Fwd: SE-R *ownz* drags on ovals! (long)

Ivan Chou ichou@SDF.LONESTAR.ORG
Fri, 12 Jul 2002 21:17:21 -0500

>From the Mid-Atlantic list:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 00:04:06 -0400
From: Jon Felton <get_fast@juno.com>
To: ma-serca@yahoogroups.com, sercane@yahoogroups.com

Well, I thought it would be funny to show up at the local 1/3-mile paved
circle-track tonight for the "One On One" drag-races on the oval, where
street cars compete for a big trophy and an invitation to the finals in
the fall.  What the hell, I thought to myself.  It's something cheap to do
on a Thursday night.

And it turned out to be a pretty interesting night.  Why?  Because, during
my first time *ever* on a NASCAR oval, in a street legal daily driven 93
SE-R with some bolt-on mods, I WON THE WHOLE THING OUTRIGHT and came home
with the big trophy to prove it!  :-)

Not that I'm bragging, because I'm not.  Lots of people can tell you that
I'm pretty much a non- driving piece of shit.  However, the car... the car
is quick.  And I blame my win on the car, not the driver.

Also I must mention... not only was my car the only import out there, it
was the only car out there under 3000 pounds.  On a 1/3 mile track it's
not too hard to waste 3500 pound Camaros and Monte Carlos, even ones with
400 hp and seasoned roundy-rounders behind the wheel.

So what happened?  I showed up late and was allowed a "special late entry"
into the event.  I think they just wanted to laugh at my dirty old Sentra,
really.  "At least he's out there trying,"  they had planned to say.

The format was as follows: two solo warm-up laps to see the track,
followed by heats of heads- up, one-on-one racing against a single
competitor.  The oval was divided into a "low lane" and a "high lane" by
cones every 50 feet.  We would stage at the start-finish line on the front
straight and drag-race when they threw the green light, down to the first
turn in our assigned lane, and complete one full lap in that lane.  Then
we would switch lanes and do it again.  If you hit a cone or wandered into
the other lane, you lost.  If you won both, you proceeded to the next
round.  If you each won one, you would flip a coin to see who proceeded.

Warmup laps... I spun in turn 3 and backed the car down the banking,
missing the inside wall by about 5 feet.  Then I locked up the brakes
trying to stop at start/finish as instructed.  On my second lap I spun
again in turn 3 and backed the car up the banking, missing the outside
wall by about 5 feet.  Then I locked the brakes up again after the finish
line.  Note to self: turn rear AGX's down.  A lot.  And go easy on these
Metal Masters, which don't have the bite of the Porterfields I'm used to.
Most importantly though, SLOW DOWN TO GO FAST.

First round, I took it easy and won by several seconds.  Second round, I
took it slightly less easy against a faster car and still won by several
seconds.  Third round I was the enemy of everyone and still beat the
Camaro driver by several seconds.  Final round I ran against a "local
hero" with "more than 5000 laps around here" in his 400+hp Monte Carlo and
still kicked his ass by a fair margin.

Rumors suggested that "the rice-boy" should "take his fuckin' import and
go home" because "he cheated, he has adjustable suspension and probably
soaked his tires and probably hid a nitrous bottle in there somewhere".
Which begs the question, did I cheat?  The rules are as follows: show up
in a street legal car with license plates, and race.  So I did.  And I
won.  Without soaking my tires, and without nitrous.  In an import Sentra
(that was built in America, actually.)

Long story short?  The car was awesome.  As soon as I adjusted the shocks
it was neutral in turn 3 (where I spun previously) and pushing slightly in
the other three turns.  Cornering was "hit the brakes, turn in, floor it,
keep feeding in steering, and hold on".  On my last run I really hit the
groove and pushed out to the outside wall - it was no more than a foot
from my right side mirror, which, in retrospect, was a stupid move on my
part.  But it sure was fun!

So what did I learn?  First things first, oval-tracks are no joke, even
when they are only 1/3 of a mile.  They have walls everywhere AND every
turn is different, which is why they number them that way.  Secondly, most
people who frequent these kinds of events have no idea what an SE-R is, or
what a power-to-weight ratio is.  Thirdly, a classic SE-R with some mods
really is a quick little car under most circumstances.  Compared to all my
competitors, I had faster launches and faster entries into turn 1 and
faster exits from turn 2 and so on.  In retrospect I can't believe it was
so easy.

PS- they hold these every Thursday night - so everybody show up next week
in an import and win a big trophy for yourself!  It's Southside Speedway
in Richmond, VA.  See you there!  Although I can't drive anymore...
winners are forbidden to race again until the finals in the fall, which
will feature a cash prize or something.

The SE-R *ownz* drags on ovals yo!!!  :-)