Tag Archives: SCCA

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

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Dying saved my life and other seemingly contradictory statements on a Wreck-Free Sunday

OK I dunno if I ever thought about this before so I don’t remember blogging about it if I did, but I was contemplating earlier this week about the wreck (that thing that’s never far from my mind no matter what I’m doing because it literally defines my life into 2 sections, before the wreck and after) and I was thinking about why I didn’t bleed out from the gaping hole in my left leg where it was blown apart while all those people were just standing around staring at my body in the street. And then it struck me that while I was “dead” I had no pulse, no pulse means no heartbeat, and no heartbeat means I wasn’t pumping my blood out in the street instead of keeping it in my body. So QED, dying saved my life. If I hadn’t been dead for those 2 minutes there might not have been enough blood in my body to save me when I got to the hospital. I was in bad enough condition when I got there as it was, can you imagine what it would have been like minus a few pints more? I barely pulled through as it was.

I was also thinking about the Sprint T that I’m never going to get to build now, so I said to myself “If money was no object, how would you build this car?” meaning picking the “best” components for the build regardless of the cost. And I was really getting into what would be the “best” thing for a specific use, and if compromising in one direction or another would invalidate another use of the vehicle. So I went back to the premise of the build: “A car that’s fun to drive, that can be driven across the country on highways, then raced in SCCA Solo events or Goodguys autocrosses with minimal preparation and quick return to street configuration.” Then I listed what characteristics went with each parameter of “fun to drive”, “can be driven across the country”, and “raced in SCCA Solo events and Goodguys autocrosses with minimal preparation and quick return to street configuration” then see what characteristics were shared and what characteristics were contradictory.

So, “fun to drive” category is first and shortest.
power-to-weight
good brakes
good turn-in response
good grip overall with a controllable break when exceeding limits of grip
Comfortable seating and driver ergonomics
pleasant exhaust note (muted rumble at idle with definite rumble at full throttle)

“Can be driven across the country” is different.
fuel economy
reliability
weather protection
large fuel tank (range)
easy access to refuel
luggage space
tunes
comfortable seating and driver ergonomics
not-loud exhaust (not a cop magnet)
not harsh ride

“Raced in SCCA Solo and Goodguys autocrosses with minimal preparation and quick return to street configuration”
power to weight
good brakes, both at first and after several uses (no fade)
good initial turn-in and stable in the middle of the turn
good grip in all directions
comfortable driver’s seat and ergonomics
something to carry race tires and other parts
quick-change mounts for shocks and springs
roll cage that meets SCCA standards

Common requirements
comfortable driver’s seat and ergonomics
power-to-weight
good brakes, both at first and after several uses (no fade)
good initial turn-in and stable in the middle of the turn
good grip in all directions

And basic parts needed to make the car are the body that defines the car. The rear brakes needed for street legality. If I use the Wide 5 version of this rear axle with the aluminum axle tubes and the drilled drive axles I will combine light weight, both unsprung and total, with the ability to switch from a tall drive ratio for getting to the race to a short (high numerical) ratio for racing. It allows the use of these rear hubs for lower unsprung and rotating weight. A quick steering box will be needed no matter what else I use.

If I decide to go with an independent front suspension I’ll need to use this spindle so that I can mount the lighter Wide 5 hubs or this spindle for a tube front axle. The tube axle is lighter than the independant front suspension but has higher unsprung weight for the weight concerns, but has perfect camber control for the turning concerns. And both spindles are compatible with these front hubs for lower unsprung and rotating weight.

I’m sure that those who read my blog for the bicycle news have little or no knowledge of suspension dynamics are wondering why I am stressing so much about unsprung weight. That’s because unsprung weight has impacts on both grip and ride comfort. As the wheel goes up and down over imperfections in the road/track lower unsprung weight allows the wheel to move more quickly without transferring the motion to the rest of the car. Going up and down more quickly means the tire stays in better contact with the surface making for grip (no contact = no grip) and not transferring the motion to the rest of the car means better ride. Now rotating weight obviously affects any change in speed as rotating weight has to be changed first before the car can go faster or slower.

The engine is a big question, as this will need high horsepower reliable engine with a good low end torque band, which means cubic inches or supercharging or a hot cam and lots of work with the shifters.
I could “put a Hemi in it” or go with a modern legend or the successor to that legend or a hot cam in a slightly smaller, lighter, engine.

And the engine choice has a direct effect on the transmission choice. The GM engines will require either the 4L85E or the 4L70E transmission, while the Hemi will require a compatible donor vehicle to have the electronically controlled automatic transmission because the transmissions are not sold as a crate part.

Another question that needs answering is frame materials. Aluminum is lighter, but there are two flies in that equation. First is SCCA rules prohibit aluminum rollover structure. Second is the frame will have to be farmed out if made from aluminum because my aluminum welding skills are lousy. Even with money as no object I still want to build as much of this car as I can. Then there is the interface between the SCCA required Chrome-moly rollover structure and the aluminum frame, and preventing galvanic corrosion. I know what to do and how to do it, I’m just concerned about the failure modes and what they would do to the longevity of the car. Sticking with steel everywhere for the frame material eliminates all those problems at a slight weight penalty. Also staying with steel means I can do more of the fabrication myself if I want to and that in case of a wreck the structure is more repairable: bent steel can be straightened, bent aluminum has to be cut out and replaced.

Then there is the requirement to have some way of toting the tires and other parts needed for racing with the car while it isn’t racing. That implies a trailer (or the ridiculous notion of lashing the tires to the back of the car somehow for a thousand mile (+/-) road trip.

And this has made for a very long blog post for a Sunday and I’m not even halfway done, but I will end it now.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet