41SM Rides Again: 2018 Hallett NASA Summer Shootout

Its been two years since I drove a racecar.

Man it was awesome to get back out on the track again.  Two years is too long between races.  Even better that it was at Hallett.  God that’s a fun track.  So, my last time driving on a track was the NASA Hallett June race in 2016 (same race exactly two years ago).  That was immediately following the retub after backing into the tree at TWS off T7.

With the two year hiatus, I knew I’d be slow and just wanted to finish the weekend in one piece.  I really didn’t expect much, and tried not to put too much pressure on myself and drive outside my ability.

Continue reading 41SM Rides Again: 2018 Hallett NASA Summer Shootout

Race Report: 2015 Hallett Summer Shootout

Well that was an up and down weekend.

I’ll leave out the fiasco associated with the new RV except to say: it started with the trailer lights not working in the driveway, and continued right through the full-on Oklohoma thunderstorm raining into the open hole in the bathroom roof on the drive home.  <sigh>  Sometimes there are signs, but you have to listen very carefully..even when they are screaming in your freakin’ ear.

Also, a big thanks goes out to all the family members that came out to watch the race on Saturday.  It was fun to have such a big cheering section.  I could see y’all standing by the fence as I drove by approaching turn 1.

Continue reading Race Report: 2015 Hallett Summer Shootout

MSR – Cresson : Coaching

A last minute opportunity to drive at MSRC came up for January 2nd, 2012.  I was able to go, and it was an “educational” day.  Another friend had given me some of his old tires.  The story of the day is really a separate post that should include video footage of the “incidents”.  But, suffice it to say that I “fought” the new tires until I finally flat-spotted a tire. 

Anyway, an experienced racer, Craig Janssen, offered to review my video and data with me and offer some pointers on how to improve.  We met at his office the other day.  We spent 2 hours talking things over, splitting the time 50/50 between big-picture stuff, and track specific discussions.  It was a tremendously educational experience.  Lots of things to think about as I further review the video and data.

Below are my notes from the discussion.  After transcribing these, I sent it back to Craig.  He further expanded on my notes in red.

It was an exceptionally generous thing for him to do, on a Monday night with a very busy schedule.  All I can do is hope to be able to return the favor to someone else someday in the future.   Maybe reading my own learning experiences will help someone coming up the ladder behind me.  If you are reading this a year or two from “now” and have questions or want some help, please fee free to comment here.  My email (or door) will always be open, and I’ll share anything I think I know.

Continue reading MSR – Cresson : Coaching

MSRCresson: 2012/01/02

Yesterday was my first time in my own car on any R-compound tires (RA-1 takeoffs). It wasn’t pretty:

  • one 4-wheel off — rear end tried to come around, saved it…realized I wasn’t going to keep it on track, let it run straight into flat grassy area (outside of wagonwheel)
  • one 2-wheel off (the front two on wrong side of the apex curbing) — turned in too abruptly, broke rear end loose, slid sideways through apex CONE before car corrected back to straight (bigbend)
  • one 180 degree spin — missed heel-toe, broke rear end loose spun to outside of track. (horseshoe)
  • one flat-spot — got greedy on entry into turn 1. (rattlesnake entry)
  • I had numerous near-misses that I did manage to save.

Basically, both early morning sessions were like driving on ice, and I just didn’t respect the situation enough (or understand it well enough to know the right approach).  Here’s the video:


Continue reading MSRCresson: 2012/01/02

MSR Cresson track Day – Apex Driving Academy – 7/09/2011


A good day.  Since I ran this direction a month ago, it was a chance to look for improvements in driving skill.


  • MSR-Cresson 1.7CW

Basic setup:

  • 2.8* camber front
  • 2.5* camber rear
  • 0 toe all around
  • Fuzion ZRi street tires
  • Rear bar: min-stiffness
  • Front bar: medium stiffness
  • 50.5% cross weight


  • Cool suit test day, and new firesuit: Sparco Pro-X.
  • Improve on lap times from last month.
  • Evaluate front sway bar change

Big Bend (turn 1)

Continued from Cresson CW Analysis

Looking at the data, I was much less consistent in the braking zone than I thought.  The two laps shown below represent my two fastest laps, and my two fastest passes through this turn and the following straight.  However, they are much different.  The top lines are accel-G, RED is “main lap”, YELLOW is “ref lap”.  The purple line in the middle is the lap time difference between the two laps.  The bottom lines are GPS_MPH, pink = main lap, orange = ref lap.

Main Lap: Red, pink (hereafter the “red” lap)

Ref Lap: Yellow, Orange (hereafter the “yellow” lap)


Continue reading Big Bend (turn 1)

Cresson CW Analysis


The primary point of this exercise is to begin to understand how to analyse my captured data.  Only to a lesser extent is it to attempt to get faster at Cresson on the 1.7 CW track.  It will be another 6 months before I might be back on that track going CW again.  This was my second time to drive the track in this direction.  My first being the very first time I drove on a track.  That was in a turbo-charged miata.  Not exactly the same.

My data logger is a Racepack G2X.  I don’t have any additional sensors at this point, just the internal GPS, lateral, and longitudinal accelerometers.  In addition, I borrowed a cheap digital video camera from my Dad that he uses on his motorcycle days.  It records in 640×480 (4:3)…well, it can.  Unfortunately, somehow I managed to get the stupid thing into low res mode (320 x 200).  It serves its purpose, mostly.  But, it certainly isn’t stunning quality.

Cresson is made up of 9 named turns:

  • Big Bend
  • Tombstone
  • Boot Hill
  • Horseshoe
  • Buzzard Neck
  • Little Bend
  • Ricochet
  • Waggon Wheel
  • Rattlesnake

Continue reading Cresson CW Analysis

Upgraded to Solo!

So, there’s lots more to tell, and it will take some time to get it all down on “ePaper”.   But, the biggest news of the weekend is that I’ve been upgraded to run solo.  Actually, my instructor got out after the first green session, and said, “Your doing good enough to drive solo.  You don’t need me here.  Just work on tightening up those Apexes.”

At the time I presumed that just meant that he would recommend upgrading me to the intermediate group at the end of the day.  Still cool.  That was my goal for the day because it opens up so many more options for seat time.  Besides the intermediates get a full 120 minutes of green-flag seat time.  The Novice groups only get 80 minutes.

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2010-08-28 Driver’s Log

Location: Motorsports Ranch – Cresson, TX,

Track Configuration: 1.7CCW

Vehicle: 1992, 1.6L Miata, rented from Shannon Mcmasters (Team MER)

School: Apex Driving School

Run Group: Novice

Continue reading 2010-08-28 Driver’s Log

2010-06-19 Driver’s Log

Location: Motorsports Ranch – Cresson, TX,

Track Configuration: 1.7CW

Vehicle: 1990/93?, 1.6L Miata Turbo, rented from Keith Verges

School: Apex Driving School

Run Group: Novice

First day on a track ever.  What a cool day!  We had 6 sessions on the track, 20 minutes each.  Basic format of the day was:

Session 1: Full Course Yellow, skill drills:  Slalom course, and a threshold braking J-turn.  Each drill was setup with cones on one straight.

Session 2: Full Course yellow, drive the line (slow, no passing).

Session 3: Full Course Green, Instructor ride-along (3 laps), student drive remaining time.

Sessions 4,5,6: Full-course green.  Student drive.

Continue reading 2010-06-19 Driver’s Log