Race 9: Buck Muse Memorial
So here we are at the end of March, traipsing down to
well known haunts at
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
had been struggling with whether to push or to drive for
a finish. Well, the
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.
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
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.
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
doesn’t know which happened, but he got the corner
and was off.
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.
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,
met him there.
smiled and said,
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.
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.
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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