SOLIDWORKS at the SCCA Run-offs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Day 4

Today we continue our blog series brought to us by car enthusiast and SOLIDWORKS Senior Area Technical Manager Mike Sabocheck on SOLIDWORKS at the SCCA Run-offs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you missed day one, you catch up here and you can find out what happened on the track on Day 2 by reading Wednesday’s blog post here and results from Day 3 here. Now let’s let Mike catch us up now on what happened during day 4.

Day 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Our last qualifying session on Thursday was our best. Kevin Leigh gave it all he could and was awarded 8th place on the starting grid. The additional suspension adjustments we made on Wednesday afternoon paid off with better handling and braking. Our team mate Chris Dryden was awarded 6th place. This is actually an advantage for us because both cars will be lined up on track with Chris in front of Kevin.

When the green flag drops tomorrow morning, both drivers will work as a team with Kevin in the draft of Chris’ car. Going into turn one, which is a 100° turn at the end of the front straight on the first lap, will be the trickiest part of the race. There’ll be aggressive drivers in turn one trying to win the race on the first lap but patience is a must here, because you can be easily taken out by one of those aggressive drivers. With Chris and Kevin in line, this should give them some protection and starting where they are should also give them more time to react to anything that might happen in front of them and take evasive action to avoid any on track incidents.

After yesterday’s qualifying session we were picked to be impounded for tech inspection. Chris was picked on Wednesday. During impound the car is weighed, fuel is checked for compliance and the tech inspectors go over the car for safety and rules violations. If something is not right, you have to fix it before you can go back on track. Our car passed with flying colors.

Today we take the day off. We’ll spend a little time at the Indianapolis Speedway Museum and watch some of the races today. We spent the majority of the day on Thursday getting the car ready for the race. New spark plugs and front brake pads were swapped out. Transmission oil replaced as well as the left rear axle. All fasteners were checked to make sure they are tight. We also calculated how much fuel we’ll need so we can meet minimum weight when we finish the race. About 10 lbs of lead weight was added to the car because when we weighed the car after qualifying yesterday we were 2 lbs over the minimum with 3 gallons of fuel in the tank, which is too close for comfort. We need to come in around 10-15 lbs over the minimum. We’ll take the car back to the scales later today to know exactly what the car weighs with its fuel load prior to the race.

Putting on the SCCA Run-offs is a huge undertaking. I’ve been coming to the Run-offs since 1994, and this is the biggest one yet for me. There are 100s of volunteers doing all sorts of things from timing and scoring, to grid workers, to pit marshals, tech inspectors and the most important volunteers are the track workers. Track workers are placed around the track and they’re the ones who hold up the yellow flags when there’s a mishap on track or a blue/yellow flag for a faster car approaching from behind. Without the track workers, we wouldn’t be able to race so we thank them any time we can.

If you’re interested in watching our race it’ll be on line at at 10:30am Saturday. Wish us luck and the next blog will be posted on Monday letting you know how we did.

Mike Sabocheck
Mike Sabocheck is a Technical Sales Director with Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS. Mike has been with DS SOLIDWORKS for 21 years. Prior to SOLIDWORKS he worked for Xerox for 17 years and then for Intergraph. His specialties are applying SOLIDWORKS to different design and manufacturing processes.