It's a Cruel, Cruel Summer*
We are in Hell right now, Gentlemen**
*Bananarama, "Cruel Summer"
**quote from Al Pacino in the movie "Any Given Sunday".
So far, it's been a cruel summer. Spring was tough, as we sucked in our two last kart races. At Willow Springs in May, Wayne and I both had a terrible race. I came in 7th, and Wayne came in 10th or so out of 13. Amago in June was worse. I qualified 11 out of 14, and Wayne qualified a decent 7th. I had a great start in the qual race, passed Wayne, but then Wayne crashed into me trying to pass me. Of course Wayne will say it is my fault. So that is now twice in three races that Wayne took me out. For the final race of the day at Amago, Wayne took 8th using our spare kart (as he wiped his kart when he crashed into me), and I took 10th after spinning to avoid two other people that narrow missed crashing in the final race. To make matters worse, Jeff took a 1st and a 2nd place in the two kart races that we screwed up in. And he reminds us every chance he gets.
For the summer, KRC is taking off the months of July and August due to the heat, figuring that karting in 105 degree weather in the desert isn't optimal. But Wayne and I are itching to do some kart racing. Or car racing. We need to do some type of racing.....we desperately need a hit off the go-fast crack pipe.
Jeff was rebuilding his RX-7. Unfortunately, it seems to have a problem with some intermittent stalling. He wasn't able to debug it. So he had the car shipped up to Concord, CA, where some Mazda gurus were going to figure out the problem. The car has been there for 2.5 months........which is a drag on his summer.
They cancelled the Ford Los Angeles Street Race this year, due to sponsors pulling out. Bummer, this was one of the highlights of the summer, where we can feel like we are famous race car drivers, with 10,000 fans cheering you on. You get to rip around a track on the streets of Los Angeles, sliding the car inches from concrete barriers. But not this summer.
The stock market is collapsing. Everyone is losing money on paper, which makes it hard to spend on any "luxury items". Like new rims and slicks. Bummer. If it gets any worse, luxury items will be stuff like lunches at Taco Bell. It's been a long time since I ate Top Ramen for lunch every day....
We hear that our next karting race will be at the Streets of Willow on the same weekend as the AMA motorcycle races in September. Speedvision is supposedly going to tape our race, as we have the entire Streets of Willow rented for our race. Cool.....we can get some TV coverage, probably of Wayne crashing into me on national TV. We start practicing on the Streets of Willow, hitting 95 mph on the straightaways. But then we hear that we got booted off the track for that day. Rumor has it that some AMA folks have their own karting series/classes, and they didn't want any of the motorcycle fans to see our series at the track on the same weekend as their event. So no Speedvision coverage for us, and no race at the Streets. Damn.....this is worse than going to summer school as a kid.
My MSN mail account is still a nightmare. I still think it is dropping messages, both to and from me. But what do you do? You can't change providers, as all your friends and business contacts and domain registrations and customers, etc, know you by this email account.
Wayne decided to take a boxing class for conditioning purposes. Wayne used to be a kickboxer who competed in tournaments for many years in his younger days. (like 20 years ago). At his first class, he injures his wrist punching the heavy bag. I was up to benching 215 lbs on the bench press, but then my shoulder started aching whenever I did a bench press or push up. I went to the doctor, and he said it was just bicep tendonitis, and to lay off the bench press for a month. But when you can't bench, you can't measure your self worth. Wayne is up to benching 245 lbs on the bench press, but he is using artificial growth stimulants like creatin to help him. Wayne says it is natural, since the body produces creatin. He is just taking 100 times the daily dosage that your body creates.
A Dune Buggy at NSX Modified????
Wayne's tranny blew up on his Tony Kart. Since they had the engine taken apart, they also did a rebuild on the engine. So Wayne was out $1300 for repairs. He got his bill from Vision for the rebuild on his 944 motor done prior to the Hill Climb. Wayne also got a new wastegate, and had big brakes put on his 944 Turbo. Wayne traded a phone system for the work, but found out that he stilled owed another $5000 for the rest of the work on his car. Ouch.
After the Hill Climb, Larry and Butch starting working on reviving the Flamemobile. If you recall from the last story, we hastily rebuilt the car after blowing up the engine a week before the Hill Climb. We got the car done in time(barely), but we didn't have time to dyno or test. We rolled the dice, and took our chances and went to Virginia City. We took 9th place out of 68 cars or so at the Hill Climb, but we were not satisfied with our time. We wanted to be in the top 3, but didn't quite make it.
So there was a long list of stuff to do for the car. We needed to:
1. Fix fuel regulator problem. I keep getting engine error lights
2. Fix front suspension. Tires are rubbing excessively.
3. Remove the NOS kit/bottle. Back to our road racing configuration. NOS is for all those sissys that can only go fast in a straight line. (and for people who want to go fast at the Hill Climb..)
4. Fix windshield strip
5. Fix in-car camera
6. Fix in-car timing device
7. Recheck power on the motor
8. Re-install Comptech non-compliance bushings in the rear beam
9. Put headlights back in the car
I was screaming at Larry that the replacement shocks that he put on were not adjusted right, as the front tires were rubbing excessively. Larry rechecked the measurements, and he said they were correct. I told him the height was all screwed up. We checked again, and the Larry discovered that the Tire Rack shipped us the wrong size front Hoosiers, they were 245/45/17 instead of 245/40/17. In our haste to get to the Hill Climb, we didn't realize that we mounted the wrong tires. They were too tall for the wheel well. We just didn't have time to check stuff.
Why would there be a Dune Buggy at NSX Modified?
The fuel regulator problem seemed a little harder to figure out. We keep blowing out the diaphram in the regulator. The air/fuel meters indicate that we aren't pumping enough gas. We have the regulator maxed out, throwing out 50+ lbs of pressure at idle, and more under boost. We tried about three other regulators, and those produced worse results. We threw it on the dyno, and we were around 300 RWHP, so we are down about 90+ horsepower. Larry has been real busy also, and there is a stack of cars always at his shop. So my car keeps getting pushed farther and farther back in line. After replacing the regulator(s), we are still getting check engine lights, car stumbles intermittently while driving, etc. Larry thinks that maybe it could be the wiring harness, as he had to splice into it many times for the Datacam sensors (speed, braking, throttle, rpm, etc). So he and Butch spent an entire day replacing the wiring harness, figuring that there might be a short. It ran good for about 20 minutes, but then started stumbling again. Damn. Back to the drawing board.
I tell Larry that from now on, we will never race again unless the following is done after any major changes to the car:
1. Car is dynoed, and the results are good
2. Car is corner balanced and aligned
3. Car is tested at a local track prior to the race weekend.
I can't take the frustration anymore of not being prepared when we get to the track. We need to be ready to show up for battle and kick some ass, instead of thrashing all the damn time.
I decide that maybe I need some help from a higher spiritual being. The Zen Five guys give me some direction on what they think I should do, so I go out and complete the courses, and get my certification(s). Maybe that will help my luck.
Nah.....it can't be.....
(Click here for bigger)
So the Hill Climb was on June 17/18, and a month later we still don't have my car ready to go. There was an Integra club event at Buttonwillow on July 21/22 that we could have instructed at, as well as run and test the NSX. After that, there was a race at Willow Springs that James Sofronas was racing at, but we missed that. We decided at we would go the the big NASA Las Vegas/Pro Racing Series event at the big stadium track in Las Vegas on August 10/11th. I told Larry we needed to do the three things above by Friday July 27, as there was an open test day at Willow on that day. We missed that date. I then told him let's aim for August 3. We missed that date. I then told him the drop dead date for Vegas is Tuesday, August 7. We missed that. Damn. It isn't often that you get to be on the big stadium track. We we also going to take the karts, and race the karts on the Vegas Kart Track from that is open from 6 p.m. to midnight. And we were going to gamble after that. Cars, karts, and gambling. Bummer we missed it. We plan two more test days at Willow. We miss those also.
I felt like throwing a tantrum at Larry's shop, kinda like Bobby Knight did in his infamous "We better ffing beat Purdue" (260k) halftime speech that was surreptitiously recorded. Checkout the speech, it sums up how I feel about the summer racing season.
Instead, I think it is better to take the approach of the speech that Al Pacino gave in the movie "Any Given Sunday". Like Bobby Knight's speech, this takes place at halftime, and Al Pacino is trying to get his team to get fired up and to go out and kick some butt. I think I have listened to this speech about 30 times over the past week, and it gets me motivated to get the Pulp Racing team up and running again. I think if you replace the word "Racing" where he says "Football", you will understand what I mean.
The All-Time Best Motivational Speech
From "Any Given Sunday"
Here's a link to the big audio file (700k) so you can have Al give you or your team inspiration when the going gets tough. (Note: I switched substituted the word "racing" for "football".)
The text is as follows for those of you who don't care to download the large file:
I don't know what to say really.
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.
Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is racing.
Because in either game
life or racing
the margin for error is so small.
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.
I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.
Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.
That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's racing guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?
- Al Pacino, "Peace with Inches", from the movie Any Given Sunday
Around August 8th or so, Larry keeps tinkering and he figures out that the RC fuel injectors are failing intermittently. Meaning that out of the six injectors, one is opening all the time, and another isn't opening enough. He sets up a little test bench so he can check to see that the injectors are working properly, and they aren't. So he swaps out the injectors, and then drives the car around. Looks like we got good, consistent power again, with no engine error codes, and air fuel meters look good again.
I tell Larry that the car feels fast, but I want a dyno sheet. We can't get on the dyno at the SHO Shop, so we decide to try another place that has a new dyno. We put the NSX on this dyno, and it says we are putting out 119 horsepower. Which is ricockulous. The owner of the dyno says that it might be off a little, and we should multiply by 1.1. Which is even more ricockulous. So it looks like we have to wait in line for the SHO Shop dyno.
I am also suffering from a big "clang" coming from the rear suspension. Either the engine is about to fall out, or the shock is broken. We take the car over to Dave's Frame and Alignment, and he checks out the suspension, and comes to the conclusion that one of our new rebuilt shocks just died. Luckily, we have a spare Comptech shock, so we have to throw that on.
Larry mates NSX engine to VW tranny for Robert, owner of Modern Image
(Click here for bigger)
We take it over to the dyno, and using stock 98 NSX injectors, Larry is getting about 325 RWHP out of the car. After tinkering with fuel, fuel regulator, etc, he gets it up to 358 RWHP, at the expense of boosting fuel pressure up to 100 psi, which will surely blow out the regulator diaphram again. Looks like we need to get the RC injectors back...
We get the RC injectors back. We get the new high tech regulator from Comptech. We figure out the "clanging" in the suspension is not a shock, but we need additional spacers at the rollcage mounts. Alex V. is trying to sell us a Gruppe M Exhaust for the NSX that is probably the best sounding exhaust that I have heard so far for the NSX. Car is corner-balanced, weighing in at 2628 lbs with a half tank of gas. All I need is Larry to throw the injectors in, throw the regulator in, get us a run on the dyno that should be in the 380+ HP range, fix the Hot Lap Timer wiring that plugs into the Data Cam so it shows us the laptime on the video tape, and we are ready to do some testing again. The Flamemobile is reborn! It would be better if the stock market would rise, so we have some cash to spend.
But at least we have the AP Racing Clutch dialed in, all new
wiring harness, tranny working good, engine stumbling fixed, suspension is
starting to feel
good again. Maybe we can get in some track time in the cars before the
summer is over.....
On another note, can anyone guess the secret that the Zen Five will be unveiling on September 1st? Here are some clues from www.corner-carvers.com. Only one more week until the world knows what they have been up to the past couple of months.......