Racin' With Face

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May 17th, 2013 at 3:57:09 PM permalink
Face
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Yup, guess Iím gonna run this ď- With FaceĒ brand into the ground ;)

If youíve followed any of my car posts, or my stories of stunting and riding 170mph on my bikeÖ or stories of me flipping a Saturn end over end through the trees at 90mphÖ it should be quite obvious by now that Iím somewhat of a speed freak. If youíve been following my fishing thread, youíd also know Iíve all but buried that side of me, mostly due to fatherhood. WellÖ someoneís been poking the dragon.

See, thereís this local short track I love. Iíve been going to it since I was in the womb. As a youngster, I was mostly under the care of my grandparents due to having two working parents, and every Saturday night from the age of 2 to at least 12, we spent it at the track. I had an uncle that built cars there from Chargers (Street Stocks) to Pro Mods, other uncles that ran Figure 8s and Chargers, and a next door neighbor that ran (and still runs) Trucks and Late Models. Auto racing has always been at the core of who I am as a person.

Holland Speedway, my local shorty



Chargers (Street Stock)



My neighborís Late Model



Pro Mods



Of course, as a young buck, all I wanted to do is race cars. I had hundreds of Matchbox cars on the floor, hosting my own Daytona 500s (I still have them all and theyíre still on my floor as we speak, now being ďracedĒ by my son =)) I and my cousins would have big wheel races down the hill, each pretending we were our short track heroes. R/C cars, push cars, video games, go karts, 3 and 4 wheelers, always we were racing something, emulating our local idols.

When I got a real car, things got ugly. I was bat shit crazy and out of control. Every back road was my personal rally circuit, and I created my own personal rally cross league out of the dirt and tarmac back roads in my area. Sure, my league only consisted of me, but Iíd race against the clock all day long and love it. I and my copilot screaming through the hills and valleys, blowing it sideways within inches of the trees and ditches, never had a worry or fear. Many of those stories I donít even tell anymore, because itís literally unbelievable and I got tired of trying to convince people I wasnít pulling their leg. For instance, I once jumped a car with my car. On accident. I have 4 witnesses to that event, but unless Iím in the company of one of them, telling the story is pointless. Itís impossible. Itís ridiculous. But it happened.

Tumbling that Saturn through the trees at 90 stopped all that shit. I had two friends with me, who both sustained far less injuries than I, but I went into a pretty deep depression after that. I just couldnít get over how close I came to killing people I loved, and all of the rally cross bs stopped immediately. From í98 to í04, I didnít really do anything.

Then I got that bike, and everything came rushing back. The first time I hopped on it, I followed the break in procedure for 3 miles until I couldnít take it anymore and wound it up to 140. For the next 3 years, I never rode it without going at least 120, often in a stand up wheelie. I, my cousin, and even my bloody father tore up the road for 3 years, again racing the back roads, running from the cops when weíd get spotted, and just being general menaces. Somehow, the 3 wrecks we had during that time period always happened at less than 5mph resulting in little more than a small spot of road rash, and for that, I am glad. The arrival of my son eventually put a squash to the bike phase, and since I sold it in í08, Iíve just been puttering around in my Silverado.

That ďreturning to my rootsĒ I spoke of in Fishing With Face included returning to the old short track, and a lot of old memories came flooding back. Ash and I went there on our third date and she loves it just as much as I do, resulting in us going several more times that year. Of course I told her I was going to do it one day and she was all about it, saying we should look for a car, like, right now. I laughed her off, my history with these things telling me it was way too expensive for where I was at that point in my life. But we kept going to the races and kept talking about it. Little by little a picture started to form on what would be needed to get my crazy ass on that high banked oval. Reducing my massive debt, pricing a car, required equipment, fuel, trailer, acquiring sponsors, having the right work and family schedule; the hurdles were numerous and impressive and not entirely within my control.

This all leads me to today. We took in NASCAR at Richmond at the end of April, and between that and next weekís opening day at Holland, the race conversation is back in full tilt. Ash began the same pressuring to get me involvedÖ and I found my reasons against it arenít holding as much weight. Iíve been working my ass off on reducing my crushing debt, and that fight is scheduled to be over by Fall. Couple that with a possible raise and cessation of child support (Iíll have custody! =D), and I should be sitting pretty, pretty enough to start and sustain a race team. Whether I stay in this job or take a promotion, both schedules would line up perfectly for racing. I already have at least a primary or secondary sponsor lined up, with a few leads on some others. I know everything Iíll need from a rules and safety standpoint, and theyíre all very doable. Iíve done my research, crunched my numbers, and found that my childhood dream, possibly one of the last dreams Iíve ever had that hasnít been fulfilled, is right in front of me. In all honesty, the only thing Iíd have to do to make this happenÖ is to make it happen. All Iíd have to do is go out and get it.

I should be crying right now. I should be buzzing and bouncing off the walls in excitement. One of my biggest dreams is sitting right on the horizon, and all I have to do is walk to it. But thereís really only one emotion I've been feeling, one Iím not familiar with and one I canít understand.

Fear.

And I donít know why. Iím not scared of injury and Iím not scared of death; never have been. As far as ďracingĒ is concerned, this is probably infinitely safer than my street road escapades of the past. Iím not scared of financial ruin, because itís partly sponsor money, partly my ďfunĒ money, and I can stop as I please. And in general, Iíve never been one thatís scared of anything, really. About the only thing I can honestly say Iíve feared before has been failure, but I got over that years ago, and thereís no way I could really fail here. This is the longest and most strongly held dream Iíve ever had, itís right in front of my face, and I feel like Iím so scared I canít move my feet.

With all that being saidÖ fuck fear. I hereby declare today to be the first day of my Road to the Races! I suppose this thread will be less participated in than my other two, but Iíll chronicle my journey as things happen. Hopefully by this time next year, I will be bouncing off the walls as I prepare for my first race on opening day. In any case, feel free to add whatever or talk about anything motorsports. Even if my dream dies, Iím always up for talking cars and racing =)

Wake the dragon, it's time to go racing!

WISH ME LUCK!
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
May 18th, 2013 at 1:37:35 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 81
Posts: 1317
Good luck Face! As with the bikes, "Keep the rubber side down".

Regarding fear... Perhaps the discomfort comes from crossing off everything on the bucket list. When they are all done, does that mean the only thing left is the, "bucket"?

Come up with a new list... maybe you'll feel better...
May 18th, 2013 at 3:52:29 PM permalink
Face
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Quote: Ayecarumba
Good luck Face! As with the bikes, "Keep the rubber side down".


Thanks, Aye! But I make no promises. I have issues putting safety before glory =)

Quote: AyeCarumba
Regarding fear... Perhaps the discomfort comes from crossing off everything on the bucket list. When they are all done, does that mean the only thing left is the, "bucket"?

Come up with a new list... maybe you'll feel better...

I dunno. Iím a little young to be worrying about a bucket lol. I still have a list, but itís admittedly filled with stuff I donít ever expect will be possible, such as hot lapping Nurburgring Nordschleife. Doubt Iíll ever even have a track day car, let alone be able to afford shipping it to Germany and back along with myself. But itís still on the list.

After some time to think about it, I think itís a combination of a bunch of different things. For one, itís almost taking on another full time job. Thereís a lot of ďbusinessĒ work, such as dealing with sponsors, managing costs and income, and meeting the agreement criteria of said sponsors. Itís hard enough to sell oneself, but then Iíll also have to deliver. Thereís a lot of ďmechanicĒ work as well. While I might be able to work out a deal with my garage owning, race car driving neighbor, a lot of the maintenance, prep and repair is going to be my responsibility. It ainít like itís Sprint Cup and I have a team of 20. Itís pretty much just me and Ash (and Iím sure Jax will wield a hammer every now and then, whether I want him to or not =)) Itís going to be a lot of work.

And I guess I might still have some fear of failure. I mean, I always brag that Iím the fastest man on the planet. In a car, on a wheeler, on my bike, it didnít matter. I couldnít be beat. Now Iím older. Now I know what it feels like to flip a car and smash something with no give. And now I got to put up or shut up, and fly 70-80mph on a 3/8ths mile bowl with 30some other guys that think theyíre just as badass. I suppose I feel my legend is at stake lol.

Finally and most of all, I think itís a ďnever meet your heroesĒ kind of thing. Racing and motorsport has always been a deep, deep passion of mine. But once you go ďofficialĒ, thereís always a level of political bs that gets involved. I know Iím over thinking things way too much, but if I got into this and found all the work and pressure and politics killed my passion, I donít know how Iíd react. Fishing, hockey, guns, and motorsport; thatís Face in a nutshell. Fishing, hockey and guns all give exactly the amount of enjoyment I expected, which is to say, tons. But more than any of them, possibly even more than all of them, Iíve always just wanted to go fast. It is my identity, and anyone whoís known me since school days would tell you the same. If I do this and find itís not for me, Iíd lose a giant part of who I am.

Itís irrational, I know, but most fears are. All I know is that however big these fears feel, the hate Iíd feel toward myself for letting this opportunity pass me by far outweighs them. So Iím going to take that chance, fears be damned.

One Life.
Live It.
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
May 18th, 2013 at 7:10:50 PM permalink
Face
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Busy, busy, busy.

I had already decided to run the Hornet class. The Hornets are stock FWD 4 bangers with minimal requirements, aimed at entry level drivers and keeping things cheap. Everything on the car must be stock, although I have to call and find out if engine swaps / replacements are allowed. Basically, you take out all the windows except the windshield and the rear, remove enough of the interior and unnecessary systems to drop it to 1,800lbs, install a race seat and 5 point harness, and chain or weld the doors shut. Boom. Race Car =) (Somewhere, P90ís ears are burning)

After observing much of last season, my mind is set on a 4th or 5th generation Honda CRX or Civic.

CRX



Civic



These things stormed the field last year, and a little research makes them the obvious choice. The biggest reason is the B block VTEC engine. Their variable valve timing allows them to get good gas mileage at low rev, but come alive and rage up near the red line. And being Japanese, their red line is high indeed, pushing 7,600 to 8,200 rpm depending on year and model. Yeah, itís only a 1.6L, but the figures for torques and BHP canít be argued. VTEC powered engines have been the choice for many a rice burniní and tuniní youth, getting ďpoor manís turboĒ power on the cheap. Meme fans should be well aware of the ďVTEC Just Kicked In, YoĒ meme, which takes to the absurd the engineís ferocity at high rev.



The decision between 4th and 5th gen will come after talking to my neighbor. There is about a 10% increase in power going 5th gen, but the earlier models has the better suspension which would help in the high banked corners. Iím not sure what the better trade off is, so Iím deferring to the expert on that one.

I estimated high, pricing things at new retail prices, and came up with $12k just to start, to say nothing of consumables like fuel and tires and all of the damage that is absolutely going to happen and need repair. Fortunately, the fuel is just pump gas, the tires are just street tires, and Hondas and their parts are numerous and a dime a dozen. Still, thatís a giant chunk of change to me. I suspect I should be able to shave a good 25% off that just by shopping smart, but even $9k is nothing to scoff at. I spent a good 3+ hours typing up a mission statement and sponsor proposals in preparation for contacting area businesses to help offset that cost. I donít expect to get but a few percent of my total cost back, but every little bit helps and hopefully I can parlay the experience into bigger returns down the road.

Busy, busy, busy. Time to relax and go watch ďStroker AceĒ =)
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
May 21st, 2013 at 9:37:59 AM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 81
Posts: 1317
I wish you the best, Face! I'm looking forward to following this adventure...

A couple of questions... What about air bags? Do you leave them in? and what about roll cages? It seems really dangerous to operate a race car without the crush protection a cage provides.
May 21st, 2013 at 1:04:56 PM permalink
odiousgambit
Member since: Oct 28, 2012
Threads: 71
Posts: 1534
Good luck, Face!

I guess the custody thing is some good news I missed? happy for you with that too!
Mustard:You like Kipling, Miss Scarlet? Sure, I'll eat anything [from movie]
May 21st, 2013 at 4:48:58 PM permalink
Face
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Threads: 61
Posts: 3112
Quote: Ayecarumba
I wish you the best, Face! I'm looking forward to following this adventure...

A couple of questions... What about air bags? Do you leave them in? and what about roll cages? It seems really dangerous to operate a race car without the crush protection a cage provides.


Thanks, Aye! Iím looking forward to it, too. Now that itís hot outside, itís starting to feel more natural. That weird fear is all but gone and Iím itching to get started. Iíve got to get my truck worked on and my racing neighbor is my mechanic. I plan on trying to get a meeting with him to pick his brain and propose a partnership of some kind. Iím hoping all goes well because between his experience, skill and proximity (I can see his garage from my backyard) heíd be a huge asset. If it doesnít work out, I might be doing this completely solo (well, solo plus Jax and his hammer ;))

As for the car, the air bags will be removed. With a race seat and 5 point harness, thereíd be no point to it. Youíre hunkered down so tight the only thing that can move is your neck; your butt, back and shoulders are plastered firmly to the seat. If I have a wreck and my head moves far enough for an airbag to be necessary,Ö letís just say Iíd have bigger problems than striking the wheel lol.



For the banger class, roll cages are ďhighly recommendedĒ but not required since theyíre slower and much lighter. On that subject, Iím a little torn.

A cage runs about $200-$300 which ainít bad, but itís entirely different than a true race cage. A race cage is like the starting point. The cage comes first, then you fill it with a drive train, slap on some wheels, and hang a body on it. Easy peasy.

Race cage



A banger cage has to go into an already built car, which means I canít just buy a $300 pre-made cage. Iíd have to get it in parts, then pay a shocking amount in labor for a quality welder to come and burn it in place. Ashís father is a master welder; I know how much those guys make. Putting a cage in might just cost more than the entire car lol.

Banger cage



The main reason Iíd want one is performance based, not safety. Adding a cage really stiffens up the chassis and would make the handling more responsive. From a safety standpoint, the only thing Iím worried about is a driver door impact, and I can reinforce that easy enough by myself. Rollover accidents are largely caused by pile ups that jack a car up, causing the car to just sort of tip over. Standard roof strength is more than enough in that case.



I couldnít find the pics of the Saturn I sent through the trees at 90, but even that shit show just sort of crumpled the roof. The cockpit was hardly touched and my two passengers were good enough to drag me out and run for help. Had I not railed my dome off the B pillar, I probably wouldíve walked away, too. A rollover, even if it was likely to happen and to happen at speed, is far down my list of concerns.

Itís something Iíll consider, sure. If I can make the finances work, then there are plenty of reason to have one and Iíd be happy for it. But if not, it wouldnít keep me off the track. Iíll be so far in the lead, I wonít have to worry about being hit anyway =D

Quote: odiousgambit
Good luck, Face!

I guess the custody thing is some good news I missed? happy for you with that too!


Thanks, OG!

The personal drama thread sort of ran its course again, so I stopped posting. I could write a book a day on all the nonsense that transpired. Could, but I wonít, and surely not in my ďfunĒ threads =) Iíll just say that for the next 16 months at least, my boy will be where he belongs Ė at home =D
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
May 25th, 2013 at 3:48:21 PM permalink
Face
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ďThe only way to make a little money racing is to start with a lot of moneyĒ

I just had to post this as a little reminder so I can read it every time I come back here ;)

Itís crazy; I havenít stopped working since last I posted. Every second has been spent searching and researching. Even while at work, or out fishing, or doing yard work, my mind is constantly turning and trying to put things into place. All this work, and I havenít even done anything yet!

I did find a car, but something nagged at me and told me to wait. I just had to check the rules again and itís a good thing I did. I somehow missed the ďNo DOHCĒ rule the first time I read it (and the second, and the third, and the fourth..) and I had to go back to the drawing board. That included having to familiarize myself with an entirely new power plant, the D block Honda. It took the better part of a day, but at least Iím now completely confident in what I must find.

I did not get to talk to my racing neighbor as he was swamped when I went there for service. He fixed up my truck good; 100,000 miles and runs like new again, but I wasnít going to bother him when I could plainly see he was running all over the place. I have plenty of time and can catch him at the races or I can just walk out back on some lazy Sunday and get him then.

I did send out my first letter, this one to the track. There were a few rules I need clarification on, and Iím also starting the process of getting licensed (you have to have a NASCAR license to participate). Itís sort of putting the cart before the horse, but I got so much on my to-do list, I had to start crossing stuff off lest I go mad lol.

I had to add almost $1k to my start up costs for some necessary equipment that I forgot the first time around, but Iíve found almost $6k savings in just the car and trailer by following some leads. Between that and racingjunk.com, I might be able to cut my starting costs clean in half, which is a huge relief. With not knowing how much itíll cost to maintain the team for a season, every little bit helps and saving 50% is a godsend.

Iím also learning how hard it is to be a whore lol. Itís easy to compete and to do well; all you have to do is give 100% and never give up and youíll never fail. Iíve been competing for some 26 years now in various sports and canít say Iíve ever had a bad season and very rarely have been nervous about anything. But involving sponsors is a whole new monster. You canít just do your best on the track and expect it to automatically equal ďgood for sponsorĒ. Youíve got to sell the hell out of them, promote them at every opportunity, and go beyond the track to make that happen. That is a part time job in itself, just putting together billboards and making appearances and hitting the social media. Iím glad I have a pretty girl with a Masterís in corporate finance, I think sheíll be a huge help in this area and help fill the gaping holes that I cannot. Iím rubbish at business (and not near as easy to look at) =p

And I finally broke this news to my parents. I expected Mom to worry about safety and Pops to worry about money. Turns out Momma encouraged me to chase my dream and Pops worried about me getting myself killed lol. This from the guy who was the only one with the balls to challenge me on the streets, and the only one who could ever beat me through the twisty bits. Really, Pops? lol I didnít expect either of their reactions, but glad theyíre somewhat behind it. Thatís one less stress off my shoulders.

Little by little the plan is starting to gain substance; every day that passes makes it feel more real. But Iím still in that phase where every time I take something off the list, it causes 10 more things to be added. I suppose thatíll be par for the course for the next long while.

And here I thought it was all just going fast and turning left =D
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
May 27th, 2013 at 2:49:42 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 117
Posts: 4860
Maybe I should mention, that I once owned a 1997 Honda del Sol 1.6L VTEC, with a Jackson racing supercharger custom install. They had to cut the blower and re-weld it to fit it in the engine compartment. I didn't do much work on it myself. Had work done on it in Texas and California mostly. The del sol was the original Honda to get that engine. They had 3 versions, S, Si, and VTEC. 97 was the last year for the del sol. Great little car. I loved it, but so did a lot of thieves.

Can't tell you anything for track racing purposes though.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
May 27th, 2013 at 3:32:32 PM permalink
Face
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Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 61
Posts: 3112
Quote: rxwine
Maybe I should mention, that I once owned a 1997 Honda del Sol 1.6L VTEC, with a Jackson racing supercharger custom install. They had to cut the blower and re-weld it to fit it in the engine compartment. I didn't do much work on it myself. Had work done on it in Texas and California mostly. The del sol was the original Honda to get that engine. They had 3 versions, S, Si, and VTEC. 97 was the last year for the del sol. Great little car. I loved it, but so did a lot of thieves.

Can't tell you anything for track racing purposes though.


Ha! Nice =) Those little Hondas, man. I love small Jap cars; just so much you can do to them and theyíll run forever. I suppose Iíll be able to test that durability soon enough, and hope it works the way Iíve experienced throughout the years (indestructible).

A del Sol, specifically, is probably out. I canít imagine theyíd allow a targa top, even with a cage. Iím even worried about sunroofs, and am supposing it would have to be patched solid. They donít like to leave to chance that an errant bumper or panel enters the driverís compartment, and I canít say I blame them.

Do you remember the specific specs of your little banger? Even the 1.6 that came in the Si had VTEC (D block), but it was the SOHC version with 130hp. The SiR (I think) had the DOHC that pumped out 160hp (B block). Then of course, there was the turd with no VTEC that barely broke 100hp. Just wondering what you had (assuming you must have drove it pre-supercharger) and how you liked itÖ

Fortunately for my wallet, I donít need any racing advice on that front. Everything on it must be stock, except for, of course, the racing seat, harness, and roll cage. You canít fiddle with the engine, tires, shocks, or anything at all (although I wonder how theyíd know if I hooked it up and downloaded a new map into the ECU ;) Hey, if you ainít bending the rules, you ainít racing seriously =D)
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
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