NASA Enduro, September 10, 2006

Our Fearless Leader

Shed Racing joined Miller Motorsports for NASA’s Western Endurance Racing Championship three hour enduro at Sears Point Raceway.  The car for this event was the new MM #98 Spec Miata.  The plan was to shake down the new car and get some practice in for the upcoming 25 Hours of Thunderhill effort.

Marcus helps Tom strap in, while Ron checks the car

Marcus Miller, Scott Miller, Tom Aiken and Ron Swett shared the driving, with Scott Neville acting as crew chief.  Scott Lipton, Bob Wils, Jason Hammons,  Robert and Mary Miller all showed up to help out.

Looking on during practice.  (L-R)Bob Wils, Scott Lipton, Tom Aiken, Scott Neville

The enduro was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, with a lunchtime practice session scheduled.  Tom, Ron, and Jason arrived and helped prep the car, and got ready for the practice session.  The practice session was only scheduled for 20 minutes, but the plan was to try and cycle three drivers through in that short time to give all the drivers some time to familiarize themselves with the car before the race, and give the team a chance to practice driver changes.  Marcus went out first for practice, while the other drivers and crew waited in the hot pits in front of the grandstand.  After turning two laps, Marcus hit pit road, and Tom got behind the wheel.  Tom also drove the car for two laps before turning the Miata over to Ron to finish the session.  Both driver changes took just over a minute.

Ron takes the checkered at the end of practice

After the Driver’s meeting, the crew set up the pit box at the far end of pit road.   NASA took a very scientific approach to setting the starting grid order, lining up the cars in order of their pit stalls.   The pit stall choice put the team near the tail end of the grid for the green flag, starting 45th of 48 cars entered. 

Ron ready to go

The purpose of entering the race was to practice fuel stops and driver changes for the 25 hour race, so driving stints were shortened.  The intent was not to minimize time in the pits, but to maximize seat time in the new car for each driver, and work out the kinks in pit procedures now, so things will run smoothly when it matters, in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

Tom straps Ron in while Jason fuels.  Marcus and Robert Miller look on.

Marcus started the race, and drove clean for the first stint.  On the 18th lap, Marcus hit pit road having moved the team up to 41st place overall, 11th in class.  The first pit stop was a driver change only, with Tom taking over the driving duties after a 1:19 delay.  

Bob kept the lap time plot for the entire 3 hour race.

Tom continued the teams advance up the leader board, moving the #98 Miata up to 30th overall, 10th in class when he hit pit road on lap 35.  The mid-race pit stop involved a driver change to Scott Miller, Robert Miller and Marcus checked the oil,  Jason added 4.5 gallons of fuel, and Scott hit the track 1:52 later.

Jason ready for the last fuel stop, in  Tom's Helmet and Marcus's suit.

Scott continued to improve the team standings, advancing to 26th overall, 8th in class when his stint was over on lap 56.  Jason again fueled the car while Ron took over the driving duties, leaving the pits 2:18 later.

Ron Took the checkered flag on lap 75, finishing the race 26th overall, 8th in class, 18 Laps back from the overall winner.  Best time of the race was 2:08.402, turned in my Marcus in lap 11.

Overall Winner, Team CSR Performance
Pit Stop Videos

First driver change in practice, Marcus out, Tom in.  1:16  (8mb)
Second driver change in practice, Tom out, Ron in.  1:06 (7mb)

First pit stop in race, Marcus out, Tom in, no fuel.
  1:19  (8mb)
Second pit stop in race, Tom out, Scott in, check oil, +4.5 gal fuel,
1:52  (11mb)
Third pit stop in race, Scott out, Ron in, +7 gal fuel. 2:18   (14mb)

Photo Galleries

Digital Gallery