Summer’s is over and fall is here.
Where did the time go? They say “time flies” when you are having fun. We
have been racing all summer. Therefore, the conclusion must be that racing
is fun. I hope I can remember everything that has transpired.
Following Reed’s adventures on the “One Lap” and Open Track Challenge” events reported in the last Kryderacing Newsletter, there have been a couple of magazine articles on these events. The “Car and Driver” coverage of 1-Lap was extensive except for one thing: other than the “Top Ten” results listing, no mention was made of either Reed or John Bender. Perhaps this year it was because they finished an unimpressive eighth overall. But in seven years of competition with car owners John Bender and Russ Wilson, including a third place (Top Independent Trophy), two fifths, and a seventh, there has never been much reported on their efforts. The main reason is probably related to their low-profile approach. Consider the fact of never being stopped by the police during all those miles. And that’s while driving a car “cleverly disguised as a race car” as Brock Yates likes to tell the competitors. We’ll just have to try harder (or more visibly?) next year. Nevertheless, this years event coverage is a good article and worth the cost of a “Car and Driver“.
Reed and Russ Wilson received their
own little sidebar article in “Grassroots Motorsports” following the Open
Track Challenge event. The event article was comprehensive, but the sidebar
was greatly appreciated. There was also coverage in the NASA monthly newspaper.
That article centered on competitors better known to the NASA membership,
but we did get a couple of mentions.
SCCA NATIONAL RACING
Participation in SCCA Nationals is one area where we have cut back a little this year. However, Gary Martz has continued to display the Kryderacing logo across the hood of his E-Production RX-7. Gary has had one of those years where you win a race or two and do well in the points (4th in CenDiv), but you know something isn’t right. It became very obvious at the Run-Offs at Mid-Ohio. Gary just wasn’t as competitive at this year’s event as he had been in past years. As each day’s track session came and went during the week leading up to the race to determine the 2002 champion, Gary failed to improve on his mid-pack position. Frustration mounted as various changes in the vehicle were tried, all with no major effect.
Following the final qualifying session on Thursday, Reed studied some of his old suspension books back at the shop while Gary continued to look for answers from anyone who might help. When Reed arrived at the track on Friday he found Gary installing a Torsen differential unit. A great idea. Reed’s challenge was to convince Gary to make changes to the car based on his research. The basic problem resulted from lowering the car. In several ways, this helped handling. But one major side effect was a decrease in the ability of the car to put the power to the ground. Gary told Reed the settings he was suggesting were basically the same as they had been at the start of the year. With few options left and nothing to lose, Gary reset the cars suspension. Then, we had to wait until the Sunday morning warm-up to see the results. One of the negatives of these setting was a very high ride height.
The short 10-minute warm-up showed
we had made significant improvements. The afternoon 20-lap saw Gary get
caught behind a struggling car as the green flag waved. By turn one he
was almost at the back of the 40-car field. He worked through numerous
competitors to finish 11th, pressing for 10th. An acceptable finish considering
mid-week problems. Now Gary has all winter to make adjustments which would
result in a low riding car AND proper suspension arm alignment.
BILL PINTARIC’S DATSUN 510
We are planning on taking Bill’s 510
to Florida for the initial 2003 Nationals. Bill took this year off as far
as National competition in the GT4 class. He had other commitments, which
kept him from a serious National effort, but continues to stay in practice
with Regional competitions. He is currently leading his class in the Kryderacing
Regional Championship Series. But next year he plans on returning to Nationals.
He will get an early start by doing the January Sebring event and possibly
the Moroso event on the following weekend. There are actually two spaces
in our trailer and Bill’s 510 may have a traveling companion.
NX TO RETURN
The first outing for the rebuilt ITS
class Nissan should be late in October at Nelson Ledges Road Course. The
body damage experienced in a springtime test session has sidelined this
rental vehicle for most of the season, but we now have all the parts and
it should be road-worthy for anyone wishing to compete in that last race
or two of the year. We are also outlining plans for improvements to be
made during the winter. We have also been considering a switch to E-Production
in order to make the car eligible for National competition.
Meanwhile, the backbone of the Kryderacing rental program continues to roll on. The car started life in the SSB class, but a conversion to ITS was undertaken last winter. We aren’t done, but Bill Schauer has already had the car in the front part of the field at a couple of Mid-Ohio races. We don’t know if we will ever be able to challenge the BMW’s for the lead, but we may be able to top everyone else. Reed has also run this car a couple of times during the past year. Early in the season he co-drove it in an enduro at Nelson Ledges and on Labor Day he drove it at BeaveRun (more on this new track later). The BeaveRun event was a NASA event and Reed was asked to observe a student from the standpoint of approval for a competition license. The job was easy because the student was very experienced and had previously done everything except the final step of completing the school race. The school race at BeaveRun was for 10 laps and Reed followed the Acura for the entire event. He could have passed the other car at the end of the back straight or going into the uphill turn whenever he wanted, but the Acura was quicker on the uphill and equal to the SX on the rest of the track. He watched another 240SX pass the Acura several times going into the uphill turn, only to get blown as they approached the top of the hill.
Our original plans for the SX was to
convert it to ITS and then E-Production. At the Run-Offs, Matt attended
the Production Meeting during Thursday’s lunch break. It appears that not
only our car, but also numerous other E-Production applicants are in a
holding pattern while SCCA decides whether to create a D-Production class.
We were told there is no time frame. We believe this hold-up is because
of the current SCCA corporate office move from Denver to Topeka combined
with numerous personnel changes. We are looking for other possibilities,
but will keep the car in ITS for the time being.
Actually there are now two of these
vehicles in the shop and discussions are scheduled to acquire a third.
The second one was acquired from a junkyard for parts. But many of the
components we are interested in are undamaged and the building of a completely
new car is being researched. It probably would have become the initial
E-Production car if it had been approved. The third car is the one Reed
was watching at BeaveRun. Longtime friend Mike Gerst is the owner but Mike
is going to have a big change in his lifestyle when he becomes the father
of twins in the near future. Kryderacing proposed to Mike the idea of our
maintaining the car as part of our rental program while he keeps ownership
and races it as his schedule allows. This is the type of agreement we have
with Bill Pintaric and the usage of his NX2000. Mike has a lot of things
to consider, but we plan on having a meeting with him later this year to
discuss the possibilities.
2003 RENTAL PROGRAMS?
The number of rentals has been less
in 2002 than 2001. However, we have also been getting early indications
of a rebound for 2003. With the return of the NX to the fleet and the potential
addition of not only a second, but also a third SX we are looking at new
ways to market these vehicles. Current rental details can be found at www.kryderacing.com.
But we expect some changes and whatever agreement we reach with Mike Gerst
may lead to similar arrangements with other car owners. Expect Kryderacing
to make a major push in this area next year.
Yes, it is open. Yes, the initial items completed are beautiful and the proposals for the future are impressive. As mentioned earlier, we were at the track for a NASA event on Labor Day. The skid-pad looked to be done. It was big. The go-cart track had multiple configurations and could probably exist profitably on its own merits. The initial 1.6 mile road-course created several impressions with Reed. It only took a couple of laps to learn the basics, so (except for one turn) it was not too challenging. The track seemed narrower than other tracks and this could effect competition. However, the layout did create several areas which are perfect for passing opportunities, either under braking or because of taking a corner different than competitors. The pit exit looks perfect for the track when its full length is considered, but it is dangerous for the current short layout. According to rumors, there are noise issues to be settled. We have also been told that future road-course work will be scheduled once cash flows become predictable. One impression, which was unavoidable, was that everything being done was first-class.
Another rumor making the rounds is
that BeaveRun will mark the end of Nelson Ledges. That’s like saying the
opening of an Outback Steakhouse will cause the closing of the McDonalds
located down the street. Think about it. Very few people would argue in
favor of a Big Mac over a great steak. But variety, availability, convenience,
and costs are also factors. Will BeaveRun take business away from Nelson
Ledges? Definitely. Can the entire Nelson Ledges schedule be transferred
to BeaveRun? Not even close to possible. Does Nelson Ledges have to compete
with BeaveRun for overall quality in order to survive? They never did with
Mid-Ohio, and they have been neighbors for many years. The issues involved
are more numerous and complex than the rumormongers give credit. Nelson
Ledges will need to make changes to survive, but they do not need to compete
for overall quality. Everyone will have opinions on what changes need to
be made, few will actually have a say in which are made, and the final
results are a year or two away.
If you haven’t been to Nelson lately,
improvements continue to be made. As the summer has passed, a new starters
tower has appeared, the new shelter near the food stand looks great, and
the areas repaved have been well received. We recently had a conversation
with Track Manager John McGill concerning our store and the fuel pumps.
Expect to see improvements in these areas by next spring.
While we are on our soapboxes there
is another area which is getting more and more activity in the gossip arenas.
And that is NASA. Reed joined NASA earlier this year. It was a requirement
for participation in the Open Track Challenge. NASA has been around for
ten years but only recently have they been establishing Chapters away from
their west coast origins. During the course of the past year a NASA Chapter
has been established for the Ohio/Indiana area. Kryderacing has been at
a couple of their events. We participated at BeaveRun for several reasons,
not the least of which was to see the new track. And we had our store open
at Nelson Ledges for their first race at that facility. We had heard the
NASA officiating was sloppy, especially from a safety standpoint, and many
criticisms were aimed at NASA for not being anywhere near as professional
as SCCA. From what we have seen, there are sound reasons for most of those
comments. The turnouts have also been small. But a lot of these things
are to be expected from new organizations. Looking at things from a positive
viewpoint we have noticed several things. The turnouts, while small, did
exceed our initial estimates. More importantly, they are growing. A lot
of the organizational issues are constantly being reviewed and adjustments
made when possible. We have also observed many participants we have never
seen at SCCA events. It has led us to the conclusion that there are enormous
numbers of racers already in existence who do not compete in SCCA. But
don’t think we believe NASA is better than SCCA. SCCA is vastly superior
to NASA from an organizational standpoint. But, like many things in life,
one’s greatest strength is often one’s greatest weakness. The SCCA organizational
strength makes it very rigid and slow to make changes. NASA, while young
and frequently stumbling, is able to satisfy the desires of customers the
SCCA cannot easily cater to. NASA will continue to grow. We don’t know
in which direction they will evolve, but the SCCA needs to look at some
of the things that are working for NASA.
The first road course Reed ever visited
was Elkhart Lake’s Road America. The year was 1965. Since then he has gone
to Road America to be a spectator, work as a tire engineer for Goodyear,
compete in amateur and professional races, participate in TrackTime Performance
Driving Schools, run One Lap of America events, and act as a team owner
for Kryderacing vehicles and customers. He has been at Road America at
least once a year every year since 1965. Sandi has been there with him
for most of those years. But while Sandi had two scheduled trips to Road
America in 2002, finding the time to get Reed there was looking unlikely.
Maybe it was time for something rare - a vacation. So, for several days
around the 4th of July time period, Reed and Sandi vacationed in Wisconsin.
They visited several places Reed vacationed with his parents many years
ago. And along the way they stopped by Road America for the American LeMans
Series. Not only did they enjoy a day of relaxation at the race track,
but they visited with many friends not seen for several years. When the
old IMSA evolved into Grand-Am and AMLS (new IMSA) many of the people Kryderacing
was familiar with at the IMSA events ended up in opposite organizations.
We have seen the Grand-Am group at Daytona for the last couple of years,
but it was Sebring in 2001 when we last visited the AMLS camp. It was an
enjoyable time. And Reed’s streak of years at Road America was continued.
KRYDERACING REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Two weekends of racing remain in the 20th annual edition of the Kryderacing Regional Championship Series at Nelson Ledges.
A double event will be hosted by Mahoning
Valley Region on the weekend of October 19 and 20. On the following weekend
Western New York Region will put on what is one of the most fun events
every season: The Great Pumpkin Affair. These are the last three of eleven
events this year. As announced at the start of the year, the last event
will be for double points. And we will end the season with another great
banquet. This years dining affair is scheduled for November 23rd. The competition
this year has been intense and the five participating Regions have all
put on superb events. At one point last winter we actually considered calling
it quits after 20 years, but following this year’s events we are starting
to lean the other way. There has even been talk of a sixth Region joining
the program in 2003.
BRAKES, BAER, AND PFC
For the last two years Kryderacing has been working with Bear Brake Systems as their official representative to the American Sedan drivers in SCCA. Matt and Sandi have spent many hours on the phone, at National races, and during the week of the Run-Offs talking with AS competitors. We know sales improved between 2001 and 2002 and we are in the process of totaling exact numbers. Before the end of the year we will meet with Baer officials to make suggestions for 2003.
Promoting brake components has lead
to increased brake pad sales. Our sales of Performance Friction products
have also increased noticeably this past year. Our “in-house” inventories
have increased and competitors are starting to know we have product in