Formula Fest at Summit 1-2 Aug 2015

DC Region at the urging or Joe Marcinski offered a formula car only race weekend comprising of one qualifying session and FOUR races!  The remainder of the race days were taken up with “track day” cars and drivers.  Turnout of formula car entrants was disappointing at 15 FF and CF’s.  Both Mark Walthew and I would be eager players.

After the June races where my Crossle ran from yucky to just awful, I had the injectors cleaned/calibrated and fitted a fresh battery.  The Honda has not run well since it was first run in the Fall of 2014.  A shopping list of things have been replaced while groping for a cure:  fuel pump, fuel regulator, switches, filters, heat shielding, fuel cell, etc.

0940 Saturday:  10 lap qualifier, Car seemed to be running OK in the relative cool of the morning.  Best lap 1:21.57 which is 6th best of a high quality CF field.  Had dices with Chuck Van Nostrand (1:21.286).  Data showed some fuel pressure “dips”, so the fuel filter was cleaned but no significant crud was found.

Race 1, 11:25 90 degrees (good and HOT) and sunny:  Got a nice start from my 13th overall grid position. Four cars tangled in turn one.  Lap 4, running 3rd in CF.  Lap 7, With a car sitting mid track at T3 exit, and you can’t see him until past the turn apex: barely missed him (as did several others).  Double yellows came out plus a Black Flag by T10 which I did not see until the starter’s stand.  Bad Boy, go to the principal’s office to be chastised.  (Principal this weekend was Dave Gomberg)  Car running Very BADLY; barely made it back to the pits.   After shutting it down for a few minutes, it ran only a bit better.  Race resumes, I fall back to dice (?) with Chuck for 5th.  Engine won’t idle but runs sorta OK at full throttle.  Lap 12 of 15, front tires lockup going into T1 and I park it in the gravel trap.  Best lap 1:21.6    Nose was damaged a bit (love that never ending fiberglass work), and there was considerable pea gravel to clean out of the nose sub-frame pan.  Mark’s Kent engine broke its crank at about lap 6. 

With the engine going to the “limp home” mode after a few hot laps, we decide to try Dan’s Honda ECU that Sean had remembered to bring along.

Race 2.  3PM, 90+ degrees.  More hot.  Front tires had a HUGE eye ball shaking vibration.  (Flat spots).  Went slower. On lap 3, I shook the nose adrift a bit driving over the exit curbing of T10 (have video).   Came in a got it pushed back into place (plus the usual duct tape band-aid).  Ran an uninspired 1:22.15 lap.  Good news was engine didn’t run badly at any point.  (Bad news is a new ECU was $1125 in 2013).  With no tire service at the track, we take the front wheels to town to have them balanced.  Walmart guys were very helpful, the Pep Boys guy was not.  The flat spots probably happened a race or two ago.  I had some unexpected braking issues in June where the brakes seemed soft and ineffective for just one corner, but didn’t surface often afterwards.

Sunday, Race 3: 0920, about 80 degrees.  Sean found out that Chuck runs his Hoosier R60 tires with 10 and 12 psi.  I was running 13 and 15 psi.  We decided to drop mine 2 psi.  (Result was that the first race lap was a little squirrely, but fine after that.). Got past Chuck on the start and ran very consistent laps.  Had one major shift error in T5 and lost contact with the two guys I has following by a bit (Callo and Youngman in FF’s) and hoping to reel back in.   Shane Frebert’s FF closed and for the final eight to ten  laps was on my tail. He pull beside me on the straights and on the next to last lap, passed in Turn one.   He couldn’t make a T1 pass stick.  My best lap 1:21.4 for a 9th overall position.

Post race.  Front tires had a BIG patch of cord showing where they had been flat spotted probably made worse in the race.  They were at best a few laps away from a blow out.  With no tire service, we packup and head home missing Race 4.   My tires were WAY past their prime anyway (bought Sep 2013).

Honda ECU:  For the first time since the Honda was installed (Sep 2014 first race), the engine ran an entire session with fading, failing, farting.  Guessing that all the parts replaced along the way were not needed.  Honda has agreed to diagnose and repair my ECU at no cost.  It is on its way to them.  I’m hoping my ECU issues do not hide from them.

PS: I overheard Wayne saying he advised the new kid from Ohio in the Gemini NOT to brake for Turn 10 but just slam it into 3rd gear and hang on.  Kid used the tip to pass Wayne on the last lap of Race 3.  At the next race, given good tires and a callous disregard for equipment, I’m gonna have to tip toe up to Wayne’s “truth.” Interesting.