2001 Detroit SCCA Season Opener

Sunday morning was the Detroit Region Season Opener, this year held at the Willow Bend GM plant in Ypsilanti, MI.

I was really looking forward to this event. Not only is the surface very similar to the surface at Petersburg (now only two weeks away!) so it would be a good test of the new suspension settings, but one of my prime competitors on the National circuit is now in my region, so I'd get to compare the new setup against a known quantity.

The weather report forecast thundershowers, but it was sunny and warm, so I slapped on the dry tires and dragged the rig the 30 miles to the event. My dry tires are Kumhos that are one event from cording - Kumhos, unlike Hoosiers, get faster as they wear out - so they're practically slicks. With the suspension, fuel computer, and me in the best state of tune they've ever been, I was looking to kick a little tailbone.

SM ran in heat 3. The first two heats were sunny and warm, and aside from Bruce Wentzel shattering a brake rotor on his Corvette and delaying the event by about 10 min, uneventful.

Third heat comes, and we roll into grid. We're gridded 11th out of 12 cars. And within minutes of pulling into grid, the sky goes dark. How did that happen so fast?

Marcus Meridith won ESP (which ran in heat 2) with a 45.1, so I'm looking for a 43. Aaron Miller goes out in his 2.4l Neon, and cuts a 43.1, but mows down 6 cones in the process. Phil Davison, in his VW, runs a 45.3. A couple of other cars are in the mid 47's to low 50s.

And as Mac (gridded 10th, right in front of me) pulls out of grid, the rain starts spitting.

As I head towards the start line, the course is moist. There's no standing water yet, so I'll be OK for this run, but this is going to be my only chance to beat that 45. But as I draw up even at the line, the monsoon hits. Instant flood - and me without my ark.

My race is over, and I haven't even started yet. :(

So we get to make 4 slipping-and-sliding runs in the rain. The car starts off a little loose, but by softening the shocks I'm able to tame the worst of it, and the car feels better in the wet here than it did in Meridian. We manage to put down the fastest wet time (a 49.6) even on the dry tires, but with 10 competitors getting a run on a perfectly-to-mostly dry course, that's just academic. Even if I had had rains and 200lb softer springs I wouldn't be able to touch that 45 in those conditions. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.

I wind up 6th.

Even so, I had fun, and the car attracted tons of attention during the morning. We seem to be attracting spectators to our events, and there's nothing like a huge intercooler and Volk TE-37s to attract the Super Street crowd. :)

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances in Petersburg. All that remains is to turn that into results.