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CRX Road to Racing – Part 19: WAT-EX Cam Doubler Activated

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With the recently finished new engine for the CRX (as in finished the day before our appointment at Pure Tuning in Toledo, Ohio), we threw it in the trailer and brought it down to be tuned. Turns out there were a few small issues still but we resolved most of them on the spot and had the car tuned and ready for racing.

The next week we packed the car up again and drove down to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, but before we left I found out that my fuel rail was defective. The threaded inlet was at such an angle that it would not seal properly. We ended up dropping the race car off at the track and driving even further to Summit Racing to pick up a new fuel rail. With the second new fuel rail installed I got my first taste of Mid Ohio, and even with limiting my RPM on the new motor I turned a 1:48 in my first session. During our checks we found some play in one of the rear wheel bearings so we replaced it. During the Saturday race the driver side CV axle seized up causing the wheel to hop violently. Back to the parts store for a new one.

In the Sunday qualifying race my shift linkage came apart mid session but I had skimmed more time and got down to a 1:44.223 and qualified 8th overall 4th in class. During the Sunday race I was able to get out front but I fell to second then spun the car on one of the last couple laps after getting a personal best lap time of 1:42.009. Overall this was a very successful weekend even though I didn’t win any of the races I still progressed and got much faster.

Our next event was back at Waterford hills. I was having a lot of trouble getting the race car to turn in and it seemed to push a lot. After borrowing a set of toe plates we adjusted the alignment from excessive toe in to mild toe out on the front of the CRX making it act more like I wanted. The car started having issues with the fuel pumps where they would blow the circuit breakers and start whining loudly. I ended up swapping out pumps, but by the end of the day they had all given up. It was back to the drawing board on fuel pumps again.

Having replaced fuel pumps with a new larger single pump setup and tweaking the cars suspension and alignment a little more we headed back down to Mid-O for another race. During the Saturday race I took second just behind Alejandro DellaTorre and setting a faster lap time of 1:41.910. during the Sunday Qualifying race I was leading by quite a margin until the car shut off a few corners before the finish and due to the drop in speed I got hit in the rear pretty good. I still managed to limp the car over the finish line and take 3rd in class and a another slightly faster lap time of 1:41.714 . We spent a good portion of the morning trying to solve the rear bumper and ignition issues and get back on track. Unfortunately the car died yet again in the first lap of the race so I pulled it in and called it.

Overall the new engine is a great improvement and has given me a modest bump in power, but it has brought with it a large amount of issues. We should be back on track soon enough and I will do my best to go faster.

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#90 CRX Updated Events Schedule 2016

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The 2016 season seems to be another big year. The open track day events might be in different vehicles depending on what is going on at the time.

  • Waterford Open Track Day 1/April 17-
  • Waterford Open Track Day 2/May 7-
  • Waterford Race 1/May 14-15-
  • SCCA Detroit Regionals @ Gingerman/ May 21-22 (PDX on Sunday)-
  • Waterford Open Track Day 3/May 29-
  • Waterford Race 2/June 11-12- (Bracket Race Stanza)
  • Waterford Open Track Day 4/June 26-
  • SCCA Western Michigan Regional @ Grattan/ June 25-26-
  • Waterford Race 3/July 2-3
  • SCCA Ohio Valley Regional @ Mid Ohio/ July 16-17-
  • Waterford Race 4/July 23-24-
  • SCCA Cincinnati Regionals @ Mid Ohio/ August 6-7 (IT Spectacular on Sunday)-
  • Waterford Race 5/August 13-14-
  • Waterford Open Track Day 5/August 28-
  • Waterford Race 6/September 10-11-
  • Empire Hill Climb  Saturday, September 24, 2016 Wilco Road, Empire, MI-
  • Waterford Open Track Day 6/September 25-
  • SCCA Ohio Valley Regionals @ Mid-Ohio/ October 8-9 (Fall Classic)
  • Waterford Open Track Day 7/October 16-

Keep an eye on this post, I will do my best to keep it updated throughout the season.
Bold = Attended
Italic = Next event
Striked = Not attending

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Nissan Stanza – Part 2: Nautical Adventures At The Race Track.

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With the WAT CRX broken and down for the count, we took the Nissan Stanza “Monarch Mobile” to Waterford Hills Road Racing and entered in the Saturday bracket race

First up was qualifying. The tires on the car were over-inflated and caused the car to slide everywhere. My lap times ranged from 1:39.825-1:46.464, making me the slowest car in the bracket race group. We had to select a target time and I selected 1:40.461.

I dropped the tires 4-6 psi and dropped my lap times to 1:38.034-1:39.897.

After the race we all got together and were given results. I placed second with my 3 closest laps averaging 1.061 from the target time. Having the slowest car doesn’t mean you can win in bracket racing.

Feature Photo by Mark Windecker

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CRX Road to Racing – Part 18: Break all of the things.

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Our first weekend racing at a new track was supposed to be a great experience. Unfortunately we were plagued with issues almost the entire weekend.

During qualifying we only barely got one clean lap, which thankfully put us in the middle of the pack, before the session turned into a full course caution.

In the Saturday race, the driver side CV Axle blew apart while going head to head with another driver.

We worked all afternoon to pull everything apart and replace the damaged axle. We managed to get back on the track for Sunday qualifying and obtain a slightly faster lap time.

During the Sunday race I pushed the car too far once again. This time a rod come out of the front of our engine.

Overall I consider the weekend successful. We might have lost an engine and an axle but we managed to make it through the weekend at a new track and improve lap times throughout the weekend getting into the low 1:48s. The (D16A6) engine we lost has been through a lot between engine fires, crashes, blown head gaskets, and cracked blocks. It lived a hard life and died under pressure.   We are currently working towards building a new drive train and will be doing our best to be back on the track as soon as possible so stay tuned!

We have a sticker to commerate the lost engine.

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CRX Road to Racing – Part 17: Winter Racing in May?!?

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Finally, after a long winter and lots of repairs, the WAT CRX was ready to race. We showed up at Waterford Hills Road Racing the day before the race, replaced some parts on the car and had the CRX’s annual tech inspection done so that when we attend more SCCA events we do not have to spend as much time in tech. I decided it was not necessary to run practice sessions before the event because we had already run a couple open track day events and the car was doing good.

Fast-Forward to Saturday morning, the weather had changed for the worse leaving the track cold and wet. I still managed to pull a second in class qualifying time only one hundredth slower than the first place qualifier. The weather for the rest of the day fluctuated with hail and sleet coming down intermittently. When it was time to go out for the Saturday race everything seemed to have dried up but during the first pace lap rain started coming down hard.
Check the video below out to see most of that session:

The video ended early because of a camera issue but we finished 2nd in class and overall. We cleaned up and left the track for the night because I wasn’t feeling great and it was very cold (below freezing overnight).

Sunday morning rolled around, after some more hail and sleet, we checked the car over. For the Sunday race the track was still cold and damp but that didn’t stop me from getting first place and setting a new personal best around the track at 1:17.132. Over half a second faster than my prior best lap at Waterford Hills.

In the final race of the weekend we lost a fuel pump before the race even started due to a circuit breaker failing. Early into the race the CRX dropped to third and held that position throughout the race.

Overall the weekend was a success, nothing major broke on the car, We took home a couple trophies and we didn’t hit anything! Big thanks to our sponsor Melanie Everett at Keller Williams and thanks to my Crew Jim, Ashley, Mallory and Nicholas. Onto the next race at Gingerman Raceway.

Keep an eye on our YouTube channel for more videos.

Featured Image by James Davidson

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CRX Road to Racing – Part 16: A crack in our plans.

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At the last event we noticed we kept running through water in our cooling system but we couldn’t find a leak. We were able to spot a crack in the front of the engine block in the water jacket without the water immediately evaporating after a little testing:
big crack
We pulled the engine, had the crack repaired, and had the car running again.
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Working together pretty much every day we could, we had it back together for the next open track day.
Here is some footage from the track day:

The car was once again running great, and with some fresh tires the car and driver were getting back into the grove of road racing.
Our first race of the season is next weekend at Waterford Hills Road Racing, stay tuned!

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CRX Road to Racing – Part 15: The WAT Racing CRX, back in action for 2016

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After months of working on resolving our issues with the CRX we finally made it on the race track.
This event was the first Waterford Hills Open Track Day of the season so a lot of people showed up to shake down their race cars, us included.
DSC_0043sThis video is from one of the [Competition Group] sessions we ran at the event.

It was great to see all of the different cars and new people showing up this year, I hope the rest of the year goes as smoothly as this event.
Feature Photo by Mark Windecker
Inline photo by James Davidson

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Route 66 Road-trip Part 1 : Unexpected Weather

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Day 1:  Michael woke up at 6 am and started throwing up. We still held hope that he’d feel better and we’d leave right after Christmas at his mothers. I dropped our male dog Rigby off at my mother’s house, loaded up the car and gave our friend, Jim, the rundown of the house so he could watch the girls (dogs) for us. By the end of Christmas celebrations, Michael felt worse than before and we decided to postpone the trip for a day.

Day 1 Take Two: Michael and I both slept a lot the day before so we were ready and rearing to go at 8am. I loaded up the car with the few things I could remember I’d taken out, but I forgot to put our pillows in the car. They were loaded up the first day! Just not the second…

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So the first stretch of our trip was uneventful. We stopped for breakfast about an hour out of town. Michael wasn’t feeling great yet, but he managed to eat some eggs and fried steak. The eggs, toast and hashbrowns I had were fantastic. The trip was totally off to a great start.

For lunch, we stopped at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket. Michael’s stomach wasn’t doing great so he just got a brisket chili and I got baked mac and cheese. The food was FANTASTIC, but the chili was a bit too spicy for Michael’s stomach at the moment. Which was super depressing since he normally LOVES spicy food.

From there, the trip started to take a downward turn. The rain started in Illinois and didn’t stop. All through Illinois and Missouri, it rained. And not light relaxing rain, but pouring cats and dogs. Michael and I took turns driving, but Michael wasn’t able to sleep with me behind the wheel.

Once we made it to Oklahoma (around three am) the rain had turned into an icy mix. Michael took over driving since I wasn’t comfortable. He was a champ through the horrible conditions, but we had to take a break at 7am since Michael was exhausted. We grabbed breakfast at Subway and took about an hour to try to nap. By now, the icy mix had turned to snow.

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We went down the freeway at about 40 miles per hour for the next few hours, making it a decent way into Northern Texas, but Texan drivers aren’t as used to the snow as us Michiganders. There were over 200 accidents on the interstate and our main route was shut down.

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One of the main attractions Michael and I wanted to see was the Cadillac Ranch, which was right next to where the interstate shut down, but the road leading to that was closed as well. At this point, our southern vacation was starting to look worse and worse. I looked at the weather, and it seemed like the storm wasn’t as bad further south, so we tried to take a country road to another route.

Well we drove down the first country road only to see a big “bro truck” going in reverse towards us. We stopped for him and the driver let us know it was too bad ahead for us to continue. We thanked him for the warning, but went on ahead to see for ourselves. even if we could make it down the road, two other SUVs and trucks were stuck half a mile ahead.

So we turned around to go back the way we came only to see that bro-trucker had gotten stuck in a snow pile our Lincoln had made it over fine a few minutes before. Michael offered to help him get out, but his Texas size pride wouldn’t let him accept a strangers help.

this kills the 4x4

So we turned around again to see if we could make it around the trucks that had been stuck. Still no luck. Okay…. we’d go see if bro trucker had any luck (since we didn’t want to stay stuck on this country toad any longer).

We went into a three point turn and one of the tires went over the edge of the pavement. Despite all of our Michigan snow knowledge, we ended up having to call a tow truck to winch us out. The tow truck actually got there in only twenty minutes, so that was the bright side.

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Since all the roads were closed and back roads apparently weren’t an option, we decided to call it quits and booked a room at the Quality Inn 4 miles away. We got there without incident and when we went to go inside, the sliding door wouldn’t open. So I knocked on the door until a super friendly clerk came over and explained that the door didn’t close all the way automatically and, since it was freezing cold with winds over 40mph, I kind of understood.

So we were given room 250, two double beds so Michael and I could totally Ricky and Lucy it, but the second we opened our room door and saw some random guy sitting at the desk, we knew something had gone horribly wrong.

So back to the front desk we went. The aforementioned nice attendant was already running towards us to apologize. Apparently when conditions get bad like this, they let the hotel employees use the rooms and it didn’t get entered in the system. He walked us to our new room and let us in while he went back to have new keys made.

Now, for $60, the rooms weren’t that bad. Clean and the heater worked great. The next obstacle was that nothing in Texas was open because of the storms. So after about 15 phone calls to various restaurants and pizza places, we resigned ourselves to living off of the snacks we’d brought with us and vending machine goodies (We brought a lot of snacks, so there was no danger of starvation here…)

So I worked for a bit and then Michael and I both took a nap to refresh ourselves. Then when we were relaxing in the room later that night, cable and internet both went out at the same time. So we ended on a strange note too.
finally warm

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Nissan Stanza – Part 1: Maximum Over WAT

Photo by: Scott Banes

Earlier this year someone posted a link to a Nissan Stanza being sold on craigslist for dirt cheap. This wasn’t just any Stanza, it had been previously used as a Chump car and it came with a particular theme. The car had quite a few issues. It had cooked a couple alternators, the shifter was really loose, the roll cage was poorly designed and implemented, and many other small things. Taking this all into consideration we towed the car home for a grand total of $100.

The first thing I did when I brought it home was tear off all of the old decals and the sombrero. When that was done I painted it to look like the monarch mobile, then installed some monarch decals and car numbers.

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After that we started tinkering with the car and tackling issues. Most of the parts for this car are not available anymore so we had to get creative with our repairs. For example, the shifter bushing had melted so we used a copper crimp water pipe fitting that was just the right diameter. We also replaced a few engine mounts and cut down some brackets that used to have rubber bushings. Then we remounted the seat so that our giant drivers would fit and put in a spare 5 point race harness.

We decided to take it up to Waterford Hills for a little testing at the last open track day. Unfortunately when we pulled out onto the track the alternator immediately stopped working. After a couple shameful laps we found the battery at 7.5 volts and the car was still running somehow. So we packed it up and started working with the issues we found.

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First we installed a replacement alternator and found it generating 19 volts while the battery was still at only 11 volts. So I hooked it directly to the battery before the cut off switch. The issue appears to have been resolved as the battery was now at 13.9-14.1 volts. We also installed a large 52″ curved led array in lieu of stock headlights, not only to save money but supply more lumens.

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The car was finally prepared for some track use. The first event we were able to attend was a SCCA Rallycross at Oakshade Raceway, a circle track in Ohio.

The First session was a Test and tune session, which was the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the car.

The next session was the real deal. We were being timed and scores would be based off of all 4 laps added together.

Possibly my favorite part of this event was the night driving. It was very challenging  since the clouds of dust illuminated by the lights made it very hard to see anything.

Overall I feel car did well and I had a lot of fun at this event, so stay tuned for more Stanza action.

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Preparation for SEMA and OUSCI

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Hey everyone, the long wait is almost over. As final preparations are being done to the Baby Ferrari, we are excited and gearing up for the long haul over to Las Vegas for the 2015 SEMA Show as well as the optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. I will also be participating in the Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle at Button Willow Raceway the following week after SEMA.

Yesterday I went to an autocross event with the Furrin Group at US 131 Speedway where my co-driver and I took the top spots in our class of 4 drivers and beat out most of the cars in the Street Modified class including another OUSCI competitor.

This week, we will be working on getting a splitter put on the car as well as adding more stickers (more HP) and a few other adjustments. Over the weekend, with the help of the Alfa Romeo and Fiat of Lakeside dealership, I installed a free flowing downpipe and upper strut brace bar from Road Race Motorsports as well as wrapped my intake with gold reflector tape.

A lot of long sleepless days have been done in order to get this car together and I couldn’t be happier with everything I’ve accomplished this year.

Check out this video of the Baby Ferrari with it’s catless downpipe

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