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944 Spec MW has more fun... (Putnam Race Report)

 
Old 10-18-2010, 03:19 PM
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Default 944 Spec MW has more fun... (Putnam Race Report)

944 Spec Has More Fun to Wrap Up the Season!





NASA's annual year-end bash at Putnam Park proved to be a huge amount of fun, and some comic relief, to send off what has been 944 Spec Midwest's biggest, most fun season to date. As has become 944 Spec tradition, most of the drivers showed up Friday for the 3 hour enduro. Many did some test and tune time before that. In another developing 944 Spec tradition, Traqmate data was gathered and freely shared. During the test & tune and throughout the weekend, ride-alongs, coaching sessions, and driving tips helped all the drivers sharpen their skills. Everyone, from top to bottom, gained speed as the weekend went on. Finally, in what will hopefully not become a tradition, the 944 Spec guys again lost to the CMC drivers in the second annual car swap/1 Lap Shootout in a fairly spectacular way, as Angel Blazquez spun Kent Owen's CMC car onto dry grass, briefly lighting an impressive grass fire under that car. In the end, the fire was rapidly extinguished, no harm done other than a a few bad smells in Kent's car, and a good time was had by both the CMC & 944 drivers.

On to the details!

The Friday enduro put the E3 enduro championship on the line, with the Rx Racing team of Neal Agran & Eric Kuhns holding a sizeable points lead going in, and the Angel Blazquez & Michael Palmer team in contention for a podium spot as well. Despite some adversities with cording tires and a loose exhaust, all four of the 944's finished the enduro running strong, with the Privateer Racing entry of Jon & Ben Wilson overcoming it's teething issues to finish out the enduro. The Sudhir Chikkara/Joel Karns entry finished solidly after some excitement finding oil on turn 10. Unlike some less fortunate & skillful drivers, Karns was able to keep the car on track after a full opposite lock drift! Good pitwork saved the day for the Rx racing team, overcoming corded tires to accumulate enough points to come home with the E3 championship! The Palmer/Blazquez entry finished 4th in class, ending tied for 3rd in points but losing the tie-breaker and just missing the podium this year - a heart breaker!

Saturday was a double race day, to finish the official points for the season. With beautiful weather on tap, the 944 Spec drivers had two clean, yet hard-fought races, with close competition throughout the field. Kuhns and Agran fought a close battle through both races, with Agran leading most of the first race, and Kuhns most of the second. Their battles featured side-by side runs for 3 and 4 corners at a time, with each driver giving racing room, but no quarter to the other driver - one great picture shows no daylight between the cars, but no contact either - fantastic stuff!

Eric inside Neal (close):


Neal Inside Eric - even closer, but NO contact!


In the end, Kuhns prevailed in both races, sealing the 944 Spec Midwest Championship for the second year in a row. Agran's two second place finishes sealed his second place in the Championship. Joel Karns showed off the rapid progress he's made through the season, jumping into second place behind Kuhns for a while in the second race, before being reeled in by a resurgent Angel Blazquez skillfully using traffic to his advantage. This drive secured Blazquez's spot on the regional championship podium in 3rd place for the season. For a full account of Karn's weekend, with pictures & video to boot, look at his blog here: http://conflictedracer.wordpress.com...race-synopsis/. Chikkara also improved through the weekend, picking up 2 seconds a lap by implementing what he found by comparing Traqmate data with Kuhns & Blazquez. Unfortunately, spins put Chikkara just out of contention with Karns this weekend. Tom Stein from the Great Lakes region joined in on the fun this weekend, enjoying his newly prepared 944 Spec car, and looking to grow the 944 Spec class in the Great Lakes next year!

Here's how the season championship played out, with a total of 13 drivers racing this year:

1. Eric Kuhns
2. Neal Agran
3. Angel Blazquez
4. Sudhir Chikkara
5. Micheal Dalton
6. Joel Karns
7. Thomas Stein
8. Michael Palmer
9. Ben Wilson
10. Michael Hryckiewicz
11. Andrew ***
12. Jon Wilson
13. Ray Freundt



Sunday was purely for fun, and a lot of it. It started with the Putnam Shootout, where drivers did one hot lap of the track, including the chicanes, and guessed their best lap time. The 944 & CMC drivers added a twist to this, by competing as a class, in the other class's cars. A benchmark driver for each class went out to set a fast time in his own car, then turned that car over to the drivers from the other class. Whichever class's average came closer came closer to the benchmark time, won beer! This was settled conclusively when one of the 944 drivers spun the CMC car, and started a grass fire under it! Game over for the 944 guys! Some great in-car video of the incident can be seen here: http://www.nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=37437


Last up was the Putnam 100, an enduro with a twist - come as close to your target speed as you can without breaking out, including pit stops. Here the 944 Spec drivers cleaned up, winning both the 65MPH & 70MPH classes going away. Blazquez & Agran teamed up in the 65 MPH class at 64.7 MPH, without the aid of radios or data acquisition! Agran also drove 1/2 stint in Kuhns car, which won the 70MPH class going away, with an average speed of 69.989MPH! So Agran won the same race twice, in two different cars - amazing! The duo of Chikkara, and Karns couldn't quite restrain themselves enough, and broke out of the 65 MPH class by a hair - next year, guys!


So, 944 Spec ends it season on a high note - many hours of incident free track time, fun races, good food + trackside support courtesy of Bennington Motorsports. Lots of great stories to tell in the long racing winter!


The off-season is here, and things look bright for NASA MW 944 Spec. Nick Miller of Bennington Motorsports has orders for several more 944 Spec cars, and is rapidly expanding it's affordable arrive & drive + trackside support programs. Stay tuned for winter build parties, go-kart events, & other social events. In the mean time, kiss the wife & get caught up on the honey-do list!

Thanks to our Series Sponsor Nick "flat out colon" Miller of Bennington Motorsports (http://www.BENMS.com), who came to each event in full support of the class, saving the weekend for multiple drivers over the course of the season, and was always good for some comic relief of his own. Nick & Matt of Bennington was also instrumental in our enduro success, providing full, expert pit crew support at each enduro - no fuel spills or penalties, and several "saves" that kept us 944 racers in the game. Nick, and his right-hand man, Matt are truly the "McGyvers" of mechanics! 944 Spec is unique in having such a hands-on, helpful sponsor, that puts the "affordable" in Spec racing for us. Thanks also to John Zeeman at A Part Above (http://www.APartAbove.com) for his support of the "hard luck" award, and for providing affordable used part to keep our 25 year old Porsches going! Since there was no hard luck this weekend, this award goes to Joel Karns, for having the longest tow - $75 in free parts from A Part Above to you Joel! Finally, thanks to NASA & Toyo for their ongoing support of the series!

Video highlights to come!

--
Eric Kuhns
# 80 944 Spec
944 Spec Midwest Director

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Last edited by Sterling Doc; 10-18-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:10 PM
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Very cool, wish I could have stayed all weekend. I most procure a spec944!!
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:30 PM
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No need to cry, Sam - I know of a few FS
It's only money
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:22 PM
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I dug this thread up looking for a link, and found it funny - as Sam did buy a car from me nearly 6 months later, and went out and won the first independant Great Lakes 944 Spec race with it - congrats, Sam!

See you next month at Putnam - looks like the field will be over a dozen there!
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:42 PM
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Hahaha! Well...although that was quite a story for my first race - I officially got 2nd. Luckily Shannon had a video running that showed him drive up to get weighed after Saturday's race and they waved him off..so they reversed the DQ.

I had a lot of fun in my first two races and comp school in the rain was interesting to say the least! The PO owner (not you) did a number wiring the gauges/wiper - when I flipped the wipers on the oil/water gauges died LOL. Second session I figured it out and it wasn't a big deal, Id just shut off the wipers while on the back straight, make sure the gauges were OK and turn the wiper back on

I have lots to learn about driving a low HP car - looking forward to Putnam and a bigger field!
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