"HELPING PEOPLE ACHIEVE THEIR RACING OBJECTIVES"
The Northeast Division of SCCA holds two annual meetings. The fall Mini-Con meeting is targeted towards discussing the previous season and putting together plans and schedules for the upcoming year. The spring Roundtable is basically where everyone gets together to make sure all involved groups are up to date with changes in rules and procedures. Reed and Sandi were joined by Nelson Ledges Road Course Track Manager Scott Lane for the trip to Ithaca, NY and the 2008 Roundtable.
There were several interesting seminars. A more lengthy report is contained in the Mahoning Valley Newsletter and if you have questions feel free to call Reed, Sandi, or Scott. One seminar concerned the movement by SCCA to make their driver’s schools more uniform in quality. The idea basically was to continue giving the Regions a lot of latitude in how they conduct their schools while mandating certain minimum requirements. For example, the written test of GCR knowledge would contain specific questions required by the national office, but Regions are free to add their own.
While the goals of
this program are admirable, it fails to address the ever growing problem
of costs faced by SCCA Regions conducting the schools. These increased
costs are leading to fewer school opportunities and therefore less people
entering SCCA racing. We strongly feel the SCCA needs to investigate
ways to make obtaining a competition license easier (from a logistics and
cost standpoint) without lowering the quality of the schools. We
had proposed one suggestion along these lines to the SCCA Competition Board
KRYDERACING TEST DAY AT NELSON LEDGES
Saturday, April 5th
was a busy day at Nelson Ledges Road Course. Training was going on
for corner workers, driver physicals were being performed, vehicles were
receiving annual tech inspections, the press had been invited, and Kryderacing
clients were busy shaking their cars down on the track. For almost
everyone it was the first time on the track since last fall. Bill
Pintaric (GTL Nissan), Rob Piekarcyzk (T3 Mazda RX8), Mike Olivier (ITA
Honda Civic), Brett Mars (T2 Nissan 350Z), Bruce Keillor (SSC Mazda Protégé),
Chris Dercole (ITE Mustang), and Jonathan Keillor (ITS Nissan NX2000) all
spent time on the track during a cool, but sunny day. Rookie driver
Jonathan also spent some time off track. This was followed by hours
of cleaning mud out of the suspension and wheel-wells. But the car
was still in excellent shape and ready for his first SCCA driver’s school.
NELSON LEDGES ROAD COURSE SCHEDULE
This is one of the
busiest road courses in the country. It is also one of the fastest
and its layout is a favorite with driver’s. Highlights for the 2008
season include the 26th annual edition of the Kryderacing Regional Championship
Series (11 race events over six weekends put on by five different SCCA
Regions), the first ever SCCA Dual National on Memorial Day Weekend, the
“Longest Day“ 24 hour race on August 23-24, numerous Fundays (open to the
general public and their cars), and several events put on by Porsche and
BMW Clubs. And if motorcycles are your thing, there are many dates
to choose from. The complete schedule can be found on at nelson ledges.com.
The weekend of April
11-13 was a wild one. The first local event of the season was the
NASA event at Mid-Ohio. With only a couple of exceptions, all of
our clients had signed up. The weather turned out to be very bad.
It was cold and wet. Some of the wet stuff was solid and colored
white. Nonetheless Matt Miller and Matt Carson not only raced, they
helped other associates. Mike Olivier probably had the best weekend
with a win and a second driving his HC4 class Honda Civic. Rob Piekarcyzk
took his Mazda RX8 to a third and a fourth in the PTD class.
VIR DOUBLE NATIONAL
David Pintaric had
entered his Viper for the Mid-Ohio NASA, but at the last minute it was
detoured to VIR for Chris Ingle to drive. Chris has had a rough year
with his new T-1 class Corvette. Something is not right with the
powerplant and during the test day for VIR he lost his third engine.
While GM engineers try to solve the problem Chris took David up on his
offer to drive the Viper. David drove through the night and
delivered the car to VIR early on Friday morning. Reed and Jerry
Palmer were a few hours behind but made the first qualifying session.
Chris Ingle is an accomplished driver with a string of SouthEast Division
T-1 Championships. It is hard to tell if David’s Viper is faster
or slower than Chris’s Corvette (assuming no engine problems), but Chris
liked the Viper well enough to record wins both Saturday and Sunday.
SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM
For several years
there has been a dangerous situation existing in SCCA practice and qualifying
sessions at the tracks in our area. It usually involves one or more
cars leading the group out for a qualifying session and proceeding to drive
slow while weaving side-to-side warming their tires. Quite often
this weaving is going on with the first car or two onto the track.
These drivers like to say they are simply warming their tires. They
also have an agenda of trying to let everyone get out of the pits long
before they come around to start their first flying (and qualifying) lap.
Keeping an open track in front of them is part of the plan and if drivers
attempting to pass are intimidated out of their attempts, all the better.
The dangerous part occurs when someone behind them doesn’t want to follow
and tries to pass. While at VIR Reed discussed this with some of
the SouthEast drivers and they stated they follow the same rule as the
old Trans Am series, namely “No weaving allowed other than pace laps for
the race itself.” While that specific wording is not in the Club
Racing GCR there is Rule 6.8.1.D which specifically states “Any driver
….. who appears to be blocking another car seeking a pass, may be black-flagged
and/or penalized.” The “out-lap” on qualifying sessions is normally
under green flag conditions. Drivers need to be reminded of this
rule and stewards need to enforce it.
While at VIR we heard
that Joe Gaudette’s T-1 Corvette is ready to race again. Readers
of this newsletter may remember Joe’s season coming to a abrupt end last
August at Pocono. Joe had completed his race, was slowing down, and
just as he entered the first turn was collected by another car which had
neither slowed for the checkered flag or the first turn. The car
was approaching the turn so fast he lost control and started to spin before
collecting Joe. Both cars proceeded to slam heavily into the barrier
protecting the corner workers. The damage to Joe’s Corvette was severe
and he questioned whether he could ever rebuild and return to racing.
Glad to hear he’s back. See you soon Joe.
Will and Wayne Nonnamaker write a monthly column for “Grassroots Motorsports”. It’s a great magazine for road racers and the Nonnamaker columns are usually full of helpful information for novice, and experienced, drivers. Their column in the latest issue dealt with the winner of a “Grassroots Motorsports” contest becoming a crewmember for the recent Grand Am Daytona races. David Dunn was placed with the Kryderacing crew handling the Koni efforts. He was a great addition. His previous racing experience, both driving and wrenching, made him overqualified for the normal “gofer” jobs usually assigned someone in his position. He was still assigned a lot of the “gofer” jobs, but he also assisted with several heavier projects, like changing the transmission the night before the race.
David also was helpful
in finding items which needed a closer look. Most race mechanics
are used to looking for any potential problems while they are performing
other tasks. For example, while performing a tire change during pit
stop the tire changer will also take a quick look at the suspension and
brakes for any problem. This examination may take only a fraction
of a second, but spotting something then could save the team big problems
laps later. Even while the car is back in the garage area many mechanics
are constantly looking for potential problems. Leaks, cracks, anything
doesn’t seem the way it should be needs to be questioned. A new person
on a team often takes the approach that everyone knows what they are doing
and they shouldn’t question anything beyond their own assignment.
David wasn’t like that. He questioned lots of things. In most
cases a simple explanation satisfied his inquiry. In a couple of
cases he spotted something which needed a closer look. He definitely
contributed to the success of our efforts. Thanks David.
SCCA GREAT LAKES DIVISION DOUBLE DRIVERS SCHOOL
The only SCCA driver’s school to be held at Nelson Ledges was held over the April 19-20 weekend. There were around fifty students and four of them had an association with Kryderacing. Jonathan Keillor was driving his ITA Class Nissan NX2000. This was one of the Kryderacing rental vehicles until Jonathan purchased it last fall. Chris Dercole has been running a Mustang at various “track days” for several years and finally decided to try “wheel-to-wheel”. Robin Bank came close to being included in an episode of “Cops” but made it to the event in his ITA Class Honda Civic. And Brian Frank has been working with Kryderacing employee Matt Carson on an ITC Class Honda Civic. Driver’s Schools can be tough on driver’s and equipment. A “double” increases the stress on both. We are glad to report all four of these people not only ran trouble free, but were exceptional students.
Several other Kryderacing
clients were either instructing or working on student vehicles. Rob
Piekarcyzk and Mike Olivier were teaching Spec Miata drivers. Matt
Carson was assisting Brian Frank. And Bruce Keillor was crewing for
This story is just
too good not to be told. Robin Bank scheduled pickup of his Honda
for around midnight on the Friday before the Driver’s School. The
plan was for him to pick it up (we would leave it parked outside) and drive
it to the track. While we normally don’t do this, our shop is in
a very rural (and quiet) area. The mayor lives next door and this
would be the last place anyone would expect to find any activity requiring
the police. Robin’s schedule actually moved his arrival time closer
to 3 am. While he was at the shop the local police stopped by and
questioned him regarding his activities at this time of the night/morning.
They pretty much believed him, but proceeded to wake us up to verify his
story. While all this was happening everyone started to hear sirens
in the distance. Since the police were satisfied Robin wasn’t doing
anything illegal they left and went to investigate the other siren.
Shortly afterwards they were back, assisting in the pursuit of a drunk
driver. The drunk’s vehicle was already damaged from an earlier wreck
during the chase and was throwing a shower of sparks as it crested the
hill and headed towards our shop. The driver lost control and crashed
directly across the street from Robin. Needless to say Robin had
taken cover behind his Civic. Robin headed for better cover when
the drunk exited his vehicle and, counter to all “on the ground” commands
from the officers, proceeded to come at them. The “on the ground”
message finally got through and the police handcuffed him and took him
away. Robin said he was impressed with our local cops, but he will
try to arrive at regular hours in the future.
PACE CAR SEARCH
For many years Kryderacing has supplied the pace cars for Nelson Ledges Road Course. These Infiniti vehicles were originally supplied to us through Nissan Motorsports. They have served us and the track very well. We still have a G20 at the track which can be used when necessary. But as these vehicles have aged we have been encouraging the Regions to find other sources for their pace cars.
The upcoming Memorial Day weekend Dual National is a special case. This is the first event of its kind in the country and participation levels are expected to be higher than normal. Several Mahoning Valley members, including ourselves, have been searching for a unique vehicle to serve as the Pace Car. If you have something which you think might be of interest, please call us. If you are a car dealership, we would love to work with you. If you own something really unique and want to show it off, this may be your chance.
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