Rock and Nelson Ledges Nationals
The weekend of July 27-29 was a busy one for the Kryderacing crew. On Thursday, July 26th, David Pintaric and Kryderacing mechanic Matt Carson headed for the Lime Rock National. Their plan was to run the Lime Rock event on Saturday and return to Nelson Ledges by Sunday so that David could start at the back of the T-1 field in an attempt to win his fifth National race in a row at Nelson. While they were on the road, Matt Miller was back at the Kryderacing shop putting the finishing touches on some updates to John Buttermore’s T-1 Corvette. Reed and Sandi were loading Bill Pintaric’s GTL Nissan and Mike Olivier’s ITA Honda Mike wasn‘t running the National, but he planned on getting a few laps in on the Friday test day.
Friday did not start off well. At Nelson, Brett Mars was testing his new SSC class Ford Focus. We had helped Brett the last couple of years with his Mazda and hopefully can contribute to the Focus efforts. On the way to the grid for his second session he had a suspension failure (fortunately it wasn’t on the track at a higher speed). Brett loaded the broken car and headed for a shop he knew had the parts he needed. About that time we received a phone call from Lime Rock informing us David’s Viper had crashed on the “uphill”. Plans on running both Lime Rock and Nelson Ledges were abandoned when it became apparent no repairs could be made in time to run Lime Rock. The Viper headed for Ohio while a flurry of phone calls were made ordering parts for Saturday morning delivery. Matt’s Corvette prep back at the shop ran into a couple of snags, but everything was completed and the car headed for Nelson. Mike was joined in his testing by Rob Piekarcyzk and his Kryderacing assisted Mazda RX-8. Fortunately, Mike and Rob had trouble-free days.
Saturday saw five Kryderacing vehicles involved. Matt Carson assembled the Viper with lots of new rear suspension pieces and David Pintaric qualified fourth in a vehicle we felt was safe, but maybe not 100% repaired. Bill Pintaric took the GTL pole against some stiff competition. Gary Martz qualified his EP class Mazda third while doing some engine tuning. Rob had his Mazda running well and would start third in T3. The changes Kryderacing made to John Buttermore’s Corvette worked well and John was on the T-1 pole after the first session. The second session saw the Corvette belch smoke, then large amounts of flame from underneath as it exited turn 11. John went straight at turn 12, stopped the car, and quickly exited the cockpit. John was okay and fire damage was mainly visual. Kryderacing’s concern turned to “was this the result of something we did?”. It turned out to be a blown engine and not related to our work areas. Even though his car was finished for the weekend, John wasn’t about to give up. After discussing engine swaps and available cars to borrow a deal was made with Ron Hutter to use his third place qualified Corvette. With John moving to the back of the field due to the car change, and Hutter not running due to the same change, David’s Viper moved from fourth qualifier to the outside pole.
Sunday was sunny, hot, and humid. David started second and never found a way around the pole-setting Corvette of Aaron Quine (but he put on a great show trying). John brought the borrowed Corvette from last to third and set a lap record along the way. Rob brought his Mazda home in second place in T-3, but not without a little excitement in the last turn. Rob had held second for most of the race but lost it part way through the last lap. He couldn’t believe it when the other car left an opening going into the last turn. Rob rocketed through the opening and was almost cleared of the other car as they exited the turn. The other driver wasn’t about to give up and there was minor contact between his front bumper and Rob’s rear quarter panel. It was great racing.
had to wait until the last race of the day to see our other two cars in
action. Gary Martz took a few laps to move from his third starting
position to the overall win and first in EP. His lead was threatened
a few times during the race but he appeared to be in control the entire
time. Bill Pintaric was never headed in his GTL Nissan on his way
to the win and fifth overall in the combined group race. But after
the first few laps he found his mirrors filled with Jimmy Burke, another
GTL competitor many people would consider one of the best GTL drivers in
the country. After the race Burke congratulated Bill and told him
he was doing his best just to keep up.
Mini Day at Nelson Ledges
For the second consecutive year Reed was asked to be the Chief Instructor for a couple hundred people bringing their Mini’s to Nelson Ledges for an appreciation day. Sandi joined the fun this year as one of the lead cars on track. It was her first time driving the new Mini and she really liked it. It was a wet, but fun day.
John Buttermore had enough points but needed one more National start to officially qualify for the SCCA National Run-Offs in T-1. Unfortunately his car was still in the repair shop following Nelson Ledges. But a borrowed car at Grattan got him his start and invitation to Topeka for the Championships.
Mid-Ohio Double Regional
The August 11-12 Double National at Mid-Ohio was advertised as the IT SPECtacular and only open to selected SCCA classes, most of them IT. A lot of the people working and associated with Kryderacing race IT category cars. Both employees, Matt Miller and Matt Carson, entered their ITS cars. Mike Olivier had his Kryderacing prepped ITA Honda running good. Kraig Hopkins raced an ITE Honda. And several of our Koni crew members were either entered or helping friends. A good time was had by all.
Pocono Double National
The August 17-19 Pocono Double National was significant for several reasons. Bill Pintaric wrapped up the NEDiv GTL season championship with a win on Saturday. Bill then decided to skip Sunday’s race with his Kryderacing maintained Nissan 200SX. Gary Martz finished second on Saturday in EP and needed another second on Sunday to win the Great Lakes Division season championship. Not being content to play it safe, Gary pushed hard on Sunday and passed for the lead, the win, and the title late in the race. Rob Piekarcyzk will be returning to Topeka in October with his T3 Mazda RX8 after finishing fifth both days.
One unfortunate incident during Saturdays races will keep a Kryderacing decaled car out of this year’s Run-Offs. Joe Gaudette had his T1 Corvette qualified for the Run-Offs and was running Pocono for practice. The T1 entry list was big and competitive. Joe finished well on Saturday but had his car nearly totaled during the cool-off lap. The race had finished and Reed was watching the first turn exit. Joe was due to come into view when the workers at the corner station began running for their lives. Joe came into view at that point. He was sideways and proceeded to slam into the guardrail protecting the workers. Joe was badly shaken but otherwise okay. But the car was seriously broken on three corners. The drivers side (left) was what hit the wall. The right rear was badly smashed from the blow another competitor caused when he lost control entering the turn and collected Joe, sending him into the wall. Even though it was the cool-off lap the other car still entered the turn fast enough to lose control BEFORE collecting Joe. Joe will be done for the year but we hope to see him back in 2008. His “in car” video can be seen at Joe@over1g-racing.com.
Heartland Park National
While most of the Kryderacing crew was at Pocono, Matt Carson and David Pintaric headed to Topeka to try out the newly configured Heartland Park track in preparation for this years Run-Offs. Going to Topeka was a tough decision because David was leading the NEDiv T1 championship points chase and could have wrapped it up with a win at Pocono. David had his T1 Viper running second when a leaking tire dropped him to third at the finish. As far as the Division was concerned, he dropped to second. We will all find out in October whether the decision was worth it.
Just in case we weren’t busy enough with Pocono and Heartland Park, Kryderacing trackside assistance was also requested by Scotty White for the same weekend. Scotty’s professional level Viper had crashed at the previous race in Canada and he was using the Mid-Ohio NASA weekend as a test. Kryderacing sent its Viper expert, Jerry Palmer, to assist.
The last National of the year was at Gingerman. John Buttermore won both the T1 (Corvette) and T2 (Cadillac) classes with Matt Carson assisting in the paddock. In both cases the weekend was mainly to test the cars in preparation for the Run-Offs.
Nelson Ledges Longest Day
Many years ago Nelson Ledges started the idea of endurance racing for minimal prepped cars. The first 24-Hour race for showroom stock cars might have been the last except for two of the contestants. Both “Car & Driver” and “Motor Trend” had entered cars which were being driven by their respective writers. When the sun rose on Sunday, the race had become a two car battle between these teams. The battle lasted to the finish and the resulting magazine articles lead to many future races and racing series. Reed participated in his first “24” the following year when he was asked to drive a Mazda RX-7 prototype. The team won their class and finished second overall. Several happenings that weekend had a lot to do with Reed turning professional a few years later. After a long run, the “Longest Day” races were finally dropped at Nelson. But a few years ago the new track management brought back a 12-hour and this year the race grew to 24 hours. Thirty-six teams entered.
Matt Miller had entered his own cars for the previous 12-hour events. Many Kryderacing associates had participated with Matt in his efforts. 2007 would be no different. Rob Piekarcyzk was pursuing another idea. He had successfully presented Mazda with a proposal last Winter. But sometimes things don’t go as hoped and as time went by, a car never materialized. At the last minute Mazda shipped a MX-5 Cup car. It had a cage but needed transmission repairs and several safety items (seat, harness, extinguisher, etc) installed. Everyone saw the car for the first time Monday evening prior to the race. A Mazda dealer repaired the transmission. Rob then picked it up and brought it to Nelson on Thursday evening. By now, Reed had become part of the driving team which included Rob, Mike Olivier, David Pintaric, and Jim Jordan. Between Thursday and Friday evening the car saw only 12 laps on the track because of all the prep work being done back in the paddock. Everyone got in a few laps during night practice on Friday, but work on the car continued right up until the start of the race at 3pm on Saturday.
Our qualifying times never showed the potential of the car but we moved steadily up the charts. As the race went on we encountered a few problems which kept us off the podium. Actually, getting on the podium would have been very difficult since we were required to run our basically stock MX-5 against modified ITE cars. The reason we were in ITE was because our car did not have the hard roof required for club racing. All-in-all it was a typical 24-hour race which meant lots of fun and frustration. Finishing it also creates one of the greatest feelings of “team” accomplishment a person can imagine.
On a personal note, Reed has raced in over twenty 24-hour races. He has driven over 14 hours in a single event. But, he had not driven in one since the 1999 Daytona Rolex. His first time driving the MX-5 was in total darkness on Friday and it was like he had never been away from this type of driving. Rob says he plans on returning in 2008 and Reed is welcome to drive. Reed can’t wait.
Meanwhile Matt Miller’s team was also having their own problems. Matt had acquired a nearly finished ITS Mazda RX-7 specifically for this event. Matt and his crew thrashed a lot, including an engine replacement, up until the start of the race, but then the car ran like clockwork.
Mid-Ohio Double Regional
September 8-9 saw a lot of Kryderacing activity, and heavy rain, at Mid-Ohio. Mike Olivier finished fifth in his ITA Honda on Saturday on a dry track then opted not to run on Sunday in the rain. Mark Hopkins had his ITE Honda running strong against a tough collection of cars which included numerous V8 cars. Mark finished second in class both days. Kryderacing delivered the Koni ST class Dodge Neon SRT4 to their new owners on Friday. Kraig Hopkins, Mark’s son, had the honors of being the first driver and went quite fast. But he started Saturday’s race on dry tires (everyone did) only to have heavy rain start during the pace lap. Kraig wisely choose to park a car he was not familiar with. On Sunday he started last and had worked his way into the top ten (a top five looked to be possible) when the car apparently had an intermittent fuel problem.
rains lead to several damaged cars on Saturday and Sunday. It was
raining so hard on Sunday morning several drivers withdrew from the day’s
activities. Reed had to withdraw his Nissan 240SX on Sunday, but
not because of the rain.
This weekend started out great with Reed qualifying third of fourteen ITS cars on a damp track. But there was a small, internal head gasket leak which eventually lead to his quitting the race two laps short of the finish. Several “hopeful fixes” were attempted during the evening and early morning, but to no avail. It was time to minimize losses and save the racing for another day.
VIR Koni Challenge
Kryderacing thought our efforts in the Grand Am Koni series ended this year when Phoenix Promotions sold their Dodge Neon to the Hopkins. At that time there were only a couple of races left on the Koni calendar and the search was on for a new car for the 2008 season. We had been asked to continue providing trackside service next year, but 2007 appeared to be over. Then the SpeedSource Mazda RX8 became available and Phoenix Promotions acquired it. SpeedSource delivered and maintained it at the recent Miller Motorsports Park race. Things went well enough to make Will Nonnamaker and Joe Sahlen decide to race it again this year. This lead to Kryderacing’s involvement at the October 6th VIR Finale. While part of out team is at Topeka preparing for the SCCA Amateur National Championships, others will be in Danville, Virginia working the six-hour Koni ST professional race.
SCCA National Championships
The Run-Offs are scheduled for October 12-14. Kryderacing will start arriving in Topeka on October 2nd for several days of testing, four days of practice, and finally the races. We will be directly helping Bill Pintaric with his GTL Nissan 200SX, David Pintaric with his T1 Viper, and John Buttermore with his T1 Corvette and T2 Cadillac. We will also be helping Rob Piekarcyzk with his T3 Mazda RX8 and Gary Martz with his EP Mazda RX7. There are a few other competitors who normally are on their own, but might receive some emergency assistance from the Kryderacing crew of Reed and Sandi, Matt Miller, Matt Carson, and Jerry Palmer.
at Kryderacing and our Run-Offs clients are very disappointed that not
a single person we are assisting was mentioned in the recent “Who Will
Win” article in “SportsCar” magazine. This is somewhat surprising
since not only does “SportsCar” list the top three picks for each class,
they also list numerous other drivers who are potential podium finishers.
Last year one of our drivers was a top three pick, had a great race to
finish fifth in the wet, and followed that up with an even better season
in 2007. This year he doesn’t even get a mention. Two of our
other drivers had top 10 finishes and received “Hard Charger” awards at
the 2006 Run-Offs. Even though they are running faster in 2007 and
have finishes to prove it, nowhere were their names found in the article.
All of our drivers have beaten current “Top Three” picks in their class
during the 2007 season. During the 2007 season the six drivers mentioned
above have won 18 Nationals, placed second 10 times, and scored an additional
5 thirds. They have set lap records. Two of them won their
divisions. But not a mention about any of them in the article.
The “SportsCar” issue featuring the results of the Run-Offs races will
not see these omissions repeated.
KRYDERACING REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES BANQUET
Following the Run-Offs we return home to two consecutive weekends of the Kryderacing Regional Championship Series at Nelson Ledges. The October 20-21 Mahoning Valley Region Golden Harvest event is a double with races on Saturday and Sunday counting towards class championships. The following weekend Western New York will hold their annual “Great Pumpkin Affair”. The “Pumpkin” is only a single, but the Sunday races count for double points.
The banquet for the 25th edition of the series is scheduled for Friday, November 16th. All previous banquets had been on Saturdays, but there were major scheduling difficulties this year. The conflict started last November when we requested our traditional date. So, if you are planning to attend please call Sandi to get the current information.
The Rest of 2007 and What’s Ahead for 2008
The rest of 2007 includes the Nov. 7th Willow Springs program for Russ Wilson and Paul Arevalo (call if you are curious), trade shows in Las Vegas and Orlando, and starting vehicle preparation for 2008. 2008 starts early with January dates for Grand Am testing in Daytona, the potential of two SCCA National events in Florida, and the Daytona Rolex 24 and Koni races at the end of the month. As far as we know, all of our current clients will be back, although there are some vehicle changes in the pipeline. We have been approached by a couple of potential clients and things are looking hopeful regarding their involvement with Kryderacing. If even half of this new stuff happens we will be hiring additional employees and looking for extra shop space in the near future.
ending this newsletter Sandi and I would like to extend our personal thanks
to everyone who has worked for us this past year. The professionalism
and talent Matt Miller and Matt Carson bring to their work with our clients
is a big part of the success of Kryderacing. Jerry Palmer has helped
at several races this year and we intend to ask him back as much as possible
next year. Jerry’s son wasn’t old enough to help in the pits, but
his help in the paddock was greatly appreciated. The extra crew members
hired for the four Koni events worked like experienced team-members and
were a big reason for our being asked to return in 2008.
Check www.kryderacing.com for weekly updates.