Honda Cup… Weekend Two

By -

The SCCA Honda Cup held its second race weekend of the year at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend. With only one S2000 entered to this event, (The semi-legendary Grey Ghost driven by owner Richard Laifatt (rlaifatt) the lone S2k) the field was wide open for the FWD cars to gain some momentum in the points race. Points leader Rylan Hazelton (krazik) opted instead to race in an SCCA ITE race at his favorite track, Sears Poin… ahem… Infineon Raceway. He did a splendid writeup of his event in the Racing and Competition forum, and we’ve attached his account at the end of this article. (Be sure to regularly check the R & C Forum for more of the same!)

 

It was not only Laifatt’s first race of the ’06 season, it was also his first ever visit to Phoenix International Raceway, yet he and the Grey ghost had an outstanding showing that catapulted him into third place in the point standings. He qualified a mere .16 second behind Derek Stevens’ lightning fast Civic and finished second to Derek in both Saturday and Sunday’s races. The screaming yellow Civic has built a commanding lead, and has quickly established itself as the car to beat this year. With an huge budget and a very talented driver, the S2000s will be chasing him for much of the season. Don’t fret… the S2ks have some very talented drivers as well, (currently in positions 2,3 & 4) so expect this to be a great competitive year for Honda Cup.

The current standings are as follows:

 

1:) Derek Stevens – Honda Civic – 64 Points

2:) Rylan Hazelton – Honda S2000 – 38 Points

3:) Richard Laifatt – Honda S2000 – 34 Points

4:) Alex Chen – Honda S2000 – 28 Points

4:) Tom Lepper – Acura Integra – 28 Points

4:) Jeff Owen – Acura Integra – 28 Points

 

Here is Rylan’s account of the SCCA ITE race.

 

Yet another race weekend. This weekend I ran w/ SF SCCA (http://www.sfrscca.org/Calendar/index.html) There is no Honda Cup for norcal SCCA as its a Socal (CalClub) SCCA regional class. So in Norcal I run in ITE which is pretty much an anything goes class. Vette’s, Camaro’s, BMW’s, RX7s, and EVO etc.

Forecast for the weekend was for some rain on Saturday and plenty of rain on Sunday. Since this was a single race weekend, I got 2 practice sessions and 1 qual on Saturday and 1 30 minute race on Sunday. I bring Kumho V710s for drys on my 2nd set of big wheels (245/285) and my trusty rains on stock AP1 wheels (225/245).

First practice was at about 9:30A on Sat. The track had a dry line but was damp everywhere else. I soften the shocks 3 clicks and go out on the oems. Halfway thru the session it starts to rain and the track gets really slick but was good practice. I turn a 1:56, hardly anything to write home about. The next practice session that track was try so I went out on the v710s to find there are rivers at the apex or exit of all of the fast corners on track. You had to make sure the car was pointed straight across them and even then you’d get a wiggle that gave you an 8 on the pucker scale. There was a river at the apex of T1 (I go thru it at ~120 in the dry), Apex of T6 that I go by at about 80-90 in the dry and at the exit of T10 which I do about 110 at in the dry. I still turn a couple 1:52s in that practice, 2nd fastest in the session only to Bobcat in his RX7 by ~.3. (Mueller EVO didn’t run) Car was pushing a fair bit partly because I forgot to put my shocks back to the dry settings and I’m still learning tire pressures for the V710s.

We we the last group to Qualify on Saturday and the track was dry and we had some mild wind that helped get the water off the track. The only water was a small creek at the apex of 6. You had to be careful crossing it, but towards the end of qual there was a very narrow dryish (well no standing water) line. I forget to stiffen my shocks back up and fight understeer in the tight corners. I turn a 1:50.2 good for 2nd place, only .3ths behind Jordan/Mueller’s Evo (they’ve done :45s here before in the summer). 3rd is a 240Z in the :51s and 4th is Mike Kibort in his Speed GT Porsche 928 who did a :51 or :52 I don’t remember. Bobcat is behind them.

I head out as I don’t race till 2pm on Sunday.

I get to the track at 11am on Sunday. The weather is cloudy and it had rained overnight so the track was green but was drying with each run group. When the group that is racing before us was on track it starts to sprinkle steadily but not nearly enuf to make the track wet. I have my car up on jack stands with my rains sitting next to the car staring at the sky. Rains, Drys, Rains, Drys? If the light sprinkle stays or goes away think I’ll be fine on the drys. Everyone else in my class opts for drys (expect the Evo). I make the final call from drys as grid shows the 5 minute board and head to grid to take my spot on the outside of the front row.

The EVO is pacing us slow as we creep up to the start. We’re at about 25 mph and I opt for 1st gear because I was only at about 4krpms in 2nd. The green flag fly’s late and I punch it only to be greeted with BA,BA,BA as I bounce of the rev limiter. I quickly grab second, but cars are passing me on both sides and before T2 I’ve been pushed back to about 6th. Kibort and bobcat push each other wide and I make up 2 spots at the exit of 2, I pass a 2nd gen going into T4 and am on Kiborts bumper going into 6. He brakes just a little too much and I pull along side him and proceed to pass him on the outside of T6 heading down the hill. I’m back into 2nd a half a lap in. The evo is already walking away. I put the hammer down and am slightly gaining on him. But he’s on full tread RA1s and I’m on slick V710s. 3-4 laps in I notice the rain is picking up but the track seems ok, but I slow down just a little bit because I’m not sure how much grip there is and I didn’t want to end up backwards into the tires. Kibort is quickly closing the gap to me so I have to start pushing hard. He gets to my rear bumper and then the rain starts to come down steady now. I drive hard and as the track is getting very wet I’m able to open up a large gap and he’s no longer in my rear view mirror. I know bobcat is behind me somewhere and I have to make sure I don’t slow down too much because he’s a great driver when there is little traction. After a couple laps in the wet on slick dry tires I see bob has passed kibort and I spot him entering T10 as I’m exiting T11. That means he’s probably ~10 seconds behind me. I make sure to drive just hard enuf to keep him there. I know I have no hope to catch the evo now that its raining but I don’t want to lose my 2nd place to bob. So I have to keep my foot in it. I’m going probably 20+ mph slower in the fast corners but since I kept my suspension soft the car is very controllable even when drifting at 90+ mph in the wet. Each time thru 11 I judge Bob’s distance behind me and then push accordingly on the next lap. By about half way thru the race I’m already coming up on traffic some of them in bad places and I have to wait till its safe to pass. I still maintain my lead over bob till the last lap when I back way down because I know I have enuf lead to hold my spot. As I start my last lap I come up on Kibort’s Porsche and ask myself if I want to risk lapping him to make for good shit talking (since we were both on drys) but I don’t want to risk spinning off and losing 2nd. But again thru T6 he’s going way to slow and I decide WTF, I want to lap him. I pass him going into T7 and finish the rest of my last lap without incident to take the checkered.

I take 2nd, the Evo takes 1st probably at least a minute in front of me and bobcat finished 3rd not to far behind me because I slowed so much on my last lap.

I’m very happy w/ the result because I knew I had almost no chance to beat the evo and always figured I was racing for 2nd. Even more happy considering the fact that I was able to lap most of the field on slick dry tires.

mmmmm Racing is fun.

-Ry

Comments ()