My 2019 Racing Plans – Do I have Any?

Q: What are my 2019 racing plans?

A: I don’t have any!

Usually this time of year I am planning my off-season to prepare for the next racing season.   However, this year is a little different.  I made the decision during the 2018 racing season that in 2019 I would take a year off from racing to focus on my business and my family.  There were too many late nights and long weekends spent at the shop working on race car items.  That time and energy should have been spent on the business and hanging with the family.  So, my 2019 racing plans are…none!

Had I fully understood the time commitment I agreed to for 2018 I would have said no.  It was so much work and so much time.  While I had some awesome team members working with me – it was still a lot.  I certainly did appreciate the opportunity to be involved with the team and race at Nelson Ledges and Pitt Race in 2018 in the ChampCar series.  However, other areas of my life had to suffer.

2019 Plans

So with no racing plans for 2019 – whatever will I do?

My business continues to grow and with growth comes growing pains.  Being present is one thing, but being able to have undistracted, mental focus is important and I believe that I will now have that.  There are so many ideas that I rarely would be able to work on and see though and now I will be able to work on those.

I also promised my wife that I would not have any project cars in 2019.  Truth is, I am constantly looking for a project car ; E30 or E36 BMW, Focus SVT, or Civic EP or EG hatch are top of my list.  A promise is a promise though so for now I’ll keep looking and researching.

Helping Others

In the last month I have received three offers to be involved with some sort of racing program for 2019.  I have respectfully declined those offers.  It is very hard to say no.  I just finished the Charles Espenlaub episode of Dinner With Racers and he started out doing exactly what I’ve been doing; wrenching and transporting race cars for seat time.  While it has lead him to a successful motorsports career, not sure I can follow that same path.  Well, I could but other areas of my life require focus and commitment.

I do envision that during the 2019 race season there will be a weekend or two where I might have the opportunity to help crew and I’ve offered this to a few racing friends.  It is relaxing to know that entering the season with no commitments I will have more control of my schedule and time.   I really enjoy hanging at the track – it’s my escape.

Painesville Racing

I still have the Painesville Car (that’s the name I have for it) and I can see racing it a few times this Painesville Speedway Carseason.  The beauty of this car is that it will require very little prep.  Plus, the track is close and the racing is fun!  There’s a good chance I’ll fit a few races at the Painesville Speedway into my 2019 racing plans.

The car is currently under a tarp and only requires a few items to be ready to go.  I am hopeful that the speedway will host their winter series in 2019.  This relaxed, racing series is a perfect way to keep the juices flowing.  I ran one of the races in early 2018 and although was spun out on the first lap, had fun.

So this is usually when friends say, “I thought you said you weren’t racing in 2019.”  I have no plans to race, and there are no race dates on my 2019 calendar.

What’s Next?

After writing this I will be transporting the Ford Focus race car to Erie PA and delivering it to its owner with all of the spare parts.  This will free up some shop space and while I am not 100% what will end up in that space I have had some inquiries about winter projects from friends.  We’ll see.

I do have quite a bit of work to finish up in the front space of the shop to get the new lobby and offices ready to go.

Lastly, there’s always tons to do at the shop.

Check back for more updates!

2018 Turkey Leg 150 @ the Painesville Speedway

Painesville Grand Am Turkey Leg 150

Well, I did it…the 2018 Turkey Leg 150 @ the Painesville Speedway.  It came together, two friends and two cars.  It was, of course, a blast and I am already thinking of next year’s race.

My good friend John bought us two cars and we worked to get them ready. No race prep mind you – just getting them ready to pass tech.  When was his car done?  Oh, just 45 minutes before tech.

Typical fashion for me – last minute.

Anyway, it was a fun time.  I put together this video that highlights the journey getting ready and the race.

 

Turkey Leg 150 We Are Racing!

Painesville Speedway Turkey Leg 150
Painesville Speedway Turkey Leg 150

 

Want to watch some great racing this fall?  Check out the Turkey Leg 150 at the Painesville Speedway on Saturday, November 17th at 2PM.

I’ll be there racing a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am.

Racing at Painesville Speedway

More to follow on the builds and prep.  This is always a fun event!!

Three Upcoming Fall Cleveland Car Shows

Cleveland Car Show October 2018

 

Man, I dropped the ball with one!  Had it saved as a draft and never published it.  I removed the older dates, but there are still three more shows to check out (two of them today).

With the cooler temps comes less car shows and events in the Cleveland area.  Below are Four Upcoming Fall Cleveland Car Shows that are worth checking out

October 13, 2018 -Join Eastwood and Alive Inside for their last show of the season “Rock & Ride” in their efforts to fight dementia. There will be live music, hot food, raffle prizes, trophies and so much more! To show your ride, (Bikes, Cars, Trucks, and everything in between) we are asking for a $10 entry fee, where all proceeds will go to help against dementia.

Oct 13, 2018 – Bedford/ Maple Hts Historical Society Mystery History Run – 30 South Park St, Bedford Square, Bedford, OH, 44146, Fun scavenger hunt 8 stop $20 for 2, add. $5. DP, Lunch included, 9 am reg. More info 216.215.5982

October 27th Come visit Street Machinery and see what we have to offer. Over 100 old cars and trucks for sale at one location for one day.
25020 Lakeland Blvd Euclid OH 44132 https://www.facebook.com/events/329343807611300/

 

 

ChampCar Pittsburgh Grand Prix Recap

Lake Effect Racing Pitt Race ChampCar
Post race weekend picture

 

Here’s my ChampCar Pittsburgh Grand Prix Recap…

This year was filled with many late nights and long weekends at the shop working on a car that would be entered into ChampCar (www.ChampCar.org) racing.  It was a bigger endeavor that I had planned for  and one that, at times, seemed so close yet at other times seemed as if the project would never end.

I am working on a post that highlights the build.  Stay tuned.

Getting To The Track

I was actually finishing up some items on the Friday morning prior to loading up for the Pittsburgh Grand Prix.  Oil change, alignment, transmission fluid change still had yet to be done.  Plus packing.  I was at the shop late every night for two weeks as we worked to get the car ready.  I am very luck to have friends that will trade work for pizza.

I returned to the shop twice after leaving as we discussed a possible brake swap at the track and had to retrieve many parts that were back at the shop.  Tech closed at 6PM and my arrival time was inching towards 5:30.

I arrived to the track at 5:30 and the team helped unload the car, fix a fuel leak I found on the turnpike as I filled the car with fuel and we drove it up to tech.

They only had a few items for us to address and we headed pack to our paddock, grabbed dinner and then worked for a few hours installing the wiper assembly, roll bar padding, changing the fire extinguisher nozzle locations, installing rear window strips, and figuring out an electrical item that would allow ,the car to be shut off with a master kill switch.  I figured it out and then we were good to go.

Let me tell you about the dinner!  One of our teammates, Brian, organized this pot luck dinner and it was awesome.  Tons of delicious food!  Everyone loved it!

One thing I enjoy about racing like this is meeting new people and hanging out.  A group a few trailers down invited us over for beers and we sat around, talked racing, emptied the keg and laughed quite a bit.  It was good a way to end a long day.

Saturday – Race Day

We woke the paddock up at 6:25AM to take the car back to tech to get final approval on all items and we passed.   We set up our pit stall and got the car down to pit lane only for me to realize that we never adjusted the safety belts.  I struggled, contorted into small spaces and managed to get the belts closer to where they needed to be.

I strapped in and set out on the pace lap.  I couldn’t shift the gears easily!  The way the shifter and the seat were made it very difficult for me to shift and to reach the wiper switch which was now actually behind me.  Also, the car was cutting out!  It was sputtering.  I headed into the pits and told the team what was going on.  We sent Paul out, he’s taller, and it was still sputtering.  So we brought it into the paddock for an investigation. I found a loose connection opt the mass air flow sensor and it was good to go.  As I write this I now realized that the connection was moved during the electrical work for the kill switch work.  I bet it became loose then.

We sent the car back out and it ran great until the wheel feel off!  Yup, we had a wheel spacer nut fail on us.  We made the repair, after a trip to the parts store for more, better quality lug nuts.  Got the car back on track and it ran great.  I jumped in for a stint and with a seat adjustment and my booster seat (LOL) I could comfortably drive and shift.

We finished on Saturday!  To me that’s a win!

Back in the paddock we cleaned up the car, checked for any damage, rotated the tires and performed an alignment.  Now dinner time!

I missed my daughter’s homecoming on Saturday night.  🙁

Sunday – Race Day

Sunday was mostly uneventful.  Paul and I ran the car fairly well.  No issues until it was time for me to go in for the last drive. The left front wheel bearing was shot.  These cars are known to go through bearings and ours did.  Although we had a spare bearing we did not have a press.  Day over.

We packed up, celebrated what we did accomplish and began laying hints for next season.

We headed to the awards ceremony and guess what – our team won an award!  It was due to Brian’s organization of the pot luck and our ability to rebound from the wheel falling off.  Well done team!

 

Pictures from the ChampCar Pittsburgh Grand Prix
A Big Thank You

This season would have been possible without the help of many people.  From those that help early on in the winter to those that helped at the track – thank you.  I’d name you by name, but I’d probably miss someone (by accident).  Thanks to my loving wife who basically said get it done and we’ll see you after the last race.

What’s next?

I’ve always joked, “What off season?”!  As I head into the “off-season” I’ll be finalizing my plans for 2019 and will share them very soon.  Stay tuned!

Street Survival – Teen Driving Program

Street Survival - Teen Driving Program

If you have a teenage driver, you have to get them to a Street Survival teen driving event.  Did you know that Nearly 50% of teen driver fatality accidents involve a single vehicle?

According to the Street Survival website, “When your teen driver attends a Street Survival school, we teach them to control your car in unpredictable situations based on its handling limits. They master the application of driving physics using their car. They learn how to make good driving decisions and react more quickly. They become more aware and learn how to begin anticipating the actions of other drivers.”

Tire Rack Street Survival (TRSS) is a partnership between the Sports Car Club of America, Michelin, TireRack.com, The BMW Car Club of America  and  Enterprise.  It’s in its 16th year and has conducted over 1,000 schools and over 25,000 drivers.

I attended my first TRSS in 2014 as a volunteer and I didn’t know what to expect.  I helped set up and then was responsible for  checking and setting tire pressures for the cars that were to be used during the day.  I couldn’t stay for the entire event, but at our follow up meeting we read the thank you letters and emails that we received from the parents and students.  The parents were thrilled that their child learned more about car control and safe driving and some of the students wrote in as well about how they enjoyed the day.

My oldest daughter attended a TRSS event in Pittsburgh and it was awesome.  I hung out there the entire day as a parent (not a volunteer) and learned so many things about safe driving.  The day moved smoothly and the balance between classroom and in car was perfect.  The students stayed interested the entire day.

In northern Ohio we have a TRSS coming up.  On October 20, 2018 there will be a school in Eastlake at the Captain’s Ball Park parking lot.   My youngest daughter will be there.  This is a great opportunity for parents to get their son or daughter additional driving instruction which will allow them to become better and safer drivers.

Seven Upcoming Cleveland Area Car Shows!

car show

Just because school is back in session does not mean that the car show scene is slowing down.  I thought I’d highlight a few, upcoming Cleveland area car shows.

Before I do that though I thought I’d share something cool I saw this past Saturday night.  On my way home from the Painesville Speedway I stopped to refuel the truck and found a group of kids all standing around their cars talking.  Had to be about 15 cars, imports mainly.  It was 11:00 at night and I thought this was very cool!  Great to see an interest in hanging out, talking about cars.

September 7-8: The 27th Annual Cruisin’ by the Bay

Hosted in historic, downtown Sandusky, thisRemember Crusin’ Car Club show is expected to draw 500 cars and have great food and beverage vendors with DJ Frank LanManna spinning the tunes.  Learn more at http://www.cruisinbythebay.com/ .

September 7-9: NEOCC’s 25th Anniversary Camaro Fall Classic

If you like Camaros, you’ll love this show at Summit Racing Equipment in Tallmadge Ohio.  Free admission to spectators with tons to see and do.  Concession, 50/50 raffle, Grumpy Jenkin’s Camaro will be on display & more.  Learn more at https://www.neocc.org/annual-neocc-fall-classic/.

September 9: 4th Annual Car & Bike Cruise In – Erieside Church

This 4th annual Willowick show includes a picnic and fellowship.  Learn more at http://www.erieside.org/events-wedge-details/595493/1536516000 .

September 16: Ken Rakes Memorial Classic Car Show

Located at Vista Springs Quail Highlands in Concord Township, this second annual classic car show provides 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place prizes for Best in Show, a D.J. and free hots dogs, chips and beverages.  Call (440) 867-9100 for more information.

September 22: Dunn Hardware 6th Annual Cruise In

They say, “If it has wheels, let’s see it!”  Cars, trucks, and motorcycles will be on display in Richmond Heights along with music, food, the Donut Lab truck, and fun for all.  Proceeds from the cruise benefit Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital.  Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/219376725318224/.

September 23: Willoughby Brewing Company 5th Annual Car & Bike Show

Located in the very fun downtown Willoughby, this show is a popular one.  Come enjoy a delicious meal and great beer while viewing some great cars.  Learn more at http://www.willoughbybrewing.com/.

September 30: Euclid Beach Park Car Show

Looking for a pre-1970 car show, look no further.  This free, no judging event will be held in conjunction with Sights & Sounds of Euclid Beach Park – food, entertainment, and live radio broadcast.  Located at East 170th & Lakeshore Blvd in Euclid.  Learn more by calling  (440) 237-9817 or (440) 710-4107 (Dave).

 

Nelson Ledges ChampCar Race Recap

Okay, okay…I know it’s been a while.  Too long actually.

When I say it’s been crazy busy, it’s been crazy busy.  Many late nights and early mornings at the shop.  I feel very blessed that we are this busy and for the team I have.

We just got internet back at home after not having it for 9 days so I am home on a beautiful Friday night, alone, typing this, catching up on email and recapping the week.  Oh, and listening the NASCAR Xfinity race from Kentucky which we attended two years ago and had an awesome time at.

So in this post I’ll recap our ChampCar race at Nelson Ledges Road Course in northern Ohio.  This was the first 24 hour race at the recently repaved track in quite a while.

As the final weeks drew near on the Focus prep it became apparent that the car would not be ready.  We found out that we needed a somewhat hard to find for the axle carrier and the amount wiring proved to be too much.  I put in a weekend and about 25 more hours into this car in the days prior to the race and we still had items to wrap up.

We had to find another car to race and the team owner made many calls and tried to put together a few deals to keep us on track.  I connected him with one of our driver’s who had a car that we could race.

Thursday night was spent packaging the truck and two of our crew members, Sam and Betsy, went to help load up the car.

Friday I arrived to the track around 7AM and we set up our paddock.  We went through tech and ran a few practice laps.  It was decided that we would replace the axles due to a vibration and the suspension needed to changed to move us out of the EC (fast) class.  In hindsight we should have stayed in EC and took the class win (no other entries).

I left the track to drive all over collecting items we needed and then back up to the shop Friday as we needed more supplies and needed a different seat.  I did not get any practice laps in on Friday.  We worked well into the night and the the early morning to get the car ready.  Slept in the tent and woke to pancakes and coffee and it’s race morning!  I love camping at the track!!

Saturday morning we got through tech and with a little politicking – passed.  For some of Saturday’s race we were in the paddock with a vibration (loose ball joint bolts) and oil pressure and temperature issues.  I changed the oil and the car owner adjusted the brake ducting to the oil cooler and the issues seemed to go away.

Two of my stints were in the dark.  This was my first time racing at night.  My second stint was scheduled to start around 2AM.  One of our crew members checked on me at around 1:20 – I was sorta of awake,  As I geared up and started walking towards the pits I was greeted with a “The car was just towed in”.  I grabbed my truck, pulled the car to the paddock and began looking into the issue. No fuel pump.  I found that the relay had come loose.  Got it running, got dressed and went back on track.

Once I was done with my stint I headed to paddock to prepare breakfast and begin cleaning up.  I joked that if I had a $1 for every empty water bottle I’d have a lot of money!

While the weekend was a hot, long one we worked hard for a 3rd place in class finish and I am proud of that.

It’s 11AM, were packing up, I have two hours of sleep and reflecting on the weekend, I realized that I do enjoy  this.  That’s the truth (see what I did there?)

A lot of work, but I had a good time and that’s the Truth.

Photo Gallery

April is National Car Care Month – Come Hear Me Speak

Bill Snow Car Care Talk

Happy Car Care Month!

Every April and October we celebrate National Car Care  Month.  It’s a way to call attention to how to best maintain your vehicle so that it will serve you well and stay on the road longer.

This April I’ll be giving two Car Care talks at local libraries.  I really enjoy these presentations and I love educating attendees on how to best take care of their vehicles.

Today’s vehicles are more complex than ever and the need for a maintenance plan is more important than ever before.  This is one of the areas that I cover.  I also cover what certain Malfunction Indicator Lights mean and why it’s important  to have them investigated.  Weather permitting, we’ll walk around a vehicle to learn more about the quick areas that should be checked each week.

Monday, April 9th in Wickliffe
Bill Snow Wickliffe

Learn more about the event at the Wickliffe Public Library HERE.

 

Thursday, April 12th in Mentor

Bill Snow Mentor

Learn more about the event at the Mentor Public Library HERE.

Neohio Region Of The SCCA Has Released The 2018 Autocross Schedule

The Neohio region of the SCCA has released the 2018 Autocross schedule and there’s an early April event!

 

2018 Solo SCCA Cleveland autocross Schedule

 

View the schedule and any updates here: Neohio SCCA Autocross Schedule

Autocross events are perhaps one of the easiest ways to get into motorsports and learn about car handling and performance. What’s event better is that you can compete against others in your class as well against your own time.  These events are professionally run and there’s tons of support for newbies.

Over the past couple of years I have written some posts about Autocross and how to make your life a little easier…

What To Bring:  This post highlights what you should pack for an Autocross event.

6 Tips For Maintaining Your Autocross Car: Keeping your Autocross car in top shape is important.  This post cover six quick things to do between events.

To Mod or Not To Mod: While modifying your car can yield quick performance gains, sometimes you end up in a class where it’s tough to  compete.

If you’ve never participated in an Autocross event consider getting out to one of the early season events just to check it out.  If you are new to these types of events there will be plenty of help.  From ride alongs, to course walks and instruction from seasoned Autocrossers.  There’s also a great social aspect as after the event many will gather to talk about the day and how to improve for next time.