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Old 09-08-2016   #211
kyoo
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Old 09-08-2016   #212
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Originally Posted by Emanuel View Post
Here is Adam's fastest run.



Emanuel's fastest

car looked a little pushy out there, or is that just me?

Good work guys, I'm sure with a few tweaks to the car you'll be sitting on the podium in no time.
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Old 09-10-2016   #213
Emanuel
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How I ruined what could've been a national championship (East course)

After some reflection I'm going to post my 2016 Nationals experience. I'm going to be very detailed, so if that's too long to read for some people just stick with the headline. I mainly write it so I can read it next year again and hopefully learn from it and maybe some of you can take something away as well.
I could spent some time complaining about Adam's car changing behavior from run to run and during runs as well and that I had severe neck/shoulder pain since last Thursday and even considered to not drive at all. However in the end that doesn't change the fact that Adam's car was fast enough to win this year's national championship in STF and that it was simply my ego and stubbornness that prevented me from winning or at least taking home hardware.
The old truth that Autox is mostly mental once you have a car that is in the ballpark, is still true. Skill gets you in contention, but making the right decision at the right time keeps you in the game. And it's in the later part that I failed this year.
We started on the East course and it appeared that many elements offered a safe approach and a daring one that offered significant time savings with the drawback to waste lots of time and risking cones if things don't work out. Especial the "eyebrow" section was my Lorelei. It looked like I could go into it flatout and just lift at the right time to rotate the car and power out of it into the first 180 degree turn before the slalom.
I managed to set the first runs class leading time (64.393) but lost a lot of time in the "eyebrows" having to gather back the car from wanting to plow into the third eyebrow.
In the second run I tried to take first gear around the first left corner and as a result I had a much faster approach into the "eyebrows" and got my timing wrong once more, resulting in having to fight the car again. Hitting a cone in the section called "Kesselrun" didn't help. (64.355 +1)
So going into the third run, I was sitting about half a second off the lead at that point (64.018), knowing that I lost most of my time in the "Eyebrows" and learned from my second run that I could carry much more speed in the back section of the course. So the plan was to take the "safe" approach in the "eyebrows" and use the brakes and then repeat the what I did in the second run without the cone in the Kesselrun.

Third and last runs on the first day aren't the time for a hero run when sitting behind just a little. You really just want to stay in contention for the next day! It's like qualy in F1, if you don't make it into Q3, you can't compete for pole!

Starting the third run, I got a great start, shifted into second before the lefthander, started my late apex slowdown and got my absolutely best corner exit towards the "eyebrows" and a nice very shallow line as well. Encouraged by the great start my gut decided to change the plan and try the daring approach once more............and then I watched with tears in my eyes as the car plowed straight into the third eybrow.........stupid effing idiot, you just threw away what could've been an awesome result.
Emotionally it really felt like a car crash. You know that sinking feeling that you would like to turn back time as you make an expensive mistake.
Everything after that was redmist and it didn't matter that I managed to do the slalom flatout and that I aced the back section. It just served as proof of how much time I left out there, just because I couldn't follow my own advice.
Looking at the videos I estimate that I left at least one full second on the table, probably even more. grrrrrrr

This is exactly why it is so important to practice the "three runs and done" approach. That's all you get!

PS: just as a reference Andrew Hahn (who would've been national champ if he had actually competed in STF) driving the blurple STF Acura in SM just for fun on the same tires, set a clean time of 63.418 and if he'd backed off just a smitch going into the finish to not hit those cones, could've done a 63.1 or so. Showing the potential of the car.

Last edited by Emanuel; 09-10-2016 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 09-10-2016   #214
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How I ruined what could've been a national championship part two (West course)

Being now a full half second back from first, but still in the thropies we approached the West course on day two. The course was very different from the East course in that was mainly made from long sweeping near 180 degree turns, leading into thread the needle slaloms, with one seven cone long slalom in the middle.
So the course required precision and knowing your car. It was a high G-load course, testing the setup of the car and again it walked much faster than it actually ended up being. The Acuras had to shift to third in the finish, but our Mazda hit the limiter right at the finish timing light. This type of course is generally difficult for me to master, and there were many other drivers complaining about the visuals being very tricky.

Having had to spray a lot the first day and this one looked even harder on the tires, and the fact that I was sitting on my first run and Adam quite a bit away from trophies, we discussed a crazy idea. How about doing the first two runs on BFGs and then swap to the Stones for the last run?
Hindsight being 20/20 that was not such a great idea, at least for my chances to stay in the now just 4 trophies, since car #14 didn't show up for competition. It may have worked if we had two sets of Stones on wheels, but changing between so drastically different tires on a precision requiring course, did only work for Adam who had experience on both tires.

In the past I just went once from West to East on the second day and in 2011 as well in 2013 I slid down the ranking on the second day going from East to West. So this was unlikely going to be much different, but we still hoped the Mazda 3 has the Acuras covered on suspension.

My first run did go fairly well, although the lack of feedback and diminished acceleration on the BFG's was clear as day. Posted the third fastest time of the first runs, just half a second back from the class leader. On the second run I tried to push a little harder but got a cone and posted a slower scratch time. So it was clear that the course would require precision.
After Adam's second run we changed the wheels and everything went pretty well.
So as I started into the third run I felt immediately the increased longitudinal grip of the Bstones and anticipating more lateral grip as well, i took a wider line into the first corner, only to be nearly a car width away from the apex cone, so I corrected and now ended up a little too short on the thread the needle path. Arrgh, got better at the next turn and the slalom and drove a pretty ok last part of the course, but I think the first two corners cost me at least half a second if not more and in conjunction with Matt Hodges STF FTD run I found myself bumped out of trophies.
And that was that, 2016 TireRack Nationals were over without any hardware for me.

I think the slightly smaller and lighter Acura was the better car for the very smooth West course in comparison to the Mazda 3, which highlights even more how badly I needed a good first day result on the East course. And speaking of the Acura, Andrew Hahn once again posted the fastest time for an STF car with 55.850 bringing his total time to 119.268 vs. David's time of 120.073 and my final time of 121.239.

Daniel Gross driving the other Mazda 3 had also a bummer result for the East course, as it looked like he posted a clean 63.808 and would've taken the first day lead, however audits revealed that he did clip a cone and so he too had to sit on his first run. Trying to compensate for it on the West course he nearly took out the display near the "showcase" turn. And sitting again on the first run, allowed Adam to surpass him on his last run, in which he posted a time within .001 of my first run.

All in all it was another great learning experience. It is hard to take in all that info and stay alert all day long. The weather changes affected many classes. We did joke on the second day about the fact that all three STF Acuras are for sale and it is interesting that Chris Shenefield's 2007 Civic with very little mods was right there as well. In fact I believe that with the Neon coming to the class and the Acura heavily depending on prep and extraordinary driver talent, there are still a dozen different car models that are competitive in STF. Acura RSX-S, Acura RSX, EP3 Honda Civic Si, 2007 plus Honda Civic, Ford Focus Duratec, Kia Forte, Mini Cooper, Mazda 3s and Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris, Neon ACR or R/T.
The more powerful cars have an advantage at Pro-solo, just like it is the case in other classes, but I believe the better driver can still win in almost anything.

Many thanks to Adam for letting me drive his car and putting up with me for 48 hours.

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Old 09-10-2016   #215
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My Nationals re-cap

Well -- if you haven't heard, I ended up 15th out of 39 drivers, .43 sec and 4 spots out of the trophies. I sat 12th after day one about .3 out of trophies. Didn't drive my best or perform to my capabilities, but that's all on me. I easily left a full second out there on Thursday as I didn't capitalize on my first run when conditions were best (I'll explain) and easily left another .8 to 1 second on Friday. With 1.5 sec. of difference, I would have landed 8th. I didn't take video as my go pro has a scuffed case which makes for sucky video. Here is the link to results on solo live. http://sololive.scca.com/FS.php

Here is a scattering of thoughts:
1. No matter what, when you go to a Tour -- don't stick yourself behind the 8 ball by screwing your first run up each day. On day one, I was out of position everywhere and did not take advantage of the tires not being overheated, and the course not being as greasy as it later turned out. The classes which ran prior to FS which included CSP, ASP, BSP, ES all ran a tighter line and ended up putting OPR just outside of their line of choice, but right where wider more power orientated cars ran. The first time through, all the FS cars spread that shit all over the lines of choice making improvement on 2nd runs very difficult. To illustrate, I drove multitudes better on the 3rd run 1st day and only went .25 faster.

2. Almost every class has deep talent. F Street was won by Ryan Otis who was picked to win but barely .05 over Courtney Cormier (former ASP Nat'l Champ) who I've been close to at Pro's. FS had many sleepers as the GM drivers and two "BRZ/STX" (their STX car was wrecked a week before Nats) converts proved to provided very tough competition. To illustrate the competition, Rod McGeorge (former CSP champ) was chosen as a possible contender nipped me on his last run by .136 so it tells you what you can expect to face. Without reservation, I can say almost every competitor that beat me were really nice guys so losing to them, while humbling, was something I could take. When I crossed the line on my 3rd run, I was two out and just became a cheerleader for people to throw down faster runs.

3. The new 305/30-19 RE71-R's really equalized the heavier 2015 Camaro 1LE with the lighter 2016 Camaro SS1 which was suspected to be the car to have. I think a better driver who performed the way they should in my car could have easily been at the top. The 2016 Camaro really shined in the hands of multiple drivers. If the 2017 Camaro 1LE goes to FS it will utterly destroy the class.

4. Before going to Nat'ls I vowed I was taking next year off unless some fluke occurred where I either won and would have to defend, or came runner up. Neither happened and it is still my intent to do CCSCC events, and some Chicago and St. Louis events while spending more vacation time with Melanie.

5. The weather is hella weird in Lincoln and very erratic.
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Old 09-10-2016   #216
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5. The weather is hella weird in Lincoln and very erratic.
understatement of the century.
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Old 09-10-2016   #217
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I don't know aside from one pop up (those happen here too) on Sunday (not sure before as I wasn't there). the weather was pretty much as forecasted. The strong but steady wind was a killer though. Haven't experienced that without a large body of water like that before. Should've brought googles.
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Old 09-11-2016   #218
Z3papa
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understatement of the century.
I watched both the east and west courses from my hotel room on Ustream on Friday afternoon after leaving site as the band of rain started to fall heavily. It was painful seeing cars having to go so slow, throw so much water up and have everything evolve based on how much water was on the course at any given time. I really felt for the course workers.
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