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

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

Festival of Endurance Onboard Footage

After the first lap Brian really goes on a charge through the pack.  At 15 minutes there is a good battle with Scott Norton’s ST Camaro and then at 33 minutes is when disaster struck.  Very entertaining footage and normally I wouldn’t post the entire thing but there was pretty much action and passing every lap.

There is one really good lesson that can be taught from this video and that is race craft should never change.  Brian getting excited in traffic caused several mis-shifts and ultimately led to a money-shift ending our day.  Watch his hands as he normally palms the Condor Speed Shop shift knob from the top but during the mis-shifts he grabs it from the side.  It is better to place the car into gear then slamming it into gear.

Northwest Grand Prix; Good Results, Disappointing Performance

We went into this weekend with the same goals we always set, finish races and hope for good results. We did just that. James finished 3rd in two Group 4 Sport Touring Races (behind Brian and Curt) while Brian Bogdon and James finished two 1-Hour Mini Enduro races taking home two pieces of very nice first place hardware made by Advanced Auto Fabrication. James ended up parking the car on Sunday instead to flag at turn 8 as the supporting club was short on workers.  Huge Thank You to Brendan and Ashley McIntire of Absent Speed Factory for coming over from Seattle to crew and work on the car all weekend. And a thank you to Alex for spending several nights with us prepping the car and fixing all wiring issues. Other then a small oil leak from the dipstick the car performed flawlessly all weekend.

Thank You to ALL of the volunteers, corner workers, Spokane County Raceway and Northwest Motorsports for allowing us to race and for putting on another great triple race weekend. We also need to give a big shout out to Bryce Scott (Scott Motorsports) who went above and beyond this year to organize and get this event into shape.  Also James’ work, DataPro Solutions stepped up and supported the race as Title Sponsor after O’Reilly’s backed out last minute, thank you Bob Bordonaro and DataPro Solutions for your support!

And as always, THANK YOU to our 2015 Sponsors:  Cyclops Salvage, Hard Motorsport, Absent Speed Factory, NW Autoworks, DataPro Solutions, Next Level Automotive, Northwest BMW Club and of course Family Law Spokane.

As for the disappointing performance, we made big changes to the car removing all aero and raising the ride height by an inch on all corners and switched from Hoosiers to a wider BFG R1. We did this with the idea that the car would be slipperier in a straight line and most importantly preserve our only set of tires for the weekend. The results were a loss of 3 seconds per lap on average and a car that James and Brian struggled with all weekend. We now know what not to do for the 8+2 Enduro season closer at Portland International Raceway on October 18th and look forward to finishing the season strong and maybe earning Brian an overall Enduro Championship for Group 8.

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2015 Planned Weekends

We are still building our schedule for 2015 as clubs and tracks release their calendars. We have circled the following dates to attend thus far.  Lots of work until we head to Oregon Raceway Park in 10 weeks to do.  New cage is coming along nicely, new engine is being prepped and we have lots of new upgrades to our number 362 325is Race Car for 2015 coming.  Our 311 M3 will be running a S54 this year as well.  2015 is looking bright.

  • March 29th at Oregon Raceway Park for Test and Tune
  • April 18-19th at The Ridge for 6 Hour Enduro
  • May 23-24th at Oregon Raceway Park for double race and weekend
  • June 19-21st at Spokane County Raceway for a triple race and points weekend
  • July 31st-August 2nd at Laguna Seca for NASA National Western Championship
  • August 14th at Spokane County Raceway for HPDE/Time Attack
  • September 5-7th at Mission Raceway for triple race and points weekend (Te native depending on personal schedules and weddings)
  • October 17th at Portland International Raceway for 8 Hour Enduro

Cool video from the NASA Western Championship’s to get pumped up about 2015.

The Beast Runs!

Jared and I got the M5 cleaned up and running again in time for the Advanced Auto Fabrication Track and Dyno Day’s this past week.  Hank and his crew also checked and topped up all fluids and we took the M5 out to Spokane County Raceway and ran a couple of long sessions with no issues, other then tires.

June 30 ICSCC Portland Endurance Race Video

Ah the weekend that I almost (and wanted) to forget.  This was a rough racing weekend on everyone but we made a lot of friends so it wasn’t a total loss.  Adam’s car never really ran correctly and eventually had to be retired with a valve issue during the Saturday morning practice session.  I ended up losing my transmission while running close to the front of the pack during the 1-Hour Special Endurance Race and missed the rest of the weekend.  Dollar signs were flashing in my brain every time I shifted.

Nitto NT01 tires were probably the wrong choice looking back at this race.  I had just qualified fastest in ST during a major rain fall while running Dunlop StarSpec Street Tires about 30 minutes before the start of the Endurance Race.  I ran those tires in the rain because I’m very familiar and comfortable with their grip level in the wet and damp which I thought was more important seeing as this would be the first time the M5 has been raced in the wet.  I waited until the very lost moment before making the call to go with NT01s for the start of the Endurance race.  It was my call and the wrong one. It was still raining lightly in areas of the track and very wet anywhere off the racing line.  In my mind I thought it would dry out but it just continued to lightly rain and if I went anywhere near that right pedal, here comes the oversteer!

It was a bummer not finishing this race as we were going to at least podium if not win.  Adam was going to be jumping in the car to take us to the checkered flag but it was not to be.  It was still a great learning experience and I can’t wait to return to Portland and master that track.

I cannot thank my work, DataPro Solutions, enough for paying for my entry fees despite not finishing the races in Portland.  And also a huge thank you to Hank and Sam Moore from Advanced Auto Fabrication for transporting my car to and from the track for Adam and I.

May I Present: The Puke Bucket

Quick video of a practice session at Oregon Raceway Park where I became very ill in the seat.  I tried my hardest to keep it down but as I dropped down to go up Valkyrie, my stomach could take no more.  Thank God for Non-drowsy Dramamine.  Great weekend of racing at Oregon Raceway Park.