Hey all how are you? I don't post much on evom and most of you guys have no idea who I am. My name is Greg and I'm proud to be a part of DTM Motorsport. I've been tasked with documenting and expressing the events of this last week culminating in our final run today at the NASA Championships. What follows below is going to be long but is an accurate recounting of the long road we have traveled to become the 2007 TTR champions.
First of all, I would like to thank a number of people who helped contribute to the success we had this week. Joseph Moser
was our driver and we could not have pulled this off without his and his team's help. Joe is just an absolute beast and pushed our car Janine to the limits. His father and crew chief also gave us valuable input which we will not forget. Chris Rado
and his crew are a class act. Yesterday we discovered that our manifold had cracked at the wastegate and they were kind enough to let us use their welder so that we could repair our manifold. I would not be typing this right now had they not extended this courtesy to us. I only wish that they had been able to compete as they had other problems which just couldn't be overcome. Robert Fuller
has always been very friendly with us and when we discovered that we had a cracked valve cover he allowed us to take the valve cover off his own personal car that had blown up on Wednesday. Robi is truly a master of suspension and his advice has also been invaluable. David Buschur
also had a hand in the valve cover ordeal and we thank you as well. You showed class this week between two competing shops. NASA
is truly a great organization that is only going to continue to grow. All the directors were helpful and they really put on a great event. Our customers and friends
. You guys have always been there for us. Your constant care and concern warms our hearts. Your excitement helps drive us to the next level and we would never have gotten this far without your support.
So, now that I've taken care of thanking everyone, where does this story start? Well a lot of you are aware that DTM Motorsport has built a time attack car. Her name is Annie and her first event was the RedLine Time Attack event in St. Louis, MO. Annie showed some great potential at the event but unfortunately we had a little mishap and she took it in the ass. We've been trying to get her together but unfortunately it's taken us longer than we thought. So we had to resort to a backup plan, Janine. Janine wasn't our optimal choice but we literally had no other choice. We weren't going to miss the nationals because our car of choice wasn't ready. Janine had a solid motor and she ended up getting a few parts transfered to her from the race car. She had practically no aero and had zero setup time before we got to Mid-Ohio.
So we show up on Wednesday and Joe gets to take Janine out for his first run of the day. Wednesday was open practice. You could go out as much as you wanted whenever you wanted. Right away we noticed that he was pretty fast. The first session out pretty much set the pace for the rest of the week. In his seventh lap out Joe some how got a nail in the tire on the long back straight which caused him to go into china beach at 140 mph. For those of you that don't know, china beach is basically a big sand trap to the left of the very hard 90 degree right coming off the long back straight. Words can't describe what was going through our minds as we sat in the pit area wondering what the hell happened to Joe and our car. Finally one of the track officials came over and explained what happened to us. Watching the tow truck drive off really made our stomachs turn inside out. Man what a sigh of relief we felt when we saw our car drive up the track and not on the back of the flat bed. Joe later told us that the flatbed couldn't eve pull him out of the sand trap. Luckily for us, our weapon of choice is AWD so he had to drive himself out of the trap.
So we took the the wheels off and took them to Phil's Tire Service to have the beads broken as we had a good number of pebbles lodged between the rim and the tire. It was at this point that we discovered the reason for the tire going flat and unfortunately Phil's wouldn't repair the tire due to the puncture location. So now we were out our practice set of Nitto's. We had to bite the bullet and purchase a new set of tires that Phil's had in stock. Thank goodness for on track vendors who stock a variety of necessities, we ended up having to make more than one run to them. We got the car back on the track but we noticed that we had an oil leak somewhere on the back of the motor. We thought it was a bad valve cover gasket. The day ended and we had no time scoring but Joe was at least getting familiarized with the car and we felt some progress had been made. We made a trip to Advance that evening to pickup a bunch of supplies. We found a valve cover gasket and we thought we were good to go for Thursday. We also had to have a set of JAM lifters overnighted as we were concerned with some lifter tick that we were getting. The oil leak was causing us to lose enough oil to not allow some of the lifters to fully pump up and causing them to collapse.
We arrived at the track at 7:30AM on Thursday and immediately began the process of installing the new valve cover gasket. We noticed that the lifter tick had subsided while we were pulling the car out of the trailer so we made a decision to hold off on the lifter change at this point. Joe went out for the first session of the day and it quickly became evident that the leak was still present. On top of that, he wasn't happy with the suspension setup so we decided to make a drastic change in the suspension settings. The ticking had come back so we decided that it was time to replace the lifters that had collapsed as well. Off came the valve cover again and we discovered that the valve cover was actually cracked at the middle bolt location on the rear. We really hadn't inspected the interior of the cover and the exterior was painted which disguised the crack. So here we are, 8 hours from home with no replacement valve cover. We decided to ask Robi if we could borrow his valve cover as his car had blown up the day before. Luckily for us, Robi granted us the usage of his valve cover but we didn't realize that it was off an EVO VII. For those that don't know, the PCV port on the 2 manifolds is different. The port on the VII is larger than the VIII. At this point we threw his valve cover on the car but we weren't satisfied with how the PCV valve sealed up. By this point the day was drawing to a close so we took our valve cover with us and made a trip to Walmart to pick up a few supplies. At the hotel I proceeded to repair our valve cover so that we could continue to run our PCV setup without risking anymore leaks.
Friday morning rolls around and it's hard to get out of bed at 6:30AM when you've been putting in basically double time for the last two weeks. Regardless there was things to do so we showed up at the track promptly at 7:30AM again and got right to work. Robi's valve cover was immediately pulled off and our valve cover was put back on. Joe went back out during the morning session and we noticed that the car was breaking up a bit during WOT pulls. We pulled him back in and sent him over to the paddock so that we could pull the logs and adjust the tune. While we were going over the car we noticed that the wastegate port on the manifold was cracking and we didn't have a spare! The crack was bad and had he gone out for another session the wastegate probably would have fallen off. At this point we began the process scrambling to find someone with a welder. Lucky for us, Chris Rado had a TIG welder that his crew chief said we could use. Nick and I ran back to the car and began the process of pulling the manifold and turbo off. 25 minutes later we were back at Chris Rado's trailer and began setting up his welder. Unfortunately for us, none of his pit crew had any experience using the welder. The guy who did was not with them on this outing. So the scramble began again to find a welder as Nick tried to get theirs to work. We finally found a flux cored MIG welder but by the time I got back to Rado's trailer Nick had figured out how to get their TIG to work. Nick finished welding up the manifold and I ran off to get the manifold bolted back to the turbo while he helped Rado out by rewelding his splitter. Thanks Rado and team for the help!
We got everything back together but by this time our session had started 20 minutes before so we missed out. This left us with the last session of the day and according to the forecasters the rain was coming. Luckily for us the rain held off and Joe managed to get back out on the track at 5:30PM and he managed a 1:34.2. The good news for us was that the leak that had been plaguing us the prior two days was now eliminated. My repairs of the valve cover were holding up great. Unfortunately we were quite behind the pace as the HG Motorsport car had already managed an 1:31.875 and Robi was at a 1:33.x in the Buschur car. At this point our suspension changes had only made us slower. Hand clocking the car on Thursday was showing us times in the 1:33.5 range. It's now just a tad past 6PM and we made the decision to completely revamp our suspension setup. We were faster with our original setup and we reversed directions. We stayed late swapping things around and we finally left the track close to 10PM. Words really can't describe the feelings that were running through us at this point. We were disappointed that we didn't have the race car with us but surprised at how well Janine was doing. We were anxious, nervous and down right antsy. Sleep Friday night wasn't much and this morning was hell getting up.
So we got to the track at 7:30AM again and the firsts thing we did was adjust the ride height in the rear as it had settled just a tad bit too low from our changes the night before. The 10AM session came around and Joe went out and ran a 1:32.3 in practice. Finally our suspension changes started to pay off! We knew we were headed in the right direction so we brought the car back in and made a few more adjustments to the suspension. Man the tension was thick in the air. You could practically cut it with a knife it was so thick. After performing the normal routine that a race car should get after a hot session she was ready to go back out again for the first real session of the day. Nick told Mike and I that Robi was going to run a fast time. That he did with a blazing fast 1:31.6. Joe managed to rip off a 1:31.8 and Dieter still had his 1:31.7. OMFG!!! The TTR run group at this point is all EVOs and they are all within two tenths of a second of each other with only one more session to go!
At this point we were confident that the car was solid and it would boil down to Joe getting in a clean run in the final session. I have never been so nervous in my life! Nick was pacing up and down like an expectant father. We went over the car with a fine tooth comb making sure that we had done everything in our power to make sure Joe would have the best possible shot at beating the two cars ahead of us. 5:30PM finally rolls around and the moment of truth is upon us. Everything we have worked so hard for all boils down to 15 minutes of track time and one hot lap. We are at the NASA National Championship competing against some of the top shops / drivers in the country. Janine is a street legal car. This car has tags and passed a state inspection. Two weeks ago this car was driving in downtown Washington D.C. in rush hour traffic! Here we are competing against one of the top time attack cars in the country and we are TWO TENTHS OF A SECOND OFF THEIR TIME!
So the last session of the last day begins and we can't figure out if we want to smile, laugh, cry, wince, pace or just plain lose our bowels. The three EVOs are leading the pack and it was just awesome to see them tear up the track. EVOs have a very distinctive sound when running under power on a track and hearing three of them in close distance to each other accelerate under power is like watching the blue angels fly overhead. On the third lap I hand timed Joe at a 1:31.29 and the tension we were feeling started to subside. It looked like Robi was hauling some major ass but on his third lap he didn't come back up the back of the track. We could tell that Joe was running Dieter down. He kept closing the gap more and more with every lap. Unfortunately for Buschur and Robi, their car ended blowing the motor. Kudos to Robi for managing to pull the car to the side and not ruining the entire track with oil. That would have been disastrous for us as Robi was in the lead.
Joe finally came in after about 5 hot laps and now the waiting game began as it takes time for the results to post. The nervousness increased even though we were excited about the time I had manually clocked. Finally they posted the sheets and Mike walked up with a blank look on his face. The next thing I know he is jumping up and down with both fists pumped in the air. I was close and Joe ran a 1:31.3 which was enough to secure first place in TTR! OMFG WE DID IT! It's been a heck of year trying to overcome the plethora of obstacles that have been in our path. I've been with DTM now for just over 8 months and it's amazing to see how far we have progressed since then. Above that, it's amazing to think how far DTM has come since DTM came into being just under two years ago! Last year DTM took multiple modified championships in the RedLine events. This year we managed to not only win the 2007 NASA National Championships but also set a track record in the TTR class for the Mid-Ohio track! The best part is that the season isn't out yet as there is still a few more events we will be at this year.
I'm truly excited to be a part of the amazing little team DTM has become. We have come so far in such a short amount of time that it's breath taking! I truly look forward to the rest of the year and even more so for next year. We honestly could never have done this if it wasn't for the loyal support of our friends / customers. They see something in us and continue to urge us to strive forward. Congratulations to all the competitors at this event. It was nice to have good clean racing with competitors that respected each other.
Thanks for reading.