First Podium Finish

Last weekend I had a race at Eagles Canyon Raceway, with NASA. I got my car prepped and ready for the event. With new Advan tires, I was excited to try them out. I arrived on a Friday afternoon in anticipation for the 2 day races. With camp set up, and after eating out the friends, I called it a night.

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The next day, I woke to sound of cars running and I knew I had to get ready. Practice felt great with the car newfound grip. For my car, 32psi hot is the sweet spot for grip. Then in qualifying, I managed to get 4th place for grid. I was surprised becuase the last two race events I placed last or 2nd to last. So it was nice feeling to place mid grid.

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Race 1 I had some great wheel to wheel action. I had a close battle for 3rd place with 2 other drivers, all while 60 plus cars entry with 6 different classes. Two other drivers and I where switching positions, trying to get the 3rd place finish. I ended up passing the 3 place car on the last corner! I saw the checkered flag and was ecstatic. Here is the video:

Race 2 you grid where you placed on the last race. Since I got 3rd I want to keep that position hopefully. And I wanted to prove to myself the 3rd place win wasn’t just luck. I knew I had to keep my position or hopefully gain position in this race. It was anther great battle for 3rd place. I wasnt able to close the gap with the 2nd place car. But then the full course yellow happened and I used it to my advantage. With full course yellow, you can not pass anyone regardless of classing. Naturally the faster cars from the another class caught up to me while I was trying to chase the 2nd place car. Well the Spec Miata that caught to me was on my bumper and one corner he passed me. I didn’t really get mad since its from a different class. But the Spec Miata driver had contact with the 2nd place car in my class. Thankfully the incident wasn’t too bad but I can the 2nd driver was mad. We caught to the train of Spec Miatas in the full course yellow. Eventually the full course yellow became a waving green flag on the start finish line. It was back to racing! I tried to stay on the tail of the 2nd place car but I just couldn’t close the gap. Eventually the 4th place car was starting to catch up to me. I was getting worried. Then on top of that a spec miata caught up to our battle. I wanted to give the Spec Miata a pass but learning from past mistakes. The 4th place car will use the draft from the Spec Miata to pass me. I didn’t know what to do. Should let the Spec Miata pass or not? Well I ended just driving hard and if the Spec Miata wanted to pass me they will pass around my racing line. It wasnt going to be easy. Then on the last corner I carried a bit too much speed and did a tiny drift. The mistake allowed the spec miata to pass me on corner exit but I was still carrying enough speed that the 4th place could pass on checkered. Man sooo intense.

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After race 2, you have the award ceremony. Heard my name called, and got my 3rd place trophy! I was sooo happy, I couldn’t stop smiling. My first podium finish! Of course I drank hard and had some delicious tacos with the homies. It was great, and looking forward for tomorrow. I hope I could use the momentum to get another podium finish.

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Day 2 I woke up late, and bit hungover. I missed my early morning practice, but wasnt too worried. The car fit great and I didn’t feel like I needed to make changes.

On my qualifying session, everything was great till mid session. Coming out turn 5 I heard a bang then metal clanking. Immediately turn off the car and went off track to avoid spilling possible fluids on track. Here is the video moments before the big bang:

No warings, just went. The qualifying session ended and safety crew was able scoop me up with a flatbed tow. Props to the safety and corner workers. Without them, we would be able to have track event. So thank you.

The safety crew unload the car back into the paddock. I inspect the damage. I though it was the tranny since the oil drip on the flat bed smelled like gear oil. I jack up the car expecting to see a hole in the tranny. Turns out the tranny and driveshaft is fine. I noticed oil dripping on the front driver wheel. I popped the hood and see hole in the block.

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The motor blew and from the damage its probably a oil issue. I might oil starved, or oil pump failure. I could also be the con rod bolts failed. The motor did live its rebuilt life on track with 16 track events and 3 drift days. Plus it gave me a podium finish before it let go. Thats racing for ya.

My plan is to pull the motor, tear down, and see what might have failed. I have a spare motor that I will rebuild and hopefully make it last longer the 1.5yrs of tracking. I will be documenting the build process.

Since I’ll be using my spare motor, its time to find more 4age motors as spares. Thankfully the track and 4age community are supportive. I was about find some potential motors I might be picking up. With racing, it always good to carry spares.

My next race is in June at Hallet. By some chance the 86 wont be ready, I’ll do Spec Miata and borrow my friend’s spare car. I love racing and track days soo much, its hard not to stop. Just have to pick yourself back up and come out better.

Thanks for reading and hopefully see y’all at the track too!

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