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2014 is off to a rousing start both on the racetrack and in the shop.

Track

At the track John Baucom and the Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts Mustang has gotten off to a good clean start. At the opener at Sebring he enjoyed a solid run all day. The result was a well earned a much deserved fourth place. While his best ever finish was a second at Cleveland a few years ago  this tied his best recent effort.

At Homestead again the car qualified in the top five in one of the toughest fields in recent years. Morning warmup was extremely promising and hopes were high going into the race. However it became apparent fairly quickly that the setup had been missed. The car was too stiff resulting in poor low speed grip, and running the rear tires off. Still a ninth place finish while disappointing gave hope.

All in all things are positive. The reliability issues from last year haven’t resurfaced, and the Hoosier tires haven’t been a problem. The break before the next race gives time for an engine rebuild and other things.

On a separate racing note we are involved in sourcing and supplying parts for a customers restoration project. He is doing a ground up restoration of a mid 90’s IMSA car. While finding some of the pieces is challenging we are delighted to  be involved in such a rewarding project.

Parts Business

Are you having trouble finding replacement parts for your Stasis brake kit which uses Alcon calipers? We can help. We can supply parts as well as rebuild assistance. Just give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or email us at info@roadraceparts.com

Have you checked your spare parts lately.  Not only do we carry all the seals and knock-back springs for Alcon, but Brembo, Performance Friction and Wilwood as well.

In addition we can provide custom brake hoses to your specification. Just tell us what sizes and dimensions and lest us give you a quote. Look For The Quotation Form on the Store soon. In the meantime just give us a call.

As always we have a great supply of Aurora rod ends, something that every racer is familiar with.

In addition we have recently started to get involved in some light manufacturing projects. The first of these will be up on the store this weekend.

 Social Media

Look for a expanded presence on social media going forward. We look forward to being able to interact on our Roadraceparts Facebook Page as well as on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @roadraceparts come join us and exchange ideas.

Facilities

We hope to soon be able to announce that we are moving. Its been a long time coming but its now on the horizon.

So I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to a great year.

(And yes I am trying to talk Mark into some caps and shirts)

 

 

We also

 

 

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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


I know its been a while since I posted anything, and there’s a reason for that. But fear not a new article is on the way. But knowing you’re going to be busy, read really busy, until Xmas is over I think I’ll hold off a little bit. Maybe after Christmas you will actually have time to read it.

As you know I’ve been saying that you need to take a look at the brakes on the old race car over the winter, and doing a little maintenance on the calipers is a pretty smart thing. So I’m going to tell a story from my experience, with the new, at least to me, brake calipers I put on the car. I don’t want to spoil the story but a hint is that 500 horsepower sometimes can’t move your car down pit road.

So be prepared, it will be up for a New Years present.

 

 

 

 


The Trans Am at VIR  was run in conjunction with the SVRA. I always enjoy looking at the older cars, particularly those from older Pro series. There was a decent collection of older Camaros and Mustangs, even saw an Audi from the ALMS. But what really interested me was a red Ford Capri.

The car was remarkably stock looking. No big flared fenders on this car. The body,, which seemed to sit precariously high off the ground, was steel not carbon fiber.  No 800 HP V8 but rather a Weber carbed 2000cc Ford 4 cylinder. All in all the antithesis of the cars that I generally am involved with. But it was neat and clean, obviously well taken care of by the owner, a friend that I haven’t seen since, well the last time I was at a vintage race.

But this little car, had been involved in the Trans Am, indirectly at least, “back in the day” as they say. In the early 70’s the Trans Am was divided into two groups over 2.5 liters, and under 2.5 liters. Ford in an effort to promote its recently imported Capri raced a couple of cars with factory support.  Compared to the Alfa’s which were dominating the under 2.5 races the Fords were nowhere. They would move over to IMSA where while they didn’t set the world on fire they had a bit more success.

This current owner, (who like myself raced Improved Touring Capri’s many years ago) found the original race car which was for sale. Unfortunately it had deteriorated to the point that restoration, while not impossible, was more than he wanted to tackle. However the backup car wasn’t in bad shape at all. So a deal was made the car went to the metro DC  area and work began on getting it ready for the track again.

Today it races vintage races with some success. The owner is as proud of it as anyone in the paddock, and it shows in the presentation of the car. Guess that what vintage racing is all about.

I regret I didn’t get a picture, but I wonder are there any of these little gems, which never made the headlines, still out there? Maybe I need to start back to looking.


The Trans Am series ran at one of our favorite tracks yesterday, VIR near Danville, Virginia. Actually its outside Milton, North Carolina but nobodies heard of Milton. Run in conjunction with the SVRA the series put on a great event as usual. The field of cars appears to be getting better , at least at the more popular venues. The top four cars were only separated by .4 seconds or so in qualifying and that carried over to the race. So a few quick observations from the day, with apologies to anyone not included.

#86 Baucom Motorsport/Roadraceparts Mustang.

#86 Baucom Motorsport/Roadraceparts Mustang.

– Congratulations to Simon Gregg and everyone at Derhaag Motorsports. Simon was consistently smooth and the fastest all weekend. A well deserved win.

– Amy Ruman’s mechanical in the first couple of laps separated the field, and appeared to hand Simon the win. The late race caution changed that however.

–  Only two of the TA2 cars were ex-stock car Monte Carlo’s. Remember when everybody thought they were going to dominate that series.

– The TA2 field was exclusively GM, not a Ford in sight. Will be good to see some out there as we go forward.

– The TA3 field was also without any GM products. Would be equally nice to see some of them in the field here.

– the Corvettes seem to be slightly better down the long  straightsat VIR than the Fords. Just an observation, no radar data to back it up. Aero or HP?

– For those who don’t like to look at their gauges, it only took one of the cars that spun on Amy’s fluid two laps to peg both oil and water temp gauges.

– For those who have older cars, you may want to go over it and look for things to remove. One competitor told me they saved 55 pounds by going over their car with a fine tooth comb. All the fans, rear wheel tubs, cover over the rear frame, etc. that had been added over the years. Performance improved after that.

– The top cars don’t break. Take care of it at the shop not the track.

All in all a great weekend, good to see the series is growing at least in the car count. Come out and see some of the best road racing in North America.


John's Mustang on its way to a strong 4th at Watkins Glen.

John’s Mustang on its way to a strong 4th at Watkins Glen.

Congratulations to John Baucom and the entire Baucom Motorsports team after their fine 4th place finish in the Trans Am series race at Watkins Glen today.

This was their first return to the track since the disastrous fire at Sebring in the first race of rhe season. After qualifying 5th, with a broken front sway bar he was able to get as high as 3rd where he race most of the race. However at the end he was not able to hold off Simon Gregg who took the position with just a few laps left.

Johns car after the fire at Sebring.

Johns car after the fire at Sebring.

Again congratulations to John and everybody associated with the Roadraceparts.com Mustang. We look for continued success.

 

 


Do you have a maintenance plan for your car? While many of us, if not all of us have a checklist that we go thru between races that may be it.

Do you know when various items on the car were replaced? You probably change the oil and filters on some schedule, it only makes sense. But how long have the rod ends on the control arms been on there? Or the spindles (that probably came with the car when you bought it)?

Part of getting organized is having a plan that includes every critical item on the car, when it was installed, when it was inspected, and when you intend to replace it. Yes, it can be a pain, but think what happens when a rod end or a spindle breaks. We all either have had it happen to a friend or ourselves, some little part breaks that should have been replaced a long time ago.

It will save you money in the long run.

 


Ever had the mishap of a “stuck” caliper? If you have it’s probably something you haven’t forgotten. What happens is that when you apply the brakes the pistons in the caliper press the pad against the rotor and the car slows. All good, right?

But when you release the pedal the piston does not return to its seated position, allowing the pads to release the rotor. How much of a problem is that? When it happened to me a 550 hp engine could barely move the car down pit road. Not good.

Several things can cause this, just disuse, like in a car that has sat for a period of time. Or, more commonly the heat cycles that the brakes go thru eventually deteriorate the seals.

The answer, is of course to add caliper maintenance to your check sheet. Every 2 or 3 races, pull the pistons, check them over and replace the seals. Seals are cheap insurance and it could save a lot of heartache.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.

 

For those of you using Brembo calipers, they have a new design of anti-knockback seal. A direct replacement for their regular pressure seal it reduces the issue of pad knock back.

We carry AP, Alcon, and Brembo caliper seals in stock ready for immediate delivery.


One thing that we do a lot with race cars is pull the engine and transmission. And as everyone knows this can be a messy business. Particularly from the transmission. Everyone uses a hydraulic clutch. Therefore you have a fluid line between the clutch cylinder and the throw out bearing. This line has to be disconnected in order to remove the transmission. And what happens? You have brake fluid running everywhere and air getting into the system. In short a real pain.

But there is a way around this. Simply put a quick disconnect between two sections of braided line. Then when you break the connect, you dont have fluid running everywhere. Not only that but the amount of air invading the system in minimal at best.

Makes your life a lot easier.

Aeroquip aluminum quick disconnect  Available in -3 and -4

Aeroquip aluminum quick disconnect Available in -3 and -4


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.