Well, the day is done and after track temps of 130 degrees I am wiped out.
For most of the day I was firmly stuck in the 36 second range. From a best of 36.3 to a worst of 37.3 or so on my first run, I was driving well, not hitting a bunch of cones and being clean, but I knew there was more time I was leaving on the course.
Was a bit frustrated at the group we were in but it was what it was and I focused on being faster. As I mentioned, I was running against so fast cars even on this course. The 350Z turned a 33.8 once but was mainly in the 34-35 range. He was the fastest of the class. 4-5 Vettes were in the 34-low 35 for their fastest passes and the Viper and I were lapping about a second apart with some of his runs slower than mine.
I started the day equalizing the air pressure in all four tires. This helped a ton but the back still felt a little loose so I went three from full firm on the rear shocks. This was about half way between the 7 from firm I started with yesterday and full firm I spun on with yesterday on my final session. This helped a lot and I was almost spot on with just a slight slight oversteer tendency.
We came out for the third and final session of the day and I was determined to focus on my line and not worry about my speed. Look ahead, something I'd forgotten yesterday and focused on more today, and just try to break into the 35s. First run was a 36.6. Not great but I was focused on the line. Figured I could make up some time tightening up some spots and breaking later and harder in other sections. Pulled a 36.3 the next lap. Better but I knew there were still areas for improvement. The last pass I really worked on being smooth and felt like I was carrying a lot more speed but still new there was room for improvement. A couple of turns I know I made up time on so I felt good about the run.
I would have been happy with a 35.9. Ecstatic really. A 35.7 would have made me very happy. When I crossed the line and glanced at the clock...
I had to go back to the scoring table to verify I didn't hit a cone. I felt clean, but I'd felt clean before only to find out I hadn't been. The scorer verified the run...clean, no cone penalties!
Now I knew I had moved up in the standings but with no updates and no printouts unlike yesterday, I had no idea where I was. So Jim (who also had his best lap of the day on the final run) stuck around for awards. I was glad I did.
The announcer went through the "special recognition" awards including best cone hit of the day. A kid in a Camero caught a cone, flipped it 15 feet in the air, and then had it come down and land, upright, perfectly back inside it's box. The final award he gave out he prefaced by saying that this next award was going to someone who got stuck in the Sports Car class and that they knew it was probably not the best fit but they were still straightening out the class format since the car, and some of the others in Sports Car Class, probably belonged in Compact.
Then he announced my name, mentioned my car, and mentioned my time before presenting me with the award for my outstanding time in the class of 35.4...a time that would have got me the win in Compact class and the top 5-6 spot in the other classes.
Except sports car where I placed 8th. I don't know how many cars we had today but there were a few. I know the WRX was in our class, as was the G35 with the Whipple. I think the 240s were in our class along with a husband and wife in a S2000 each competing in the car separately...all of which were behind me in the standings...and making the class 13-15 cars in class minimum.
After the award, he got to the final standings. As mentioned I finished 8th. The car in 7th though...the Dodge Viper with a 35.3. One tenth...and maybe less depending on the 100ths and 1000ths of a second values of our times...faster than me.
There is a bit of a special place for me with Vipers. I love them. When I built my Grand Prix, my goal was to one day drag race a Viper and beat him. Making the car a 12 second car at 5500 ft Altitude Density put the car in the right place but I never got the opportunity to race one. Now, here I was only .1 of a second from beating one...albeit on the autocross course, but still.
The announcer made sure to point out, explicitly, that the NOS charged, V-10 Dodge Viper was only 1/10th of a second in front of the Saturn. Felt pretty good to be just a bit behind that kind of car with one of our little Kappas. Of course, I wish I could have had one more lap...I know I could have got him.
Good weekend after all even though I didn't pull my head out of my but until this morning. Now I can't wait until September and the next round. May have to find something before then.
Pics of the plaque:
I want to make sure to say thank you to DDM and Hahn Racecraft for all their help in getting my car to this point and for all those here who have been supportive of this endeavor. Needless to say I love the tires, the turbo is awesome (but still need to straighten the tune out) and I may wind up getting some 6k springs for the front BC Coil Overs.