 Corvette so I was glad to have him in front of me.  The rest of the field gridded up in short order.  I realized things are much better when you're close to the front of the grid.  There in fact was discussion and collaboration among the first 10-15 cars on the grid.  We all agreed on a half lap warm up, give ourselves each about a second of space, and take off on a flyer at turn 7.  That way everyone warms up the same, everyone creates a small gap, and everyone has the same opportunity to put in a flyer before the field gets caught up in a couple of laps.  Honestly the TT groups do it best - they actually grid you based on your previous lap times.  I see no reason why they can't grid the race qualifiers in the same way. So you'll be running around guys with similar lap times giving you many more clean and unimpeded laps.

So we took off as planned for qualifying.  I probably shouldn't have given Jeff quite as much room in front of me as we could be a smidge faster together on the straights if we were drafting each other.  Car felt decent, I thought I was hustling, and in the end 1:09.99 popped up on my lap timer.  Still not as fast I needed to be, but at least getting me past the psychological barrier of the "One O-Nines." I'd hoped that my other competitors had gone a bit slower from their best qualifier yesterday as well now running on "used" tires as I was.  However it's very possible that the other guys are budgeting 2 sets of sticker tires for the weekend where as I only use 1 set for the weekend.  Still trying to win on some sort of budget!

In the end, I was back in P3 right where I was on Saturday, starting P5 overall.  2 flying laps was all I got before we caught up with the back of the field, and I didn't think I'd be muscling my way through traffic and get a better lap time. Adrian and Paul both qualified about a tenth slower than Saturday, and unfortunately my official time was 1:10.02, not the 1:09.99 that I had in my in car lap timer. Oh and those GTS4 guys I was talking about, the top 5 all qualified within .5 second of each other 1:09.3 to 1:09.8. All great drivers with great equipment.

The race on Sunday started much the same way as Saturday.  I got a nice start when the Green flag dropped, made up some ground before turn 1 on the two guys in front of me that I would be battling and the three of us went through turn 1 mostly nose to tail.  Pat McMahon was still right behind me in the damn Factory Five car, but this time I was aware of where he was and what he could do, and left him no openings.  He may have got on my outside going over turn 5, but the Corvette has longer legs than the FF, so I walked him down to turn 7 and from that point in only saw him in my rear view mirror.

Meanwhile Adrian and Paul were battling hard for first and second place, and I was slowly reeling them for about 3 laps while they battled.  While those guys are jockeying for position they're not usually driving the fastest line.  Once I put some daylight behind Pat and myself I was able to start driving the fastest line around the track, and by the 4th lap or so we were all running within a second or so of each other.

By this time we were just starting to catch slower GTS traffic.  The three of us came out of the bowl and on to the back straight and up on some GTS2 and GTS3 traffic.  Paul and Adrian were able to slip past both BMWs before the braking zone, and I'd hoped to follow them through.  However I was making a pass on both cars coming in to the braking zone and was squished in to the apex a little late and traveling a little too fast.  I couldn't make turn 1 at the speed I was going, so rather than stuffing it in and hoping I didn't spin I ran off into the dirt in control. I was pushing a bit too hard in the moment and probably should have just held back and passed the traffic after T1. Glad I didn't get hit by the BMW as I went off track.  Thanks for that, whoever you are.

As I was mowing the grass off turn 1 some of the grass got stuck in my radiator and the car quickly shot up 20 degrees in temperature. I realized this as I was trying to catch up to that damn Pat who capitalized on my off in turn 1 and retook third place. As the temps got near 220 (car was running under 200 all weekend) I backed off and resigned myself to finish the race while trying to keep the car cool, no longer fighting for the podium.

At this time we had a full course caution as the tow trucks came out to pull off a stricken ST2 Corvette at T1. We had about 2 caution laps and the race was restarted. After the restart the race quickly went back to full course yellow, and we didn't know why until we got back to the front straight. Three GTS cars got together in what looked to be a very high speed and devastating accident. It appeared to me that 2 of the 3 cars were totaled, and I hoped everyone was OK as I drove past the destruction. They brought the field back into the pits and called the race shortly after. They needed a lot of time to remove the cars and fix the track. Thank God no one was seriously hurt, but the cars are all in really bad shape. Bad things happen in racing some times.

So I ended up 4th on Sunday and DNF on Saturday. Certainly not the results I'd hoped for coming in to the weekend, but since I'd only done this once and won both times, my expectations were set a little too high. Most people look to their first win with hopeful anticipation, where I was looking at my first loss with unhealthy dread. I spent too much of the weekend worrying about everyone else's performance and not enough on my own.  But after pretty close racing on Sunday I was reminded of why I'm doing this in the first place - it's an absolute blast just to be out there. I know going forward I'll have a much healthier outlook on the whole race weekend experience. Can't wait to get out and race again with my NASA friends and family. Congrats to the winners in ST2 and watch out because I'm coming for you!

Link to Thunder race video from Sunday

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Welcome to the AMT Motorsport blog!  I've never done one of these before so accept my apologies if it takes me a little while to get up to speed with the whole process.

We decided a blog would be a better in-depth way to connect with our customers, friends, and racing fans.  You can only get so much information from a picture, a short Facebook post, or 140 characters on Twitter.  Sometimes long form is just the best way to connect, even in this modern era of 15 second attention spans. I'd like to be able to speak at length on some of the more interest goings-ons at AMT, whether that be race analysis, product explanations, CNC machining - whatever it is that might tickle my fancy.  Any questions you may have about any of the above please feel free to leave in the comments or send us a message and chances are we'll cover it in the future.

Anyway it's 4:00 a.m. and once again I'm up early before a race weekend.  First one of the year and there are a million things to do, one of which is driving to Connecticut today to pick up my car and bring it straight to the track for Friday testing.  Hopefully it works.  I'll try not to bombard this blog with posts, but I will try and hop on once a day during this first race weekend to recap that day's activities and with any luck (and preparation and work) share some jubilant stories of race wins.

See you at the track!