Tag Archives: racing in the wet

Well, that was quite a race!

It didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but wow! what a race on the Roval at Charlotte. It was raining at the start, then stopped, then eventually got sunny leading to a track that was tricky to drive every lap. And tricky to drive leads to exciting racing.

I’m not going to lie, my guys didn’t win, and they were in a “points below the cutoff line in a cutoff race” situation. Those were Clint Bowyer, who is retiring at the end of the season, and Kyle Busch the reigning champ. Clint I just wanted to see have a shot at the championship in his last season, because he’s always been a good driver and also a good person from what I can tell. Kyle just didn’t get a fair chance this year because of the rules changes caused by the Stupid Virus. Kyle’s style is to make the car perfect in practice, and there was no practice this season after the Stupid Virus. My problem was they can’t both win, and the only way for both to go to the next round was for the 88 car to blow the engine on the pace lap or similar and Clint and Kyle to finish 1-2 in that order. Did I mention I don’t particularly like the driver of the 88?

In other news, I’m still evolving the mount for the steering box and changing the front bulkhead in the process. I decided the car would be faster if I made the bellypan all the way across the car to the outside edge of the fender, which meant I needed to do something to support the leading edge around the front tires. Since the front tires would get pretty close to going parallel to the front axle, I subtracted the diameter of the street tires from the axle width to come up with 31″ clearance at full lock, which just happens to be the same width as the radiator. Which means the extension of the front frame rail really needs to be on both sides of the car, making the bottom of the front bulkhead way wider than the original design of a point at the bottom intersecting the main frame rails also coming to a point.

The new bulkhead is radically different. Where there was a straight tube across the top from one shock mount to the other with a tube from each shock mount to the center V-point and some internal bracing to prevent flex, the new design has a straight bottom tube that runs across the intersection of the main frame rails to the rail extensions spaced 31″ across outside to outside, and a tube from that intersection to the shock mounts and another horizontal tube across to support the downforce-generating nosepiece from underneath so it doesn’t need to be cut and fitted around the bulkhead, and is way easier to install and remove for maintaining the steering, and has the secondary effect of making as much downforce as the nosepiece can make. This upper tube will be 31″ wide and the vertical from the extension to the upper tube will also act as the mount for the steering box. And then there will be another tube from that intersection to the shock mount, triangulating the mount, and a tube from the intersection of the upper bar and the vertical from the extension to the point where the main frame rails intersect with each other and the front bulkhead to triangulate the steering box mount and the place where the load from the shock mounts feeds into.

I really need to draw this out and show what I’m writing about, because while there are a lot of words, there are not a lot of tubes involved, only 10 total in the front bulkhead, and just 6 more that intersect it. Which sounds super complicated, but not so much when I visualize it. I just wish my hands worked better and I had the tools and the paper to draw it like I see it. But if wishes were horses we would all ride everywhere. And that is a saying that predates bicycles it’s so old.

And I didn’t finish my statement about supporting the front of the bellypan. Well I need to establish the swept curve of the tires moving to lock between straight ahead and the tire parallel to the axle, which is a fancy way to say I need to trace out the curve of the outer corner of the tire tread, all the way until the tire is at right angles to straight ahead, and then copy that curve on a tube roller (which I still have from building bicycles) on a chunk of light 1.5″ tube. That will be the leading edge of the bellypan from behind the tire to the frame.

I will have other tubes on the outside edge to support the bellypan all the way to the edge so I can use it as a step to get in the car, and so that any downforce it generates goes all the way to the suspension like good ground effects. I already know that there will only be a tiny amount of downforce even on the freeway, but I want every ounce I can get.

I was also thinking about the A-Mod car because I had an allergy attack that made me sleepy so I went to bed, but then wouldn’t let me sleep. So I stared at the shadows on the ceiling and planned the Next-To-No-Car-There-Car. Basically just enough frame and body to hold a body to the right of center with outriggers to mount coilovers and the bits to hold the left side of the suspension in place, and a big empty space to be filled with a motorcycle engine that gets moved from side to side to balance the body in the part of the car designed to carry the body. That’s about as far as I can get without drawing tools and paper.

So, that’s what happens when I have too much time to think, and there’s a really good race on the next morning.

Weather has effected my TV watching on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Well I was going to be watching the Spring Bristol Sprint Cup race right now, but they are swimming around the half-mile oval where the cars should be running. But no problems, this lets me take in the delayed USCC race from Long Beach while switching back and forth with the IndyCar live broadcast from the same venue. I like the LB course as a spectator with combination of fast “straights” and very slow corners that require lots of braking giving lots of chances for passing. This makes for exciting race watching, sometimes fun for the drivers if you have good brakes and lots of grip, or a kind of living purgatory if any of those are marginal. Oh and the reason I put “straights” in quotes is because most of the fast straights have slight curves or kinks in them, especially Shoreline Drive. That kink in Shoreline Drive would be a numbered turn on any other course, but on LB it’s just another part of the “straight”.

I have been still working on the Sprint T. I am working on a complete revamp of the bottom of the car to improve aero, rigidity, and ground clearance. The “problem” I was running into in the first run-through of the frame was the firewall is 22″ (55.88 cm) or 23.5″ from the bottom of the frame rail for the first iteration. This leads to problems with the engines I’m looking at using fitting under the hood. The 5.0 Coyote Ford is 28.89″ tall, the 383 Chevy is 25.4″ without the air cleaner, the 302 Ford pushrod is 27.5″ tall, the LS3 is 28.25″ or 25.25″ with the dry sump, and the Hemi Crate engine is 34″. None of those will fit under the hood without dropping the bottom of the engine below the bottom of the frame. So, the bottom of the frame to the top of the firewall has to be about 30″ to get the engine enclosed by the hood, which means the frame has to be 8″ from the bottom to the mounting flange for the body. This translates to a fabricated tub to hold the body up or a full length light sheetmetal tub instead of the 1.5″ square tube lower frame rail. This will help on the interior space considerably, changing the driving position from “go-kart” to a little more chair like. The challenge will be keeping the weight down without compromising safety or rigidity. I’m thinking really light gauge sheetmetal with 0.125″ doublers where the roll cage hoops and the front and rear frame clips tie in. Or maybe extending the tub to completely replace the front clip. I’ll have to calculate if there is a weight benefit either way. There is a tiny benefit in rigidity by making the tub full length, but not enough to make a difference on the track. Going from a 1.5″ to an 8″ frame rail would normally cause a huge change in stiffness, but because I’m using the roll cage as a vertical member with the fore and aft braces as the upper frame rail that change is swallowed up by that huge increase in stiffness of making the upper frame rail on the outside of the roll cage.

After re-reading the previous paragraph I decided I needed to do a quick mockup of the seating with the 8″ body raise, and it drastically reduces the distance from the seat back to the pedals. That means no “go-kart” driving position, and someplace to put my feet comfortably for long trips. It also means there is room to put the battery under the passenger seat without any problem. This changes the relationship of the body to the wheels to almost identical to the Speedway series of kits, but with a much stiffer frame and more interior space because the floor is the same height as the bottom of the frame while the seat is in the same place relative to the top of the body. Of course if you put some skid plates under the frame you could mount the battery under the passenger seat on the Speedway kits too. It would just require a lot more work to protect the battery from getting hit. This way protects the battery and gives me more legroom all in the same operation and hopefully without weight penalty.

And to wrap this up, they finished the Bristol race, and Matt Kenseth won at 2130 with a 1100 scheduled start, the jet dryers did more laps than the race cars. Congratulations to the Dollar General team on winning the Bristol 511 (lots of caution laps after the last wreck) from the pole. If you want to know the rest of the finishers I suggest looking up the results on one of the sports web sites.

PSA, Opus

Binging on car races, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I like motorsport. Put 4 wheels and a motivator on it and make more than one of them and compete against each other and I’ll watch it, or participate if I can. And so far I watched the Sprint Cup race live from down the road in Ft. Worth, then the F1 race from China, then after morning service was the IndyCar race from NOLA Motorsports park over in LA.

Working backwards, the race in NOLA was mostly a parade behind the pace car as it was a wet race with streams crossing the track but dry in other places, and they did not have a tire combination that could deal with the conditions. Intermediates wore out too quickly, but slicks hydroplaned across the streams. I think the longest green flag run was maybe 3 laps before someone would either run over another car or slide off the track in a bad place and require a rescue. The carnage was massive. IndyCar is running with the same chassis as last year, but the engine package you choose dictates the bodywork you run. So it’s possible to identify which engine a car is running this year by only being able to see the sidepod in front of the rear wheel, or the wing package on the back bumper. The front wing is different, but I can’t tell the difference in the shots I saw today. BTW James Hinchcliffe managed to parlay good pit work and timing to get to the front of the pack and avoid the carnage behind him to win the race.

That takes us to the fun in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix. There were some wrecks but compared to the IndyCar race later in the day it was almost pristine. There were lots of wheel-to-wheel battles in the pack, but up front it was a tactical battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, which was won by Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton driving the winning car and Nico Rosberg driving the second Merc to second place. It was a great race to watch.

That backs us up to the Sprint Cup race. Now THAT was a race! Lots of passing, lots of pit tactics, some rubbing in the turns at over 180 MPH in spite of the fact that there were 4 separate lines through the turn that all went to the same place at the end of the turn. That caused some beating and banging. Jimmie Johnson won through a combination of adjusting the car to take advantage of changing track conditions, sharp pit work, hard driving and mistakes on the parts of other teams. The level of reliability displayed in the race was nothing short of astounding with 30 cars finishing on the lead lap of a 500 mile race. Read that again, that wasn’t 30 cars on the track at the end of 500 miles, that was 30 cars on the freaking LEAD LAP, out of 43 starting. I don’t think anyone had a mechanical DNF, everyone who dropped out had a wreck of some kind or blew a tire. The tires are designed to wear out and not running the tires ragged is part of racing Sprint Cup these days.

And tonight’s evening service was also good, as we focussed on the archetype of Death. The Shoe Hiding Fairy was merciful this week and only moved the young lady’s shoes a small distance away from her chair. I knew it was coming and was watching for it, but I still missed seeing the SHF moving the footgear.

And I’m ready to end this post now, because I need to get ready for tomorrow when I go to the tax preparer. A significant chunk of the paperwork needed for this trip is on my hard drive, so I can’t pre-filter the links and leave them up while I compose the post tomorrow, I have to wait until I get home from doing my taxes.

PSA, Opus the Poet

Had to miss church because I can’t see where I’m going on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Pollen and I are not getting along today as I have goopy eyes as a result of an allergy attack. I can see well enough to type a blog post (most of the time anyway) but I would be a danger to myself and others on the roads if I was to try to ride my bike. Add to that the constant drowsiness caused by my allergy meds and it is not a pretty picture. I’m almost finished with my second 16 oz. “cup” of coffee this morning and I’m still just barely awake enough to type. Needless to say I’m having to go back and correct typos every few words as I constantly hit the wrong keys or the right keys in the wrong order.

Last night the group I game with had almost half out for one reason or another and we couldn’t do our regular campaign because there were seriously important party members missing, like 2 of our 3 healers and both our Rogues. We might could have managed without the 2 healers with the reduced party, but without Rogues to scout and defeat traps we were doomed to fail as a party. So we rolled up some high-level characters and started an “episodic” campaign. The characters had to be 11, 12, or 13 level and were allowed to use the “Roll 4 and reroll ones, then take your highest 3” method of rolling stats, which usually results in some pretty strong characters. I rolled a 12th level Warmage, which is an awesome combat character with slots for 39 spells a day from a spell list of more than 150 spells. The only problem I see with this character is a total lack of utility spells for encounters using parties lacking certain skills. I mean whoever heard of a magic-using character that did not have “use magic device” as a class skill? Seriously, no better at using wands or scrolls than the average fighter or other non-magic user?

Anyway the first encounter we had was an anomaly in the slum district that resulted in a portal to a dimensional prison being opened up inside some poor schmuck’s apartment, resulting in the tenant being sucked into the portal and disintegrated by one of the prison guards, a living spell of disintegration that was supposed to zap anyone that managed to get out before they could cause problems in the material plane. It failed to do so because it was not sufficiently sentient to actively pursue the escapee that wandered into the city and it attacked the people trying to get the mess cleaned up. It was a pretty powerful spell as it hit one party member with 136 points of damage in one attack, and also capable of shrugging off non-magical attacks with less than 10 points of damage. It took several rounds to destroy the spell so that we could get close enough to see what turned out to be a dimensional prison, and also see the results of the spell that had allowed one of the prisoners to escape to our plane of existence. We learned the name and nature of the creature that had escaped (A Pleasure Demon, similar to a succubus but non-fatal unlike the succubus). I have to say I like this format of high-level characters taking on single battle encounters.

Because I was with the RPG group last night I missed the Sprint Cup race at Richmond on the tube, but I understand it was a barn-burner of a race. Joey Logano (the driver formerly known as “Sliced Bread” as in “the best thing since…”) snuck through to win in a 4 car battle. I wish I had been able to see it.

Now I’m sitting through a rain delay for the Barber Motorsports Park Indycar race in Alabama. They have rain tires for this series but they are not any good with standing water on the track and the downpour they are dealing with has completely flooded the track in some places. Plus there is lightning in the area and local officials won’t allow spectators out when that happens. So they have bumped the Indy Lights race coverage from after the Indycar race to before. I like the Lights class, especially with the new 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbo engine replacing the previous 3.5 liter normally-aspirated V-8.

Something I would like to see in Indycar racing is more manufacturers in the chassis segment. I know they went with the single-make format to reduce costs, but for us gearheads it kills a great deal of the “fun” of watching the races. Part of that is seeing where some chassis have advantages over others, and managing where your chassis is weak so that you can use your strengths to get an advantage. But with the “spec car” series the battle of the crew chiefs fades away somewhat although they are still trying to get the setup of the cars right with good grip and balance.

And they just started the race on wet tires and there are some really dicey spots in some of the corners and two laps in there was a spin. I’m going to get comfy and watch the rest of the race.

PSA, Opus