Racing Company Super Cup Race #1
Willow Springs Kart Track, February 24, 2002
"KRC Super Cup = Formula One Racing"
And Wayne takes delivery of a 360 Modena
It came upon a sunny February morning......
(Note: After this article, I finally got
motivated to update the software in my Kodak Digital camera. The software
update that has been available for a couple of years makes it so that red cars
really look red, instead of having a "pink-ish" hue. That's why the
cars do not look bright red in the previous 50 chapters. So starting in
Chapter 82, red should be red again.)
February 1st, 2002
Wayne's Ferrari 360 Modena is loaded upon a transporter in Pennsylvania. It will take approximately seven days to make it to Huntington Beach, California. The transporter is making multiple stops across the country, delivering a wide variety of cars. My F355 is leaking tranny fluid and radiator fluid. Shit. This time I take it to the Ferrari dealer to get the leaks fixed. Sometimes I think I should sell the damn car and spend the money on a World Challenge car.........but then again racing with the Big Boys in World Challenge will probably burn cash faster than just about any other hobby you could ever think of....and at the same time will probably humiliate you with their driving skills.
February 2nd through February 7th, 2002
Wayne calls the transporter company every day. "So ahhh....what city is my car in today?". I am sure he is driving the transporter company crazy. On the night of February 7th, the driver calls and says he is in northern California, and he should be in Huntington Beach tomorrow afternoon around 2 p.m. After that his last stop is in San Diego. I try to coordinate with Ferrari of Orange County to get my car back by the weekend so Wayne and I can be the Ferrari boys once again. Wayne says he's not going to drive the 360 very much, maybe just a couple days a week.
Now if you are a car person, you gotta pronounce the word "Modena" correctly. I have heard it pronounced about 3 different ways. MoDEENa. MODenA. MoDAYna. Which is the correct pronunciation? I ask the wife to figure it out for me, and she find this on the internet, and adds her own sarcastic sentence to the end of it. Click on the little speaker icon to hear it over your speakers:
So if you are going to talk about the car, pronounce it correctly, or else real car geeks will think you are a poseur trying to act like a car geek. Kinda like how Reubens Barrichello's last name is pronounced BarriKello, not Barri-CHELL-O, like the USA TV announcers did for the first F1 race at Indy two years ago. Those NASCAR announcers lost all credibility with that doofus pronunciation. Most the NASCAR guys probably didn't graduate. From eighth grade.
February 8th, 9:00 a.m.
Transporter guy calls and says that he told a customer an hour north of Huntington Beach that he would drop off his car somewhere around 8:15 a.m., but due to traffic, the transporter would be just a little bit late. Customer goes ballistic on the transporter driver, cursing him out, just because the transporter guy is about 45 minutes late driving all the way down from Northern California. The transporter guy immediately calls Wayne, and says that Wayne's car is getting delivered at 10:00 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m., as he just drove by the freeway exit for the guy that was cussing him out. Apparently if you are an asshole and cuss out the transporter driver for being 45 minutes late, you get you car the NEXT day......
Brent, Wayne, and Bobby watching the transporter dude unload the Ferrari
February 8th, 10:00 a.m.
The car arrives. Quite a few people in the nearby buildings are checking out the car. Some people question Wayne, saying, "Uh....are you sure you only sell phone systems here?", implying that 1-800-Phoneguys and Pulp Racing are a front for the Columbian cartel. When Wayne tells them that he just took out a huge margin loan against his stock portfolio to get the car, they look confused and don't understand why someone would do that for a freaking car. What they don't understand is that, hey, you ain't gonna live forever, so damn it, you better do what ya wanna do before you die......so what if we end up in a flop house, alone, broke, and destitute when we are 80 years old....but we will have some good memories.
So what if he is broke. He is pimping around in a 360 Modena!
And besides, if everyone just puts their cash into bank savings accounts that give you a measly 2% interest, the economy will stagnate. This is what is happening to Japan these days, as everyone there is too scared to spend money or buy things on credit due to the lackluster economy. Since they are not spending money, there is no growth in all their industries, and they instead put their left over cash into savings accounts. As ricockulous as it may sound, I believe the only reason the U.S. economy isn't in total economic shambles like Japan is due to the fact that there are people like Wayne buying stuff like cars, houses, furniture, etc, on credit, and then working their butt off to pay it down. When people buy stuff, it creates demand for stuff, creates jobs to build the stuff people want to buy, creates profits for the manufacturers to hire more people to build more stuff. It's a virtuous cycle. So dammit, you wanna see less unemployment, stock market profits, and employee bonuses? SPEND MONEY! Tell your friends to be wreckless and buy stuff, just make sure you can eventually pay it off. Be like Wayne, as it is people like him that are keeping the American economy rolling. So go tell your wife that you gotta do your part for America, and buy those Go-Fast parts with your credit card ASAP! It's like a pyramid game.....
Support the economy. Buy stuff like these triple adjustable Penske shocks!
I call the Ferrari dealer to see if my car is ready. It was almost ready....but the mechanic working on it called in sick. It ain't gonna be done for the weekend. Oh well......I guess it was expected, so I wasn't too disappointed.
Wayne gives me the keys to his car, and Donald and I take it for a spin. The 360 has a tremendous amount of low end torque compared to an F355, and I easily spin the wheels in 1st and 2nd gear. Car feels very solid, and light on its feet. Exhaust sound is more like a "brapppppppp" as opposed to the whine of an F355. Car is very wide, and almost makes an NSX look kinda weak when side by side. It is a nice car, but I have turned into a Southern California wimp, and I gotta have a street car that is either a convertible or has a removable top. And no, there is no budget whatsoever for a 360 Spider like there could have been back in February 2000, when the NASDAQ was flying along at 5000. The S2000 will do quite nicely, and it fits in my budget for a daily driver.
Wayne's fiancée is now cruising around in an NSX......
So Wayne's theory is that he has one year left on the warranty on the Ferrari, so he can drive it for a year, and then hopefully sell it for pretty close to the same price he paid for it. One theory is that he shouldn't drive the car too much, to keep the resale value high. The other theory, spouted by The Wife, is that since it is under warranty, he should drive the living crap out of the car, because if it breaks, it's on Ferrari to fix it for free. With logic like that, suddenly, the 360 turns into Wayne's daily driver, and he is driving it to work every day. Wayne says that he wakes up at 5:00 a.m. every morning, thinking, "Yeah....in another hour when the sun comes up, I can fire up the Ferrari and do some driving." Every day becomes Christmas morning for Wayne.
A Ferrari in Wayne's hands is a dangerous weapon. Example: A woman calls Wayne to buy a phone system. Wayne "happens" to be in the neighborhood of this small business, and he stops by in the 360 Modena for a sales call. He parks right smack in front of the door. The receptionist ask him if he has an appointment to see the decision maker about the phone system, and he says, "No, I don't". The receptionist then says, "I'm sorry, the manager doesn't see any sales people without an appointment, you will have to call later to make an appointment." Wayne pulls the F-Card: "See that Ferrari out there? That's my car. Tell her if she sees me now, I will take her for drive." Receptionist relays the message, and 30 seconds later Wayne has his meeting with the manager. Ferrari.....it turns its owners into Tom Cruise look-alikes with hundred dollar bills falling out their pockets.....
Not Dependable. Not Reliable. Not cheap. But you won't regret it.
So now on weekends, Wayne and I pack up the Dagmar and Amy into the Ferraris, and we cruise up and down Pacific Coast Highway searching for a lunch place with good parking. The later part of February had temperatures in the high 70's and low 80's with just a bit of a cool ocean breeze, which is ideal weather for our two car parade. Before I pull the Ferrari out of the garage, I have to check to see how much fluid has leaked this time, even after it's visit to the Ferrari dealer....so far it is just small drops....but I just give up trying to make the car leak proof. It's impossible. It is the equivalent of leaving your dog locked up in the garage for three days.....it has to piss somewhere.
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
The Dow goes down 157 points to 9745. Wayne starts sweating about the margin call on the 360. He might be forced to sell the 360, or else take a chance at his stock portfolio going to zero due to the margin calls.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
Practice day at the track for karting. Wayne, Dave and I are at the track. We have three days until the KRC Super Cup Race #1. The NASDAQ takes an ass whupping, and drops down to 1716. Wayne is within inches of a margin call......uh oh.....there might be a 360 for sale cheap!
Our pit area at the race
We have about 21 guys entered for the first race at Willow Springs. Our original plan was to practice all winter long and get really fast...except that we end up only practicing a couple times. There is also the normal confusion as with any racing series. The Vortex motors comes with what we call the F1 and the F2 head. F1 is high compression, so you get a tiny bit more power. Apparently everyone is required to run the F2 head this year as the "spec" head. So, Wayne and I have JM Racing put the F2 head on our karts. We go out to practice three days before the race, and then we find out that the F1 head is okay to use for the first race. Damn. I figure there is no use in practicing with the F2 head. What if it screws up our shifting points? Our braking points? I convince Wayne that we should swap the heads at the track before we practice. I wrote down the instructions I got from JM Racing over the phone, which are basically:
1. Take off radiator hose, drain water.
2. Take off spark plug.
3. Take off temp sensor
4. Take off radiator hose insert
5. Take off head bolts
6. Take off F1 head
7. Put on F2 head
8. Put some silicone around hose
9. Torque head bolts to 110
10. Put on temp sensor, spark plug, radiator hose, etc.
11. Burp system, add water.
Donald and Brent - The Pulp Racing Kart Pit Crew Chiefs
We decide to experiment on Wayne's. It probably takes JM Racing 8 minutes to do the head swap, but it takes Wayne about 45 minutes. But now we think we have it figured out. Wayne is tightening the bolts with the car wheel torque wrench to 110, and he says something doesn't seem right. Am I sure it is 110? I tell him I am positive. He keeps tightening the head bolts....and one of the bolts seems to strip, and he cusses at me. Uh oh. Am I sure it is 110? Yes, Dammit. I call JM, and confirm torque to 110. Keith says yes, that is correct. I then ask him that is 110 ft lbs, right? And he goes NO, it is inch lbs! INCH LBS? What the fuck is that? I never heard that expression before. Wayne calls me a moron. Well hell, I got a torque wrench, and no where on it does it say INCH LBS. Oh well....now we know why we stripped a bolt.
Anyways, since experimenting with Wayne's, I figure I can now do mine in 15 minutes. I start the process on mine, and 15 minutes later, I am done. Damn I am good. I put water in the radiator, burp it....but water starts pouring out of from between the head and the block. Ooops....I see part of the rubber O ring that seals the head is unfortunately sticking outside the head......oooopss.....looks like I didn't put the O ring where it would seal. Damn. Destroyed that O ring, as now it is flat as a pancake.....now we have to take apart the spare kart motor, and take the O ring out of that. It takes us about another 30 minutes to finish that......and now finally I am up and running again. We practice for a couple of hours chasing each other around the track, about 3 feet off of each other's bumper. We also do about a bunch of one lap "races", complete with standing start, so we are ready for the chaos that happens on race day.
Chaos can happen at the start of a race going into Turn 1
Jeff is doing two racing series at Willow today. He plans on racing his kart in the KRC race, and he is racing his Sports 2000 with the SCCA on the big track. During practice, Wayne's motor seizes up, and it looks like he has blown up his Vortex motor before the first race of the season. Bummer. We are not sure why, but his motor definitely overheated due to lack of water. It couldn't have been our "head swap", could it? Nah....we are expert mechanics. We pull out the spare kart just like Ferrari does with Formula One, and Wayne plans to run that in the race.
Much like Formula One, qualifying is tough, and every minuscule mistake counts against you. Pole is a screaming 42.8x or so. Jeff is gridded 3rd at 43.4x. Mark, who hasn't raced in a 9 months, always runs fast on this track, and he runs a 43.4x for 4th on the grid. I run a 43.65. Wayne runs a 43.66 in the spare kart. Steve runs a 43.65, so I tied him, but since he was on the qualifying grid before I was, he takes the 5th spot, I take 6th. Wayne takes 8th, as somehow Imron got between him and me in the grid, not sure if there was a mistake or not. So basically 1/100th of a second separated the four of us in the grid from 5th to 8th place. Now that is pretty damn close. For some reason, the clutch on my kart is giving me barn burner starts. The past three years of karting, I have always had to feather the clutch and throttle to get a good launch, or else the motor would bog due to the clutch being released too quickly. But now, all I have to do is rev the motor to 14,000 RPMS and literally dump the clutch and the kart shoots off like a rocket ship. This is going to be my year in karting.......
Green flag drops, I get a good launch, and I hold my spot coming out of Turn 1. But, the start is red-flagged, as there is a big accident at the back part of the grid. A guy we will call "Ralf" (for anonymity reasons) was heading into Turn 1, and he looked to his left just for a split second to make sure no one was diving on the inside on him, and at that instant in time a bunch of people were hitting the brakes going into Turn 1 earlier than normal. Ralf touches wheels with Jim, and goes flying over the top of him a la Ralf Schumacher, but unlike Schumacher, Ralf's kart goes upside down with Ralf in it. Ouch! We had a member of the Pulp Racing Film Crew videotaping the start of the race going in to Turn 1 because like Formula One racing, a lot action happens at the start of the race. Here's the play by play sequence: (note: pictures are unclear as they were clipped from the video camera, and then in some spots enlarged)
We have a standing start for the qual race. I am on far left, first white helmet.
Green flag drops, everyone scrambles and fans out to establish position into Turn 1
People start funneling down to get into Turn 1 without crashing
Ralf brakes a little too late, gets his front wheels on the rear wheels of guy in front
Uh oh, Ralf FLIES over the guy in front
Fall on shoulder. (note: it looks like his head) with 210 lbs of shifter kart
Continues to slide upon shoulder (note: it looks like his head)
Kart lands on the rest of his body
Finally, Ralf separates from the kart.
Ralf doesn't appear to be hurt, but he is taken to emergency just in case to get checked out. Donald suggests that he gets a cat scan just to be on the safe side, as swelling upon the brain happens many hours after an injury. Ralf is taken to the emergency room in nearby Lancaster.
We restart the qual race. Green flag drops, and both Wayne and I get a tremendous start. I blow by Mark on the inside, and Wayne comes screaming in from WAY BACK and takes Mark on the outside, and also gets me coming into Turn 1. So Wayne goes from 8th to 4th going into Turn 1, and I go from 6th to 5th. Jeff is in third. This is awesome, as 5th going into turn 1 is one of my best starts ever in the KRC F1 series. We complete the first lap without incident. I start thinking, okay, let's take our time, we have 25 laps to get in front of Jeff. However, on Lap 2, Wayne decides to go for it, and gets right on Jeff's butt going into a turn, and gets so close that he almost does another Ralf Schumacher, and has to slam on the brakes and he then spins going into the corner. Unfortunately for me, I am about 10 feet behind Wayne on the extreme outside line coming into the turn at 50 mph, and he spins right in front of me and I have to hit the brakes and veer off into the dirt so I don't t-bone Wayne's kart. Within three seconds, 16 karts rocket by us, so we have gone from 4th and 5th place to 20th and 21st in one turn. I am cursing Wayne for being over aggressive on Jeff so early in the race. I don't stall the kart, but I have some trouble getting traction in the dirt and gravel. Five laps later, my motor freezes up. Looks like it is blown. It can't possibly be from switching the heads ourselves, its uh..... gotta be these ffing Italian karting motors. Unbelievable. First race of the season, and we blow up two motors before the main heat.
Meanwhile, Doug Ota is on the big track at Willow with the SCCA guys in the Sports 2000 class, duking it out with Jeff. Unfortunately for him, he blows the motor in his race car......
Okay, so now for our three kart team, we have blown up two of the karts. I tell Wayne to run the spare kart in the final race, and I will sit it out. Wayne says that he will sit it out, and I should run, as he isn't sure if he is going to do all the races this year, so I should get the points. We then agree that I will run the last remaining kart.
The grid for the qual race. Wayne is #59, gridded behind you know who!
I am now at the back of the grid. Green flag drops. We are off. I get caught behind a train of about 5 karters, all right on the bumper of each other. We proceed like this for about four laps. Wayne, Dave, Jeff, and I can run all afternoon in practice like this with only a couple of feet separating us. Coming down the back straight, I get ready to make my move. I take the extreme outside edge, so I can launch out of the turn, and try to pick off the guy in front of me. Unfortunately for me, the guy four karts in front of my intended victim seems to do a "Barrichello" and hit the brakes too early going into the turn, causing everyone behind him to early brake, causing the guy in front of me to brake early and swerve into me from his position 3 feet from the outside of the track edge right into me, thus knocking me into the hay bales. Shit. Everyone passes me. I get the kart started again, and bring the kart home to what is probably a last place finish. After the race, I apologize to the guy in front of me for banging into him, but I said that he swerved to the outside line that I was on. He said it was all he could do, as the the morons in front of him hit the brakes so early he almost did a Ralf Schumacher. Oh well....that's racing.
4:30 p.m., race day.
The Pulp Racing entourage gets to the hospital to check on our buddy Ralf. He has been sitting there in emergency for 3 hours, and still hasn't been checked on. We decide that he might as well go to a hospital closer to home, and probably faster service, so we drive another 90 minutes back to the beach area. We check into a local emergency center at 6:00 p.m. There is 25+ people there. Lots of sick kids, ankle injuries, arm injuries, etc. I think the best way to get help at the emergency room is to have an ambulance pick you up, and then maybe you don't have to wait in the cattle call line. At 11:00 p.m., he finally gets a cat scan. His brain and head are fine, no broken bones, just bruises and a big ass headache. I spend the night with Ralf at his house to make sure he doesn't die in his sleep. Except that I go to sleep at 1:00 a.m. after he does, and I proceed to sleep until 10:00 a.m. Ralf wakes up at 7:00 a.m., and he is wondering if I died in my sleep, as I don't hear him walking around the house.
Mumford's 245/40/18 front Hoosier with Brembo mono block calipers.
He has 285/30/18 rears. With Penske Triple Adjustables. On his S2000.
Support the Economy!
February 25th, 2002
Dow makes it back up to 10145, up almost 400 points since last Thursday.
March 7th, 2002
NASDAQ scrambles back up to 1929, up more than 200 points from the day the margin call almost took away Wayne's 360. People are buying stuff again. People are getting hired out of the unemployment lines. Manufacturers are scrambling to build more stuff for people to buy. Wayne is happy, he is still pimping around in a Ferrari 360 every day. GO OUT AND BUY SOME STUFF TODAY!
7 Tracks in 7 Days! Do you have what it takes to be the OTC King?