Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday at the Talladega GP Raceway has come to an end. Dan Giannotti and I were out at the track around 4P.M. for tech inspection and a walk around the 1.41 mile track. It is flat as a tablebut has a few slightly banked turns. It looks fast and top gear will be used.

The inspection began at 5:00 as scheduled. All the Time Trial School entrants had to have the big time inspection by the official scrutineer. The guy was very through and I got a few gigs but he liked the Corvair. Lucky for me I was second in line because it takes a long time to do this but I now have my official Log Book for the car and my roll bar has a stamp on it.

The weather here has been all the talk. It has been warm, windy and threatening to rain all day. The sky kept getting darker and darker as the storm threatened and we did have some tornado warnings. They have a series of warning sirens all over the place and during the inspections it began raining hard and then the siren went off which means there is a tornado close by. We did not have any shelter as such at the track, just the old wood building they use for inspection and classes but the inspections continued. After it quit raining some Dan and I unhooked our trailers and headed for the motel, which is where I am as, I write this report, which I’ll post in the morning.
So far the turn out has been low, as the weather has probably scared some folks off. I’m sure there will be more tomorrow. I’m looking forward to two days of Corvair fun at speed! Oh, I have spare belts and a can of spray sillycone!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The morning began with black clouds, lightening and some rain. Temperature was in the sixties and windy. In fact, it’s been windy here every day! The track opened at 7:00 AM and we were there shortly after to wipe down the rain we had the night before and get the tree pollen off the car! The weather improved as the day wore on and it became a sunny day in the
sixties. Very nice for air cooled engines and drivers in multi layer suits! We had the usual Time Trial class then on the track sessions, which lasted all morning. The first two times on the track we followed the instructor around the track to learn the lines as it were, and then we were turned loose to run on our own. They ran all of us students together as a class run group for all our practice runs.

There were 62 total entrants for this event and out of that, 12 of us were there as students to obtain a Time Trial license.

Out of the students I was third fastest in practice. Two BMW M3’s were faster but only on the straights. I could catch them in the corners….well…some. Actually, I was catching and passing the Miata’s! Damn good fun that! That was all in the morning session. In the afternoon session it was timed runs. They run what they call pods with three or four cars each based on the practice times to keep them equal as possible. You get five laps. The first is a warm up, then three hot laps for time, then one cool down lap.

I was pumped and ready but…after my second hot lap the engine went sour. It would not pull past three grand on the back straight where before it was easily pulling six grand. I thought of all the bad things it could be. I have had valve spring and push rod issues before. As it turned out the No. 6 plug wire had blown off. Man was I relieved. Now I can run the Sunday event and finish the school. Plug wire retainers will be installed!

Dan and his red GT-3 Corvair were running well all day and in fact during the timed runs he broke his previous track best time by better than a second!

Janet has been shooting the still photos and hopefully we’ll have some good shots which I will post when we get back home.

We also had a pleasant surprise visit by two Corvair people. First Lee Howell dropped by and then the Honorable Chuck Armer, aka Da Chuckster! Itwas good to have some moral support and Chuck pitched in to help find the problem with my car. It was opportune to say the least as I had forgotten some of my tools and Chuck came to the rescue with some of his “Collector
Series” items. It almost felt like a mini convention!

After all the equipment was secured for the night Dan, Chuck, my wife Janet
and I went to the local Logan’s Road house here in Oxford for some dead cow
flesh and cold adult legal beverages. It was a well-deserved celebration of
a successful day at the track.

Sunday April 13, 2008

The day began with cold temps (34!) and a clear bright sky, no rain! As the day progressed it began to cloud up some but it was mostly sunny with a high of 61 degrees and very windy as it has been all weekend. The good news is it again made good weather for air cooled engines and guys wearing driving suits!

After a short driver’s meeting the timed runs began. Dan and I were in the D run group, called pods here. That was good for us as the track would be warmer and some rubber would be laid down. I don’t know exactly how many participants did both days but, today was primarily the official SCCA Time Trial event. The only part that concerned the Time Trial School was the instructors signing off on our paper work. Of course, the main reason I am here is to get my TT license, which I did. All I need to do now is send the SCCA folks some money and my signed paper work, and then they will issue an official license.

Dan ran one timed run in which he beat his fastest time. He decided that was enough for the weekend and packed up for home. We stayed and I ran one more timed run which was my fastest for the weekend so I was improving and getting faster but I think the engine has some issues which will have to be addressed.
I’m a happy camper having accomplished my main goal and getting some seat time at a new track, plus I met a great bunch of new car guy friends!

We’ll be on the road for home at oh dark thirty tomorrow morning.

The weather there certainly turned unseasonably cold and when I talked to my brother awhile ago he said it had been sleeting some! I got the car unloaded and in the shop then put the trailer away and unloaded the truck. I need roadies!

The SEDIV or (Southeast Division of the SCCA) as Dan told me was a great bunch of guys to hang out with. They all came around and admired the Corvairs.


Rick Norris

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