Photography & Motorsports
We are READY to run fast!
10/19/06 As we prepare to depart for southern California for the final event of the season, we are feeling very upbeat and certain that the car will perform as it never has in the past. While we have run ET's of 7.86 during the coarse of the year, recent testing taught me a LOT. We have the horsepower, the clutch is right on the money and having the confidence that our motor reliability issues are behind us suggest that we should be as fast as anyone in the modified field. Additionally, I think all of our bad luck is behind us and now we can focus on winning races again. This is exciting.
Stay tuned for the final season update around October 30th as I will be in Californian for the week following the race for Seven Stock and business.
7.76 Second Elapsed Time
A personal best ever down the 1/4 mile with a lot left!
As I had thought (although not quiet as good as we expected) we participated in the most exciting class in the Sport Compact Series, we were fast and served notice to our fellow competitors that we will be a contender for the 2007 championship.
Before anything else, I want to congratulate Paul Efantis, Jorge Lazcano and Justin Humphries for their respective championship positions which went down to the very last round of the final event. This was truly a great show for the fans and for the drivers.
The combination of weather and track conditions in Southern California for the final event of the season could not have been better. I have been racing at this track since 2001 and the track was better prepared for this race that any years prior and I don't feel like either one of the lanes had an advantage over the other.
For the first round of qualifying, I did not change anything on the car from the last test session and the car went down the middle with the tune obviously not right by the way it sounded and ran an 8.04 ET. Being a 1/2 second behind the leaders was disappointing and after analyzing the data, I elected to add fuel. That was a mistake as I went backwards as indicated by the 2nd round of qualifying ET of just 8.37
For the final round of qualifying, I took the 4% fuel I had added and pulled an additional 2% out. Clearly that helped as we ran another 8.06 with a higher speed of 165.29 mph. Still disappointed and qualified in the number 6 position, I had to decide what to do for the first round of eliminations. To top it off, I would have to run against Justin Humphries who had qualified with a 7.5 who had a 1/2 second advantage.
We had the entire evening to think about what to do. Should we crank up the boost? Should I add more timing? Should I be more conservative? I did learn that the tune was too rich because the trailing spark plugs looked like I just took them out of the box. So the conclusion was, lean it out but by how much was the big question. I elected to remove an additional 4% and not change anything else.
We checked the compression and it was as good as new. With that I was going to try and be calm and just treat the first round just as any other race.
Sunday morning, I was a bunch of nerves. This was the first time in quiet some time that the car was running well, it had not blown up, the clutch setup was right on the money and the chassis was working well. What would happen with my changes was the big question?
I would soon find out. With Justin having lane choice in the left lane, I was in the right lane being kept calm by none other than Bill Condit who provided me with fantastic help in the water box and on the starting line. Thanks Bill for your professional direction and mentoring!
I felt ready. Once we staged and the tree began to fall, I was driving like never before. Straight down the middle hitting each gear shift right on the mark I suddenly realized I hadn't seen Justin at all. I was going to win the first round with me personal best ET of 7.76 seconds. Check out this great video on Piston Vs. Rotor's web site:
Although the car felt really good, it still had a slight miss in the lower gears which can be heard in the video. The data still indicated it was rich and the clutch was "as good as it gets" Although the speed of 169.66 mph was not that good, it was an improvement from qualifying and headed in the right direction. The second round of eliminations would have me up against the fast 1st Gen Pica Motors RX7 from PR. I had to "Go for it" as we say so I leaned it out a little more in preparation for the run.
Again with Bill Condit's coaching, I approached this match up like I had a whole lot to gain and nothing to loose. The only thing I could do was TRY and cut a good light and hope for the best. Unfortunately, I was a little too quick to let the clutch pedal go and consequently went RED with a -0.003 light. Again the car "laid down" for the first few gears running a loosing 7.90 @ 174 mph to a winning 7.43 @ 183 mph.
Although I lost that round, I had not felt that good about the car EVER. It was an "effortless" drive straight down the middle of the track and it proved that we are headed in the right direction.
With this result, the championship meant that whoever won the final round would win the championship. It was an exciting match which lived up to the hype of PR vs. USA. Congratulations again to Paul and Jorge.
As I had time to spare after the event, unlike most times when we load up and head back to Texas that same day, I was able to sit down and analyze the data I logged for the three qualifying passes and the two elimination rounds. To my amazement, I found the reason why the car was "missing" in the first 2 gears and without data acquisition, I would NEVER have discovered this problem.
I use a 30 amp Bosch relay bolted to the firewall that activates the 2-step. This relay is mounted in such a way that the G-Forces of the launch of the car actually opens the normally closed relay contacts and subsequently activates the 2-step. What does that mean? It means that every launch I made and for the first 100 feet or so, the 2-step was activated limiting the engine RPM to 8200, adding 12% more fuel and reducing the ignition timing to -5 degrees. What a bummer! A lesson learned that I would never imagined could happen in my wildest dreams. So to all my fellow racers that utilize a similar setup, mount the relay or wire the relay in such a way that this will not happen.
Now I can't wait to get the car back, repair this problem and go testing before it gets too cold here in Texas. I am convinced the car will run mid to low 7's now. Stay tuned for more on the performance and times.
Update 11/9/06: Following Seven Stock 9 which tuned out to be a great Rotary vehicle show at Mazda Head Quarters in Irvine, California the Saturday following the final then Dan stopped off in Las Vegas for the SEMA Show and then finally back in Texas on Friday 11/3/06 at which time I was able to further review the final event data logs. To my amazement, I discovered yet another problem I had and didn't even know it. I inadvertently had programmed a Manifold Air Temperature correction into the ECU and consequently each time the MAT reached 130 degree, it pulled the ignition temperature to zero or TDC. In other words, the car was way down on power. So now, I AM REALLY EXCITED about how the car will run down the 1/4-mile.
I have corrected the timing map and repaired the 2-step problem. Going testing soon!
To my sponsors: Mazda, Mazdaspeed, NGK Spark Plugs, Garrett, Mickey Thompson, Idemitsu, K&N, Innovative Motorsports, Precision Turbo & Engine, Tito Chassis Shop, RX7.COM, Doyle's Fabrication, Decals Plus and all the guys who lent a helping hand this year, I say with the most sincere appreciation THANK YOU. I simply could not have done it without your support and generous time.
Next season we will have bead locks to prevent the tire from wrinkling like this.
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