Monday, March 21, 2016

Dixie National Tour 2016 Wrap Up

First off, I have to give a massive thank you (again) to everyone who has helped work on, helped fund, or put up with me dealing with putting the Miata back together.  It all came together this weekend and I know it was only because of all my awesome family and friends who are willing to support me.  THANK YOU!
All loaded up early Friday morning.

For the first time attending a national tour event, in the largest (22 drivers) and possibly most competitve class with multiple national champions in the mix, my goal was to not finish last.  The good news is I succeeded, the bad news is that I was much closer to last than I would have liked.  A lot was learned and we had a great time having fun down in Cecil, Georgia this weekend.


In line for test and tune on Friday afternoon.

We arrived on-site for the event around 1pm on Friday and had just enough time to get through tech inspection and join the optional test and tune session that afternoon.  It was good to get 3 runs in the car for the first time in 9 months!  That would be the only practice before 6 total competition runs that weekend.
Sticker time.

Finally made it official and added the J. Rucker with B. Nixon
Once the test and tune session wrapped around 4pm, we were back to paddock to apply more stickers!  Some of the stickers are for sponsor contingency payout programs, so if we had put the car in the top three positions in the class those sponsors would have sent a check.  Mostly we all know stickers add power and make the car look cool.

The first two rows are all the ES class ready for competition runs on Sunday.
Saturday started off damp and threatening to rain all day, however we saw drying conditions and even sun by our last run group in the late afternoon.  The car performed better than I did but still wasn't quite as dialed-in as we wanted. I ended up dead last place after all three runs on Saturday.

SCR Miatas moving up to the starting line on Sunday.
Saturday night we checked over the suspension nuts and bolts and moved the front sway bar to a more stiff setting to help prevent the back end of the car from coming around on us.  We wrapped up Saturday night with a video review session at the hotel and identified improvements for Sunday. The national tour events are won by the best combined time from Saturday and Sunday, so we had lots of room to improve on day 2!

Jason launches the car for his final run on Sunday.
Sunday the sun was out all day and we were ready to run with our newly tuned suspension settings. The course was slightly changed so that we were running it mostly backwards from Saturday.  Overall I learned a lot and managed to improve by one spot for the weekend and finished 21st out of 22.
With the new wing, the trunk doesn't like to stay open. Good thing we have a breaker bar!

I've learned a lot autocrossing at local events, but taking it to this next level was a great experience. Just nine total runs or about nine total minutes of actual seat time this weekend and I already know what I can work on this season to start making massive improvements.   I'm glad Jason, my co-driver did better than I and took the car to 14th overall.  We've got our eyes set on the big national championship in Lincoln in September and we can't wait to keep improving.

All packed and ready to go home. 

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