View Full Version : Smokin' at Roebling

10-04-2006, 05:33 PM
Actually, my smoking started a little earlier at Millen, Georgia - but I will get to that......

I had most of last week off so prep and load for the three day weekend at Roebling went great. The car was prepped, trailer loaded and I even washed the tow vehicle! Since I had Thursday off I planned to leave a little early to meet up with Toby (he lives in Charlotte) at Roebling about 1800, catch up on the latest news and eat dinner somewhere.

I left the house at 1500. Being thorough I did a last minute pressure checks on the trailer and truck. Trailer had three tires at 45 PSI and one at 25 PSI on the right side. As I was putting air in the tire I found the nail in the sidewall. Since I have two trailer spares and it was a slow leak I decided to change it when I got to Roebling. As I was leaving Millen, GA (~50 miles from my house) I saw smoke on the left side of the trailer. I opened the door and looked back and saw flames shooting out of the hub on the front wheel - not good. I shut the truck off, set the brake and ran back to the trailer to get inside to get a bottle of water, poured it in, saw flames out the rear side of the brake drum so I poured another bottle of water on that, the flames were gone so I was left with a lot of glowing metal. I got turned around on Hwy 17 (neat trick with a 24 ft trailer - love that 4x4 truck!) and limped back into Millen Auto Repair to get some assistance getting the wheel off. With large hammers and impact wrenches the hub finally came off. The hub and spindle was trashed with no spare parts available anywhere in GA/SC and he spent an hour on the phone looking.

In the end I unloaded the Fixed Roof Coupe (FRC) at the shop in Millen - great bunch of guys by the way - and put as much track gear as possible in it. I pulled the trailer back home on three wheels, put as much stuff as possible in the back of the truck and had Berit drive me back to Millen. I then loaded some more stuff in the Vette and met up with Toby at Roebling to sleep in his trailer ~2230. In the end it took more than 7 hours to get there instead of a little over 2. Being without my enclosed trailer at the event was torture. I was back in a tent, no electric lights, missing gear, and stuff all over the place on the ground. It is amazing how fast I became addicted to my trailer! Of course I was beat unmercifully by all my track buddies about "my lack of trailer".

The new track surface at Roebling is phenomenal. I could hardly wait to get out there on Friday. The rumble strips are the same and the track surface is a little lower now. It is a bit unsettling to the car to hit them like I used to. The stick is great and I had a hard time putting heat into the tires it was so smooth. The line is basically unchanged but your turn ins are very crisp now. I ran all of Friday on 4 year old Sumitomos on front and 6 month old track abused Sumitomos on the rear - it was like being on fresh R compound tires compared to the old surface. We did not put on our 10 heat cycle Hoosiers on till Saturday at noon. I ran a 1:26 in traffic with a passenger with the old Sumitomos.

Jake and I were entered in Time Trail B (TTB) with the FRC. The car is using most, but not all, of its points. Tim was there in his TTB Camaro and Glenn was there in his TTA Mustang. I ended up taking second in TTB on Saturday with a 1:22x and Jake took second with a 1:21.8 on Sunday. Yes, my best was a 1:22.3 and Jake smoked me by .5 seconds. The best part was running flat out with Tim and Glenn. It was a lot of fun to "push" each other to better performance. Now I did ops test my Phoenix tow eye in the sand trap at Turn 5. I had gotten in front of Tim on the straight, finally (he was killing me on the straights with his 385 rwhp), and had clear track ahead of me. At that point I exceeded the capability of my Hoosiers in Turn 5 by about 5 mph. I knew as soon as I made the turn in I was to hot to stick. The corner workers did give me style points and tons of constructive criticism. I can honestly say watching the cars go by stuck in the sand was not near as much fun as running around the track. Jake ended up taking it off coming out of 2 when he ran out of track after making a pass between 1 & 2. We were exiting 8 at ~120 mph and hitting ~140 at the start finish line - the track is great now! A 914/6 did blow an engine at the 2 marker on Turn 1 and run it all the way to the pits on the line. Richard put down a lot of oil dry, and considering, seemed awfully cheerful overall. I would hate see the bill for that one!

Lets talk about the first place TTB car for a moment. It was a 1999 Porsche 996. When it rolled up on its trailer I thought - wow - that is going to be tough to run with in my class. I already knew Tim would be a challenge in his Z28. The 996 car ran consistent low 1:20x's all weekend. I talked to the guy, cool guy by the way, and he was really open about his car. I did not know his base class so I did not push the issue - but I did check when I got home - the car is base class TTB. It had Moton remote reservoir shocks, Hoosiers, a huge wing and two Sparco seats that I could see with casual observation. Those mods alone put him into TTA. I am pretty sure the car was a TTU (Motons are not the first suspension mod you make!) if you really counted up the points. That was frustrating to say the least. NASA is going to have to do something about this - other wise I am going to take off my ZO6 badges on my 02 and say it is a repainted 00 FRC and run TTB. My ZO6 is a solid 2-3 seconds faster than the FRC at Roebling so I would be able to beat these kind of cars. I struggle to keep the FRC in class and it seems it does not matter. I also need to get two transponders so Jake and I can both get "points" in class. That would have put both of us on the podium both days. If the class rules were enforced all of us would do better I think.

I had a Viper, 914 and a Z28 as students. Jakes students were in a automatic C5 and our good friend Kim in his 03 Cobra. The Z28 is the only one who really struggled all weekend. He has been to Roebling three times already and had a basic understanding of the line. He snatched the car at the exit of 8 and saw how close the pit wall was, lifted in 7 and hit the tire wall (I spent more time stuck in the sand) and lost it entering 8 when he got off line to pass out of 7 and tried to make a square corner at 80 mph (last lap of the last session). His off track actions are really quite good. He did make the comment maybe he ought to consider dirt tracking instead of road racing. He did great when he could stay focused but any distraction or off normal event really threw him a curve. But he was much better than when I rode with him in May. Josh was able to get out on track with me this weekend - he is really looking forward to getting his license in December so he can show Jake and me how it is done. I will be looking for volunteers to instruct him....

There were lots of people there I knew from earlier events and from various forums. With prepping the car and working with students I did not get as much time to visit as I would have liked to. To those I met - it was great - for those I did not get much time with - get to the track more so we can hang out a little!


* Great time, great people, great track, great events
* NASA needs to fix/clarify a few things with TT - participation is low - but it can get lower!
* The FRC has a 1:20x in it at Roebling when we do everything correctly I think
* The ZO6 brake pads are gone - after being on the car since May (Sebring, CMP and Roebling did them in finally).
* I ordered more of the discontinued Hoosiers
* I am looking for a new axle for my trailer
* I will never run with Tim again, competitively, without new brakes and tires on the FRC
* Jake is running way too fast without all the proper safety gear (so am I for that matter) - Hans type devices are no longer an option
* Looking forward to the next event at CMP on 14-15 Oct
* Cannot wait to get back to Roebling on 20 Oct
* My wife is a long suffering woman...

Here is a link with Jake in the White FRC