Tag Archives: SCCA Solo racing

We did Father’s Day early

Because my LEO son-in-law had to work today we did the family gathering Saturday, including a trip to a local sandwich place for those really big subs and sandwiches. I had a Meatball Parmesan while Mrs. the Poet had an Italian Sub that was basically a mountain of various Italian sausages and cheeses in a sub bun, that she ate all she could for lunch and then we had the rest for dinner. Yes, I had half of what was left over from Mrs. the Poet’s lunch and some soup, and we had enough. Did I mention those were huge sandwiches?

My gift from my daughter was a bunch of snack foods from different countries, because I basically eat anything and like most of it. Even as a little boy I enjoyed strange flavors and weird foods. I brought home some bacon-flavored pretzel sticks and some cheese-flavored things that weren’t crunchy or chewy but had a texture kind of in-between, both from Poland. We all finished off the really weird stuff before we started for home.

My son said he was going to give me my present from him today after we finish grocery shopping. I’m hoping for a BBQ Bacon Whataburger, but anything will be appreciated. After all I already bought what I really wanted, a shaver and a shower curtain to make Mrs. the Poet happy, everything else is just figurative gravy on top. The shift handle mentioned in an earlier post was just how I spent my contest winnings.

Speaking of car parts I’m still thinking about that LS powered A/MOD car. The lightest chassis would be the tub and superstructure idea I mentioned a few days ago, but that has the disadvantage of not having the physical space for the lightest suspension. Not that using independent suspension is all that much heavier, but it is at least an order of magnitude more complicated while being a disadvantage at the rear. A solid rear axle has the advantage of using the engine torque to plant the rear tires in reaction to acceleration. The Sprint-T uses a torque arm to do this, but the LS A/MOD car doesn’t have the space behind the driver to run the links to locate a rear axle to do take advantage of this. Well the lack of space is to the left of the driver, because there’s plenty of room for the links to the right of the engine, but the driver hangs further to the left than the engine/transmission does to the right because they are less wide, and weigh more than twice as much as the driver. I guess I could do the same thing I did with the driver going slightly under the engine and let the links run in the space next to the driver’s butt and under his armpit and let the driver overhang a bunch of structure to the left. One thing I’m doing with the LS A/MOD is breaking my rule against putting any structure lower than the wheel rims. The driver’s butt will be lower than the wheel rims, along with large portions of the tub and engine (inside the tub with the driver). Woo look at me being a rebel against my own rules! Seriously, the driver will be about 1″ above the track on the other side of a thin sheet metal tub. I’m thinking about building the seating space as a structural part, then using one of those seat-molding kits to make it semi-comfortable for the driver. For the time spent in the car during a race comfort is a lower priority than it would be for other kinds of race cars where the driver has to maintain concentration for maybe 5 or 6 hours. A/MOD cars spend at most 15 minutes on course for a weekend event, maybe 8 or 9 for a one-day event, not counting time spent waiting in line to start a run. For a one day Goodguys event the driver spends 15 minutes inside the car for the whole event if they have 3 runs or maybe a bit longer if there is a significant drive between the pits and the course.

And there is a race today in Talladega that I don’t want to miss, so I’ll see y’all later.

Still thinking about… things

Not to sound ominous or anything, just that I have been letting my ADD do its thing and letting my mind wander around a bit.

One thing I have been thinking about is I used a wrong number in the sitting beside the engine SCCA A/Mod car. The engine extends 9″ to the left of center on the left, not the 8″ I used to figure my offset, so y=x-16 rather than 15, and the 7″ comes from the fact that I have room left over in my 14″ wide racing seat. And before anyone else can say anything yes I have a narrow butt. Anywho, I was also thinking that I could use 3 pedals if I sit next to the engine because I basically have as much room as I want to the left, and 14″ is plenty of room for a 3 pedal footbox. With the linked pedal set the brakes and clutch pedal could be mounted in the 7″ to the left leaving lots of room for the linkage to the gas pedal to the right.

Odd as it might seem the car that has the driver to the left of the engine has more room for the pedals than the Sprint-T because of the body limitations being 34″ wide at the floor in the middle of the car and the firewall only being 26″ wide. This limits the engine offset to 13-(engine width to the right) inches, or about 3″ for the LS engines, leaving just 16-9 or just 7 inches of space for heels with no room for the right foot to lean to the right. Sure feet will fit there but there isn’t much room to shift from side to side to keep your legs from cramping on long trips like the trips to the races planned for the Sprint-T. It will work, I have tested it by sitting with my foot in one spot while working on the computer for a few hours, but it is uncomfortable as all get-out. The seating position is really better for autocross racing or SCCA Solo racing than it is for long highway trips. For racing the seating position holds the driver in position directly on the controls, but for long trips that is a liability because the driver can’t move without moving the gas or brake pedals, which means that long trips will require frequent stops for driver comfort.

Something else I have been thinking about is building myself a trike I can get in and out of so I can start riding again. The easiest thing to make would be a tadpole trike, or reverse trike as some call them, 2 wheels in front, and a regular bicycle rear triangle in the back for the rear wheel. One thing I have been thinking about for this vehicle is how to make the pedal reach adjustable for different riders without having to alter the chain to fit each rider, because I know that I’m not going to be the only person to ride this trike. Something like this will invite other people of limited mobility to want to ride, for the same reason I want to build it, wanting to ride still or again but can’t get on or off a regular bike any more. So what I came up with is having a regular bike driveline mounted to a boom that has a pivot concentric to the rear cluster so that the pedals can be moved fore and aft in an arc while the tension on the chain to the rear wheels stays the same. All the fiddly bits are in a small space that is easy to get to on the front of the trike, and it can be removed for extensive maintenance or repair. The chain to the rear wheel can be fully enclosed to only need annual or biannual maintenance and also not transfer grease to the rider’s legs if inadvertently touched.

And I have been thinking about all this stuff in a vain attempt to not think about other stuff like BLM and COVID-19. I can’t for the life of me figure out why any of this is controversial. Police shouldn’t predate on unarmed black men, and when there is a virus that is spread by breathing covering your mouth and nose to keep virus-laden particles from getting out or in. You prevent yourself from getting sick, but more importantly if you are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic you don’t get other people sick. So stay home when you can, and wear a mask when you can’t stay home. The life you save may be mine!

It’s almost a racist joke

But we are getting inundated by a Mexican hurricane. Willa is drenching southwestern Mexico, but the moisture is getting pumped all the way up into OK and since The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are perched between Mexico and OK, we are likewise getting drenched by Willa. Not that we needed any more rain, the ground was still nearly saturated from the previous batch of rain and we only had a few days to dry out before Willa came knocking. The front and back yards turned into lakes, the cats never got more than a few feet from the house because of all the water, and it has been generally dreary and wet all day.

This meant I was inside my head most of the day, thinking. And since I’m realistic enough to know I can’t take over the world like a certain genetically engineered cartoon mouse desires, I was thinking about projects to build. One thing I was thinking about was turning one of those Subaru engine and transmission assemblies into an SCCA A-Mod Solo racer. The idea was to connect the output shaft from the transmission directly to the rear differential, and use motorcycle drive chains to run from the drive shafts of the FWD part of the transaxle under the engine cylinders to axles mounted 73″ in front of the rear axle center to meet the minimum wheelbase requirement and get the polar moment as low as possible, with the driver’s seat parked on the tailshaft of the transmission to get the weight back and also reduce the polar moment, giving an all-wheel drive car that would be close to the minimum weight for the class.

Can you imagine what I could create with a shop and a budget? The mind boggles. No, really my mind was boggled by the idea of having a shop with people and equipment to build and a big enough budget to fund the builds I could come up with, budget being my largest obstacle followed by not having the array of skills I would need to do all the builds myself, at least not quickly. I can do many things, but not all at the same time and to be honest not all that great. I can’t weld pretty, when I need to join metals and make it pretty I braze instead of welding. My upholstery skills can cover a seat in foam padding and cloth or leather as long as I don’t have to do too much any sewing. My composites skills are actually pretty good as long as I’m not working with resins that kick off quickly at room temperature and I am not in a hurry to get the finished product, because I’m slow.

After I shook off the boggle I was thinking about the Sprint-T again, specifically how to get my creaky bones in and more importantly back out of the car. Since I will have to climb through the top of the roll cage I will need something to help me stand back up on the way out. Part of the scheme for making the halo portion of the cage stiff is to run triangulated structure around the inside to prevent the halo from distorting when the frame is twisted, and my idea was to make the bar that crosses across the front part of the top within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat when the driver is seated, which ties in well with the idea that I should be able to park my butt on the top of the cage while standing inside the car. If I keep the inside of the cage low enough to not allow my head or limbs to get outside the cage in case of a flip, the top of the cage will be within easy reach from the driver’s seat, and easy to sit down on while getting out. And the structure that triangulates the opening in the top of the cage will likewise be in easy reach if I run the front lateral bar across the front of the seat, and X brace the part of the opening in front of that while using more structure to brace around the opening that remains. Did I mention I get obsessive about rigid structures? Or I could run a bar from the center of the “grab bar” to the center of the rear hoop and run a diagonal across that opening while running diagonals from the left and right corners of the front hoop to the center of the “grab bar” leaving only the small opening for driver access not triangulated. That would prevent most deflection in the halo structure, and give me lots of places to grab while trying to get in or out of the car. And won’t add as much weight to the halo as the other alternative for bracing it against deflections. Again I came up with a better solution while trying to describe the problem I was trying to solve.