NASA Race Weekend, April 29-30 2006
GTI Cup paddock
The third event of the 2006 season found Shed Racing at NASA's April 29-30
event at Sears Point
in the GTI Cup class.
were 4 cars in class this weekend, with Tom Aiken picking up the
driving duties Saturday, and Ron Swett driving Sunday. Scott of Miller
Motorsports showed up both days to help out. Other
Suarez, in his newly painted A2 GTI and newcomer Tom Chandler
in his first race. Tom purchased the 2005
25 Hours of Thunderhill winning GTI from Carlos.
New Paint Job for Carlos
The morning got off to an early start, with the Tom's warmup session
the first group on track of the weekend. As usual, the warmup was
combined with the Legends, group, making for a very crowded
track. Between the cold track and the traffic, the GTIs managed
respectable times, with the Scott setting the fastest time with a
2:07.6, followed closely by Carlos with a 2:07.7, Tom Aiken with a
2:09.6 and Tom Chandler with a 2:23.9
Tom in the Morning Warmup
At the end of the warmup session, Tom noticed the car would not idle,
and was running poorly at low RPM. A quick investigation
uncovered a huge vacuum leak, which upon initial investigation seemed
to be coming from the intake manifold gasket. Ron had the intake
manifold off earlier in the season, to install a new exhaust, and
it was assumed that the bolts had loosened and caused the gasket to
fail. Scott miller was dispatched to the nearest auto parts store
to source a replacement gasket, while Tom and Ron began taking things
apart to remove the intake manifold.
Low budget racing
Despite the best efforts of Tom and Ron, the time came for the
qualifying session, and the 43 car was still in pieces. While
Scott was at the parts store retrieving a new gasket, Tom and Ron got
the intake manifold removed to discover the gasket intact. Carlos
came over and noticed one of the fuel injector sleeves had come loose
from the cylinder head, causing the leak. With some mild
swearing, Tom reinstalled the sleeve, with a light coating of silicone
sealant on the threads. Ron took the opportunity to check the
remaining three injectors and found 2 more that were not tight.
All were resealed with silicone, and reseated in the head. Once
back together with the new gasket, the car fired right up and idled as
normal, but the too late to make the qualifying session. Shed
Racing had missed their first track session ever.
Ron and Scott Miller rewire a gauge
Qualifying results put Scott Neville on the pole with a 2:06.2,
followed by Carlos with a 2:06.5. Tom Chandler improved greatly
over the morning session, turning a 2:15.3. Tom would grid fourth
with no qualifying time.
The race started with Scott settling into an early lead, closely
followed by Carlos, with Tom and Tom side by side going up the
hill. A faster GTS class BMW passed them both, putting Tom
Chandler out of position going into turn 3, allowing tom to move into
third. The race was fairly uneventful, with Scott and
Carlos swapping the lead a few times, but slipping away from Tom.
Tom Chandler slipped back a bit, running conservatively in his first
race. Scott finished first, with a best lap of 2:07.1, Carlos
finished Second with a 2:07.0, Tom rounded out the podium with a
2:08.6, with Tom Chandler in fourth with a still improving
2:13.9. Tom returned home after the awards presentation.
Sunday saw Ron at the wheel of the Shed Racing bunny, with Scott Miller
acting as interim crew chief, and Ron's son Jason helping
The day started sort of badly with Ron reporting a strange feeling on
the right side after practice, and Scott finding the sway bar really
loose and the camber adjustment bolt loose. Scott not having a
clue how to work on a GTI cup car didn't help much in setting the
camber, but things were corrected quickly. Carlos set the fastest
time in practice with a 2:05.6, followed closely by Scott Neville with
a 2:07.0, Ron with a 2:07.8 and Tom Chandler with a 2:19.4.
Ron, Tom Chandler and Scott Neville
Qualifying saw Ron again reporting something strange on the right
front, and Scott again found tire pressures too high He also had
a problem with the accelerator pedal, with Jason diving under the dash
to fix the bushing in the throttle linkage. Even with the strange
handling, Ron pulled out a screamer lap and put himself on the pole
with a 2:05.94. Carlos qualified second with a 2:06.6 followed by
Scott with a 2:07.2 and Tom Chandler with a 2:15.1
Third Pole position in a row
Ron led the GTI field to the green flag, and held on to the lead for
half a lap before Carlos was able to make the pass in the
slipped back to third 2 laps later when he bobbled a shift coming out
the hairpin allowing Scott Neville into second. These positions
held for the remainder of the race. Carlos finished first, with a
best lap of 2:06.1, followed by Scott with a 2:06.5, Ron with a
2:06.3, and Tom Chandler with a well improved 2:12.4
Three wide in the Carousel
They chased car setup all day, never really getting the tire pressures
right, and probably not getting the camber right with their hasty
repairs, and despite a beautiful lap in qualifying to take the Pole,
Ron faded to 3rd in the race with a car that wouldn't turn right.
Carlos hauled off to an enormous lead, and Ron was fairly close to
Scott until mid race when the car went off. That rounded out the
weekend with a pair of podiums for Shed Racing.
On a sadder note, Factory Five Challenge NorCal director Dan Lawson was
killed in a racing accident at Buttonwillow April 8, 2006. Dan's
fellow Factory Five racers did two formation laps just after lunch in
Dan's memory, culminated by racer Donnie Edwards doing a major
smoke show on the Infineon logo inside turn 11. Rest in peace Dan.
Cobra Formation Lap
Donnie Edwards pays his respects to a
Rest In Peace Dan.