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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Final schedule:

2008 The Tire Rack® Solo National Tour

Feb. 23 - 24
South Georgia Motorsports Park
Cecil, GA

March 15 - 16
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, CA

May 3 - 4
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, TX

May 24 - 25
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Atlanta, GA

June 7 - 8
Moore Airfield
Devens, MA

June 28 - 29
Grissom Aeroplex
Peru, IN

July 19 - 20
Miller Park
Milwaukee, WI

Aug. 16 - 17
Hampton Mills
Packwood, WA

Aug. 30 - 31
Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City, MO

2008 The Tire Rack® ProSolo National Series

March 29 - 30
El Toro Airfield
El Toro, CA

April 12 - 13
Newport Airport
Newport, AR

April 26 - 27
Castle Airport
Atwater, CA

June 21 - 22
FedEx Field
Washington, D.C.

July 5 - 6
Toledo Express Airport
Toledo, OH

July 26 - 27*
Seneca Army Depot
Romulus, NY

Aug. 2 - 3
Wendover Airport
Wendover, UT

Aug. 23 - 24
Hampton Mills
Packwood, WA

Sept. 12 - 13
Heartland Park Topeka
Topeka, KS

2008 The Tire Rack® Solo National Championships

Sept. 16 - 19
Heartland Park Topeka
Topeka, KS

· Premium Member
3,613 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So, I just got back from my first National event of 2008, the Atlanta DoubleX, which is part of the ProSolo series this year. I sucked and I had a blast doing so. :) I co-drove a friend's Miata in CSP on the wrong size tires, but he got them for free so I wasn't complaining. Here's his summary of the weekend:

Alchemy - Turning epic failure into a resounding success
Over the weekend, I had 4 drivers in 2 classes in the Atlanta Pro-Solo. Had an absolute blast, even if there were some... shall we say obstacles?
Shawn (moxnix) from D.C. pulled a 2nd in CSP in my car (note: in my BROKEN, STS2 prepped car on used, 205/50/15 V710s lol) and actually won some money. The rest of us didn't do so great, but I had an excellent time.

Now the fun story:
The car was great during the morning runs on Saturday, no issues at all. Brett, my regular STS2 co-driver was running 1st in the afternoon. His first run was ok, then spun it twice on his second run. Twice. On a mid-40 second course. Hmmm... He comes back and the only words are "Half way through the run, "something" changed, and it's making a new noise." Fantastic. The symptoms looked very much like a failed front sway bar bracket: oversteer, lots of body roll, TONS of front end bite. Well, we couldn't find anything broken. He finishes his 4 runs and the car was all over the place. My turn... I get in the car and rolling up to grid I hear a creak coming from the front. Huh... that's new. I take my 1st run and the car was all over the place. I felt like I was looking at my back bumper for most of the course. A change to the rear shocks made it better, but still the car was not the same as it was in the morning, or even close. As I'm pulling up to the start line for my 3rd run, that creak from the front is just getting worse and worse, so I forfeit my run and pull to grid so we can jack the car up to start changing tires for the CSP folks and inspect the front end. Long story short, after burning myself on various very hot parts, we couldn't find anything wrong. The only thing I noticed was that the creak would only occur with the car on the ground, when you turn the steering wheel. Is it the rack? Sway bark endlink? Bracket? Still couldn't find anything. So I made the call: "F-it. Drive it til it breaks" and handed Shawn the key.

Shawn made all of his runs (and brought home the goods) and the car was still moving, so we handed the car over to Katie (Katya4me). She proceeded to run her 4 runs, and get 2 re-runs on her last run due to timing issues. Half way through her 2nd re-run, it happened. I had my attention elsewhere and had a "huh... it got really quiet" moment, followed by a "wasn't my car just staging a few seconds ago?" moment. I run to the other side of the trailer and the Miata was stopped on course with a very... odd... stance. The driver's front corner was basically on the ground. Long story short, we get a wheel dolly, jack the car up and get her off course. Ball joint failure. The ball joints that I replaced over the winter. Thanks, e-bay! Not like, it broke. Like, the ball, which should be held completely in the 'cup' at the bottom and worked it's way free, leaving the lower control arm to swing free of the knuckle, with the ball / stud still bolted to the knuckle. The wheel hit the knuckle and wore a few nice grooves into the inside, 1 of which was deep enough to have a couple leaks. Well... no R-Comps on Sunday! (no, those were not the new 6ULs, but my old ATS comp-lites). Upon closer inspection, the ball had a bunch of wear on it, and the grease had turned into metal-shaving-paste. Not pretty.

As bad as this sounds, let's consider the alternatives: 1. Failure during elimination rounds Sunday morning or 2. Failure during the drive home on the interstate at 80 miles per hour surrounded by traffic. I'm HAPPY the thing broke, and I'm not sure what to make of that. I almost feel like one of the 'cool kids' (I know, I'm not) now that I've had a catastrophic parts failure on my car at a National event lol

Anyway, long story short, after calling every parts store, dealership, boneyard, etc within 100 miles at 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, I got a hold of a local guy who's brother runs Spec Miata who had a couple spares (thanks Wayne, aka apexlater, SO much. You are a damn LIFESAVER). Brett and I drove up to Lawrenceville (about an hour from the event site, got the parts when Wayne got home around 9:30 or so, and were back at the event site at 11:00 or so, with a few extra tools from my garage and a headlamp. Thanks to the extreme generosity and willingness to get down and dirty on my car of some of the local miata talent, the ball joint had been removed in the afternoon, so it only took about 30 minutes to get the car back together, change back to my STS2 wheels/tires, and gtfo. I think I got back to the hotel right at midnight. Shawn, thanks again for coming out to lend a hand and some P5 headlights to the repair process.

Anyway, I did a few figure 8's in an adjacent parking lot the next morning and everything seemed fine. No bad noises, and the car felt ok. We proceeded to put another 8 competition runs on the car throughout the course of the day without issue.

It's been a weekend hahaha. All things considered, all's well that ends well, and you've really got to appreciate the strength and camaraderie within the solo community. I had 2 or 3 people wrenching on the car while myself and about 4 or 5 other folks where calling everyone we knew trying to find replacements. By the time I left the site, I had Plans A, B, C and D (D involved disassembling tinmanms6's car that wasn't competing...) thanks to the extreme generosity of a large number of folks.

For those of you reading this and those who aren't (and a lot of names I haven't mentioned)
THANK YOU so, so much.

EDIT: How could I forget!? Thanks again to Kevin (kcbhiw) who not only helped get the balljoint out (the hardest part of the job), but upon my triumphant return to the hotel, handed me his LAST BEER! That was greatly appreciated

EDIT#2: by the time we left the site on Saturday, we had plans A, B, C, D and E. A: Get the part from Wayne, B: Rick Cone may have had one (turns out he did), C: $100 for ONE from the 24 hour advance auto, and it was in stock, D: if it came down to it, Todd (tinmanMS6) offered up his NA to be cannibalized or worst case E: Brett and I were offered co-drives in 2 other STS2 cars, and he'd bring the truck and trailer to tow 'er home.

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3,613 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Anyone going out to Nationals this year? I'm not this year, but the bf will be there co-driving a BS RX-8.
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