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TITANIUM Motorsports Racing Journal
#66: January 8th, 2012 - Racing in the BF Goodrich SCCA Double National at Sebring International Raceway.
TITANIUM Motorsports once again started off the new year of racing at Sebring International Raceway at the BF Goodrich Tires Super Tour - Winter Vacation Double National. This is a three-day event, with practice & qualifying sessions on Friday, qualifying & racing on Saturday and the Super Tour race on Sunday.
I arrived on Thursday about noon to get every thing unloaded and get in line when registration opened at 4pm. Once that was complete, the car and safety equipment, including my new helmet and Hans Device were inspected and deemed ready to race.

The first session for my group on Friday morning was a 25 minute practice session. The new motor ran fine, but I had some issues with shifting the transmission. It was really hard to get it into 5th gear above 5000 RPMs. At lower RPMs, it would shift fine, but the ones at racing speed, really took a lot of effort, which resulted in slower lap times.

After the morning practice session was over, I followed my normal routine of putting the car on jackstands and removing the tires to inspect the car for any problems. One came to my attention right away. The rear axle seal on the passenger side was leaking gear oil.
I do not carry a spare axle seal, or even the tools to change it with me, as I have never had one fail while at the track.

I hopped in my truck and went to the Advance Auto parts in Sebring to get a seal, gear oil, a drain pan and a seal removal tool. With these, I was able to remove the gear cover, drain the old oil, pull the axle, remove and replace the seal, and get the car back together for the afternoon qualifying session with no time to spare. I was actually getting into my car as they started leaving the grid!

With that problem fixed, I was able to turn qualifying times in the 2:32 area, until I ran wide in turn 15a, and when coming back on-track to 15b, my exhaust pipe outlet caught the curbing, braking off the bolts and causing the exhaust to drag on the ground for about 4 miles.
This caused considerable damage to the inlet flange and some damage to the outlet pipe.
After getting the car back to the paddock and up on the jack, I was able to remove the damaged parts as a unit, put them in my truck and take them in to 
Sebring to a local exhaust shop. There they were able to cut off the torn-up inlet flange and replace it with a new one, and weld up the damaged outlet pipe. I was back in business!
Saturday went much better than Friday for me.

Joining me as my crew member for the day was Sharad Raldiris. I was introduced to Sharad on the Stangs of South Florida web forum. He volunteered to come out and help me with my normal crew task. He brought with him his son and daughter, who are about the same age as my daughter, so Tammy got to watch his kids as they all played together very well.
Sharad has a Mustang as well and attended the Track Guys event at Sebring back in the spring that I covered in the Lounge pages. He is also an associate editor for a Mustang magazine, as well as the 'New Media' voice for UPR Products.

We started out Saturday getting ready for the race that morning.
The car ran fine and I had some fun racing with the other cars on the track.
Some others on the track were not having a good time.
With the race about halfway over, a AS Camaro hit the tire wall in turn 14 and rolled over. I was in a group of five cars heading towards that section of track. As we came around turn 13, there was no yellow flag from the corner workers letting us know of the impending accident.
I was shocked when we came up on turn 14 at over 100mph, to find the driver of the Camaro crawling on the ground, trying to get out of the car, 15 feet away! 

Here is the video of that lap of the race:
Here is the full race video: (40 minutes long)

The race ended under caution, as the track was blocked with emergerency vehicles trying to turn the car back over. I ended up 6th place in class, out of 7 cars.
Saturday afternoon was my qualifying session for Sunday mornings race. Everything went fine in that session. My shifting problem remained and I qualified in 6th place with a lap time of 2:31.6.
Sharad went home that afternoon. He was a big help with everything and I hope to see him out at the track soon. Triniy had a great time playing with his kids too.
Sunday morning and time for the big event. The BF Goodrich Tires Super Tour National Race. I was the slowest STO car to set a time in qualifying. However, additional STO cars would be starting from the back of the pack. 
The race started off fine and my car ran fine. The same could not be said for some of my STO counterparts on the track. As the laps wore on, three STO Corvettes were broken down on the side of the track and the STO 350Z was on pit lane.
Then the big one. A STO ex-World Challenge Corvette caught fire in turn 17. The driver suffered some injuries and the race was ended under caution for the second day in a row. I thought that I may have got a third place finish in the race, due to the high attrition of my competition. So I reported to impound after the race, as the top 3 in class are required to do. Once in line for impound, I was informed by a SCCA official that I was 4th and not 3rd. He instructed me to take my car to the paddock.

After getting back to the RV and changing out of my race attire, I went back down to impound, where the podium celebration for STO was just taking place. To my surprise, the 3rd place driver was absent!
I reported his absence to the same SCCA official who told me I was forth. He proceeded to file paperwork to penalize the 3rd place driver for failing to report to impound after the race. After all was said and done, he was penalized one lap and I was awarded third place!

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Last Modified: January 7th, 2013.