Date: June 22, 2003
Venue: Texas Motor Speedway - Ft. Worth, TX
Results: 3rd in Class (14 total), 25th Overall (159 total)
I had an awesome time at Texas Region's event at Texas Motor Speedway even though the heat was almost unbearable. There are a LOT more people in Texas Region than in my region, and at this event there were 159 competitors, which I was told was a small turnout as there is usually around 250 per event! There are also a LOT of talented drivers in Texas Region, and there are even several multi-time National Champions that compete there on a regular basis. I was definitely looking forward to the competition, but I didn't expect to do very well considering the amount of talent there.
There were 14 competitors in the Street Modified class. Most of the cars were highly modified Camaros and Firebirds, but there was also another BMW M3 piloted by veteran racer Jim Harris, who is also a BimmerForums.com member that I've talked to on the forum prior to this event. Jim is a great guy, who I'm glad I was able to meet in person, and he's also a really fast driver. Jim's 1995 M3 is also highly modified with lightweight 17"x9" wheels, 255/40R17 racing tires, an adjustable coilover racing suspension (with lots of negative camber dialed in), a lightweight aluminum flywheel, a cold air intake, a performance computer chip, and a very cool modified exhaust system that Jim designed himself.
The course was approximately one mile long and was very fast and open. I only had time to walk the course once because we got to the event kinda late, so I wasn't really able to memorize any part of the course much less visualize how I was going to take each corner. My first run was really slow, because I had to figure out the course all over again during the run. My second run was about 3 seconds faster, but still not as fast as a few of the other competitors in my class. My third run felt really good, but was only about half a second faster than my second run and still getting beat by several other competitors. By this time Jim was making his runs and his first run was about a full second faster than my third run! Keep in mind that they only give you 4 runs at Texas Region events (instead of the 9 that we get in my region) and the time between runs is about 45 minutes to an hour (instead of 10 or 15 minutes in my region), so it's easy to forget the course layout in between your runs. On my final run, I got really aggressive and even screwed up one corner by going in too hot, but I STILL improved my time by over a full second! This final run was about a tenth of a second faster than Jim's first run, so I felt like it was a pretty good run. I was actually in first place in Street Modified at this point, but there were several other competitors, including Jim, that still had three runs left while I had to go out and work the course. When it was all over, Jim was able to run 1.519 seconds faster than my best run, and one of the Firebird drivers ran only 0.098 of a second faster than me on his last run, so I ended up in third place. It would've been nice to have a BMW M3 1-2 finish, especially in a class full of Camaros and Firebirds, but I think I still did pretty well considering my car is only a few small mods past being legal for Stock Class!
I also used my new Schroth 4-point harness for the first time at this event, and it really helped me stay in place while driving the car. Hopefully, I'll have some new Eibach adjustable anti-sway bars installed before the next race at Miller Field in Dalhart, TX on August 17th. I'm also going to use some camber bolts/shims on the front struts to get a little more negative camber to help further reduce understeer.