We continue our series on SOLIDWORKS at the SCCA Run-offs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you missed day one, be sure you catch up by reading yesterday’s blog post here.
The work we did changing the engine over the weekend is paying off. The spare engine is running perfectly producing great horsepower. The 90° heat isn’t effecting the engine cooling system on track so that’s not been a worry for us. The weather is going to change starting tomorrow when the high temperature of the day will be 80° That’ll be welcome relief.
We ran the second qualifying session this morning starting in the 11th position. After the session we improved 2 spots on the grid to 9th and lowered the lap times by 2½ seconds. Our team member Chris Dryden improved to the 4th position after starting 7th. Qualifying is like playing poker where you don’t give away your hand to early in the game by betting big. You have to have a qualifying strategy where you pick up the pace through the week and in the last qualifying session, you give it all on a flyer lap and hope you out qualified the other competitors ahead of you. Our strategy got a little fouled up by the engine problem, which put us behind the other competitors in track knowledge. Kevin’s a good driver, however, and will overcome this little adversity. Now that we’re in the top 10 moving up in the grid order will be a bit more difficult because the competition is as fast or faster than we are.
The other great part about SCCA racing are the people you meet in the paddock. Our neighbors on one side of us are from Kentucky. A father and son racing team that the whole family is involved in. And, on the other side are nice folks from Colorado. If you need a hand doing something, you just need to ask. In fact, the team from Kentucky lent us their engine hoist so we could change the damaged engine. That same hoist went to another competitor so he could change his engine also. We share parts, tools, food, drinks and old racing stories. In fact, I have friends that I only see once a year at race tracks like Watkins Glen or Summit Point West Virginia. One of the big social events of the week is tonight at the big “Prod Party.” This party was started over 25 years ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to bring together all of the Production car drivers and team members to celebrate another Run-off. Price of admission is a six-pack of your favorite local beer to share with everyone else.
The car is ready for third qualifying session tomorrow morning. We put on a new set of tires to get a heat cycle in them. A heat cycle is when we run a set of tires getting them up to operating temperature of about 200° and let them cool over night before using them again. It’s even better to let them rest a few days before re-using them. Usually after three or four heats cycles, the tires lose their grip and are relegated to practice tires.
We have eight competitors between us and 1st qualifying position tomorrow. Kevin will work very hard gaining a couple of more grid positions. I’ll report back tomorrow on our progress.