Saturday, May 9, 2009

BeaveRun, Koppel PA

Sorry folks, we got a little behind on the posts, so here we go.  Yesterday, we ran at BeaveRun which is a 10 turn, 1.6 mile track just off I-76 approximately 40 miles west of Pittsburgh.  Woody and I have both driven the track before, so the days competition was straight up.

Woody won the toss and opted to drive first possibly in an attempt to throw down a good time and then watch me sweat.  There was also a possibility of rain in the afternoon.  Oh the stratergery in play here!

After watching 90% of the field run, Woody finally has his chance.  Watching from turn one I again have the privilege of witnessing the awesome power the 335i possesses as it climbs rapidly to 20-30-40 mph in 5+ seconds.  We are leaving no tire patches either which indicates the suspension and tires are hooking up well.  I click off a few photos as Woody comes through turn one and as the track is only 1.6 miles, the three time trial laps are over quickly.  I do have a concern though as I watch the session in that Woody has gained on an E92 M3 BMW that ran in front of him.  The car is still in limp home mode, but Woody appears to have thrown down some good laps.  Yikes.

After Woody returns to the pits he mentions that on his re-con lap he went to second gear at the slow uphill turn 10.  Apparently, the car did not like it as it threw another code and seemed to have reduced the power even more.  How low can we go?  We have noticed that the car is running a bit rough in idle...hope we can nurse her home.  Anyway, Woody re-started the car at the line and it cleared itself.  Woody said he never used second again and had no issues during his run.  By lunch the times are posted and Woody squeezes out a 4:03 which is good enough for 45th place in the BeaveRun Event #1.  The effort is not good enough though to keep us at 44th position over all and we drop to 46th.  It was also good enough to beat the E92 M3.

After lunch I suit up and wait for them to call car #18.  By god, we will compete in our well earned run group at the last full on track event!!!!  Even if it means keeping my hand out the window the entire three laps to point other cars by.  It will also get us on the road sooner and to the Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) in Cleveland, OH for a beer with other competitors.  We stopped there last year on our way back to South Bend and the mandatory sticker stop at DEI.

I grid up last in our run group and let the starter know that he does not need to hold me as I will never catch the BMW E36 M3 in front of me.  I get the green and off we go.  This track is fun and has some great little turn complexes that when in an underpowered car can be taken virtually flat out.  There are also two hills right after corners that bog the car down to a crawl.  OUCH!  I keep saying to my self over and over...MOMENTUM, keep up the momentum.

As I am getting out of the car, Woody approaches and informs me that by his stop watch I ran a total elapsed time of 3:58.  That is a 5 second victory for Chicken Hawk.  (Side bar on the origins of Chicken given to me on my first One Lap by Mike Pederson from Colorado as he could not quite get the double bird thing sorted out at our first meeting.  It stuck and I kind of like it too.  "I say, I say, thanks Mike...hope to see you on the One Lap again.")  

Final score on the inter-car competition; Robin 3 and Woody nil.  This and $25 cents will get me nothing.  It was fun though and despite what Woody thinks, I believe my strategy of putting up the back seats to create less of an air "scoop" and drag is worth something.  Let's call it 5 seconds at BeaveRun and 7 seconds at each of Daytona and CMP.

We quickly and efficiently pack up the car (I think we have it down to less than 5 minutes, including folding up the canopy) and head off to Cleveland by 12:30.  A week of practice has finely honed our skills at this chore.

It is a short 96 miles to Cleveland and we arrive at GLBC for a quick beer before moving on to South Bend.  Woody and I have a mission to get to South Bend so we can watch the end of the Caps/Penguins playoff game.  Another 250 miles are clicked off and we arrive back in South Bend after being on the road for 6 days and 3,900 miles (we have added in the 200 miles we drove from and back to Atlanta on Monday evening).

After checking in, dinner is in order and so we gather up Dick Clark and Tucson Jerry and head to downtown South Bend and a sports bar that can show the Caps game.  Dinner is not good at all (at least the burgers Woody and I had) and it is washed down with a Caps loss.  Oh well.

Returning to the Quality Inn, we head in to the bar to have a beer with the other One Lappers and regal a few stories.  We return to our room by 11 and are quickly sound asleep.  We look forward to the dry skid pad tomorrow and kicking some butt.

Cheers from South Bend......until tomorrow (with photos).

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