+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35
Like Tree44Likes

Thread: How to blow a Championship, without really trying

  1. #1
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default How to blow a Championship, without really trying

    Last weekend's NASA races were the final of the season, and the Spec Miata points championship was up for grabs between me and Wilson Steele. With drops, all I needed to do was finish ahead of him in one race that weekend.

    But it didn't quite work out that way.

    On Saturday's race, I qualified right behind Wilson by a few thousandths, so I was right behind him at the start. When the flag dropped, I got around him on the outside, but then he darted down the middle and got past me through Sunrise. He entered and exited the Buttonhook ahead of me, but missed a shift and I blasted on by.

    OK, looking good. Feeling good. I'm ahead for a few laps and I'm gaining on John Mueller in front of me and we're gaining on the guy in front of us. John left the inside open entering the Sweeper and I dived in and got that spot. Now I'm feeling really good. Up on John and Wilson for another lap, I spun going into the Sweeper (John was all over my bumper) and couldn't safely re-enter till Wilson had passed me.

    But I got back on and kept after him. I could see I was gaining on him, so all I needed was a big mistake and I might be able to get him. A couple of laps later, the car feels loose in left-hand turns. Then it feels really loose in left-hand turns. As in undriveably loose. I pulled off and discovered the right rear tire had lost a lot of air and was half deflated. So was I.

    Turns out the valve stem failed and leaked all the air out. No worries, right? I still have Sunday.

    Car's running well. Running hot, as usual, but running OK. I ran a personal best 2:07.3 in practice, so qualifying was looking good. Qualifying went as usual, with times a little slower than practice, but I'm also noticing increased vibration at the uppermost rpm. In fact, I had been noticing it all weekend. Just before the white flag lap in qualifying, I rounded the Sunset turn on the gas, when just after the upshift to fourth, the engine note turned sour and it lost power. I'd heard this sound before from other cars. It's unmistakable.

    So I nursed it around the track and pulled into the pits, pushed in the clutch and the motor stalled. It wouldn't restart. Not even close. Motor is blown. Cranking it over sounds terrible. There was no metallic knocking, so it's probably on the upper end. Blown head gasket, stripped timing gear or belt.

    Sean Douglass was kind enough to loan me his '99 car, and though we're both the same height, I'm hitting my knee on the steering column when I got to heel-toe. Oh well, this is for the Championship. I'll deal with it for the qualifying race and the main.

    However, a couple of laps into the qualifying race, the car starts cutting out and bucking badly. I didn't want to hurt someone else's car, so I brought it in. He replaced a cam sensor, which worked, so I could still enter the main race and compete for the Championship. A few laps into the main race, though, the same thing starts happening.

    The car is cutting out big time and unsettling it in high-speed turns, but then a double-yellow comes out and the car got a little better. I was hoping for more laps under yellow, but it was only like one or two. As soon as we went back to green, the car starts cutting out again and I'm pointing by 944s and Spec E30s.

    I had to pull off so I wouldn't be responsible for building two motors this winter. Congratulations to my friend Wilson Steele for taking the NASA SoCal Spec Miata championship.

    As Gordon Jennings once said to me during a post race interview, "I don't know if I gave it my best, but I gave it my all."

    Special Thanks to:
    TrackHQ.com
    The California Wine Club
    NASA Spec Miata
    Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development
    Blackbird Fabworx
    Iron Canyon Motorsports
    Weekend-Racer
    949 Racing
    Sampson Racing Communications


    Interesting side note: When I was in HPDE3 monitoring the lap times in Spec Miata, the front of the pack was running 2:07s. Now I'm running that, but the front cars are now running 2:04s. Faster rats, indeed.

  2. #2
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6,853
    Liked
    1429 times
    Red_5 likes this.

  3. #3
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    When I saw you were the first person to respond, Rob, I got a chill. This was not what I was expecting. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    535
    Liked
    188 times

    Default

    Brett,
    So close.... wish you had better luck behind you last weekend!

    And... congrats on a... 2nd place finish for the season(?)

    Does this mean you're headed up to Sonoma for the championships next month?
    If so... dinner shall be on me. Along with any track-side support that you might need!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    Brett - sorry about your misfortune.

    but I'm also noticing increased vibration at the uppermost rpm. In fact, I had been noticing it all weekend.
    Maybe you should have paid more attention to that sooner. . .
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  6. #6
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    Brett - sorry about your misfortune.

    Maybe you should have paid more attention to that sooner. . .
    It's not like I could have done anything about it other than shifting at 6,000 rpm before it intensified, but that still would have meant losing. I was planning for a new engine this winter anyway. One more day out of the old engine would have been nice.

    "I don't always install an engine in the offseason, but when I do, I like to make sure it's blowed up real good."

  7. #7
    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    1,438
    Liked
    742 times

    Default

    Chin up! Lest we learn from our mistakes, better luck next season!
    Yer pal,
    Force

  8. #8
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    My chin's up, Force, thanks. 2014 was a good season. I had a lot of fun, learned a great deal, got faster everywhere and got to spend time with some great people. 2015 should be even better.

  9. #9
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6,853
    Liked
    1429 times

    Default

    Looking forward to your valve cover removal photos.

  10. #10
    Senior Member granth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    642
    Liked
    140 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Last weekend's NASA races were the final of the season, and the Spec Miata points championship was up for grabs between me and Wilson Steele. With drops, all I needed to do was finish ahead of him in one race that weekend.
    Good thing I let Wilson use my Torsen (stolen out of my NB) to fix his handling issues from Laguna ;-)

  11. #11
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    Yeah, good thing.

    I can tell by the lap times and shift points that the 4.3 I bought from you, Grant, was definitely a 4.3. So, thank you.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    La Verne, California, United States
    Posts
    7,644
    Liked
    2282 times

    Default

    don't tell me you were running rubber valve stem ? there was a thread on Trackhq.com on this exact same issue !!
    Red_5 likes this.
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
    13 Tesla, ma: no engine !!
    17 GT350 !!
    08 M3 - Carmax warranty !!
    96 NSX
    06 EVO MR
    15 Mini Cooper S

  13. #13
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    don't tell me you were running rubber valve stem ? there was a thread on Trackhq.com on this exact same issue !!
    OK, I won't tell you.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    325
    Liked
    216 times

    Default

    Congrats on running a good season Brett. Sorry to hear about your car troubles. You did the right thing to look after the car.

    Race cars are always in imminent failure. Only a question of when and where.

  15. #15
    Senior Member 48yota's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    352
    Liked
    116 times

    Default

    Brett, this must be something with Buttonwillow. When we were there a couple weeks ago in practice the same thing happened to me.

    Sucks having to do a motor in the winter but at least it will be fresh for next year.
    ucfbrett likes this.

  16. #16
    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northridge
    Posts
    2,194
    Liked
    1882 times

    Default

    Congrats on a great season and 2nd place finish, Brett.
    Hopefully you'll manage to climb that last step in 2015

  17. #17
    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Fullerton, CA
    Posts
    1,728
    Liked
    299 times

    Default

    Nice try Brenda. Sucks to hear about your issues that caused you to not fight for the win.

    So it seems like vette's and Miatas blow up too. Not just evos. So can everyone stop riding me already.
    bellwilliam likes this.
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

    1:53.396 @ BRP CW13 - 11/14/13
    1:47.2xx @ Laguna Seca - 11/28/10
    2:03.026 @ Thill CCW Bypass - 12/20/14
    2:05.100 @ CVR CCW - 1/16/11
    1:58.151 @ CVR CW - 5/5/13
    1:25.56x @ WSIR - 10/13/13
    1:23.128 @ SOW CW - 7/27/14
    1:22.2xx @ SOW CCW - 7/26/14
    1:46.0xx @ ACS Roval - 11/23/14
    1:11.299 @ ACS Infield - 5/18/14

    Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at WSIR
    2nd Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at BRP 13CW

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    There is no end to the excuses made by racers who lose . . .
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  19. #19
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ventura, Calif.
    Posts
    5,448
    Liked
    2241 times

    Default

    Such as the absence of mechanical skill.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,979
    Liked
    1477 times

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Such as the absence of mechanical skill.
    Good luck next year Brittany -- I recommend that you hire a professional team of mechanics and trackside support guys. Costly, yes, but had you done it this year, you would have won your greatly desired NASA Trophy, and all the prize money that comes with it, which is exactly $ZERO . . .
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts