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Pontihack does "The 36" Chumpcar in Spokane by hairballrm
Started on: 07-10-2013 03:08 AM
Replies: 12 (604 views)
Last post by: BrittB on 02-09-2014 12:39 AM
hairballrm
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And finishes 16th out of a field of 49.
36 hours of continuous sustained speed.

Chumpcar World Series "The 36" results

lies-damned-lies-and-statis...-hour-endurance-race

Words John Condren – There’s always something cold and heartless about statistics. Raw numbers. Basic facts that rarely tell the whole story. For example, take the final statistics from “The 36” — the name of the 36-hour endurance race held at Spokane Raceway, 5-7 July 2013, as part of the Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series . Here are the cold and heartless facts:

2.25 mile, 12-turn road course track

49 cars entered in the event

322 drivers entered in the event

237 crew members registered to support the cars

1,045 laps completed by the winning car

2,351.25 miles completed for the winning car
36,786 cumulative laps completed by all competing cars
82,768.50 cumulative miles driven by all competing cars
… and …

37 of 49 vehicles took the checkered flag on the last lap of the race

Raw numbers. Data. Stuff to read and forget. That is, until you start to really think about those numbers.

Forty-nine cars in a single class of racing is a pretty decent size field. Imagine 49 cars for B-main on a 3/8-mile dirt oval. Or, consider that the GrandAm attracted 57 teams for this year’s Daytona 24, and that included three (3) classes of cars. The 24 Hours of LeMans had 56 cars in this year’s classic race that also included 3 classes. Formula One gets 26 cars per race. Heck, NASCAR only has 43 cars in its premiere Sprint Cup Series.

But, the real number to consider is 322 drivers. I’ve been to SCCA and NASA regional and/or national events where they didn’t have 322 drivers which included over 12 classes of cars! Consider the fact that in the cumulative total of NASCAR’s top-tier racing divisions – Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck – they have less than half that total number of drivers! And, finally, this year’s 24 Hours of LeMans featured a total of 168 drivers.

Then, throw in another 237 crew members – folks that come to keep both the car and the team from falling apart. That’s impressive. They don’t get to drive and there’s very little glory in it for them. They didn’t even get a free t-shirt! They don’t get to go to work the next day and talk about some harrowing slide in T3, or a great dice with two other cars through the esses. All they have to show for their part is grease under their fingernails and a few band-aids to cover the sheet-metal scratches and hot brake rotor burns.

Then, there’s the basic facts about the laps. 1,045 laps for the lead car. What’s missing from that basic statistic? What’s missing are the 47,023 passes that the winning car had to execute during the course of the event… each and every one another dare thrown at the mirrored twin faces of fate and chance. Even the cars running mid-pack, down in 20th through 30th place, each had over 15,000 passes to prepare for, plan and complete without wadding the car up into a ball. Compare those numbers to the number of passes completed at a 30-minute regional sprint race.

The real eye-opener of all the “raw numbers” are the 2,351 miles completed by the race winner and the cumulative total miles driven by all of the competing cars. For the winning team, their ‘weekend excursion’ was the equivalent of driving from the Pit Lane at Spokane Raceway to the Pit Lane at Daytona International Speedway… in 36 hours… including their 22 scheduled and unscheduled pit stops for fuel, driver changes and repairs.

Another “raw number” to consider is the 82,768 total miles driven by all competing cars. That’s the equivalent of starting an eastward drive in DSC_0231Ibarra (Equator), proceeding around the equator three complete times, and still drive just that little bit extra… enough to pull into your favorite Starbucks… in Mogadishu (Ethiopia). What we won’t do for a good latte!

Another droll, boring statistic: 76%.

Of the 49 cars that started the race on Friday night, at 10:00pm, 76% of them were still racing at 10:00am on Sunday morning – some strongly and some barely enough to make minimum freeway speeds. Regardless, they had survived. They had seen two sunrises. They took the checkered flag.

Cold and heartless statistics. Numbers that don’t tell the full story. In fact, no amount of words could really tell the full story about ChumpCar’s “The 36” event. You had to have been there.

Oh, yeah… there are two more statistics worth noting:

1) Historical importance. The Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series has just secured a place in history as the longest closed-course endurance race in North and South America. In fact, it’s the longest closed-course endurance race ever held in 195 of 196 countries. What’s the “other” country? Germany. What was the “other” event? Well, in 1969 there was this event called “La Marathon de la Route” (reference: http://jalopnik.com/5827242...led-the-nurburgring) on the 14-mile long Nurburgring circuit. Many in motorsports consider it more of a road rally rather than a closed-course endurance race but the (somewhat myopic) folks at the Guinness Book of World Records consider that event to be the longest motorsports endurance event, so ChumpCar will have be content with being #2 in the world – that is, for a while.

2) The races within the race. In many of today’s so-called “endurance” races – actually mini-enduro events which are 4 or 6 hours long – we read of a close finish where the 2nd-place team is within 4-6 laps of the leading car. That’s a close race? If you pull up the official ChumpCar event standings (http://www.mylaps.com/en/classification/2757804), and you follow the event, you’ll see that the 1st place (#25 – ‘Squirrels of Fury’ Volkswagen Rabbit) and 2nd place (#184 – ‘Will Race For Beer’ Saab 93) cars were racing nose-to-tail and swapping positions for the last 45 minutes of the race. It was anybody’s race until the constant velocity joint and axle on the #184 Saab had enough and decided it was time to disintegrate, only one-and-a-half laps from the checker. After 36 hours of racing, the winning margin was less than 2 minutes of time. And, that’s not the only race within the race. The 3rd and 4th place finishers (Socket Monkeys and Martini Racers, respectively), although 20 laps down from the leaders, were 37.2 seconds apart from one another. Finally, a mere 14.1 seconds separated the 6th and 7th place teams.

Statistics. Data. Numbers. Facts. Regardless, they don’t tell the whole story…



Nathan and Zak going through Tech.
"It really IS just a 2.8!"






General Lief doing his thing.




the future crew chief!


Darkness falls on a the black Fiero




















These guys are machines. They swapped a CV in 12 minutes.




The Mad Greeks putting 100MPH tape on 50mph lights


Hmmm... well there's the problem


Yes MR2s get coolant bubbles too.


Look Mom, we made it through the night!


Sunrise Saab in the lead








And you thought only rabbits and their clones did the inside rear wheel lift thing.




The finish is thataway in 5 more hours.










Driving right into the sun going 90




wow, shiny new paint and decals


how bad can it be?


Ok, pretty bad,


Driver got a ride back to the hot pit and was OK.












Not only did these guys get this car running in four hours, they ran the last thirty minutes at near race speed.

Meanwhile back in our pit

Our car ran so well the crew chief got a nap

The real drama is in the way the race ended. It was the squirrels versus the swedes.
facebook.com SquirrelsOfFury
article is long but worth the read.

In 1925, the Green Bay Packers football team defeated the Chicago Bears for the first time, 14-10, on a field with less than 2000 spectators. The players of the 1925 team were an ensemble of random workers from the local meat-packing plant, meeting on the evenings and weekends to practice their game.

The players weren't paid some enormous salary, nor did they enjoy any lucrative marketing deals with Nike.

They went back to work the following day to earn a paycheck... reveling only in the occasional slap on the back by their co-workers over what a great game it was. They did it for their fans and for the love of the sport.

Why do we do what we do? It's not for the money... for our win, we collected $2500 in "Chump-Change" coupons, applicable only towards racing fees at our next event.

It's not for the recognition... I doubt our team name will ever get a ticker-tape parade or anything outside of a casual mention in the "local interests" section of the newspaper.

But... yet... we do it.

I've tried to explain what we do to others that have never heard of endurance motor sports.

I've talked to people that ask for more details. After my lengthy explanation of a team of drivers sharing the time.... the interest seems to diminish.

"Oh" they think to themselves. "You're driving for two hours at a time? I've driven to Seattle non-stop for 4 hours before, that's not that big of a deal."

Yes. It's a big deal.

We're travelling in excess of 100mph... we're timing our braking down to the yard with dust in our eyes. We're trying to get from 120mph down to 75mph in a distance of 25 yards, all while trying to analyze the driving patterns of the car in front of us for a potential passing opportunity... and watching the car in our rear-view mirror doing the exact same thing.

We're balancing on our butts because our feet are constantly dancing on the gas, brake, and clutch pedals... which means we're doing mini stomach-crunches as we're constantly adjusting the position of our feet and legs with every corner.

We're constantly working the shifter with our right hand, doing repeated arm movements... which means our left hand is working a constant up/down motion for steering.

We're covered from head-to-toe in a fire-protected suit, with a head sock and helmet over our heads. The head sock covers our mouth, restricting the rate at which we can draw inhale, and the helmet helps ensure no ventilation can ever assist with our general comfort. What little breathing room we do get is further restricted by the harnesses cinched down over our shoulders, limiting how much our lungs can actually expand.

What little air we get is filled with the fumes of brakes, clutch, fuel, and whatever else the surrounding cars are belching out.

We're "betting the farm" on nearly every pass we make, knowing that if we (or the other driver) makes a mistake, we ruin the car, a team's worth of hopes, and personal bodily injury in the process.

There is no radio. There are no leather seats. There is no cruise control.

This is not a drive to Seattle.

You know that feeling you get when some idiot pulls out RIGHT in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes? You react JUST in time, saving the car, staying on the road. Your heart is pumping as you suddenly realize you're sweating just a little bit... and you're angry at the other driver for not paying attention, and a little prideful that your own reaction time saved your bacon. After all of that, you realized you got a tiny shot of adrenaline that "woke you up" just a bit?

That's the feeling... every... single... turn... every single second... for 2 hours at a time. At night. With no sleep.

At the risk of sounding just a little arrogant: for all the people that come away from my attempt to explain an endurance race with the thought of "huh, anyone can drive for 2 hours at a time..."

No. You can't. And the best drivers we have are the ones that knew they couldn't before they even stepped into a track-prepped car for the first time.

People that don't understand what we go through don't understand the difference between being "tired" and being "fatigued." They don't understand the difference between just not having any energy vs. your own mind working against you.

There are different types of fatigue. Tristan Lewis talked about one of his two hour-stints where every turn of the wheel required every ounce of strength he had. I, personally, experienced mental fatigue to the point where my brain "forgot where my turn-in point was" in between my eyes-blinking. In short, my mind could no longer keep up with my surroundings.

The sleep deprivation for A 36 hour endurance race begins even before the race starts. Every single one of us was awake the night before, preparing for the 3 days that lie ahead. By the time we even got to the starting line, most of us had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before the green flag dropped.

It's not unusual for a driver to simply nod-off in a chair mid-sentence after just having gotten out of the car... and everyone else around him knows to simply leave them alone, since it's nearly the only sleep they'll be getting.

Perhaps the most frequent question that gets tossed around the pits is "where are we at [in the standings]?" With the advent of technology, we have the answer to the question as far away as the nearest smartphone. At the swipe of a finger, we can see exactly where we are, exactly how far we have to go for the next standings change, and exactly how close any competitors are in nipping at our heels.

But... for 90% of the race, it's the most irrelevant question you can ask... as well as the most important. For an endurance race, the standings are, oddly, the number that means nothing... yet it somehow means everything.

For the first 2/3 of an endurance race... that's how it goes. You get in, you drive, you grind out your stint laying down the most consistent laps you can. At the end you get out of the car, you help the next driver in the rotation get in and get buckled up, and you watch the car drive away again. You ask the only question you think that matters: 'Where are we at?'... you realize you still have 20+ hours of racing left... and as the adrenaline stops, you fall asleep in the nearest lounge chair until somebody wakes you up for the next driving stint or crew assignment.

Drive. Assist. Rinse. Repeat.

In this 36 hour endurance race, Sam pulled Hank and Jay aside about midnight on the second night and asked about refining our strategy. While the #1 Raudi truck had been playing the part of "prom queen", receiving much of the engineering admiration and jaw-drops from other teams, the #25 Rabbit had gone (ALMOST) unnoticed at the top of the rankings. The #25 SOF Rabbit had solidly held a place in the top 10 for the first 12 hours... and had clawed its way (quietly) into the top 3 spot in the next 6 hours... and thanks to the talents of EVERYONE in our driver lineup, was sitting uncomfortably in the #2 spot, just a few laps ahead of the "Socket Monkeys".

The strategy we talked wasn't about taking first... it was about how better to hold second. For 24 hours, the race leader, #184 Saab, had held the top spot, and was enjoying a nearly 10 lap lead on us.

(Mentally translate that: over the course of 24 hours, they had widened their lead to 10 laps... there was no way that we could simply "catch" them with under 12 hours left to go).

We, however, were only a few laps ahead of the #3 spot. Knowing that in the diminishing hours left in the race that OTHER teams would begin putting in their more aggressive drivers, Sam began to re-arrange the driver lineup in the #25 car to prepare for a narrowing battle for second place. Schedules were changed, times were changed, and drivers that were already beyond tired and looking for a few hours of downtime were told they had to swap rest for more driving.

The rotation paid off. 8 hours later, the #25 Rabbit had widened the lead ahead of the third place car by about 10 laps.

But then, At 8:00 am on the last day, 34 hours into the race, a small miracle happened. The team in the #1 spot, after 34 hours of near flawless performance on both the track and in the pits, after 34 hours of holding a commanding grip on the top spot... exposed a chink in their armor. With less than 2 hours left, the #184 Saab in the #1 position came in for an emergency axle replacement.

I can tell you first hand the agony and stress involved in repairing a car in the pits. It's mental torture trying to get your head around car repair just so you can shove it back out on the track for more punishment. I can tell you the insanity involved in trying to methodically repair a couple hundred degree component with nothing but chaos all around you. The efforts witnessed by our pit crew in watching the Saab getting fixed were nothing short of heroic. And I can tell you that the Saab team swapped out their front drive axle in less than 15 minutes.

15 minutes. Most of us don't finish a cup of coffee in less than 15 minutes. Getting your oil changed at Jiffy Lube takes longer than 15 minutes.

In that short span... the axle was swapped, and the #184 Saab was back out on the track.

In that time, the SOF Rabbit stayed on the track and started eating away at the lead. Suddenly the gap enjoyed for 35 hours was cut from a comfortable 11 laps down to just one.

How comfortable is an 11 lap lead? Put some math into it: to make it easy, say that an average lap is 2 minutes long. That means that if the Saab had broken down at 35 hours and 38 min into the race, they could have simply sat down, eaten donuts, and STILL won... there wouldn't be enough time for anyone to catch them in the end.

But they didn't break down inside that window of time. They broke down with just enough time for us to catch them.

Hank was already in the Rabbit at this point, having just been refueled. But it was at this moment that Sam put Cody back into the #1 SOF Raudi truck, and turned him loose on the track.

The strategy was much less "pre-thought-out battle plan" and much more "seat of the pants work-with-what-we've got".

The facts were simple: The Raudi truck had (for a long time) held the slot for the fastest lap on the track during the race (another piece of trivia given to us by the Race Monitor software application)... but with transmission and other mechanical problems, the truck was currently in 19th place. The #25 Rabbit simply didn't have the horsepower to beat out the Saab in head-to-head combat.

If the Rabbit worked alone, the Saab would simply start to once again widen the 1 lap lead for the next hour.

Somewhere between Cody and Hank... a strategy started to congeal. The Rabbit could out-corner nearly EVERYTHING on the track, but was left helpless with a lack of horsepower on the straights. The Raudi, on the other hand, had enough horsepower to beat the Saab in a straight line.

With two amazing talents behind the wheels, a dance started to emerge. The more powerful Raudi truck would allow the less powerful Rabbit to draft behind it on the front and back straight stretches, then let the Rabbit "slingshot" around for more speed on the corners.

It was ugly at first... and barely noticeable.... but after a few laps of hearing Cody and Hank chatter back and forth to choreograph their dance... the Race Monitor statistics suddenly changed. No longer did the Race Monitor simply say "+1 lap" to indicate the #184 Saab's lead... now it said "+51 seconds".

For the first time in 35 hours and 24 minutes... the trend started to point to the seemingly impossible: If Hank and Cody continued their play, we had a shot at taking the lead spot.

Another lap. +50 seconds. Another lap. +48 seconds.

+48 seconds eroded into +46... +44... and on down to +4 and +2... and ever agonizing +0.5... but by that time we didn't need the Race Monitor to tell us what we could see in front of our own eyes: the Saab was running for its life... with the #25 SOF Rabbit and #1 SOF Raudi trailing by less than 20 feet.

With every passing lap, the margin narrowed even further... when finally, with less than 30 minutes left in the race, the Rabbit had done the impossible: The Rabbit had passed the Saab and had taken over the #1 spot.

The reaction in the pits was unbelievable. It wasn't just our team that was out of our seats and jumping and cheering. It was an eruption of the entire pits. As everyone double-checked the race monitor to make sure they weren't seeing things, the entire pit area had erupted in cheers, and suddenly SOF realized that everyone was paying attention to the real race that had suddenly emerged after all this time.

Out of nowhere, a team pitted across from SOF walked across the lane and saluted us. Several of us walked over and thanked them and shook their hands. Comments like "Is this for real?" "Did what I see happen just happen?" and "I can't believe it" hung in the air.

But the celebration was short-lived. When the Saab driver (and I suspect team) realized the gravity of what had just happened, the second car on the Saab team, #190, came in for a last-minute driver change.

The race organizer walked over to our pit area and motioned to talk to Sam alone. In a nutshell we were told that if we continue to "block", then we would be penalized. He wanted a "clean race" to the finish, with no dirty tricks being used to cross the finish line.

As we found out later, with the "drafting dance" Cody and Hank were doing, when the Raudi and Rabbit would "swap/slingshot" positions it caused a small "blocking pattern" to emerge, making it nearly impossible for someone to get around them again.

One man's tool is another man's "dirty trick" I suppose.

Sam got on the radio and informed Hank and Cody that of the "blocking", and that if it continued we were going to be penalized.

For an additional lap, the chatter between the cars continued on the radio as Hank and Cody continued to brainstorm...and for that one lap, the Saab managed to pass Hank again, re-taking the lead lap.

Combined with additional traffic (other cars) forcing more distance between the three cars, the gap had suddenly widened to almost 20 seconds again.

In another act of brilliance, Hank and Cody started another strategy: if you couldn't slingshot around with drafting, then how about they leave the Rabbit in front, and the Raudi just PUSHES the Rabbit around the track with brute horsepower?

With the Raudi truck now PUSHING the Rabbit down the straight stretches, Hank later tells us that his tach was pegged at 7800 RPM, and the Rabbit's engine was letting out screams normally heard in horror flicks when the token teenager is killed off in a brutal and violent fashion.

But, the gap was narrowing again. With 15 minutes left to go, the Saab's lead had once again narrowed to just a few seconds.

Once again the race organizer came over and said that "bump drafting" was not allowed, as 'clearly specified in the rules' (author's note: it's not), and that if our cars continued this technique, they would be put on a trailer and sent home. He again re-iterated that he wanted a "nice clean race, or all of our cars would simply be disqualified".

Sam astutely pointed out that he (the race organizer) had better mention this to the Saab team, as they had just swapped out another driver in their SECOND Saab car to try to bring more ammunition to the battle that was going on.

Indeed, the driver of the second #190 Saab was driving RIDICULOUSLY slow in an effort to bring the "race" to him, since he couldn't magically catch up the action that was going on half-a-lap away.... (balance of power).

To his credit, the race organizer did run over to the Saab team and give them the same speech that was given us (presumably)... and we continued to watch what was going on.

The #184 Saab was being flogged for everything it had. With less than 10 minutes left to go, the #184 car ran at the upper-limit and beyond, with the gap whittled away from 50 yards down to 10.

Normally during an endurance race, the tradition is for all team pit crews to "approach the wall" and let the high-speed cars "buzz" them as they go by. This is normally done for the very last lap of the race...

... but this time, with 5-10 minutes to go, most of the pit crews were already at the wall, cheering on the events they saw before them.

If the pace held... if the rate at which Hank and Cody were closing in on the Saab were any indicator, THIS NEXT LAP would be the lap they would pass the #184 Saab ...

... and suddenly as the cars emerged back into view from the back straight, Hank and Cody emerged first from the pack... with the Saab car slowing to a crawl before the final turn, and coming to a complete stop near at the far end of the track.

The Saab had nothing left... in the aftermath we learned that a CV joint had given out, sealing the victory for the Squirrels.

The driver for the Saab had left nothing on the table, had pushed his car beyond its limits, and had it finally break on the second-to-last lap. On the very next lap, the checkered flag dropped, sealing the victory for the Squirrels... leaving a margin of victory of only a single lap.

Let that sink in for just a second... in a 36 hour endurance race, the margin of victory separating the first and second place winners was just over single lap... and arguably even then perhaps only 200 yards of real distance.

IF the Saab had held for just another 200 yards and made it to the drop of the checkered flag, the outcome might have been much different.

At the same time, SOF had left nothing on the table. Only by using the Raudi truck could the Rabbit ever hope to get close, and even then by sling-shotting it around. As we saw in the Race Monitor, the Raudi was shooting the Rabbit around the track at lap times 2 full seconds faster than anything it had ever done on its own.

You don't get finishes like this at Daytona. You don't get finishes like this at Lemons. In 36 hours of endurance racing, the entire race is decided within a distance of 1.5 laps, and only with the combined efforts of 2 cars dancing together to run a superior vehicle past its limits.

The best racing experience one could ever hope to witness didn't come out of watching million-dollar prototypes... it came out of $500 cars throwing everything they had (and more) on the table and leaving nothing.

Now, it's easy to turn this entire thing into the "Hank and Cody" show... (and I don't want to diminish their epic finish by any means)... but I also don't want to let the stellar finish eclipse the heroic efforts of an ENTIRE team... and by TEAM, I'm not just referring to the drivers. I'm referring to every single Squirrel that showed up and did their job, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, in a professional and consistent manner... right up until the end.

Hank and Cody may have taken the checkered flag in an epic fashion, but they did so by standing on the shoulders of every single SOF team member that worked tirelessly for 35 hours prior to that moment.

In the end, it's STUNNING that a 36-hour endurance race came down to a span of only 1.5 laps... which means that every scrap of everyone's effort made the difference. Were you the Squirrel that was responsible for making sure the windshield was clean at every pit? Guess what... if you missed it JUST ONCE... that probably would have affected us by a lap at some point in the previous 35 hours... making it so that we couldn't have gotten within spitting distance of the leader at 9:00 am.

Were you running around offering water bottles to anyone that didn't have one in their hand? Guess what... that could have made a difference of a SINGLE LAP at some point during the race.

We ran AT THE EDGE for 36 hours. And at the end the margin of victory was so small... it meant EVERY SINGLE JOB COUNTED. PERIOD.

Thank you... to everyone.

Alicia Glubrecht and Jacob McCann- At the beginning you helped unpack, and at the end you were helping to pack. You were the duo "at large" doing whatever needed to be done to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you were in "retrieval" mode... sometimes you were in "cleaning windshield" mode. I don't think at any time during the event anyone had to ask "where you were"... you were always nearby and always willing to help with any task. Thank you. (And thanks for hauling your camera and taking pictures).

Dave Buckner - You made the trip from Vancouver just to help out with the first shift of food preparation. Instead, you somehow got roped into doing fire-bottle duty during refueling. Thanks for being willing to do both.

Sean and Megan Sweeney - You were doing mainly "cool suit" recharging during pit stops. The job may have seemed small and unimportant... but the payoff for the drivers themselves was huge. Thanks for this.

Jay Greene, Nicole Altese, Yulia Davis - At no point was anyone left searching for food or water. You kept us all hydrated and fed during the second and third shifts. Thank you very very much.

Jake - You are perhaps the least appreciated of the unsung heroes. For 36 hours STRAIGHT you kept the fuel jugs filled, but you also did the entire refueling for both cars at every pit stop... I can't imagine how you stayed sane for 36 hours with someone poking you every 45 minutes for another pit stop. Thank you very very much for your work.

Alex Borden - You're only 10, but you've got the maturity of someone much much older. Thanks for doing what you could when you could, and for letting Mom and Dad race this weekend.

Sam Moore - Thanks for being the shoestring that holds all of us together. Without your character tying the knot for all of us, and for anchoring all of our individual personalities to something solid, we'd be lost.

To the Lumberjack team- thanks for just being all around good guys.

(And to Hank, Dave, and Penny... from Jay... thanks... for everything).

For anyone else I've forgotten or that I've missed: I hope someone fills in my memory gaps and posts on this thread... my brain tends not to be on "record" after not having slept for so long.

We had an incredible assembly of folks in the SOF paddock. And it made for an incredible experience... one that may seem insignificant to the outsider, but for us involved I can guarantee you will be retold year after year... someday with a grandchild balanced on my knee.

If you enjoyed this summary... if you liked this story... I invite you to share it with others, and hopefully we'll get a few more SOF Facebook 'likes' out of it.

90 years later... no one remembers the 1925 Green Bay Packers and the game they played to finally beat their long-term rivals. Like them, we don't do this for the money... we don't do this for the ticker tape parades.... we do it for the pure enjoyment of the sport, and for the occasional slap on the back by one of our fans or friends, telling us how "amazing that one time was back in July of 2013".

(For Hank - because he casually mentioned to no one in particular that he wished someone would 'write this up')












Broken Saab being pushed to the finish and the Black #25 taking the win






We took 16th


this car went end over end the first night off turn three


kinda looks like a notchie. kinda


The air cleaner sort of looks like a gas cap.


5cyl turbo audi in the back. silly fast


Team Pontihack


The nice thing about pop-ups is that your fancy secret (and DOT legal) projector headlights go unnoticed during the day.
They also stay clean.


This used to be a really cool Lightning McQueen theme car









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"Now you too can see in the dark."
http://projectorretrofit.com/ Please Like me on Facebook

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steve308
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Report this Post07-10-2013 05:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for steve308Send a Private Message to steve308Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Congrats! Looks like all the work and effort resulted in a great time and finish. Thanks for the pic's and the write up.
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Report this Post07-10-2013 12:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hairballrmClick Here to visit hairballrm's HomePageClick Here to Email hairballrmSend a Private Message to hairballrmEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I pasted the text from others who had the time and more perspective.
I spent yesterday editing my 1800 images.

Congratulations to team Pontihack.
Solid car, solid drivers, solid finish.
I was honored to be a part of it


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[This message has been edited by hairballrm (edited 07-10-2013).]

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nitroheadz28
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Report this Post07-10-2013 12:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for nitroheadz28Send a Private Message to nitroheadz28Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wow I can't believe they ran that redbull themed car after it wrecked so bad!!

Thanks for the pics! The Fiero looks awesome, looks like a damn fun time
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hairballrm
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Report this Post07-10-2013 03:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hairballrmClick Here to visit hairballrm's HomePageClick Here to Email hairballrmSend a Private Message to hairballrmEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
There was a third car (the second to roll on the first night) that did it in front of Justin.
I went out to the paddock to take some pictures and found it covered like a corpse.
I asked how the driver was and shot nothing,
He came out unhurt but they were obviously disappointed,
The team was loaded up and gone by noon Saturday.

------------------
"Now you too can see in the dark."
http://projectorretrofit.com/ Please Like me on Facebook

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hairballrm
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Report this Post07-10-2013 03:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hairballrmClick Here to visit hairballrm's HomePageClick Here to Email hairballrmSend a Private Message to hairballrmEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

hairballrm

768 posts
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BTW look closer....
It was a red beaver

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"Now you too can see in the dark."
http://projectorretrofit.com/ Please Like me on Facebook

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ManMadeChickens
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Report this Post07-10-2013 04:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ManMadeChickensClick Here to Email ManMadeChickensSend a Private Message to ManMadeChickensEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Justin checking in- I was one of the four drivers for this event for Team Pontihack. Man, what an awesome experience it was. So we’re clear, I’m the tired/sunburned looking goof pointing at the tire up there. 36 hours sounds achievable when you talk about it; running for all 36 is much harder than it sounds!

We decided to pair two drivers together in a block, so the other two could be resting. In this scenario, those two drivers would switch back and forth every 90-120 minutes to fill an 8 hour block. Once the second pairing of drivers were back from resting at the Hotel, the first “block” of drivers could rest. As I had been up since 8am Friday, and got to the track at 10am to set up the pits, you can imagine I was quite tired by the time my replacements arrived at 7am Saturday to take over. I had been awake 23 hours, spent roughly 12 of that getting the car ready to go, and then spent about 4 hours on track. It was crazy. You don’t know the definition of “fatigued” until you’ve done that. Wheeew!

In addition to the crazy endurance, I’d never raced at Spokane County Raceway before... my introduction to the track was the warmup laps for the first 10 minutes of the race, and then BAM! You’re out there at race speed... not to mention the race started at 10PM, so it was pitch black out too! I got the team up to 9th spot in the running order after my first stint, so I felt quite accomplished.

Another driver’s off-track excursion and subsequent repair cost us about 20 minutes in the pits after only 4 hours of racing, so we dropped to 37th place. Smart driving, smart pit strategy, and a pretty damn reliable car got us up to 15th with an hour to go, but we just got eclipsed by the second car of the winning team for that spot. We finished 16th. All told, I bet we were “running” for 35 of the 36 hours. A bunch of tire problems and one minor electrical issue were all the car suffered from.

My second stint started when I got back into the car at 1:35am. It was during the pit stop that the crew noticed the LF tire was real low on air. Air was added, and I was sent on my way. Two laps later, it was flat again. Came in to change it, and it was the discovered that the radiator was leaking. Both issues resolved in 18 minutes, and I went my full stint. During this stint I witnessed an E36 BMW run up an embankment, catch 5 feet of air, and roll 4 times coming back down the hill. I missed that car coming across the track through the dust cloud by about 3 feet. It was a “Days of Thunder” moment as I drove into the dust cloud and avoided hitting him. SCARY! During this stint I was able to rally back up into the mid twenties again before pitting.

Start of my second block of seat time ended with the ICM connector coming off the ignition coil, causing the engine to quit running coming out of turn two. A flat-tow back to the paddock, and pushing the connector back on got the car running. This cut my shift short 10 minutes, but got the car back out quick. By this point, we were 20th, which is about where we'd been most of the day. Minor issues such as this being the reason. However, "nighttime was the right time" for Team PontiHack; a we were one of the top cars once the sun went down. The Projector Retrofit lights were simply phenomenal. We had some of the best visibility of any cars on the track. Folks spending two or three times as much on lights still weren't seeing any better than we were. Just goes to show that actual design work trumps a big budget sometimes.

My next two stints were pretty uneventful as far as the racing and the car were concerned. With about 10 minutes left in my 2:00am stint, the RR tire had that tread separation issue shown in the photo. I pitted because it had gone completely flat in half a lap.



This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.

The tires they ran were BF Goodrich g-Force Rivals, which are pretty comparable to the Falken Azenis and Dunlop Star Specs that have ruled this series for several years. The Rivals were said to be a bit faster and more forgiving than the other tires, which turned out to be very true. Unfortunately, they really didn’t like the endurance aspect of this; after 28 hours we had two tires with tread separation, which you can see in one of those photos. That’s not wear you’re seeing, it shredded/chunked that outer tread block, and went flat in the period of one lap. The new Dunlop Direzza Star Spec ZII’s that a few teams ran didn’t have wear issues after the same time on track. My car will be getting the new Star Specs when my ZI’s are worn out.


My last stint started at about 4:00am, and was a productive session. We made our way up to 17th before I somehow managed to get ANOTHER flat tire. This time, I picked up a 4” long bolt in the LR under a full-course caution. With 30 hours down, it’s no surprise that there might have been some debris on track, hahah. This meant that all four of the tires that started on the car new at the start of the race were now no good. Two with tread separation, one with a weird sidewall puncture near the inside bead, and the last one with a bolt in it. We finished the race with the car on all four backup tires.

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This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.
This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.


Not much to say beyond that, other than their car is really very well sorted, and quick as hell. Barring the driver-caused setbacks I mentioned, I feel we could have been in contention for a top-ten spot no problem. We were almost always within the top dozen fastest cars on track, and had pretty smart strategy.

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Dirty, and the splitter is shattering, but it made it!

[This message has been edited by ManMadeChickens (edited 07-10-2013).]

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aaronkoch
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Report this Post07-10-2013 08:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for aaronkochClick Here to Email aaronkochSend a Private Message to aaronkochEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Good, now I can finally post the videos I took.

I got there around 8pm on Sat. and walked into the hot pits just in time to see Justin get towed off for the ICM connector fall off.
They did a quick fix, fuelled, swapped drivers, and were off:

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Build thread for my 88 + 3800NA swap

[This message has been edited by aaronkoch (edited 07-10-2013).]

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aaronkoch
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Report this Post07-10-2013 08:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for aaronkochClick Here to Email aaronkochSend a Private Message to aaronkochEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

aaronkoch

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And here's a couple of passes shortly after that;






The car was WAY too quiet, couldn't even hear it going by..

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Build thread for my 88 + 3800NA swap

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hairballrm
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Report this Post07-12-2013 07:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hairballrmClick Here to visit hairballrm's HomePageClick Here to Email hairballrmSend a Private Message to hairballrmEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The quiet was nice in the pit.
Also, and more importantly,
driver comfort is paramount with this much seat time at sustained speed.
Cool suits and mufflers.

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"Now you too can see in the dark."
http://projectorretrofit.com/ Please Like me on Facebook

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ManMadeChickens
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Report this Post07-13-2013 04:06 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ManMadeChickensClick Here to Email ManMadeChickensSend a Private Message to ManMadeChickensEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
In the car, the exhaust is just loud enough to be communicative, without being annoying. My ChumpCar is quite a bit louder, but I don't think it's "unbearable."

Seeing this pit video reminds me, this thing needs a Dodgerunner tensioner BADLY. EVERY downshift, the belt would chirp, and every time entering and leaving the pits or a slow caution section would result in a big 'ol squeal.
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ManMadeChickens
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Report this Post07-16-2013 05:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ManMadeChickensClick Here to Email ManMadeChickensSend a Private Message to ManMadeChickensEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here's a few more photos from the race weekend.

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A panorama look at the paddock prior to the race on Friday.

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4am, Saturday morning. Sun starting to come up, marking the transition into the day shift. This kind of stint is so much fun, because the sunrise is a huge motivator.


4:30 am Saturday, looking from the paddock into the pits.

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A panorama of the front straight. Left-side are the pits. Fantastic weather the whole weekend.


9 pm Saturday. The car enters the front straight. Sun is going down behind the horizon. 23 hours in, 13 hours to go.


Sun rises over the pits Sunday morning. The end is coming soon!

[This message has been edited by ManMadeChickens (edited 07-16-2013).]

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BrittB
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Report this Post02-09-2014 12:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BrittBSend a Private Message to BrittBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Very cool racing indeed!
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