Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Results - Part 2

Renegade events are fun/practice events for me. They are a place to try out new stuff, bed in brake pads etc. This is not to say I wasn't trying hard at the previous event, but SCCA is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. This is for the points, the glory and (oh yeah) the fun. At scca you can find out where you really stand vs some of the best drivers in the country. 

At the start of this race I was 9 points back in the season standings. With this being race #5, one more loss and the little red turbo miata would officially be running away with it. The day was beautiful and the first two runs went well, with me jumping out to an early lead. Ominously the fastest scratch time however was set by national trophy winning, Rachel Baker who was driving they little blue smurf of terror (the Keuhl CRX). 

On my 3rd run I ran what seemed to be a faster but clean time. Unfortunately, I will never know how fast because the timing system had had a false finish somewhere and it read 84 seconds… my previous run was a 51.281 so clearly the Timing Monster ate that one. The timing monster was particularly hungry because it evidently ate times for 11 other people as well. It was decided that the dozen or so of us would get an extra run in the afternoon. 

My first run of the afternoon went really well and I set what would become my fastest time, 50.564 seconds.

The next run had a 50.026, and was dirty.

Then I got a 50.643 that was marked as off course, but I can’t find it in the video… can you?

But the run wasn’t fast enough anyway so I didn’t argue. While I was getting called off course for no apparent reason, Rachel finally had a run that was both fast and clean, 49.833 which gave her the win. I had one chance to top that, and I was having a very fast run, perhaps fast enough but I did something silly. I tried a new line at the last element before the finish, but I didn’t do a good job of it and spun. It occurs to me that with a little presence of mind and and a lot of car control skill (that I probably don’t have) I was very close to executing a clean backwards finish. That would have been fun. But alas it was just a spin. Unfortunately the battery had died in my camera so I don't have that one on video.

But wait… what about the little red miata??

Well it turns out that my primary opponent in the season points race spent the preceding evening helping with the funeral for Brian Keuhl’s civic DX (“smelvin”) that blew it’s motor the previous day (at the renegade event). This meant that he didn’t have time to switch the R6’s off of his wheels and so he and Bryan Mancuso (his co-driver du jour) spent the day driving on tires optimized for track, not autocross. How much difference did this really make? I have no idea. They also had lots and lots of cones, each with only one clean run. 

The final result, Rachel, Me, Bryan, Dan (my co-driver) and then Leafy. Points wise, this is a tremendous boon, as I pick up 4 points in the season standings, and I’m just 2 wins away from a lead, with the possibility of taking a lead into the final race. I remain in a position where I (at least theoretically) can win by taking 1st place repeatedly and I would not need “help” in the form of other people beating Leafy to exaggerate the point differential. I’m still behind, but I hung in there and made progress.

How fast did I really drive? What’s the big picture? Well lets just say it’s complicated. Brian Keuhl had an absolutely fabulous day. He clearly found time that nobody else could find. Perhaps the course was just perfect for his car, perhaps he wasted his “win nationals” run on us local folks. He beat everyone else in the pax standings by a full second. I was 3.9 seconds back of that. Normally I’ve been more like 3 seconds off the pace, and if we consider him an outlier, the next fastest was one of our regular winners, Billy Davis. I was only 2.9015 sends behind him, which would have been my first time inside of 3 seconds from top pax.

So the stats look like this
  • 0.918 pax rating, 0.934 vs Billy
  • 28th of 149 drivers in pax
  • 16th of 149 drivers in raw time
  • 11th of 142 production cars (things with fenders)
  • 2nd of 6 drivers in SSM
On the strict by the numbers basis it is a small improvement, getting inside the top 30 for the first time, and picking up points vs leafy. Looking inside the numbers a bit, This was one of my best days, and I had a faster run that gave away 0.5 seconds due to a cone. That is qualitatively different than previous best days where I generally was clean on my fastest run, often on run 6. This time I set my fastest time in 3 runs (ignoring the rerun). So the improvement in my driving *might* be a bit more than the numbers show.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good job the car sounds good