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Team3S Member Track Report:

Rich Merritt: Marshalltown Speedway, IA
Private Track Rental, April 15, 2001

Racing Iowa Site

Red Gradient Line, 1k GIF


The first event of the season -- the ROWGs went over to Marshalltown, rented the track, and five of us spent the afternoon turning laps on street tires and street brakes.  My daughter and I ran about 60 miles, or 100 laps.  It was a warmup, nothing serious.  Still, the major findings from this session of on-track research are:

1.  Negative camber really reduces tire wear.

2.  The custom no-backpressure catback exhaust seems to help.

Red Gradient Line, 1k GIF


The only mod on my car since the last time I went to M'town is the custom catback exhaust.  The car seems to leap off the corners better in 2nd gear, perhaps because it has faster throttle response and faster turbo spoolup.  I can't find my post from last year when I reported my lap times but, as I recall, I was in the mid 40s on the Kuhmos and Blue pads.  This time, my best lap was a 42.18 on street Michelin Pilots and street brakes.  If race tires and brakes are good for 2 seconds a lap, then it looks like the custom exhaust helped pick up a half-second or so, and might drop me into the 39s.

I gotta do better, because my nemesis in a TT AWD Porsche runs 38s on sticky tires (41.5 on street tires), so I gotta find another second.  I've beaten him before, but now that he has sticky tires, the Porsche remains just out of reach.  I am a teensy bit faster through the twisty bits, but with all that horsepower he pulls me a car length or two down the straight.  Time to reach into the horsepower bucket and find 50-75 hp.

My increased camber really helped tire wear.  I can remember cording a set of tires in one day at M-town.  Now that I've gone to -3 deg camber, it has stopped eating the outside edges down to the cord.  In fact, the front tires were wearing on the INSIDE more than the outside, leaving a two-in. wide ridge just slightly higher on the outer shoulder (Geez, they were noisy out on the highway afterward!)  You can feel the wear by running your fingers in from the outer shoulder to the center.  It feels smooth going in. Pull your fingers back on the tread, and you feel lots of sharp edges.  They are supposed to wear back evenly after some street use.  The street Michelins are showing no other signs of abnormal wear after the track workout.

My daughter drove the VR4 for 30 laps over two track sessions, and I got to observe.  I noticed some hop-hop-hopping when it hit bumps, so I guess this means it's time for shocks.  I'm still working on getting Penske to build me a set of shocks, but progress is glacial.  Guess it's racing season.  Any word on the availability of GABs these days?  Is it still 3 months to get a set?  Is anything else available out there?

By the bye, she was turning 44sec laps in my car, so she's catching up.  I know that my kids will beat my times one of these days -- it is the nature of things -- but I am not going to make it easy for them. 

---  Rich/old poop/94 VR4 (Rich Merritt)

Red Gradient Line, 1k GIF

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Article 2001-2004 Rich Merritt, All Rights Reserved.
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