Tag Archives: NASCAR racing

Big racing weekend

There are a bunch of races on the tube this weekend, trucks tonight, Xfinity series tomorrow, and F1, Monster Energy, and Indy Car on Sunday. Indy Car is deciding their champion Sunday, Xfinity series is starting their playoffs and the trucks are setting their playoff contenders tonight. Racing inspires me when I’m building my TGS2, but I don’t get any direct transfer from their designs. Detail touches sure, but nothing major can transfer because of the vastly different technology in my car and all of those race series. I think the closest is Indy Car or F1 because of the mid-engines, but with the tubular beam front axle and de Dion rear suspension on my car compared to the 4-wheel independent suspension on those cars, and my engine being transverse and their engines being longitudinal, and I have a 4-sp automatic and they have 6 to ? speed manual or semi-automatic transmissions. Like I said, details, details.

I have been following a YouTube series on building an Australian rules Formula Vee and I have to say their rules are a wild combination of ancient suspension geometry and frame, and modern aerodynamics. And the tires are completely different from the spec tires used in the US. Like I said, interesting and something to add to the data bank even when there is no direct transfer to my car. I like to learn as much as possible because you just never know when something you learned is going to come in handy. And that doesn’t just apply to cars. Sioux, that one’s for you.

One of the things I have been thinking about was extending and smoothing the front contours of the body for more room in the cockpit and better aero for freeway fuel economy. I have some options on that, because I can either put a big fuel tank behind the driver, or two smaller tanks on either side of the driver in a more supine driving position for less frontal area. The single tank behind a more upright driver is better for Goodguys autocross and SCCA Solo racing, but the laydown position gets better fuel economy and isn’t a very big handicap for autocross and Solo. Final analysis it depends on personal preference, my personal preference. And I prefer to sit more upright and be able to see my outside front corners, plus the single tank costs a ton le$$ than the two tank setup, because the single tank is a stocked item in several retail sellers, while the dual tanks would be custom job$.

Something else to consider is the adaptability of the cockpit to different drivers. The supine driving position requires lots of changes between drivers unless they are practically identical twins where the more upright position just needs to change the seat insert and maybe the steering wheel when changing drivers. I’m thinking about changing drivers because I want to have a pro driver to get the most out of the car at Goodguys, and I have a friend who’s a decent driver and probably wants to get behind the wheel in competition, too. So I really need a cockpit that is adaptable to different drivers without major disassembly.

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Comparing forward and conventional driver seating

Watching the Canadian GP on the idiot box while waiting to walk down to the phone store and pay the bill. Aside from Hamilton running away and hiding from the rest of the field it is a good race to watch with lots of close racing all up and down the order. And in a few minutes the Cup race from Pocono starts.

You have heard the saying about a picture being worth a thousand words, and my usual post is about half that. So instead of talking about the difference in the driving position I marked the body with the rear of the conventional driving position to go with the previously marked far forward driving position.You can easily see how far forward the driver gets moved
The forward mark is the same one I used before, same piece of tape even. The rear mark is what I get by putting my feet behind the original firewall. That tiny piece of tape was the inside edge of my butt marker from when this body was going to be a front engine bucket with two seats. Yes, my butt is that narrow, the outside edge is the edge of the floor where the body turns up. And moving my butt that far forward only changed the weight bias from 63% rear to 60% rear without the 0.25″ floor pan under said butt.

OK F1 race just ended and Hamilton finished like 20 seconds ahead. Except for the usual first lap/early race carnage most of the attrition was brake failure except for one engine vibration retirement to keep from scattering the engine on the track. So now I switched to the Cup race at Pocono which is still in Stage 1 and drivers are already complaining about brakes going away, which partly shows why I want to make sure I can get enough tire to make good use of the big brakes on the TGS2. I know with the rear weight bias the front brakes won’t get as much use as they would with the front engine, and the rear brakes will see much higher temperatures than with the front engine.

And Junior just missed a shift and damaged the engine. And now it has been a few laps and Jimmy Johnson and Jamie McMurray both just had brake failure in the same turn, same lap to crash within feet of each other with McMurray catching fire from the impact damage. Jimmy absolutely nailed the wall, almost knocking it down. He got out under his own power but had to catch his breath a bit before taking the mandatory ambulance ride, while McMurray was in such a hurry to get out of his burning car he didn’t disconnect the AC hose and was walking around after the wreck with part of it hanging off the back of his helmet. Race has been red flagged because of the mess in turn 1, when Jimmy hit a lot of parts and pieces fell off the car and fluids ran on the track.

And Ryan Blaney just beat Kevin Harvick to the checkered flag. Sorry I got hung up with watching the race and forgot to report on it, but if you were interested in the race you would watch it I guess. And to add fuel to the Ford v Chevy wars, Harvick did the 3-2 instead of 3-4 shift and his Ford was fine but the Chevys all blew up in the same situation. And a Ford won.

I just saw an interesting use for coal, a carved anthracite trophy at Pocono. I don’t know if the eagle is made from coal but what is under it is.

And it’s time for me to walk to the phone store and pay the bill.

Still thinking

One of the things that has been gnawing on me a little is I missed another Ride of Silence this year. For those new to my blog since I dropped the bike wrecks click on the tag RoS or Ride of Silence to see previous posts about it. I started missing the RoS when the tumor on my neck got so big that I couldn’t ride any bikes. But after Chris Christie was removed from my neck I got to the point I could ride bikes with a very upright riding position or recumbents, but not very far. Well now I can’t ride anything except a bus or car because Arthur Dent is causing troubles. I have a pain that starts in the middle of the dent and radiates to the end of the trapezius in one direction and up the back of my neck in the other, and makes my deltoid and rotator cuff tingle like they are trying to go to sleep. It’s very annoying but not much of an impediment except to bike riding at the moment, but it feels like it is trying to get worse.

I’m stalled on the Mid-Bucket (aka the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2) ATM because I lack cash for parts or raw stock. I still haven’t replaced my ID since the last time I lost my wallet, because I needed my ATM card to get the cash to pay for it. ATM card should finally get here this week and I will renew my ID early so I can go to Nashville and see the eclipse this August. When I get stalled on one project my mind starts on a new project immediately, in this case a lighter weight version of the Sprint-T with the Pentastar V6. Basically it is just the same as the V8 version with lighter components because of less weight and lower power. Remember the vicious circle of too heavy so other parts have to be stronger and heavier making the car heavier so other things need to be stronger…? Well this is the benign circle of less weight allowing for less heavy supporting and connecting parts. And the weight came to under 1400 pounds with the balance almost 50-50 I can use all the same size wheels and tires on each corner. If I could have gotten one of those free things would have been a lot easier.

Pole Day for the Indy 500 is on the idiot box so this is time to wrap this up. Congrats to Kyle Busch on winning the All-Star race last night in a masterful performance. Condolences to Sebastien Bourdais on that wreck at Indy yesterday and wishes for a quick recovery.

Opus the Unkillable

I’m fading here…

They’re 100 miles into the World 600 and I’m having problems staying awake. Not because the race is boring, but because this is my third race of the day after the Monaco GP and the Indy 500. After the wet race at Monaco, and the 100th running of the Indy 500 being won by a rookie my adrenal glands have burnt out and I’m about to drop… There is a limit to how much excitement a human being can endure.

PSA, Opus

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

Picture post from Wapsicon 2015 and other things

I mentioned a while back that I spent a Saturday mid-day celebrating a certain web comic with others of a similar bent. One of the things we exchanged was something called a Munny World, a blank figurine with some wipe-off markers to decorate it. We were requested to use the markers to create a version of a Wapsi Square character and post it to the Internets.

The character I picked was Phix the Sphinx Librarian.

Also I finally got around to downloading some of the pictures from the State Fair. Here is Denny Hamlin’s show car.

I will be back tomorrow with my regular Sunday post.

PSA, Opus

What a day for a Wreck-Free Sunday

Well, this has been a busy day even by Sunday standards. As far as church doin’s are concerned we had morning and evening services as usual and then a Board Meeting. So about 4 hours of the day was church or church-related. Nothing much to report about that as today was Pledge Drive Sunday, the day when members are “encouraged” to meet the “doors open” part of the budget or more if they can spare it. That’s pretty standard and boring.

The interesting parts of the day were the time between the morning service and the board meeting while I watched the Mexican GP and the Sprint Cup race from Martinsville. There was a lot of drama in the F1 race even though I didn’t see much passing on the track not caused by a wreck or near-wreck of the car being passed. Most of the drama was caused by pit strategy, who was stopping for tires and when, and how long they took to change the tires when they did stop. Now that the F1 driver’s title has been decided for Louis Hamilton all he has to race for is the total wins record, and everyone else is racing for a job next season either with their current team or a new team that picks up the pieces when their current team possibly folds at the end of the season. F1 is the most expensive form of motorsport on the planet, and some teams lack the financial muscle to compete.

The Martinsville race was typical NASCAR short track beating and banging, with many cars finishing with less than the number of fenders they started with or missing other body parts. The incident between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth looked a lot like “payback” for the Kansas incident where Joey took Kenseth out of the lead and ultimately out of the Chase. There were a lot of other incidents that looked like just trying too hard in too tight a situation, and that wreck that knocked Kurt Busch about 3 feet into the air was an extreme example of that. I don’t recall the other 3 drivers involved in the wreck, but Kurt’s car was the last in that chain to get hit as one car hit another, that hit a third, that was sent violently into Kurt’s car causing it to climb over the third car’s tire and continue to climb on a ballistic trajectory for about another tire diameter after that.

And after all the beating and banging was done Jeff Gordon won on his final start at the track and his first win there in a long time and first win all season. So Jeff is in the final round in Homestead and waiting for the next two races to tell him who else is racing for the championship.

And it’s time for me to wrap this one up because I have a lot to do tomorrow.

PSA, Opus

Almost done with the extended stem on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I wore out three dremel cutting bits but I finally got the donor stem and the raw stock fitted together. Now I just have to find my brazing wire out somewhere in the garage (or run by the welding supply store to get some more) and apply some heat with the torch to get the metal parts joined together. Getting everything matched up was a long process, because this was a “sneak up on it” operation. I only had one donor stem and one chunk of raw stock to work with, so I had to not make the hole too big or ruin the donor stem trying to get it inside the raw stock. Plus there was the whole “pride in workmanship” thing. I wanted something that looked as good or better than the bike it was going on, so as to not distract from the beauty of the bike with an ugly stem extension.

Anyway, this was where we left off last time I had a chance to work on the extension.

And this is what I have now.

And this shows how the cap from the donor stem is flush to the top of the raw stock.

Now the plan is to heat the raw stock until braze fed in at the edge of the opening flows into the tiny space between the donor stem and the raw stock to make them a solid piece capable of withstanding ferocious forces, or at least that won’t fall apart when I ride exuberantly. Seriously this thing is fitted so tight that I doubt it will take more than a couple of grams of braze to completely fill the gaps. The rest will be used to make a smooth fillet between the raw stock and the donor stem, that will have to be filed smooth after it gets applied.

Something I have been thinking about is cutting a filler piece to cover the gap at the top of the donor stem, so the donor stem looks like it grew through the raw stock, or out of it. I also want to grind down the weld where the clamp joined the donor stem, because that MIG weld looks like a worm crawling around the clamp. You can see the weld (but not clearly) in the “before” picture at the top of the post. That’s the “pride in workmanship” thing again. If I’m going to put all this work into making it I will go ahead and do the little bit more work required to make it “not ugly”. I don’t see the point in just making something ugly.

I watched the Sprint Cup race from Richmond last night, at least the parts I could stay awake for. Yes, I fell asleep (several times) watching that race, it was that exciting. I’m glad Matt Kenseth had such a good race, but dang, what has happened to short track racing in the Sprint Cup? Now we go to the first race on the Chase for the Cup in Chicago.

Now I have to get ready for evening service at church, so I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

PSA, Opus the Poet

Mrs. the Poet is home at last, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Mrs. the Poet has returned from her long trip to help our niece and her kids get relocated and settled in after the place she was renting got sold out from under her. It must not have been too stressful because she still has as much hair as I recall her leaving with. The daily ice cream seems to have had an effect as her pants only fall off a few times at random instead of every time she exhales like before. Everyone there takes a car for everything, including going 2 blocks for an ice cream or soda, so that had an effect as well.

Her trip back on the Dawgbus had an AC that would not shut down, leading to a mild case of hypothermia for Mrs. the Poet. She still hadn’t really recovered by this morning, and we keep the house a cozy 78°F instead of the chilly 65° morning low outdoor temps she had been experiencing while in Upstate NY. The other problem on the bus was someone died in the bathroom, or at least that was the way it smelled, and there was nothing that could be done about the stink until they got to a station where they could pump the holding tank.

So, today. Today was moderately good as we had a visit from the grandkid. He spent most of the day playing with the coasters on the coffee table in the living room while the adults talked. The bad part was the grandkid came over because Mrs. the Poet left her purse in our daughter’s car after daughter picked her up from the Dawgbus station yesterday. All the money Mrs. the Poet had except for a couple of bills in her pocket was in that purse, so getting it back was kinda important. The rest of the day was spent going to services at church and the board meeting and life support. As part of life support I caught the tail end of the Pocono Sprint Cup race, watching Kyle Busch lose the race when he ran out of gas while leading at the white flag, and seeing the guy who was in 4th place the lap before win the race after the first three cars ran out of gas during the last 2 laps. Kyle still gained a bunch of points on the magic 30th place in points that will allow him to be a part of the chase in spite of missing the first third of the races after breaking his leg in that Xfinity Series race at Daytona. He’s something like 12 or 13 points out of the Chase at this point with 5 races left until the first Chase race. This was while I was taking a lie-down on the bed to let my leg recover a bit from all the “fun” I was having doing the other stuff.

And that’s basically all I have today. I’m going to revisit that dream I had last week and flesh it out some as a world-building exercise. I see it not as a Utopia, neither a dystopia, but something between the two and an improvement on what we have now. I’m going to work on the ramifications of the changes I made in the dream on other people’s lives. IOW I’ma go write some fiction, or at least outline some. But not now, now I’m going to relax a bit.

PSA, Opus

I had a nice dream last night on Wreck-Free Sunday

The details are a little hazy, but the gist remains. I got hit (again) and died (again) but this time when I rebooted from being dead it was hours if not days after the wreck. And I came back invulnerable, shoot me and the bullets bounced off (but still hurt like a *)^&#$%*$(#$ ), hit with a truck and I would bounce down the street cursing like a sailor every time I hit the ground, but then get up and punch out the truck, with Terminator levels of self repair. So I decided to take over the country, marched into the White House and told Obama that I was taking over and the country would be a constitutional monarchy, with me as Emperor. I abolished separate laws between the Federal and local levels, no more states except for certain historical functions. I declared the TBTF banks and oil companies to be “Terrorist organizations” and nationalized their holdings, and abolished all political parties. The government was completely reorganized so that all judges and LEO were federal, with judges subject to appointment and approval by feds with limited 10-year terms, LEO subject to charges any time they discharged a weapon away from a training range.

What I did to the legislative branch was something I consider brilliant. Since the states no longer had separate governments and laws, the state houses were the new House of Representatives, where the full-time state reps would propose and debate laws that would be submitted to the Senate in DC, with States getting 2 Senators and territories, possessions, and commonwealths getting one each, who would then vote the laws submitted from the states up or down but without changing them, so if states tried to cram too much into a bill it would most likely get shot down, as it would take a 2/3 majority to pass a bill. But neither body would be allowed to pass a budget.

Budgeting would take place in the old House of Reps, with the new reps elected to a single 2 year term and not allowed to run again with half the states electing their reps on even years and half on odd years, also the Senate was limited to a single 10-year term and also not allowed to run again. Just remembered that bit. The big thing was not to allow a political class to take hold again like we have now.

Of course I, as monarch, had full veto over anything the legislators or budgeting assembly tried to pass. If I didn’t understand it, I would submit the proposed law to the Representatives of the 12s, a group of 50 12 YO kids, one from each state. If they couldn’t figure it out either, then the bill would get vetoed. You would get appointed by your state at 11, serve at 12, and be replaced when you turned 13.

Part of the new constitution was things making common things that currently get laws passed against them totally legal, like not having a fixed address. Cities would be required to set up campgrounds with public bath houses and toilets so that homeless people could have a place to stay without getting hassled, and since they would need to get fed I would require the people making MREs for the military to create 3-meal packs of balanced nutrition to issue to the homeless once a day. Anyone could request a day pack of food at the homeless camp, no questions asked. The only requirement would be to register when you enter the camp so that we could find you in an emergency and so that your relatives would know you were safe.

Marriage would no longer exist except as a religious ritual. When people decided to become “attached” they would form a corporation. Corporations would all be taxed on net take, like they are now, except that for “domestic corporations” things like food and shelter would be subject to a “Standard exemption” based on the numbers of partners in the corporation. Children could be counted as “partners” or “products” depending on how your particular corporation was set up. Also you could have as many members of your domestic corporation as you wanted in any distribution of genders you want, subject to the bylaws of the corporation. How you wanted to organize your “domestic corporation” would be completely up to you and your partners, not the government. All the government would have a say over was minimum care requirements for progeny, much the same as we have today. Vaccinations and education, etc. would be the business of the government but assigned to the “domestic corporation” that created or adopted the kid.

Another thing I changed was road laws. Bicycles ALWAYS had a right to a full lane, and hitting a cyclist from behind, or a pedestrian at any time, would be a felony punishable by loss of your vehicle and jail time. No more highways could be built until there was a network of segregated bike paths of equal utility to the existing road and highway network in place, but maintenance would be placed at a high priority right after building the bike network. This would be in the constitution, not the laws. Projects that were in progress when I took over would be allowed to be completed, but nothing that wasn’t already in the “tearing up the old street/road/highway/Interstate” stage or further would be allowed, except repair projects that neglect had made imperative. Even after that the budget for building new roads would only be considered after funding for building bike infrastructure and maintaining existing roads and bike infra was covered. Nothing new until all the old stuff had been taken care of except for the bike infrastructure, because we have basically zero bike infrastructure now. Even after the bike network was built out, bike network projects would always have priority over other roads, but only just one priority. If there were two projects that were equally needed, the bike project would get built first.

Another thing I changed was DUI laws. You get ONE DUI, with a maximum BAC% of 0.05. With your first DUI you would lose your license for one year, and your vehicle would get recycled. When you registered your replacement vehicle after completely taking driver’s ed all over again you would get a distinctive license plate that would allow LEO to pull you over and check your BAC% at any time. If you get a second DUI that would be it for driving a motor vehicle, one year of prison and never allowed to own or operate a motor vehicle for life. And since DL would be issued at the Federal level, no moving to another state to get a “clear” license. When you get that second DUI you are permanently barred from driving. Also driving after license suspension would be the same as illegal possession of a weapon, instant prison time…

I set up my palace at an old race track east of Nashville TN that you may have heard of. After all I’m not against motor vehicles, or even having fun with motor vehicles, just against irresponsible use of motor vehicles. Driving fast at a race track, with access strictly controlled to prevent wrecks with pedestrians and cyclists, is what I consider one of the ways to responsibly enjoy motor vehicles. In my dream I added a flat ¼ mile oval using the pit lane as one straight and adding the turns and back straight to the infield between the pit lane and the trioval, so that I could have races sanctioned by the ISMA once a month. The other 3 weeks would be split between NASCAR, SCCA/IMSA (notice the switch between the S and M with the other organization) and IndyCar/USAC so that the big oval and the road course would also get used regularly. About here it starts to get fuzzy and shortly after watching the first ISMA qualifying race on the ¼ oval I woke up.

I really did not want to wake up from that dream.

PSA, Opus the practical Poet