It’s a good racing day

There were two races and two qualifications on the tube today, (there is only one CRT display still working in the house, can we still call TV “the tube” when it’s all flatscreens?).

First up was the Xfinity race from Richmond, won by Dale Jr. in a squeaker which you would not know from the statistics of the race. The race was 140 laps and it went green to around lap 100 with most of the field a lap or more down. Then the fun started when someone spun and brought out the yellow, bunching up the field and putting everyone up in everyone else’s grills and bumpers. That’s when it started looking like a short track race again. Lots of beating and banging, a couple cars into the outside wall, and at least one in the inside wall, and that was just the first turn after the restart. Eventually they managed to get to the end of the race with Overtime.

Then it was qualifying for the Verizon Indycar series in Alabama. Barber MSP is a fantastic track and they set a new lap record during qualifying today. I don’t know if that was a series record or the absolute track record, but either way it was danged quick. The guy who won the last race in Long Beach won the pole at the first purpose-built road course, showing how “wonderful” I am with names.

Then it was qualifying for the Paris ePrix with Sam Bird winning the pole for the first event at the facility. Because of the format for qualifying pole wasn’t set until the very last guy crossed the timing line, making for great drama.

Which lasted for all of one commercial break as they went from qualifying to the tape-delayed broadcast of the Paris ePrix. Bird got passed by DeGrassi (not the guy they named the ’90s TV show after) on the start when Bird used just a touch too much of that “instant” electric torque and smoked his tires off the line, falling to third behind his teammate. One of the interesting things about Formula E is because they run on what is basically a street tire you can hear a slight howl when drivers run at the limits of adhesion braking or in the corners, giving spectators and TV audiences a much greater insight as to how hard the drivers are pushing their cars. Anyway DeGrassi went wire to wire after the start, but there was position-swapping just anywhere you looked in the order once you went deeper than third place. The finish was disappointing because the track was partially blocked by a wreck and a Safety Car was deployed to slow and bunch the field for the finish, but they couldn’t clean up all the debris that could cause a flat tire before the laps ran out.

I have been pondering changing the drivetrain for the Sprint-T (again). Basically everything I want to do with the car could be done with 2 gears in the transmission and a box of QC gears to swap in the rear end. I mean sure the car would be a lot peppier around town with a 700r4 or 4l70e, but the entire point of the car is a race car for the street in a class that has no minimum weight, and a Powerglide is 50 pounds lighter and less expensive (oops, PGs have gotten a lot more expensive in the last few years) than either of the 2 4-speed slushboxen. I can even get one that uses the same lockup converter as the 4-speeds so that I get the same highway fuel economy. Basically the setup would be to run the same final drive ratio (2.66) as I would get with the 4-speeds in overdrive 4th gear, then when I get to the track swap out the spur gears to something that redlines at 60 MPH in low gear like I would have with the 4-speeds. The extra gearset would be $70 from Speedway.com, the quick change drain pan costs $40. The combination of an aluminum head and block LS engine and a PG transmission would take the Sprint-T from 1750 to 1600 pounds curb weight. Less weight means more grip from the tires and less work for the brakes and engine.

So, good races, and possible lighter and better performing Sprint-T. Sounds like a productive Saturday.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

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