Tag Archives: what kind of cars I like

Good news and bad news after visiting the Lab Rat Keeper, and the Feed

It has been an “interesting” week in my favorite sport, on Wreck-Free Sunday

Besides the job interview I mentioned one of the reasons I went home so early was I wanted to be in a house where I could catch the Eldora NCWTS race. This was an historic event, the first time a national NASCAR touring series raced on dirt since 1970. I remember reading about that race as a child and thinking that now the Grand National series (as the Cup was called back then) was no longer going to be as well-rounded as it had been, because they had always been on short ovals, mid-sized ovals and superspeedways, and road courses, but now they were dropping the dirt. Well, that was then, this is now.

One thing I did notice was the trucks had essentially no grip when a driver tried to drive like a dirt car. Pitching the trucks into the turns and standing on the gas was usually “rewarded” with a spin out. The fast way around for the trucks was to treat the track as a slick paved track and drive as straight as possible and not allowing the truck to get sideways. This is (IMO) because the suspension rules were not changed to allow the suspension to travel and maintain grip on the surface. The Cup car from 2 generations back (before the “Car of Tomorrow”) might have been able to throw on a set of dirt track tires and put on a “normal” dirt show with sideways driving and spinning tires throwing dirt up into the stands, but the current NCWTS vehicles were used to design the rules for the COT and the current Cup car, which both have very limited suspension travel. And without suspension travel you don’t have grip on the dirt.

Not that this is a bad thing when everybody is playing with the same deck of cards (rule book). It just means that NCWTS trucks (and by extension the Cup and Nationwide Series) are not going to look like typical dirt track race when they race on dirt. Visually they are going to look like they are still driving on a paved track, just a little looser (slightly sideways). But the racing is still going to be exciting. I haven’t seen the ARCA cars on dirt (who never quit racing their top series on dirt, they have two tracks they visit annually) so I can’t say if what I saw from the NCWTS transfers over to stock cars that still allow a pretty substantial amount of suspension travel and have always had to get dirty.

Moving on the Rolex Series sports cars on the road course at Indy was also a good race from what little I saw of it before I went to the drum jam at church, as they would bunch up 3 and 4 wide on the oval part and have to get down to single file for the infield part of the course, which made for some very exciting racing in the turn that transitions from the oval to the infield. It almost looked like Bristol or Martinsville going into that turn with all the beating and banging and rubbing going on between cars.

I also saw the Cup qualifying session and the Nationwide Series race at Indy. The Indy guys should be looking at the performance of the Cup guys when they set their formula next time, as the Cup guys were reaching speeds near 210 MPH at the end of the straights and averaging less than 190 because they had to slow down in the turns. I like that combination for Indy Car, instead of hitting 230 at the end of the straight and averaging 225 for the lap because the scrubbing in the turn slightly slowed the cars down. I don’t mind the 230 straight speed, I would just prefer that the drivers have to lift going into the turns and use all the controls when they drive the track, instead of just putting their throttle foot down and leaving it there for the whole race. Right now the race is almost entirely on car setup and driver bravery, I want to see driver skill added back to the mix, like it was back in the roadster era, with skinny tires and no downforce. And that might need to be part of the equation when the IRL does their new car specs, smaller tires and less downforce, at least for venues like Indy and Texas.

I’m beginning to run out of things I want to talk about, and the lawn needs mowing after my absence from the house, so I think I will end this missive now. Back to the Grind tomorrow…

PSA, Opus


Random musings on a Wreck-Free Sunday

As I was riding to RPG group last night I was reminded that this is Li’l Bitty Flying Bug season in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, and that LBFB are suicidally attracted to ANSI Safety Lime. The ones that didn’t get caught on my shirt and reflective vest got me in the face, eyes, mouth, and nose. You don’t know aggravating until you get a swarm of LBFB up your nose, and this is from the guy that died, came back, had multiple broken bones repaired, had a skin graft, and his face sewn back on. None of that was as aggravating as the LBFB going up my nose. More painful, sure. Life-threatening, you don’t get much more life-threatening than being dead. But for aggravation, nothing is as aggravating as a swarm of LBFB up the nose.

I have noticed a trend in illegal passing in the last few months. When I take the lane because of the lane not being wide enough to safely share, there are some people who will not cross the centerline nor wait until it is safe to pass me. There isn’t enough pavement to pass safely so what these brilliant morons do is use the shoulder (or the ditch, sidewalk or whatever) to pass me on the right. If as is true most of the time there is nobody walking on the shoulder, sidewalk or in the ditch then this is mostly dangerous to the motor vehicle operator as there is no guarantee that any of these areas are safe to drive over. However there are more pedestrians on the side of the roads than there used to be and sometimes one is in the area one of these brilliant morons is using to try to pass me. Nobody has been hit yet.

One of the nice things about riding a bike is one is still a part of the environment, instead of the occupant of a moving sound-proof mobile environment that is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. One of the ways I notice this is when I address cats on the side of the road. Most cats think they are invisible to people on the street, because they are ignored to that extent. When I say “Hello” to a cat (usually I say “Hi, kitty”) frequently they will jump, jerk or otherwise act like I hit them with a stick unexpectedly. My favorite is the jump and spin when I inform the cat facing away from me that I can see it, as it faces me with the slightly arched back of a cat that finds itself in a potentially dangerous situation.

This has been one of the strangest Springs this witch has experienced since I came to Texas, and given what passes for “normal” in Texas, that’s saying something. Here it is almost Beltaine, and I still have winter biking clothes not in storage that I have used in the last week and may use in the coming week. But we have already had several days where I was riding in temperatures above 90°F, which was followed, sometimes in less than 24 hours, with near-freezing morning lows and highs in the low 40s, with high 80s again in a couple of days. I can’t acclimate to weather changes like that like I can extended periods of heat or cold. But the Yo-yo days will be gone soon and I can focus on acclimating to lows in the mid 80s (30°C) with highs above 100 (38°C) for extended periods of time.

I took my new computer with me to RPG group last night, but I think I will need to use a different method as putting the laptop in the buckets bounces it around too much. I have a light backpack that gives small things like the laptop I’m currently using a much smoother ride than sticking them in the buckets. The laptop is not ready for prime time yet in RPG as I haven’t transferred my character sheet over to the spreadsheet version, but the dice rolling app was running perfectly and gave me some useful dice rolls (high when I needed high and low when a low roll was in my favor). I don’t know how well the speadsheet function of ChromeOS will deal with the D&D3.5 spreadsheet character sheet, so we will have to see about that. I have a little less than 2 weeks to get everything up and running before the next session.

Speaking of ChromeOS, I’m having an issue with the .pdf reader that comes with the OS. I can’t find a way of accessing the pages from the table of contents of the document I’m using and have to do Page Down over and over again until I get to the right page. Well doing this for a D&D guide would be major pain in the backside as there are thousands of pages in each book, and several books to go through to find a particular rule or spell or whatever I needed. I currently have the Complete Arcana, and the Player’s guide for 3.5, and they take up a couple hundred megs in my thumb drive. Having to Page Down (or Up) for each page of a thousand page doc makes for a tedious research session. What I really need is to do what a car repair book I got online did, place each chapter in a separate folder and each sub-chapter as a separate doc in that folder.

I’m looking at project cars to build when the will finally gets probated, so that Mrs. the Poet and I aren’t as subject to TSA strip searches as we have been just for trying to get from one place to another by public transit. Some people might not be bothered by forfeiting their 4th Amendment rights in order to use public transit, but as a veteran I am very bothered. Anyway, I have been looking at two kits in particular. The one that I like is the DELUXE ’27 T-BUCKET FRAME KIT W/ STANDARD BODY, UNCHANNELED FLOOR from Speedway Motors as it gives a car that weighs about 1700 pounds with a cast-iron small block with cast-iron heads and an automatic transmission, while the brakes are assembled from various 4000 pound vehicles to make a system that is balanced for the weight and CG height of this kit, which means that pretty much you will never be able to abuse the brakes enough to not have good brakes so long as you don’t wear the pads out. The other kit I was looking at was TYPE 65 COUPE from Factory Five. I like this because the donor vehicle is once again considerably heavier than the kit so the brakes are pretty much abuse-proof, as well as not having much weight for the engine to move. Either kit would fit my needs, but Mrs. the Poet is not so happy about what I want to do with the ’27 T kit. I want to leave the windshield off and wear motorcycle helmets and use a snap-on tonneau cover to protect the interior and use their steering column with the removable steering wheel anti-theft measure. That works by having the steering wheel attached by a quick-release hub and taking the wheel with you when you park. Mrs. the Poet is not think this is such a good idea. She is much more in favor of the Type 65 Coupe kit as it has “a windshield and a roof” as well as a big trunk that can carry 4 full-sized suitcases (because the vehicle it replicates was built to a rule set that required that exact trunk capacity). I would not mind driving this as it is a practical vehicle and it would still be bags of fun to drive. Minuses are a 41% higher curb weight and 3 times the cost for a finished vehicle compared to the ’27 T. Also the ’27 T has almost as big a trunk, the difference being that you have to fold the seats forward and fold a bulkhead down to get to the trunk where the Type 65 has a hatchback and you can reach between the seats to get to the trunk from the inside, so slight edge to the Type 65 on the trunk.

So now I’m done for a little while.

PSA, Opus