View Full Version : Homestead Drivers School

06-16-2008, 11:13 AM

After three years of building, rebuilding, head scratching, wrong brakes, leaking head gaskets, blown oil galley plugs and waivering enthusiasm, and about 30K (not including the F350 Dually) I loaded up and headed out for my first drivers school 300 miles south to Miami-Homestead Speedway.

Saturday morning- I head out for a tour of the track (In a Hemi Ram) with my instructor, David Bauer, who drives a BP Mustang. Now I'm really nervous. So, about thirty minutes afterwards, I am belted in and on pit road (grid). "Pit Out" waves his hand and we're off. Truth? I was so nervous I thought I was going to vomit. Well, I thought the first few laps were warm-ups, but by the time we approached Turn 6, a SM and a ITB Golf blew past me much to my amazement, so I down shifted and off I went. By the time I was back on the front stretch I was having the time of my life and the nervousness was all but gone. The 20 minute session was over, I rolled into the my assigned (NASCAR) garage, and got out drenched in sweat with an ear-to-ear grin. About 30 minutes later I am out on the track again, this time with enthusiam. I got some heat in the tires and hammered it. Turns 1 and 10 are intimidating because of the speed, and I kept trying to find the right line. My instructor told me it is possible to take 10 off the back stretch flat out, so by lap 5, I tried it. I performed what he called a "graceful four-wheel slide" at 120+ mph and came to a stop more embarrassed then shaken, waited for the corner worker, and pulled back out and finished the session in a car that was suddenly VERY tail happy. I figured the ancient Kumhos had given up. I pulled back into the garage to find a puddle of gear oil under the right rear- Not good. While looking under the car, I also see a fractured panhard bar bracket and a bent third-link bracket- Even worse! At least now I know why the car was tail happy.

This is where SCCA is so much different than ANY other sanctioning body I have ever competed in. Scott Siefret came down with me and to whom I am extremely grateful. Another CFR AS Racer came down as well, and immediatly loaded up in his truck and drove 200+ miles round trip to his shop to get his welder. LOTS of people came by and asked if they could help. I missed the afternoon sessions while pulling RR axle and replacing the seal, and welding and bracing the two brackets.

Sunday- I completed all the sessions. I was on the car HARD while monitoring the Oil Temp (no cooler- thats gonna change) The brakes worked AWESOME!!! On the cool down lap of the last one(of all the times) the third-link bracket broke clean through and I was done. No final race for me. I stood there while the grid was formed with an open spot (mine) on the outside pole next to a "Wicked" SPO RX7 Turbo. I was ahead of an SPO Mustang, a SPO stockcar, a 911SC, and about 16 SM's and IT cars.

The good news? Not only did I show my instructor, chief instructor, and Chief Stewart enough to pass the school, they waived my second school based on my previous experience. I have my Novice License!!!!!!
OMG was this fun. After I rethink my rear-end brackets and a few other minor details..I'm RACING!!! Did I mention this was fun? :D
Thanks again to everyone on here who helped me to this point, and especially to Scott Seifreit, without whom I would NEVER have made it this far.

OK Jorge, your up!!!!! :thumbsup:

06-16-2008, 11:52 AM
Congratulations. Another hook is firmly set. Don't feel bad about the 3rd link. We broke the first three we tried after converting over from the old torque arm. Sounds like a great first outing.
Also, hats off to you for sticking with it when it broke, and making the program the next day.

Ted Johnson
06-16-2008, 12:05 PM
Good job on your first race weekend. Can you imagine how loose your car would have been with a broken third link and rear calipers that were too big? :eek: Sounds like a competitive AS car is on its way. Like Jim mentioned, I think this hook has been firmly set. I think Jim and I have countless stories of people helping us or helping others when things aren't going well. Its part of what the SCCA is all about.

06-16-2008, 12:07 PM
Good Job Walther!!

As far as your 3 link goes, whenever I am up shifting or downshifting, I release the clutch in two stages...take the slack out of the drive line and dump it (all in tenths of a second).

It takes some getting used to, but its easier on your driveline parts and your clutch won't get hot at all. I do it hundreds of times every race.

I also have a T5 so you have to take it easy on them and that technique helps.

Again, congrats hope to see you at Sebring. : )

Patrick James