NSXPO 1999 May 8/9, 1999
Touring Car Club May 29/30/31, 1999

May Misery at Laguna Seca
(and a little prepping for the Virginia City Hill Climb)

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Wayne, James, and Doug suffering the race car blues in the month of May

There aren’t very many relevant pictures for this particular story, mainly because I don’t take pictures when my car ain’t running. I spent more time wrenching(or more correctly scratchin' my head and trying to wrench) on the car. So I got these miscellaneous pictures that I will throw in for the heck of it.   It makes me depressed…..spending four days getting ready for an event, and then when you get to the track the car doesn’t run. That said, let’s go into some of the details about why the month of May really sucked…….

Monday night - May 3rd
Two days before the big NSX caravan to the NSXPO 1999 at Laguna Seca. The NSX Club of America reserved the Laguna Seca race track for two days over the weekend, as well as a couple of days of activities for NSX owners on Thursday and Friday. Should be a really fun event. I had Larry the Mechanic setup this Datacam thingy that I purchased. It measures RPM, speed, throttle position, G-forces, brake on/off, and laptimes(plugs into Hotlap timer). The way it works is that you have one camcorder plug into the Datacam black box, and the Datacam superimposes the text info on the bottom third of the video screen, and then it plugs into yet another camcorder to record the video and text together. Sounds cool, right? Should be really good for Laguna Seca. Except all of a sudden, my clutch pedal goes all the way to the floor and doesn’t come back up, I have to kinda pull it with my foot. Great.

My new theory now follows Greek mythology. You know how in school you learn the the Greeks believed that there were gods like Zeus, Thor, etc, that watched over human beings and manipulated some of the scenarios of their lives. I am convinced it is true, and there is a Greek god called Raceaflais (Race-a-Flayus), that manipulates my life and causes events to happen to see how much last minute flailing around it can make me do to right before a track event.

So Monday night I call Larry, and beg him to come by my house and checkout what the heck happened to my clutch. He drives out(from 50 miles away), and gets to my house at 11:00 p.m. He says it looks like my master clutch cylinder is leaking a little bit. He says he will scrounge up another one, and come by tomorrow night, so I can drive up with 30+ other NSX drivers to Laguna Seca.

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Wayne with Montoya's car at LBGP.  We needed Montoya's pit crew this month...

Tuesday night – May 4th
Larry cruises by at 10:00 p.m., and throws in the new master clutch cylinder. In order to test the car, we go by a quiet, industrial street close to my house. We need to see if the clutch is slipping, and I have the stock exhaust on the car. The stock exhausts is on there because at Laguna Seca, you have a 90 decibel limit for the club events(for the professional events, there is no limit). 90 db is really stupid, as it is actually QUIETER than what is required on the normal streets. Part of the reason for this is that there are some nearby residents at Laguna Seca that object to the sound of high powered race motors bellowing throughout the canyons. So therefore the State of California(yes, our tax dollars) pays for a couple of people to be at the track event the entire day, pointing a sound meter in one fixed area going up the hill into turn 6, and another portable, battery powered unit that roams around. My objection to this is the same with people who complain about the sound of airplanes as they take off by their house. Meaning that Laguna Seca race track has been there for years and years, and since you were STUPID enough to build a house next to a race track, now for some reason you feel you have a right to bitch about it being too noisy? I read in the paper all the time about people complaining about the noise from LAX airport or Orange County airport. Duh…..you bought at house next to an airport, what made you think it would be quiet like living in the country side??? Recently, a lot of people bought houses next to the El Toro Marine base, where a lot of figher jets and helicopters fly out of. They recently closed this base, and there are people lobbying to make it into another airport in Orange County. However, the people who built/bought houses next to this air base have a problem with commercial flights going into this area, and are opposed to building an airport. Let’s see……flights right now out of Orange County are about 50% higher than flights out of LAX due to demand, we want the economy in Orange County to grow to keep tax dollars coming in to pay for smooth roads for us to speed on, and we anticipate huge growth in Orange County…….seems like we could use an airport. To make matters worse, the pro-Airport folks scheduled two days of "sound testing", and they were having various commercial planes fly in for a two day period and they positioned sound meters all over the county to measure how much noise these planes make. Anti-airport opponents of course opposed the test, saying the testers should fill out an EPA report as to the effect of having 24 test flights come into the airbase. Can you imagine that…..trying to force the pro-airport folks to do a full scale EPA impact report just to do the tests? Anyways, the test is supposed to start at 10:00 a.m. or so, and a bunch of people call into the "airport noise complaint" phone number complaining that the sound from the airplane tests are too loud and the test should be stopped. Only one problem…..the tests started late….and no planes were landing or taking off when all the phone calls came in complaining about noise. Idiots…but I digress there……

Okay, so we go over to this industrial area at midnight to test the new clutch master cylinder. Since the stock exhaust is a little restrictive, it seems like the exhaust "pops" a little more under acceleration when I upshift. And it probably shoots out a bit of a flame out the exhaust pipe. So Larry wants to drive the car, and I leave my wallet upstairs in the house. Larry hates being a passenger when I drive. He cruises it, and he says he thinks it is okay. He then wants me to hop in the car. I get in the car, and I hit the redline in 1st and 2nd gear under high acceleration, car popping and spitting out flames. Unfortunately, we pass a local law enforcement officer that is sitting in his car in an empty parking lot reading the newspaper. He turns on the flashing lights, and motions us to pull over. Great. I have no license, we were speeding, making big popping sounds, in car with decals and a rollcage. He asks me for my license, and I explain that I don’t have it with me, but three blocks down is my house and I can get it. He looks like he is getting pissed. Larry is in the passenger seat, and says, "I have my license", and hands it to him. I explain to the officer that Larry is my mechanic, and that is why his name is in decals on my engine hatch, and I point to the decals. I also explain that my name is decaled on the top of the door, and that we just put in a new clutch master cylinder, and we had to test it under high RPMs to make sure it is not slipping. The officer look at me and says, "I don’t care what you are testing, I don’t want you speeding around in this area." I tell the officer I completely understand, and I will NOT do it again. He then motions us to leave. WHEW! Got lucky on that one…….. So the clutch now feels better, but not perfect. But hey, I can live with that. 2:00 a.m. in the morning, I finally get to bed, and set my alarm for 5:00 a.m.

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The new Pulp Racing F350 Turbo Diesel Stump Puller

Wednesday Morning, 6:00 a.m.
I leave for the meeting place at Magic Mountain. Except now, the clutch is progressively getting worse….it is real hard to shift into gears. I can still get it to work, but I have to make sure I am blipping on my downshifts to get the gear engaged……still, I think it will last the weekend. I get to Magic Mountain, and Randy Marchetti of RM Racing drives my car around the block, and he says, "Dude, your clutch is dying." Randy gets on the phone, makes some phone calls, and says he thinks he can have a clutch ready for me to pick in Orange County by 1:00 p.m. or so. Awesome. So now I limp the car back to Riverside Acura so Larry can throw the clutch in. I get there by about 10:00 a.m., but no Larry. Apparently he is sick. I call him at home, and he says he feels like he got food poisoning from eating tuna fish sandwiches the past two nights at gas stations(since he was working on my car until late at night). He tells me to get the clutch, drive it to Acura, and he call him when it is there and he will drag himself out of bed.

I rent a room at the nearby Holiday Inn, as I can tell this is going to be a long day…..

1:00 p.m. comes by, clutch of course isn’t ready. 2:00 p.m., clutch isn’t ready. Finally, at 3:00 p.m., clutch is ready. I pick it up, drop it off to Larry, and go back to the Holiday Inn for a nap.

7:30 p.m. I call Larry, and he says cruise by, he is almost done with the clutch. Hurray!! I get to run at Laguna Seca! We drive the car to his house for final checkout, and it seems good. Thanks to Larry(and Randy for making about 10 phone calls to ensure that my clutch will get done today.)

9:00 p.m. I take off to Laguna Seca……

2:45 a.m.. I get to the NSXPO headquarters hotel in Seaside, and a good nights sleep.

The next couple of days we partake in cool activities, like drive arounds, cruising the 17 mile drive, concourse event, good dinners, go 125 cc go-karts course in the paddock at Laguna Seca, and hanging out with about 250 other NSX nuts who have driven about 150 cars to Monterey. Pretty damn fun.

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Wayne realizing that he has to sell his Rolex Daytona watch to get his 944 out of the shop

Saturday Morning, May 8th
The track event. So we have about 100+ NSX signed up for the track event, and this seems like it will be pretty cool. Wayne is helping out as an instructor, so he is able to drive his 944 Turbo around in the advanced group. I plan on humiliating Wayne in this run group, to get even for him winning the last club race we had here earlier in the year. I go out for the first run group, and then I see an abnormal amount of smoke coming out of my car. I pull back into the pits, and it looks like there is a lot of oil in the airbox. I mean a lot of oil, so much, that it is sorta dripping out. Over the next eight hours or so, we keep screwing around with stuff like new PCV Valves, maybe an oil catch tank, etc. etc. But the car is still smoking too much. Bummer. Especially because I invited two members of the NSX Club of Japan, Kase-san and Tomiyoshi-san, to drive my car at this track event, since they were such gracious hosts when we were in Japan last year for the NSX Fiesta.   All the NSXers from the States helped to pitch in and pay for their track entry fee, and now they had no car to drive.   Fortunately, some other members let our guests from Japan drive their cars at speed around the Laguna Seca track, so they can say, "yeah, I was on that track", the next time they watch a CART race at Laguna.  I call the tow truck, and it looks like I need a tow to El Dorado Hills, where Comptech is located……

Sunday Afternoon, May 9th
So I spend the rest of the time helping out as an instructor, which was pretty fun. But not nearly as fun as ripping around the track in my car. Wayne’s 944 gets busted for sound again, so we have to put pineapple juice cans on his exhaust pipe again, along with many other NSXes. Near the end of the day, Wayne’s car is stumbling at low RPMs, so he is trying hard to keep the revs up. We decided to leave Wayne’s 944 Turbo, and the trailer/Ford Explorer in storage in Monterey, and fly home, since in three weeks there is a big three day event with the Touring Car Club at the track here. Wayne says not to worry about it, he will change the spark plugs when we fly down in three weeks.

Diagnosis from Comptech – bad news. Seems like the number 1 piston failed leakdown test, and they can hear air escaping from this cylinder into the rear valve cover. They feel detontation occurred from either bad gas, or not enough gas. (oh shit…remember from the Tijuana race where Wayne had me put in leaded gas….maybe that was it?) They recommend new pistons, and to go with the JE Aluminum racing pistons, as well as some other exotic stuff. The first question I have is, "Can you have it ready for the next event, in 2.5 weeks? They said, well, it depends. Depends on WHAT? What could possibly be more important than MY car? Apparently they are building a boatload of engines for the Indy 500 for various IRL teams, and these IRL engines get top priority. Kinda hard to argue against that logic…….we spend a couple of thousand dollars getting ready for a race, (lodging, tires, gas, food, entry fee, etc) the IRL guys probably spend a million bucks getting ready for Indy…..I retreat to the bottom of the totem pool.

I get home, and I drop the new F350 truck off to get an 85 gallon gas tank installed. When we start towing the 48 foot trailer, we don’t want to screw around with trying to park it at a gas station to fillup the tank. I drop off the 1986 MR2 at a mechanic’s shop to get the wheel bearing replaced, as it is making an ugly noise. I drop the wife’s BMW convertible off at the BMW dealer, because the top won’t go back up. Thus, I have to pick the wife up at her work. Later that day, I buzz into her office complex at a high rate of speed with the F355, and I see smoke coming out of the rear engine hatch. I pull over in front of her work, open the engine hatch, and there are little flames dancing on the exhaust manifold. I panic, and do the stupid thing and try to blow out the flames, thus giving it more oxygen to burn. After about 5 seconds, the flames die out….and now tranny fluid starts dripping faster and faster out of the tranny. I mean fast. A guy across the street comes by to checkout what is going on. Since I was dressed in my usual sweat pants and t-shirt, he thought I was the valet, and wanted to see the look on the owner’s face when he came out and saw his F355 smoking and dripping oil. The Ferrari proceeds to dump about two quarts of tranny fluid all over the passenger loading zone in front of my wife’s building. I get my wife to bring down a roll of paper towels, to try to contain the oil spill. I can just imagine seeing one of her co-workers like Doug Ota buzzing into the passenger loading zone at high speed, braking hard and hitting the tranny fluid, sliding, jumping the curb, and going right into the front door window glass of the building. I get a bunch of people making the usual comments about Ferrari reliability as my car is still dripping tranny fluid. I get yet another tow truck(2nd in three days) to tow the F355 to the dealer. Between my wife and I, we own five cars. They are all in the shop, with two of them having to be towed the shop. I call my parents, and ask them if we can borrow their 1988 Toyota station wagon……..it ain’t the coolest thing to drive around, but hey, it works…..

Here's a sarcastic email that Brian who works with my wife wrote after seeing my Ferrari winched up, with tranny fluid POURING off the tow truck.

 -----Original Message-----
> From: Brian 
> Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 8:14 PM
> To: <removed>
> Cc: 'dougha@msn.com'
> FLAG...
> ***THIS JUST IN...  07:00PM PST 051199***
> I must say, that car looks great even when it's sitting on a flatbed
> dripping italian dressing from it butt.  :-)  Man I wish I had my digital
> camera with me!
> -B

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Jeff is unable to defend his Cal Club Sports 2000 Title because of mechanical problems

A week later, Monday, May 21th
Comptech miraculously gets some new pistons from JE made pretty quickly. I guess when you are building a bunch of IRL engines, you might have some pull over there at JE. During the weekend of Indy qualifying, they don’t have any problem with any of the IRL engines they built blowing up. As a matter of fact, out of the top seven qualifiers, four of them are running Comptech prepared engines, including the pole sitter Arie Luyendyk. Since their engines ain’t blowing up, looks like I will get my car done in time. Awesome!

Wayne convinces me that instead of using flying into Sacramento to pickup the car, let’s fly into somewhere that has a casino. We pick Reno. So now our new itinery is:

  1. Fly to Reno
  2. Gamble, win lots of money
  3. Stay over night at the Reno Hilton
  4. Win more money
  5. Drive rental car to El Dorado Hills (Comptech)
  6. Pick up NSX
  7. Drive NSX and Rental Car to Salinas
  8. Pickup Wayne’s 944 Turbo and Explorer + Trailer which is in storage
  9. Go to Hotel
  10. Kick each other’s ass in the TCC races over the weekend

Thursday, May 27th, 10:00 p.m.
We fly into Reno, and hit the first couple of casinos. I am up about $600, and Wayne is down about $600. I tell him that he bets angry, meaning that he screams and curses when he is losing, and worse yet, he continues to be the same amount or worse, bet more. I tell him that this upsets the Karma of the table, and it pisses off the gambling gods that are watching over the tables. Wayne decides to go to sleep, and I stay up another couple of hours. Unfortunately, I end up losing a couple of hundred dollars, but at least I am up $400. Only another $7000 and I can pay for my car repair bill……

Friday Morning, May 28nd
Before breakfast, I make a run at putting a dent into the car repair bill. I told Wayne explicitly that if either of us lose $200 at the tables, then we have to walk to another casino, and try our skill/luck elsewhere. Wayne is taking forever to wakeup and get out of the shower, and I am downstairs taking a horrible beating while I am waiting for his slow ass to make it downstairs to breakfast. When he finally comes down to the casin, I lost $500. DAMN. I of course blame the losses on him…….

After breakfast, we are getting to go, and we stop at the tables one last time. Wayne finally gets an incredible run, and ends up with about $1000 in chips, so now he isn’t down too much. I pickup an extra $600, meaning I am now up $300. When we checkout, I get my room for free, since I was averaging $50+ dollar bets for about four hours at the Hilton, and the VIP guy thanks us for staying with them. We walk out of the casino strutting like John Travolta in "Staying Alive", or Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson strutting at the end of "Pulp Fiction". We talk about what ballsy, bad-ass gamblers we are with our big comeback at the end. We are on the freeway, talking about how good it is to get out of Reno on a positive winning experience, and how much self control we had. After all, we could of stayed at the blackjack tables, and probably ended up losing our winnings, but we were SMART enough to cash out ahead, which is the big battle when playing blackjack.

Four minutes onto the highway, we see a sign. Something about "Last Chance at Gambling Before You Hit the Border". We start making excuses.

"I need to go to the bathroom"
"We do need to eat some lunch before we leave"
"Comptech probably isn’t ready with the car yet anyways"
"I haven’t read the newspaper this morning"
"I do need a Snapple for the long drive to Comptech"

And the worse one,
"Hey, we are on a roll, let’s go in and kick this podunk casino’s ass for some big cash".

We go into the casino filled mainly with retired people that can barely walk, and promptly get our asses kicked. I lose $200 in a blink of an eye, and Wayne gets killed for about $500. Worse, right when we are leaving, I see Wayne put a $100 bill down twice saying, "Money Plays", and losing both those hands. We slink back to the car with out tails dragging, walking like we got mugged by a bunch of 80 year olds with canes. We analyze our respective gambling styles for a good 30 minutes, and our conclusions are:

  1. Everytime either one of us bets $100 bill on a single hand as we are getting ready to walk out of the casino, we lose 80% of the time. It is an act of desperation. We can’t do stupid moves like this anymore
  2. We cannot violate the "If you lose $200 in a single casino, walk out" rule. We must adher to it.
  3. If we only had one more good card, we would have left home with some decent cash. There was one hand where I had bet $70, and got two sevens, and a dealer was showing a six. I split the sevens, and got another 7. I split those sevens, and got another 7. So now I got four sevens, a total of $280 out there, with the dealer showing a six, meaning a huge probability she will bust, and I end up with 14, 17, 17, 19. Not too bad against a six. She ends up with 16, takes a hit, gets a 5, so she has 21. She cleans me out. Now if she would have busted, I would have won $280, for a total difference of $560. A similar situation happened to Wayne, he bet $150, doubled down, had a decent hand, but the dealer got a 20. So we console ourselves that we were only one stupid dealer bust card away from taking home some decent cash.

Fifteen minutes later we see the "Lake Tahoe" signs, indicating more casinos to our immediate right. We look at each other, and start to go through the excuses on why we need to stop at Lake Tahoe casinos before we get to Comptech, but decide that we need to get to Comptech before they close…..

We cruise into Comptech at 2:30 p.m. or so. Shad says that my car was working fine yesterday, he was driving it around to put some "easy" miles on it before he gives it to me to abuse. He drove it around this morning and it was great. Then, just before we pulled up, he did one last test drive, and it started missing/stumbling. He thought maybe I had a bad catalytic converter, as it happened when he put the cats back on. Or maybe bad plug. Anyways, he wants a little more time with the car. Since Laguna Seca doesn’t sell unleaded race gas there, we go driving around and find some race gas and eat. We wanted to buy about 30 gallons, but could only find 10 gallons. We throw the metal containers in the rental car, and I tell Wayne he is now driving around with two five gallon bombs in the back seat, so to be extra careful……

We get back to Comptech, and Shad has switched out all the coils, and now it works fine. I thank him and Jonesy and Chris for fixing everything and getting it done on time, and we blast out of there. However, as we are on the freeway, I notice the car is "missing", sometimes at low RPMs, meaning around 3000 RPMS. As I go higher up in the rev range, car is fine again. I figure, well, at the track, I will just keep it in the VTEC, and it will work fine, and I will worry about the low range missing later.

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James ordered new cam+heads for M3.  Waited forever, but finally took delivery of parts.  Took engine apart. Discovered they received wrong cam and heads.  Had to put engine back together with old cam and heads. 

We pickup Wayne’s car in Salinas, and I notice my stupid driver window won’t go up. Usually this is fixed by "rebooting" the NSX, meaning disconnecting the battery and the clock fuse, and putting everything back. I do that, but it doesn’t fix the problem. But, now the engine is fixed, it is pulling strong at all RPMs. Heh heh heh……I intend on doing some serious damage on people’s driving egos at the track tomorrow.

Saturday Morning, May 29th
Looks like a good field for the race group. The Vette guys are there in force. We have Mike with his Corvette, Sean with his Corvette ZR-1 who just had extensive engine modifications completed over in England. We got Jovo in his Toyota Supra with every possible modification/gizmo on it. Unfortunately, my car starts "missing" again sporatically. At first it isn’t too bad, as long as I am above 4000 RPMs. But then it starts gettting worse and worse, until it seems like it won’t run over 30 mph. Wayne’s 944 Turbo is making loud clicking sounds from the axle, and it turns out his replacement axle that he borrowed is dry and doesn’t have any grease in it. He jacks the car up, and is able to shoot grease into the axle boot. Wayne is also having problems with his car sputtering in 3rd gear at low RPMS. We are cursing our bad luck, and lack of mechanical knowledge. A guy at the track tells Wayne it might be the speed sensor, and gives Wayne a used speed sensor to try out. At the end of the day, I have Wayne go to the store and grab some new sparkplugs for me, just it case I am fouling a plug. I start to pull out the plugs. By the time Wayne gets back, it is too damn cold to work on the car, so we just leave it at the track.

Sunday Morning, May 30th
I get to the track early, and replace the plugs. Seems like it could be futile, as the plugs are dry, not wet and fouled. I also decided to throw on the stock exhaust + cat replacement pipes, just it case something is wrong with the catalytic converter. I fire the car up, and it is working GREAT! I take it out in one of the time trial sessions, and car is rocking. I bring the car in, put in a little gas, and then take it out for the race group. Unfortunately……the car starts missing again. We try everything, disconnecting the battery, resetting the ECU, etc………finally, about 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, we throw in the towel. Wayne proceeds to try to adjust the speed sensor, and succeeds in unraveling the coiled wire inside the speed sensor and dropping part of the speed sensor into the flywheel. He’s now screwed, and his car won’t even start. We have to push his car up on the trailer. I call for a tow truck to take my car back to Comptech. Wayne decides to bail for home. Since the wife is with me in Monterey, and now that my car is being towed away, she says, "Oh Darn. Well at least you can go shopping with me through all the art galleries and jewelry stores in Carmel." We end up spending the next day and half hanging out in Carmel, spending a lot of time with Brendan who owns the high-end glass store in Carmel called One Ocean Avenue.

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Stuff at One Ocean Avenue


Brendan recently picked up a new Audi TT, and it is a pretty cool looking car. I boneheaded and didn’t take a picture of the TT.   Anyways, it is AMAZING how relaxing a weekend can be when you don't have to worry about if your car is going to work(because it is dead), you don't have to worry when your next run group is up(because you are shopping), and you don't have to wake up for a stupid driver's meeting at 8:00 a.m(cause you ain't got a car).

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More stuff at One Ocean Avenue in Carmel

Rumor has it that Jovo got the pole for the qual race with at 1:46.  Wayne and I are cursing, because we have run faster laps the last time we were there at Laguna Seca.   We could been 1-2 on the pole, with me first.  Back at Indy, four guys with Comptech prepared engines crash, including the pole sitter who was winning the race about 170+ laps.  It's a rough May for them also.  Which goes to prove that you can have a really fast car and motor, but if you can't drive the car and finish the race.....you end up in same position as Doug and Wayne, which is DNF.

Wednesday, June 2nd
The car gets to Comptech. Shad gets the car and is puzzled by the TCS stumbling of the engine. Because right now, sitting at the shop, the NSX ran fine for 45 minutes, without a glitch.   Rumor has it that Jovo won the race, barely beating Mike in the Vette.   Also Jovo was running 1:42/1:43 lap times, which is faster than Wayne and I have EVER run at Laguna Seca.   Looks like the stakes just went up a little more....

Thursday, June 3rd

The car stumbles for Shad.  Thank God, I thought I was losing my mind...

Thursday, June 10th
Shad does further analysis for many days, and realizes that the TCS has been disconnected. Turns out that Larry disconnected the TCS(because I asked him to), and I also had him take the bulb out, because the light was bothering me. When Shad put the car back together, he reconnected parts of the TCS, but didn’t realize that Larry had other parts of it disconnected. Thus, the theory is that the TCS computer was retarding spark and timing, and causing the car to barf, since only part of the TCS was working.  Anyways, Shad said he was spinning his wheels for days because of this, but now he feels like the car is rocking!  Virginia City, here we come.....

Friday, June 11th
I am scheduled to fly up to Sacramento, and pickup the car, and drive home.    Stay tuned for more.....

Continuing the "May Misery Theme"
It was bad for most of The NSX-Files Cast of Characters. Meaning the following also happened:

  1. Jeff – dropped his Sports 2000 car off six weeks ago. His Sports 2000 engine was then shipped to someone to get it ready for the new season. He wanted to run his car at the Memorial Day Weekend races, except…….his engine was not finished yet!    Bummer for Jeff.  Also had some work done at Kiwi Auto for his rollcage in the RX-7 for the Hill Climb, and was also hoping to fix a slight decrease in boost that his turbo is experiencing.  Didn't find the leak....
  2. Doug Ota – recently bought a Sports 2000 also, to compete with Jeff. In his first race, Ota was running third in his class, looking cool and fast!  Except….he over revved his engine, and blew it up. Meaning pieces of engine were on the track.   Bummer for Ota. (Update: June 11th. Ota is running his car against James's car in the Tustin Thunder event at the Tustin Marine Airbase for bragging rights as to who is the fastest BMW Club driver in Socal.  Apparently the BMW Club got a slot with the vintage racer group that runs this event, and BMW has 30+ cars in their group.  Unfortunately.....bad news......yes......Ota blew up his M3 motor in the practice sessions....)
  3. James Sofronas – Wanted to run his M3 Lightweight at the Porsche Owner’s Club Tribute to Le Mans four hour night enduro the week before Memorial weekend. Ordered new cam and heads for the M3 to help him chase down the Porsche drivers, took forever for parts to get delivered  Took engine apart, then discovered that cam and heads won't work with the VANOS variable valve timing in his M3.  Fabryce had to rebuild motor back with original parts.  Unfortunately….his car didn’t get sorted out in time, so he didn’t get to run at this event.  Bummer for James.
  4. Mike Duncan – hasn’t raced a car in what must be six months. He has three partially assembled race cars in his shop….two NSXs, and the partially complete GT1 Car.  Bummer for Mike.

Jeff has been pretty disappointed in his lack of seat time, so he convinced me, Wayne, and Mike to buy 125cc Tony Karts.

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Jeff's, Wayne's, and Doug's new Tony Shifter Karts.  We haven't broke these yet.

These are six speed go karts that can hit 60 mph in about four seconds, and are the same karts that Michael Schumacher races in the off-season to keep his skills sharp.

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I am getting red sidepods and black bumper.  I don't want any Celtic Green on my Kart.

We will be racing these in the KRC Cup series in August. So at least among the four of us….we have some type of racing machine that will run….since our real race cars are all broken. In our first test day, Jeff soundly kicks my ass and Wayne’s ass…..but hey….it was just a test day, and Jeff is taking a long vacation this summer, so Wayne and I have plenty of time to practice.   But I think Jeff also realizes that the four of us are going to get our asses kick by these other karting dudes......but hey, these little toys ain't real racing.......that's what we will say if we get our asses lapped at the kart track....

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Gotta have a tachometer + lap timer.  Damn it, the chassis is green...

Back to the Hill Climb Preparation
So, keeping in mind that we are doing all of this work at Comptech, and the Virginia City Hill Climb is rapidly approaching(June 19/20), I need to get everything done possible to make sure the car is ready. Lately, it has been frustrating, since my car hasn’t been running good. Right now, the 4th gear to 5th gear shift is getting notchy. Between Wayne, myself, and Jeff, there is a lot of trash talking about who is going to be the King of the Hill Climb between the three of us. The escalation is in high gear. Let’s take a look at where we are at:

Jeff – recently got his RX-7 running fairly decent again, just for the Hill Climb. He has added manual boost control, anti-knock sensors(since he has blown up two RX-7 engines so far), and a roll bar JUST for this event. Jeff ran 3:48 many years ago at the Hill Climb on street tires, squealing around every corner at the limit.   This is 10 seconds slower than Wayne and I ran last year in our highly modified cars with race tires on them.  Through some intelligence I have obtained, it turns out that Jeff’s car is now somewhere in San Francisco, where a hot shot RX-7 tuner is working on his car to get it ready for the Hill Climb. Of course Jeff didn’t tell Wayne or I about the S.F. tuner........(Update: June 11th.  Hot shot tuner up in Northern California has fixed the boost leak.  Now he has the full 14 lbs of boost for the Hill Climb.

Wayne – His car is sitting at Vision Motorsports, which is the home of the 944 Turbo gurus. It turns out his engine stumbling seem to be coming from a hose that had a leak in it. Dwain at Vision suggested that he replace all hoses(many are 10 years old). Also, Dwain says that both his rear axles are screwed up, and those should be replaced for safety reasons. Dwain says that there is extra stuff in his engine compartment that he doesn’t need, since Wayne already had the heater/airconditioner/stereo removed, so Dwain pulled a lot more stuff out of his car. He also removed rear bumper to reduce the weight. He also suggested to Wayne that his clutch is about to die, so that should be replaced also. Dwain is doing some modifications to the wastegate. So Wayne now feels he dropped another 100+ lbs out of his car, as well as getting a little bit more horsepower. So now since Wayne has more power, and has dropped 400 lbs out of his car from last year's hill climb, he obviously feels like he is the one to beat among the three of us at the hill.  His wallet is also $5500 lighter due to the "Vision" treatment. (Update: June 11th. Wayne receives tentative bill.  It is $9000!  That's right, he is selling his Rolex Daytona to make his car go fast.  What started out as fixing the 3rd gear stumbling at low RPMS has escalated to immense proportions. He also has two new axles, new custom racing exhaust, new throwout bearing for clutch, suspension work, etc.  Wayne didn't realize that his bill was that high.  I told him that's what he gets for showing up in an F355 to check on the progress of  his car...)

Doug – since my car is at Comptech and the tranny is a little notchy, I decided to have Comptech throw in their six speed tranny along with their racing ring and pinion.  I can't stand not having my car run reliably, so I decided to replace everything possible to prevent another DNF/DNS.  The six speed also comes with their new clutch. They also mention that they have a slightly used Pro Suspension kit laying around, so I hopped on that also. Shad said that he dynoed my car, and it is now putting out 336 rear wheel with the catalytic converters on, which is 12 hp more than it ever had without the cats. I was trying to keep quiet about the 3 lb carbon fiber doors that I purchased from Mike Duncan, but Wayne and Jeff found out about those. This will drop about 150 lbs out of my car for the Hill Climb.  I wanted Comptech to throw out the airconditioner, but they didn't have enough time to screw around with that.  Next week, I gotta get the carbon fiber doors put on, I need to put a couple more cross bars on the rollcage since I just have these 3 lb. shells for doors, get the suspension set one more time with the race tires on the car, get decals on the door, etc.   Luckily, the 48 foot trailer should arrive on June 12th, and we have to get decals on that vehicle also, as Wayne and I are trailering are cars to the  Hill Climb.  Jeff is hedging just a bit, because he says that he wants the Hill Climb story for this year to reflect that he DROVE his car to the Hill Climb.  (Update:  June 11th.  I get my car back from Comptech.  It is running great!! Only problem is that my latest bill for car parts and labor from Comptech was more than Wayne's......this is getting too out of control....SOMEONE STOP US!  Comptech prepared engines are 1-2 on the pole for the next IRL race)

Jeff mentions that he thought he was out of control spending another 900 bucks on getting another boost controller that works with his car in Northern California.  As usual, after talking about my situation and Wayne's situation, Jeff now feels again that he is normal......but I think Jeff is in denial, along with the rest of us.  After all, he didn't take into account how much it cost to get his RX7 running again, along with the rollbar he had put in, along with the new 18 wheels that I am supposed to put in the trailer, along with other "stuff" that I am sure he is doing to his RX7 without telling us....

I get an email from a person who says that his friend's dad who runs the Blue Viper that Wayne narrowly beat last year, and who beat me by one tenth of a second.  He says the the Blue Viper is coming back with 650 HP, ready for revenge this year......

The Hill Climb promises to be a awesome event this year……I am sure all the other attendees are doing some last minute scrambling to make sure they have a run at being "King of the Hill".  Just in case, Wayne and I are getting our wills updated......in case we really have to take it to the limit to beat the other person and Jeff at the Hill....

Update:  June 13th.  The trailer gets in 9 days late.   We still have to put stickers on it, get D-rings installed to secure my NSX and Wayne's 944 in the trailer, test out extra diesel gas tank, figure out how to secure the air compressor, tools, TV set, racing gas drum, etc. 

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The 48 foot trailer finally gets delivered, with only four days to spare before the Hill Climb.

So the list for the next four days looks like something ugly like this:

1.  Drop trailer off at Modern Image and get decals put on trailer and truck.
2.  Get Burglar Alarm put in trailer
3.  Get Wayne's 944 Turbo, the trailer, the truck, and my NSX down to trailer shop to install D-rings to secure car to the floor.
4.  Get carbon fiber doors and extra door bars for rollcage installed on my NSX.
5.  Get Wayne's 944 Turbo out of the shop(won't be done until Wed)
6.  Get street tires off of NSX, and mount Hooisers
7.  Get NSX to suspension shop, and  get alignment checked
8.  Load trailer with all of our stuff
9.  Get four padlocks, all with same key, for trailer
10.  Fill 88 gallon diesel gas tank and test auxiliary pump
11.  Purchase drum of racing gas along with pump
12.  Take both F355's to the shop.  Mine is stumbling/missing at all RPMs.   Wayne's seat lumbar support air bladder broke, and his throttle is sticky.   Our Ferrari's are like autistic, nymphomanic, supermodels.  At times, they can be the hottest, most fantastic, most passionate, most brilliant, most stunning beings on this earth..  Other times, all they do is drool, soil themselves, and rock back and forth with their eyes staring vacantly at a blank wall......