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Stalker #85 headed back to Arkansas

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BTW, your the lucky recipient of post #3000. This is good for a batch of hot wings the next time I’m in Denver. :jester:



Good that my name is Mike too so I claim more wings when you next come into Teterboro! :jester:

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BTW, your the lucky recipient of post #3000. This is good for a batch of hot wings the next time I’m in Denver. :jester:


Is that a 15 or 50 piece batch? I know how to put away the wings.


BTW - I ordered the bonnet louver kit. I'll get some photos up when I start cutting. Measure twice, cut once they say.



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Is that a 15 or 50 piece batch? I know how to put away the wings.


BTW - I ordered the bonnet louver kit. I'll get some photos up when I start cutting. Measure twice, cut once they say.




We can go to that wing restaurant we didn't hit last time and pig out in bulk. :jester:


Good that my name is Mike too so I claim more wings when you next come into Teterboro! :jester:


Hey, I'm definitely 'game on' for another round of wings at Steve's Sizzling Steaks next trip up. :drool:

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Well, Suave and I have been driving full bore for a couple of days to reach VIR. We are here with Mario awaiting tomorrow’s adventure. Suave was a bit loud and clucky with excitement, so he is tucked away nice and cozy in the trailer while the Storkers are asleep in the garage. Feels good to be back. :driving:


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Well what Flyboi doesn't know, is that after he finished using me as a polishing rag for the Storker, I went off for a few refreshing beers to cleanse my gullet at Connie's pub here at VIR. Great place to meet some top drivers while the not-so-top driver went to bed early. ;)


At least he used up all that blue paint tape on the nose of the Storker in a vain effort to avoid Mario's stone chips.


So while he is off playing today I am off to check out the local Stork ladies.

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Well, Suave and I have been driving full bore for a couple of days to reach VIR. We are here with Mario awaiting tomorrow’s adventure. Suave was a bit loud and clucky with excitement, so he is tucked away nice and cozy in the trailer while the Storkers are asleep in the garage. Feels good to be back. :driving:


Wow Shane, It is great to see the Storker back in better shape than I have ever seen it! Hope you and Mario have a really fun and safe day of it today. I am having a Sunbrella cover made for my Classic Storker so that when I take it on the road with the Stalker tilt trailer that Less Suave doesn't get his butt wet when it rains into the car. He keeps whining that he wants to ride up front with me and I guess I should cut him some slack. Seems like our storks just don't get the respect they were hoping for but when they are out drinking together, we are going to have to make sure we have enough bail money. Bob

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The long awaited maiden track day voyage of The Phoenix is now history. We arrived at VIR around 4:00pm and rendezvoused with Mario in the skip pad, the temporary staging area for early arrivals. At 5:30pm we were allowed entry to the paddock and access to our garage. Unloading of the cars, early registration, tech inspection and garage/car setup was complete by 8:00pm.


Saturday, day 1


7:40am drivers’ meeting followed by an 8:30am warmup session: all cars on track with standing yellow and no passing (slow pace, but good for those of us who were running the track for the first time). Around 10:00am, the R. Ferri Motorsport race team showed up and began unloading their semi.




It was then that we discovered we were sharing garage space with their car, a beautiful Ferrari 488 GT3.




Suave fell in love and wouldn’t part with the beast. He kept squawking about how much bigger the Ferrari’s rear wing was compared to the Storker’s…rude.




First session was at 10:30am. About 20 minutes into the session, the Storker began to lose traction in the rear, loose in turns where it had felt fairly solid early on.


I returned to the garage and discovered why traction became an issue. The down force produced by the wing at high speed had bent the wing’s aluminum support rods from straight to an ‘L’ shape. The entire wing assembly had pivoted rearward and downward on the support brackets attached to the roll bar to the point the top of the wing was actually hanging parallel with the roll bar mounts.




Mario grabbed one of the bent rods and said, “If we pull together, I think we can bend there rods back straight”. He began pulling on the passenger-side rod and snapped off the welded mounting tab at the bottom of the rod. My first thought was to remove the crippled rear wing along with the front wing and simply slow down next time out. However, a quick trip to the onsite speed shop yielded some Longacre bracketry that worked well.


With the new brackets bolted in place (and the wallet a little lighter) and supporting the wing upright once again, the wing held solid for the rest of the event.


Our second session of the day rolled around at 1:00pm. Prior to heading out, I decided to dial in another five clicks on the adjustable front shocks to stiffen up the rebound. On about the fourth or fifth lap, I went deep into the braking zone for turn one. When I braked, the left front tire locked up. Seeing that I wasn't going to make the turn, I drove straight ahead into the grass. A couple of laps later, the same thing happened; again, at turn one. And again, off into the grass I go. Started thinking I should charge VIR for lawn service.


After the session, Mario beat me back to the garage. I pulled in, shut the car off and told Mario I had a problem; I was suddenly loosing effective braking in turn one and the problem had not been there in the earlier session. I hopped out of the car and decided to dial down the front shock rebound back to where it was for first session. When I tried to dial down the rebound on the left shock, the knob would not move ccw, and it should have moved. I could move it cw and then move it back ccw to its original position but no further. My first though was that I have a bad shock. I tried the right shock and the knob moved ccw just as it should. That’s when in dawned on me; I had dialed all the rebound out of the left front shock and dialed in an additional five clicks into the right front shock. :jester: When I came charging into turn one and braked, the stiff rebound of the right front shock put all the load on the right front tire which, in turn, caused the left front tire to easily lock up during braking. This setup made for some very interesting braking dynamics under load. It’s amazing just how much effect a small adjustment here and there can have on a car’s handling when pushed toward its limits.


The rest of the day was uneventful up till the last session of the day: Happy Hour. During this session, all cars are on track with unrestricted passing. Novice, solo, instructors and the professional race teams full bore; quite a mixed bag of talent and the lack thereof. It became obvious fairly quickly which guys had buku lap time at VIR. It was a humbling experience to be on track with challenge series cars. With the sun now low on the horizon in the west, coming out of turn 6 for the uphill climb (straight into the sun) in turn 7 was a bit dicey for this VIR newbie. In this turn, the pros were simply closing their eyes, applying full throttle and letting muscle memory di the rest. On lap four, at the crest of turn 7, a cone decided to commit suicide by throwing itself mercilessly in the front of my car. The result was a shattered front wing which left part of the wing residing among the surviving cones while the rest of the wing was shoved cockeyed up under the nose of the car.


It wasn’t until I was back at the garage that I discovered the extent of damage the cone had caused. Once again I’m thinking ‘just pull the wings and slow down’. A few minutes later, a corner worker pulls up to the garage. He gets out of his truck sporting a Cheshire Cat-sized grin and carrying the rest of my wing. I look at him and say “And you didn’t even black flag me”. He continued to grin and commented that we were having so much fun that he didn’t want to bring me in. I respectfully accepted the return of the wind and told him he was a saint.


We finished off day 1 with another round of pintos, cornbread and ketchup at the General Store along with a trip into Danville for J.B. Weld. By 11:00pm, I had the wing pieced back together and lights out.


Sunday, day 2


With the chump cars done and gone, we switched to running the full course. Overall, it was a grand day on track. I decided to approach my sessions with a totally different mindset; I’d simply pace the field, run a decent line and not risk the car. The strategy worked very well. If there was a particular section of the track I wanted to run hard through (such as the uphill esses), I would either slow down and provide myself a good gap between myself and the car/s ahead, or I would give point-bys till I was positioned for a good run.




During my second afternoon session, I was shut down by an electrical gremlin. The alternator light kept flickering while at rpm on track and about half way through the session, the volt meter went from 14v to 0v. I skipped the last session and happy hour and decided I’d chase the problem down once I was back in AL. I put Suave to work packing the trailer for the trip home.


Around mid-day, the Ferrari folks pried Suave's feathery hiny from the rear wing and pulled the 488 out for a few laps. Toni Vilander was behind the wheel, and even with a track full of slower cars, he ran a 1:42 on the full course. To put that in perspective, the Riley (driven by Eric Foss) that set the track record for the UTCC 2017 event last year ran a 1:44.


Mario had his own issue to contend with on Sunday; a faulty expansion tank. First, the cap was a low pressure unit that was intent on leaking during every outing. A trip to the onsite speed shop yielded a high pressure cap. This resolved the leaky cap issue, but on the first lap out with the new cap, the tank pressurized and a weak weld in the tank revealed itself on the uphill esses when one of the seams split and turned Mario’s Storker into a steam locomotive. He spent the next session repairing the tank via some onsite welding and gobs of epoxy. He finished up the last session and happy hour running strong.


Overall, it was a successful event. I felt right at home both on (and off) the track. Suave’s day was made when the Ferrari guys came over to our trailer to borrow a ¼” drive ratchet. They had packed up their tools and had apparently forgotten to remove the mirrors from the 488 for loading. I obliged and told them I would have the drive gold plated once I was back home.


With the adrenaline still flowing, we pulled off the paddock at 5:30pm and headed for AL. Mario left to do a ride with Mario Andretti, but that’s a whole other story. All night driving found us rolling back into Albertville, AL at 4:00am (will never do this again). After a few hours of sleep, I tackled the electrical issue. Believing I simply had a fried alternator, I removed it for testing at the local O’reilly. Surprisingly, the alternator tested well and the volt meter turned out to be nothing more than a faulty ground at the back of the gage that had vibrated loose during the event.


Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. As I close, Suave is begging me to dye his feathers a brilliant red. Also, does anyone have a copy of Rosetta Stone for learning Italian that Suave can borrow?













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Not a bad result for the usual fettling in process leaving you with some good feedback to work on.


Who was the track day operator?


Was the Caterham owned by anyone on here?

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Not a bad result for the usual fettling in process leaving you with some good feedback to work on.


Who was the track day operator?


Was the Caterham owned by anyone on here?




The event host was Chin. And yes, the Caterham belongs to forum member Conor. In the original write up, I had all the photos arranged nicely along with more detail from the event where I mentioned Conor and his Caterham. However, the post was apparently too long and the images too many. When I cut wording down and removed the images, I lost the mention of Conor and all the photos dropped to the bottom of the post.

Edited by xcarguy
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Have you considered using carbon fiber tubes/rods to hold up your wing assembly?




I think the setup I have now will be sufficient. No more issues over the weekend once I switched to the Longacre hardware. If you look at the photo of my car on track in the previous post, you can sort of see the shorter support rods. What you can't see is the brackets attached to the roll bar directly behind the seats to which the support rods are attached. Very rigid setup.

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  • 1 month later...

Last weekend, the family and I joined up with Mario and his wife at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham Alabama to run the 2.3 mile course. We were joined by my parents and local friends for a fun-filled, and sometimes challenging, weekend. My son and I worked in heavy rain Friday evening and into the night to have the car ready for the next day’s events. Saturday AM track conditions were cold and damp, so we used this time to continue readying the car. When the day ended, I had managed to run only two sessions (one in the wet) due to a couple of electrical gremlins, a broken shift lever and rain.


Sunday was a different story. The morning started off sunny and cold (low-mid 30’s) with temps hitting high 60’s by mid-day. With the car properly sorted minus a working voltmeter, I managed to drive four sessions. During the last two sessions, Mario and I playing ‘follow the leader’; something he referred to as “shake and bake”. The last session of the day was the best. It had become obvious to our run group that the ‘two Stalkers’ were running together and point-bys always came in sets of two as we weaved our way around the track.


Barber is one of the best tracks I’ve ever run on and I will definitely return given the opportunity. For those who have never run there (my first time) Barber a mostly fluid track with lots of elevation changes (great for cars such as 7’s) and several straights that are long enough for safe and confident passing, yet short enough to provide an opportunity to practice driving off-line for an upcoming turn following a pass. Turns 4 and 14 remind me of turns 1 and 5 at NJMP’s Lightning course; uphill, blind, confidence inspiring and just lots of fun. These are two corners you want to ensure there’s no waving yellow prior to entry. As for the Barber grounds, it’s one of the most beautiful tracks in the U.S. featuring immaculate landscaping, flowers, sculptures and arguably the best motorcycle museum on the planet that also includes a section dedicated to Lotus. The paddock is tiered and looks pretty cool when viewed from the buildings located on the lower paddock. In the lower level of the museum, there are a few formula cars and a vintage Lotus collection. As a side note, the museum is currently considering buying Mario’s authentic 1962 Lotus S7 RHD Race car for the Barber collection.


Below are a few photos followed by links to videos for the Barber weekend as well as video links to VIR from March (my first track day since my Feb 2015 TWS accident). I apologize for the lack of sound in the VIR vids, but my two Replay cameras were apparently damaged at TWS (something to do with hitting the ground too hard). In fact, my last working camera gave up the ghost at Barber on Sunday prior to the last session of the day.



Arriving Barber with family. Our first track day together in five years!




Waiting to enter the paddock.












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Track layout with elevation changes.






Drivers' meeting.



Ready for a run.






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Porsche driving school cars.



Mario admiring the neighbor's ride.



Ferrari and Panoz.








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Another Panoz and a Lotus.






Headed out for a session.








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On track.




Yep, that's a giant spider sculpture in the background. It's a female; note the baby spiders on the ground.










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Shake and Bake with Mario.



Last session over.



Track rats.



Then and now.


RPXD0024_Moment Barber (2).jpg


2013 2018 track days.jpg


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Videos from Barber and VIR.


Mario leading the way during one of the Barber “shake and bake” sessions:


Barber MSP 1, 4/8/18 Chin. At 19:00 into the video, I end up behind a string of cars while I await a Cayman to give me a point-by. At around 21:30, I express my frustration. Come to find out, the Cayman driver had been awaiting a point-by from the car ahead of him. Following the session, there was remedial training for certain divers regarding the proper use of mirrors...and point-bys.


Barber MSP 2, 4/8/18 Chin.Mario and I running the 'Shake and Bake'. The last video before the Replay died.


VIR North 1, 3/3/18 Chin. Around 12:50, I show you how not to pass off line. :jester:


VIR North 2, 3/3/18 Chin.


VIR Full, 3/4/18 Chin. More point-bys than passing on this video. I was plagued with a faulty voltmeter (dies at 6:31) and a low voltage alternator light that flickered for the entire session.

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Excellent read for a Sunday morning coffee - good to see I got you all competitive with photo blogging on here! In fact with the competitive juices flowing, I have something new for when I go to Donington and Silverstone in 3 weeks. :D


I will have a solution for your camera issues when you get to NJMP!


And why did you shrink in height? In fact when do you hand over the Stalker to your son to carry on your track ways? Maybe build him a new one? Almost certainly will be faster than you... :jester:

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My son is 14 yrs old and 5’11”. I was 5’8” prior to Feb, 2014. Now I’m 5’7”. LOL, being an inch shorter gives me a lower center of gravity which means, in theory, I’m faster. :D However, my son is already faster than me. Remember, he started much earlier than me.



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