Thursday, July 30, 2015

Test and Tune Thursday; Part I

Weather permitting, today is TTT (Test &Tune Thursday) at SumerDuck Dragway, a 1/8 mile track Virginia.

Forecast is not looking good, with chances of rain ranging from 15% to 58% from 2 through 6 pm

Sigh...I really need the practice.  My first foray into the world of Test & Tunes was at Colonial Beach Dragway, also a 1/8 mile track, about two months ago.  There I had the unusual opportunity to get 17 runs in over a 4 hour period.  Since that was my first time ever, I wasn't disappointed with the results, but needless to say merely managing a 60' split of 2.2, a top speed of 87.24 mph and an ET of 8.965 is not where I want to be.  Oh, and my reaction time on this run was a pitiful 1.0065.

This isn't that run; this one was a worse one, earlier in the day.  At some point, I stopped taping my runs and just concentrated on getting better.

One thing that struck me, especially after my second T&T outing, this time at SumerDuck, was that for a sport that speaks to an almost primordial element of our nature; a sport whose main attraction for many is the sheer raw power, the roar of engines, smoke, fire and blazing speed; for a sport that encompasses all this, to be able to generate such power, and to execute a well done run down the strip requires a level of finesse far beyond what one would initially expect.

For newbies like me, it looks simple.  Get a powerful car (check); follow the rules of the track (check); watch for the green light and time your launch accordingly (partial check) and just mash the pedal (NO CHECK).

I have a six speed manual transmission.  Simply releasing the clutch and mashing the gas resulted in a great deal of tire spinning with little or no forward momentum.  Simply running the tachometer to the red line for each gear before shifting resulted in a great deal of wheel hop, with wasted forward momentum.

I have to learn to feather the clutch; to launch with finesse in order to get off the line without leaving copious amounts of my tires behind.

Just in case SumerDuck gets rained out tonight, here's a clip of a race I watched last time I was there.  Pretty cool to see a First Gen F-body GM running against (and beating) a Ford Fox Body.

Part II will come tomorrow, in the event the rains hold off and TTT actually happens tonight.

Stay tuned!

DISCLAIMER:  For potential future warranty claim litigation reasons, let me explicitly express that I was NOT RACING!!!  Test and Tunes are NOT RACES.  They are opportunities for owners of cars of all types to legally and safely explore their cars' full potential; in my case, using fully OEM features and functions built into the car by Dodge.

In my case, Dodge sold me a car with built-in timers for the 1/8 mile, 1/4 mile and 0-60'.  In addition, the car came equipped with "Launch Control", a system whereby the car itself simulates a launch off the line.  These came as factory equipped controls/features.  In using such features at a Test and Tune, I expressly declare that I was in full compliance with the warnings in the Warranty Document which required that (a) I was not racing, and (b) I was off road when using these functions.  Fiat/Chrysler (a/k/a FCA) has 5 days from the date of this public posting to dispute whether I was in full compliance with the use of my car as per the Warranty Document provided at time of purchase, after which their failure to expressly disagree with the above assertion, or to respond at all will be understood as agreement that my participation in such events does NOT violate any terms of my Warranty.

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