Touring Car Club at Laguna Seca
December 18-19, 1999

"R=TP2:  Everyone Wants to be Einstein"

The Flamemobile is a blur compared to the trailing BMW, Vette, and Porsche
(click here for bigger picture) -
photo by Mark Allen

(NOTE:  If your browser shows broken links for the pictures, hit the "refresh" button a couple of times.  And get rid of that 28.8 modem, for crying out loud, we are heading into the next millenium.  Call your cable company or phone company and DEMAND a high speed Internet line immediately, or else you will sue as they are hindering your ability to read The NSX-Files)
The last race of the season for us was the Touring Car Club race at Laguna Seca.  We went through the usual flailing around trying to get ready for this event.  There was so much flailing around (not caused by me, I had my stuff ready the day before we were to leave, as I have figured out how to beat Raceaflais), that I was trying to figure out WHY we subject ourselves to 10+ days of torture (including the drive up and back, gone for the weekend, prepping the cars and trailer, etc) to get ready to drive on the track for a measly couple of hours.  True, a big reason that Wayne and I subject ourselves to the stress and torture of getting ready for an event is because wheel-to-wheel racing is one of the world's greatest adrenaline rushes you can have and it is highly addicting.  But I have come to a conclusion that it is also because everyone wants to be Einstein, and running your car at the racetrack, getting ready for an event, etc., will inevitably cause more than 100 “Problems”, that will have to be solved.  So the formula is "Racing = Time x Problems2". Since you have 100+ problems, and if you have the intelligence, determination, skill, personnel, and luck to solve all 100 problems, you feel like a genius when that is accomplished, and you will have an excellent racing weekend. You get the “Einstein Halo Effect”, meaning you feel superior to all human beings, your chest expands five inches, you feel mentally alert, since you figured out before everyone else how to solve the problem.  It is kinda like that feeling of accomplishment that you get when you finish a big project, especially a project that you at one time felt was doomed to be a failure.  Okay, so let’s go through what happened getting ready for this event, and the end result………

James' M3 has been sold to someone who was driving it in the Time Trial portion of the event

November 23rd or so. 
Okay, we got more than three weeks to get ready for this event.  More than adequate time to get ready for a track event.  Yeah, right.   Wayne gets his head gasket replaced, and gets super duper head studs installed, and gets his overheating problem fixed.   Since his engine should be working good, he also gets the boost turned up 3 more lbs, so he is putting out about 18 lbs of boost.  But I did crush him pretty handily at Willow Springs, so he decides to get fiberglass fenders and hood installed, thus dropping more weight off the car.  He also decides to get the car painted bright yellow, like his F355.  But he doesn’t want to pay a lot for the body work, as like all of us, this car obsession is quickly depleting everyone’s cash faster than we ever expected…

Viper Dudes at the track, ready to rock and roll

WAYNE’S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  He decides to trade one of his used multi-line business phone systems for the lightweight body parts and a paint job.  He decides to take the car back to Marc, who was supposed to put the body parts on for the last race, but didn’t get them done on time.  Call me a cynic, but if a person can't get the job done on schedule the first time, they ain’t gonna get done on time if you give them a second chance at it.  Being on time is sorta like the infamous Bozo Bit, once someone has flipped the bit once for being late, the bit is always flipped in the “off position”, and that person will always, always be late.  Ask my wife.  Ask Larry.  They are never on time.  I tell Wayne that the trailer has to packed up and ready to go by Wednesday night, December 15th, as I have a Christmas Pot Luck dinner to go to on Thursday the 16th, as we have to leave at 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning to beat the traffic.   In order for this to happen, he has to tell Marc that we need the car by December 8th, as this will give us a little buffer incase of any screwups by Marc.  Once we get the car from Marc, we still have to get the car decaled, tested out, install two-way radio harness, camcorder, get the sound deaded, etc.

Dwain was driving Tak's very fast 944 Turbo

DOUG’S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  I decided to pickup a portable hydraulic lift for the trailer.  When I blew up my clutch at Las Vegas, that eliminated me from the PRO Racing Series for overall points champ for the year.  If I had a hydraulic lift at Vegas, I could have had Larry install a new clutch in a few hours, and I would still have had a chance at the overall total points championship.   The lift was ordered in early November, and arrives around the 23rd.  Awesome, now we should have everything we need at the track.

DOUG’S EINSTEIN MOVE #2:  My 3 lb. carbon fiber doors, for some reason, are painted a darker red than the rest of the car.  I bought the doors from Mike Duncan, who had them painted to match a red NSX that was at his shop.  Well, apparently it ain’t the same color as my NSX, as it looks dorky with the doors being a different color.  Larry says that he has a guy in Riverside that will take off the old stickers, shoot the doors the proper color, and then deliver the doors back to us.  I say okay.  I mean, we got more than three weeks, how long could it take to paint a couple of doors?

LARRY’S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  The Touring Car Club said that the decibel level at Laguna Seca will be a max of 90 db for this event.  A bunch of bonehead rich people built homes close to the racetrack, and are offended by the noise.  Duh…you built/bought a home right next to a racetrack, what did you expect?  Peace and Quiet?  I tell Larry and Wayne that there is NO WAY Wayne will last one lap at 90 db.  To prove it, we pull out Alex’s sound meter, and Wayne is blowing 85 db at IDLE, and about 102 DB when he revs it up.   Larry says, “No problem, I will put this corkscrew thingy in the exhaust, and that will deaden the sound.  But first I need to have the car here to work on it.

So now we think we know what the hell we are doing, and we are doing stuff in advance.  Fast forward now two weeks later to December 8th, when the Einstein moves start to unravel into the "Homer Simpson mini-series".

Wednesday, December 8th: 9 days before we are to leave for the event.  COUNTERMOVE to WAYNE'S EINSTEIN MOVE #1.  We still don’t have Wayne’s car.  Wayne isn't panicking yet.  Me, I am screaming that he ain't gonna make it, and we are going to be running around with our heads cut off again at the last minute.  This last minute running around is going to give me an ulcer or a heart attack.

COUNTERMOVE TO DOUG’S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  You would imagine when you order a $2,000 portable lift, that it would come in a big box with a lot of heavy pieces in it.  That I can deal with.  Or more precisely, I would give the big box to Guy, who used to work for 1-800-Phoneguys, to deal with.  You don’t want me doing anything mechanical, as I will turn the project into spaghetti.  What I can’t imagine is why they would ship a $2000 lift with pieces that don’t fit, or just plain won’t work.  Guy says that according to the directions, a couple of the arms need to pivot on this 11 inch by 1 inch solid metal pin.  Except they shipped us a 6 inch by 1 inch metal pin, so it is short by five inches, and one of the arms can't possibly pivot.  It won’t workee.  

This 11 inch pin inserts correctly between all the bars.  A 6 inch pin only secures one of the bars.

We call the salesman up, and tell them that we have the wrong part.  A technician from the lift distributor comes back the next day.  We show him the diagram, show him the pin, and he also scratches his head and says, “You got the wrong part”.  Duh, Homer, we told you that yesterday.  He said we could probably go to a metals warehouse, and get the pin.  I tell him, “Bullshit, I spent $2000 on a stupid lift, I ain’t spending MY TIME looking for a pin that will determine whether or not Larry the Mechanic gets crushed by a car, YOU go get us the right part.”  He agrees with us.  

Meanwhile, Mark brings in his twin turbo NSX, complaining about a whining sound when he engages the clutch, and the fact that he needs a new clutch for the Laguna Seca event.  LARRY'S EINSTEIN MOVE 2: Larry diagnoses the whining sound to be a bearing going bad in the tranny, which he replaces.  He also test drives Mark's car, and feels that it doesn't run as fast as it should.  He screws around with the fuel management system, the map sensor, etc, and decides that it is running too lean.   Mark picks up the car, and it now feels like a rocket.

Friday, December 10th: seven days before we are to leave for the event.
COUNTERMOVE to WAYNE EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  His car isn’t done yet.  It was supposed to be done two days ago.  As a matter of fact, Marc doesn’t even have the right lightweight body parts in his hands yet.  His car still needs to get the new body parts delivered, installed, sanded, painted, and then we have to get decaled, and we have to screw around with the muffler, he needs new brake pads, etc.  Marc says he is still waiting for the parts.  The stench of impending disaster is in the air.

COUNTERMOVE TO DOUG’S EINSTEIN MOVE #2: I don’t have my doors yet.  They were delivered three weeks ago to get painted.  Nothing has been done.  Larry and Lina can’t get in touch with the guy who has the doors, they can’t even get him on the phone.  Larry and Lina say that they are going to drive to Riverside in the next day or so, and march into the guy’s shop, and walk right out with my doors “as is”, meaning with the same wrong color paint on them.  I tell them that they HAVE to get the doors back this weekend, as we don’t have time to dick around with someone promising they will be done right before we leave to the race.  I doubt the TCC will let me race without any doors.

Monday, December 13th.  We get the pin.  But now Guy says, “Uhh….the main joint for the hydraulic lift won’t fit where it is supposed to go, the joint is too big to fit between the bars.”  Oh great, who makes these things, Stevie Wonder and his sidekick Helen Keller?  

The pivot point for the hydraulic lift was too big, and would not fit in this slot

Guy then proceeds to pull out a portable grinder, and grinds away on the joint for 30 minutes in order to get it to fit in correctly.  We are going to end up paying $2000 in labor to put the damn lift together.  We should just sent bought Guy some raw steel and have him build us a lift from scratch.

Okay, so now we finally get the lift put together correctly, and we feel the Einstein halo coming upon us.  Except…..the lift is too high, and the car won’t fit on top of it without wiping out the front spoiler/splitter, and part of the undercarriage.  SHIT! So I have Guy go out and buy four 12’x 1’ boards, so he can screw two of the boards together, and make a ramp that we put on each side of the lift that will raise the car up on the lift without wiping out the spoiler or the undercarriage of the car

The lift in the trailer, with the ramp boards to allow a car to clear the lift

Einstein halo is coming back on, and glowing intently.   We are geniuses.    But we still don’t have Wayne’s car.  Marc still doesn’t have the right fender and hood parts.

Larry and Lina successfully get my doors back, without any new paint on them.  The body guy apologizes, and says that his main paint guy went on vacation for Thanksgiving, and uh…..took an extra couple of weeks in coming back to work.   Do all body shop people have the “late bit” turned on?

Tuesday, December 14th.  No Body Panels for Wayne’s car yet.  We are leaving in 72  hours.  It has been 3 weeks since he dropped the car off.  Wayne tells Marc to put the car back together with the existing body parts, and shoot the entire car yellow.  Marc says he will paint the car first thing Wednesday morning, and will deliver it around noon Thursday.  So we miss our deadline of having everything packed in the trailer on Wednesday night.

Wednesday Night, December 15th.
I have been packing stuff in the trailer, and picking stuff up for two days.  Stuff like tires, rims, food, charging the radios, charging the camcorder batteries, everything from the checklist.  I am pretty close to getting all my stuff done.  I even have my clothes for the weekend already packed and in the trailer.  

But then someone has the nerve to come up with the question, “Uhh…..dudes, this lift must weight at least 600 lbs, how do we get it into the trailer?”.  Uh oh.  Well, we can just lift it in with four guys, right?  Wrong.  This is like lifting a 600 lb “H-shaped” hunk of metal that keeps flexing and shifting back and forth.  Light bulb comes on in my head.  “No problem, I ordered an electric winch in the trailer, we will just winch the damn thing up”.  Einstein Halo on again.  Damn, I ‘m good.  We try winching it up.  The lift has a couple of three inch steel wheels in the middle of the lift, and you are supposed to use this little hook thingy with two more steel wheels on it to grab it and pull it around, which works fine, if you are on level ground.  

The hook thingy with 3 inch steel wheels to drag the lift around

But going up the slant of the trailer door into the trailer, the middle wheels don’t touch, as it can’t angle up the trailer door. Instead the winch is trying to drag this 600 lb piece of steel up without using the wheels in the middle of it.  We can’t use the the hook with wheels on it, as both ends of the lift are teeter tottered on the trailer door, and both ends are about six inches or so off the ground.    We are worried that it will snap the steel cable like a rubber band and the cable will ricochet backwards and kill the person operating the winch.  So it is obvious that this ain’t going to work.  

So now we have me, Jesse, Larry, Wayne, and Doyle all arguing, trying to be the Einstein to come up with how we are going to make this work.   We all agree we need bigger wheels.  I say we need the big solid wheels like they sell as an option for the big Craftsman rollaway tool chest, and bolt the wheels onto the holes that we put the hook thingy in.  Wayne says we need big, big tires with air in them.  Other people are telling Wayne that the lift is too heavy for tires with air in them, and the tires will pop.   Wayne, Doyle, and Larry decide to go to the Home Depot and find some wheels that will work.  Wayne comes back, smiling.  He found two big hand trucks with big, 9 inch, air-inflatable rubber tires on them.  He has figured out that if he has Doyle use his arc welder to weld a hook thingy on each of the hand trucks, the hand truck will work just like the little hook thingy that came with the lift, except Wayne’s hook thingy will have 9 inch rubber wheels, not three inch steel wheels.  Wayne goes to sleep, with the Einstein Halo shining brightly.  He has solved the Portable Lift problem.

The hand truck with 9 inch air-inflatable wheels, and Doyle's custom pin welded on it with bracket.

Thursday, December 16th, the day before we leave to the track.
Wayne gets his car back around 3:00 p.m. or so.  It is not a bright yellow, it is more like obnoxious fluorescent yellow. Larry has an NSX up on the rack, putting in a clutch.  Wayne has to get his car decaled, brake pads installed and brakes bled, muffler noise reduced, and all the rest of the stuff in the trailer.  I bail at 3:00 p.m. to go to the potluck dinner, giving Larry a list of stuff that HAS to be done before they go home, as we need to leave by 5:00 a.m.  I don’t want to drive around a Ford F350 truck towing a trailer that must weight 15,000 lbs in the Los Angeles rush hour traffic.  It is certain that some idiot will be driving in rush hour, talking on his cell phone and will accidentally cut us off without looking, and since it takes two football fields to stop our truck and trailer when it is going 50 mph, we will end up on the morning TV news stations with the caption, “SUV Crushed to a Pulp by Pulp Racing Truck and Trailer.”

Diego The Announcer is pictured here with Wayne's new Lemon Mobile

Wayne rushes down to Modern Image and gets some stickers thrown on.  And then back to the shop in a mad panic to get everything ready to go.   Larry starts putting on the pads on the car.  Jesse comes by to help with packing the trailer.

Wayne picks up this metal corkscrew thing for his muffler that Larry said to get to quiet the muffler down.  Wayne is feeling pretty good about getting this part right before the guy left for the evening.  Except now, it doesn’t fit in his muffler.  He has Doyle, who is on this deathbed with the flu, work on it with a grinder for an hour to make it fit.

Larry calls me at home around 8:00 p.m.  I am trying to go to sleep, as I will be driving the entire way up to Laguna Seca in the morning.  Larry is cracking up.  He said that Wayne had Doyle weld the pin/hook on the two hand trucks.  Everything looked good.  They proceeded to get the lift off the ground to move it, and Wayne was beaming like he is the Einstein among us, and is telling everyone what a genius he is.  Except there was just one thing that Wayne miscalculated………the lift weighs 600 lbs.  The hand trucks were designed to move about 150 lbs, and are made of lightweight aluminum.  

This hand truck has two pins to hook into the two rear arms of the lift, so we can move it around

The lift was raised up on the hand trucks, and then the hand trucks held the weight for a few seconds, and them promptly bent and crumbled under the extreme weight.  Wayne looked quizzically at the lift as if this could not possibly happen to his idea.  Larry was laughing so hard he couldn’t talk.  Now Wayne went to modification number 2, meaning that he had Doyle weld some supporting metal brackets on the hand trucks to support the weight of the lift, and this becomes the Final Solution to the Portable Car Lift.  Extra credit points go to Wayne for the Einstein solution to this problem.

The portable lift in action.

9:30 p.m.  Wayne bails on Larry and Jesse, who say they will finish up packing up the trailer, as long as they get to sleep the entire way to Laguna Seca.

Friday, December 19th.
2:00 a.m. in the morning.  Larry and Jesse finish packing up the trailer.  They then go home to get a couple of hours of sleep.

4:30 a.m. in the morning.  I get to the shop, and open the side door on the trailer.   I start cursing, as there is lots of room in the trailer.  I left a big list of stuff for Larry to put in the trailer, and it is obvious that he and Wayne blew it off.  I start looking around the shop for the stuff that I wanted in the trailer, and I can’t find the stuff.  What the hell?  Apparently Jesse assisted Larry in packing the trailer so neatly, that I didn’t think it was possible to have all of our stuff in the trailer.  But everything was in there.  When I pack the trailer, I just throw shit everywhere, without worrying about it being neat.    I guess when you pack neatly, there is a lot of additional room left over.

5:10 a.m., we pull out of the shop, and on our way to Laguna Seca. 

11:30 a.m., we call Laguna Seca, and ask them if we can drop the trailer off at the track.  They tell us no way, come by after 5:30 p.m., as there is a Bondurant class going on in the paddock area.  I am Einstein, because I called the track first instead of driving the monster truck and trailer over to the track, and then being forced to turn around and come back later.

12:45 p.m., 7.5 hours later, we arrive at the hotel in one piece.  BMW guy asks us why we didn’t park the trailer at Laguna Seca, and we tell him we called and they said no.  He tells us that he just parked his trailer there, and the place is deserted, and that it is stupid to ask them about parking, that we should just do it.  My Einstein halo is wiped off my head.  We proceed to the track, and drop the trailer off, and take the cars out of the trailer.  Looks like we are finally ready for the track event.  We can now relax for a bit until the morning.

Saturday Morning.  We got a bunch of the NSX Club of America folks out at the track, and have at least 7 NSXes at the track.   Alex is there with his Gruppe M supercharged NSX, Dan is there with his Comptech Supercharged NSX, we got Brad with his Zarnardi NSX there, Mark’s Twin Turbo NSX, Mark Allen, Hrant, and Glen with their NSXes.  Eyeing the competition in the wheel-to-wheel race group, there is Mike with his Corvette that he wants to run in World Challenge.  Dwain, Wayne’s 944 tuner, is there with Tak’s 944 Twin Turbo.  There are about 20+ people in the race group, but Wayne and I know that we will be battling it out with Mike and Dwain to see who will be king of Laguna Seca for this weekend.

I have a stock 97 exhaust on my car, as I wanted to make sure I could make the 90 db limitation that was in the entry form.  Turns out the information was incorrect, as 92 is the limit for today.  Grrrrrr……I probably could have gotten by with either the Comptech or RM Racing mufflers instead of the stock exhaust at 92, but not 90 db.  But I do have the Comptech exhaust in the trailer, and Larry brought along 3 other stock mufflers incase any of the NSX guys there could not pass sound with their aftermarket mufflers.

First couple of sessions out, the car feels okay.  Dwain and Mike are running a little faster than me, but I don’t think it a lot faster.  Wayne is worried that after all the work that Dwain did on his car, he isn’t getting as much power as he should be.  His boost is abnormally low, and has Dwain look at it. COUNTERMOVE TO LARRY’S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  Oooops.  Well, the corkscrew thingy kept the sound down, but it also prevented the turbo from building up the proper boost.  They remove the corkscrew, and power is restored, but Wayne’s car is a lot louder.  But luckily, he isn’t getting black flagged for sound.

Coming down the front straight at speed.
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photo by Mark Allen

On the hot lap timer in the second practice session, I am running 1:43.75, which is about a second faster than I have ever run at Laguna Seca, using old Hoosiers tires and the stock exhaust.  However, Mike is running in the 1:42’s, and so is Dwain.  Wayne is running around 1:44, but is just starting to get into the groove after figuring out what was wrong with the boost.  I check the grid for the qual race, and they have me on pole, followed by Mike and Dwain.  Wayne is gridded about 7th.  I am cracking up, as the TCC wasn’t using a transponder system for scoring, so they went to manual clocking of various random laps, and they clocked one of my random laps faster than Dwain or Mike's random laps.  Mike asks me if I am going to tell TCC about the error, and I say, “Uhh…no.  If you are on pole, I will never catch ya.”  After thinking about it for while, I can outbrake Dwain or Mike, but they seem to have more power than me….hummm…no use risking an accident for the qual race, as I will have to hold them off with braking….and they will out-accelerate me in the straights….I concede and let Mike and Dwain grid in front of me.  I am hoping that I can get into the low 1:42's once I get dialed in with the car, and who knows, maybe even run a high 1:41.  As a comparison, the pole for the Speedvision GT Race here in October was a 1:37 run by a C5 Corvette, with the top 10 fastest drivers running 1:37-1:40, but those are full on stripped down race cars,  and are also uncorked from the noise restriction.  (although their spec tires are probably not as fast as the Hoosiers that Wayne and I run).  So at least we know we are within striking distance of the Speedvision race teams, and who knows, maybe with a little luck, maybe we could qualify around midpack.......kinda makes you go "Hummm......".

COUNTERMOVE TO DOUG'S EINSTEIN MOVE #1:  So we have this cool portable lift along with these cool hand trucks with reinforced steel and big air inflated tires.  We wheel the lift out of the car, and we are able to move the lift like a piece of cake!  We are truly Einsteins.  We put another NSX on the lift as Larry wants to check out a possible problem with the brakes or exhaust.  We push the button to fire up the hydraulics to lift the car up, and as soon as the lift reaches the car, the generator kicks itself off, as if it is blowing a breaker.  Uh oh.  Well, the hydraulic motor is 110 volt plug.  We plug that into the trailer.  Except apparently the generator doesn't produce enough electricity for the lift to fully lift a car off the ground.  We only tested at the shop with a 110 volt land line, not the generator in the trailer.  Damn.  And now it seems like the generator isn't putting out enough electricity to keep the air compressor fired up for the air tools.  What the hell?  We find out that there is a 110 volt land line available about 150 feet away, and we pull out a bunch of extension cords to reach all the way over so we can power the lift and the air compressor.  Back to the drawing board with the generator, and trying to figure out why the 50 amp generator can' t power the 20 amp motor on the lift.... 

COUNTERMOVE TO LARRY'S EINSTEIN MOVE #2:  Mark Schulten starts blowing out a lot of oil smoke, and his engine light is coming on.  Uh oh.....did Larry do something that screwed up the aftermarket turbo in Mark's car?  Mark's car is overflowing the oil catch can that Larry rigged up for him last week.  Larry is scratching his head trying to figure out what is wrong.   Mark can't run more than a couple of laps without smoke blowing out from the back of his car. kinda sounds like my car when I started to have engine problems....

In the warm-up lap of the qual race, Dwain is on pole, then Mike, then me.  The entire grid of the race group is single file, going about 30 mph, swerving violently left and right, trying to warm up the tires like they do in the F1, Indy, and NASCAR races on TV.  Except Dwain swerves his car a little too violently back and forth, and in the WARM-UP lap, accidentally spins the car around in a 360 spin.   And I thought Wayne drove a little crazy………

Swerving side to side to get the tires hot.  Hey, isn't he turning too sharp to the right?
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Almost spins to the right, but tries to catch it and swerves back to the left
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Oooops.  A little too far to the left.  Now turns into a 180 degree spin. 
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Ooooops.  Now turns into a full 360 degree spin during the warm-up lap.  Luckily, he didn't stall it.
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Dwayne recovers, and luckily doesn't stall the car or spin off the grid.  Or else Mike and I would have been forced to pass him on the warm-up lap.  Okay, so we finish warming up the tires, and we make it to the front straight.  Dwain has us crusing at 37 MPH, waiting for the flag to drop.  Flag, drops, and we are off!

Okay, right before the green flag is to drop.
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Going into turn 1.  Damn, they killed me in acceleration by 14 car lengths.  I need more HP.
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Hey, no problem, I can almost catch them under braking at the corkscrew
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And catch them again at the hairpin before the straightaway
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But they kick my ass again down the straight into turn 1.  Note 114 mph into the turn
(Note: my speedometer error is probably 5% on the low side due to bigger tires)
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Hitting 100 mph going into the corkscrew.
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Dwain makes a pass on Mike in turn 4
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Seventeen seconds later, into turn 5, I get right behind Mike.
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Exiting turn 6, Dwain gets two right side wheels off into the dirt.  Uh oh..
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He tries to recover, but it is beyond hope.  The Road Runner dust cloud appears.
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Shoots off the track in front of Mike.  LOOKOUT!
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Ends up close to the wall.  Luckily, no damage.  See ya Dwain!
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So now I got Dwaine out of the way.  Except I saw some black stuff flying up in my window compartment, which is usually a bad thing.  I check my boost gauge.  Damn.  My supercharger belt is shredding, as I am not getting 7 lbs of boost under full throttle, I am getting about 3 lbs of boost.  Uh oh.  Mike is pulling away into the distance.  And in my rear view mirror, I got this goofy, flying yellow lemon coming at me, powered by 17 lbs of turbo boost.

Wayne rips by me in Turn 5, going up the hill.

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This sucks.  Wayne pulls on me big time down the straights, just like the Vette and the other 944 Turbo did.  But then again I do have a stock exhaust on, and he is running his racing exhaust.   But I am not too worried, as Wayne always spins off and never finishes a race.  I estimate it will take 3 laps for him to crack under the pressure.   I start the count down to his next mistake. 

Humm.....looks like Wayne goes into the Corkscrew a little too hot.
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Oooops, I was wrong.  One lap later, or about 120 seconds later, it comes true for me!  Wayne cracks, and spins out of control off the track.  See ya Wayne!

And slides down the corkscrew sideways, and spins off the track.  See ya Wayne! Another DNF.
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Okay, so both Dwain and Wayne spin off in front of me, so now I am in 2nd place again, behind Mike.  So even though I only am getting 3 lbs of boost, I should be okay, right?  Wrong.

Dwain gets me on turn 5 on the next lap. DAMN!
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Not having full boost sucks.  However, the next lap Dwain pulls off the track, and it looks like he will be a DNF.  Wayne is spun off to the side of the track, and his front splitter is cracked and is hitting the curbing that is along the corkscrew, so he is also a DNF in the qual race.  Looks like it will be me and Mike in the front of the pack for the final race on Sunday to see who will be king.   Wayne runs a 1:42 lap time, which is faster than I have ever run at Laguna Seca, and is constantly reminding everyone about how fast his lap time was.

Larry throws on another supercharger belt, as it looks like 25% of the belt shredded for some reason.  Not sure why.  Meanwhile, Larry and Jesse are helping all the NSXers out with brakes, brake fluid, brake pads, exhaust, oil catch tanks, etc.  All in all, a pretty rough day for the mechanics, they barely had time to eat.

Sunday, December 18th.
In practice, for some reason, I partially shred another belt.  Larry pulls apart all the pulleys and brackets, and realigns everything. Since this belt is spinning so fast, if one of the pulleys is just a little out of spec, the belt turns into tiny pieces of thread.  I also put on the Comptech exhaust that I use for racing, and promptly get busted for sound, blowing out 95 db.  I proceed to put a couple of Welch's grape juice cans on the exhaust tips, and cut out part of the bottom, to hopefully lower the sound volume. 

The final race.   Looks like Dwain is a DNS, to a head gasket problem.  Wayne is at the back of the field, due to his DNF yesterday.  Mike is in front of me on the pole.  Unfortunately for me, Mike never spins, and he has more HP than I do.  Which means I need his car to break in order to beat him.  Not that I would ever wish that on anyone......Green Flag drops and Mike takes off in front of me.  After two laps, I realize that I am not getting full boost again under full throttle.  Damn, I bet the supercharger belt is a little loose, as it seems to be slipping under high RPM, and I didn't see any belt shreds flying around in the rear engine hatch.  Anyways, Mike easily pulls out from me.  No one else is running close behind me.  It kinda becomes a yawner of a race, compared to the qualifying race the day before.  Oh well.......I end up taking 2nd place, Wayne passes about 17 cars and takes 3rd place, quite a distance behind me.   Wayne brags about passing so many cars, but an old Chinese saying is that it is easy to pass 17 slow cars, but real tough to pass one fast car.   Everyone seems to run a second or so slower per lap than yesterday for some reason, I guess maybe the weather? But if my supercharger belt was dialed in, and I got the racing exhaust dialed in to lower the sound, maybe I could ran a faster laptime than Wayne and given Mike a better run for his money......but we won't know until next time.   Anyways, due to the Einstein brainpower of Larry, Jesse, Wayne, Doyle, Guy, and myself, we solved about 99 out of 100 problems that came up in the past week and during the race weekend, and thus came out with a 2nd and 3rd place finish in the final race. 

Larry and Jesse hanging out after 11 continuous hours of working at the track on Saturday and Sunday.

For the trip home, Mark agrees to have Larry drive his twin turbo NSX home, and to see if he can figure out what the problem is.  Larry and Jesse will follow the Pulp Racing Trailer home, and if Mark's car should break down, the plan is to throw Mark's car in the trailer, and one of us will drive the Flamemobile home, since it is still street legal.  COUNTERMOVE TO THE COUNTERMOVE TO LARRY'S EINSTEIN MOVE #2.  Sunday night and Monday morning before we start the long drive home, Larry is pondering what could be wrong with Mark's car.  He knows it can't be his modifications or his mistake.  On the way home, Larry comes up with the diagnosis that Mark got some bad fuel on the way up to the track, as he drove up with a caravan of NSXs on some back roads and got some gas at a "less reputable" type of gas station.  He and Jesse pull off the road, dump virtually all the gas out of the gas tank, and then put in some new premium fuel at a reputable gas station.  BINGO.  Car is now running fine.  Check engine light no longer comes on, car is no longer blowing smoke out of the back.  Jesse and Larry get back on the freeway, do a bunch of full throttle acceleration runs, and now the car no longer blows smoke, and it is running fine with lots of power.  Looks like Mark will not have to shell out for a new engine!    Larry has  his Einstein Halo back on.

I start thinking about the past couple of months, and I realize that Mike and his Corvette has kicked my ass three time in a row, including Laguna, Las Vegas, and the LA Street Race.  Looks like we will have to spend Christmas vacation with the Einstein thinking cap on, trying to figure out how to take down the Corvette in our next matchup.....

December 28, 1999.  The landlord of our townhouse informs me and Dagmar that we got 60 days to move our ass out of the building.  Unbelievable, we are being evicted for the second time in 4 years, both times due to the landlord wanting to move back into their properties.  The only thing worse than moving is crashing your car and totaling it.  

December 29, 1999.  Meanwhile, Larry is turning into a full fledge NSX Tuner extraordinaire.  He looks at the NOS setup on Randy's NSX.  Larry doesn't understand why the NOS hose is routed 12 inches from the throttle body, into the metal tube for air.  Larry proceeds to drill a hole DIRECTLY into the throttle body, taps the hole at an angle, and re-routes the NOS into this newly tapped hole.  Zoom zoom, Randy now has instantaneous throttle response from the NOS at full throttle, and it is making a lot more power.   So much power, that Steve, another NSX guy, is now thinking about a NOS kit on his NSX now, as he needs to experience the rush that Randy gets whenever he floors the gas.   Larry gives them the standard warning that he is not a fan of NOS, but if they want to use it, he will help them.  Mark's twin turbo NSX is running pretty fast, but after some more tweaking on the Turbo plumbing, Larry magically produces a lot more power that is definitely noticeable.  Looks like there will be some pretty fast NSXs cruising around town for the New Year!   As for Larry's shop, we have had some horrible problems with getting the stupid city inspectors (call them a monopoly, as you get NO customer service whatsoever from them) to sign off on the permits.  The landlord has been trying for 59 days to get the stupid permit, so Larry can formally open business.  Once it formally opens, we will have an  informal grand opening to announce that Larry and Lina are now in business with their own shop.

Wayne and I have been listless and lazy the past two weeks, as we are still coming down from the high of buzzing around Laguna Seca wheel-to-wheel.  Regular life becomes a drag without fast cars at the limit.  We won't do any racing until January 22/23 at Willow Springs with the Alfa Club.  We also have our first go kart race on January 23rd, on the kart track at Willow Springs.  We think we can pull off racing our cars on Saturday, January 22, and then on Sunday, run the KRC cup race on the go-karts in the morning, and then in the afternoon hop back into our cars for the final Alfa race Sunday afternoon.  The go-fast addiction is too strong.....we can't stop.......we are sure things will get even more out of control in the Year 2000........

December 30, 1999.  Damn.  Still haven't had time to get started working on The NSX-Files Volume IV, or to get the Pulp Streaming Video going.  Oh well, there is always next year.  So now I have a New Year's resolution.  

Dave from PRO Racing calls, and wants to know if I can show my car at the LA Car Show that is displaying all the year 2000 cars from January 8-15 or so.  I call Larry and ask him if we can have my car at the show for two weeks, as it will only give him four days to prep the car for the next race.  He says, "Hell yes", and wants to put "Race Prepared by NSX Modified" stickers all over the car.  Hey, so about another million people will see my car.  All you potential sponsors out there, ya shoulda signed up, I told you I would get you exposure....

January 1, 2000, 12:00 a.m.  The techno phobic boneheads have been stocking up flashlights, batteries, cash, generators, guns, ammo, food, water for the past year, and are probably huddled up in their homes and bomb shelters preparing for the end of the world.  I have been telling these freaks there is nothing to worry about for the past year.  The Millennium comes,  and guess what happens to all those Y2K "The Sky Will Fall" paranoid worries that the Chicken Littles have been spouting for the past year?  NOTHING.  No planes crash, no power grids fail, nuclear plants still run fine, there aren't any accidental missle launchings, etc.  I don't know about you, but we were celebrating at a bar in Huntington Beach at midnight, with an all-you-can-drink-for-$50 with a live band, cause we technogeeks knew NOTHING was gonna happen.  We drink ourselves into oblivion, smiling with our Einstein halos around our the survivalists remain huddled in their bomb shelters with freeze dried food, waiting for the apocalypse that never happens......and hopefully never will......

Don't forget to checkout the Pulp Racing 2000 Calendar!