5.16.15 – “PARTNER ENDURANCE RACING IN MY ACCORD RACING MACHINE”
Skip all this reading and jump to the VIDEO if all these words are overwhelming!
After my last event, a “Flag Pole Race“, the car had a ton of damage. Essentially it needed a new front end. New front fenders, bumper, hood and of course radiator and other pieces of the cooling system. Robert Rice and his guys did an incredible job getting the car back together, and I really appreciate their work!
Normally I run this car in “skid plate” races at Irwindale. However, several times a year the track holds a “partner enduro” using the same or similar cars that normally compete on skid plates, just running with all 4 tires.
If I’m honest – the main reason I put together a skid plate car was to have a car for these “enduro” races. It is really one of the cheapest ways to get into wheel to wheel racing.
The race would consist of two 15 lap races, with each half driven by a different driver. This meant I would need a co-driver and Alex Miller came on again to be my partner in crime.
As for the car – it would remain unchanged, aside from getting 4 tires instead of two. The suspension could really use some tuning as the car was a handful to get around this tight course. For more info on the car – see the full post of the car build here.
Generally the starting order for this event is randomly selected. However, for this event there was time in the schedule for a practice/ qualifying session. Getting time to practice on the unique track layout was a huge help for the race. We only had 5 or 6 laps to set a qualifying time and it was tough to get a good clean lap in. My last lap was my best time.
We would start the race in 7th position.
I took the first stint in the car. The car felt quick from the start and I was quickly in 2nd place. The car really has no shocks (old and dead) so it is really just ridding on springs – and it feels like. We had good speed on the straights and the car also had fairly good turn in, but it would really start to understeer on the exit which makes it difficult to carry momentum.
Regardless, I was doing a decent job staying in 2nd and building a gap to the 3rd place car, Robert Rice’s number 7. This gap did not last long – as we approached lapped cars, he snuck past me on the inside. I was able to stay with him and was pushing to get that place back but he navigated the lapped cars a lot better than me and I never was able to quite catch him.
Some contact between me and another lapped car did not help our race at all. Somewhere around this time my front left tire started loosing air pressure. From my seat, it was not clear that the tire was gone. I just noticed a slow decline in the cars handling and thought maybe something else was wrong. On lap 15 the tire totally gave out and I could see sparks.
It was time for the driver change and even with the flat tire I was able to stay in 6th. The problem was we needed to change that tire quickly if we wanted a good position for the restart.
This situation was a prime example of why, even in this low budget racing, a good 2-way radio system can make a massive difference. I never had a 2-way radio in my car, feeling like it was overkill. I just had a basic scanner so that I could hear the race control talking to us.
If I had had a better radio system I could have asked from the car if there were any problems/ they could have let me known about the flat tire.
Our pit/ tire changing area was pretty far from where the driver change was to take place. Because I did not have a radio, I had Alex waiting for a car that would never come, not realizing what was happening. I was left to change the tire as quickly as I could by myself. After a bit, Alex realized what was going on and ran over to help with the change (as did some other nice people in the pit area). Rober Rice had a small tire changing area prepped in case anyone needed to change tires but it still took me too long to find the correct wheel.
In short, we got the new wheel on but it took way too long and forced Alex to start his stint in dead last . . .
After a hectic driver change, Alex hustled to get the car on track before the restart. He just made it though he had a lot of work to do. Alex did a good job getting through the field of 20 or so cars. He was able to get the car into 10th place where we finished.
Fun race though frustrating to lose the opportunity for a higher finish. Needless to say, the first thing I am doing is getting a radio system. More on that to come, but in short, the entire outcome of our race was hurt for the simple reason of not having a radio system.
Thank you to TrakkTape – Great product for protecting my car on track!