NASA TT La Junta CO 6/2-3/07 - Subaru WRX Forum
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#1 Old 06-06-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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NASA TT La Junta CO 6/2-3/07

Finally !! We get back on track with the fine folks with our NASA RM region. It seems like forever, since our April date was snowed out, and we haven't had a weekend since March. A big thanks to my sponsors for helping me get out there and drive. www.paradisepower.net , www.privatelabelselect.com , www.wrxtuners.com , Lisa's Import Performance Service and Jack-Wrap-it have all gotten behind me, and I'm very grateful.

The track at La Junta Colo, as described by one of the more experienced racers, is a "spooky little place". The reason for that description, is that it has one of the fastest and most dramatic turn sequences in the country, and is made up by a variety of worn out pavement surfaces. It was originally an airport and has at least four or five different types of asphalt and concrete, all in varying degrees of decay. It is a very simple but fun layout, and is historically hard on cars.

I opted to run the first session of the day on street tires, to compliment my street brake pads, since my race pads were still in limbo somewhere. I then switched to my worn out, but still usable R compound Hankooks. They do not get sticky anymore, since their heat cycle life has been outlived, so grip is something to be explored cautiously. In the second session, the first on the R comps, I started experiencing some odd handling characteristics in the only left hand turn on the circuit. The third time through it, I had to take the car straight into the infield (or spin) When I came off track, I discovered that my right rear tire was considerably down, but not flat. I only noticed it in the left turn, since the rest of the track is made up of right bends that pretty much take the weight off that corner. It was evident that reason for the failure was the stem, and replacing it would render the tire usefull for a while longer.

On my way out of the paddock, in search of an open tire shop for repairs, I noticed the car sounded all wrong. I instantly recognized it as an exhaust leak, and a couple of stabs of the throttle told me it was pre-turbo. I was bumming...when I got back from a succesful visit into the little town of La Junta with a round tire to mount, I got busy under the car, and discovered the first of a number of failed bolts holding the crossover pipe to the manifolds and the UP. I wrestled to get them out and replaced, as the first one was completely fused to the nut. I got a bigger hammer, and managed to extract it. Upon finishing my hurried repairs, I was unfortunately aware that I wasn't done. The leak persisted, but I was getting almost full, but rather slow, boost in 3rd and 4th. I got out after only missing one session and ran a second faster than previously. I drove like I didn't care !Laugh!

In the last session of the day we had a TT shootout for time trial cars only. Ludachris, our site founder, ran over and jumped in for a ride. With the weight of a passenger I ran another 7/10ths faster (fastest lap of the day for me) I think that maybe I was trying to show off, and maybe the car was balanced a little better. Thanks Chris Despite me best efforts I could not match the lap time set by a 350Z, the only other car in my class (nice guy, named Gary). I had work to do...

I spent the evening trying to resolve the exhaust issues, and found another failed (less fused) bolt. I replaced it, but was not rewarded with solved problems. There was still leaking going on. I will determine exactly what else failed next weekend when I do a tear-down. I decided to concentrate on driving, since the car was not in any danger of serious failure. For now, my lesson learned is that good bolts are certainly worth the small cost, and the ones that come with after-market parts suck wind

The next day, I was determined to find the tenths I needed to catch the Z car, and drove like I didn't give a s**t. I did get faster, despite being down on power, but snapped a front end link in half, cooked my rotors, and nearly fried a wheel bearing, all on the left front corner of the car, which takes all the abuse at this "spooky little place". I have learned from experience, and carry spares for such an inevitability. I knew the brakes wouldn't hold up, and have new rotors waiting for the now overdue EBC pads. I have popped front endlinks before and they are about a 12 minute fix for me. The wheel bearing will be replaced soon. No worries about getting home in my wagon, now with 98k miles on it

The best session for me was the third on Sunday, where I beat Gary by 4/100ths !!, and I was driving with only a right endlink on my front swaybar (The left had snapped in half). The rear was a little loose, but it must've helped. I never bested the 350Zs fastest time of the day, but came real close, and I learned a bunch.
My car is set up well for tracks that feature turns in both directions, but lacks the balance to conquer predominantly clockwise circuits. If I could afford it, I would go with a lighter front swaybar to achieve the looseness in the rear of the car, and corner weight it. For now, I will just try to get things fixed for the next event, and continue working on my driving skills.

Times for the weekend can be found here. Nobody's shootout times for Sat are correct. I ran a 1:02:683 in that session http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=215379
(Just to make myself look better, among the 8 cars listed above me in the results are 3 Vettes, an AC cobra, a full race BMW and a Porsche GT3. The only one I'm upset about is the 350Z !! )

I failed to mention that I had the time of my life, as I live for this kind of weekend. The mechanical problems only added to the fun, and could probably be blamed on my running a bunch of "extra" track days without giving the car thorough inspections. D'oh !!

The pictures are courtesy of www.performanceimagery.com Thanks Keith, they turned out great Name:  vette 2.jpg
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Last edited by wagonracer; 06-12-2007 at 11:07 PM. Reason: rechecked event results
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#2 Old 06-06-2007, 04:42 PM
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Nice pics and another woderful write-up. Hopefully next year sometime I will be able to add to some of these threads. A personal thank you to you wagonracer for doing this, it has made my interest almost unbearable, especially to my wife, lol.
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#3 Old 06-06-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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Thank you. My enthusiasm is huge, as this the most fun I've had ever. As they say, "the most fun you can have with your clothes on !"
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#4 Old 06-07-2007, 05:00 PM
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Nice Cullen. I meant to ask you how you were doing with your times. I think your car will like Pueblo a little better. I should have my car all sorted out and ready to go by then, hopefully in time to make the Mid America event in Iowa, we'll see. You going to that one? I know it's pretty damn far for you (hell, it's far for me).

-Chris
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#5 Old 06-07-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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Very doubtful at this point. I have a lot to repair, and even if I am able to recover financially, I will probably opt to buy a spec race car instead (skip MAM) and really get it on !!
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#6 Old 06-07-2007, 09:34 PM
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350Z is a pretty respectable track car- especially the Brembo outfitted ones

what repairs are in order?

when doing your wheel bearing opt for some high temp grease when packing them

Mike

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#7 Old 06-07-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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Yeah, he's got the Brembo's and stiff springs and sways on the 350 Z. I'm pretty proud that I was as close as I was, to the Z's times, especially with the wanky boost for the weekend.

I've got to tear down the exhaust to see where my leak is, do the wheel bearing (thanks for the tip) and replace rotors and pads all the way around. Not that bad, really, but I also just installed a tranny in my other car and am putting fresh tires on it, so I'm broke. A sponsor may make things rosey soon. Fingers are crossed.....
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#8 Old 06-07-2007, 09:55 PM
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well good luck w/ that- sponsor would certainly help things out

another thing to consider is starting a "business" related to cars/racing- insuring that most expenses related are a tax write-off- helps a little

Mike

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#9 Old 06-08-2007, 12:10 AM
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looks like a blast. sorry to hear about the problems though man.
screw the spec racer. buy a honda to cruise around town in, through a cage in the wagon and make it your racer

Robby
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#10 Old 06-08-2007, 08:10 AM
 
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The "problems" are just part of driving hard on a car with 98k miles, part of the fun !!

I have a toyota FX16GTS for a daily driver, so I've got that covered.

If I cage the wagon, there will be nobody to race against in my class Our region has no PT cars racing at all. The AI, CMC classes have a lot of action, and our spec 944 class is growing fast. I'm leaning towards that, since a heavy V8 car that doesn't handle well isn't too appealing to me. There are a couple guys building spec E30 cars, which might be fun (and cheap !) and of course the Miata's have lots of fun. It's kind of weird that I might do that since I have been a Subaru (and mopar) guy for many years
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#11 Old 06-08-2007, 11:42 AM
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spec E30 would be insane.

thats weird out here you cant compete in time trials without a full cage and firesuit and all that jazz. kinda makes me sad that ill have to wait super long to do that cause im not caging a daily driver haha.

Robby
02 rex is gone.
I defected to an evo :)
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#12 Old 06-08-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXKidid775 View Post
spec E30 would be insane.

thats weird out here you cant compete in time trials without a full cage and firesuit and all that jazz. kinda makes me sad that ill have to wait super long to do that cause im not caging a daily driver haha.
With NASA you don't need a cage for HPDE/TT. It looks like the Nevada chapter folded, but you might look at Cali events. Always worth the travel, and I do a lot !!
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#13 Old 06-08-2007, 10:00 PM
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SCCA keeps changing what they call what (used to be Solo- Solo II being autox, now Solo is autox), but I think you can run w/o a cage except any wheel to wheel racing obviously- I can't keep up w/ the SCCA stuff so I might be completely wrong.

Mike

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#14 Old 06-12-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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Bad news on repairs.....

I cooked the hub, not just the wheel bearing, but got one ordered from the fine folks at Courtesy Subaru in S.D. They are great for OEM stuff. The wagon will be on stands for another week or so... boo hoo....!Cry!

The good news....

The exhaust leak was a blown gasket (manifold to UP) Thank god it didn't go through the turbo. I'm sure it failed when the cheap-ass bolt wilted from the heat and opened a leak. That's a piece of cake fix, and the EBC yellows should arrive about the time I'm putting her all back together with new rotors etc.

The wagon will roar again soon
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#15 Old 06-12-2007, 08:58 PM
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the hub is very commonly toasted w/ the wheel bearing, much more so than folks realize. It's very difficult to see and thus they are often re-used. It was suggested by several folks that it was almost mandatory replacing the hub w/ wheel bearings.

Can you use oe bolts w/ your exhaust? The quality of the oe bolts is pretty good.

I'll be very curious to hear your thoughts on the yellows.

Mike

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