Northwest Grand Prix: Bent Valve’s and Egos

It has been hard to be enthusiastic about the Northwest Grand Prix weekend at Spokane County Raceway at the end of June but we the made the best of a bad situation. Over-rev’s of our M52 engine basically cost us 2 cylinder heads and one bottom end resulting in only one Novice Race credit by Michon Dini; not what we were hoping for as we always strive to finish races.  The one big positive note was Ian, Jared, Michon and myself had a great time wrenching and hanging out in the paddock together and we got to see friends like Curt Wikstrom, Zack George (who had even worse luck than us) and other Sport Touring racers while enjoying some fantastic Spokane weather.

We need to give a great BIG THANK YOU to Bryce Scott for putting on the race and really improving on the areas that needed help in 2016.  From setup to tech, everything went smooth.  Great work Bryce!

We also need to thank Russ Lundberg (welcome back to town), Joel and Adam from NW Safety and all of the other NWMS/ICSCC Volunteer’s for spending your entire weekend being beaten down by the wind and sun all for the sake of the sport, THANK YOU!

And finally our sponsors:  Purfect Logos, Condor Speed Shop, Family Law Spokane all stepped up and really helped get us ready for this race weekend.  Thank you all!
Next Level Automotive | Hard Motorsport | Motorsport FluidsMotorsport Hardware | Cyclops Salvage | Absent Speed Factory | DataPro Solutions | Northwest BMW Club

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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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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CSCC Festival of Endurance by Therese Lombardi Photography

Some of the kindest words and actions have come from Therese Lombardi Photography following our early exit from the ICSCC Endurance Finale at Portland International Raceway.  Therese really went out of her way to make us feel better and we cannot express our appreciation enough to her.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for capturing these moments.

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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.

Festival of Endurance Pictures by Doug Berger

Doug Berger of DBPics.com always impresses and continues to win my business race after race.  His skill and professionalism is very appreciated and we want to sincerely thank Doug for continuing to photograph Motorsports in the Pacific Northwest.

We also need to officially announce Purfect Logos as our official Graphics, Clothing and Vinyl Supplier.  Time and time again Purfect Logos goes above and beyond to ensure we get our vinyl always on time no matter how late we send our orders in.  Tanner and his staff are great to work with and we highly recommend them for all of your design and printing needs.

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CSCC Festival of Endurance: At least it didn’t rain

Before we get to the summary of the weekend we must say a big THANK YOU to Cascade Sports Car Club and especially Chris Heinrich, Course Workers, Volunteers, Friends, Family and of course our cherished Sponsors for allowing us the opportunity to come race at Portland International Raceway.  What an amazing facility PIR is and we cannot wait to come back in 2016.  Thank you everyone for a great 2015!

At least it did not rain.  We arrived with the car 3 hours late to Portland due to a number of reasons but mainly because of a windshield defrost grid taking an entire day and then some to lay (and of course we didn’t even need it).  Our team did an amazing job scrambling and working until midnight on Friday night getting the final preparations done. 100% team effort which was incredible to see as James and Jared were exhausted from the tow and the load from earlier in the day.

We made the practice session where all drivers got to experience our E36 running on some street tires as the track was wet but quickly drying.  We made the call to switch to our Hankook C51 dry tires just before the start of the Mini Enduro 2-Hour Race and boy did we nail it.  Brian started at the back (gingerly), 8th in class and within 30 minutes had worked his way up until 2nd place in class behind our friends from Lowe Group Racing and their GTR M3 passing pretty much all of our competitors with ease even some with 2 more cylinders and twice the displacement.  Brian was driving fantastic and the changes we made really woke the car up until disaster struck.  Pushing a little too hard in traffic trying to pass the Bloising Saddles M3, Brian went to grab 4th from 3rd gear and went into 2nd instead.  Game over.  He was able to coast back to the pits where our crew work feverishly trying to get our M52 to re-fire but it was not to be, our day was done an hour into the 10 hours.

While we are incredibly saddened at the way our season ended we are also delighted to have been able to share in Brian Bogdon’s Mini Enduro Season Championship, and it did not rain.  We had a great time hanging out at the track with our racing buddies and will look back fondly on this weekend despite not finishing the race.  Our car and our team got to be part of a championship and for that I am truly grateful for Brian, thank you.

Finally, please support the sponsors that support us. Racing is incredibly tough to do unless you’re rich to begin with and without sponsors I don’t think we would be racing. Our sponsors go above and beyond to ensure we get to race and for that, we cannot thank them enough for their support in 2015 and into 2016.

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

More pictures and videos are on the way but for now here an excellent picture taken by the young and talented Flying Bye Photo. Thank you Austin and appreciate the kind comments about our situation.

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