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· Supraddict
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently noticed that Andi's Supra websites - and (chronicling his '02 and '03 One Lap of America efforts) - are now down unfortunately. I thought it would be cool to copy the contents of his OLA efforts into this thread before they are gone forever (I used the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and moved his photos to my Flickr page). I really enjoyed reading this back in the day and his car was and still is one of my favorite MKIV's, so I didn't want to see its online record disappear.

I originally planned to add this into the informal Supra RR History thread that I started a while back and is stickied at the top of this section, but I thought that this was extensive enough to warrant its own thread. If a mod wants to sticky this as well, that'd be awesome.

I thought I'd start with a brief overview of the car from the original website. Anyone interested in more info can visit and view more of the website in greater detail - AFAIK, its one of the most complete build websites that dates all the way back to '99 or so (pretty cool from a historical standpoint).

For the 2002 effort, the Wayback Machine was able to dig up the entire website, so I collected screenshots to post below, and uploaded all the photos I could find (on Andi's website and elsewhere) of the car through my Flickr account so that they won't disappear.

For the 2003 effort, I was able to collect and similarly save and upload a slew of photos to share, but unfortunately the Wayback Machine lost the original format of the website, leaving only bare source code/text to be viewed, so I copied and pasted the text instead of using the screenshot method.

It is all together a great story that combines the excitement of the One Lap with the cool-factor of early Supra enthusiasm, so I hope this can serve as a good read for a long time to come. Without further ado....

· Supraddict
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update #1 - Through Monday 5/5/03

It is now Monday evening, and after an interesting day at Road America, I finally have have a bit of free time to write this first update on the road. I'm sorry for leaving y'all hanging thus far; I'll try my best to be posting daily updates for the remainder of the race.

So, let's get started with the summary of this year's adventure, shall we? Any race effort begins with car prep, and One Lap is certainly no exception. We learned quite a few lessons last year, what with the engine swap, wheel bearing failure, drilled rotor failure, fuel hose failures, crankshaft pulley failure, etc. Wayne Potts of CTC Motorsports in Dallas, TX, the primary sponsor of the 2003 One Lap Supra effort, spent the past two weeks doing nothing but working on preparing the One Lap Supra for this race.

Once all was said and done, we brought the car to One Lap this year with a 10,000 mile engine that's been track tested, all new wheel bearings, a new TRD limited-slip differential and TRD twin-disc clutch (thanks to for those items), new axles, all new brakes with non-drilled rotors, a new radiator air scoop / engine undertray, and tons of other stuff that'd be too time-consuming to list. The goal was simple; the car needs to be reliable this year, with none of the insanity of daily parts replacements that totally defined our One Lap 2002 effort.

Clint and I originally planned to head out from Dallas toward New York on Wednesday morning, which would have been a nice, relaxed schedule. In the end, after a few unexpected extra repairs (and many parts runs to Houston and Austin) to get the car totally ready, we strapped the One Lap Supra onto the trailer and left from my house around 6pm on Wednesday. That may not have been optimal,but it's still 10 hours ahead of our departure last year.

We didn't have time to sleep in a hotel on Wednesday night, so we drove straight through, and arrived at the Lodge on the Green in Painted Post, NY, at around midnight on Thursday night. I guess it really was a more leisurely drive than last year, as we were only 2 hours ahead of last year upon arrival rather than 10 hours.

Friday was a relatively uneventful day; this year One Lap started on Friday night at the Lodge on the Green, and the first time trial at Watkins Glen on Saturday is only 30 miles away. Mike Lee, a Supra guy in the area, kindly offered us to use the pressure washer at his house, so we headed there after lunch. Once we got the car cleaned and stickered up, we hurried back to the Lodge for the 6pm driver's meeting.

Once we were back at the hotel, we met up with my good friend and fellow Supra owner Bruce Hadfeld, who drove down from Canada to watch us run at Watkins Glen. Friday evening, Clint decided to rig up an in-car camera mount, so he went to home depot and bought a piece of wood. Wood, zipties, and duct tape; isn't that how all in-car camera setups are built?

Fast forward to Saturday morning at Watkins Glen. We went through our usual preparations, setting the boost, refueling with race fuel, setting the tire pressures, etc, and lined up to run according to our pre-assigned car number (5th). You see, before the race, Brock et al assign a car number to every team, signifying how they would guess that team will place at the end, and that is your starting order for the first time trial.

In the morning session at Watkins Glen, the cars were ordered as such: First was Brian Smith in his team Chrysler PVO Viper SRT-10, second was Ron Adee in his MTI 427+NOS Z06, third was Paul Gerrard in a RUF RGT (pro driver in pretty much a stock Porsche GT3), fourth was John Boos in a DRM 427 Z06, and then lil ol' me in 5th. Brock decided to put 5 cars in each run group, so I started at the back of the first run group. I was hoping to be in the 2nd run group to get some more time for the track to heat up, but this turned out to be to my advantage (more on that later).

At One Lap, each time trial works like this: you exit pit road onto the track, do one warm-up/reconnaissance lap (well, almost one lap), and stop at the start/finish line. They usually put five cars in each run group, and each starts when given the green flag; they try to space us out as far apart as possible. When given the green flag, you drag-launch the car as well as possible, then you do 3 timed laps, and when you cross the finish line the 3rd time you're presented a checkered flag. After that, you typically get most of one lap to cool the car down, exiting this lap at the pit entrance.


· Supraddict
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The morning session at Watkins Glen was pretty good, except that I didn't work my way to totally pushing wide open throttle through the esses. The esses, a very important part of this track, basically connect the two parts of the back straight, and are surrounded by intimidating guardrails very close to the track edges. Oh, and in a fast car you're doing 100-140mph as you accelerate through the esses. Thank God it didn't rain here; that would have been very scary, throttle steering between guardrails uphill at triple digit speeds.

My cumulative 3-lap time in the morning session would have netted me a 4th place finish, but John Boos hit a cone and got a 10 second penalty, which flip-flopped our positions and netted us 3rd place. I was lucky to be in the first run group rather than the second, as the Lamborghini hit the wall near the laces of the boost and left some radiator fluid on the track, which undoubtedly slowed down the people in that run group at least slightly (the session was not red-flagged). I'm sure most everybody wanted to cry when they saw that beautiful car banged up like that. Somehow he lucked out and it was only minor mechanical damage, and he was able to fix it before the second session. It's not every day you see a crowbar go through a Diablo's quarter panel to try and distance it from the tire.

Before the second session at Watkins Glen, I turned up the boost just a bit, and decided to just grow the balls to go flat out through the esses. I knew the car could handle it, so I just had to convince myself that I could. At the start of the second time trial, my launch off the line kind of sucked as I fell off boost. Oh well, nothing I could do but drive my best around the track and make up for it. Overall, this session felt a lot faster than my previous one, mainly due to much higher speeds through the esses and the following straight.

The g-Force TA KD's just barely had enough grip through the esses; on lap two, which I think was my best lap, the rear end of the car actually stepped out slightly on the power in 5th gear at ~130mph. In the middle of the esses, right between the guard rails. Nice. Then, immediately after that on the same lap, I noticed my exhaust gas temperature gauge was reading too low (700C instead of ~850C), which worried me a bit. My first thought was blown head gasket, but the water temperature was still perfect so that wasn't it; so I did my best to keep that off my mind and just race. I recall at least one mistake that I made in the 3rd lap due to this distraction, but I'd guess it only cost me a second or less so it's not a big deal.

The second session, overall, definitely felt a lot better than the first, and it's an incredible rush to be driving a 600+hp car on street tires at The Glen; especially through the esses. I ended up getting 4th overall in that session, with a significantly faster time than I put down earlier. At the end of the first day, Brian Smith was leading, Ron Adee was in second place, and John Boos and I were tied for fourth place. Paul Gerrard was just a few points down from us though.

When we opened the hood afterwards in the garage, we found the problem that caused the lower exhaust gas temperature; my turbo-to-manifold bolts had started to back out, and the hot gases burned a hole in the stainless steel gasket. Shit, where do you get a T04 turbine flange stainless steel gasket on a Saturday afternoon? I looked through my contact list of people from the online Supra community that had emailed me for One Lap help along the way,
and started calling people.

Ryan Pinkus from Ohio called around and tried to find one but had no luck. Then I noticed Bob Westwater on my contact list was in Indianapolis and has a T78. I gave him a call and he said his car was down anyway and he didn't at all mind lending us his turbine inlet gasket. Sweet! Now that we had a worst case scenario set up, we continued to try to find a new gasket, going from truck stop to truck stop, Dodge dealer to Dodge dealer, etc; (A lot of diesel truck turbos use the same T04 turbine flange). No luck. Then an hour later, Bob called us back and said he found the correct gasket at an International Truck dealer and that he already bought a couple, so we should just head to his house in Indianapolis on the way to IRP. Coolness.

First, though, we had to go to this year's only checkpoint stop, the Summit Racing retail store in Akron, Ohio. Good, I needed a new air filter anyway. We quickly ate our free boxed lunches, bought the new K&N, and were off to Bob's.

We arrived at Bob's at 1am, waited a few minutes (!) for the turbo to cool down, and then took it off the header to replace the gasket. (Sorry about those burn scars, Clint) Of course, our 9/16 wrench didn't fit in the tight space for one of the turbo bolts, but that was soon rectified with a hacksaw and grinding wheel. We got the turbo off, removed the 10% of the gasket that was still there, installed the new stainless steel International truck turbo gasket, put the turbo back on, and went on our way.

I went to sleep in the passenger seat while Clint drove around for a bit, testing the car and doing some 18psi pulls to make sure everything was okay, and then we went to a Denny's to eat some breakfast (it was about 4am at the time). Denny's sucks. Too bad they don't have IHOP around here.

So we get to the track at about 5:30 and set our alarms for 7 o'clock(gate opening time), recline the seats as much as we can, and try to get some sleep; (We parked in front of the gate in everybody's way so they'd have to wake us up, heh). 7am rolls around, our alarms go off, and the gate is still closed; only now there are a few other One Lappers asleep in
their cars around us as well. 7:30 rolls around and STILL nothing. WTF? Then I had an epiphany: Indiana's on central time, and we're not. Sigh. Try to go back to sleep for another few minutes.

Finally the real 7 o'clock comes up and they open the gates, and we happily go in IRP's lovely grassy paddock and unpack. The fuel tank is empty, as we're prepared to put in race gas, but the track officials still haven't opened the race gas pumps. Roy Hopkins of the ///M5 team and I decided to go walk the track at around 7:15, and when I got back to the car at 8:15, Clint was done installing the camera mounts but we were still running on empty and there was no race gas. Then I heard "will the first 20 cars please line up at the grid" over the intercom. SHIT! I'm out of gas! Jim Connell and his son had just showed up to watch us run, and we borrowed an empty fuel jug from the Thunderbird team and Jim went to fill it up with pump gas at the station down the street. Meanwhile, I asked Brock Sr. what to do, and he got the track officials to open the pumps and delayed the start of the first run group by a few minutes while we pumped it in. He said "I'm not gonna have one of the leaders DNF just because the track people are running late." What a guy. Thanks Brock!

I don't like Indianapolis Raceway Park. Whereas Watkins Glen is a beautiful, flowing, challenging, adrenaline pumping high speed track, IRP is a boring, drab, thrown together road course. They didn't even fully construct the very back section of the track; it's just a big parking lot with the race area marked off by cones. Very nice. And IRP has lots of walls too. Like the two walls on both sides of the front straight (which is actually a
1/4 mile drag strip). Maybe I'm just biased against it because I never do well at this track, or maybe it really does suck, I don't know.

Anyways, once I got the race gas in and had the car setup, we did a quick warm up lap and got ready to start. The first session was a bit challenging as I hadn't practiced this track before (except for two 3-lap time trials in last year's One Lap), and I didn't go as fast as I possibly could have through the blind back section. This session got us a 6th place finish, and even the second session where I thought I did much better, was still a 5th place. Shoot.

The skidpad competition at the Tire Rack was in a few hours, and it looked like rain was about to hit that area. Your time (or skidpad grip in this case) counts whether it's wet or dry, so if somebody gets there before you and runs in the dry, and you run in the wet, that's the way the times stand. We rapidly drove to South Bend, emptied the car, and got on the skidpad. A real small, 200ft skidpad that we ran in both directions.

Averaging the better of two laps around the skidpad in each direction, we ran 1.016g, which was a 4th place finish. Stupid understeer; I couldn't throttle steer at all around that little skidpad. Paul Gerrard in the Ruf Porsche won the skidpad event, and told me afterwards that he unhooked the front swaybar for more oversteer. I wish I would've done that.

The drive from the Tire Rack to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin was a short, relaxed one, and we actually got a lot of sleep at the Plymouth Inn. It was raining, and the outlook for this morning's track day at Road America was also gloomy rain. Road America is an awesome, four-mile course with some of the longest straights of any race track in the country, so I was really hoping for dry weather to take advantage of my car's great high speed acceleration.

Woke up Monday morning in Elkhart Lake and headed across town to Road America. No need for race gas; it was still raining. I turned the boost down to 16psi and headed to the track with the tank of gas we had in the car. We actually left some of our stuff in the hotel room after asking for a late checkout. We pulled into this little cramped garage with room for maybe 8 cars and emptied our remaining supplies, and found out the driver's meeting was in that same garage in a few minutes.

Brock Sr. led the meeting, and informed us that due to the weather, there would be only one time trial instead of two, albeit with four timed laps. There would be a stop-sign strategically placed right before the kink, to try to protect people from hitting the wall in that very dangerous section of the track, and corner workers and camera watchers would be policing us to make a complete stop. No complete stop - DNF. And before the session, even before our one warm-up lap, we would get two extra recon laps behind a pace car. Brock was really trying hard to protect us from wadding up our cars at this very challenging, dangerous wet track.

After the two extra recon laps, I was a little bit low on fuel, and the Sizemore team with the Corvette was kind enough to give me a couple gallons of race fuel they had in their trailer so I wouldn't risk going lean. Although I was leading Gerrard in the points, and was thus told to go ahead of him, I let him go ahead of me as I knew he would own this event.

· Supraddict
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As I write this, I still don't know the official results from Road America, but I'd bet that Gerrard won it. All I know so far is that I'm happy that I managed to run at 9/10ths in the wet and keep the car and myself in one piece; and I probably didn't do too terribly bad. We'll probably know by the time you read this.

Road America is one of my favorite tracks in the country. It's a tough, four mile circuit with not only long straights, but lots of fast, sweeping corners that dare you to go through them flat out. In the dry, it's a dream. In the wet, a bit more of a nightmare for a 600hp turbo lagging street car like ours; but fun nonetheless. I can't wait to see the in-car
video from our TurboPimports ghetto-fab camera mount.

In today's wet conditions, I turned the boost down all the way (~15-16psi) and softened the rear shocks to reduce oversteer. With this setup, the car would actually sometimes catch traction in third gear, and for sure in fourth. The track surface was very tricky, sometimes real grippy and at other times more like ice. I tried to follow Paul Gerrard's advice to stay off the dry line in the corners and try to find the coarser looking surface and put my outside tires on it, and that seemed to work pretty well.

The car stayed in check for the most part, except for one occasion where the back end stepped out on the downhill braking zone for turn 5; I had opposite lock dialed in for most of the braking zone, from about 100 down to about 25mph approaching that corner. That could have ended less optimally but I somehow kept it together. In retrospect it probably at least looked pretty cool. :).

About an hour after leaving Road America; in fact, right before the Illinois border, we heard a loud clunking noise under the car. Something like a tire blowout or driving over a chunk of metal. Then silence, and the car still drove straight. WTF? We pulled over and looked under the car, at the wheels and tires, etc, and everything looked fine. Got back on the highway, and the first time we had to brake moderately hard, the car swerved to the right.

Does your car always violently swerve to the right under braking? asked Clint. Umm, no. The next exit was the Illinois Welcome Center, and we decided to inspect the car again at their parking lot. Look at the brakes and they seem fine upon initial inspection, until I noticed that the front left rotor was a two-piece rotor. Literally. The big-brake kit I have uses an outer cast-iron rotor and an inner aluminum hat that attaches to the hub, and these two items are bolted together by twelve allen-head bolts. Or at least should be. When I looked through the front left wheel at the rotor, all of the bolts had sheared off, and the rotor was no longer concentric with the center aluminum hat or wheel hub.

At least I thought to bring along new brake rotor hardware in case this happens. NOT. Who would expect this? We took the opposite rotor off as well to maybe steal some of the hardware from that one to install onto the left side so we could limp to the next track until we got some more brakes. No dice, the other side's rotor was almost as bad, with 6 of the 12 bolts sheared off and the rest seized in there. This failure doesn't seem to be the
product's fault, but rather my own. I installed these rotors myself, and tightened the shit out of these bolts, not knowing that their torque spec is only 10ft-lbs, so as to allow for rotor expansion at high temperatures. Oops.

At this point, to continue in the race, was only one option: remove the front brakes and limp with rear brakes only to wherever we can fix it. But what could we stick in the front calipers to keep the pistons apart? And where would we get replacement brakes (or fasteners/bolts)?

Luckily we were at the Illinois Welcome Center, as the people there were extremely kind and helpful. First, a fellow by the name of Jim came by and asked how he could help. When we told him we needed something to insert into the brake calipers in place of the rotors, he said he had some 2x4's in the truck, and brought us some. With those 2x4s installed, and the brake bias adjusted to full rear, we were able to drive the car again. That having been said, I never realized how weak and useless rear brakes really are. No amount of pedal pressure could lock the rears; it just couldn't be done. Just pulling the handbrake seemed to double the amount of deceleration we were able to achieve.

The ladies at the welcome center came out and asked us what we were looking for, and suggested a few race shops and hardware stores in the area. They even called around for us until they found a specialty hardware store just a few miles away that had the exact fasteners we needed. Evidently, Rockford, Illinois was the ideal spot to have such a failure, as the city is famous for being a large nut and bolt manufacturing town. A couple hours later, we left Rockford with the brakes back together and everything good as new. We're just a few hours behind and won't get a chance to get a whole night's sleep in Tulsa, that's all.

As I write this, we're in a large pack of One Lappers in southern Illinois, about to cross into Missouri. Like last year, we're going to Shane Duvall's house in Tulsa tonight, although it's a refreshing change not to have to fix anything this time. Jordan and Jerry are coming up from Dallas tonight as well, and they're picking up my stock brakes from CTC Motorsports and bringing them to us so we can carry them around the country as backups, just in case..

I'll do my best to be posting daily updates the rest of the race; sorry it took a few days to get this one posted. It's just been a little more crazy than I thought it would be so far. More importantly, I'll do my best to move up in the points and get that podium finish we're shooting for. Wish us luck!

Andi Baritchi
Monday, May 05, 2003

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update #2 - Through Thursday 5/8/03

Thursday, May 08, 2003
By Andi Baritchi

I thought this year would be relatively drama free, what with all the extremely thorough car preparation, the practice days I did at some of the tracks, etc; Last year, it seems like we had nothing but huge problems throughout the race, yet had a guardian angel watching over us and helping us get through all these problems without any adverse affects on our points standings. This year, the exact opposite seems to be the case; no catastrophic failures off the track, just performance issues surfacing during the track sessions and costing us big points. That and, unlike last year, we weren't fortunate enough to avoid having to race in the rain.

The Supra is ideally suited to fast, sweeping tracks with long straights; preferably dry ones. I was really excited about Road America before One Lap; I knew that our Supra's high horsepower and great high speed stability would help us a lot there. The rain took away our unfair advantage at Road America and made it just a test of how well I can drive a twitchy 600hp car on a wet track. I ended up getting 18th place in the wet Road America time trial, so as you might expect I was very disappointed that it rained at Road America. I kept thinking to myself how cool it would have been if Road America was dry, and how much better I'd have done.

Then I had an epiphany: had it not rained at Road America, I would have been much harder on the brakes there, and I'd have two sessions instead of one on that track. In that case, it's quite likely that I would have had the front left brake come apart on the track at the end of one of the 160mph straights. The consequences of such a failure at those speeds aren't pretty, i.e. jerking the car hard to the right when applying the brakes, so in retrospect I'm thrilled it rained at Road America. To the Gerrard/Church team that was doing the rain dance all day on Sunday, thank you. Who knows what would have happened to me at Road America in the dry.

After getting the brakes fixed in Rockford, Illinois, the rest of the drive to Tulsa was pretty calm. I spent some of that drive sleeping, some of it writing the previous web update, etc. We had a pretty big caravan of One Lappers going ~80-100 most of the way, so I can't complain. Clint and I ended up arriving at Shane's house in West Tulsa at about 2:30am, so we got about two hours of sleep before waking up at 5:30 to head out to Hallett.

Hallett is a pretty cool track, rewarding horsepower a little and good driving a lot. There's a lot of blind turns and tricky elevation and camber changes here, so I thought I would do rather well here, with the two practice days I've done at Hallett since last year. And I probably would have, had the race fuel there not been crap. You see, Clint filled up the car at the track with the track's 103 unleaded race gas, which should be just fine for the boost we were running (~23psi).

As soon as I started my warm-up lap, however, the engine was absolutely not happy. The car started detonating severely, and to make matters worse, the timing retard from the detonation caused a boost spike to 30+psi, which immediately registered an exhaust gas temperature of 930C. That's motor melting territory :-(. I turned the boost down to 16psi and richened the air fuel mixture, and did my best to short shift and protect the motor as best I could. The EGT gauge ended up hovering between 880 and 910C the whole session, and the car ran like absolute shit. I think I ended up getting 7th in the morning session.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
During the lunch break, Clint dumped the shit race gas that caused this problem and dumped in half a tank of 110 leaded, which seemed to fix the problem during the multiple 40-160 pulls he did on the street by the track to test it out. Then, as soon as I started the second session, the car began misfiring worse than I've ever seen, and I again turned the boost down to try and complete the session with the motor in one piece. The check engine light turned on sometime during the session, too. Nice.

The diagnostic procedure for the check engine light revealed a code 13, and after calling home and asking my mom to look that up on the Internet, I found out that the crank angle sensor had gone bad. Shane checked the local Toyota dealers in Tulsa, and of course nobody had one. Damn. Now we had good race gas, the EGTs were fine, but we had a horrible misfire. The ignition had gotten so bad that even cruising off-boost at 5500RPM was choppy; it wasn't
just a high boost problem.

Oh, and we had to be at Tulsa Speedway, about an hour away, by 3pm the same day for the dirt track time trials. We hauled ass towards Tulsa, and stopped in Sand Spring at a shut down Conoco to change spark plugs in the shade. Still misfired. Oh well, we don't need a lot of power for the dirt anyway.

So, it's 3:15 and we arrive at the dirt track. Clint pulls off the engine undercover / radiator air scoop so we don't destroy it on the track, and unpacks all the crap from the car. We hurry so we can get in line early, as I recall last year all the fast times were done early on before the track dried up. Last year, all the fast people went on the very high line near the wall, and the slower ones were slow because we didn't have the balls to pitch the car in fast and high. So this year, I had learned my lesson, and I took the high line, getting real sideways and close to the wall in my quest to not suck at the dirt track this time. Balls were not lacking this time.

58th place. Stupid 58th place is what I got at the dirt track. It turns out that the grippier line this year was down low, the line I took last year, and I again sucked at the dirt track, worse than last year's spectacular 33rd place performance. This brought us down to 7th place overall, with a 200-point gap to the next better position. It would now be a game of attrition; it will take a DNF from one of the top 6 for us to move up. Attrition is a big factor in One Lap though, so I decided to continue running as well as I could and just make sure I don't make any mistakes and slip down further.

So now we've got the second longest leg of One Lap head of us, Tulsa to Mephis, and our Supra doesn't run for shit on boost. What do we do? Shane Duvall rescues us again, this time by letting us scavenge parts of his Supra until ours would run well again. We were at his house by 5pm and Clint went to work on both cars. First we tried his engine computer, no luck, still misfired. Then his ignitor, same thing. Now came the hard part, swapping the crankshaft angle sensor. That part is a pain in the ass to get to as it's under the car and you have to loosen the timing belt tensioner to get to it.

Clint first pulled out our Supra's crank angle sensor and found the problem. There's a big dent in it. WTF? Who knows. So Clint took Shane's 230,000 mile crankshaft angle sensor out of his car and installed it in ours. Of course some bolt stripped on Shane's car and we had to get a tap and die set to fix that, but I think it was all fixed in the end. We started our Supra up and the check engine light was gone, a promising sign. Then Clint test drove it and it still misfired. Dammit!

Upon further inspection of the engine bay, Clint found that the adjustable intake camshaft gear had slipped 10 crank degrees, from my setting of +2 to -8. He adjusted the cam gear, and now the misfire was gone. Clint then went back to work on putting Shane's car back together, and I went to sleep for a while. We ended up leaving Tulsa around midnight, just in time for a nice, leisurely overnight drive to Memphis. Right.

The drive to Memphis sucked. The highway was very choppy, and the weather was just a constant downpour the whole way. I did hear later that we missed a bad hailstorm by a few hours, so I can't complain about the weather. At some point, we hit a really bad dip in the freeway and the prototype undertray/air scoop Wayne made last week got torn off. :( .

When we arrived at Memphis Motorsports Park at 7am, the entire area was engulfed in a torrential downpour. There were tornado watches and flash flood watches active for the entire Memphis area, including the city of Millington that houses the track. It was obvious there would be no drag races; the VHT all over the drag strip is extremely slippery when wet. But what would they do about the road course?

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It stopped raining around 7:30am, and they decided to just dry the track as well as they could and have us run. I was already a bit nervous about this track when I walked it, as there was a river running down the 100mph banked turn 1, as well as numerous other slick, wet areas. Then Brock made the big announcement: due to the standing water that had accumulated on the drag strip, we would diverge from plan and not use the drag strip as the front straight. Rather, from the back part of the track we would make a wide u-turn and accelerate up pit lane. Pit lane runs parallel to and right next to the drag strip, separated from it by a strong concrete wall.

Pit lane is only one quarter of a mile long, however, and we would be transitioning to the drag strip at the end of pit lane for the next quarter mile of straightaway. Pit lane ends abruptly with a concrete wall, and we would make this transition to the second front straight at speed through a 1.5 car length long hole in the wall. At speed. Let me restate.. you're driving along pit lane (walls on both sides) and you go through a very short hole in the left wall onto the drag strip, which also has walls on both sides. Tagging the wall on the transition is not an option, it's not like hitting some wall with the side of the car and just scraping it. Hitting this wall would be a disastrous head-on collision with a two foot wide, four foot tall, immovable concrete object, and would probably send the car spinning into the opposite wall on the dragstrip.

So, you're thinking, there must be a chicane before this transition to slow us down so nobody tries to be the hero and ends up going to fast and hitting the wall, right? In a word, no. I asked Brock Jr. about putting in a chicane to make it safer, and he said "your car has 3 pedals, use them at your discretion to make the turn safely." Umm... okay, I'll
do that.

I ran in the second run group, so I got to see the top 5 negotiate the kink between the walls. Scary is an understatement. By the third lap they were going almost flat out, with just a lift to rotate the car on the way to an insane triple-digit-speed lane change through a 25-foot hole in a concrete wall. Insanity.

When it was my turn, I think I braked a bit on the first two laps, and only let off the gas on the third. I took the kink at about 110mph. It may have been scary, but surprisingly it didn't seem as scary in the car as it did when walking the course earlier. After the session, I talked to Ron Adee, the man currently first in the field in his 427 Vette. He said he was still letting off in the kink, but that in the second run group he planned to run totally flat out and keep the nitrous on through both straights. Words to live (die?) by?

The afternoon session at Memphis was a lot more exciting, everybody was trying harder, and I swear I saw Brian Smith get within inches of the right wall through the kink. I thought I was seeing him hit, and then somehow the Viper kept going and was no crashing sound, but nonetheless the daylight had totally disappeared between the red Viper and the concrete wall. And now it was my turn to go out again. The car was running pretty good, accelerating
strongly to 150ish on the front straight, and was only getting slightly sideways now in the afternoon when crossing the river through the banked turn 1 at 110mph. This session was a lot more exciting, and scary. I got a much better exit onto the front straight (pit lane) than before, and was shifting to 5th around 115-120mph before the kink. On the first flying entrance to the kink, I recall I let off slightly to adjust my line, and all was well as I flew through there. On the second flying entrance, I stayed in it, with the only let-off being the shift to 5th. Now THAT was scary. I've since watched both in-car videos we have of the run (roof mount and trunk-mount in-car), and I still can't believe we did that. At 120. Damn. That'll be the first video I post to the net.

The drive from Memphis Motorsports Park to Carolina Motorsports Park was another 600 or so miles, and for once, this drive was totally uneventful. We got to Kershaw at about 2am and pulled into the Executive Inn. No rooms. The hotel was totally empty at this point (there were maybe 6 cars parked outside), yet the whole thing was reserved. Karl Troy was on the patio when we arrived, and he said people were going back to Lancaster to get rooms. He had his red, white, and blue race Diablo parked outside, and his wife was there too in his yellow Diablo (the one he ran in One Lap last year). That just looked way too damn cool in the hotel parking lot.

We ended up driving to Camden (15 miles south of the track) and getting a room at a pretty run-down hotel there, the only one that we found. Oh well, we only got two and a half hours of sleep anyway. Upon our arrival at Carolina Motorsports Park this morning, we had a nice empty gas tank so we mixed some 104 unleaded and 110 leaded. Clint did some more testing on the street and the car ran strong, so stuff seemed to be going better. Ryan Hoskins brought
a bicycle with him to the track for me to use this morning, which was pretty helpful in reminding myself what this track looked like.

I started the first session and the car just felt weak. The EGTs passed 900C, so I turned the boost down to 18psi and the EGTs stayed in check. But the water temps didn't; they started rising, and passed 105C. Damn. We think the severe detonation from the bad race gas at Hallett might have hurt the head gasket. :( I got 7th place in that session, which I guess isn't too bad considering the problems. What really impressed me is Karl Troy; he got 3rd place, meaning he's very close to the pace being set by Brian and Ron. Karl's really stepped it up this year, that all-race Diablo is a beast, and he's not driving it too badly either.

I went to the Media RV where Kim was selling One Lap merchandise as usual. I was going to ask her if she'd mind if I rested in the RV's air conditioned comfort for a bit, when Billy from the Car & Driver Television crew came up to me with the camera and started chatting with me on camera. Billy's a real cool guy, and it's funny how every time you look up from getting a quick nap at the track or working on the car, he's got a camera on you. Kinda cool too, hopefully we'll get some good TV time this year; I can't wait to see. Anyways, Billy said we can go in the RV, and came in w/ me and his other camera guy to chat about our progress this year on camera. They left after about 20 minutes of interviewing me on camera, and I subsequently just laid back and fell asleep on the couch in the RV overlooking the start/finish line.

An hour later, I woke up, looked out the window, and saw the Diablo and the other cars in my run group lined up on the starting grid and read to go. SHIT! I bolted to my car, where Clint was standing there with my race car and helmet ready. Not 90 seconds later I was on the track doing my warm up lap. What a way to wake up.

This second session, I did my best to keep the motor in one piece, suspecting the bad head gasket, and turn the boost down to minimum (16psi), not to mention running the heater on maximum. The session felt pretty good, and I think I ran a way better line than in the morning, so I would guess I did okay considering this isn't a power track anyway.

One problem - the coolant temperatures, even at just one bar of boost, rose from 90C to 98C in the warm-up lap, and to 110C by the end of the four-lap session. That's *with* me nursing the engine by short shifting at 6k on every straight. A damaged head gasket is starting to look more likely. Where do we get one of those, and how the hell can we replace it in time?

About 10 minutes after my session ended, Greg Caloudas arrived in his GSC Motorsports Excursion, and somehow he had a brand new sealed 2JZ GTE head gasket in the back of the truck. Talk about weird coincidences, that's pretty funny. He gave us the head gasket and we took off, driving as quickly as we can to Beaver Falls to hopefully have time to replace the head gasket if necessary. While passing through Charlotte, we stopped at a Sears to buy the right tools for changing the head gasket, and Clint tracked down a Snap-on truck and bought
an exhaust content coolant tester (head gasket tester). It's now 9pm and we've got 200 miles left on our journey to Beaver Falls. We've already passed the same group of One Lappers at least three times this afternoon; it's interesting how we can be driving on a 600 mile stretch of freeway, separated by hours among each other, yet we keep running into each other. It's kind of cool, actually.

Tomorrow is the last day of One Lap of America 2003; we have two time trials on Beaver Run's main (north) course, and one run on the go-cart track. The day is a big variable for us right now, as we don't even know if the head gasket is okay right now or if we will be replacing it all night. I'm going to go to sleep now, I gotta wake up soon whenever Clint getstired and asks me to drive.

· Supraddict
1,745 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update #3 - Through Saturday 5/10/03

Friday, May 09, 2003<br>
By Andi Baritchi

The One Lap [before it overheats] Supra rolled into Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania about a quarter to midnight last night. We had tested the coolant for exhaust gas with that Snap-On tester we picked up in Charlotte and the health of the head gasket was inconclusive. But we got all we needed to know from (a) the overheating at CMP and (b) the oil we found in the coolant.

Racing a turbo motor with a bad head gasket is bad news; that's exactly how I unwittingly blew up my original motor just before One Lap last year. So Clint and I decided to learn from our mistakes and not race on a bad head gasket again; even just a possibly bad one.

Armed with all the necessary tools, a new Toyota head gasket, and Clint's cool flashlight that he wears as a hat, we got to work on replacing the head gasket at around 1am in the motel parking lot. Note that I was scheduled to be racing at the track at 8:30am. I wasn't too worried about the early scheduling though, as I could run as late as 11:30 with just a ten-second penalty.

More One Lappers continued arriving at the motel as we worked. John Boos was the first one to help us by giving us an extra bottle of coolant. Then, Dave Campbell of the car 69 Impala team came by and offered a hand. Needing all the help we could get in order to get finished in time, we took him up on his offer. We can't thank him enough; he stayed up and worked with us on the car all night until completion, and his help undoubtedly shaved hours off our repair time.

The Car & Driver television crew showed up around 2am to see what was going on, and Billy from their crew hung out with us, filmed the repair job, and even lent a hand as needed the rest of the night. I ended up fading around 5am, deciding to get a couple of hours of sleep so my driving would be halfway decent on the track.

At about 7:30, Clint walked into the hotel room, told me to wake up, and went back out to keep working on the car. I was pretty delirious and had a rather tough time waking up, and it took me a few minutes to remember that Clint and Dave were outside doing a head gasket swap on the car. When I stepped out of the room to take a look, it was about 8 o'clock, and it was just starting to rain. Rain! Dammit, all this work on zero sleep and it looks like we probably could've skated through the last day in the rain off boost anyway.

We finished the head gasket swap and reinstalled the hood on the car at around 9, and now came the moment of truth. Will it start? Crank, crank, vroooom, bluh bluh, vroom. A misfire? What the hell, we didn't even mess with any engine control stuff. Clint pulled out his poor man's stethoscope (long screwdriver), and diagnosed that injector #1 wasn't firing, so the car was basically running on 5 cylinders. He tried the quick fix attempts like tapping the injector, and disconnecting/reconnecting the wire, with no luck. What were we to do?

It was still raining, I was already late for my run group, so if the rain were to subside a little bit between now and 11:30, that would only help me get a better time. We drove to the track (on 5 cylinders) to see what was going on. Nobody was running, and the Boos/Marks silver Vette was sitting in the paddock with a bit of body damage. It turns out that they tried running the morning session on time at 8:30am, but Boos found some standing water in the back straight that sent him spinning into the guardrail. Luckily the damage was light and John wasn't hurt.

The good news was that, instead of the planned two sessions, there would be only one session at the BeaveRun north course. And we wouldn't start until they decided the track was dry enough, which was an indefinite timeframe as it was still raining. Not being able to locate any covered areas in the paddock, we went back to the gas station to continue trying to fix the malfunctioning fuel injector. It turns out the injector was fine, and somehow the wire going to it from the ECU must have gotten pinched inside the main harness (we couldn't find any breaks in the visible part of the wire). The fix, although a bit ghetto, was easy and it worked; we severed the broken wire from the ECU and replaced it with another new wire going to the #1 injector. Since time was so limited, we just ran the cable through the door sill and fender rather than trying to run it through that pesky firewall grommet above the ECU.

We finally started up our Supra in top running form at around 10:30am, about 15 minutes after the rain had subsided. Arriving at the track a few minutes later, we were told that the first session still hadn't run yet, so we unpacked quickly and got ready to run WITHOUT a ten-second late penalty. I guess it's a good thing we changed the head gasket after all, as it didn't cost us any time like we thought it would.

Since it was so late, we would run just a single 4-lap session on the north track road course, after which we would have the rest of the afternoon to do a couple of two-lap autocross (go-kart track) time trials at our convenience. Yes, I said go-kart track. More on that later.. They finally put us on the north course to do our time trial session at around 11am, and even though it had stopped raining, the track was still pretty damn wet. And the river on the back straight that sent had John into the wall earlier was still there, albeit slightly smaller now.

So, here we were, at the last track day of One Lap of America 2003, and the top 3 were all really close to each other in points. The top 3 lap dogs were all very close to each other in the points, so the pressure was on strong for those guys. They went in the first run group, and put on a good show, albeit drama-free except for Ron passing Brian.

Then it was my turn. It's a good thing I had practice this track a few months ago, as it's pretty technical, with at least two blind uphill apexes. Nobody can argue this is a fun track, wet or dry. Since it was wet, I just ran 16psi on pump gas, which was more than enough. Attrition needed to be my friend, not my enemy, I kept thinking to myself, trying to have the willpower to just cruise around the track at 7/10ths.

Not gonna happen. 4 laps of 9/10ths driving in the rain later, I did a cool-down lap and exited the track. Not a bad session I thought.. It was a 9th place finish, which would be a disappointment in the dry, but not the wet. Wet is not this car's strong suit, nor is it mine.

Alan Modzelewski's Viper broke during this session, causing them to DNF and actually skip the remaining two time trials as well. They were in 6th place before this failure, meaning their DNF brought us up from 7th to 6th place overall in the standings. We now had a 200+ point margin on either side, so all we had to do to preserve 6th was do the autocross and not royally screw it up or DNF.

Now it was time to do the go-kart track time trials. This was basically an autocross with grass between the cones. 2 wheels off is an automatic DNF, so we had to be very careful here. The speeds were between 10 and 50mph, and it was still wet. A lot of people had already run, but the big dogs were waiting for it to dry up. None of the big 3 was willing to run before the others, and they just kept waiting each other out. Seeing as how this is a ridiculously slow course and I need all the help (dry surface traction) I can get, I decided
to follow their lead and wait it out myself. Finally around 1, it was starting to look like another storm was approaching, so we got in line and ran.

Whoever had the idea to put us on that track definitely has a sense of humor. I couldn't figure out whether to hold 1st or 2nd gear through different parts of the track, and most of the surface was still slightly damp. There was only one straight, right in front of the audience at the start finish, and I don't think my car ever traversed that straight pointing forward. It's pretty funny when the track is so small that you're counter-steering down the entire length of the front straight, isn't it? Meanwhile, Clint was just sitting there watching the insanity, praying that I don't do something stupid or screw up and go off track and DNF.

His prayers were answered, and I finished the last time trials of One Lap 2003 with no spins or DNFs. If I recall correctly, my times at the autocross were 11th and 13th place. Whoa; on a 10-50mph wet autocross?! I figured I'd do a lot worse than that. Cool. I guess the strategy of waiting till it dried up to not let the slower, better suited for the wet cars ahead of me paid off.

It was now almost over. We went back to the motel down the road, packed up all our stuff into the car, and drove the last leg of The Lap back to Painted Post. Well, I should say I drove, as poor Clint finally got to get a bit of sleep after driving 500 miles yesterday and then changing a head gasket all night. After a couple hundred bone-jarring miles on the worst freeway ever made, we arrived at the Lodge on The Green at 8:30pm, with two hours to spare before the 10pm cutoff (50-point late penalty, not that it would have changed our finishing position). Most everybody was already there; I guess they were smart enough to take another route rather than making the mistake I did by following the route book; worst drive ever.

The awards ceremony was the next morning at 10am, and was attended by a largely hung-over collection of car nuts. Brock Sr. ran the show, and handed out the awards. I couldn't remember if only the top 5 get trophies or if it's the top 10, so I was pleasantly surprised when Brock called us up to hand us our 6th Place Overall trophy. Cool. 4th and 6th in consecutive years, the direction may be wrong but that's still a good finish, especially in
an ultra-competitive year like this one. I guess that podium finish I was shooting for will have to wait till next year.

One day, I will win One Lap, and until then, I'll continue to have a lot of fun trying. One Lap really is an awesome event, a convention of sorts bringing together some of the coolest, nicest gear heads out there. It really is the people that make One Lap what it is. To all the new friends we made at One Lap this year, I look forward to seeing you guys and girls again next year!

To those of you that have read this far but haven't done One Lap, you really should. It's a really fun, challenging adventure, and you'll be glad you did. I hope our story was entertaining and gave you a good taste about what One Lap really is all about.
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