After a VERY long day on Thursday. er wait,maybe that was Wednesday.. … These days have all become a blur. Let me start again.
After a VERY long drive from Hastings Nebraska to Brainerd Minnesota, which saw us getting in at 1-ish am, and a long day at the track, I decided to skip updates yesterday. Brainerd saw us with 2 track events, a low E.T. drag pass, and then the bracket drag races. The road course events utilized both layouts Brainerd has to offer, including the ‘main’ course which uses the drag strip - all of it from the staging area through the complete run-off/shut-down area. Or an approximately mile-long front straight. There is one word for a track with that configuration - FAST!
Dan ran both of the road course sessions, and used all the power that the Active Autowerks supercharger could give us. The power helped, as Dan hit nearly 160 mph at the end of the front straight; and then flew through turn 1 at 120…. Flying around the track, hearing the awesome exhaust note bouncing off the drag-strip walls, Dan came across the line with a time of 5:49.1 which was good enough for another top 10 finish! 10th place overall, and 2nd in class. Nate had the#47 M3 at seemingly supersonic speeds, especially through turn 1 (their data showed 131 mph through 1 - aerodynamics are sweet!), and placed 5th overall with a 5:32.5. The #12 M5 used all 550 of its (stock!) horsepower to run a 5:51.9 for 3rd in class and 12th overall. This track fit the high-horsepower luxo-cruisers in our class well; Dubler was 14th in the CTS-V with a 5:54.6, the Panamara in 17th at 5:57.0. Eric’s S4 ran a 6:24.4 for 48th, followed closely by the other CTS-V in 49th with a time of 6:26.2. The #8 M3 ran a 6:30.1 with the Baron behind the wheel for 53rd place.
For the afternoon, we used the SCCA club course, which replaces the mile long straight with a very technical and tight twisty section. Slower speeds, but much more drama. Instead of turn 1 being an uber-fast right hander, it is a very sharp and slow left hander. We saw a whole bunch of drivers brake way too late. Many missed the apex. A few helped mow the grass… Dan, attempting the late-brake into 1 on the first lap, ran a good time for 15th overall and 2nd in class. David Chow was behind wheel of his #47 M3, and had his personal best performance of the event, looking like he was a local to the track, hitting turn 1 brake point and apex perfect each lap and placing 11th overall. Renner was another one of the drivers that tried braking a bit too late, missing the apex on a few laps and coming in 18th overall. Dubler’s Caddy seemed to make it through turn 1 OK each time, placing 29th. The Baron must have though the grass was much too long, especially a ways off track, so he did what he could to trim it, coming in 39th in the process. Eric in the S4, Howard in the CTS-V and Dawn in the Panamara all had uneventful turn 1s and came in 46th, 49th and 51st respectively.
Next up were the drag races. I was behind the wheel for both the low E.T. (reaction times dont matter, just get down the track as quick as possible), and the bracket drag (reaction times count, and you have to beat the other driver, but without going faster than your ‘dial-in’ time). There are 2 things that make a car very fast in a drag race. Power and the ability to get that power down. Chow lined up next to the Panamara for the Low ET pass - They finished 1-2 in class and 7th/8th overall with a very close 12.153 for Dave and 12.180 for Bill. Horsepower and big tires gave Dave the edge over the all-wheel drive and rather sophisticated electronics in the Porsche. I was lined up next to the M5 for the low ET pass. ~580 HP, manual trans with me (not so experienced in drag racing…) vs. DCT with launch control. After way too much wheel spin for me in 1st and 2nd gear, I crossed the line in 12.912 seconds 20th overall, 4th in class. Renner beat me down the track with a 12.460 for 9th overall and 3rd in class. Howard came in 22nd overall, and right behind me with a 13.1. The S4 ran a 13.6 for 33rd, followed by #8 M3 with a 14.2 in 45th and the CTS-V wagon in 48th with a 14.46.
With that done, knowing I could run a better time, I dialed in with a 12.6. I was lined up next to a Dinan tuned BMW 335, who had dialed in a mid 13 second run. Since his time was slower, he left the line first. I took off with a rather poor 0.464 reaction time (yeah, I was sleeping on the line!), but that ended up being a good thing. I was able to easily chase down the other BMW, winning by 0.23 seconds, and more importantly, my 12.902 did not ‘break-out’. Had I run a perfect reaction time, I would have run a 12.55, and lost by going too fast. With 1 win under my belt, I lined up again, changing my dial in time to a 12.8 (even though I knew I could run the time, I wanted to be closer in dial-in times to other cars that had times close to their ETs). A Boss 302 Mustang was my competitor, with a low 14 second dial-in. He takes off, followed a bit too late for me. I was catching him the entire run, pulling hard and making up a lot of ground. I knew it would be close but couldn’t tell if I had enough distance or not. It wasn’t enough. I needed about 2 more feet. Lost by 0.024 seconds! so close, yet so far away… Pass time minus reaction time gave a ET time of 12.4 something - not bad for the track and weather conditions.
After that we packed up and headed to Road America, stopping by my hometown of Wausau, WI to grab some delicious (and VERY unusual) HOME cooked meal!
We went to sleep up to 11th overall, still 2nd in class (but a few more points behind). With Road America on the horizon, a track that both Dan and I know very well, there was till hope to break into the top 10. In class, we were solidly in 2nd place, but 1st was a stretch.