Tag Archives: sports car racing

It’s ‘Dega baby!

Just finished watching the Xfinity race from Talladega. There were lots of wrecks but not while I was watching. I kept coming back to the aftermaths instead of the actual wrecks. I don’t like wrecks, I hate seeing good race cars torn up, I’m also not very happy about seeing crappy race cars torn up. I mean sure I am less unhappy about crappy cars getting torn up, but at the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup levels there really are no “crappy” cars, just “less perfect” cars that could run just as fast with a few adjustments. Part of that is rules, part is the teams are just that good.

Watching the Xfinity and Cup Series is part of my inspiration for both the Sprint-T and the Mid-Bucket. Also I watch YouTube videos of Goodguys Autocrosses from recent years and SCCA Solo events that have Modified category cars for when I run slicks. Speaking of slicks, I just can’t find 16 X 12 wheels in my bolt circle at a reasonable price, so that means the 6″ Formula Vee rears on the front on the 4″ wide wheels, and the 12″ wide tires on 10″ wheels on the back.

And now the ARCA cars are about to run (on the tube at least, I don’t know if this is live or tape-delayed) and in about an hour is the IMSA race from COTA outside Austin. So then I start flipping back and forth. And I won’t have the split attention that will let me write and watch 2 races at the same time so I’ll go ahead and end this post.

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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

Working on the car without touching the car, and car racing has started on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I have been using some tools that I have access to her at Casa de El Poeta to visualize where the frame is going on the Sprint T. What I did was measure out where the edges of the mounting flange were on the body at 3 major “landmarks”: the firewall, the back corner and the “joggle” where the body necks down between the dashboard and the firewall, because there is A Major Change in the body width between those two points. I place the pre-determined locations of the firewall and the rear axle on a piece of graph paper then located the front axle and the body mounting flanges from those and from those I located the wheels and tires. Then I put in the frame rails and some of the crossmembers that I know the locations for already because they locate something that has a specific location, mostly things like the gas tank and the front axle. Anyway here’s a picture.
Yay, frame!

Something I wanted to try was seeing if loading the picture at a higher resolution and then shrinking it down leads to a better quality picture.
Frame at higher resolution.

You can see two different tires in the picture, the street tires on the left and the race tires on the right The actual size in the brochure for the street tire is 26.5″ tall and 10.5″ wide but I drew it in as 28″ tall and 10″ wide. The race tire is drawn and in the brochure at the same size, 24″ tall and 14″ wide. The little circles in the drawing are the uprights of the roll cage that run between the 1.5″ by 1.5″ square lower frame rail shown in the drawing and the 1.5″ round upper frame rail that I will add later. Something else I need to add are the rest of the crossmembers for things like the transmission mount and the front mount for the rear suspension trailing link. I would like to make that the same crossmember if that’s possible because that is simpler than a transmission mount and additional bracing for the front of the rear trailing arms.

I am a firm follower of the KISS school of engineering, the Colin Chapman school of auto engineering, and the Captain Murphy school of engineering. Everyone knows about the KISS school, but not many people are familiar with the Colin Chapman and Captain Murphy schools. Colin Chapman was the legendary founder and first engineer of Lotus Cars in England and his philosophy was, “Never build two parts to do two things when you can make one part do both things.” Not many people know Captain Murphy, but most people know the general law of engineering named after him, “If something can break or go wrong, it will.” This can be synthesised into a single statement made by Charles Kettering an early 20th Century GM engineer, “Parts left off do not add weight and never malfunction.”

Something else car-related today was the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, one of the premier road races of the US and international seasons. This year’s race was a nail biter right down to the checkered flag, with less than 5 seconds separating second place from the winner after 24 hours and 740 laps of the Daytona “roval” course for 2819.4 miles of racing. The lower classes of racing had similar finishes for their races with the GTLM class being only a few seconds apart at the end also. Prototype Challenge was also close with the leader wrecking out less than 20 minutes before the finish of the race. The only class that did not have first and second places on the same lap just before the end of the race was GTD.

Something bicycle-related for today is there is a strong possibility that Blue has been found in a local pawn shop. I’m taking the card I was given at the time of the theft and my computer with the picture of Blue as my background picture. with me when I go to verify the identity of the bike, but honestly with as few of that model bike that were sold locally and the factory rack still on the back of the bike, according to the report, there is little doubt that this is Blue. I will have to reconstruct the serial number because I can’t find the hunk of paper where I had written it down. I remember the number was June or July of 07 making it an ’08 model and the serial was in the 200s. This time I will make sure I don’t lose the paper again when I write down the serial.

Since I have to get up early tomorrow I’m going to end this post earlier than I had planned. I really want to get Blue back so that I can start riding again with the upright seating position and see where I’m going.

PSA, Opus

Rushed post before a dinner date on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Well, we here at the Mom-in-law’s place are getting ready to depart for Middle TN tomorrow so we are running around getting clothes cleaned for the trip and preparing for dinner with the father-in-law, which is kinda at cross purposes because we are hauling out clean clothing while putting other clean clothing in suitcases for the trip. So, another interpretation of the one-armed man hanging wallpaper routine. 😉

Because of Mrs. the Poet’s infirmities I have been seeking a compromise vehicle between the Sprint-T and a 1970’s American sedan or mini-van. Her priorities are roof, windshield, working doors with roll-up windows, heat, and A/C. Those are non-negotiable. My priorities are steering, stopping, and acceleration with emphasis on those being fun via minimum mass. We both want “comfortable” seats, but again are at cross-purposes on what we define as comfortable. I want minimum padding and full support, she wants good padding and minimal support. I think I have found something we can agree on, a used Mazda Miata. It satisfies my need for a fun to drive vehicle, while at the same time Mrs. the Poet’s demands for creature comforts. And because we can use different seats on the driver and passenger side we can equally meet our diverse seating wants and needs. I have been looking up the tires for Miatas and found them very affordable with both good road-holding and traction and decent fuel economy so that a trip to TN would be cheaper than bus tickets. So if anyone knows of an old Miata for sale cheap with a good engine and A/C in the DFW area I’m interested in it.

And on the tube is the final race from TNT covering the Sprint Cup for a long time, possibly forever. If what I read is true TNT is dropping their sports broadcasting in favor of funding more original dramatic shows. I don’t know who will be doing the middle races next year when NBC takes over the Chase from the Disney networks, ABC and ESPN. I know Fox still has the first half of the “regular season” of the Sprint Cup. Well, all will be revealed next year anyway, so there is not much waiting to be done at any rate.

I have been hearing disconcerting rumors that some insurance companies have been selling insurance to people who should have been on expanded Medicaid by telling them they get much higher subsidies than they actually get and that those people will have to pay those subsidies back at tax time. Since I have a policy that is highly subsidized because we qualified for Medicaid this news is rather disturbing to me, as you might imagine. Since we don’t have access to what our subsidy should really be we have to depend on the insurance company since they get that information from the government directly while we get told “you get a subsidy” but not how much. If this blog goes silent after March of next year you’ll know I had to hock everything to cover my taxes…

Getting back to the Miata, one thing I will need to find is a bike rack to haul the new bike. I mean I designed the bike to fit the racks they put on the DART bus, so a standard length bike rack that bolts to the back of a Miata so I can have fossil fuel free transportation when I get to places I have to drive to get there in a reasonable amount of time rather than take the bus or ride the bike there.

And I have to wrap this up and take a shower and change clothes for dinner, so rubber side down out there and shiny side up (true for bicycles or cars, so everybody is covered).

PSA, Opus

Happy Star Wars Day on a Wreck-Free Sunday

For those who don’t understand today is May 4 (May the Fourth be with you) AKA Star Wars Day. So to all my Jedi friends and readers, happy Star Wars Day!

I’m currently doped to the gills with allergy meds that other people use as sleep aids. And still sneezing in fits that last up to ten minutes at a time. Trees, I love you but my sinuses are not an appropriate place to have sex. My eyes are all gooped up again, and the back of my nose is all itchy. Something that seems to help is the kind of beer I have on hand, drinking it makes the back of the nose itch less which reduces the sneezing and other misery. Unfortunately I don’t have anything for my eyes so I’m wandering around in a blurred world because of the goop in my eyes.

This is the Talladega spring weekend for NASCAR, and the Sprint Cup race is on the tube. So far they have been racing very clean with all 41 drivers still on the lead lap. There were 2 cars that dropped out after a minor wreck and everybody left is on the lead lap. Just as I typed that everybody started making green-flag pit stops which divides the field up pretty thoroughly. They are getting close to half way through the race and still running very clean. I had to take a medication-induced nap but woke up in time to see the next to last wreck when Carl Edwards had a tire go down in the middle of the pack and took out a few more cars, then I saw Denny Hamlin win the race. As I drifted in and out I saw a bunch more wrecks but couldn’t see who wrecked whom because of the goop obscuring my vision.

Also added to my physical woes is getting the fit right on Francis/es. I still have a very sore butt after each and every ride on the bike as I keep adjusting things until I get that extended stem built. I have all the pieces now, I just need to have a whole day where I can cut and weld metal without interruption so I can get the piece ready for oxide treatment to make it black and all the same color.If my measurements are correct I need to make a 10″ extended stem to get the handlebars high enough to keep my knees out of them and let me sit up and put the solid parts of my backside against the seat. I have been riding with just my fingertips against the back of the grips as much as I can which lets me rotate my pelvis back to get the sitz bones against the seat which is much more comfortable than what is against the seat when I have my palms against the grips. The other situation I’m facing with Francis/es is aerodynamics. I think a brick has lower aero drag than Francis/es, and that will only get worse when I get the comfort issues squared away as I will be nearly bolt upright behind the handlebars. So, the brick will be flying broadest face into the airflow when I get the seating problems hammered out.

Now I’m watching the Tudor United Sports Cars race from Laguna Seca, which is fun. I like the natural road courses, but then I like pretty much all kinds of racing except illegal street racing. Natural road courses, street courses, rovals, they’re all different kinds of challenges. And there are different horses for different courses. The opening rounds favored the old DP class from the Grand-Am series, which I felt had been given too much additional brakes and downforce compared to the P2 ALMS series cars. Leaving the older steel brake rotors on the DP cars with the additional downforce, or the new carbon/carbon brakes without the additional downforce would have let them keep the additional HP over the P2 cars. Getting both the new brakes and the downforce made the DP cars too strong compared to the P2 cars that have their rules controlled by a different sanctioning body. The problem is at this point you can’t take the brakes or downforce away because the both required structural changes to the DP cars to implement, so there’s no going back on either one, but the brakes could be taken back easier than the aero changes. The teams would just have to go back to the previous year’s suspension uprights if the tooling still exists. And the race just ended as a P2 car won the race with DP and P2 cars pretty much alternating on the standings list as much as having a few P2 cars with more than a dozen DP cars can “alternate”.

And those are pretty much all the words I have wanting out now, so I think I’ll quit typing.

PSA, Opus