Nelson's Ledges October 31, 1999
Last Race of the season!! Let's start this weekend off right. We are supposed to be at the track by 7:30am on Saturday! Didn't Happen! Rick got up late, Greg was Late and we weren't leaving the shop until 9:00am. Rick hooks up the Bus to the trailer and heads out. 200 feet from the shop, the BUS breaks. All of the electrical circuits are out. No Power! 75 foot of rig and no way to move it. After screwing around for 90 minutes, Rick gets the BUS hot wired and continues on to Nelson. Not the way to start a weekend.
We arrive at the track around 11:30am on Saturday. Everybody has been there since Friday testing and getting ready for the final race. We completely changed Greg's car. We replaced the engine, changed the gears, and changed the shocks. We are not sure where we stand until after qualifying. We missed the morning practice session. Greg and Jeff go out for the qualifying session. Both cars are working well and Greg is back to 1:06. Jeff turns a 108., his personal best. Greg qualifies 3rd and Jeff qualifies 10th. We are ready for the afternoon qualifying race.
The race begins well and there are 5 cars that can compete for the top spot. Greg passes the 2nd place car on the first lap and the 1rst place car on the second lap. Jeff moves up to 6th and the race ends with Greg as the #1 starting position for tomorrows race.
Warren Guillard, Jimmy Smith, Fred Geis and Otto Falkenburg are all present in addition to our regular fun club and crew workers for today's final race. It looks like rain, but the weather will hold out we think. We are having some problems with Greg's new engine but we think we can squeak by. We had to change the clutch this morning, but we are ready in time.
This race is one of the closest races ever. Everyone is biting their nails as Greg leads the pack around turn 1 at the start of the race. For 20 laps, we are on the edge as the first 4 cars are only inches apart. One mistake and there will be some mayhem. Jeff was doing well into the 3rd lap when someone checks up in front of him and causes Jeff to crash, Meanwhile, the top 4 cars are still thrashing at it. 18 laps down, Greg is still in front and the 2nd place car makes a bid for the lead. Oh Shit! Greg holds him off, Finishes FIRST and clinches the Kryder Racing Series. Congratulations for a great season and job well done! Nothing was more competitive than this final race of the year. See ya next year ...............
Mid-Ohio September 10, 1999
Mayhem at Mid-Ohio!! This weekend Greg, Patty and Jeff are racing. This is the last race at Mid-Ohio for us this year. Saturday is qualifying and then a qualifying race. The race will be on Sunday. Patty starts out the weekend with a good qualifying session. Her car is running fine and everything looks good for this afternoon's race. Greg and Jeff's qualifying goes just as well as Jeff re-acquaints himself with his car. We have added an in car lap timer to help him know how he is doing. Scott Dick, One of the other drivers who originally sold us his car is also racing this weekend. Scott and Greg have a discussion after qualifying and they both decided they qualified 3 seconds quicker than the track officials eventually post. Greg, in fact, qualifies 2 positions in front of Scott. This starts the rivalry that eventually leads to some broken parts and heated discussions.
Things start getting ugly when it's Patty's turn to run her qualifying race. On the front stretch going into Turn 1, Patty and another car lock wheels which puts them into a spin carrying the cars down the track backwards. A 3rd car behind them can not stop and drives over the top of Patty's car. Patty is OK! The car is destroyed and will not race this weekend. Patty goes to the medical center to get checked out. She is Ok except for some bruises that will hurt for a while.
Greg, Jeff, and Scott race next. Qualifying is heated as Greg and Scott dice it up for most of the laps. Scott edges past Greg in the last couple of laps and qualifies in front of Greg for Tomorrow's race. More I'm gonna beat you conversations after the session is over. Let's see what happens tomorrow.
Sunday, Race Day
It's a good day for a race. The weather is pleasant, track conditions are good, and we have some motivated drivers. The race begins with a wave off. The cars aren't grouped well at the start, so they make them come around again before things get under way. Scott looks like he's out for the kill. He's doing sit ups 5 minutes before the race. Greg knows he needs to pass Scott early so, on the first green lap, he goes for it. Greg gets passed Scott and Scott doesn't seem happy about it. The next lap, Scott's front wing is all crshed up. What's up with that? As it turns out, Scott tried to push Greg off the track with his wing. Didn't work!! Meanwhile, Jeff is turning his fastest laps ever at Mid-Ohio. After the race, Greg is reprimanded and Scott is moved to the end of the class for improper conduct. Scott and Greg have more heated discussions and it don't seem like they are friends anymore. It sure does get tougher as we get more competitive. No one cared until we started competing for the top spots. That's racing ..............
Mid-Ohio August 29.1999
This is a National Race Weekend. We have been working with a race engineer and have decided to fly him in for the weekend. Our goal at this point is to turn faster lap times at both tracks in preparation for next years national points chase. We are still having shock problems and hopefully, we can sort it out this weekend. Greg will be the only driver this weekend.
At National races, Saturday is practice and qualifying and Sunday is race day. We arrive at the track late Friday night. John (our engineer) flew in to Cleveland Hopkins and rented a car. We all met Saturday morning to go over the car and our plans for this weekend. Our first practice doesn't go quite as well as we hoped. First, a plug wire came off and Greg had to come back in to have it fixed. Next, the throttle cable started sticking and Greg was flying into turns out of control. He only got in a few laps and that didn't help us much. It was kind of embarrassing because we usually don't have many problems and this isn't normal for us. Tell that to our engineer.....
The sticking throttle turned out to be a bad cable, so we made a new one. Rick also installed a custom aluminum track rod to fix a ackerman angle problem with the left front wheel. When Greg first saw these aluminum track rods, he said, I don't want this shit on my car. Well ...........
Qualifying is next in the afternoon. We think we are ready and Greg goes onto the track. A couple of laps into it, Greg spins the car and that pesky aluminum track rod bends like a pretzel. Wonderful! Luckily, someone's car catches on fire and the RED FLAG is given. RED FLAG means STOP everything. Although we are not allowed to work on the car, we have time to get our tools and spare parts so we can fix it. The starter was a really cool guy and he knew we needed to fix this car fast if Greg was to qualify for Sunday's race. They watched to make sure we didn't do any repairs during the RED, but as soon as the GREEN was thrown, the starter waved us to go ahead. We fixed the track rod quickly and allowed Greg to get back on the track and qualify. Whew! We have the rest of the day to finish our plans and tweak the car for tomorrows race. Greg qualified 25th.
Sunday morning we got an emergency practice which gave us some time to sort out things with the car. We have trying to use less gas to make the car lighter and go faster. Well, Greg's practice goes well except he runs out of gas at the end of the session. The only problem is, we don't know that! Everyone in the pits is imagining a smashed up race car that we have to fix before the race. But, all is well and we are ready for this afternoon.
Sunday's race begins well and the Greg seems to be settled in. A couple of the fast guys wreck and take themselves out of the race moving Greg up the ladder. Greg, on the other hand gets passes a few cars and gets himself into a battle with another driver. They trade positions a few times and now Greg is in 15th. Greg records 2 of the fastest laps he has ever done here. On the last lap of the race, Greg snaps an axle and he is done for the day. Final position is 22nd. It still was a good weekend. Greg got the monkey off his back with faster times, we learned a lot this weekend and we had a great time with John, our race engineer!
Nelson's Ledges August 21-22
The last few weeks, I've been practicing my welding skills on the Pipe Buggy (dune buggy) in preparation for repairing Patty's car. The frame was bent and the nose section needed to be replaced. Having completed all that, Patty is ready for a double this weekend. I sent the shocks for Greg's car out to be tested. We got them back Friday but some pieces were missing. They will be delivered to the track on Saturday, but meanwhile, we will use Jeff's shocks for testing on Friday and Saturday morning.
Friday, we arrive before lunch and setup for the weekend. Greg wants to test Rick's welding ability by trying Patty's car first. I don't think he wanted to lose the mother of his children. Only problem was, someone forgot to check the wheels to see if they were tight. Greg is out on the course turning good laps but can't figure out why the car is shaking so much. No wreck, no damage! He brings the car in, tighten the wheels and the car is ready for the weekend. Greg spends the rest of the day turning laps while Rick tries to get the setup dialed in.
Saturday morning and it looks like rain. It does rain! Patty is in Group 2. She is having problems with turn 1 and the car keeps spinning out. During qualifying, the car spins and ends up in the dirt. When she comes back onto the track, a rock goes in the drive belt and rips it off. Still, she qualifies 9th and we have time to fix the belt before the race. Greg (Group 5) has new tires mounted and turns his best consistent times at Nelson with Jeff's shocks still on the car. He qualifies in 1rst place and is very happy with the car.
The weather clears out before the races in the afternoon and the stage is set for some good racing. Greg's shock parts get to the track during lunch and Rick puts them on. Patty's race goes well and she finishes 1rst in class. She completed every lap and there is no damage to the car. This is a very good thing. Greg's is much the same. He starts 1rst and finishes 1rst although the car doesn't seem to work as well. We'll have to look at the shocks for tomorrow. For afternoon entertainment, Greg removes the training wheels from Gregory's motorcycle and Scott teaches him to ride. 2 Checkered Flags, No Damage, and it has been a very good day.
Decisions, Decisions. Rick decides to race today. Here's the plan. We'll put Jeff's shocks back on Greg's car. We'll put Greg's shocks on Jeff's car and Rick will try to figure out what is wrong.
Patty's qualifying session goes well and she qualifies 11th today. Greg qualifies 2nd and Rick qualifies 6th. Rick is having problems with the car handling and we'll have to see waht we can do with before the race.
Sunday afternoon and it is race time. Patty has figured out her turn 1 problems and she looks excellent coming out of the turn. She starts in 11th place, four cars behind here crash and burn on the 1rst lap and then, 4 cars spin in front of her and Patty moves up to 3rd place. She stays in 3rd until near the end of the race when 1 car passes her and gives her a 4th overall finish and 1rst in her class. Out of all the cars in this race, Patty turned the fastest lap of all.
Greg and Rick race next. Greg passes on the first lap to move to 1rst and stays there the rest of the race to win yet another Checkered Flag. Meanwhile, Rick is having trouble staying on the track slipping and sliding just about everywhere. Rick finishes 6th overall and 5th in class to end our weekend adventures at Nelson.
Miller 200 @ Mid-Ohio
Even though we didn't race this weekend, I thought you might enjoy some more BUS stories. This is BIG MEAT weekend! Greg is the best big meat cook on the planet! If he invites to a cookout, GO!
Before we can go, Rick decides to fix the BUS. SO MUCH FUN!! The water pump is shot and the batteries are always dead. Wanting to get this job over, Rick rips the front end off the bus. The original AC was replaced by rooftop units so Rick decides the old stuff has to go. The only problem, was what he thought was an AC part really was a transmission cooler. In the process of cutting old stuff out, he cut the trans cooler also. Too late NOW! Greasy, dirty, antifreeze dripping everywhere, Rick gets the MONSTER apart. What do you think the chances are of the getting the right pump for an 1985 something? Right part the first time! Maybe this a sign!
Replace the pump, trace wires, install switches, call generator companies, replace transmission coolers and few other things and the ol' BUS runs again!!
We're off to MID-O and she runs like a top. 85 miles/hour she goes and loves every minute of it. I really do love this BUS. It's Greg's travelling living room. Complete with Super-Cool stereo, Rick and Michael give it the major cruise whammin and jammin all the way to Mid-O without a hiccup.
It's Friday night and the weather ain't so nice. We get setup, set the atmosphere with cool tunes from the BUS and relax. Around 10:00pm, it starts to rain. And Rain. And Rain. We go into the BUS and there is WATER pouring from the ceiling. WONDERFUL! Nobody is volunteering to go on the roof so we make do and put containers all of the floor to catch the water. This one huge plastic box should cover 4 or 5 leaks. The leaks are somehow strategically placed so that couches aren't getting wet. Cool. Crash for the night. The next morning, the garbage can had 10 inches of water in it but our big plastic box doesn't have any water in it. Guess Why! Right!! It had a hole in it. So now, the floor carpet is like rice pattie field. And I love this BUS!
Saturday, the Formula Continentals race. The track is still a little wet but, I think it helped the race. The group only crashed at the start and the race went green all the way. Much better than last year. (see our archives) Greg was having a very hard time watching these guys race and he left before it was over. I think he wants redemption. A good days racing is over and Greg breaks out the Meat. It was absolutely the best steak I have had in 3 years and one of my all time BESTS. Greg cooked the last one 3 years ago! Toward the end of the day, the rains quit and the weather shaped up for Sundays Miller 200. Of course, you all know Juan Montaya won that one.
What was wrong with the BUS?? A tree branch poked a big ol hole through the roof. A big dab of silicone, a big fan running for two days and the BUS is ready for another adventure! See ya.........
Mid-Ohio July 24-25
As Mario would say, HERE WE GO! This is a double regional weekend which means there is a race on Saturday and Sunday. Patty, Greg and Rick are racing this weekend. Rick and Greg are in Race Group 2 and Patty is in Race Group 4.
Greg and Rick qualify for Saturday's Race first. Rick had braking problems last time he was here so, we changed the rotors and installed fresh pads. Let's see how he does. Greg qualifies 2nd and Rick qualifies 5th. Not bad considering Rick's time is 4 seconds quicker than the last time he was here. I guess the brakes helped!
Now it is time for Patty's qualifying. There is going to be a split start in Patty's group. A split start is when part of the group starts a half a lap in front of the rest of the group. This is usually done with large groups with one or more classes in it. But, ALAS, Patty has problems. Something like, CRASH!!! Damn, that wall didn't move. Although Patty qualified 3rd, she won't be able to run this race. There is frame damage and can't be fixed this weekend. Patty is bruised a little but other than her pride, everything is OK!
Saturday afternoon, Greg and Rick will race in Group 2. Greg broke an axle during the race and caused him to finish 19th. Rick finished 6th overall. We have a spare axle, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.
Sunday July 25, 1999
We fixed the broken axle and we are ready to for Sunday morning. Greg and Rick qualify 2nd and 6th respectively. The cars are working well and it looks like a beautiful day. The race in the afternoon is interesting. Greg does his TURN 1 thing and goes to first place and stays there for the rest of the race. Greg wins the 1999 Brat Bash at Mid-O. Rick has 3rd place locked up for most of the race but decides to mow grass two laps form the finish. Give him a 4th place and a swift quick for spinning in the carousel!! End of weekend.
Mid-Ohio July 3-4
Greg, Rick and Patty are racing this weekend. Both clutches are fixed, it's 150 degrees, and we've got the BUS. Let the BEATINGS BEGIN.
We arrive late Friday afternoon. Rick puts the cars in the garage and Greg finds a good spot for the BUS. Friday night of all times, Rick decides to change everything! He lowers both cars and everything needs to be setup again. All goes well and by Saturday morning, we are ready. This will be Patty's FIRST time at Mid-Ohio,
Saturday July 3
Patty is in Group 3 and Greg & Rick are in Group 5. Floyd shows up at 7:00 am to give a hand. Patty goes out for qualifying and as she goes by, Floyd notices that the front half of her nose cone is gone! I wonder what happened. After she comes in, we find out a little spin kind of jarred it loose. (broke in half) But, all is well and it's Greg and Rick's turn.
Rick, being the master technician of all things, decides to add a couple of switches so he has a backup ignition system. About 3 laps into qualifying, Rick's car just stops. No problem, flip the switches. Guess What? No ignition! The Cause? (Rick's switches). Greg qualifies 6th and Rick qualifies 13th. After qualifying, Rick gets towed back to the garage and he takes out those pesky switches.
Races start after lunch. Patty's first. During Patty's race, Greg notices her car doesn't seem to going very fast down the front straight. Oh, No! Now what? Well, she finishes the race and as it turns out, it is just a bad spark plug. Patty gets a 2nd place and no damage. Now it's the boys turn. It is an exciting race. There is a large group of cars and the competition is good. Greg finishes 2nd and remembers to go to tech after the race. Rick finishes 10th and is very happy with the way the race went. This was Greg's most competitive race yet. Go Greg!
Next, we have a problem with the BUS. The batteries are dead! We have to tow the generator from the garage to the BUS with the golf cart! Good thing we brought the generator. The Saturday night party is going to be held in downtown Lexington tonight. They have a go-cart track and things for the kids to do. (including Patty and Kristen) Patty takes Gregory for a spin around the track and gets absorbed in the action. As we watch Patty go by, you can see Gregory squishing out the side of the cart as they hang the turn. Looks like he's having fun! The party is fun and everyone is tired by the time we get back to the track.
Sunday July 4
Patty's car is fixed. Rick has gone over the other cars and made sure they are ready. Qualifying on Sunday is similar to Saturday except the weather is 20 degrees hotter. It is 95 plus and humid. Fred, Mrs. Geis and family friends arrive in time for qualifying. Patty's qualifying goes well and the car is running good. Greg and Rick also have no incidents qualifying and they qualify 8th and 13th. Lunch time.
After lunch, Patty runs her race without incident. No problems, the car runs well, and she starts turning good times. Patty's all smiles after the race and finishes 2nd. By this time, it's a 100 degrees or better. Greg and Rick are out next. Now let tell ya, if you want to see a show, come to the races and tell Greg you want to see some action. Could you even imagine Greg hamming it up? Never!!
The competition is a little tough today. Greg does well except for that little show over in the 'keyhole' , but despite his best efforts, he finishes 4th. Rick finishes 12th. No crashes, no damage, but were not done yet. Mrs. Geis leaves, and Otto spots a broken bolt on his Harley. Meanwhile, the BUS is dead again and if that's not enough, the BUS is completely out of antifreeze. We must have poured 5 gallons in it. We tow the generator back. Pack and Go .... Below is few notes about driving skill that Rick picked here this weekend.
Rick's Driver Technique Notes as learned from Mid-Ohio
Nelson's Ledges June19-20
Greg, Patty and Rick are racing this weekend. We had to replace the axle in Patty's car after her last race and all the cars seem ready to go, but more mayhem lurks around the corner!
Friday June 18
Friday is a practice day and Rick decides to skip work and do a test day. He arrives around 11:00 am and gets ready for practice. Jump in the car, and 'BANG!' , the CLUTCH goes to the floor. No clutch! Now Rick can either fix the clutch and skip practice or skip the clutch and race the car. What do you think he does? RIGHT! Race the Car!
Greg is coming later in the afternoon and they still have a few things to do to get Patty's car ready for tomorrow but there should be enough time tonight to fix the clutch. WRONG!! We ran into a few problems finishing Patty's car and the clutch isn't going to get fixed tonight.
Saturday June 19
Greg and Rick qualify first and Patty's group qualifies directly after. This will the 3rd time in 5 races that Rick doesn't have a clutch. A little mishap causes Rick to miss most of qualifying. It seems as though the radiator cap wasn't tight and antifreeze blew up the ignition system. Other than that, Greg and Rick's qualifying goes well! Greg qualifies 1rst and Rick qualifies 5th. Patty is on the track qualifying when not all of a sudden, her car stops moving. When we get it back to the pits, we find out her clutch exploded. The prospects of repairing it don't look good, but we are going to give it try anyway. We find a welder in BF Egypt and he is willing to give a try. Patty's father, Floyd hops in his truck and runs the part over while racing breaks for lunch.
After lunch, Floyd returns with the repaired clutch. Rick gives it 1% chance of making it through the race, but we try it anyway. Pay attention here, cuz Patty's racing career hinges on this race. Greg and Rick's race goes well with Greg playing salad maker (slice and dice) with the second place car. Greg finishes 1rst and Rick places 3rd. No damage, everything is good. Greg goes over to the grid where Patty is getting ready to go on to the track. He gets her started and she's off. As it turns out, if Patty finishes this race, she will have met all of the requirements to get her official SCCA Regional Racing License. The rules state that an entrant must finish 1/2 of the total laps to be considered as a finisher in a race. Well...... Patty car goes exactly 71/2 laps which is exactly 1/2 of the laps for this race. The clutch breaks again, Patty gets her license and today is not quite done.
Greg and Rick get called to the tower to see the Chief Steward. Ut Oh! (how do you spell UT anyway?) We've been very, very bad! (Elmer Fudd style) As it turns out, we didn't go to tech after the race to have our cars checked to make sure we were not cheating! DISQUALIFIED! BOTH OF YOU! GET OUT! The old rubber glove in the face trick! Greg seemed to be much more motivated after that. We didn't bother to tell him that we weren't used to winning and we didn't know any better.
Rick has a wedding reception tonight, so.... the clutch ain't happening tonight either.
Sunday June 20
Greg and Rick are back for another round, but we won't be able to fix Patty's car for today's race. Everything is a repeat of Saturday except we got to Tech this time. Greg is 1rst, Rick is 3rd and it sticks this time. Greg cranks out his best time ever at Nelson. I wonder if it had something to do with yesterday? You betcha....
Mid-Ohio June 12-13
Second National Race of the year, First race of the year at Mid-O. First time Rick is back after his crash into wall in Thunder Valley. Saturday is typical National stuff. Practice in the morning, Qualify in the afternoon. Again, Greg is the only driver this weekend. We didn't arrive until 7:30am Saturday morning. Greg is coming later in the afternoon, so Rick has a chance to run practice and check out the track. It's a mad scramble to get setup, go to tech, check and fuel the car and make it to the grid for practice. Rick's practice goes well and he beats his own best time at this track. The brakes aren't grabbing properly. We need to look at that. Rick deglazes the brakes and makes some minor adjustments for Greg's Qualifying session. Greg arrives around lunch time and we are ready for qualifying. Still having a brake problem, we qualify 22nd. Rick has a bachelor party in Cleveland so we pack it in for the day. Lisa, Rick's sister shows up for the weekend and decides to stay and camp out for the night.
Sunday morning, Rick arrives no less for wear and gets ready for the 11:30am race. This will be a short day. Greg comes in about 10:00am. We think we have the brakes fixed. We'll soon know. The highlight of Sunday was when Mr. and Mrs. Geis showed up to give their support for Hot Shot's Racing. The race was good. Greg bested his own personal best time at this track although our finish was 19th.We are still having braking problems. No overheating, no damage, better times! After the race, we had lunch with Greg's mom and dad. I learned the meaning of the word Weitzenhof. (Yard Keeper in German) Decent Weekend! Pack up, go home and get ready for Nelson.
Nelson Ledges May 22-23
Our first National Race of the year. Nelson has re-paved much of the racing surface and the turnout is incredible. I have never seen this many entrants at Nelson. We've got some fast guys running this weekend. It is a good chance to learn from them. Only Greg is racing this weekend. National Races are slower paced. Saturday is practice and qualifying and Sunday is the race. Other than a computer problem, Saturday is un-eventful and we qualify with 1:08 time. Saturday night, Patty decides to show us some more of her driving skills. It seems as though the canopy got in the way as she was moving the golf cart. Now we have a lean to! All kidding aside, I would put Patty's capability above most other drviers in her class. NO FEAR HERE!
Sunday, the weather is good for the race. Dave Weitzenhof qualifies first in our class and 2nd overall. At the start of the race, Dave goes for the lead, but Cemal in the FA car is too fast and procedes to leave everybody in the dust. Dave finishes first in FC and Greg finishes 16th. Over the course of the weekend, 6 track records are broken. Nelson is faster than ever. The average speed for FC cars on this course is over 113 mph. End of Weekend!
Nelson Ledges May 15-16
Our first official race of the season! Greg Geis, Jeffrey Martin and Patty Geis are running this weekend. The turn out was great! We had 2 dozen people between Saturday and Sunday stop by and hang out. Thank You! The most exciting of the 3 drivers is of course, Patty! Both Greg and Jeff qualify with no problems. It's fun to watch a new driver qualify and do their first laps with other drivers. Patty was a little nervous, but she did just fine! Everbody qualified!
There is 3 races on Saturday. The first race is a qualifying race. Patty's first race was rather exiciting. A few laps into the race, Patty spins off a turn and as she comes by, there is smoke pouring out the back of the car. Rick waves her in. I forgot to mention the starter went out, so if she shuts off the car, it will be hard to restart. Remember, this is her first race. Patty cruises into the pits. People start yelling at her, Don't shut off the car. Rick checks the damage and finds part of the body rubbing on the tire. A few kicks, a few bangs, a few bends and off she goes. Patty finishes the race and everything is fine. Greg and Jeff race next. Greg goes to the grid early so he can up front for the qualfying race. Greg is in the first place position during the race and he has another car stuck to him for the entire race. If Greg makes a mistake, this guy is going by. All through the qualifying race, the 2nd place contender (we'll call him SHMOE) dogs Greg's car for the entire race. Inches between first and second for the entire race. Greg prevails and wins the qualifier. No Checkered Flag for this one.
The first official race of the weekend and believe it or not, Patty brings home the FIRST CHECKERED FLAG for the Hot Shot's Racing Team. The race goes well. Patty kind of misses turn 13 and sails into the grass. She keeps the non-startable car running, finds an opening and pulls back on to the track. She keeps her position and WINS the race. Her parents are here for the weekend and the emotion is her fathers eyes as she wins is undescribable. Go Patty! Greg and Jeff race next. Greg qualified on the pole position. Jeff does well and turn his fastest time to date. The Duo of Greg and Schmoe continue for this race. They look a like train. Dicing for the whole race, Greg keeps in front. Patience prevails and Greg gets the CHECKERS! GO GREG! We won't mention the fact that Patty got the First First Place first. (cute eh?)
Last race of the day is even more interesting. Patty is running this race and for some unknown reason, decides flying lessons are in order for the day! Patty hits the marbles(little rubber balls from the tires), the cars spins 180 degrees and sails through the air into the tire wall! Whiplash!! We need a wrecker for this one! Patty is Ok, the damage looks worse than it really is, and this car is done for the weekend.
Greg and Jeff's last race for the day and we get a repeat performance of Greg and Schmoe. I wonder what it like to have another car glued to me for every lap of a race. Greg prevails again and picks up his second CHECKERED FLAG.
Sunday, there is 2 races. Continuing the saga of Greg and Schmoe, Greg has Schmoe tied to his bumper again. A little mistake, the car spins and Greg slips back. There is fire in his gut. He drives with passion. But! There is not enough laps left in the race. Schmoe Wins!
The last race of the day is an extended length race. Jeff has a prior appointment and can not run. Rick will drive in his place. Greg's car is running hot and wouldn't be a good idea to push it for this race so, he will sit out. Most of the competition is packing or has gone home so the field is smaller for this last race. Rick's race is rather boring other than the cool 180 degree spin on the back straight in front of a fast FA car. No Damage! Rick continues the race and finishes first place in his class. Final tally, 4 Checkered Flags. End of Weekend!
The Quest for a Novice Permit
In the first part of the year, many of the regions have schools for new SCCA members who want to get their regional licenses. You must pass 2 schools before you can obtain a novice permit and compete in regional race events. Patty needed to attend these schools, so in early May, Nelson Ledges had a school. Just so happens the day before the school, there was a test day. Greg and Rick decided to take Patty and do some laps a day early. Well, the weather sucked! It poured rain in buckets. It's 45 degrees, Patty is doing laps, and the rooster tail spewing from the back of her car is 40' in the air from all the water. In an open cockpit car, when it rains, you get wet. Try wearing an 85lb soaking wet race suit sometime. Slicks and rain make great conditions for spinning and sliding. As fate would have it, the car spins and slides completely off the track. By the time we get to the car, Patty has lifted the front of the car off the tires and dragged it almost back onto the track. Adrenelin can do some strange things. We call it day and prepare for the school the next day. Saturday starts out OK, but as fate would have it, the drive belt on the car breaks and we have no spare. End of weekend.
2 weeks later, there is a school at Waterford Hills in Michigan. We still need 2 schools, so off we go. The weather is decent and the car is running well. After a few laps, an official stops by our trailer and informs us that this track has a sound ordinance. The local law requires a production muffler on every vehicle. Imagine that! A race car with a muffler! Well of course, we just happen to have a factory production muffler for a F500 race car in our back pocket! Wrong!!!! Now the official informs us that if we can't produce this magic muffler, that Patty won't be able to run this weekend and another school will be shot. Rick hops in the car and starts his 4 hour search for a factory production F500 race car muffler. As fate would have it, lawn mowers have mufflers! We'll take one of those!! We get the muffler installed and Patty is able to run the entire weekend. A few mishaps, no damage, and she completes the school successfully!
Welcome Back for the 1999 Season
Welcome Back for the 1999 adventures! I forgot to tell you a couple of good stories at the end of the season, but if you remind me, maybe I'll get a few moments to fill you in. Meanwhile .........
Did I tell about our newest Driver?
Did I tell you about the new race car?
Pull up a chair!
At the end of every season, there is one big event call the Valvoline Runoffs. This is by invitation only and all of the top competitors from around the country are invited. We were at the runoffs this year looking for a F500 (a mini formula car that runs on a snowmobile engine) and guess what? We found one! Naturally, Buying a competitors car from the Runoffs speaks well for the car. Sooo... Welcome Patty Geis to Hot Shot's Racing as our newest driver. She'll be running at Nelson's Ledges April 10-11 for her first drivers school.
At season's end, it was time to rebuild the race cars from the ground up. We stripped both cars to the frame! Engines had to be sent out for rebuilds, transmissions were sent out for rebuilds and blueprinting and the work was just beginning. We worked over the cold months getting the cars ready for 1999 season and testing in February. The first week of February arrived and 2 of the 3 cars were ready for Georgia. Floyd and Scott took the trailer and cars to Savanna, Greg, Patty and Family flew in on Saturday and Rick decided to drive down with a detour along the Ohio river. What a site that was. Most of the shacks were from the old days of barges and river boats. I'm glad I live where I do.
Rain, Rain, Rain! The track is soaked and there is no possible way were testing today. Instead, we work on the race car and finish up with some of the detail work.
In the morning, the track is wet and need to put laps on the track with street cars and trucks to get it dry. It almost noon before we get our first laps in. Greg is really having a hard time with the car. The front wheels are bouncing and making it difficult to drive. After coming in twice and making some adjustments, the car comes around and starts working well. No major problems. All the pieces stay on the car and the shake down cruise is a success. Now it's time to fire up the F500. Greg goes for the maiden voyage. What a difference from the FC cars. The car runs well and now its time for Patty to drive. With nerves of steel, Patty pulls out on to the race track for her first official laps. About two laps later, Bang! The car doesn't want to move any more. What's up with that? We get the car back to the pits and find out the clutch fell off. No problem! We'll just tighten in back up. Tomorrow is another day.
Nice day! We get an early start putting in some laps and trying some adjustments on the FC. Patty is ready to go today. We send her out on the track and about 2 laps later, Bang! The clutch falls off. Now what? Make a few phone calls, talk to the guy who owned the car, tighen it back up and go for it again. Meanwhile, Greg is making some hot laps and trying to get some serious lap times going. We send Patty back out and 2 laps later, Bang! The clutch falls off! Enough Already! Now it's time to re-egineer this thing! After inspection, it's determined this thing needs a lock washer. Only problem is, there ain't no parts store! Rick looks at the floor jack and lo and behold, that thar thing looks like the lockwasher we've been looking for. Install the lockwasher, send Patty back out, and she never comes back. Lap after Lap, this little ground scooter is flying down the main straight faster and faster each time. We wait for her to hit the brakes at the end of the straight. Now understand, there are markers at the end of the straight ( little signs with numbers). 4 is for wimps and old ladies in wheel chairs and 1 is for I'm gonna die, I can't stop! Patty is somewhere at .5. Yeah!! All in all, it was the best day of the testing session.
It rained last night! The track is wet again! It doesn't take long, but we need to dry the track again. There is strong headwind today and it literally kills our lap times. We are losing 5 mph top speed just because of the wind. Patty gets a bunch more laps in and we have no more problems with the clutch. Toward the end of the day, Missy goes cruising in the F500 and Scott puts some laps on the FC. You'll have to ask them about it. While Greg is doing some laps, Bang! The car stops moving! When he gets back to the pits, Greg looks a little, eeetsy, weetsy, teeny, weenee, tiny lit bit upset!! Let me tell you a little secret! If you ever see Greg do the "STONE THING", he's upset! It looks like major money just went down the tubes. But, Wait! No Way! It's just a broken axle! We have one! Twenty minutes later, he's doing laps. We finish up day 4 and now it's time to go home.
The only other interesting thing is the 4 hour road race from Virginia to Ohio Rick has with another Toyota, a Lincoln, and some dude from West Virginina in a pick up truck. No stops, and nothing less than 85mph per hour until one by one, each one of us ran out of gas. Rick almost scared himself to death in Flat Top, West Virgina as a big gust almost blows the car off the road at 110mph. Them darn Toyotas just don't handle. The last 2 survivors were Rick and the other Toyota who stopped at the same place to refill and continue the race! It was fun! Kept me awake too!
Learn to go Fast!
Have Lots of Fun!