View Full Version : My time at the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge

Larry Callahan
11-08-2009, 07:28 PM


First off need to thank Everyone who had anything to do with the event. The obvious people to thank are Cam Douglass of Optima Batteries, Jimi Day and everyone at FM3. I also want to thank RideTech and K&N Filters for putting up the big bucks we all know it takes to put on an event like this. I also want to thank BF Goodrich, Baer Brakes and Spectra by design, Detroit Speed & Engineering, Bowler Transmissions, MagnaFlow Exhaust, MSD Ignition, VP Race Fuels, Lateral-G.net, Murry Pfaff, The Roadster Shop along with all the volunteers who helped out. There are many others who's names I don't know and I want to thank you as well. There were a lot of cars there and I think things flowed well.


If you ever have the opportunity to run around a track you have got to do it. It's such a blast and very addicting. Something I found out right away is that I need to attend a driving school. Maybe some day I can make people fear my like Ty does.

Susan and I arrived early Saturday morning at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch and we got set up right away. I knew this was going to be the most fun I've had in a car I can talk about publicly and I could not wait.

My first event of the day was the autocross. I knew I wasn't going to put down a good time since it's only my third autocross event and I need to learn how to drive. So, I decided to run it as fast as I could hanging out the rear end out any place I could and have a good time. It was a fast and wide autocross course and It was very fun to drive.

My second event was the 2.25 mile road course. Below is a six minute clip of my first ever laps on a track besides driving my pickup truck around Button Willow and the Streets of Willow. We all had one warm up lap then 3 timed laps then one cool down lap. I'm glad they left the cones out and I need to learn more how to use them better. My warm up lap was just that. I didn't push it hard and I spent half my time watching the gauges and listening to the car. I didn't know if my oil pressure would be o.k. in the corners and under braking, what the exhaust temps would go to, how the pad kick back was going to be and well, I was nervous. All was going well as long as I kept the engine under about 5500rpm for long periods due crankcase pressure and blowing oil past the turbo seals. Mary Pozzi was the unfortunate first one to learn I need to install a vacuum pump on my car. Another thing I learned is that my Richmond 6 Speed needs to go away. I just can't get it to shift right and it's only a matter of time before it explodes behind the twin turbos. To put it polity it sucks!


As you can tell by watching the video my first outing was a learning experience. Both sides of the car are covered with rock chips and a bunch of small dents. The area I went off was more of a gravel pit then dirt. Those rocks have got to be an inch in diameter. The car needs paint, a new Forgeline front outer hoop, possibly a new BFG KDW on the front driver side and I haven't even crawled under the car yet. I can see a pretty good size dent in the exhaust pipe near an O2 sensor and I'm leaking coolant up front near the lower hose/water pump. All of which I'm sure are due to large rocks and I'm certain I uncovered a large boulder that hit the exhaust pipe.

The company filming for the Speed Channel had a camera in my car pointing at me during my laps. If anyone knows how to reach them I want to ask if they want my footage to go with it. If nothing else I would love to see their footage of the spin.

After Chuck Nelson and I cleaned up the wheels I drove the car around the parking lot to see if the car felt safe for the 0-60-0 event. At the time aside from my Optima billet mount loosening up a bit all seemed well and after a twist of an Allen wrench I was good to go.


I lined up at the autocross and the guys stuck a 0-60-0 meter on my windshield and away I went. Upon my first launch I blew the tires off showering anyone behind and next to me with rocks from my off road excursion. Just as I was grabbing third gear I looked at the meter for the indicator light and I noticed the 0-60-0 timer had changed to several lines of text and I bailed out of the run.

After I returned from my first attempt Jeff Hinkle came by and with his drag racing experience suggested I lower the air pressure in my tires while the guys look into the meter problem.

This problem proceeded several more times once with me almost following Parkhurst off the end of the track. I have to admit I was a bit frustrated and worried about my Richmond 6 speed. It's not exactly built for what I was doing and I was worried I was pushing my luck. After about my 4th run we figured out the meter had run out of memory and that's why it was crashing. So, they emptied it and I made one more attempt. During these runs I thought I wasn't slowing down as fast as I should and with the help of a picture taken by Scott G I may have figured out why. It looks like I dialed too much rear brake out of it. I recently bed the brakes and never re-adjusted the proportioning valve afterward. So, I put down a slow time in the mid 10's which was way off the mark and the learning curve continues.

At the end of the day I had hell of a time and I can't wait for my next track day. The first time jitters are gone, the first scratch is done and I will be better prepared the next time out. I hope to start hitting Button Willow and Willow Springs as often as I can for more seat time.

Thanks again to everyone that helped, sponsored and came to the event.

It's one I will remember forever.


11-11-2009, 09:56 AM
Wish i could have been there Larry, would have been a blast but my plane left on sat morning. Sorry to hear about MotiV8r's first war wound, but do not worry, She will recover and come back with an attitude!