NutDriver Racing   Carl

Race 9: Buck Muse Memorial

Event Name: Buck Muse Memorial
Dates: 2007 March 31 – April 1
Race(s): Southeast Division SCCA South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC) x 2
Organizer: South Carolina Region, Sports Car Club of America
Location: Carolina Motorsports Park
Kershaw, South Carolina
Car(s) Used: #91 RX-7
Class(es) Contested: Sports Car Club of America IT7 (Improved Touring 7)


After the trials of last season, we thought we’d get out early and try to get a finish under our belts. Righty tried at Rockingham at the beginning of March. That didn’t go so well though.

So here we are at the end of March, traipsing down to well known haunts at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. South Carolina Region SCCA took the weekend of 31 March through 1 April 2007 to host their annual Buck Muse Memorial Club Race. High on our Hope Fors list is No Fires! :-)

This weekend is a double-SARRC event, so we'll each run one SARRC race. If we can both finish, we'll each get one of the finishes we need for the season. We’ll race the #91 RX-7, with newly re-rebuilt 12A, the ignition advance problem solved, a brand new AFR meter, and high hopes for a finish or two.

Getting There

Unfortunately for him, Lefty did not get out of Atlanta until later than he’d hoped. That meant that the traffic leaving town was a nightmare. He tried to leave about 1600, and it took an hour to go less than three miles, with no end in sight. So he went back home, took a nap, and tried again about 1900. Things had improved by then, but were still a nightmare. Once he finally got onto the open road, things smoothed out and he met up with Righty and had dinner.

Setting Up

We finally arrived at the track well after dark and after registration closed, due to the late start. That meant we didn’t get much done in the way of preparing after we got camp set up and unloaded the car. The car still needs it’s annual inspection, so we knew the morning would be a scramble.

Knowing things would be busy, we tried to get up and started early on Saturday morning, and 0730 seemed awfully early when it came. We needed to register, and the RX-7 still needed its annual inspection, on top of the other things we had to do to get it ready. And we were in one of the earlier run groups of the day.

We had plenty of drama, though, even with the early start. For example, we got to tech inspection only to find that the harnesses had expired. So we had to run over to SafeQuip and get a new set and get them installed, in a hurry.

Saturday Practice

We did finally get the car ready and inspected. However, it took so long that Lefty ended up missing his practice session. Luckily, though, we’ve both driven a lot of laps on this track. On the bad side, we'd never done it with a hot new engine in the RX-7.

Saturday Qualifying

Since Lefty was running Saturday’s SARRC race, he mounted up and headed to the false grid for his qualifying session. We weren’t really up to speed with the Toyo tires, and we ended up with too much pressure in them. So the car was a little skaty and tail happy. After the session, other drivers reported that they also felt the surface was a bit greasy, so it may not have totally been the tire pressures. Whatever the reason, Lefty was off his usual pace by ten or fifteen seconds, at 2:17. Of course, the two-minute laps were on Hoosiers, too.

Saturday Race

For the race Saturday, we lowered the tire pressures four or five pounds, and that made things better, but still not as stable as on the Hoosier settings we”d developed. Lefty was still slow, and feeling the difference between the Hoosiers and the Toyos.

He started near the back of the pack, and pretty much stayed there. After all of the drama last season, and not wanting to trash the new motor, again, he took it easy. Mainly, the plan was to stay fast enough to stay out of the way, and get the finish without hurting the car. Lefty considered stopping just after the half way point, since that would still net an official finish. But the car felt and sounded good, so he kept going to the finish. Ended up eighth out of ten in IT7, with a DNS and a DNF. :-)

The race ended relatively early in the day, so we got the car cleaned up and ready for tomorrow quickly, then relaxed for the afternoon. As per usual, we bopped over to Gus’ House of Pizza in Kershaw for dinner. Gus has some of the best pizza around, and we always try to stop there while we are in the area.

Sunday Practice

Since we ran the car yesterday, and got it inspected, and prepped it last night, we only had to check oil, water, pressure, etc., this morning. So we were a bit less frantic than on Saturday. Righty took the reins today, and our Dad and Step-Mom came up to see the race, too.

Righty went out in practice and pushed the car a bit here and there, but tried to control his urge to get too silly. The car came off of the track with good numbers, but the oil pressure was still higher than we liked. In qualifying, it was time to go.

Sunday Qualifying

Righty had been struggling with whether to push or to drive for a finish. Well, the red mist took over and his just driving for a finish quickly went out of the window when he got into a dice with another IT7 car. He could pull the other IT7 on the straights and stick with him in most of the corners. Righty showed him a nose on at least two occasions, but the other guy wasn’t going to budge.

Knowing that following someone nose-to-tail wasn’t the way to get a faster lap than them, Righty backed-off and gave the other guy some room to get a cleaner lap. Well, his strategy played-out and he qualified 4th in class, straddled by my recent nemesis and another IT7 car (nyah, nyah!!). The #91 again came off of the track with numbers where we wanted them and no changes needed to tire pressures. Lunch came soon after, then just a wait until his group was called to race.

Sunday Race

Race time!! With a 4th place qualifying position, the internal struggle with going for a finish versus pushing for a podium was more tumultuous than before. As the field rolled-off, Righty began scrubbing the tires. The car seemed really good, almost anxious to get going. The AFR was reading where we wanted it, but the oil pressures were still high. Tom said run it, he thought.

As we came around to take the green, Righty’s nervousness was building. The green came out and we went screaming down the backstretch towards turn 10. Made it through the autocross section of the track (T10-14) and came screaming down the front stretch (after blowing the line through turn 14).

A few laps later, going into the section called Faith, Hope, and Charity (Turns 5,6, and 7), the IT7 in front of him blew the entry to turn 5 and lost momentum. To make a bad situation (for him!) worse, he was holding a line that was much too tight. Righty took advantage of his error and headed for the outside, sliding the front, then the back, as he came alongside. As Righty got to T6, he rolled into the throttle (where the other guy was unable to, due to his too-tight line) and accelerated ahead. He went for the apex of turn 7, hoping that he had room or that the other IT7 would lift.

Righty doesn’t know which happened, but he got the corner and was off. Third, I’m in third!! he thought to himself. At this point, he was going to do my best to hold on and get a podium finish. At one point, the #68 IT7 car was pressuring hard. Righty wasn’t going to give up a podium finish to anyone. He held his lines, sometimes turning-in aggressively and wondering if he was going to be punted or not. A few laps into our dice, the #68 missed the braking point at Turn 1 and overshot the turn-in.

Righty thought he would be ok then. He got slowed by traffic a lap or so later and the #68 caught up. They stayed close for a while and then he saw the #68 overshoot again … and again. He wasn’t going to get suckered into this kind of mistake and held his line each time he saw the #68 coming. Soon, the #68 was disappearing in the rearview, as his tires overheated, or he overheated, or both.

As Righty came around to the checkers, he knew that he had a podium finish, and let an ITS car (a faster class of car) pass without putting up a fight. As he came around to the tech shed for post-race inspection and impound, Lefty met him there. Righty smiled and said, I got third! I got third! Lefty grinned back and said, No, you got SECOND!

Righty couldn’t figure out where he’d gotten the extra position, and still doesn’t know. [Lefty thinks the first or second place car fell out of the race late with mechanical problems.]

Righty went to the class Steward (Captain Bob) and he verified that the finishing position of 2nd place. After sitting for 30 minutes in impound, pictures all around [I haven’t seen them, but I expect that I look more scary than usual. Righty], and some much needed water, Righty got his trophy and was released from post-race impound.

Going Home

Righty’s race finished up and he was out of impound by about 1600. It then took us until about 1900 to get loaded and fed and away from the track. Righty went straight home, while Lefty overnighted with Mom. Both of us got to our respective homes without further drama.


We got a finish apiece, so it turned out to be a good event. Especially after Righty’s firey spectacle at Rockingham. On top of that, he got our best finish yet, a 2nd place in a SARRC event, where the competition often is better than in the CCPS events we usually run. So, definitely a successful weekend.


NutDriver Racing would like to extend thanks to the following people and organizations for their help in making this an enjoyable and fun experience:
Kirk Riddle
Herb O’Toole

We sure hope we haven’t forgotten anyone. If we have, please let us know and we’ll get you listed.

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