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jkopp
08-19-2007, 08:01 AM
After the two rounds of qualifying yesterday here's where we start:

1. Philip Smith 1:46.838
2. Jim Wheeler 1:48.024
3. Tom Ellis 1:48.546
4. John Blizzard 1:48.747
5. Jeff Kopp 1:50.056
6. Bill Tucker 1:50.424
7. Carey Grant 1:51.948
8. Scott Davie 1:52.239
9. Scott Bettinger 1:54.742
10. Tim White 1:55.049
11. Chas Dawson 2:04.582

Kyle Watkins hurt his engine during Friday testing and headed home :(. Looks like we have a fun race ahead of us in a few hours. Better get to the track! :thumbsup:

-Kopp

socalta
08-19-2007, 10:19 AM
thanks Jeff ..

Man Philip is smokin.....

jkopp
08-19-2007, 04:24 PM
Just got home. Here's the provisional results (at least until my spot - not sure what went on behind me):

1. Smith
2. Wheeler
3. Ellis
4. Tucker
5. Kopp

There were protests going on and it looked like it was going to be awhile before anything was sorted out so I headed home. Yes, the protests were in AS and I'll let the involved tell their stories if they choose to do so.

Tucker got a great start and got around me. We were nose to tail for many laps with him pulling ahead on some and me catching back up on others. His car looked to really be going away and I was still pretty good. Unfortunately, with a few laps left to go, I was sticking on his rear and trying to find a good, clean place to try to make a pass and got overzealous in T5 and spun. I didn't lose any spots but with a only a couple laps left I was done and happily took my 5th home with me. Bill drove a good race and I'm not sure I could have gotten by him. I was just happy that I could still see him. :D

This was the most fun I've ever had in a race car. I could see the leaders most of the race and did not get lapped by the faster T1 cars (I usually do). It's amazing how much faster a race goes by when you're actually racing instead of just running laps at the back of the field. I wish KW wouldn't have had his troubles because he was probably the only guy who had anything for Philip.

Great to see, hang out, and race with everyone! Very nice drive Philip. See everybody at the BIG one! :thumbsup:

PRO SYSTEMS
08-19-2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks for the win for our side Philip. Good luck at the Runoffs!!

Patrick James
PRO SYSTEMS

jimwheeler
08-20-2007, 10:19 AM
Phil Smith was clearly the class of the field from the first lap in testing on Friday, until the checker came out on Sunday. He was very fast and drove a flawless race for the win. The only negative for him, the whole weekend, was that they spelled his name wrong on the Track Record certificate, and that the certificate read "a ASedan record" rather than "an ASedan record'. Both errors were fixed before he left the track.
The green came out and Phil pulled over in front of me to keep me behind over the hill. In his concern about me, he forgot about Tom Ellis who drove by both of us on the outside and had the lead through the new turn 1 - turn 2 complex. So, on lap 1 it was Tom, Phil, Wheel and a whole gaggle not far behind. Phil passed Tom and checked out of Dodge. I put a move on Tom on the inside of a corner and he didn't turn in on me, I got around, and set off after Phil. That was not gonna happen. At some point I straddled the berm on the outside of the new turn 8 and destroyed what was left of my new temporary spoiler. The temps started to come up and I slowed my pace. I had also burned up my tires trying to catch Phil. While I was slowed, Blizzard caught me and put a dive move on, that I let happen, like Tom did when I passed him. We diced pretty heavily for a few laps. He was having a hard time keeping the rear end under him and every time he messed up a corner and I had a run on him, he brake checked. The only problem was he had no brake lights and it was really tough to keep from drilling him.
With a few to go I made a move on him into 6 and he turned in on me and we touched. He spun and I continued, now in 2nd.
Tom was catching me, but ran out of laps. Everyone back in the group still had the leaders in sight and there was some great racing going on between Tucker and Kopp. Kopp spinning and Tucker taking the spot.
After the race Blizzard said he would not protest if I paid him $1,500 to fix his car. So, a protest was filed. The stewards ruled that all the witness and the tapes indicated that we were racing hard and it was a racing incident, but that since I "did not safely complete the pass", I would be docked the position that I had gained. I will not appeal that decision, because it was true. Of course, if he had working brake lights, it probably wouldn't have happened, but I knew his brake lights weren't working and I should have been a little more patient and tried it at 10 or some other corner. That part of the system worked fine. Unfortunately, there were threats made in impound and, later an assault with which the stewards were dealing when I left the track hours after the last race. I will no go into any of those details, but you may read about them later in Fastrack.
Great racing throughout the field and a near perfect weekend for Philip Smith.
wheel

Phil 1:48.412 NEW TRACK RECORD
Tom 1:49.173
wheel 1:48.592
Tuck 1:49.691
Kopp 1:49.851
Davie 1:51.861
Tim 1:54.318
Blizzard 1:48.655
Dawson 2:03.022
Grant 1:52.804

Scott Schweitzer
08-20-2007, 10:27 AM
So what are the first impressions of the layout changes in a race situation? More passing opportunities? More yeehaaa factor?

Sounds like a great race, congrats Phil on a good run.

jimwheeler
08-20-2007, 10:37 AM
I love the track. Fast, fun, added pucker factor, not really "kill your car" dangerous. You can hit the wall in several places if you screw up, but you can also drop off the outside of 8, (as about 85 cars did over the weekend) and continue undamaged. The Miatas, who would have guessed, managed to hit a lot of walls, as did a couple of formula cars. My impression is a massive improvement over the old course. Passing zones have moved around, but you can still make passes as several places.
Love it.
wheel

socalta
08-20-2007, 11:01 AM
man I have to wait for all the good stuff.. assuming it comes out in print ...

Nice work by everyone .....

jkopp
08-20-2007, 11:21 AM
So what are the first impressions of the layout changes in a race situation? More passing opportunities? More yeehaaa factor?

I have to say that going into the weekend my mindset was fairly negative towards the track changes. I am happy to admit that I couldn't have been anymore wrong. I loved it! The new turns are great. The passing zone into 8 is gone, but, since it is tough to get the 8-9 combo perfect, those that do it right now have a better chance of passing in 10. The same for the 1-2 combo - do it right and you have a good chance of a pass going into 3. As far as yeehaa factor goes, I would say yes but less scary than I invisioned it would be.

smithpr
08-20-2007, 12:03 PM
Guys:

Great racing and the Weather was Hot.

Did a bunch of testing on Friday. First hot lap put the car into the tires after turn 8. No real damage just one of those things. Got going much better and the car loves the new track. Its funny I drive much better in the slower sections but the cars works amazing in the new fast stuff and was able to get the hang of it a little.

Jim's call of the race was right on. I worked to keep him behind me and Tom got a great run. We ran bumper to bumber for three laps and had at least 3 two wide runs in a number of turns. We never touched and gave each other room. I was able to get a better run out of the corners but all I could ever do was get next to him by the following corner. It was a blast.

He entered turn 10 too fast and lost the car in the dirt and I was able to get by him and I just kept running good laps. It is fun on the video you see us both bumper to bumper going into 10 and then he pulls about 4 car lenghts under braking and I was guessing he had a little too much corner entry speed and I was right. He did a slow spin that was very well done.:laughing:

Good time. I am sorry about the Jim and John issue. What was the final outcome of the action about the threats?

Philip

Ted Johnson
08-20-2007, 12:09 PM
I got the track at its worst in group 6 in wheelers miata. The AS race was group 1 so they had the good track. I couldn't be there for sat qualifying, so only had 15 minute warmup to learn in a car I had driven once 2 years ago. Bald tires. First race for me this season. I wish I had wheelers mileage on this track because its fun and fast.

I managed to follow an ssb car off at eight. 4th gear didn't lift. Drove back on at the exit of 9 without a problem The ssb car was going much faster so when he went off at 8 in front of me, he came back on at the exit of 9 THEN sliding off the track on the outside of 9 and gathered it up going up the hill to the tunnel. That was exciting. He was bouncing like a basketball on the outside (drivers right) going up the hill. I thought he might spin in front of me but didn't.

When the track was as dirty as I saw it, only turns 1 and 2 concerned me which is where the worst crash happened at the exit of 2. When it was clean the corners are forgiving but at the speed you travel through it started to make it a little spooky but still loved it. I finally started to pick up my pace at the end of the 18 lap national. I think I need another 25 to really get it down. Turn 8 is a thread the needle, absolutlely be on line and suck it up corner. Turn in a microhair to soon you'll drop off. Turn in too little you'll drop off. Lift and you'll spin and crash for sure. Very challenging corner. I like it.

I like the new track its a lot of fun and the AS race was awesome to watch. It was a mini runoffs type race.

tellis#51sediv
08-20-2007, 01:25 PM
Guys,
What a great weekend running with the pro's. Phil, after you passed me you went off like a rocket ship never to see you again. Great job driving and awesome car as it was handling like it was on rails. Wheel , as I said before you are the man. Obviously, I did not want you to pass me but that was a move like I had never seen before. The good thing of following you was I learned alot from your lines and saw alot of ways I can improve. Thanks again for the lesson on how to really go around HPT fast. Bill and Jeff were right behind me at all times and to be honest I did not think I could keep them there later in the race. I am also sorry about the incident between Wheel and Blizzard. It certainly should never had gotten to the point of the crew getting involved with Wheel. Anyway, it was great racing with the best in the nation and I look forward to seeing each of you gain at the runoffs.

Tom
#51 SEDIV

jimwheeler
08-20-2007, 02:30 PM
Tom,
I picked up your second place trophy for you and will either mail it to you, or give it to you at the Runoffs.
wheel

tellis#51sediv
08-20-2007, 03:01 PM
Wheel,
Thanks for picking up the trophy. I'll just pick it up when I come up for the runoffs. See you then!

Tom

jimwheeler
08-20-2007, 03:16 PM
I ended up with a whole bunch of people's tophies since Ted raced in the last race and the first race wasn't final until way late in the day.
Jim

jkopp
08-20-2007, 04:20 PM
Did you get mine? Oh wait... nevermind. :p

racer14
08-20-2007, 08:57 PM
I think Wheeler should head for the gym and buff up a little...:ciao:

jimwheeler
08-21-2007, 06:35 AM
The only thing I'm buffing up is my Glock ten.
wheel

racer14
08-21-2007, 08:19 AM
Scott Bettinger pulled his engine down last nite, killed the LH cylinder head & #8 piston, block's OK. We're going downtown to steal some Social Security checks from old ladies, then reassemble.

jimwheeler
08-21-2007, 09:16 AM
Well, it could have been worse. Glad it is repairable. Kyle said the front web on his engine was laying on the floor, along with a good portion of his crank. At least there is some time before the RO for everyone to make it right.

Tim White
08-21-2007, 11:09 AM
Scott Bettinger pulled his engine down last nite, killed the LH cylinder head & #8 piston, block's OK. We're going downtown to steal some Social Security checks from old ladies, then reassemble.

Is the head salvageable? Overall it sounds promising and that is good to hear.

It was a pretty good weekend, if I would've had any car left towards the end I could've held off Scott Davies. Of course, if he wouldn't have spun twice that wouldn't even have been a possibility. Why is it so hard to find a good accelerator cable? Mine wouldn't fully really, by the end of the race the RPMs wouldn't drop below 4500. I didn't have to heal-toe brake any more but it sure was hard on the brakes, like left foot braking every time.

It was great meeting Tom Ellis and the Dawsons. I wish I could've met a few others that I had not met before but being group 1 always caused us to rush. The track was a lot of fun. I was a little skeptical about the changes at 8 but the corner is a blast. Like Ted the first time I went through 8 without a car in front of me I went off coming out of 8 going into 9, I just ran through the grass and re-entered just past the curbing. A little deceptive about how much speed you can carry through the right hander but as long as you basically have the car headed the right direction there really is no concern. I never really worked out the entry on 1. 1 and 2 are wide which should greatly reduce the number of 1st lap incidents. BTW, the chances of hitting the light pole are pretty slim because you have to go through a wall to do it. The odd layout of 2 because of the light pole doesn't really affect your line either, it still is a very smoot transition onto the short straight. I have always enjoyed Heartland and I think the changes have improved the track.

t4wallace
08-21-2007, 05:21 PM
Yes, it's from the SCCA staff writers, but here is another opinion of the new layout:
http://www.scca.com/Club/Club.asp

smithpr
08-21-2007, 10:38 PM
Here are my thoughts on the changes to HPT.

Turn 1 and 2 are very wide. My top speed on the front straight is up a little. The brake point is moved down the track some but you still need to be carefull about locking up the right front tire. Every time I tried to move my brake point down the track a bunch I got nevous about making the turn in and would lock up the right front tire. You carry a bunch more speed through 1 and 2 now. In the prior set up my minimum speed was about 50 MPH (turn 2) and now it is about 70 MPH because turn 2 is not really an issue now. I never worried about the pole on the inside. The pavement is not real smooth and there are some pretty good bumps and humps. The 1 and 2 complex is a lot more fun. Speed going into turn 3 is greater. I am up about 400 rpm going into turn three. Some people might want to think about a gear change. I just let it bang off the rev limiter which is set at 7200 but seems to kick in about 7000.

Turn 8 and 9 are interesting. You go into 8 full on the gas and at some point before the hump you start braking. If you wait to brake until the hump you will likely get a bunch of rear wheel hop as the car gets light and then you are not going to have much fun. Then you go over the hump and brake hard for a short time get the car turned and make dam sure the you get your right tires on the rumble strips on the apex and then the car is pointed and nail it. I never was comfortable about trailing the brakes into 9. It seemed to feel a lot better if you got your braking done before turn in. Some Zen master(JH, Andy or Sloe) might be able to trail the brakes into 9 but that would be a huge feat. The car then drifts out to the left side rumble strips and you are off to turn 10. The minimum speed is up from about 60 MPH to about 80. I leave the car in 4th gear and worry about the line and getting the entry speed right. If you get it wrong you will go off and have some fun. Tire wall contact is in the cards.

Speed going into 10 is up about 7 MPH but nothing huge. Brake point in 10 is moved up due to the higher speed. Seems like it should be more because the minimum speed is up so much. Must be my poor old Chevy motor can't get the car going. I will need to discuss this with my engine builder.

One of my big concerns is the condition of the asphalt. In a number of corners the track seems to be turning into gravel and you can see and feel the poor surface conditions. I wonder what is going to happen during the Runoffs with all the abuse it is going to take.

Track is a much better test. It is much more technical and will reward the better drivers like Andy, John and Tom Sloe. These guys will rock this place. It might take them a few laps to figure it out but once they do it is going to be some fun. You need to be much more precise in a number of areas and if you are not the speeds are up and you know what that means.

The track is better but it is still HPT which is never going to be Road America, MidO, Leguna Seca, Road Atlanta, VIR or Watkins Glen. Even Sebring would be nice.

Those are my thoughts. Remember they are worth what you paid for them.

Philip

KW78
08-22-2007, 12:48 AM
Must be my poor old Chevy motor can't get the car going. I will need to discuss this with my engine builder.

Philip

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

OhGEEZYaKillMe........ Ya really do....

jimwheeler
08-22-2007, 07:19 AM
Kyle,
Even I spewed coffee all over my puter, when I read that line from Phil.
wheel

smithpr
08-22-2007, 08:37 AM
Guys I am glad I provided a little entertainment.:cheers:

Philip

jimwheeler
08-22-2007, 08:39 AM
Thanks Phil, we appreciate it.
Accurate report about the track. I pretty much agree with everything you said. If you are too early turning in at 8, you go off the outside, straight ahead. If you are too late turning in, you go off the same place, but a little sideways. The later racers, especially the Miatas in group 6, cut across the dirt in turns 1 and 2. Very similar to what everyone did at the old turn 8. The track got very dirty in 1 - 2, and therefore more dangerous. Rumble strips there will really help that problem, but I foresee drivers still using the dirt on the inside of new rumble strips.
wheel

SedanMan
08-22-2007, 11:15 AM
The later racers, especially the Miatas in group 6, cut across the dirt in turns 1 and 2. Very similar to what everyone did at the old turn 8. The track got very dirty in 1 - 2, and therefore more dangerous. Rumble strips there will really help that problem, but I foresee drivers still using the dirt on the inside of new rumble strips.
wheelNah, that's impossible......I heard from a very reliable source on the radio (so you KNOW it's true) that no one would be short cutting Turn 1 or Turn 9 by dropping wheels in the dirt.

Hey, if HPT can put up a wall on the outside of Turn 1 (around 'the pole') then I say put up friggin walls at the apexes of Turns 1 & 9 and keep people from spreading rocks and dirt on the track before the Dumasses kill someone when the next cars in line can't hold the corner and slam into the outside concrete wall. Btw, debris flags will NOT be shown every lap, just the first time someone messes up the corner.....after that it's a free-for-all. (Think back to how messed up the track was for the 2006 Runoffs and how many debris flags you saw.)

I hate to sound like a broken record but if the track layout incentivizes driving in the dirt and SCCA has no penalties for doing it then I say it's up to HPT to make those corners idiot proof. It's obvious that this is a safety problem so FIX IT!

Rant over.....

jimwheeler
08-22-2007, 11:36 AM
Bill,
We discussed the old turn 8 dirt and what would happen on the new, high speed, turn 8 if dirt was kicked up. My prediction proved correct. There was zero problem with dirt being kicked up at turn 8. The cars that went off the left side at 8 (Kopp and Wheeler included) did so because they got the line or the speed wrong, not because of dirt.
The biggest problem with 1-2 will be solved when they put in the rumble strips, although there might need to be additional deterrents to the "rally" drivers in the group.
wheel

t4wallace
08-22-2007, 11:51 AM
Curbs. REALLY big curbs will have to be considered.

Wanna go Bo Duke on that corner? Prepare to smash your exhaust.

SedanMan
08-22-2007, 04:18 PM
Curbs. REALLY big curbs will have to be considered.

Wanna go Bo Duke on that corner? Prepare to smash your exhaust.There is one other solution that's used at some tracks. Wheeler and Kyle will know what I'm talking about when I elaborate cause they've raced there.....

Think about Turn 3 at the Phoenix AZ road course (PIR, not Firebird). There is curbing all along the inside of Turn 3 and on the back side of the curbing there must be 30 feet of pavement (in the widest spot) between the curbing and the concrete retaining wall.

At the Driver's Meetings at that track they announce to all the drivers that 2 wheels on the back side of the curbing is fine, but 4 wheels on the back side is a penalty to be enforced as follows:

1) If the infraction occurs during a qualifying session then the times from that lap and the next lap will not be counted.
2) If the infraction occurs during a race then the driver will get a black flag to serve a Stop-N-Go drive through penalty down pit lane.

That usually takes care of the problem.
(well, with the exception of someone who didn't come in for their black flag a couple years ago until after the race and he got DQ'd, suspended, and tossed from the Region.....oh yeah, it might have had something to do with the driver of the open wheel car giving the starter the Finger lap after lap every time he was shown the black flag, and then yelling at the stewards after the race)

So maybe we should add some pavement behind the apexes and just make sure no one drives all 4 wheels behind the curbing. Oh, and keep your fingers to yourself if you get black flagged for being a bonehead. :)

jimwheeler
08-22-2007, 04:30 PM
Bill,
I know the corners of which you speak and that would work perfectly on turns 1 and 2. The rumble strips are high enough that you wouldn't want to go over them on purpose, but you could if you had to, and you wouldn't bring dirt on the track when you came back across. Some tall cars might go over them every time, but I sure wouldn't. They would eventually play hell on the exhaust system. Also coming back across tends to upset the balance of the car and take away from your handling.
The final turn onto the front straight at Road America has a similar deal on the outside of the corner.
Good idea. You might drop a note to the track with that recommendation.
wheel

Scott Davie
08-28-2007, 11:37 AM
I need to see if anyone has Scott Bettingers phone numbers or how to get hold of him. He gave me a clutch cable in Topeka, so I could make the race Sunday, other wise I would have had to watch from the side lines. I did get to watch the race backwards a couple of times.:eek: :eek:

Tim White
08-28-2007, 01:59 PM
I need to see if anyone has Scott Bettingers phone numbers or how to get hold of him. He gave me a clutch cable in Topeka, so I could make the race Sunday, other wise I would have had to watch from the side lines. I did get to watch the race backwards a couple of times.:eek: :eek:

Yeah, witnessed both spins. Unfortunately you collected it back up and got back by both times. Anyway, I send you a PM with Scott's phone numbers.