Putnam Park - Saturday 5-12-2012.
After running the Enduro on Friday afternoon, I awoke at 6:45am Saturday tired and sore. I was sore in different area than I usually am on track weekends. Being I turned probably 4x the amount of laps in a single session that I ever had before, my whole body ached some. But especially a knot in the middle of my back from a seat that wasn't holding me in very well laterally and my triceps as the Miata's don't have power steering. I still had to unload and unpack the car, and do some prep but that was about it. I will say when I slid over the cage to drop into the driver's seat of the Evo - it felt plush! I really do like my seat, it's got a lot of cushion and sits low (took forever to get it where I like it) and has a ton of lateral support both for my legs and my back.
Our warmup wasn't until after 10am so it was relaxed. For the warmup I lined up around grip spot #3 I think and after waiting 1 lap for things to come up to temp I put down an easy 1:17.9 to earn #2 in grid. I then went to tech and got weighed since I still had no solid idea of what the car weighed post-cage. It came in at 3198 lbs; which was about 50 lbs over what I was claiming for the day so I was pretty happy with that given the current fuel load.
Session 2 was at noon and I made no changes and fired a 1:17.0 which slotted me first in class and first overall. I hit traffic very quickly as there were 44 cars in TT on Putnam's 1.7 mile course. Also someone nailed the hay bails in the final turn so we had a few sitting on the exit of T10 which was right in the line - and after 2 laps of that I seen the double yellow. I was probably going 130mph when I seen it, closing in on 2 lower classed car probably going 95-100mph but I made the passes safely before the flagstand and tucked in behind the traffic. Oddly though that traffic was another car giving pointby's that was off pace. By the time I realized it I'd been re-passed by a few cars - I think this confused some cars as other passing from other cars ensued and only 1 was called in for passing under double-yellow.
For S3 I made a few small tweaks and ran a best of 1:17.2 but the car was really starting to slide at this point. Wasn't sure if it was the heat - sunny and around 85 - or the tires giving up. I figured a bit of both. I know I was starting to drop 1-2 tires into the dirt in multiple corners on exit as the car just wouldn't hold and would slide. It made 'catching' the slides a bit interesting and fun but I knew this wasn't going to be faster. I was also given the pleasure of the 'meatball' flag and when I came in was told my exhaust was rubbing and throwing sparks. This shocked me as there was no audible difference. When I got back to my paddock spot I seen the brace by the rear axle had broken and it was hanging low and would need a bandaid! I recently had another bracket re-welded and perhaps with that being tighter, me dropped tires and that rear brace being rewelded back in 2009 - the extra pressure caused it to break again. Either way I had 2 hours to fix it, and with my idea and some help from Hoops (thx man) it was pretty simple.
For S4 I adjusted the suspension a touch to try and aid rotation/grip assuming things would be worse if the tires were the problem. I had my answer in the first lap; it was the tires! I ran 3 hard laps right around 1:18.3 until I hit traffic, then I played for another 1-2 and drifted. I actually had a few people ask who left the drift marks in certain turns as I was at least having fun! At this point I new the tires were shot, having 12-16 Heatcyles each. Also good news was that our exhaust fixed had held up just fine. My time from S2 would hold to land me 1st place in TTA - but 1.3 seconds off my record from 2011 when I was on wider stickier rubber.
Vid from Sat; A lap each from Sessions 2 & 3 from different angles: