Date: November 16, 2003
Venue: Dolaca Motorplex - Brownfield, TX
Results: 3rd in Class (3 total), 29th Overall (42 total)
I was really excited about this final season event for several reasons... I was in third place in the Championship points standings and had to do well at this event to maintain my third place spot, AND I spent several weeks designing the course layout for this event. However... some BASTARD stole my racing wheels and tires out of my garage TWO DAYS BEFORE THIS EVENT!!! On Friday night, my garage door was open for approximately 30 minutes after I got home from the grocery store. During this time, while I was inside the house putting away groceries, the wheels and tires were stolen out of the garage. Whoever it was didn't take anything else, so they must've been watching me and knew exactly what they wanted.
With my racing wheels and tires gone, I ended up just swapping to my factory wheels and street tires for this event. I knew I wouldn't do very good with street tires, but I wanted to at least compete in the event, since it was the season finale and since I designed the course layout. At the event, I was really busy in the morning setting up the course. The course layout turned out to be really good, and everyone seemed to enjoy it a lot compared to the course design at the last event. During registration, Jay Messenger offered to let me drive the 125cc shifter kart that he had for sale and had brought to the event (I also had to borrow his full-face helmet and driving suit). I had never driven a shifter kart before, and since I'd probably lose my 3rd place spot in the Championship anyway, I figured it might be fun to try it out. After a crash course in driving the kart, and a quick run up and down the paddock area, I was ready to make my runs. Let me just say that those things accelerate like rocket ships and there is a lot more to control and think about than there is when driving a production car (6 gears to run back and forth through)! The view of the course is a lot different when you're that close to the ground and everything happens a lot faster too. My runs weren't very good at all, because I just couldn't go fast without slamming through cones, but it was a lot of fun (Thanks Jay!).
I decided to only take 3 runs in the shifter kart and the other 3 in the M3, because I wanted to see and drive my course layout in a production car. To my surprise, I was actually faster in my car on street tires than I was in the shifter kart! My raw times in the M3 on street tires were also among the fastest of all the street legal production cars running on racing tires, and could only be beat by Steve Sucsy ('00 Honda S2000 in B-Stock). However, my runs in the M3 did not count, because I originally signed up to run the shifter kart at registration. Even though I would've won Street Modified in my M3 and would've gotten 2nd place in Street Tire and 10th place Overall (gaining a few more points than I did in the kart), I still would not have been able to maintain my third place spot in the Championship, and I ended up in 4th place for the year (no trophy). I can almost garauntee that I would've won this event Overall, and maintained my 3rd place spot in the Championship, if I would've had my racing wheels and tires.
I've already purchase a set of Kosei K-1 Racing 17"x8.5" wheels as replacements for next season. These wheels are very lightweight at only 16 pounds each (the MiM wheels were approximately 22-24 pounds each), and I plan on running the wider 255/40R17 Kumho Victoracer V700 tires on them, which will be a lot more meat on the ground and a lot more grip in the turns. For next season, I'm also going to be installing a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs, which are approximately the same spring rates as the Euro M3-GT springs that I'm using now, but will lower the car about 0.75 of an inch, which will lower the car's center of gravity to improve handling and will also increase the front and rear negative camber by about another 0.5 to 0.75 degrees. I'm also currently working on a custom baffled oil pan to reduce or eliminate the lifter ticking I get at the events due to oil starvation.
2004 should be a very interesting year!