May 4, 2014

New Jersey Champ Tour 2014

Photo by Perry Aidelbaum - AutoX4U Photography
This was absolutely an amazing weekend at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey! I couldn't have asked for a better time. Great competition, amazing course, good company, and the car running at 100%. This was definitely my favorite National level event I have competed in. Because of this, I'm seriously debating heading out to Wilmington to see how I do there.

Day 1 was great. I guided Lui at his first autocross ever (go big or go home, right?) and he was on course all his runs. I managed to come in 4th out of 8, with a 12th overall standing in PAX. My fastest run was my second run, coming in with a '62.617 clean. I got slower on my third run as I tried to push the car too much, but it wasn't rotating as I needed it to. I wasn't going to settle for 4th though, especially when I was only a few tenths out of first.
Photo by Perry Aidelbaum - AutoX4U Photography
Day 2 was D Day for me. I needed to step it up, and after making the setup changes I was feeling more confident in the car. I did the following to setup the car:
  • Full soft to full stiff in the rear swaybar
  • 13 clicks from full stiff front shocks instead of usual 8 clicks from full stiff
  • Full soft in rear as opposed to 15 clicks from full stiff
  • Made sure tire pressures were at or above 36 PSI, where as on day 1 I let them get lower

The end results? I took the last podium spot, coming in 3rd for the day and 3rd for both days combined. That brought me to 17th in PAX for Sunday, but 14th in PAX for both days combined. My fastest clean run was my third run, bringing home a '63.172. I had a lot more time out there but because I was dirty my fist two runs, I played conservative on my last run. Next time, I know to just go for it and not worry about it for next time.
Photo by Perry Aidelbaum - AutoX4U Photography
I was only 7th tenths out of 2nd with my clean run, between the two days. I knew I could've taken it, but my overall goal was to be able to hang with the top guys. I had an absolute blast catching up with John Vitamvas, Mike Kuhn, Chris Dressler, and finally getting to meet Sam Strano. Real great group of people in my class, and hopefully we can all go out for drinks next event!
Photo by Perry Aidelbaum - AutoX4U Photography
I just want to extend another thanks to some key players in my success here, as I really couldn't have had made it to this event and do as well as I did without their support. Black Halo Racing for their unwavering support, sponsorship for the past four years, and amazingly reliable performance parts. Kane for his amazing tune onto the car, and I can't wait to see the full potential unlocked when we do a dyno tune. WankelWorks for their time and patience during the long winded fuel issues I was having and helping me every step of the way. Lastly, the support from my friends and family back at home. The motivational texts at the end of Day 1 was a huge help, and the messages I got after my last run on Day 2 felt great, and I can't thank you all enough.

Be sure to check out my two fastest runs below, starting with Day 1 and then Day 2, followed by my fastest dirty run on Day 2. A nice weekend break ahead before the next local race at Devens come May 18th, so stay tuned!

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