Author Archives: Naseam

LeMons-ade

Well, we decided to buy a ton of fake fur, cut the roof off an old BMW and buy some masks that makes us look like sexual deviants, then go racing. If you haven’t heard about 24 hours of LeMons, go google that. I will wait. Done? Ok. If you haven’t done anything exciting and nerve racking all of your life, GO DO THIS: GET YOUR DRUNKEST FRIENDS WITH MONEY. MAKE THEM STOP BUYING BOOZE. BUY AN ODD LARK CAR. AND MAKE IT WACKY! Really lean into it. It was one of the most fun and demanding things I have ever done.

Don’t think because you are in a funny looking car, you ain’t racing, WRONG, DEAD WRONG. You are going to be surprised, and if you aren’t prepared, you will unpleasantly surprised. Some of these guys were out for blood, and I mean as many pints as they can get. We on the other hand were just looking to be able to cross the line under the car’s own power. The judges were not expecting us to make even through the first day. Don’t get me wrong, we showed up in a furry BMW with half the roof cut off, looking like creepy animals that were trying to find the convention at some seedy hotel. In other words they loved us and were rooting for us. But, we showed up as first timers, rookies with an automatic, also with some no name tires, on a track we have never been on in our whole life. We were looking pretty slim here.  Our odds were 50%, not good to hear out of a judge’s mouth.

But optimism pays off sometimes if you are prepared for the shit to go down badly. Alex and Matt modified the transmission to cool well, we further modified to have AC condenser fan blowing at full speed at all times. So we had half a chance there. Also, Matt is a machinist and an experienced circle track racer, so that means he is aggressive and can keep the car pretty much scratch free. Kyle had nepotism on his side, his older brother was a judge and Kyle knew how to grease the judges (bribery is very important here), James was a set of mellow hands that kept us steady, Alex brought tools and know how, I brought the muscle.

It was tough on us this weekend also, not to blow sunshine up your ass. We had to send one of us to the hospital because of heat exhaustion. We were short with each other, but we did have our collective mind on our goals. Keep the car running. Finish the race. Don’t wreck. Don’t get wrecked into. We had a bet going, if you wrecked the car while it was your stint, you had to buy the team dinner. It could go from McDonalds to Ruth’s Chris/Morton’s steak house depending on how fucked we were.

Luckily it didn’t come to that. Our Weekend started with a leak in our super duper transmission cooler system, luck for us it was fixed in twenty minutes. Afterwards, I overfilled the transmission and we were off testing again. And it was cool, because we had pyrotechnics due to our car spitting up the transmission fluid through the top of the bell on the exhaust. The smoke was too light for the flaggers to see it, so we just kept racing until the smoked died down. Then it was time for tech inspection, also with the BS inspection. We were informed after the fact, that our cage was one of the best prepared ever seen, but we had to add two gussets to it. No problem right? Twenty minutes, 30 tops. Well this was Jersey, and Jersey doesn’t give a fuck what it would normally take. Jersey was on union time and the teamsters were gonna work after their mandatory 50 minute smoke/bang their comare’ break, after the inspection to see if the hammer that was provided was safe after the rigorous testing done by a monkey who was wearing a crap filled diaper.  Ok, not totally accurate, but pretty goddamn close. B.T.DUBS, don’t get sick in NJ, because that statement is 100% accurate for the medical system there.

We spent all night trying to get this gussets made and welded on our cage. We had some problems, but there was this AWESOME GROUP OF GUYS, they were cool as can be, they were lending out their MIG welder and didn’t ask for anything in return. We bought them beer and water to thank them, TRD, you guys are awesome. But, that also means that the lent the welder to anybody, well there was a team who wasn’t so good at reading the instructions on how the judges wanted the cage built, we just overlooked a detail, they built something that had to be completely rebuilt and they were gonna all night do to it, regardless how long we needed to use the welder (it was ten minutes).

After seizing the opportunity to grab the welder and lay in our two gussets, we went to sleep. The next morning, the fog was thick and like our tension. We got our car looked at, and they just wanted us to add a simple bead of weld on our cage, No problem, usually. But race time was only 20 minutes away. Matt quickly added the welds needed to get us straight. and we were in. We missed the start, by 5 minutes. But we were still in. Matt gets suited and booted and starts racing. Our Furry shitbox was in a real race, and wasn’t doing too bad either. As the race went on, somebody was moving our bar slowly up, we were expected to do better and better, our car was challenging and tough. We made places, we drove hard and we kept it clean (for the most part).

Then it was my turn to go, it was one of the most terrifying ten minutes of my life. This was not a go kart, this was not autocross, this was a live track and it had some banshees running on the track that made you look like you were standing still at 100mph. Then I got into the groove, overtook some people and started to forget I was scared shitless. I started to hit the main straight faster and faster, 90mph, then 100mph, then 110mph, then 115mph. I found this car in the middle of the field covered in pollen and a gas tank filled with water, by the way. Then I started to brake harder and later, first at 50 yard, then 40 yards, then at 30 yards, brakes held up. That was one of the few things it had going for her, good brakes, and modestly good acceleration. It did not like the idea of turning, we were famous for being furry and having the body roll of a ship that was about to capsize.

I was passing a car at the rate of 2 to 4 laps. Matt would pass one every 20 seconds, Matt drove aggressively, fun to watch also brought home our first black flag. Kyle was calm behind the wheel he made sure he didn’t get out of control while being speedy. Alex drove smoothly and seemed like he didn’t make mistakes. James was aggressive, at least in my mind, he was fast and pushed the car. My second stint was considerably faster, I was overtaking, and I got our second black flag, I got in the way of a Pontiac Fiero that had something devious done to it, they chopped out the old assed out breadbasket of an engine and put a powertrain that could make that thing run like hell! I didn’t notice him at all, he just came out of nowhere and I turned in on him. I barely missed him but wound up off track, steered it to the run off of the track. the Fiero ate the dirt, did a 360 deg spin and just drove off like nothing happened.  At the end of the day, we survived, and the car was doing well. We checked our brakes, and we discovered that stoptech makes their pads out of titanium or something, there was no appreciable wear.

Although one of us was showing some wear, it was about 90 Degrees all weekend and we were wearing fire suits, couldn’t keep cool. By time night fell on camp, he started to be not himself. he spiraled downward and we had to convince him to go to the hospital. One of the guys at TRD (again, thanks for being awesome) was an EMT and check our guy out before he left. It was heat exhaustion alright. He left and found out that the medical “professionals” in NJ are shitty, shit, shitty, shit, shit, shit, shit, shitty, poopy, shit. They did not want to hook him up to a drip without an expensive and useless test first, so they could scam the insurance company for a useless test. And you wonder why medical insurance is so goddamn expensive? Get this, an old doctor could shove a dipstick up your ass and tell you that you are gonna have problems with your colon in two day. That old fuck would be right, too. But, Dr. Guido has bill your insurance company for $6000 because he doesn’t want to look at you for five minutes and ask you a question like “have you been outside all day in the sun without proper hydration?” That is also when the monkey shits his diaper. After dealing with that, He refused to deal with Dr. Dumbass, left the hospital, stayed at a hotel for the night and drank pedialyte. And wouldn’t you know it? He got better.

Well the next morning, I looked at one of the other drivers and asked him if we should go out? It was up in the air at that point. So that morning was filled with doubt and questions. Then we got the word that everyone was ok and we can go out racing. The other drivers were being extra aggressive, due to it being the last day for this.  Matt took our first stint, drove like hell, got another black flag, he passed under a yellow flag, I take blame for that I was his spotter. Then James drove mostly a yellow flag stint. I drove, it had some yellows, but definitely less than James did. Alex got in it. and didn’t do too bad. I drove, fell off track and talked to judges before I got the flag, Kyle drove and did the same thing I did. Matt got back in it, and drove like hell, I was being more diligent on flaggers so we could get those passes to stick. James drove more aggressively, followed with more encouraged yelling from Kyle over the radio. I finally overcame my fear of the car and started to pass more people and started to push the hell out of the car.

I may have made a small mistake and didn’t want to chance it, so I drove in the pits and started to get ready for get the ear beating. Kyle’s brother was the guy who was gonna dispense justice on me this round, He looks at me and says “you are an hour away from completing your first LeMons race, don’t fuck up and throw it away.” I got out the car with a big smile on my face, James jumped into car for his last stint and though we could do this. our car isn’t fucking up, we didn’t hit anybody, we didn’t get hit by anybody. All we need to do was end this on the good note. James ended his drive without incident, we decided to bring the car into the paddock to do one last check before let Matt go at it. It was all clear, as it was all weekend, we didn’t have a good chance being a rookie team with this car. The car was going to prove them wrong, I think they wanted to be proven wrong also. We made it. The car made it. We didn’t die. We didn’t kill anyone. It was over and now we know what we had to do to be better.

We also wore furry masks. I guess we can’t always end on a positive note.

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…….Annnnnndddd, There Goes My Clutch.

After spending a metric ass load (1000 ass-loads= 1 fuckton) of money on my car’s suspension and various other knicknacks that keeps the car inline, I thought it was time to take a serious go at autocross. Well, guess what? The piece of shit thought differently, by blowing up what I thought was my clutch and the thermostat, respectively.

Unfortunately for that fucking piece of crap, the parts are fucking cheap and cost as much as the goddamn towing bill; and the motherfucker who is changing it has done the job so many times that it takes him 45 minutes to pull that bastard ass transmission down, fucker.

When I was waiting for my turn to go, I was allowing my car to get to temp, and the thermostat forgot to open up, which is not good. After taking the proper steps to quell the problem. I took a go at the track, finding that it’s cold as hell, and the tires couldn’t find grip. But no matter, the new suspension is keeping me sure footed; allowing the throttle to stay down. Here is what happened:

First gear,

*SHIFT* second gear,

“hey I might have to go all the way to third,”

*SHIFT* third gear,

*BRAKE DOUBLE CLUTCH TO SECOND.*

Where the hell is second?……….

Where the hell is all the other gears?….

At this point, I was out. As my car petered to safety, two guys helped me pushed it out of the way. Unbeknownst to them, My car weighs as much as a Swedish supermodel during the “heroin chic” era, so we headed back into the pits around 55 mph.

As I sit in my useless, giant paperweight, I wait for the tow to take me home, so I plotted my revenge. Oh how sweet it will be, as I bought the parts to fix the crapbox. Then a wave of reality hit me, this car is kicking MY ass, not vice versa. I am like a addict looking for 8oz. of sweet Mexican black tar heroin. I spent alotta money keeping this thing running, I am now too indebted let it go to the junkyard. If the engine does die, I do have several spare (BIGGER) motors that is just hangin’ around doing nothin’, but it will require a fuckton (1 fuckton= 1000 assloads) of work and modifications.

When my car got it’s turn on the lift after all the parts had arrived, I realise that the clutch did not fail at all! The tail of the transmission some how unbolted itself and disconnected the driveshaft. But since the transmission was down, might as well change the clutch. Because, knowing that thing, the clutch will blow up in a blaze of fiery glory if it had it’s way.

After all was was said and done, what pissed me off the most of this week is that I missed the last autocross session of the season.

Fuck you, car.

Total money I have wasted instead of saving for my future children’s tuition:

$121.47 Hawk HP plus front brake pads

$245.00 ST suspension lowering springs

~$200 Front strut tower brace

$100 Battery

$300.00 Four Hankook Ventus evo K110

$288.00 All struts and shocks

$70 2 motor mounts and transmission mounts

$35 clutch slave cylinder

$120 Clutch

$40 Thermostat

$295 Hotchkis front anti roll bar

Total: $1814.47

 

 

Get a grip, man.

In motorsports, one of the most essential things is tires. No brainer right? They should be the only thing that connects your car to the road. Unless you are having fireworks display that uses your dragging muffler as a giant sparkler, in that case, awesome.

Numb old tires are like a well used eraser on the end of a pencil, you can use it for a little longer, but soon your gonna tear the page with the metal cap. Or in the car’s case, the rim of the wheel itself, lending it to another spectacular sparkler display again. Add the muffler and then bring the kids!

Well. Finding yourself at the metal cap is not a good prospect. After I got my shitcan running, my wife and would take it to stupid little trips around town. Because it’s a convertible and it lends itself to something of a more natural state that gives it a sense of romance. To me, it’s a car that will kill you if you flip it, because the malleability of cloth is higher than that of steel.

After popping the tires and replacing them with grippy street tires. It was time to go racing, my first autocross in two to three years. Guess what? When you replace all your tires and are using suspension parts that are old as the car, you will blow them on the skid pad. Yes, this was a lesson that I learnt the hard way. Also, another pro tip, when you blow the front struts you will use the rage you have to blow the rear shocks for good measure also, because “stop racing” isn’t an option unless the car is on fire. After exceeding the suspension life, I decide to go on home, bouncy as all get out but home none the less. I knew the suspension was gonna give, so I took upon myself to order new shock absorbers for the whole car the day I discovered that the suspension was going to fail, my timing was poor, because the race date was two days after that.  Although it did give me something to rage quit on, that was fun AND bouncy!

Well, the struts and shocks arrived and I had those lowering spring hanging out at home. So I decided how much body roll could be eliminated.  After two long nights at the shop installing the front and rear equipment, the performance of the car had exceed my expectations. It is flat everywhere.  In the straights under acceleration, flat. Under brakes, flat. Under slow turns, flat. Fast turns, flat, which gives it to the next advantage: you can leave your foot fully on the gas, barring any potential oversteer. It also stiff, which is an understatement.  I can now tell you which roads are truly smooth and level versus the more hastily complete pieces of tarmac, hint they are all hastily done if they are done at all. I will be send the bill from my back specialist to Richmond city and Henrico county for shotty worksmanship.

So why do all suspension work? Well you see, I bought new tires and I want to use all of the performance of the tire, like I said it should be the only thing touching the road at all time. When the car shifts under the suspension working each tire either gains or loses more weight load. The whole purpose of changing all of this stuff is to make the tire loads as even as possible.  So you can use all the tire, hence all of your money. We are all capitalists at the end, right?

Total money I have wasted instead of saving for my future children’s tuition:

$121.47 Hawk HP plus front brake pads

$245.00 ST suspension lowering springs

~$200 Front strut tower brace

$100 Battery

$300.00 Four Hankook Ventus evo K110

$288.00 All struts and shocks

 

Total: $1254.47

Now I remember why I hate this thing sometimes.

It has been two solid days now after getting the BMW running, it has been an exhilarating experience as a whole, but there has been some things I may have forgotten about……….

But let’s talk about the good stuff first before talking about the avalanche of “fuck” that is going to hit me square in the face. It started with 10 seconds of a new battery in it. Most things seemed to be reasonably ok, not huge obstacles to overcome. I always remember her being peppy, not fast mind you, but peppy. She can keep enough speed through the turns and has enough traction to keep grip. Also,I could do dumb things like backing up really fast, locking my brakes and making a U turn in a Wells Fargo parking lot

Now. Here is where I am starting to have “issues.” I have an engine ecu gremlin, his name is Chuck. Chuck is a dick. He only shows up when you need to punch it. Ol’ Chuck leaves the engine into a sputtering mass of uselessness. He is like a “friend” you don’t like, he shows up to your dinner party uninvited and demanding a $20 steak. If you are just futzing around he is usually in a coma, not bothering you. But when a tractor trailer is bearing down on you, Chuck shows up and demands a beer and oral sex. A quick flash of ignition switch and bang, Chuck is sufficiently confused to allow you to push for the closing gap between the jersey wall and the truck. 

Apart from Chuck, it isn’t that comfortable to drive as a daily. It can be exhausting, between the wind noise, hard ride and the very strict seat position (I call it German ass). For an eight mile pleasure cruise down a country road, sure it’s great! Going to downtown Richmond commute ride, I would rather be chased by a group of feral cats. That leads up to the biggest problem, no matter what you do. You. Will. Look. Stupid. If you drive it day to day, the muffler doesn’t work, so it’s loud, in fact it rattles around. I have given up putting a stereo in it because it’s useless. That noise attracts attention, by the police. Yay. I have gotten more speeding tickets in that car for just standing at a stop light.  By the way you can only drive in one way, like an asshole.  You asshole everywhere. In the parking lot, at school, in a bank drive thru. Assholing is a pretty good way to get normal people to hate you. Oh they hate your guts, they see you and think: “Wow, what a douchebag.” And I hate disappointing people, so I live up to their expectations. BY SCREECHING EVERYWHERE I GO. Now when they see me light to light they give me enough space to drive as a I please. Like a Doucher. Of course I am going to deafen you with my loud and rattling exhaust, you already expect that! It’s completely unnecessary I know! That is why I have an adult car that I drive daily and I keep this at home! 

It’s all fun and games with that car, not good when you have to go to your one of Grandmother’s funeral, she never liked that car anyway. She was glad when she thought I got rid of it. Good thing I didn’t show up with it last Saturday or she would have been pissed. 

 

 

Types of people you meet in autosport

**This is your warning, this note has the potential to piss you off, this is my opinion. And if you send me yours, feel assured that I will read the first two words before hitting the “delete” button if I don’t agree with it. This is my opinion, you are entitled to yours, but I am not obligated to read your unsolicited opinion. If you want me to read your thoughts, start your own damn blog and hope I read it.

Let’s start, in autosports you will meet several type of folks, most of them are cool. Some of them are douchebags on some unjustifiable level. If you meet this douche, as a member of the automotive industry, I apologize we are not all like that. Also there are exceptions to every rule, this is no different. This is just a small amount of people that you will meet.

1. Ricer/In it for the Puzzay!

This douchebag will roll in with ’98 turboed honda civic and swear up and down he can beat new Stingray from a dead start. His hair will be oddly shaped, due to skull deformation that has sustained from all the bass from his stereo. Speaking of stereo, he will blasting noise during the most inappropriate times of your life. For example: at night, I hope you like Wiz Khalifa exclaiming something about black and yellow while you are sleeping. During the Day, because little Jimmy doesn’t know what the word “fuck” means yet, so Douchey blares it outside of a elementary school playground so Jim can tell his great aunt what he learned today at school. Your Grandmother’s funeral, because she loved dubstep. Your wedding, 99 problems by Jay Z starts playing during your vows. He will have enough stereo to bog down all of his potentially increased horsepower (which is minimal, by the way), the car will be slower than what it started out with, but make more noise than the start to a NASCAR starting grid. By the way, they are at the forefront of safety, “your tercel makes 300 hp and you are using stock brakes?” All I am saying is hope that they aren’t at full bore when the start braking for the light with your car in front of them.

Exceptions: you see that guy with a Toyota Supra, RX7, a roll cage and a normally shaped head?  Don’t fuck with that guy.

2. Autocross guy

There are two types to these guys, the young guy and the old guy. The young guy is Obi Wan, the old guy is Yoda. Listen carefully to both, they couldn’t care which car you brought, somebody brought a shittier car and still KICKING YOUR ASS. Obi Wan is new to Jedi order, he knows the ways of the force, but he still has a lot to learn. He becomes Ben Kenobi when finally buys that old shitty Fiat and Frankensteins it by putting a brand new Honda SI engine in it.

Yoda is the man you want to be, he has been under and a behind a steering wheel since fuel injection was invented (hint, it was way before the ’80s). His lightsaber is something you never heard of (or an E30 BMW), he has turn every bolt in the car at least 4 times. The chassis is stiffened to the point that during heavy g forces the ground under the car buckles, not his car or him. He is helpful and if you listen to every word he has to say and take it to heart you will drop at least 2 seconds off your lap time.

Exceptions: See that asshole with a new corvette or porsche? He’s an asshole, good to go drinking with, though.

3. Guy who huffs freon.

He huffs freon, that is why he is around cars.

Exceptions: when he does meth, he really mellows out.

4. Racing gearhead

If you are into NASCAR, Formula 1, DTM, WEC, WRC, TUDOR etc. I guess I am in this group. This person will defend his sport with a fervor. But there is a fine line to these guys that separates us into two groups. One set of guys will defend their sport with logic by using physics, design and other rational arguments. The other will say “the wrecks in my sport is more awesome!” We will ignore the latter. We can tell you former and current champions and teams. We can explain the physics and design of our cars. And finally what kind of racing your gonna see during a good weekend. We really don’t have beef with each other favorite series, we like cars, and we like them to go fast, period.

Exception: If you are a fan of Pastor Maldonado, then go fuck yourself. Do you know what people like him has done to racing as a sport? He has ruined the chances of a driver who get to the big show by merit and not by money. 

IT’S SHOCKING WHAT PEOPLE PUT ONLINE NOWADAYS!

Sometime people are need of a jump. A little pick-me-up. A jolt. A start for a new day. Some people enjoy a cup of coffee. For others, they down a shot of 120 proof whisky, And for some strange people, 2000 Volts straight to the nipples is the only sufficient morning stimuli. Not judging here, but I usually pick up a coffee. 

Well, my BMW was looking for a start of a new kind and it required the 12 Volt pick-me-up.  A battery. What should be a very simple task of purchasing a battery and installing it turned into a storm of incompetence, because I am a cheap bastard. This quest of mine had me searching high and low for any battery that will fit, had the right amperage and the polarities on the proper side. How hard could this task be? I work in a mechanic shop that has tonnes of batteries lying around.

The answer is very complex, seeing that giving up two hundred dollars of my money isn’t an option, I have it, I just don’t want to give the parts people. And this how that interaction will go:

Me: “Hello I need a new battery”

Parts Person: “Where is your core?

Me: “Here”

Parts Person: “Here is your new Battery” *swift kick into my balls* “here is ten bucks off for your core”

That may actually happen, I have pissed off many a “Travis” at a parts store. As for the professional guys, they have no time for my bullshit, as the frequently tell me. Well, only one guy has told me that, and I called him a doddering old fuck in rebuttal. I had enough of his bullshit that day too. So everytime I go pick up parts at his place we find each other at this strange detente, We respect each other for letting our feeling be known to each other. But he still thinks I am full of shit and I still think he is a doddering old fuck. Money and parts are usually exchanged without incident.

As for the battery, I have no new leads for one yet, but I will come across one soon, even if I have to take the kick in the balls for one soon.

***I found a new battery for cheap! They only kicked me in one testicle, also!

Total money I have wasted instead of saving for my future children’s tuition:

$121.47 Hawk HP plus front brake pads

$245.00 ST suspension lowering springs

~$200 Front strut tower brace

$100 Battery

Total: $666.47

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Side note: my wife thinks that General Zod from the new Superman movie looks like a salesman from an auto parts store named “Travis”

 

 

What in the hell did I get myself into?

Well, you know what they say about having the right kind of people around you will shape your success? What if your success was also tied to an object? Say a car? Or my case, several cars. Let me start by introducing myself. I am Naseam, many of you will mispronounce it. I have a wife of now three years, her name is Melissa, and in lieu of getting another motorcycle, I am allowed to racing.

What a dumb-fuck idea. This all started about two and half years ago, I got into my first go kart and actually participated in my first legal race. I weighed in at 300 lbs, so it’s safe to say I lost by a pretty large margin, Ayrton Senna I was not. But, the drug had been administered. Like a speed freak, I found myself trying to get my next fix, and I found myself in my version of a meth lab: my dad’s shop. My old man isn’t what you call a people person, I guess I get that from him, but he has been a Mercedes Benz mechanic for 30 years. So he had some useful tools that I could use to my advantage.

Ok, now I can do that.  But back then he and I had a falling out, so this was mostly done outside my home. Where my psychopathic neighbor’s parrot screams her terrible sound of squawks and very kid friendly racist rants delightfully over the whole neighborhood. My 1997 BMW Z3 would become the laboratory for my experiments, it was horrible treated before I had my hands on it. I got it when I was in college. Let’s just say six quarts of Royal Purple does not make a race car. I started to autocross it with a borrowed helmet and bad tires, I did hit all the marks but didn’t have the traction or the chassis to make any speed on the straights. Now it sits in envy of my Mercedes, a big 2001 S430, because I am married and it’s no longer cool to drive that BMW while being 6’2″, in public, outside of an autocross track.  

Today finds my hobby in a happier condition, I found myself with the right crowd and my derelict BMW finds itself in new life. Money also helps. I was studying Biochemistry at my university when I graduated, and it is a great segue to becoming a Mercedes mechanic. I couldn’t find a job as a biochemist, so I started to work for my old man. The hours are better and I am in no way trying to rationalize my inability to find a job in Science Lab. But, I do get paid better than most of my former colleagues, so it’s not a total wash. My new crowd is a ragtag group of Mechanical Engineers, an Environmental Scientist and 3D Artist who I have the privilege of knowing for most my teenage years and all of my adult life.I found myself in the major I wanted to study, which is Mechanical Engineering. Also, my group of friend and I are entering a 24 race with another real shitbox, 1980 somethin’ BMW 528e. 

Total money I have wasted instead of saving for my future children’s tuition:

$121.47 Hawk HP plus front brake pads

$245.00 ST suspension lowering springs

~$200 Front strut tower brace 

Total: $566.47

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