Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to Elementary School: Career Day

Racing can be one of the most satisfying experiences in the world and sometimes it can be one of the most frustrating experiences. It just comes with motorsports, no matter what form that may be. But there is always one thing that all of us who race understand; what we do is for fun and we love to do it. So being able to share what I love with hundreds of kids at the elementary school I went to as a child for career day was just about one of the most satisfying days i've had with the #44 G35.

My niece goes to school there and asked my brother and I to come in and explain racing and motorsport electronics (my brother owns and runs Computech) to her classmates. After about a dozen classes, lots of great questions from the kids, pictures of them in the seat and few nice and loud turbo VQ revs everyone ended up leaving with a smile, especially me. Thanks to Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School for the great hospitality and I look forward to coming back and doing it again next year!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Challenge Mid-Season Update

Where to even begin, ill try to make it short but we know how that goes. My life seems absolutely crazy these days. Between my political consultant job in MD to trying to race the #44 G35 enough to keep sponsors happy and also crew for the #07 Nissan World Challenge 370Z Nismo every other weekend somewhere around America I barely have time to breathe let alone write this article but here I am. It has been an awesome journey so far that has had its ups, lotttts of downs (ill get to that) but mostly great moments on and off track with a great team and group of guys that I am now very good friends with 6 races into the season.

They say you have to learn how to lose before you can know how to win... I personally think thats a load of bullshit but the racing gods certainly have a different idea and have tainted our luck as if trying to teach us a very cruel lesson from the start. Race teams are almost all superstitious but there aren't enough gummy bear sacrifices or post race traditional fireball shots (50% Tabasco, 50% Tequila... don't ask) in the world enough to please the Nissan gods for the first half of our season. Our first race at the Streets of St. Petersburg was going great until a blown motor left us pulling an engine in the middle of a hurricane. Then the Streets of Long Beach proved to be disappointing with the 07 car having a serious electrical gremlin causing a DNS and the 51 car wrecking on the last lap giving him a DNF. It was a rough start and it wasn't about to get better anytime soon.

After a poor start to the season the crew of both cars stopped in Atlanta, GA at Z1 Motorsports to fix the cars from the first two races and prep the cars for the next race just a few days and miles away in Birmingham, AL at Barber Motorsports Park. After a long week of wrenching on both cars we made it to the race only to have another electrical issue with the Motec system on the 07 car making for an even longer weekend of long hour days trying to do everything humanly possible. Unfortunately again the car did not cooperate and after a few laps in the race decided to shut down on the back stretch.

With two DNF's and one DNS we weren't about to risk it for the next race in Detroit and we ripped every ECU and sensor wire out of the car, again at Z1 Motorsports (I seem to live there these days) and re-wired the entire system thanks to Kevin down in FL and Kyle at Z1. Even after finishing last minute and me trailering the car from Atlanta to Detroit just in time for the race we unfortunately ran into bad luck again. During qualifying an oil pump failed in the engine and blew up our back up motor causing yet another DNF. This season was turning into one of those out of control train wrecks where even though you do absolutely everything right everything still goes wrong. But through it all we held our heads high and kept working and taking whatever the racing gods threw at us, albeit with a few libations after painful track days. Its been a frustrating year but it is all beginning to pay off now.

The car went back to Z1 after Detroit and received a new engine, tune, test day and a new livery as well to compliment the new equipment and hopefully remove the curse that was obviously on the 07. Sure enough we went to Road America in Wisconsin a few weeks ago and finally had a good race weekend! I guess the 7th time is the charm huh? Either way we had a good finish in race 7 on Friday starting 24th due to rained out qualifying and finished 11th winning the Hard Charger Award and Best Standing Start Award in the process. Race 8 on Saturday didn't go as well with most of the race under caution but it was still a successful weekend with zero issues on the car and our best and only finish of the season.

Our next race for the #07 World Challenge Nissan 370Z Nismo driven by Brian Kleeman is at Mid Ohio in early August followed by Sonoma two weeks later. Be sure to follow ScreaminKleeman07 on social media for live updates during the race weekends and watch NBC Sports on Sundays for race recaps and for live streaming of each race. Also side note, each race link on this article is linked to a Facebook photo album from the event for easy viewing. Wish us luck the rest of the season, hopefully we don't need it any more but it can never hurt!