Category: business of motorsport



In car video from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang.

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In car video of the 2012 Road Atlanta Trans Am race. View is from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang.

Enjoy.


rontsuspension at midohio

front suspension at Mid Ohio

Talking to the team before practice at Mid Ohio they were cautiously optimistic. They feel that the track was one where being down in horsepower wouldn’t be as much of a disadvantage as somewhere like Road America. However from the very beginning the car had a significant push. They would struggle with this all day Friday.

First order of business was to try to balance the car. To do so they took a little wing out, which required drilling new holes in the mounting brackets. Then a rear spring change was made to try to correct the push issue. But neither issue corrected the problem. All during practice the team had been running on used tires, which may have masked part of the problem.

For qualifying a new set of tires was mounted and the car picked up some speed. Unfortunately everyone else did also and John qualified sixth fastest. Ahead were the Corvettes of Tommy Drissi, Doug Peterson, Simon Gregg and Amy Ruman. Cliff Ebben qualified 5th taking the honor of fastest Ford. The push was still there, but this time a “clicking” in transition was heard, which would have to be addressed.

On Saturday morning, the first order of business was to inspect all the heim joints for play. Once that issue was solved a radical spring change was made in a last ditch effort to cure the push issue. Of course the results wouldn’t be known until the race.

Rather than go into a lengthy report on the race suffice it to say that John was able to finish 4th. One more restart, which didn’t happen as they couldn’t get Amy Ruman’s car out of the sand trap in time, may have allowed him to make a run at the 3rd place finisher. But it didn’t happen, so be it.

Great race, and the dicing at the front was serious but clean. If you get the chance be sure to go out and check out the Trans Am series. Good racing and it offers something that few series do.

 


Roadraceparts logo

Roadraceparts logo

 

Probably all of us, or maybe just some of us can look back on some awkward moments.  For me at least they generally are of the beautiful plan gone horribly wrong category. as a case in point I offer the following example.

My first experience with a GT1 car was a sobering one. Having raced a ITA Mercury Capri for several years with indifferent results I had to take the plunge.  One of those times when you know you shouldn’t do it but everything works out so you can. An acquaintance had a Thunderbird bodied stock car chassis that he was about to give up on trying to make work. At the same time a guy walked up to me at Summit Point and offered to buy my car. So he became the proud owner of an ITA Capri, and I became the owner of a GT1 car. Well almost. To get it to where I could afford it, a lot of parts were not included. But with the help of my best friend, and a patient wife it once again became a car.

The first time it was out on the track was a drivers school, held in a monsoon, at Summit Point. The second was my second drivers school.  These revealed a couple of things in graphic detail. One we had a really good engine. Two the brakes, from a late-model stock car, were marginal. Marginal with a capital M. Lastly it was a pig. The handled was so bad I didn’t have a clue on how to make it better.

So, rather than address the handling I bought myself some brakes. Straight from the bigger is better school of thought (low buck edition) I bought the entire front brake setup from the #31 Mike Skinner Sprint Cup car.  They had run it at Sears Point that same year. A great deal, 2 giant Wilwood calipers, about 10 rotors, several sets of hats, and bunches of sets of brake pads. All for a reasonable, it seemed, price.

So we redid the caliper brackets, bolted everything in place, bleed the brakes and awaited our next race at Summit Point.

When the time came we loaded the car, drove the 126 miles to Summit Point, unloaded the car and awaited our turn to get out on track. When that time came we went out on the course feeling that this time it was all going to be good and we would be a contender.

That good feeling lasted for maybe two laps of practice. It became apparent to me that some thing wasn’t right. The car wouldn’t accelerate like it should, and the brakes were weird. So I pulled into the pit lane, my friends came out to see what was wrong, and after a short conversation we agreed I would go out and try it again.  It immediately became apparent that we had a major problem. The engine for all its power would barely move the car along pit road.

Finally after some head scratching and oohing and wtf’s? Somebody put their hand on the center of the front wheel. Wow! It sure wasn’t supposed to be that hot. So even to the rookies that we were it was obvious that we had a brake problem. After taking the front wheels off we were able to push/pull the car back to the pits. Obviously too hot to work on we went to find help. Fortunately a fellow competitor was not only able to diagnose the problem as a stuck front caliper but point us toward someone who had spares. (Of course we didn’t, after all we’d just gotten the brakes).

So now came the process of fixing the problem. Once they had cooled sufficiently the calipers were removed from the car. Before the pads were removed, a block of wood was inserted between the pads. Then an airline was put onto the fitting where the brake line attached. A slight puff of air and the pistons pressed the pads against the wooded block. Than the wood and pads were removed so that the pistons could be removed from the bores.

So now we had to correct the problem. The old seals were removed, and the pistons lightly sanded, LIGHTLY sanded, with a fine emery paper. New seals were placed on the pistons, which were then reseated in their bores. Calipers were bolted onto the front uprights and brake pads installed.

No more problems, and a very valuable lesson learned. Always check, no matter what the pedigree, new or used. And spares are necessary whether you need them or not.

So if you want to avoid a similar situation give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or visit our store at http://www.roadraceparts.com


Time is important to racers, particularly track time.  Lets face it most of us don’t get but so many chances to actually get on the track. Maybe a Friday test day, if the work schedule, and budget, allows.

And because we don’t have much time we go out and run laps, and think that maybe a new set of tires, or a different transmission or engine package is what we need.  But maybe that’s not the answer, maybe we could improve the car closer to its potential without spending a load of money. (Before anyone says anything I do exclude new tires from this, that is an area that there is no getting around) So how do you make the car better, given the limited amount of time?

Get organized. First, record what is on the car now. Make detailed notes of every part of the setup, sway bars, springs, tire pressure etc. Then record the results, and here you have to be honest with yourself. What did it do?

Then every time you go out on track, change something on the car,. What it is you and your crew can figure out. But try something different and again record the results. And record the data when it is relevant, as soon as the car comes off the track. You don’t know what it is  that may wake your car up.

But one thing is for sure if you don’t try you wont get any better.

 

 


It’s no secret to anyone not wearing rose-colored glasses that Motorsports is approaching a crisis. This is not confined to the U.S. but is a global issue. Whether you are talking about F1 or road racing in the U.S. unsettling things are happening. Things that do not bode well for those concerned.

In F1, generally considered to be the pinnacle of racing, the HRT team barely made it to the end of the 2012 season. They are not listed on the FIA’s list of teams to contest the 2013 championship. While many of the world’s major companies are involved, I doubt if other than Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull any of the teams are awash in cash. (Forgot Mercedes, but it may be approaching put up or shut up time for them.

Nascar had declines in both attendance and viewers from 2010. I don’t mention 2011 because that was a slight increase over 2010. In other words the decline has resumed.

Road racing in the U.S. is a total basket case. Grand Am has been on life support for its top class, Daytona prototype for some time. ALMS, while enjoying a wide range of manufacturer, primarily import, support had been for sale for a few years now. Now it has agreed to be purchased by Grand Am. (Remember Grand Am is owned by the France family, i.e. Nascar)

Trans-Am is gamely trying to recapture  the glory from the days of manufacturer involvement with the pony cars in the 60’s and 70’s. While the introduction of what are in essence stock car chassied pony cars bodes well, the lack of a viable TV contract is a MAJOR constraint.

Even vintage racing has taken a hit. Car counts are down at many venues, despite the fact that this is one of the most affordable ways to participate, maybe not race, that there is.

So what is to happen? Will all the brave talk of the “new car” in Nascar bring fans back? Will Twitter return Nascar back to its glory days of only a few years ago? Or, will a Generation 6 spec race car provide the same type of racing that has caused fans to abandon the sport in droves? And is Twitter another way to keep up with the sport without actually attending races?

As to GrandAm/ALMS what are they going to do? Will they try to make it a road racing version on Nascar? Or capitalize on the strengths of the two series?

Trans- AM is returning to the classic road racing circuits in the coming year. The addition of Sebring and Daytona, plus a return to VIR can only be viewed as positives. But even more so is the alignment with SVRA. That is probably the most natural fit for them. But still the major players aren’t coming in without a TV contract. Hopefully that will be addressed, because it is great racing.

Hopefully 2013 will be a year for growth in motorsport. But there is something going on in the world regarding Motorsports beyond the economy, and the powers that be need to address it. Iphones sell millions on the day they are introduced, but Nascar was down 24% in the 18-34 demo. Hmm? That should be speaking to somebody.

Now lets see, I have a car, all it needs is a few upgrades, and  if I could find a driver with some money………..


Generally speaking I stay away from the subject of Nascar. Obviously a blog named Roadracepartsman.wordpress.com isn’t primarily about stock car racing. However today I want to change that policy a little bit.

Today Ganassi Motorsports made the announcement that next year they would be leasing engines from Hendricks Motorsports. So what is interesting about that? After all its just an engine deal right?

No, its way bigger than a simple engine deal. It is a signal that GM has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of  Ford and Toyota with the engine programs. Both of those manufacturers have realized that in an age of “parity” there is nothing to be gained by having multiple programs. Its much more efficient, read less expensive, to pay one shop to build all your engines. GM as is their style has been slow to start down that road. But now started you can bet that its only a matter of time. And as for RCR claiming that they would have several new customers to take Ganassi’s place – its hard to see who they may be given the lack of teams coming in to Sprint Cup racing over the past several years. So it seems to me that it will only be a matter of time before they accept the inevitable and also begin to get their engines from Hendrick’s.

But lets not stop there, imagine this if you will. As we all know the auto companies operate large plants which produce millions of cars every year. They do that for reasons of ease of distribution as well as economies of scale.

So, with the engine operations consolidated, how long before one of the manufacturers has all of the chassis for its various teams built-in one location? You could say that Ford is very close to that now, Toyota slightly less so. Interesting thought isn’t it?

So for all of you that want “old school” racing, you may be on the verge of old school Nascar. A Nascar of Holman-Moody and Petty Enterprises.

The times are changing right in front of our eyes.

Of course this is only my opinion, I could be wrong. (apologies to Dennis Miller)