Once a year Speedventures makes its way out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) and they bring with them the HFF challenge which often means we get to see more FF cars then we usually see out in Las Vegas. Since many of the guys that normally participate in the HFF challenge are based in souther California, its a great way to test your skills against some of the premier guys from southern California. However, this year some of those guys didn’t make it, so it was just a few of us. In fact in the Super Mod class (which is what I’m in) the only two competitors were Patrick (red Integra) and myself. This event is also cool because it runs at the LVMS outside road course, which is a much closer drive for us than going to Spring Mountain motorsports ranch in Pahrump NV. Its funny cause with all the “track racers” that there are on Instagram nowadays seems like the amount of people that came out to race would be staggering, that would be an incorrect assumption though as there was only maybe 12 FF Honda guys there and 5-6 of them were from California. This is a big disappointment because so many people “build” their cars for the track, yet never even take their car to the track… Think about that for a minute, what a waste of money. You should just be building gun if you want to build something you’re never going to use. Or wait let me guess you can’t afford the 200 bucks its costs to race, yet you can afford to motor swap your car, put wheels and tires on it, suspension, and rare jdm parts that you flex on social media. Please, you don’t even need a modified car to go out and have fun on the track in. Because seriously what’s the point of modifying your car if you’re not using it. I could care less about what you have done to your car, if you don’t use it then im not interested in talking to you.
We start our morning off all good, I met up with Patrick at his house at 6:00 am and we head out to the track. When we arrived everything went smooth and we set up our pit.
We actually drive our cars to the event, and we pack everything we need in them. its not necessary to have a truck and trailer (if that’s an excuse you’re using for not going to the track) Having a truck and trailer is nice, but its cooler to say that you drove your car there, raced it around all day, and are driving it home.
Due to me signing up late the advanced groups were sold out. I had to run in an intermediate group which makes it hard to get fast lap times since you’re always running into traffic. Plus the group I was in was not open passing it was only point by, making it even harder to get quick times, since inexperienced drivers don’t always pay attention to who’s behind them and won’t point you by.
Obviously Patrick is in the most advanced group as he is a very seasoned track racer, which meant that he was due to go out first. So while he was out I managed to snap some pictures of him on the front straight.
A few minutes into the session while I was taking pictures of all the car in his group as they flew by, I panned the camera and noticed a cloud of dust way in the back of the track. I had a gut feeling that it was Patrick and as I searched the whole track I couldn’t see a red Integra. The dust had settled enough for me to confirm that it was in-fact him that went off. This point of the track where he had went off was a very high speed part where speeds are excess 100 mph and I was just hoping that he didn’t bounce the car off the tire wall. His car was soo far away that I couldn’t tell, all I could do was wait. Thats what the track staff did too, it took them a few minutes to even get out there to check him out. Once the safety crew made it out to him I watched anxiously to see if eventing was alright, I saw movement and knew that he was ok because no one seemed to frantic. What happened next had me very confused, Patrick got in the safety truck and it drove him back to the pits. As soon as the Safety crew got off the track it went hot again and people continued to race, while is car just sat off track deep in the dirt. When Patrick arrived back at our pit I was all WTF!? He said that his car was way to far out in a deep dirt pit for them to tow it out, so they were going to leave his car there until they got an actual tow truck to come and tow him out. A few more sessions went by until they were finally able to get a tow truck out there to tow him out. Once out the car started and he was able to drive it back to our pit where we could asses the damage. The firs thing that was noticeable was his side skirt was ripped off, and was inside his car. Next we noticed very many rocks and dirt jammed in the bead of the tire causing his tire to wobble since it wasn’t fully seated. Immediately he jumped into action removing the wheel and trying to remove all the rocks thats were jammed in the bead so that it could re seat properly. At this point I wish I had taken pictures so it would be easier to describe what he was doing, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to add insult to injury by getting in his way while he was trying to fix the car. So let me see if I can explain how he was going about trying to take the rocks out of the bead. He had removed the wheel form the car, deflated it all the way, laid it down with the tire right underneath the rear disc brake, and then lowered to car down allowing the rear disc to rest on the tire with all the weight of the car on it in an attempt to pop the bead off enough to scrape the rocks and dirt out. This is what sets apart the people that are truly passionate about racing and those who just do it to say they do. This might not have been the safest thing, and probably isn’t the best thing for the tire. But no matter what he was determined to get back out there and try to PB. His attempts were feudal and weren’t working that well, luckily for him Zenith auto was close to the tack and he was able to get a ride from his dad to Zenith where they have an actual tire machine and were able to dismount, and remount it allowing him to remove all the rocks in the bead. When he returned he put the wheel back on and lowered the car, but now the rear camber was off because off the force when sliding off track actually cause the toe adjustment to move and create positive camber, which was not going to allow him to achieve any fast lap times. So we literally did an eyeball toe and and camber adjustment and he was able to head back out.
While he was running around north Las Vegas getting his tire fixed, it was my turn to head out to the track.
As I lined up in the hot pit I awaited my first outing of the day. This is the part where no matter what anyone says there is always nerves and you always have jitters about not being that fast, or getting in other peoples way because they might be better than you. But once you are out on the track everything becomes natural and you drive just as you would on the street, only a lot faster and more aggressively. I also put a lot of pressure on my self because I am very competitive and always want to be the best, or the fastest. I also preach a lot about driving, skill, technique, and proper tuning of your car on my blog. So if I can’t back up what I preach about then my words won’t hold water. So last year I was able to do a 2:06.7xx but I was having cooling issues because I was only running a half size radiator, and I was having brake issues due to running Hawk HP+ pads. yes people can use them on the track but its not recommended. if you read my blog post about brakes you can see what they are actually for.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE POST >>>>https://functiontheory.com/2019/03/10k-words-about-brakes-everything-you-need-to-know-about-every-part-of-your-brake-system/
So this year started out with a 2:06.062
I was feeling pretty good, I mean I easily bested my time over last year and I was just warming up. For the next session they staged us by lap times so since I was fastest I got to go out first which meant that I got 3 traffic free laps and was able to get all the way down to a 2:03.134! this was huge for me because there was another guy there with an EG with a K20 swap who Patrick was talking to and he said he did a 2:03.394 and I just made it my goal to make sure I was faster than him. My reasoning is that if we share similar setup’s then there isn’t any reason I shouldn’t be able to do at-least what he was doing. Its not like he was super human, or an alien from another planet, we were both able bodied Homosapein’s with opposable thumbs and the same brain capacity.
So I was really excited about being able to best that guys time, and I was even more happy about being able to beat my last years time by more than 3 seconds! But I was getting a lot of over steer so when I came back in I took my tire pressure and it was at 48 PSI all four corners! thats terrible, no wonder I was sliding all over out there. I lowered my PSI to 38 PSI at all four corners and headed back out for my third session of the day. I made it to the hot pit too late and they had already started sending people out so I was stuck in traffic for pretty much the whole time. After a few laps there was this Lamborghini that came out on the track.
So I set my sights on this thing and just tried to stay on its bumper as much as I could. Obviously its was way faster than me in the straights, but in the turns and under braking I could make up time. No way am I trying to say that my car is better than this car, it was just due to driver inexperience I was able to not get blown away by it. Either way I had a blast trying my best to pass him, at times in the turns being so close to the rear of his car I could feel the heat coming off the engine of his car. As we dodged traffic for about 4 laps with me increasingly pushing my car to the limits to keep up with him the checkered flag waived and we came in. As we came into the pits my car began to sputter and had no throttle response. It was acting as if the TPS went out. I couldn’t even limp the car back to my pit. Some friendly Honda peeps had to help me push my car back to my pit. When I got back to my pit we checked the plug on the TPS just to make sure it wasn’t loose or damaged. Then when I went to try and restart the car, when I primed it the fuel pump made a squeal like an elephant seal. Even Patrick who was out side the car was like WTF was that. We both said it sounded like my fuel pump was dying. Luckily he happened to have a stock GSR fuel pump as a spare. I quickly pulled my old fuel pump out, and we threw Patricks OEM GSR one in and the car fired right up! I ran to the gas station, got gas, and was able to make it to my 4th session of the day. On my 4th session out there was less people in the group because people were starting to leave, and my tire PSI was dialed. I was feeling great and decided to push it. I was able again to PB with a 2:01.657!
I was BEYOND excited! This was an incredible time for a 90’s FF car, or any car for that matter. At the end of the day the “5th” session would be a bonus session where all cars from all groups could go out at once. Patrick and I were very excited because it meant both if us could be out together at the same time. It was going to be fun to jam around together since Im comfortable with him being close to me, we were really going to be able to duke it out.
We both headed out for our bonus session, it was going to be so fun to have him out here with me. We managed to get a few good laps before running into traffic. Patrick was on a predictive for a 2:03.xxx but was cock blocked by the Focus ST, and at the end of the video below you can see how mad he gets! the video is obviously from in his car while he follows me.
On the bonus session when he was getting a 2:03.xxx predictive (keep in mind this is all on an eye ball alignment) I ended up getting another 2:01.709. Which in my eyes solidifies the fact that I was able to get a 2:01 in the first place. It wasn’t some fluke or error is the timing system.
This whole day was such an amazing experience, I can’t wait until next year to see if I flat 2 or maybe even sub 2. Unlike my 4 door I still have the oem blown out cracked rubber RTA bushings. So I would like to put the PCI spherical ones in like I did on the 4 door. I would also like to do front spherical compliance bushings, I feel like hopefully with those I can increase the cars stability under braking, and soften the rear a little to decrease over steer and increase grip. Another cool thing about this was that I managed to do a 2:01 on my DIY garage string alignment that I did on my car! you can read my HOW TO all about doing your own alignment here>>>>>>
The most important thing to remember about tracking your car is that… Eventually you’re going to break it, you can’t beat on a car that hard and expect it to last forever. I assume this is another reason why people are scared to actually track their cars that they built for the track. Because they don’t want all the money they spent to be wasted. I just tell myself every time I go to the track that I’m going to break something and then its not a surprise if do. Yes it can be very upsetting when you blow your engine, or wreck something on your car that costs a lot of money to fix/replace. But isn’t that why we do it? To be able to rebuild and go out again another day. To feel the rush of the highs and lows that come with it. Isn’t that the whole “passion” about modifying cars. Flashy lap times are better than flashy cars. Car parts can be bought by anyone, but good laps times can only be achieved by some. Please do yourself a favor and just get out on the track, and enjoy the whole experience of being a car enthusiast.