Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lemons CMP Fall 2019 Recap

You heard a bunch of updates from our first of two days of racing in the previous post, so I'll catch us up fast and continue through day 2 coverage. Friday morning we got the new graphics on the car while John and Jason set up the suspension modifications and aligned the car to improve tire wear over what we saw during the 24 hour race.
John and Jason work their magic on the alignment and corner balancing

The car got to the track Friday afternoon, handily passed tech inspection and then we loaded back up and headed to Camden for the block party and parade. Everyone had a good time, even if the Hellasweet sign was more popular than the car. I think we might have to start charging for Hellasweet Selfies!
Team Popcopy (we'll tag Luke back in for Road Atlanta when he's not busy with work)

The other benefit of the LEDs we installed on the sign for night pit stops at the 24 hour race was that it makes a really handy flashlight for securing your race car on the trailer at night!
Jason does a Hellasweet job of strapping down the Miata.

We had a solid, steady pace all day Saturday and finished the day in 10th overall, which secured us a top of the field start when I jumped back in the car Sunday morning. I was on track to hold position during the long 2 hour morning stint when with less than a lap to go before the lunch break, I got overly-confident through the blind left-hander, Turn 3 and the back end of the car came around on me quicker than I could catch it. The spin was putting me dead center on track on the far side of the blind corner, so I caught the spin facing backwards and managed to steer the car just off track until traffic was clear. I lost us a lap, but kept the car in tact.
John battles heavy traffic to kick off an excellent weekend Saturday morning.

John picked up after the lunch break in 11th position and held strong. We made a driver change and got Jason in the car around 1:30. He started knocking off quick laps and reeled in and made up one lap on the 10th place car.  At 3:00 (one hour to go), Kyle was suited up, and we were just about to call the next pit stop when another car dislodged a tire barrier, incurring a black flag which had all the cars come back to pit road and stop for 30 minutes.
Kyle takes the checker and holds our 11th place finish!

With the delay, Kyle's stint dropped to just under 30 minutes, which meant we didn't need to add fuel and he held us in 11th place to the checker flag. It was an excellent result, completely free of mechanical issues. Tire wear was exceptionally good. Other than my spin, we ran a really solid race! We'll check the car over, but otherwise we're just about ready to hit the track in December in Atlanta, where the full NMS crew will take on the challenge of Road Atlanta!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Lemons Race Day 1 Recap

Team Coronautski, AKA Bunch of Idiots, AKA Team POPCOPY
24 Hours of Lemons
Miata Power

Brian Nixon and his team-mates from Team Coronautski Kyle Ray-Smith, Luke O'Hara, John Fatcheric, and Jason Rucker, AKA "Bunch of Idiots", have finished the first day of the fall 24 Hours of Lemons at CMP in South Carolina in an excellent 10th place overall! Unlike many great driving accomplishments highlighted here on the NMS blog, this 10th place is really good stuff, because it's out of 93 crappy $500 cars that have completed at least one lap. Over the first day's 8 hours of racing, the Bunch of Idiots has completed 183 laps, which means they are only 12 laps out of first overall. Oh, and the Miata is themed as the POPCOPY racer, which is a reference to a funny skit on the Dave Chappelle Show.

Last minute prep before racing on Saturday

From what we can tell from following along on the Race Monitor app (only about 4 bucks for a month, you can cancel any time), they've been lapping without any engine issues, and only stopped for fuel so far, as well as driver changes. The track at Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) is 2.27 miles per lap, so if we call on our technical analysis team at NMS HQ, they've "done the math" and come up with 415.41 miles covered so far. Compared to this team's previous car, the mighty 72 Dodge Coronet, we'd estimate that the current Miata has gone through about 2 less engines, 8 less tires, and 50 less gallons of gas after 8 hours on the track too! OK, seriously, a lighter, newer Miata will use fewer tires/gas/brakes/engines, so the team has got to be happy with a lighter impact on the old wallet at this point!

The Miata and Team Altima prep for Sunday

Again, turning to our technical analysis team and their super-computer, 415 miles in 8 hours works out to 51.92 miles per hour, so you can tell that the team is tearing up the track. To be honest, that time and  mileage includes the 3 or 4 pit stops to swap drivers and refuel, as well as at least two full course yellow or black flags that has cut down the laps for all the teams. The team's fastest lap clocked in at 2:02.974, so that one lap averaged 66.45MPH. The track does have a few pretty good straights where the car is likely hitting 100MPH or close to it, but we'll have to study the data to give you any more specifics. Keep in mind that all this racing is in traffic with cars that are mostly slower, so there's generally a lot of traffic on most laps.

Friday Night Block Party
All the Racecars

Let's see, in other technical analysis, we believe that the team has run as high as 8th overall, and their current 10th has them just 3 laps out of 7th overall, so we're looking to see them running strong on Sunday and moving up a bit higher.
Ready to Parade into Camden SC for the Block Party

Besides the overall competition, the cars are split into 3 classes, with the Miata in the likely fastest Class A, and in Class A the team is in 8th overall, with a couple of Class B cars somehow in the top 10 too. The Coronet had won the slowest Class C a year ago on this same track, so this is a step up into the faster mo-better cars of Class A. The classification is a totally non-scientific best SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess) from the easily bribed judges, but that's just part of what makes Lemons racing so much fun!

Stay tuned for a more complete wrap up from NMS driver Brian in the next few days, and the thrilling conclusion of how this thing turns out on Sunday. If this 24 Hours of Lemons doesn't make sense, don't blame me, go check it out on their website: 24 HOURS OF LEMONS

Thursday, September 5, 2019

NMS South Checking In

It's been a busy summer here at the Columbia, SC branch. The sad news first is that the home base of 7 years will soon be going on the market, so a lot of time has been dedicated to painting and some small maintenance tasks around the house. Fortunately, friend of the team, Phillip is about to buy his first home and is on track to close on a nice location with plenty of driveway and a nice sized detached shop! The NMS South stable will relocate and rent with Phillip while I look into my long term plans.
You could soon own this vintage piece of NMS history!

The happier news is we're only about one week away from our favorite race of the year, the Lemons South Fall race a CMP, complete with block party and parade! Can't wait to see everyone out there on Friday the 13th as we take over downtown Camden for our third year in a row!  The purple Miata is going to be sporting a new theme and is pretty much ready to get back on track after one last round of maintenance this coming Sunday.
Soft top out, getting some cleaning done.

As previously announced, we're taking on Watkins Glen in a few weeks and I've been sorting a few items on the #86 Miata. The soft top failed in the South Carolina sun a few weeks ago, so I've stripped out the entire unit, saving a hefty chunk of weight. The AC system was just serviced for the long trip and I've done some small adjustments to the harnesses and vacuumed out the interior (max weight savings!). The only task left is to install a new set of lights on the tire trailer and splice in a wiring harness so I can be legal when we make the trip to NY.
The window seals had been going bad and when the adhesive holding the glass in finally gave up on me, it was time to take one step closer to full racecar. 

I can't wait to wrap up house work and get back to playing with cars in the next few weeks. Much more to come as we head into fall!