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piknockout's STU Auto-x Build Sponsored by Agile Auto: 8/23 Update - WDCR #7
piknockout's STU Auto-x Build Sponsored by Agile Auto: 8/23 Update - WDCR #7
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Old 06-11-09, 10:51 AM   #71
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

Autocrosser's Inc Event #4 at Fed Ex Field on June 7th, 2009

Results: http://www.autocrossersinc.org/uploa..._4_Results.pdf

Video: No working camera, no video...again.

With last week's event ending up pretty succesfully, I was hoping to add to that momentum with some additional practice ahead of this weekend's Finger Lakes Tour. My highest PAX finish at WDCR and only a tenth behind Neary, last weekend was solid and finally I felt as if I was ready for the top competition at the tour. Boy did this weekend bring me back down to earth.

The course (Lee Piccione designed) was very interesting, with only one section requiring third gear...but man did you get deep into third gear. Through that particular section, I'm positive I reached at least 70mph before having to get hard on the brakes for the remainder of the course. More downshifiting practice, although that wasn't the issue this weekend.
Mike Neary was on hand for the event, but running in the Pro class instead of STU, but since he was running in the same heat, the times would be comparable. I also had a co-driver, Shane (wrxwagon2be), who co-drove with me at the last A.I. event in the rain where I coned all 4 runs, allowing him to become the first person to beat me in my own car. Without the cone, I would have easily taken the win, so all I needed to do was stay clean and I would be good, right?

On the first run my goal was to figure out where the best spot was going to be for the downshift after the fast section. Easy enough, go out and get a solid first run and then start building on that. But unfortunately, the slalom was to be my enemy today. I believe I hit the third cone in the slalom on this run, but the raw time was solid. Finished with a 61.575 +2 compared to a 62.9 from Shane and a 63.2 from Mike. Just clean it up.
Now that I felt more comfortable with the course, it was time to attack. I ended up banging the rev limiter in a few sections I wasn't expecting, so I was going faster than before. Get to the slalom and *thud* there goes the first cone in the slalom. Another dirty run, this time down to a 61.454, faster by a little, but not much. Where was I giving back the time I gained? Shane finished with a 62.0 run, but dirty, and Mike finished with a 62.0 clean. I can do this.

On the third run I asked Mike to ride along with me and let me know if he saw any opportunites for improvement. Also really needed a clean one, but unfortunately that first slalom cone bit me again. Knowing it was dirty anyways, I got a little too aggressive at the finish and hit another cone, but surely my raw time had to improve right? Well, not really. Finished with a 61.474 +2, but at least I'm consistent. Shane finishes with a 61.555 clean and is putting solid pressure on for the fourth run, with Mike finishing with a 61.8 +2 (thanks to me riding along and screwing me up, not to mention still running old Dunlops). Great driving by Shane!

And can I just say, I realize even more this weekend that I suck under pressure. I start to think and worry, and this is dangerous. It makes you timid, safe, careful...at least it does to me. After promising Karen Krauss that I was NOT going to cone all 4 runs again, I made sure that I didn't. But it came at the cost of a ton of time. I wasn't dirty, but the time pretty much sucked - a 62.540 which put me in 3rd in STU (4th if you count Mike in Pro). To add insult to injury, Shane decides to show me exactly how to drive my own car, this being only his second event driving the car. Shane finished with a 60.987 for the day that was clean on paper, but dirty in that the cone he hit, witnessed by all, was never called in. But despite the cone, it was one helluva drive. I couldn't improve my times all day, yet he just kept dropping time constantly. Mike finished with 61.714 clean on the old Dunlops, but managed to get down to a 60.9 in afternoon fun runs on brand new shaved Dunlops. I can only imagine that when those Dunlops are heat cycled, he'll be dropping a lot more time.

Result: 3rd place in STU of 10 and 15th in PAX out of 147. With Shane's "clean" run, he finished 2nd in PAX against some very solid competition, so the at least that tells me the car is good, just need to fix the driver. In Finger Lakes this weekend, I really need to get a solid clean run in early. I can be fast in early runs, but need to keep it clean. And then learn how to improve in areas where I'm losing time. I've borrowed a video camera for this weekend, so that should help.

Oh yeah, I forgot to list my excuses. I think I suck even more when having people ride along and/or co-driving. This weekend I had both. Ride alongs on all but my second run, and then the co-driving. I think it takes me out of my routine a bit and keeps me from concentrating. At least that's what I'm going with for now, I'm sure I'll come up with something more creative after this coming weekend.


This is me being angry at the coneage I think...evidenced by the cone mark just below the space between the "3" and the "S". And also shows Shane's inability to properly place the "1" on the side of the car.

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Old 06-16-09, 12:07 PM   #72
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

Finger Lakes National Tour at Seneca Army Depot on June 13th/14th, 2009

Results: SCCA - Results

Day 1 Video: Finger Lakes National Tour 2009 Day 1 Video by Luster - MySpace Video

Day 2 Video: Finger Lakes Tour 2009 Day 2 Video by Luster - MySpace Video


This past weekend I drove up to Romulus, NY for the Finger Lakes National Tour, my first national event of the year. While the STU competition at the FL Tour included many of the same guys I compete with regionally, it's amazing how mental an NT event can be, especially when you're at your second ever NT. I was hoping that after last year's debacle in STX at my first NT event at Devens, I could now focus on driving and getting things done. I was hoping to keep the nerves at bay, especially considering how mentally rattled I felt last year. Don't think too much, just drive.

We arrived at the site around 11:30am or so, leaving us plenty of time to get a spot, set up, get teched, and get some T&T runs. I ran the T&T on my damper settings from the last A.I. event, and quickly found that the surface was extremely slick...I spun the car after two turns of the wheel, and I have yet to spin the car this year (or even come close). So I turned the rebound down two clicks in the rear and the car felt decent. Bumped it back up one, and nearly spun the car again, so I dropped it back down. While many had said that the T&T surface was slicker than what we would be racing on, I decided to leave them where the were in fear of spinning it out in my first competition run. Of course, this would cause me some problems later.


Day 1 Competition

After walking the course about 10 times, I still felt like I just didn't "get it". I wasn't really seeing the line and how to maximize time throughout the course. I had the course easily memorized, but didn't really think how to really drive it. My lack of running airport style courses I feel was my downfall here. Either way, it was time to try and figure it out the hard way.

With all the cone troubles I've been having lately, I really concentrated on trying to get a clean one in right off the bat, hoping it would improve my confidence a little and take out some of those mental distractions that come with needing a good, clean run. The course drove okay, but I still didn't really like it, and didn't like how I was driving it. Finished the first run with a 59.567 clean, but definitely not fast. Corey ran a 57.682 on his first (and best) run. Clearly I was missing something here. After first runs I sat somewhere in the middle to the back of the pack. I could easily improve at that one.

Now that I had a clean run in the bag, it was time to be aggressive and push for a good run. But in my aggressiveness, I pushed a little too hard and was late getting into a lot of sections, and also managed to hit a cone in the process. Many of the other STU competitors though were dropping time, putting me somewhere near the back of the pack since I was now sitting on that first run. Not that my second run was any better, a 59.433 +1. Whatever it was, I just didn't get this course and I couldn't see it. It never felt right. I had Simmons watch my video to see if he could find anything, and he did point out that I was late a lot, so I tried to concentrate on that piece.

After not really improving any time on that second run, I was feeling a little dejected and frustrated. Screw it, just drive. Look ahead, push it, and see what happens. At some point on course I must have kind of figured it out, finishing with a clean 58.392, dropping roughly 1.2s and pushing me into the 4th and final trophy spot for the day. Cy Lee had the chance to knock me out of the trophies and put himself in 2nd place, but unfortunately a cone took it away...a real bummer for Cy after some great driving.

So after Day 1, Corey led the way with his 57.6, with Anthony Defiore about 0.4s back, and then Adam Fuhs, myself, Matt Colburn, and Jake Namer each about a tenth off of each other. I was roughly 0.25s behind Anthony, so I had at least put myself into contention for Day 2.


Day 2 Competition

After reviewing the Day 1 video, it was apparent that I was late on a lot of cones. But I didn't really feel like I was that late in my head when I was trying to turn in, but the car was just pushy everywhere. Setting up for the practice course was definitely the wrong thing to do. But again, I wasn't going to throw away my first run of the day with a spin, so I left it alone for now.

The Day 2 course, while mostly being just a backwards version of the Day 1 course with some tweaks, was MUCH better than the previous day. And during course walks for Day 2, the course just clicked - I could see the line. It was then that I really realized how much not running any airport courses was hurting me, but thankfully I had found it now and it was time to make a charge on Day 2.

On the first run, I had every intention of trying to get a clean run in. It wouldn't be my fastest, but it needed to be clean...and I got what I went for, a clean and slow run of 56.325. Corey killed the course on his first run with a 54.809 and giving himself a very solid two day lead that would be hard to reach. But nonetheless, 2nd was still very attainable.

The car had still felt pushy, so I decided to increase the rebound a click in the rear...and let me tell you, it made all the difference in the world. This is what it should have been like the day before, rotation on turn in with just a very slight hint of understeer...just the way I like it. And it paid off too, until I botched the final offset slalom section. Going into the last section I remember thinking to myself, "the car feels great, the run feels great, don't screw this up". And that didn't happen. Got too tight in the initial slalomish piece, got late on the offset, and lost a ton of speed. Finished the second run clean with a 56.415, so no help. But with a better finish I could have dropped a lot of time.

At this point, there were a lot of others who were having issues as well. Anthony was sitting on a 57.xx after overshooting a section on his first run causing a DNF, Adam was sitting on two coned runs, and Matt was having some issues as well. But on the flip side, Jake and Cy were putting up some fantastic runs to bump them up from 6th/7th place into 2nd/3rd after two runs, leaving me somehow still in the 4th trophy spot. But we all had one more run to go.

As I'm coming up towards the line for my final run, I hear over the radio that Adam put down a solid, clean run to vault him up into 2nd place, bumping Jake, Cy, and myself down a spot and putting me out of the trophies. It was now or never. Knowing the car felt good, I went out and just tried to drive and try staying as early as I could. And it paid off in a big way, dropping roughly a second and finishing with a 55.439 and up into 2nd place! As excited as I was, there were still plenty of others that could still knock me down. And sure enough, Jake came through shortly afterwards with a smoking 54.625, the fastest time on Day 2, despite actually running over a cone that somehow managed to pop back up in place and stay within the box. Nice job Jake! But luckily for me, neither Matt nor Anthony could find any time on their last runs, both knocking over cones to solidify my 3rd place finish!

Results: 3rd Place in STU out of 11 and 46th PAX of 234. Needless to say, I'm very ecstatic with the 3rd place finish and my first NT trophy. But I'm continually amazed at how mental autocross can be at the national level, and you see it in the quality of the runs put down so early by Corey. The final runs I put down on each day should have come by at least my second run, but I was too worried about coning and getting in that clean run that I just didn't really drive. Gotta step that up earlier next time. But at the same time, from a mental perspective, I still ended up in the position of needing a fast run on my last attempt on both days, and came out both times with solid run when I needed it. Not only that, but I was clean on 5 of 6 runs, nearly doubling my number of clean runs for the year. There's still plenty of work to do, but I'm encouraged by the slight progress...even though Corey did beat me by 1.3s for the weekend. :sadbanana:

The D.C. Pro is coming up this weekend, so time for a rematch with all of the same STU competition (plus a few more), and looking forward to having some great fun, no matter how the results end up!


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Old 06-25-09, 09:00 AM   #73
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

D.C. Pro Solo at Fed Ex Field on June 21-22, 2009

Results: SCCA - Results

Video: DC Pro Solo 2009 Video by Luster - MySpace Video


The DC Pro Solo - I must say, this is one of my favorite events every year. The Pro Solo format is just a blast, tons of great drivers always come out, and it's close to home. No matter what the results of the event, it's always a great time hanging out and meeting everyone that you don't see often. This year was looking to be even more enjoyable as I am no longer driving a FWD car at a Pro. This time I wouldn't have roughly 0.8s-1.0s to try and make up on course after losing that time at the start. And with my newly added launch control, this was going to be fun.

On Friday I took the day off of work and went down to Fed Ex early. I wanted to get a decent paddock spot as well as get in some practice starts, get teched, and registered early so that I could be relaxed for the day. Oh yeah, and I was working Tech...one of the best jobs, especially when they're calling for rain during the weekend. That would pay off dramatically as the most rain was seen during Heat 1 on both days...the heat that I would have been working course. Not to mention it allows you to just hang out and enjoy the event, only worrying about your runs. Very nice.

Practice starts went well, pulled in some safe low .6xx's with a .5xx thrown in. This was my first time doing drag race style launches and the first time using LC on the car. All in, things went well and I found that LC is like crack at a Pro...it just makes life so much easier at the line, especially when the start is on a hill and you have to worry about holding the ebrake. Fun stuff.

For the weekend, the STU class was stacked...but that's pretty much the case for any event near the Philly/DC area and most of the same crew from last weekend's FL Tour: Corey, Cy, Anthony, Jake, and Yury, along with some guys who missed the Tour, Mike Neary and Martin Kriz. Unfortunately Matt and Justin didn't make it down, could have made for a much more interesting event. Adam Fuhs had planned to make it down, but apparently the Veto Committee nixed that idea. It's okay Adam, I understand. But either way, 11 competitors in class and enough fast drivers to make the weekend a blast!

The course for the weekend favored sweepers and high speed stuff with minimal cones, but some interesting visuals through the crossover/double gate. And despite being "mirror" courses, they both drove very differently...especially coming down and into the crossover. I was lucky enough to get some course walk time with Tony Savini and Corey, a huge help in reminders to look ahead and also course analysis. There's a reason these guys are Evo instructors.


Saturday Morning Runs

With the threat of showers/storms all weekend, it was destined to rain on us at some point. Saturday morning brought some torrential downpours during the first heat, including lightning that delayed the event by roughly an hour. And to add to the fun of the weekend, the shot clock was broken and manual starts would be the standard for the weekend. All combined, this would mean that my "morning" runs would begin roughly around 2pm or so. But luckily by 2pm, STU was able to run in dry(ing) conditions which weren't too bad.

I started out on the right side (as I would all weekend somehow), and found that there was plenty of reasonable grip out there, despite the slight wet. During course walks it seemed as if 3rd gear may be needed, but due to the wet conditions and first runs on the course, I decided that leaving it in 2nd would be the best choice. First run on the right finished with a 31.288, a halfway decent first run that I knew could get better. On my first run on the left side, I tried driving it similarly to the left as far as speed and aggressiveness went, but the grip was just not anywere near the levels of the right side. Finished with a 34.447 on the left, and with the first two runs down, I was only about a tenth off of Corey.

Time for second runs. Knowing there was plenty of grip on the right side and getting the initial jitters out of the way, I pushed the car much harder. Banged the limiter going up the hill and coming through the crossover - mental notes that 3rd gear may be used later. Finished the right side clean with a 30.647, the fastest clean right side time for the morning session (Neary ran a dirty 30.5xx). Unfortunately, I tried to drive the left side as hard as I drove the right side, not thinking about the fact that grip was severely lacking over there. This caused me to go into a couple of the turnarounds way too hot, causing the car to push and having to really wait for it to finally bite so I could get back on the gas, resulting in a time of 34.110, about 0.7s off of Corey's left side time, and one of the slowest left side times of the session. Luckily I had the right side time helping me out quite a bit.

After Saturday morning runs, I was lucky enough to be sitting in 2nd place about 0.6s off of Corey and 0.3s ahead of Jake (who had fuel starve after being too low on gas - a lesson that would be learned later). But the courses were really starting to dry out, and lets be honest: you don't win anything on Saturday morning. But it was at least encouraging, especially considering how much time I knew I could get on the left side.


Saturday Afternoon Runs

Thanks to the morning delay and the manual starts, our afternoon runs began sometime in the 6:30-7pm timeframe with a setting sun placing the shadows of the stadium halfway across the right side course. But hey, at least we didn't drive with our headlights on as some others did with the last car finishing around 8:45pm or so. What a long day, along with a disastrous afternoon.

Sitting in 2nd after the morning session, I felt comfortable and confident that I could compete with Corey, Mike, and Jake for that top spot. Time to go out and get it done. But my laziness was going to come out to bite me. After Jake had fuel starve issues, I looked at my gas gauge and thought, "Should I get gas? Nah, I'll be alright. The light's not on and I have about an 1/8th tank of gas. I've run before with no issues, I'll be fine." Why can I not heed a warning? I go out for my first run on the right side, pushing the car hard, and then making the left to come down the hill I push the gas, but with no oomph behind it. Luckily, it was only for a second and the power came right back, finishing the right side with a 30.248 - which unfortunately would be my fastest right side time.

Now that I was a little worried about fuel starve, I stopped thinking about the course and what I needed to do. I try shifting into 3rd gear going up the hill after the start, which gains some additional speed. The problem is that I didn't shift back into 2nd when I needed to, the car bogged getting back on the gas, downshift to 2nd, build up too much speed through the "slalom", and then proceed to push WAY out towards the wall and run right into a cone. So being that this is a Pro, I wanted to save the tires for my next two runs and gave up on this one.

Second run on the right side was a disaster thanks to fuel starve - only on hard left hand turns as I came to find out. Fuel starve making the left after the uphill run, after making the left to come down the hill, and making the high speed left into the crossover. Still finished with a 30.692 despite the fuel starve, but still not faster and now it was REALLY in my head. And it showed on my second left hand run. I left it in 2nd going up the hill so I wouldn't screw up the downshift, managed to make the turn going down the hill, but alas didn't look ahead enough. I was driving the left side line similar to how you needed to drive the right side, but that doesn't work. Turned in to the crossover and there was no chute to drive through...only a wall of cones - clunk, clunk - there's two more cones. And after that, I gave up the run...although if I had been thinking, I could have just drove through the rest of the course, perhaps knock over a couple more cones, and lay down a really fast RAW time. But I'm sure the course workers wouldn't have been too happy about that. My left side was done and I was sitting on an already slow left side run from the morning...not good. And of course now I was excessively pissed, my video recorded a few choice words and perhaps a thrown helmet somewhere in there.

I seem to remember writing something about this sport being extremely mental - I lost sight of that Saturday afternoon. Now that I was sitting in 7th place, I needed to focus more and get it done on Sunday. Assuming it would be dry, it would be a make or break day for everyone.


Sunday Morning Runs

After driving home on Saturday night after a long day, I watched over the video of my morning runs trying to see where I could gain time. Unfortunately for the left side I only had my morning runs to watch and get it in my head to drive the left side crossover much differently than I had the right. I even walked that section of the course around 5-6 times to get it into my head. On the right side, I knew I needed to shift into 3rd coming through the crossover...it was just too fast to leave it in 2nd. I knew I should shift to 3rd on the left side going up the hill, but I needed a halfway decent time - didn't want to worry about screwing up the shift. I had a game plan, time to execute.

Knowing I had a fairly decent right side time, I wasn't as worried about it, but I knew I could pick up a few tenths. I go up the hill, bang the limiter in 2nd, come through the slalom, down the hill, shift to 3rd, and I've got some good speed. Got a pretty clean down shift making the right towards to finish, but in my excitement at how well the run was going, I turned in too early for the finish and almost immediately after getting turned in realized I was going to destroy the finish cone. I get completely off the gas and barely miss them and finish with a 30.387, about a tenth off of the previous day. With a decent finish on that side, a 30.0/29.9 was possible and right there with the top guys.

On the left side, I NEEDED a halfway decent run, something to sit on that wasn't a 34.1 and that would put me in the ballpark so that I could go all out on my last run. As planned, I left it in 2nd going up the hill, but it was safe. Coming down towards the chute, I was looking ahead and waiting patiently to see it open up. I get back on the gas, make the left coming down the hill (not as tight as I should have been), and come flying down to the finish banging the limiter. As this was my first time driving this section in the dry, I wasn't completely aware of how fast it was. Next time, 3rd gear at the finish. But despite the lack of shifting, I got a clean, decent run on the left (finally) with a 32.770.

After that decent left side run, I was now sitting in the 4th and final trophy spot, but still a decent amount of the leaders. It was go fast time. Except that this is where it gets really mental, those final runs, and where I made some critical decision making mistakes. For my final right side run, I decided to hit 3rd going up the hill, and consequently broke way too hard and got back into 2nd late. The rest of the run was decent, but the time wasn't there after that mistake - a 30.332. Should have left it in 2nd and I knew it, but was hoping that it would allow me to pick up time, but to no avail.

Final run on the left side, and after the right side 3rd gear shifting debacle, I decide not to shift into 3rd going up the hill. But the reality was that you needed to do it on the left side, while the right side didn't really give you anything. Another mental breakdown. But despite that, the run was going decently, hit the chute quickly, but unfortunately broke too late and pushed out too wide for the left hander going towards the finish and lost time. I did manage to shift into 3rd coming down the hill and gaining some speed, netting me a time of 32.731 - my fastest left hand side, but no where near the 32.0xx times the top guys were running on the left. For whatever reason, I just couldn't get it down. But fortunately for me, Cy couldn't get the left side right either. With a 30.046 on the right side, a run of 32.8xx would put him in the final trophy spot. Luckily he couldn't pull it out, keeping me in the final 4th trophy spot for the weekend!


Final Thoughts/Results

Results: 4th and final trophy spot in STU, 39th of 227 in Pro Index, and 30th of 227 in PAX index. As last weekend, I'm happy with where I finished for the weekend, happy that was able to pull out what I needed for that placing when I needed to, but still dissappointed that I wasn't as fast as I should have been. The STU battle was something fierce, with Corey beating Jake by 0.001s!!! And to add to that, Mike Neary was 0.026s behind Jake. Wow, what a battle between those guys. I just wish I could have driven a little better so that I could have been in the mix. But those guys drove fast when they needed to with minimal mistakes, while I just couldn't put it all together in a single run as needed. I finished 0.877 seconds out of Corey's first place time, knowing I easily left a few tenths on both sides that I should have been able to pick up. Would have been nice to have been a few tenths out of the lead rather than nearly a second, but that's what happens when you don't get it done.

I have again learned a lot, especially spending the weekend hanging out with and talking to some of the best drivers in the country. There's still a ways to go and plenty to learn, but I feel as if I'm getting in the ballpark. I'm very happy with my first trophy positions at a Tour and Pro, but I also don't want to rest on those accomplishments. Here's to more practice, awareness, and improvement in the future...definitely could use a couple of Evo schools.

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Old 08-12-09, 06:16 AM   #74
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

WDCR Event #3 at Fed Ex Field on July 12, 2009

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Not really sure I should even post this, but here it goes. I have to say that I just wasn't that into it on this particular Sunday. After the 3 week break, a long weekend including a driving trip to Kentucky, being out all day and running in the last heat, I was in one of those "whatever" kind of moods. I also need to get my video camera fixed or get a new one. Watching my runs helps keep me focused and figure out where I suck. But anyways.

First run went fairly well, except I left it in 2nd gear for the entire run just to see how bad it would be...3rd would definitely be needed. I hit the only cone you could hit before going into the 180 at the top right of the hill. I could have missed it, but figured I would push it and see if I could squeak by it since it was only the first run, but hit it and managed a 53.119 +1.
Second run I tried 3rd gear after the showcase, which worked well, but I just pushed too hard and pushed pretty wide right before the last cone in that the sort of a slalom section. Then I left it in 2nd for the rest of the run, finding out that I needed 3rd coming down the hill through the gates...that was actually much faster than I expected. I have no idea where I hit a cone, but oh well...a 53.045 +1. I still have two more.

On my 3rd run I took Myles from Racecomp for a ride. He's not exactly a small man, and while I'm sure it made a difference to how the car handled to a certain extent, I still should have driven better. Coming down into the showcase turn the car got a little unexpectedly squirrely. Then I just overdrove the 180's. Again, I don't know where the cone on this run came from, and finished with a 53.356 +1.

Now on my last run, I was finally focused, knew what I wanted to do, and was ready to knock out a solid run and take this thing. Then coming up the hill after the showcase I shifted to third and the car bogged...I had found 5th instead. So I quickly shifted back to 3rd, got out of whack, somehow managed to stay on course, then downshift back down to 2nd for the right hander to finish going up the hill. At this point I figured my run was done and I thought I had hit a cone somewhere. But after that whole section, I drove the downhill and the 180's exactly the way I wanted. Knowing I had to make up time for my screwup, and assuming I had already hit a cone through that bad shift, I pushed really hard into the finish and nailed two cones. It was only afterwards that I found out the run was clean up to that point, finishing that one with a 53.131 +2. That run was really frustrating though because I know without the bad shift throwing me off that I could have been in the mid-52's and taken the win. But alas, no clean runs put me in 7th place in STU and 69th in PAX of 233 (right behind John in 68th ). But at least we get to drop two events, so it will just put more pressure on me to not suck in the future, if I can step it up.

Looks like three more events to go and then Nationals. I really need to get a video camera soon and I'm also looking to get the car corner balanced and aligned again. I think I'm going to increase the front camber from -3.2 to -3.5 to try and get a little bit more bite out of the front. We'll see how it goes.

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Old 08-12-09, 06:17 AM   #75
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

WDCR Event #4 at Fed Ex Field on August 2nd, 2009

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At this event, I was on the verge of utter frustration and disappointment. After coning all 4 runs last event (with three of those runs capable of winning the class), and then a bad start at this event, I was about ready to give up.

The course was fantastic and fast, but for the morning heats we were left driving in the wet. The morning also included an hour+ stoppage due to lightning, including a strike that hit in the adjacent parking lot. Not a good start to the day. And because of the stoppage, we were down to only 3 runs...good practice for Nationals at least.

To add more to the event, apparently Neary has been running on a bad alignment all year, with not nearly enough negative camber in the front and bad toe. All that was fixed for this event and it seemed to show after only the first run.

On my first run I was just trying to figure out how much grip was out there and get comfortable with the course...and not hit cones. I thought I was way off of everything, but apparently hit something at station 1 somehow. Time was a 57.221, but it wouldn't matter since Neary pulled out a 55.519 +1. After I spoke with him we (well, him mostly) determined that there was quite a bit of grip out there and we just needed to push it harder. With a nearly two second lead after first runs, I would say he was right.

Second run I just went for it. I needed to really drop some time. The whole run felt great, and then I got to the "Luster Slalom" (thus named due to it's proximity to the wall and my near encounter with ButtDyno's car last year) and managed to nick the second slalom cone. Couldn't have been by much, I didn't really hear anything. Finished with a 55.287 and only 0.3s behind Neary's second run of 54.921. Right in the ballpark, but there was only one problem...I had one run to go and it needed to be clean.

I knew there was still time to be had out there, but I couldn't really go for it since I didn't have a clean run to rest on. After coning out at the last event, I needed to focus on season points, so I played it safe. I knew that with the wet, the M3 guys were still a ways back, so all I needed was a decent clean run that didn't need to be super fast. The last run though went really well, the car felt great, and I felt like I was hitting all my marks. And then with a clean run going up until the "Luster Slalom" right before the finish, I backed off the speed and got really far off the cones to make sure I got that clean one in. Finished with a 55.777, about 0.5s slower than my second run, but clean and good enough for 2nd. And with Mike knowing that he had it in the bag, he was able to go all out and push for it, finishing with a 54.684, putting me about 1.1s back. Ouch...well, I was close at one point at least.

I feel like that final run was faster than my second run up until the slalom, but I wasn't going to take any chances on coning away a decent finish again. I wish I had some MaxQ to confirm it though. While it was disappointing to lose to Mike by so much, I was at least right there in the hunt until I had to back off.

Note to self: get a good clean one in early.

For the D.C. WDCR season, I'm currently sitting in 2nd place, roughly 3 points behind Mike (including 2 drops). Looking at the rest of the season, I need to win out the rest of the season (3 events) to win. Mike won't be attending the event this weekend, so I've got a good shot for that one, then we'll see what happens for the remainder of the season.

I didn't hit this cone at least...it was the next one in the slalom.

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Old 08-24-09, 09:16 AM   #76
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (6/2 Update)

WDCR Event #5 at Fed Ex Field on August 16th, 2009

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With Neary not able to make this event, this was a chance for me to hopefully steal away some first place points for the season championship. With drops, I'm currently 6 points back and need to win out the next three events (including this one) to win straight up. A bad finish for this event, and the best I can do is tie if I win the following two events. But with my current coning streak, anything is possible.

The course was interesting, with some real tight stuff followed by some fast sections, so another chance to play with 3rd gear I was sure. There was also this really weird "V" shaped, cone lined box that was quite different as well.

Because FS has a nearly identical PAX to STU (.833 vs. .836), I like to use Strano's times as an indicator of where I "should" be, especially with Neary not here for comparison. Sam had run a 43.433 during the morning heat and I was sure he was pretty high in PAX...I mean, it's Sam, so of course it was. That would be my target.

On my first run, Shane (my co-driving nemesis) wanted to come along for a ride. For this run I decided to leave it in 2nd for the entire run and see if I really needed to shift to 3rd. The run went pretty well, an exploratory run to see what I could get away with in spots and get familiar with the course. As I was going through the "V", I noticed two course workers who had just placed a couple of cones down and we're starting to run away. I knew I could safely make it, so I just kept going, but I should have stopped. That re-run wouldn't hurt, but since it was first run and I could do it safely (although close), I just kept going. In the fast section I was banging all over the limiter, so next time I would definitely use 3rd. But after that fast section, I apparently nicked a cone coming up the hill to the finish on a 44.472 +1 run. Only a second off of Sam on first run, I can drop it down. Three more to go.

So on my second run, I went all out and really pushed the car. With the first run down, I felt pretty comfortable with the course. Shifting to third worked out really well and I carried quite a bit of speed through there, nearly missing my braking zone. Fly up through the finish and after it was over I got that feeling you get when you know you drove a good run. Everything on that run just felt good. Oh yeah, except for that few inches I was off turning in early on the next to last cone. WTF? Seriously? I check the car, no marks. I heard nothing. I had to have literally run over the base of the cone, it couldn't have been by much. The run was a 43.556 +1, only a tenth off of Sam's time. Just clean up that one spot by a few inches and I'm set. I can do this.

Third run, goes just as well as the second run. Everything feels good. Coming towards the finish, I know I need to just miss that cone I hit on the second run. I slow down a little bit more...and because of the slightly slower speed, I turn in a little too early (again) and this time hit the cone with the sideskirt. This run was a 43.615 +1, a run that was apparently faster than the second run up to the point of the finish area.

So again, here I stand getting ready to run my final run without a clean one to rest on. Any one of those three would be fast enough for the STU win. Knowing I need a clean run, but having about 1.2s in hand to 2nd, I just need to be a little careful and I can get a decent time that will win. But unfortunately that careful attitude doesn't translate to fast. I was WAY too careful, finishing with a 45.350 clean, but 1.8s slower than my fastest run and a time that put me in 2nd in STU and 38th in PAX. Had one of those previous two runs been clean, I would have been 9th in PAX. WTF.

So lesson of the day, leave it all out there on course. I would have rather coned out than finish with that crap. Don't ***** foot it, do your best, and if you cone out then you cone out, but at least you know you gave it your all.

One more event at Warminster with Philly Region and then Nationals.

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Old 08-24-09, 08:22 PM   #77
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (8/24 Update)

Its great reading through your posts. Im cheering for you. GOod luck!
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Old 08-25-09, 04:39 AM   #78
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (8/24 Update)

Thanks! Nationals is going to be tough, but the potential is there. The real question is whether or not I'm going to choke.
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Old 08-26-09, 01:23 PM   #79
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (8/24 Update)

Went to Agile Auto today to get some prep work done on the car before Nationals: brake fluid change, manual transmission/rear diff oil change, engine oil change (since I had it on the lift), and corner balancing.

At the last D.C. event, I put the car on the scales and it weighed in at 3,187lbs. with a little over 3/4 tank of gas. When we put the car on the corner balance scales with a little over 1/4 tank of gas, taking out all floor mats, and taking all the water out of the I/C sprayer, the car lost nearly 40lbs down to 3,148lbs. Not the best, but not too bad.

Initial corner weights before we started playing with it were as follows:

FL - 990 | FR - 984
RL - 724 | RR - 630
Cross weight of 48.7% LF/RR
Total Weight (with my fat arse) 3,328lbs

So then with two tries and two turns up on the RR coilover, the final cross weights ended up at:

FL - 1,012 | FR - 964
RL - 701 | RR - 652
Cross weight of 50.0% LF/RR
Total Weight (with my fat arse) 3,328lbs

Front/Rear weight bias of 59.6%/40.4%

I think that should work out just about right.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:49 AM   #80
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (8/24 Update)

Couple of outside videos of my buddy driving the car yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjG57tktlX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8EeGLRoXk4
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