USTCC Race Report #4 Cal Speedway 8-2-9
Vincent Parker driving the #96 Mini Mania/ BayBridge Motors Mini Cooper S competed with NASA in the USTCC (United States Touring Car Championship) at California Speedway, placing 5th and scoring the top rookie award despite a very difficult weekend.
The plan was to get the car tuned on Friday then head over to the track to set-up. Work on learning the track on Saturday, then race on Sunday. Didn’t quite happen that way. Drove down to LA on Friday and met up with Jan from Revolution Mini Works to get the dyno tune. On the dyno we started hearing a clicking noise, thought it might be the starter. Took the starter off, no change. Checked the valves, nope. Still making noise, by now we see oil dripping out from the transmission so the day is done. Jan hooked us up with Danny from Minicorsa who agreed to meet us on Saturday at his shop and gave us unlimited use of his lift and expertise. Spent all day at his shop and switched out the transmission with a new clutch and flywheel. Found an alignment pin had come loose and bounced around until it poked through the case. While there we also replaced the wiring harness, map sensor, and o2 senser that Jan determined were the cause of the engine under performing. Started Friday with 175 whp and finished with 240 whp and 185 torque.
Really want to thank Jan and Danny for all of their help on Friday and Saturday to get us to the race on Sunday. Jan loaned us his transmission and fixed our engine gremlins and Danny for letting us use his shop all day and lending a hand and showing us the easier way to do a transmission swap.
Dropped the car off at the track on Saturday evening and went to get a good nites sleep (After Beer) Sunday race day. Cal Speedway is impressive just driving up and seeing the huge bleachers. This was the first time on a big banked track, took awhile to get used to keeping it wide open on the bank to find the fast line. Went out for warm up and got black flagged because the hood had popped open. Came in to the hot pit and had to get out and fix the hood latch so didn’t get many laps. Next up was qualifying. Qualified fast enough to be in 4th but since I missed Saturday qualifying I was put to last. Power was much improved and I was getting up to 130mph on the oval. In the infield the car was understeering and with so little track time we didn’t make any major changes.
Race. Started last, standing start out at the Start/Finsh line on the oval. The front row went way to close to the flag stand and were actually under and couldn’t see the flag wave for the start. I had an awesome start, smoking the tires and then missed 2nd gear, “***k”, went to 3rd gear then back to 2nd but had lost a lot of ground. Caught up to the pack by turn 3 going into the infield. Slowly worked my way through the pack and was challenging for 4th before time ran out. Considering all that happened this weekend it was a good showing. Showed improved power but the handling sucked. The gap to the front runners was the closest ever. The first 3 cars were running 1:57’s and I was doing 1:59’s, 4th fastest, a second ahead of the RX8 and 2 sec ahead of the other Mini of Rich Peterson.
In car video, ran out of tape before the end. http://www.vimeo.com/6029168
Again many thanks for all the help from Jan at Revolution Mini Works and Danny from Minicorsa. Also my crew chief Hans Dinse who worked harder than anyone to get us to the track.
Next up is the NASA Nationals at Miller Sport Park in Tooele, Utah. I’ll be running in USTCC and GTS3