Not the Luckiest of Weekends

I have been trying for 2 weeks to put into words my thoughts and events surrounding the April 29th and 30th weekend racing with the Lucky Dog Racing League at The Ridge Motorsports Park but they’re just not coming to me so I will start with the basics.

It was a major privilege to be racing that weekend and I want to thank the Lucky Dog Staff especially Cathy for making us feel so welcomed even after we heard some grumbling in the paddock about our car “being too nice.”  It might have been “nice” (to the blind) but it certainly was not reliable and we have dyno sheets to show it only makes 215whp so it’s certainly not fast.

We are incredibly thankful for the workers and volunteers who spent the better part of their entire weekend stuck in a wooden cubicle so that we can play.  I’m equally as thankful that the weather was beautiful for the entire weekend except for 2 hours on Saturday.  That is unheard of in Shelton, Washington in April.

It was satisfying that we could help so many teams stay in the race with parts including transmission bolts, coil-pack and boots, wheel stud, tstat housing, brake fluid, engine oil, coolant and more. It was weird being the prepared team in the paddock even though we showed up with an open trailer and cherry picker in the back of the truck

It was a pleasure to see Curt all smiles after emerging from 2 flawless stints.  Curt has been waiting for seat time since the disaster that was Portland 2015 and we need to thank Curt for his patience and willingness to help out the team and for putting on an awesome show (see video below).

Seeing Gareth get to celebrate with his Wife after his stint and Michon drop nearly 20 seconds from his first stint to his last stint in his very first racing weekend was very impressive.  Dini performed wonderfully and the highlight of the weekend was getting to see him finish the race for us on Sunday.

Every team needs an “Ian.”  We would have been packing up and heading home on Saturday if it were not for the workhorse that we refer to as the “Hey, Hi, How Are You Guy?”  Thank you, Ian and the rest of the team for coming together to get an engine swap done when a retaining clip failed during Saturday’s qualifying.

Our Sponsors rock.  Tanner at Purfect Logos and Gary from Family Law Spokane really stepped up and helped us out in various ways from money to fully clothing our team and vinyl for the car.  Thank you both and the rest of our sponsors for continuing to make this racing dream a reality.  Next Level Automotive | Hard Motorsport | Motorsport Fluids | Motorsport Hardware | Cyclops Salvage | Absent Speed Factory | DataPro Solutions | Northwest BMW Club

Final thoughts:  Dry chemical tastes horrible, I don’t recommend it.  Always plug in your PCV Hose unless you have personal beef with your pulley’s and belts.  Brass fitting suck for temperature sensors.  Check your rag’s before they end up in your alternator.  Always check your vanos plug bolts unless you’re looking for that golden-sheen down the side of the car. Raining when it’s sunny out can be confusing, we understand Dini. And equally working a GoPro with gloves on is not easy but apparently is easy to zoom way in without trying, James.  Hood shocks might be a good idea if you value your windshield when you’re at the windiest track in the world.  Good friends and good times, a weekend we will never forget.

Picture and video time.  Big thank you to Kirk Myhre of www.myhrecreative.com for these two awesome pictures from the race on Sunday.  The rest of the gallery was taken with our GoPro and various phone camera’s.

The Finish

 Curt’s First Stint on Sunday

Trying our luck with some Lucky Dogs

We emerged from an extended hibernation last weekend with our #94 BMW E36 racking up over 90 minutes of very valuable track time at Spokane County Raceway as we prepare for 14 hours of racing on April 29th and 30th at The Ridge Motorsports Park. Winter was long but productive for the nwBMWracing Team as we look forward to racing with Lucky Dog Racing League and ICSCC in 2017.

We are very excited to announce the addition of Michon Dini to our team not only as our tuner, but as a driver in 2017.  “Dini,” as we call him, has been a huge help to the team in the past with tuning and providing parts for the car and we could not be happier to return the favor with some seat time in April and beyond.  Title Sponsor (Next Level Automotive) and driver Gareth Campbell will remain on driving for us in ICSCC and Lucky Dog Racing League events while Curt Wikstrom (2015 Sport Touring ICSCC Champion) will also share the drivers seat in April.

Here is some media from April 1st’s track day at Spokane County Raceway.  Photo’s by MML Racing Photography.

Photo by MML Racing Photography

Onboard with James Haile and Jared Correia comparing laps

Maverick from ‘Top Gun?’ More like Goose!

The title of the post says it all.  Brendan and James went to SCCA’s Top Gun in Helena, Montana and had a great time camping, shooting pictures by planes and on the drive over the mountains (Two-Way Radios made the 6 hour tow bearable).  However we probably won’t be going back to Helena anytime soon for the racing, at least with the #94 Race Car. Many, many things went wrong ending in the destruction of our front bumper and lip. Thus we packed up early and came home on Sunday spending the afternoon at a junkyard pulling parts for Brendan’s C10 Truck.  Good times and beautiful pictures made this a trip we will not forget.

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Preparing for the SCCA ‘Top Gun’ Challenge

July ended up being a very quiet month after Lucky Racing Dog League canceled at Spokane County Raceway.  Instead we prepped an Enduro Engine and acquired another donor E36 with a good M52B28.  Huge thank you to Tim Collins for looking out for the team and finding the car for us!

Jared from NW Autoworks, Alex from Bavarian Motors and James pulled, prepped, installed, timed some shricks and got the engine firing up with a tune from Michon Dini. Thank you everyone for your help!  Next stop is European Autohaus for an alignment and then onto Top Gun in Helena, Montana.  It has been 5 years since we last competed there in which James won CS in the Purple Squirrel M3.

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ASNW Auto Cross Onboard Fast Runs

Jared from NW Autoworks and James went out to Autosports Northwest Auto Cross and had a great time battling against each other.  We went home with a 1st and 2nd place and a great tan!  Here are our fast runs from the day and a couple of quick shots.

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Northwest Motorsports Grand Prix Onboard Footage

This was our first race of the weekend in Group 4 after a good qualifying session by James put us third on the grid.  The engine started misfiring leaving James helpless out there and ultimately bringing it in to stop any more damage.  Ian and Jared went to work and got the car ready for the Group 8 Enduro in which we finished 3rd.

This was the most intense and second Group 4 race of the weekend.  Our race was delayed by about 20 minutes and right as we started to go out the rain came and only got worse as the race went on.  Had a great battle putting pressure on Scott Norton in his ST Camaro and ultimately won the position after traction and then charging issues forced him out of the race.  I have to say I learned a ton back in May running in worse conditions on these Hankook C51 tires and I am very impressed by the grip of these tires even in the wet.

This is the driver change and second half of the race riding with James as he pushed the car to a 2nd place finish in Group 8 on Saturday.  Ian and Jared got the car sorted and ready to race after a qualifying incident put Gareth into the gravel trap at turn 2.

Thank you again to our Sponsors!

Next Level Automotive | Condor Speed Shop | Absent Speed Factory | Hard Motorsport | Motorsport Hardware | Motorsport Fluids | Family Law Spokane | DataPro Solutions, INC | NOVATIME | Cyclops Salvage Used Parts | NW Autoworks | Northwest BMW Club | Purfect Logos

Northwest Motorsports Grand Prix: Wow

The Northwest Motorsports Grand Prix Triple gave us everything we could handle on June 17th-19th.  High Oil Temps/Engine issues, Gareth giving James a heart-attack after an off at turn 1, wet, hot and windy weather and lots of good hard racing with fellow ST friends.  In the end, we finished with a 3rd place and 2nd place in Group 8/MEO and three 4th place finishes in Group 4 and 1.  Most importantly we had a great time hanging out with our friends and family.

Huge Thank YOU to Ian Olsen and Jared Correia keeping the #94 running all weekend long despite nothing but engine issues from day one of racing and a certain Title Sponsor *cough* Gareth *cough* putting the car into the gravel at turn 1 :D.  We didn’t miss a session all weekend long because of you guys.  Have a beer, Gentleman!  Equally we had a great time hanging with Nikki Haile, Jodie Waner, Tommy Ridgeway and Alexis Ferriby.  Thank you TEAM!

And as always, thank you to all of the volunteers and course workers for keeping us safe.  We appreciate you and hope you had a good time despite the crazy weather (I have been there in those stands and it can be miserable).  We also need to say GREAT JOB to Bryce Scott of Scott Motorsports for taking on the Race Chairman position and delivering a great race.  Thank you, Bryce!

And finally thank you to Mad Mike of MML Racing Photography for taking bunch of pictures of our #94 BMW E36 325is Sponsored by Next Level Automotive | Condor Speed Shop | Absent Speed Factory | Hard Motorsport | Motorsport Hardware | Motorsport Fluids | Family Law Spokane | DataPro Solutions, INC | NOVATIME | Cyclops Salvage Used Parts | NW Autoworks | Northwest BMW Club | Purfect Logos

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Spokane County Raceway Test and Tune Pictures

We have been going to Spokane County Raceway as often as possible because of the cheap cost of track time.  Here are some pictures from those events.

Missing the Ridge and Friends

After the last update all plans to race at The Ridge Motorsports Park fell apart due to engine issues.  We took the number 94 car to the Code Red Racing Track Day and within 40 minutes of testing had an oil pressure issue.  Ended up pulling the recently replaced engine yet again and Brian Bogdon delivered another M52 from our tuner Michon Dini.  Truth is the team got the 3rd engine this year installed and running but without any testing on a track I wasn’t willing to take the chance of racing untested for 6 hours and instead spent the weekend Auto Crossing with Jared from NW Autoworks.  While I was incredibly saddened at having to cancel the trip it was a nice, stress-free weekend that was badly needed for the entire team.

Thank you to the team of Brendan, Ian, Jared, Michon and especially Brian and Lisa Bogdon for delivering an engine across Washington.  We will be ready for the Northwest Motorsport Triple Grand Prix on June 17th-19th.

Here are a few pictures from recent Track Days at Spokane County Raceway taken by Mad Mike from MML Racing Photography.

Headed back to ‘The Ridge’

We had planned to make 2016 a rebuilding year for our program and to cutback on expenses so that we can finish/improve our current lineup of race cars.  And then a phone call from Gareth Campbell of Sponsor Next Level Automotive changed everything.  We will be competing again for the ICSCC Mini Enduro Season Championship in 2016 with James Haile and Gareth Campbell sharing the halo seat in our #94 BMW E36.  We are very excited to try and help another driver achieve their goals and look forward to competing all year.  First up is a return to The Ridge Motorsports Park on April 17th for another 6 hours of racing.

So things have been busy the last few weeks.  Ian found us a donor car which we purchased and immediately yanked the still running M52 out and prepped for race abuse. Brendan came over from Absent Speed Factory and helped pull the old and prep the new M52 engine before dropping it in.  Ian then came over and helped install and time the S52 cams and get the car running.  Alex lent a hand with cleaning up wiring and adding some additional “extras” to the car.  We are hoping to have the car on track by April 9th for a Code Red Racing Test’n’Tune at Spokane County Raceway.  More updates to come as the race is only 3 weeks away!

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‘Black Panther’ about to pounce

For a “Budget” build, The NW Autoworks/nwBMWracing Black Panther E36 BMW has received a lot of attention as it nears completion and gets out for Auto Cross and HPDE Schools in 2016.  Condor Speed Shop Bushings look great against the Schwarz E36 chassis but should perform even better on the track.  Fresh Redline fluid for our rebuilt Absent Speed Factory 3.38 limited slip rear end after doing a quick flush with Royal Purple (it’s only real use).  Should be out for on track for the first or second Code Red Racing Sunday Test and Tunes on April 3rd or 9th at Spokane County Raceway.

Purple Squirrel Finds a Home

We delivered the Purple Squirrel build to Brendan at Absent Speed Factory sometime back in December (maybe November, I don’t remember) and he immediately set out to destroy James’ paint work as you can see in the pictures.  In all honesty the rear sub-frame is nearly completed with fresh bushing from Condor Speed Shop.  The front sub-frame is getting prepped for the Condor treatment as well.  Brendan has saved the car over 60lbs and has stitched welded the entire floor.  Very excited to see the level of detail being put into this build right down to brand new bolts, nuts and washers for every piece of the car.

Black Panther and first 2016 Update

2015 came and went so quickly that our “Purple Squirrel” and “Black Panther” Builds were put on the shelf.  2016 has refocused us and first up is finishing up the E36 325i budget build. Solid bushings from our sponsor Condor Speed Shop, a semi-rebuilt LSD from Absent Speed Factory, used K-Sport Coilovers and an E-Bay ZF Drive-shaft has this build on schedule to be on the track for Code Red Racing track days and Autosports Northwest Auto Cross in April.

The Sleeper Bushing Kit from Condor Speed Shop

The Sleeper Bushing Kit from Condor Speed Shop