The last few weekends have been dominated by training for a 26.2mi footrace scheduled at the end of October. For giggles, I wore my Garmin watch during the last race at Barber. The results were quite striking.
My average heart rate during the 25 minute qualifying session was equivalent to a fast tempo run. Multiply that by 4 practice sessions, 2 qualifying sessions, and two races over the course of a weekend. That is some serious aerobic demand. And we’re not carrying anywhere near the corner speeds and G-loads of a higher horsepower car. It’s no wonder that most pro drivers are elite runners or cyclists. It will be interesting to see how the marathon training translates to endurance in the car.
Speaking of pros, last weekend was the SCCA Runoffs at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For those that don’t know, the Runoffs are the championship race, the Super Bowl of amateur road racing.
Over 110 Miata drivers attended, so many that field was split into two for qualifying. Those in the slowest group competed in a ‘last chance’ race to make the final 72 cars in the big show.
Young ace Preston Pardus won it in fine fashion with his teammate Sellin Rollan in second.
The Speedwerks team was well represented. Senter drove a solid race, finishing in the top half of the field in his new VVT car. Check out the Spec Miata Man Drama Facebook page for a hilarous recap of the action.
Also under the tent was Spec Racer Ford ace Tray Ayers who went on to win it all in a stacked field of 72 drivers.
Back to the BumpDraft report (and lowly regional racing).
My last two events included a Miata race at Barber Motorsports Park and a co-drive in the IP racer with JB at Road Atlanta.
In Birmingham I qualified 3rd for the first race and drove well. I finished on the podium after fending off a charging Skip Jr. in the closing stages.
During Sunday’s qualifying the fan belt decided to suddenly exit stage left. I had warning lights on the dash, but I always have a low battery voltage on the out lap from running the Coolshirt on grid. By the time I realized what was going on, the water temp was pegged at 250. I pulled over and shut the car off. Too late, the motor was cooked. Drago, my engine builder, said the exact same thing happened to him at that track a few years ago. He was quick to recognize the problem, but it still cost him an engine. A little consolation that there wasn't much I could have done.
Still. RIP BloodRacer engine #1. Ye were a good one. The new power plant will debut soon.
In the aftermath, Brian and I went through the AIM system and reconfigured all of the parameters. I have a much more in-depth understanding of the warnings. And motivation to check the gauges compulsively.
Right after that JB invited me to co-drive the 90 minute Enduro with him at Road Atlanta. It was a good opportunity to wash off the melted motor blues. Unfortunatley the ABS was working intermittently all weekend which made the M3 a bit unpredictable in the braking zone.
I summonded my Miata brake foot (no ABS) and qualified P2 overall, 1st in class. Lippe passed me on the start into turn 1. I returned the favor on the back straight and never looked back. Even with a spin coming out of turn 7, we had a 15 second lead when I turned the car over to JB.
He put in some solid laps in traffic and held the gap. Some luck also went our way when a few competitors were penalized for speeding in pit lane. We finished 3rd overall and 1st in class, winning by a lap.
JB was frustrated by the mechanical gremlins and retired the car without competing in the sprint races. I’m really proud of how he drove, no easy feat without ABS. Not to mention the fact that the Hoosiers were mostly square by then.
We’ll be back at it with the M3 in December at Roebling Road. ABS and all.
That’s the racing update. Time to start preparing for the 2018 Runoffs at Sonoma. It’s gonna be epic.