Flowers!? In a racing post? Hey, else what would you expect from a guy with a Ph.D. in botany??
The irises are blooming and the trees are in full leaf in Wisconsin. Must be time to go racin’!
We left AZ and arrived back “home” (I’m getting confused where that is) about a month ago and have been in the race prep mode almost every day since. We made the decision to not push it by trying to be ready for Spring Vintage at Road America this year, which was a smart move; I went down to the track to do some business and they were under a fog delay. You gotta love Wisconsin spring.
Ready to go. Flyin’ the flag.
So today was load-up for our trip northeast to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park east of Toronto for VARAC’s Vintage Grand Prix and the Volvo Nationals 2019.
Have a new motor on the stand. Originally I had intended to get it in for this race but despite all the parts being at Competition Specialists Racing Engines last fall, the lawmaker Murphy interceded.
The racer’s preferred Volvo B20 block is relative rare, having been used for only about a year in the late 1974 Volvo 144s and 1975 240s. These had main bearing caps that were more stout than those used in the 1968-73 B20s, and they have an 8-bolt crankshaft — the flywheel is attached with 8 bolts rather than 6. Over the course of the winter I did a group buy from Tinus Tuning in the Netherlands of new, lightweight racing flywheels, including an 8 bolt for my new motor. In 2012 I had purchased one of these more rare blocks and stuffed it under the bench for the day when I needed a new engine. And that went to Competition Specialists last October. It got bored and prepped for all sorts of new internal goodies, but at one of the last steps, line boring for the crankshaft, it was discovered that the main bearing caps were apparently from some other engine, i.e. the bearing-to-block match necessary was not there. So we had to start all over with a different block.
The guys at Competition Specialists did a great job but even at that the new motor arrived just a couple days ago, and I would have been running a brand new power plant that had zero testing time on it. I made the decision to stick with the one that is in the car, so I am going to the Volvo Nationals 2019 race with what I consider a backup motor. It ran well after I threw the rod at the ELVF last September. Hopefully it will carry me for this race.
Lying in wait
Pretty, huh? Now to get some ARP bolts to hold it in place …
Competition Specialists fashioned a new timing marker too.
On the other end of the car, I decided I wanted a backup 4.56 limited slip rear axle. Last fall I bought a Yukon Gear ring and pinion set. Dave and I spent maybe 12 hours at this . Lots of fiddling around. We start with an “open” carrier, then replace the spider gears with a spring and block arrangement that turns it into a limited slip (or positraction, as you may know it). Dave has done the ring and pinion setup before but I am just learning. It’s complicated, lots of measuring and placing of shims. I have watched countless You Tubes.
Lots of messing around here
One other change also has been made — Ed Madak at 123ignition USA converted my distributor to a Tune+ model. I will be able to watch and change the advance with my cell phone.
Screenshot of my smartphone. Should be able to watch advance in real time.
Advance curve. Rev limiter set at 7400 rpm
We’ll be gone about 9 days. The worst part of it is being separated from Doppler that long. I know that’s a little ridiculous but he’s really important to me on a daily basis. We’re going back to PA to stay with the Farringtons to their new home, and then stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Already have the Volvo Nationals 2020 planned for Portland International Raceway in Oregon.
We had a new 1800 as part of the Swedish Pavilion – Ramiro Malgioglio
All of that took place in 2018, but we missed it. All of it. Not that we were not at Road America (part of the time).
VSCDA’s VP Jim Donato was busy early laying the field
Just like in college, the weekend began Thursday noon. Paddock space choices for the Swedish Pavilion dictated that someone be there to guard the fort that Road America event chairs Mike and Deb Korneli had set up for us. Thursday night was filled with fun and conviviality at Alex and Liz Rorke’s VSCDA 40th Anniversary celebration at the Elkhart Lake Garton Overflow. We spent most of the time protected from mosquitoes in the screened boat house ,getting to know Scott and Cyndi Paisley.
“Garton Overflow” on Elkhart Lake was the site of the Thursday Rorke Party
Pretty idyllic setting for conversation and relaxing before the fray begins.
1 Red went out for Friday practices and hummed along just beautifully. The first practice was devoted to bedding brand new Carbotech ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) brake pads and new rotors. Wow, this is going to be grrrreat!
Then came Qualifying. Because the Group 2/3D grid consisted of 87 cars, including 47 Spridgets celebrating their 60th anniversary (driven by a few drivers who might be old enough to have seen them new), I was out in the grid right as the previous group took to the track. Even had enough relaxed time for a few publicity photos out of the car.
My new publicity shot. Gonna have to fend off the girls for sure. As you can see Suzanne Farrington (grey shirt) is ready to jump the fence! 🙂 (David Farrington photo)
Despite my early arrival to the grid there were a couple little cars in front of me. They apparently had the same idea as did I. While Practice session have their entry lap under yellow, the track is green as soon as one leaves the pits. I stayed right of the blend line through Turn 1 but as soon as I was out I put the hammer down and left my forerunners to deal with each other. Clear sailing around the track, but still, the tires are cold, so the first circuit is not a push lap and the time is not going to be useful anyway.
As I came out of the Kink it occurred to me that with these many cars the possibility existed that some might just be leaving the grid when I came around but coming under the Start-Finish line it was apparent things had cleared out. Yessuh!
Nice setup through Turns 1 and 3, headed for the Sargento Bridge. 6000 rpm. Typically, the motor spins up effortlessly to 7000. But not now. Into 5th gear, and nothing more. I glanced at the EGTs — they were a little higher than normal but still not anywhere close to dangerous. Eyes shifted right just in time to see oil temperature go up. Houston, we have a problem. So, I stuck my arm out the window to signal I was going off at Turn 5 and stuck the clutch in. We rolled through the jersey barrier chicane and the motor died. I pointed to the waiting tow truck and rolled to a stop. As he started moving, I tried the starter and knew things were not good; the motor would not turn.
Back under the canopy we put the 13/16ths on the crank bolt and knew we were done for the day. A confab with the crew took place, followed by a call to Dave Buettner who was still in his PJs at home thinking about coming down for the Gather on the Green. How crazy are we? Pretty crazy.
The car got loaded up and by 11:30 we were back in the P and B shop undoing bolts to do a swap. I had two motors in wait. I was hopeful that we could get back for the 7:30 VSCDA banquet. Folly. I saw out of the corner of my eye somewhere around 5 p.m. that Joy came out to the shop with her “banquet attire” on, and knew that was wishful thinking. At 10:20 p,m., after 10.5 hours of uninterrupted work by Buettner, Farrington and Perry we had a new running motor in place.
One might logically wonder what would take 10.5 hours to change a motor. Reasonable. 1 Red is loaded with safety wire. E.g., the flywheel bolts have safety wire. The transmission shift bracket has safety wire. The flywheel cover. The motor mounts. The alternator bracket. The water pump pulley. The throttle linkage. So far, we have never left any parts on the track as a result. Nor have we oiled the track because the drain plug is wired in. Cutting, removing and eventually replacing that adds about 30% to the timeline.
I was up at 4 a.m. and back out in the shop an hour or so later finishing the last-minute details. By 9 we were loaded up and headed back to Road America, to be greeted by lots of big smiles as we pulled into the Swedish Pavilion.
Knowing the car was faster than many of the other Group 2 cars I went to Timing and Scoring to see if they wanted to move me from last to somewhat higher on the grid. Nope. Fine by me, but sometimes race officials feel it is less safe and do it.
The 11 a.m. Sheldon Cup, one of three “Cup Races” with cars slotted on expected lap time was a dandy. Motor B hummed just like it was meant to be. I got to do a lot of passing. I think Dave Buettner’s comment when I texted him with the results is an all-time classic. “Shit. Now you will think [the 10.5-hour swap] was worth it.”
Lea Peot had a tryout for Team Umbrella Girl – Hired! (Phil Koller photo)
The Group 2/3D Feature Race was equally rewarding. Remember, this was late on Sunday. The potential 87 car grid had shrunken to only 38. Starting in the rear of the field, at the end of the 6-lap race I had moved to 9th. The 6-8th place cars had slower lap times than did I … if only that race would have been a bit longer! (Of course, there was no hope of catching up with Colin Comer is his ’58 Sprite. Check for the nitrous bottle, boys!?)
Usually I don’t post long videos, but this one is pretty fun to watch.
Now, back to some stills …
I was not the only one who had an issue over the weekend. Ray Friewald broke a ring gear. David Farrington was, ahem, “helping” diagnose the problem.
The P and B Motorsports team is all smiles at the end of the Group Race (Phil Koller photo)
Here are a few of the personalities of the weekend.
Austin Knapp came to cheer on his granduncle, Jeff Babcock, and decided to try out an 1800 for size. (David Farrington photo)
Great to see Cana Comer back behind the wheel. (David Farrington photo)
And Colin Comer brought his little car out for this event. Fast! (David Farrington photo)
Dad and daughter duo, Jeff and Jessica Johnk (David Farrington photo)
Tony Drews (David Farrington photo)
Not sure who they are, but they make the car look good! (David Farrington photo)
One more to go for the season. Assuming it’s not snowing, we’ll be at VSCDA’s Blackhawktoberfest October 13-14.
Getting around (finally again) to a report of our efforts on a new track, Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL. But first I want to diverge a little.
I decided we needed a backup tranny. My Sellholm M47000 dogbox has served us very well for five years. I change the fluid religiously (that’s as religious as I get), and each time the magnetic drain and fill plugs have done their job. Translated: there’s less metal on them thar gears than there was back in ’13.
Tranny drain plug, post race
By contrast …
I do a lot less crunching now than I used to, and I almost always use the clutch. I have never had enough guts to NOT use it on downshifts. My SCCA friend Rob Keller is a bit more accomplished than I, and his M47000 suffered a roller pin failure at the June Sprints.
One thing led to another after a conversation with Rob and I decided to order another M47000 from Sweden. Oh boy! Buying a transmission is one thing, importing the damn thing is another whole can of worms. And let me tell ya, guys and gals, the problem ain’t in the eastern side of the big pond.
I got a call from a number I did not recognize. Was driving to a Volvo meet and disregarded it. But unlike most of these unknown number, most wanting to buy long term care insurance (Hey, I’m only 69 going on 24, so what are you bothering me about??) this one left a voice message. And no, it was not a Nigerian prince who wanted to share his $25 million with me. Also noted an email.
Friday, Aug. 24 – FedEx: We need a commercial invoice for whatever you are getting form Sweden. Call us soon at blah, blah, blah.”
Pulled the car over and decided this one warranted followup. I called …
Me:” I don’t have an invoice.” FedEx: “You gotta have one to clear customs.” And how much was it?” Followed by vague comments that it might be sent back to Sweden.
Scrolling through my emails from my dumb phone after dinner and several beers in Milwaukee, I found something that looks like an invoice. Off it goes. Done.
Monday, Aug. 28, 4:54 p.m. , Email from FedEx “Missing Invoice.” (FedEx closes at 5 p.m.) Me: “I sent it Saturday night!” But then I had my laptop and started looking only to discover I had sent them an invoice from something totally wrong. Crap. You know I pride myself on thinking I had made an error once but found out I was mistaken.
Now I really need an invoice from Sellholm and there is none.
Sweden is 7 hours ahead of us. I sent an email. Figuring I better not let this to chance, I decided to call Sweden. Got a recorded message at Sellholm that was all Swedish. Hell, I had enough trouble figuring out the road signs in Gothenburg.
Called my Swedish pilot friend Jan Efverlund. Directly to voice mail. “Jan, I need to talk with you right away. Are you in the U.S. or Sweden?”
Knowing Jan turns off his U.S. phone when he’s home in Sweden, I turned to Facebook Messenger. I know Jan. He’s a Facebook fiend. “Jan, I need to talk with you right away.” Success, within a couple of minutes Jan was on-line asking how he could help And then bless his blonde Swedish soul he calls me.
“I need an invoice from Sellholm and I got a recorded message that says for all I know they have gone on holiday to the nude beach to watch the cows cool off in the heatwave (true story, I kid you not), have a nice day.
Pretty soon my dumbphone is dinging away on Messenger as Jan is on the phone talking turkey, er, Swedish with Sellholm and needs more info. Literally, while I was looking it up I got the invoice from Sellholm. Thank the Swedish gods or the Vikings of the Danes or whoever. The invoice is off to FedEx.
Tuesday, Aug. 29. Me: “Attached please find the correct invoice …” FedEx: “Please verify he Federal TAX number for clearance.” Me: “I don’t have one. I am an individual, not a business.” FedEx: “We need a Federal Tax Number or your SSN, (or you dog). Please fill out Form CBP 5106.”” Well, they sure as hell are not getting my dog, so they got 5106 and the number I am not supposed to divulge until I’m dead and a Norwegian immigrant needs it. FedEx: (new person): What type model of vehicle is the gearbox going on? We will need an HS7 Form completed.”
Now Form HS7 is one page with font the size of the cellular organelles I used to look at with an electron microscope. And it’s in perfect bureaucratic-ese. Included is a box for the VIN. The race car don’t have no frickin’ VIN! So, I calmly (?) explain this and check all boxes that apply. ME: “Please find attached Form HS7.” To which I get the automated message “I will be out of the office …”
Aug. 30- FedEx: “Only one box can be selected on the form.” Well, by god, why didn’t the damn form say that in the first place.”
Now as it turns out Rob Keller was coming up to my place to pick up a car. First thing he asked was if I had gotten my tranny. That set into motion an animated response. Rob: “Check Box 2A.”
Off to the computer and scanner and in a few minutes I had Box 2A checked. MAYBE, I will get my precious Swedish Sellholm M47000 either before my current one breaks, or I die, whichever comes first.
I should know better…
My precious new M47000
For a “country club” Autobahn is not exactly in the Garden of Eden
Autobahn was pretty tame by contrast to dealing with FedEx. This was a one-day event, so to make the most of it we signed up for both Vintage and F Production. That would give us a total of six track sessions in one day. And of course, it was as hot and humid as all get out. But it ended up great! We really should have been in D production but that would have been back-to-back with Vintage.
“Autobahn was conceived and designed to be a member’s club, following the traditional structure of a golf club,” said Mark Basso, who is club president. “It is designed for families, racers, nonracers, car enthusiasts, and motorcycle riders, et cetera.”
The track is divided into two circuits. We ran the longer, 2.1 mile, 15 turn south circuit, while the country club members had the north portion. Oh, if you wish to become a member, you’ll need to pony up $40,000 for the initiation fee and another $5K annually. Darn, too bad I don’t live a little closer. Not.
Here’ my in-car video and commentary from the Vintage Feature Race.
Always nice to be directed to the podium at the end of a race!
Now, as I post this I am final preparation for the Big One – VSCDA’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival at Road America!
The only person missing was Noah. As in, Noah of the Ark. There’s a rainy reason for the lush green of central Ohio. I just wish it would, for once, be a nice, sunny weekend when I was there. But while I’m grousing, I have to count the blessing of being in Group 3 run sessions, because, by contrast to just about every other one, we had the most dry track time.
Keith Price photos
SVRA hosted the Volvo Nationals 2018. The Volvo turnout was not overwhelming, due in part to significant weather problems that kept some home dealing with flood damage, some broken cars in mid-season, some broken tow vehicles, and maybe most significantly, lack of support from Volvo corporation. IPD, one of the U.S. suppliers of Volvo parts provided support (Thank you!) but for the most part we were on our own.
ipd provided the funding for these beautiful Tim McCarty-produced awards
And here’s the artist, Tim McCarty and his beautifuenl R Design C30. His car took its own award in the weekend’s car show.
SVRA, through the leadership of its CEO Tony Parella, bent over backwards to help us out. They offered the race weekend at a 50% discount, and all of the folks working the event were spectacular.
Back to the rant: Mid-Ohio needs to take a look at other major tracks and get their act together. Race cars should not need to drive on access roads that look like some post-apocalypse scene from a dystopian novel. I was interviewed by one of theSVRA people at the end of the weekend, asking my assessment, which was: great organization, great people, great track, terrible paddock and amenities.
In Wisconsin, we call them “Scottholes” after our Governor, who will give billions in tax incentives to Foxconn, but won’t repair the roads. In Ohio..?
And the “facilities” – well, they may have been pretty good in 1957.
This belongs in some antique shop. Instead of “Automatic” it should say “Wipe hands on pants.” (And obviously M-O has not heard of the Kohler Company, who insignia is seen my many males on a daily basis. i spare you a picture of the troughs.)
OK, I got that out of my system.
All the Volvo guys and gals got together at the Road House Friday night for dinner. It might be said we more or less commandeered a good portion of it.
Sam Moore was holding court. It’s great having David and Suzanne Farrington retired so Sue can be with us to take care of the needs of the P and B Race Engineer. Canadian Peter Lambrinos (white hat) looks like he is worried that ICE might catch up with him. 🙂
The waitresses were tolerant and friendly
Eric Leopold’s wife (cringe – I have forgotten her name) provided a great souvenir (Definitely Volvo Brick folks!)
Joy and I wore our “bowling shirts.”
Irrespective of the, ahem, facilities, the track at Mid-Ohio is a really great and technical course. Good flow, as they say. And we had some of the best racing ever, especially with fellow Volvo 1800 guy, Gary Jebsen. Gary and I certainly put on a show for the fans perched on the hillside of the Corkscrew.
Two pretty similar sports cars. Sam Moore had reeled us in, but he was a bit too late and the race ended before he got by us. (Mark Snelgrove photo)
Here’s the video from Feature Race 1 on Saturday. (10 min.)
Gary and I were very evenly matched in our group races and all-Volvo race, so we were like two cars attached with a tow rope. In the end – Gary 2, Jim 1.
And from the Volvo race … (Full race)
The weekend reunited many that were at the big 2016 Road America event. And it tells you something when a guy who races a 142 in California flies into the Great Middlearth just to be part of the fraternity:
Californian Mark Snelgrove, who provided photographic and video expertise. (David Farrington photo)
We were not without Midwest company and friends. Ray Friewald and his neighbor Dan came to support Alex Christopher and generally make it a good time.
Saturday dinner with the gang
Dan and books are like honey and bees
So Sunday was sun day. The combined Groups 1, 3, and 4 wrapped up the weekend with the final feature race. And in the final I finally … well watch! (Short)
Volvo Nationals 2018
Mid-Ohio let Kevin Price climb onto the bridge for this shot just as the sky was about to let loose. Again. (Kevin Price photo)
Group 3, Class DP (D Production)
Jim Perry – Larsen, WI (Mark Snelgrove photo)
Gary Jebsen – Leesburg, VA (Kevin Price photo)
Alex Christopher – Reno, NV (David Farrington photo)
Group 8, Class BS (Historic Production to 1972/B Sedan)
Rich Kushner – Marietta, PA (David Farrington photo)
Peter Lambrinos – Pickering, Ontario (Mark Snelgrove photo)
Jim Stem -Bethesda, MD (Kevin Price photo)
Todd Jongen – Lockport, IL (Mark Snelgrove photo)
Kevin Michael – Pennsylvania Furnace , PA [REALLY!] (David Farrington photo)
Group 8, Class DP (Historic Sports Car to 1972/D Production)
Dan Reynolds – Corbeil, Ontario (David Farrington photo) [Dan was put into Group 8 because of the considerable amount of fiberglass on his car.)
Group 12, Class MP1 (Select Sports Cars and Sedans/Modern Production 1973-83)
Sam Moore – Kannapolis, NC (David Farrington photo)
Group 12, Class GT3 (Select Sports Cars and Sedans/???)
Frank Marcum in Goran Nyberg’s car (Mark Snelgrove photo)
The pictures here are only a smattering of the really good stuff that came from David Farrington, Mark Snelgrove, and our “Official Volvo Nationals Photographer” Keith [Go to Waterford] Price. Maybe I will put some more good ones on Flickr …
Can never end without recognizing those who help make this all happen …
Spring Vintage at Road America is sort of like the opening of the baseball season in the upper Midwest – you never know if the weather is going to be naughty or nice, or if the players are still getting the cobwebs out. So when there are four straight days of May sun in Wisconsin I start getting pessimistic.
A sure sign of spring at Road America, white trillium in woods near Turn 5.
The weather gods must have had a good winter because they provided rain at night but a dry track and cool [fast] air during run times for SVRA’s Spring Vintage 2018.
The whole P and B Motorsports Crew came from their winter abodes to be part of the opener. The Perrys got back from Arizona just in time for me to do some minor prep work on 1 Red, Buettners followed a few days later from Florida, and newly retired and relocated Farringtons drove west from their new home near Scranton. Pennsylvania.
L to R: Pam Buettner, Dave Buettner, Jim Perry, Joy Perry, Suzanne Farrington, David Farrington. Missing: Phil Koller.
Road America Track Map at the Winner’s Circle. Large video displays really separates RA from all other tracks.
1 Red liked the weather and did well. During Friday’s Practice our lap times were surprisingly fast given that I was not pushing it. To comply with SVRA’s Group 3 requirements I had re-routed my air intake, and that seemed to work out well.
It was fun to see our old friends again and get back on the track. In the end, we made only four of the five sessions because after winning our class on Saturday afternoon, we decided the head gasket had finally said ‘see ya later’ and pulled the head only to find that the spare Cometic gasket we had with us had the wrong bore size and interfered with piston travel. Fortunately, we discovered this by carefully hand-cranking the motor, and not using the starter! When the crankshaft stops turning, there has to be a reason.
Dave B pondering an overheating issue
The racing was good, with only a few sweat-on-the- butt moments. The video shows some of the more interesting things. Race Engineer Farrington got the integration to work well!
Americans have become picture book readers, so let’s just show video pictures with some interesting captions.
This is a match-up I just cannot win. This Porsche 356 is driven by 85 YO George Balbach Sr.
Great to see Jessica Johnk in her BMW convertible. This car is confused with all sorts of things. (David Farrington trackside photo)
Robbie Gurolnick in the family 356. (David Farrington trackside photo)
David Farrington caught our good Austin Healey friend ,Bob Wagner, coming out of Turn 6.
But for “Dr. BMW Dave Buettner” there was an interesting story of a Group 10 M6. Seems Andrew Meudt was looking for an inexpensive car to run in the vintage circuits and a car was located in pretty tough condition in a Florida storage building. Purchase price — $8K. When Meudt started putting the car together all of the ‘should fit’ parts just did not. Corporate BMW got involved and Muedt learned that he had a major find – It was a former Group 2 BMW factory racer. The 4 liter S38 engine is believed to be only survivor. Normal S38s are 3.4 or 3.6 liter variety. The 4 liter version was never used in a production car and uses a fully machined billet crankshaft, making it a very special item. The brakes were also special items not seen on production cars, called Nurburgjng brakes, developed for use on this car. Reportedly this M6 is being sought by auction houses seeking to make a commission, as the estimated value of this now restored car is …well, let’s just say Muedt made one hell of an investment!
Gathering of the team at the Buettner motor home after the day’s racing was done.
Now on to Ohio for SVRA’s Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio and the Volvo Nationals!
It’s been a awhile since our last update, but rest assured we have not only been sitting around eating bonbons and reading the newspaper. Lots has happened since the last post, all good. So consider this my Spring Letter to you all.
The Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival took place in mid-September. 1 Red ran as flawlessly as it had all season. I started 15th and ended up 8th overall, but only 3rd in class behind Bob Wagner and Scott Fohrman.
We had the 6th Annual P and B Motorsports Garage Party in early October. It was a perfect day with a record turnout of cars, including a lot of Volvos, a lot of BMWs, and some pretty fancy other stuff too.
An opportunity to clean up the shop! Garage Party and Car Show 2017 (Nice shirt, Pam Buettner )
In honor of the movie night, we even had a McLaren.
You’ll find a new pick off the website home page — ‘”Current Projects” showing, well, current projects, and new pictures on the Street Cars portion of the website.
One current project among many
You may know that the B part of P and B Motorsports is Dave Buettner. Dave has owned more cars than anyone I know, a lot of them BMWs. [Buettner – German – makes sense.] He likes short, fast runs (drag strips) and bought a ’63 Dodge Max Wedge during the 2017-18 winter. The car has a lot of provenance and is now undergoing restoration. In fact, at the present it is spending the winter in our paint booth awaiting Dave’s spring return from Florida. He also bought a car that requires turning the steering wheel, a pretty special 325i. I’m trying to talk him into using it for what it’s designed for — wheel-to-wheel racing, road course, but I am not optimistic.
Dave’s 325i . Do we need new trailer graphics now?
In December, we co-hosted the 7th Annual (is there a pattern here?) Fox Valley Gearheads Movie Night. Almost 100 came to UW Fox Valley to have some great beer (or soda or wine), tell stories during the social hour, and then watch the big screen documentary McLaren.
If you were not at any of these events, well, you should have been.
Our 2018 Race Schedule has now been drafted. That’s found under [guess what?] on the website. I look forward to all of them, but some more than others. Notable will be our return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June for the Volvo Nationals, this year hosted by SVRA. Lots of time at Road America for the VSCDA “Big One,” the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival in September. And I probably will serve as a backup Enduro driver for Scott Barr as he takes his Spec Ford Racer on Midwest Council’s endurance series.
I’m looking forward to trying out some new technology. I like to be able to communicate with the team while I am in the car. In the past I tried the conventional radio system and found it lacking. Those things are fine for roundy-round racing, but they lose signal on big road courses. Thinking that the big box wired into the car was old school technology I started investigating. There is a free app called Zello that allows cell phones to be used as walkie talkies. I have partnered with Lake Forest Hearing to be the beta tester (actually they tell me I am the first in the U.S to have this) for Bluetooth ear buds that link to my cell phone. I have a PTT (“Push to Talk”) button for my cell phone that will install on the steering wheel. So we’ll see how this all works out. Joy can now yell FASTER FASTER at me instead of looking like a windmill at the edge of the track.
Bluetooth earbuds. Now maybe I can hear Joy scream “FASTER! FASTER!”
Joy and I are planning a trip with the President of the Great Lakes Chapter, Volvo Club of America, David Irvine and spouse Joyce to the Mother County (Sweden) in late July. Need to see Volvo museum! Maybe go to Genuine Classic Parts. Probably VP Autoparts. Sellholm AB? Oh, maybe there is something else to do there as well. We’ll see. 🙂
David and Joyce Irvine on the left. The silver-haired guy on the right was just squinting. He’s not really as old looking in life.
And remember the opening picture of the “Spriggs ES” getting some attention? It joined us in Arizona for the winter. Winter? Is it winter? Geez, it was 75 most of January, and now it’s 90 at I sit in the AC in AZ. (Scott Barr posted pre-season pictures from WI. What’s all that white stuff in April????)
The “Spriggs ES” in sunny Arizona
Final thought: Thank you to K & N Filters for joining the P and B Motorsports supporters for 2018!
If you read the “Tools” article in SEES, the Volvo Sports America magazine, here is your opportunity to win that coveted P and B Motorsports regalia. First correct response sent to my email address wins!
To start – why did it take a month to get this to you? Answer” Too many board meeting, too many projects, like R/R the engine on one of my street cars, cleaning and painting the engine. Better late than never.
This beast has occupied my time. It’s tough being picky about what your engine compartment looks like.
Oh, and be sure to at least go to the end of the post to see the other reason!
The good – better lap times than in 2017, 2nd in class in Group D Feature Race, friends, Paddock Crawl, cousins Rob and Theresa Sisson visit
The bad – rain for Friday’s practice, Sunday afternoon sessions messed up due to an Alpha that ended up straddling a guard rail Sunday morning
It was about as slick as it looks!
The ugly — an Alpha that ended up straddling a guard rail, a bump and spin that means body work on 1 Red
The car count was down a bit compared to 2017, and as a result Race Group D consisted of 2 liter Group 2, Group 8 and Group G70 cars running together. Watch your mirrors boys and girls. The bright blue Mustang and high wing Porsche 911 made me look mighty slow, even if I was faster this year than last.
The Volvo Pavilion was populated by four 1800s. Three of us had a pretty decent weekend. Tim Detwiler struggled throughout the event with a miss that remains a mystery. Actually, it was great seeing Alex Christopher have good runs. He popped a fuel injection port plug during one session but the P and B Motorsports Parts Department was on site; overall his 92 White ran well.
Friday’s morning rain made being out on the track an exercise in futility. But by late afternoon the tide had begun to turn for the annual Paddock Crawl supported in part by Hagerty Insurance.
Saturday’s weather was dramatically improved and set up the day for a lot of track time. In the Sprint Race I had my sights set on Larry Boyer and Tony Drews only to have the session shortened for who knows what reason. So I had to wait for the late afternoon Heat Race to see if I catch them.
Chasing Tony (David Farrington Photo)
Alas, Turn 3 of the first lap ended all hope of that when two of us tried to occupy the apex at the same time. “Thump.” And then I felt like the NASSCR driver along for the ride after a nudge from someone either ticked or wanting more prize money, or both. The Bumper was not either of those, and the Bumpee managed to escape with some modest damage behind the left rear wheel. Neither of us was angry, and as is often the case we walked away shaking hands and being apologetic to one another. Here’s a bit of video that culminates in the bump.
And the Bumpee learned something, that hopefully will prevent this in the future.
Grattan is a highly technical track. It has a very long front straight that allows the higher horsepower cars to get some exercise, and a lot of squiggles that favor the smaller cars. Turn 3 is a slow, off-camber downhill. There are two places on the track where the suspension gets really light. Tracks have names for the different sections, and none is more appropriate than “The Toilet Bowl” of Turns 5, 6, and 7. Imagine watching water swirl as it exits the bowl and you get the picture. It makes for real work horsing a big car around.
Nonetheless we managed to finish second in class in the Feature behind Tony Drews, who I had teased about his new turbocharger that I figured he must have installed after Blackhawk.
Love this picture of Ray. It’s so typical.
Nice hair! (The ruffled Arctic blonde look.)
Now on to preparation for Road America’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival in three weeks. The bodywork was done by Dave Buettner and fluids changed. We’ll be ready.
Doesn’t look too bad.
Dent pulled with the “Spitzenagel”
Every race car needs a little (?) bondo
Better than new! Thanks Dave!
One weekend was taken up getting a new experience. Fox Cities buddy Scott Barr paid me the ultimate compliment by inviting me to co-drive his Spec Ford Racer the enduro at the Milwaukee Mile Midwest Council Race. We won!!!!
Is there a Spec Ford in the future for Race Coordinator Joy Perry? Her wedding anniversary is coming up!
The Father’s Day Weekend running of the 25th annual Blackhawk Classic at Blackhawk Farms Raceway, South Beloit, IL, had big fields and lots of good action. It was also the location of the annual Kastner Cup, so the paddock and track were filled with Triumphs of all flavors, including some rarely seen.
Kas Kastner presents his field of Triumphs for their group photo
The Kastner Cup was made even more special to me because it meant rekindling friendship with Wausau High School Class of 1966 classmate Jeff Snook, now of Bowling Green, Ohio. Jeff campaigns a really well prepared TR3 that was constantly in my rear view mirror.
Jeff Snook (Joy Perry photo)
The Volvo Pavilion was fully populated – Jeff Babcock, Joe Brabender, Alex Christopher, Tim Detwiler, Ray Freiwald and Jim Perry. Slumming with us were Chuck Ryberg in his XK120 Jag and Larry Boyer with his Porsche. The P and B Motorsports team was scant – just Jim and Joy Perry taking care of the car duties.
On Friday we had the privilege of meeting for the first time in person Ed Madak of 123IgnitionUSA.com, one of our sponsors and supplier of our 123 distributors. Ed, his wife and another couple were on an adventure to Seattle with their MGs. Life on the road as it used to be – little sports cars packed to the gills and with air conditioning with crank handles.
Ed Mudak, 123ignitionusa (Joy Perry photo)
“P and B Motorsports uses 123 distributors” (said in advertising lingo)
Event Chairs Ron Soave and Jeff Porasik pulled off a spectacular event, and had an agreement with the weather gods too. In return for heavy nightly rain, the daylight racing hours were hot and mostly sunny with not a rain drop. Importantly, the event raised a record near $6600 for the Children’s Transportation Fund supported by the Tebala Shriners.
BH Event Chairs Ron Soave and Jeff Porasik really created a fine event
We had a spectacular racing weekend. 1 Red ran really well and we were able to set personal best lap times in two consecutive sessions on Saturday. My typical get-at-the-head-of-the-line for qualifying almost backfired on Friday because as I came screaming around Turn 7 of the 1.95 mile track I saw the last cars just leaving the grid! Despite getting a lot of passing experience we did well enough to put us on the outside front row for Sprint Race 1.
Here are the video highlights of that race. (Sorry about the typo you will see at the outset.)
Sprint Race 1
In both that race and Sprint Race 2 Tony Drews (#95 Triumph TR 4) and I had some great racing going on, while Scott Fohrman sort of motored away in his MGB because he’s about 1.5 seconds faster. So, in Sprint Race 1, I started 2nd and ended up 2nd. In SR 2 somehow another Triumph was gridded in the #2 spot. Tony was directly behind me and pulled one of his trademark starts by storming by on the inside and we all raced to Turn 1. It didn’t take too long for me to get around him and proceed to some great back and forth. Again, a short video.
Sprint Race 2
The Feature Race was pretty much a repeat.
The final race of the weekend was the Dad’s Day Scramble, a handicap race. Slower cars start first, with progressively faster cars being held at the starting line, waiting for the go sign while the driver stares at the climbing water temperature gauge. The countdown to go is high tech all the way — Ron Soave counting down from 10 with his fingers. (Just what you would expect from a rocket scientist.)
It was a given that Scott Fohrman would be behind us, but somehow Tony Drews had a faster lap somewhere along the way so I was third last to leave. One gets lots of passing experience. I put distance between me and Tony fairly easily, but Scott was closing in my mirrors on the last lap. I think I could have held him off anyway, but things went a bit south for him on the final turn and I crossed the finish line without a real challenge.
Now, you would think that would mean we won the race but apparently I lapped two of the slower cars only once, and so the results showed that I came in third. Or was it fourth – Race Monitor doesn’t know how to handle a handicap race and was all screwed up.
Nonetheless the Scramble showed that the fast laps in the previous races had not been anomalies, as I had several sub-1:26 laps.
And on Sunday I was standing in the trailer and all of a sudden a Volvo contingent showed up all smiles. I had no idea …
Alex Christopher, Joe Brabender, Brent Gustafson, Joy Perry and Ray Freiwald deliver the news that 1 Red has turned the fastest Blackhawk lap on record (as though records are being kept by anyone but them!)
Great weekend. Next up, Vintage Grand Prix au Grattan in Belding, MI, mid-August. The break is welcomed!