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Busy 2 weeks and 5 races later From Back of the pack to mid pack

Posted by Joe (dad) Jordan , 04-19-2011 · 1,377 views

It was my son's turn to try and get off his NASA provisional license by competing the last 2 weekends at Buttonwillow in SM and and at Thunderhill in PTE and SM.

At Buttonwillow he learned a lot, #1 not to go to a school dance the night before a race! We got started a little late and we had to do an annual inspection before our first Nasa weekend and the tech inspection took longer than we expected. Our warm up and qualifying sessions were done by 9:30 and unfortunately we didn't get through tech until about 10:45. Too many cars to tech and not enough tech inspectors!

He started the race last. Luckily he had driven at Buttonwillow in the LEMONS race so he had some time on the track, but this was his first time driving with the spec miata suspension and the soft compund tires. He tried to hang on to the pack but eventually ended up last! Anyway the goal was to get a race ticked off his provisional... The race the next day saw our transponder have issues and not record his qualifying laps which made him start last. He would of qualified 3rd from last, but no worries.... He was still at the back of the pack. He got 2 races signed off and the car was good enough to take to thunderhill.

We had enough time to do the test day on Friday and that really helped him, we were able to coach him up and dial in some changes in the car that he could feel. At the end of the day he was faster than some of the other spec miata's out for the test day. Our plan was to run both PTE and SM and run 4 races.

At the end of the test day we realized our water pump was having problems. We have been running the stock radiator and had all the A/c unit still hooked up. We had an aluminum radiator,but we did not have time to put it in! So now was the time to do it all! Out came the radiator, the AC lines. the AC pulley and belt, the AC bracket and out came the old water pump. Luckily I had a new spare water pump thanks to this forumsa suggestions! Anyway the water pump was way more work than we expected, and several attempts and getting the cam timing wrong twice!!! I was thankful to have a fellow TEEN MAZDA CHALLENGE driver 16 year old David Dodge teach this old dog and his son the proper way to set the cam timing! Attached Image We got him out to race on the 1 minute board, we missed the PTE race! We would not have been able to get it done if it was not for the attitude of this other 16 year old driver!!!

We were so late that he had to start behind the US touring cars who in NASA's 3 split starts started last and from a standing start, so he joined the standing start from the back of the field. He was now 30 seconds back from the last spec Miata. A yellow flag came out and bunched the field after the first lap. Unfortunately the touring cars wanted their own start AGAIN! but on the restart he was only twenty seconds behind the last spec miata! He closed on the back of the pack as the white flag came out and passed one of the four cars on the last lap to end up 2nd to last!

We found out at dinner that the 1 hour enduro the next day would inverse the field. We felt our luck had finally turned around! Unfortunately because in our thrash to change the water pump we forgot to install our brand new transponder!!!!! So once again he would start the race 30th or DFL on the field.Attached Image

Morning warmup saw Joey and his new Teen Mazda Challenge buddy driver David Dodge go out together on the track and run around for warmup, they both had a great time and I am sure they are now friends for life, what a great place to make friends. Attached Image I have always told him you can't win warmup, but he found some open track (70 or more cars on the track made this dificult) and he was 6th out of the 18 spec miata's on track so it gave him some confidence!

The 1 hour enduro went well he learned a ton got faster and faster and finished 17th with no incidents and got his provisional license signed off.

In the PTE race he started 2nd to last and worked over some of the cars in front of him, avoided some wrecks and ended up 8th in a 16 car field. He has officially made it to mid pack! He is excited to have his license and is now preparing for the Mazda Teen Challenge that starts at Thunderhill next month.

Finally a month off. What was originally a lemons car is now a spec miata and has already seen 7 races, a drivers school and driven by two teenage drivers. it will be nice to have a full month to prep the car for the TEEN MAZDA CHALLENGE!

David Dodge and Joey are plotting to run and build a miata for LEMONS so needless to say these young men who have known each other for a couple of days are now planning on having fun together too!!!
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Time for a weekend off!

Well we have all been there with the mistakes. For sure.. A small suggestion is to write, with a felt pen on the windshield, THINGS TO DO. sounds silly but it helps when you are in a time crunch..At least you are off and running. It's very cool that you can share this with your son.. See you at the track..
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Joe (dad) Jordan
05-02-2011 09:25 AM
Thanks Dan.. Things to do makes sense!
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