WDMS Chapter 150 - September 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WADE
A CHALLENGER CHALLENGES TWS
(and does really really well!!!)
Two updates in one!! PACKAGE DEAL!!
Yup, it was Wade's birthday celebration (he bought himself a CMC car...nice!) and also Ron took his new Challenger to TWS. To make it all simple, it was all happening in College Station in one weekend!!
A little foggy Saturday morning...
I scooted out from Arlington very very early Saturday morning and ran into some serious fog as the sun came up around Calvert/Hearne. By the time I got to TWS I was greeted with seriously horrendous visibility and I knew we weren't going to start on time. TWS was having a MSC (Motorsports club) track day and Wade was going to shake down his new CMC2 car, Ron was bringing his Challenger and then Saturday night a lot of folks were coming in town for a big Wade-Bday celebration. Wahoo! I volunteered to instruct Ron and was looking forward to tracking a bit with Wade too.
After an awesome Saturday (the fog burned off quickly) of tracking Miss, yelling at Ron (that's not a bad thing, it's how I roll) taking folks on some rides and chasing Wade it was time to get cleaned up and then have some dinner. A bunch of us all chipped in for a Simpson's gift certificate to help Wade buy all the safety gear he'll need to start wheel2wheel racing in the spring. He was pretty darn shocked when he opened it with a huge group of us at WingsNMore. Then, home for cookie cake and ice cream! A bunch of the youngsters went out to NG, but I was up that morning at 0430 to make the gate by 0700 and I hit the sack for another morning of track time! Day two went well, with more yelling, chasing and a few riders. Anna rode in Miss and got some cool pictures and video of Wade on track that turned out really well. Ron did absolutely incredible and I ended up solo'ing him so he could run the last session on Sunday alone. While this was his first true track weekend, his autocross and drag race skills gave him plenty of experience that I felt fine turning him loose. He is fast, smooth, very predictable, works traffic well and keeps a good eye on corner stations. Heck, maybe he could give me a few lessons!! :-)
WADE'S FLY BY VIDEO - CRANK THE SPEAKERS KIDS!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urjjGC1juMA
Anna's take on the whole weekend:Wade's Bday Track Day:
Wait a minute...that's how every weekend should be ;)
Above: Wade's Coupe, Miss, Ron's Challenger in the background and Wade waiting for more track time...
Ron's first roadcourse event:
Well, I will start with (somewhat sadly) selling my foxes. I have always wanted to run on a road course (not that I believe that a Challenger is the ultimate road race car). Unfortunately, while my coupe had plenty of power, it was lacking lots of essential equipment needed for a road course. (namely: brakes, suspension, and extra cooling) When the new challenger concept was released, I told myself (and my wife) that I would own one after dental school graduation. Well in October of '08, when the coupe had a nagging mysterious water leak, and the convertible had a sticking starter, I decided that I need to a newer vehicle as a daily driver. The final straw was when I had to come home after work and change out a starter, not that it took too long or was difficult, it was just the idea of it. I talked to the boss lady, and decided that I would be willing to sell my foxes for a new challenger, namely a loaded hemi-orange 6 speed SRT8. Sold the convertible first, and had some interest in the coupe. In the meantime, I was searching for an orange 6 spd Challenger on dealer lots. Found 3, one in Austin, one in Dallas, and one in Winnie, TX. Shot each of the dealerships an (fairly lowball) internet offer, and the dealer in Winnie responded with "when can you pick it up at $200 over invoice?" So in the meantime, the coupe was still not sold. Amy was ok with buying the Challenger without the coupe selling. So (this is how cool my wife is) after work a few days later, (on 3-17, our wedding anniversary no less) we drove to Winnie and bought the Challenger. The coupe sold a couple of weeks later, and I think I drove it once or twice in that time. The coupe was wwwaaaayyyy faster in the quarter mile, but not as fun to drive, after all it was 20 years old (creaks, rattles, bad brakes, hard clutch pedal, no bling factor, etc.) Soon after purchase, I talked to Wade who told me that he had done a performance driving school at TWS, and said that Costas was his instructor, and he had a blast. I signed up for the weekend of Sept 26/27. Coincidentally, this was also Wade's birthday weekend, and it was a huge bonus to see lots of people I had not seen in years. Unfortunately for me, I was off work Friday, and Wade said he needed to work on his CMC car to get it ready for the track. I got up to Wade's house about 6pm, and we rotated tires, adjusted the camber, and changed brake pads on his car. By the end of the night, I realized why I wanted to buy a NEW car that did not need work, I am too damn old to be crawling around on concrete, and Wade needs a lift.
Above: The sheer size of the Challenger vs. the old Fox.
I am very thankful that Costas was able to instruct me for my first weekend at the track. I had done some drag racing, and autocrossing, but had never even worked a corner at TWS. On top of all of that, I was unsure just how well my heavy orange boat would handle in the turns. Suffice to say, the car handled very well. Granted, when I learn to carry a little more speed, it might show its limitations to throwing around 4200lbs, but overall, it did a great job. Watching Costas' hand signals out of the corner of my eye was fun, and the best was when we were coming up on a slower car, (as in all of them) and he would say "get up on him and in his mirror so he sees you". or "what the hell is that instructor doing??, they need to give us a pass!!!" getting right on someone's ass in my new way too expensive daily driver at speed was a little unnerving at first, but it was a blast. Any of you who know me well know I like to drive it like I stole it, and the purpose of a car like this is to go fast, so I just did what Costas told me to do. (I was amazed at the capability of this car! No, it aint a 3000lb z06, but it handled pretty flat, the street rubber did excellent, we had plenty of brakes, and power to keep up with most everything....very well done Dodge!!.....Costas)
After the track, we all met up at Wings n More (University). Wade came out and even drank about 1/3 of a large frozen strawberry margarita. After that, we went back to Wade's house for a cookie cake, and the plan was to go to Northgate to celebrate Wade's b-day. However, Wade and Costas went to bed instead (it's hell to get old). So me, Bobby and Kara, Tilton and Mary, Hunter and Krystle, and Chad went to NG for a couple of hours in Wade's honor, and had some beers and shots.
Back at the track Sunday morning, was a little afraid I was going to forget all I had learned the day before, but it was like riding a bike. I worked on being a little smoother with my downshifts on Sunday, and did improve. I would have definitely learned a lot from any instructor, but it was obvious that Costas' aggressiveness was translating to going pretty fast on the track, as I did not get passed one time the whole weekend, and day 2 started in Blue, and soloed that second day as well. Overall, it was a great experience, and I will certainly do another event in the spring.
Costas final note: It was an awesome weekend and went pretty smooth. It was fun to ride with Ron as he hustled that car around the course, dropping about 20 seconds a lap from where we started on Saturday. The funniest part were a few vette drivers who simply didn't want to let Ron by. He'd catch them in a braking zone or a twisty part and be right behind them on a corner exit. I could see the driver look in his mirror and then EVERY TIME they'd drop the hammer expecting to get away. Nope. Halfway down the straight they'd look back and Ron would be RIGHT THERE behind them. Finally, a sheepish point-by comes out and we blaze by and in three corners we can't even see them in our mirrors. Ron did great and I'm happy to hear that he's pursuing more roadcourse events by building a POS third gen for a Chumpcar/LeMons event. Very nice. If you are on FB, look up DASHBOARD LIGHT RACING. Verah Nice.
Playing share the rocks, Ron in the office, Wade's starter got disconnected (easy fix), and one of my tires died. Thankfully we used spares from Bic (our LeMons camaro) that were closeby!!