NutDriver Racing   Carl

Hell, Round 2

In a continuation of “The Weekend From Hell”, the event that was supposed to be The Nuts second autocross became their first autocross. That was unfortunate because it meant we'd only have one set of results each for MazdaSpeed Team Support instead of the two we need to be able to buy stock parts at a discount.

As mentioned in the previous installment, Righty noticed that the RX-7's battery seemed a bit weak as we trailered it Friday afternoon at Kershaw. Well, we went ahead and hauled over to Columbia to do a Solo 2 (autocross) event with South Carolina Region, SCCA at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia. After getting up at oh-dawn-thirty Saturday morning and hauling through the middle of town, we found the fairgrounds, paid our entry fees, and found a good place to set up the “garage”.

We removed all of the tie downs preparing to take the RX-7 off the trailer. When we tried to start it up, though, the battery was dead. And we didn't have a charger with us and didn't have AC power anyway. There goes one set of results. Oh well. We get a refund on our entry fees, and head over to the home of the RX-7's previous owner. He had found some parts for the car that were hidden in his garage when we bought the car.

A this point, we still haven't heard anything from the guy who's supposed to be fixing the van (NutHauler I), and we're getting a little worried. So, after picking up the RX-7 parts, we head for the place where we left the van. When we get there, the van is nowhere to be seen and the shop is closed! There's a phone number on the wall for when they're closed, so we call the mechanic. He says he's just finished up with in an hour or so ago, we give him a bunch of money, and head for Righty's house.

At Righty's, we disconnect the alternator, figuring it's toast, and charge the battery. We plan to run “total loss” for the autocross on Sunday and work on the alternator later when we have more time.

Sunday, we're planning to do another autocross, this one organized by Central Carolina Region, SCCA, and held at the stadium for the Charlotte Knights farm league baseball team, at Fort Mill, South Carolina. Get up Sunday morning at oh-dawn-thirty to go to Fort Mill, SC, and it's incredibly foggy. Lefty is following Righty down the interstate, about sixty or eighty feet back, and loses sight of him several times, for a mile or so each.

We eventually get to Fort Mill and the event site, with no issues. Set up our garage area and unload the RX-7. Since we're running “total loss”, we don't want to start up or run the car any more than we have to. So we push it around the parking lot and through tech. We're in the first run group, so our call to the grid comes up pretty quickly.


Due to bad math and worse memories, we run out of gas just as we get to the entrance to the grid. Well, hell. We push the car out of the way, go get some fuel, and get going again. Lefty makes one run, a DNF due to not realizing one set of cones was a slalom, and a brain fart that took him right past a “box” without so much as a glance.

Righty goes out and makes two runs, then we swap. Lefty lines up for his third run. BOOM! The car overheats and blows coolant and steam onto the starting line. Apparently Lefty forgot the fan during the swap. We push it out of the way, let it cool down, and replace the few ounces of coolant we lost. We keep our fingers crossed that no serious damage was done, and make the rest of our runs without drama, checking the water temp and fan switch about every two seconds while the car is running.

After a break for the second run group to do their thing, we do our course work, chasing cones. Had some very interesting discussions with the other people who were working the same corners, as they were (necessarily) a lot more experienced at autocross than The Nuts.

After our stints doing track work, we went to check our results. Unfortunately, only an early set of partial results was available. That set had a “No Times” for Lefty and nothing at all for Righty. So we hung around waiting for more results to come out. Eventually some more did, but they were incomplete, still showing “No Times” for Lefty and nothing at all for Righty.

Now it's starting to get late, and we're worried that we might not even have one set of results to send to MazdaSpeed Team Support. So we hung around outside the timing van waiting for the last run group to finish. They had already cancelled the “Fun Runs” since it was getting so late. Eventually we found out we did, in fact, have results, and we set off toward Righty's house.

As it's now dinner time, we start trying to find a restaurant with enough room in the parking lot for the NutHauler II with the trailered RX-7 behind it. It took four tries, but we eventually found one, ate, and got back home without further drama. Then we had a whole new set of dramas on Monday, but they really aren't part of this story, and you're probably bored to tears by this point, so we'll quit. :-)


So, The Nuts had a lot of traumas and dramas and tribulations over the weekend, but it all turned out OK in the end. The van got fixed and wasn't horribly expensive, we didn't seem to hurt the RX-7 with the overheat episode, we each got a set of results in the RX-7, and we didn't do terribly in the autocross.

The official results for the event are here. As always, Righty (NCSP #77) was about four seconds faster than Lefty (NCSP #177). Righty had a best run of 43.118 seconds (PAX 36.176) compared to Lefty's best of 47.576 seconds (PAX 39.916). Neither one of us ended up DFL (Dead Flippin' Last), either on raw or PAX times. Lefty was pretty near the bottom of the list (108 of 115), though, while Righty just below the half way point (69 of 115).

So we've sent our results to MazdaSpeed Team Support. We each need to get one more set of results to them in the RX-7 to validate our accounts. At that point, we can buy discount stock parts from them, in addition to the aftermarket parts we can already get from them. Rah, rah, rah!


Righty walking up to the RX-7 before technical inspection at our first Solo 2 (autocross) event at Knight's Stadium at Fort Mill, SC.

An overview of part of the crowd at the event. There were 115 drivers on the final results, and probably 100 to 105 different cars (some cars had more than one driver).

An overview of part of the crowd at the event. There were 115 drivers on the final results, and probably 100 to 105 different cars (some cars had more than one driver).

The RX-7 resting peacefully at our “garage area”. It's been through technical inspection and is waiting for our run group to be called to the grid.

Righty has finished his first run and is coming back into the grid in preparation for his second run.

Righty just after launching from the starting line.

Lefty just after launching from the starting line.


NutDriver Racing would like to extend thanks to the following people and organizations for helping to make this a very enjoyable and educational experience:

We sure hope we haven't forgotten anyone. If we have, please let us know and we'll get you listed. We'd include links to our instructors, but we can't find their web pages, so far. :-(

Copyright (C) 2002-2011 Revised 4 October 2011