My daughter and I participated in a 100-mile long poker run benefit. Most of the vehicles used for the benefit were motorcycles; however, there was a small group of car drivers, myself included. I decided to use the '76 911. Please note the photograph [above]. In it, you'll obviously spot the green machine off to the right. It's behind a '95 Dodge Viper V10. On the left, there's an awesome '76 930 (it's got more goodies than you can shake a stick at!), which is in front of a Boxster S.
Anyway, my car more than held its own! There were lots of twisty roads and spots for us to mash down on the throttles. We frequently hit triple-digit speeds. I received lots of compliments on the car, and people expressed their astonishment at its ability to both keep pace and lead the pack at several points.
Thanks so much!
Racing coverage in the local paper...
Brant's cars, a Porsche 911 and a 944, race in both Porsche Club of America and NASA (National Auto Sport Assn) events and are, of course, maintained by Steinel's.
Brant's 944 runs in NASA's German Touring Series' GTS1 class, an incredibly competitive group here in the Midwestern US, where he races with a group of friends who not only have nearly identical cars, they even share a common radio channel so they can talk to one another during the race.
Over the winter, Brant added new aerodynamics to the 944 in the form of a big rear wing and front splitter to help his car stick even better to the track but, like all such modifications, a certain amount of fine-tuning and adjustment can be expected to be needed before things are pefect. In Brant's case, the wing was so effective he's finding a need for more downforce at the front of the car to balance it out but, even so, still managed to finish 3rd and is already hard at work on adjustments. He's hoping to have it all sorted out by the next race at Putnam Park in May.
Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess
In 2010, from September 19-October 4 (just 16 days) I went to:
- Watkins Glen, NY for a 2-day event (NNJPCA)
- Mid-Ohio for a 3-day event (ARPCA)
- Road America’s 3-day Badger Bimmers, a good event with a dumb name, and
- Virginia International Raceway for another great DE event
I sat in my tow vehicle pulling a trailer for 6 days (36 hours, give or take) and 1,800 road miles. As I write this, it’s been nearly 3 months and my left hamstring still hurts from all the driving (we all have our crosses to bear).
The Watkins Glen event was an advanced half-hour-on/half-hour-off gas-burning festival. The “A” group was full of really fast cars and really fast drivers. The “B” group was full of really fast cars and not-quite-as-fast drivers.
You could manage 4 hours on this really fast track going really fast both days if you really wanted to. Some drivers did, while others got tired and crashed or broke their really expensive cars.
In summary: What a great event!
As if you needed more reasons to do this event next year, the town of Watkins Glen now has an actual, real live first class hotel (not the Glen Motor Inn, thank you) along with some good restaurants spread around the lake amid the beautiful fall foliage.
A quick recovery
From The Glen it was a quick trip back to Steinel’s in Twinsburg or, as some like to think of it, Hudson Heights, on Tuesday for new tires and a check-up (Eric’s kid has to eat too, you know). Then it was off to Mid-Ohio for the 3-day ARPCA (Allegheny Region PCA) group's ABCD Driver’s Ed.
I love Mid-Ohio and have been driving there since 1985 (less a 14-year temporary insanity “Harley” affair). The Pittsburgh bunch runs a good event each year, with the only problem being that it’s too close to the NORPCA dates and not many people “double up.” There are just not that many excessive people out there. All you “high normals” who live reasonable moderate lives--you know who you are--there’s no need to name names.
From Mid-Ohio, it was back to Steinel’s, this time for a tire flop and another check up (Eric’s kid has skating lessons too).
On Wednesday, September 29th, just ten days since the beginning of my odyssey, we drove as far as the northern end of Chicago before stopping to sleep well beyond the reach of Thursday’s rush hour traffic. The next morning, road travel continued with an easy drove up to Elkhart Lake for the Badger Bimmers event that started with a Friday “open track.” We got 20 minutes on then were waved off for a new group heading out for their own 20-minute session. If you wanted to, you could get right back into line to go back out 20 minutes after coming in.
Theoretically, that meant you could spend 6.6 hours on this big 4-ish mile track but having to refuel periodically shortens your potential maximum track time slightly. There were some guys that gave it a really good shot (you know who you are Phil).
Elkhart Lake has several good bar/restaurants (this is, after all, Wisconsin, home state of the highest alcoholic rate in the U.S.A., not that there’s anything wrong with that). One really great restaurant is the Paddock Club, an almost great hotel (Osthouf) and a 5-star resort just 5-6 miles from the track (America Club).
On Saturday, the weather was not great so I drove over to Fond du Lac for a leisurely lunch. I had spent my last two years of high school in Fond du Lac and met my future wife there so I took the opporunity to drive around and check out a few of the old haunts. I was kind of down that Saturday morning (OK, technically, hung over), but after I left Fond du Lac I felt much better--practically elated--because I don’t have to live there anymore.
The drive back to Hudson Heights by way of South Bend on Sunday concludes this adventure.
Well, almost (after all, Eric's kid has tuition too).
Virginia International Raceway
I travelled down to VIR for a 3-day (NNJPCA) event the first weekend in November. What a wonderful track! It is long--3.5 miles with significant elevation changes (including the famous climbing S’s) and a long, looong back straight--located near a nowhere town in Virginia. You can stay at the track in some really first class condos or at the Best Western in town. Fine dining is Outback and, oh yes, the Wendy’s is pretty good too.
Ignoring the surrounding areas, VIR is a great track a NNJPCA's is a great event and well worth the drive...but now my hamstring is really tight. Again.
Back home again
The car is finally back at Steinel’s for a few new improvements (I admit to being excessive) and its usual winter storage (Eric’s kid needs a wardrobe too).
Reed (nothing exceeds like excess) Dallmann, the Elder
Bonneville Salt Flats, Reno Air Races, and then the casino for good measure...
I did what I could to promote the Steinel's name West of the Mississippi. What a great time! What a great car! I drove 2,000 miles to Bonneville and did the standing mile in 132.345 mph and 133.029 mph in 4th gear at about 6000 rpm.
With all the slippin' and sliding in the first third of the mile I got to 4th at about the half-mile mark and left it there. Going to 5th would have lost a few knots plus it would have taken more distance to get it back. You could feel the car moving around on the salt but in general it was stable with finger-tip steering. Just what you'd expect from a Porsche.
The course for street cars was only a mile with a .8 mile stopping distance (which is not a lot on salt). The land speed record cars get a 2 mile acceleration and are timed at the 2.25-, 3-, 4- and 5-mile marks with a 2 mile deceleration distance.
How many cars can you do that with? 5000 miles round trip including the Reno Air races. Drive it at Bonneville and then to the casino.
I did a pre-flight every day and only used 1 quart of oil and no coolant. Not bad for a car with 126,000 miles. I ran the tires at 45 psi on the salt.
I am the 70th guy to get into the 130 mph club. With a roll bar I could run the 150 mph group. Standing start for 2.25 miles. I'm sure this car would do it even at 4200 ft elevation and 90 degrees.
Thanks to Perry and everyone at Steinel's for the excellent maintenance. A good road trip for the little car.
Pirelli UTCC and a perfect racing season...well...almost
I just wanted to thank you and everyone at Steinel's once again for your amazing support of my racing. This year was another great year for the GOODAero Porsche 944 S2. For the second year in a row, my car was the fastest in class for every timed session it participated in. That includes practice, warm-up, qualifying, and race sessions. It won every race in 2011 including a second NASA National Championship (despite spinning off the track after contact on the second lap!).
With your help, over the last four seasons and out of just 41 starts, this car notched up 35 wins, 3 seconds, 10 track records, a Regional, and two National Championships. In that time I've only had two DNFs, one for a broken flywheel (manufacturing defect) and one because I neglected to tighten a brake bleeder valve sufficiently in the moments before a race.
In other words, the car, as always, was dead reliable this year thanks to your care and attention, even in the 100-degree heat of Virginia International Raceway where I was invited to participate in Grassroots Motorsports Magazine's Pirelli Ultimate Track Car Challenge. The UTCC was a wonderful event with crazy cars of all kinds (500 hp, 1500-pound Lotus Super Seven, anybody?). I was a little out-gunned but still managed to finished third in class even with no prior ViR experience.
As a racer who is always working on a budget, I value your advice and concern for my--and my car's--well being while respecting the fact that not everything is always going to make it onto the "let's do it" list of work.
Thanks for everything,