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Once again, the SE-Rs raised hell! However, this time, it wasn't just Joe
and myself... Ray K, Jim S, Deryk O, Mike P, and Mark S all joined us.
And what a track to join us on! Watkins Glen is freaking amazing! But,
like I said, we all raised hell. We all pretty much terrorized all of
those 'faster' cars. And to do it on such an incredibly
horsepower-friendly track was even better! We were out there with our
(relatively) cheap 4-bangers tearing it up with other huge-HP V8s
(corvettes, mustangs, M3s, Porsches, and many, many other track bitches)

Jim and Joe ran in the red/black group while the rest of us ran in the
blue/white group. David Evans and Matt Hunt were there cheering on all
the SE-Rs (and eavesdropping on other spectators commenting on how fast
some of us Nissans were ;)

It threatened rain in the morning and even drizzled a bit but nothing to
disturb our day. For the most part it was cloudy all day with air temps
probably in the mid 60s... *PERFECT* for the track day. Getting the car
set up and tires changed, brakes bled, and brakepads changed was a bit
cumbersome. Ray borrowed my jackstands and then everyone suggested that I
wait and use the spot in the garage to change my tires and bleed the
brakes. Bottom line is that I was late out on the track. I would've been
on time but I went and changed into my driver's suit and lost my keys
momentarily. Anyway, I got out there for the first session after the rest
of these guys had done two laps or so. I came out of the hot pits behind
a Miata and a 1st gen RX7. No way I was going to try to keep up.
However, behind me was a BMW and he was coming on hard so I started
pushing the car on cold tires.... oops ;) I managed to put some space
between me and the BMW and started reeling in the RX7/Miata. I came onto
the front straight and was clearly faster than both of them. The Miata
pointed both of us by but the RX7 didn't budge (that's ok, I got him
later) As we braked at the end of the front straight (~110 or so down to,
I dunno... ~60) I felt a vibration in the front and then, as I turned in
(to the right) I heard a loud thumping on the front left tire. I
immediately thought it was a lug and slowed down. Watkins Glen is 3.5
miles and I had just passed pit out so it was a long way around and I
didn't want to chance losing the tire (it sounded *THAT* bad!) so I wound
up pulling off. I later tried moving the car slowly in the grass but it
still sounded bad! I waited till the session was black flagged and got
out of the car and tightened the lugs as best I could by hand (they were
way hot already after only one lap!) No big deal and nothing damaged! Ray torqued my lugs before I went out and I believe Ray when he says he
torqued them too... weird things happen sometimes. Oh well...

Second session out, I wound up at the back of the group out there. After
two laps, I found the whole thing boring because I was just in a train of
cars. I pulled into the hot pit and pulled back out thinking I'd get some
clear room since all the cars were bunched up on the 3.5 mile track. No
such luck. I spent that entire session sitting behind slow and stupid
drivers. So I wasn't even able to push the car or find *MY* line or *MY*
braking points. It was all dictated by those around me :(

The third session, all the SE-Rs in our run group lined up at the front
and were allowed out together. That session was incredible! Ray started
out in front and after a lap or two, he pointed by Mark and myself. Mark
and I spent the entire rest of that session dicing. I watched Mark a lot
and found a few places were I thought he was braking too early (the bus
stop for example... *WAY* too early) There were places on the track that
he was faster than I and places on the track I was faster than him. (as a
sidenote: looks like the HP is definitely back up around 150 since Mark
put down around 150 on the dyno) We had a blast! There was a red Z06
(same one I passed back in August at Pocono Long) that caught us and
passed us. He didn't pull all that much! Took him a few laps to put any
distance on Mark and myself. And then there was an incredibly fast gutted
newer white M3. Fast driver as well. Other than that, it was just
us passing other cars. Toward the end, I felt like the track was getting
slippery. I wasn't confident with the car in certain corners so I kind
of backed off a bit. Deryk came up on me and I let him by as well. After
our session, I went and talked to the M3 owner because he didn't see my
pointby and held off... I just wanted to appologize because it ruined both
of our momentum. Anyway, he asked what I was driving and I told him the
green 200SX and he said 'yeah, there are a lot of you ricers out there
today! Man, I saw one Sentra with this turbocharger! That thing was
fast. I could hear him when I went by!' Pretty funny. But he
complimented all of us on being fast drivers. Also after that session, I
checked my tire pressures to see if that's why the track felt greasy.
Sure enough, they had built some serious tire pressure so I let some air
back out. I also remembered that my rear brake pads are shot (damn, why
do I keep forgetting to change them!?!) I lowered the rear pressures for more grip in the rear.

Fourth session, as we lined up, we were further back so we decided we'd
stay at the back and let everyone get some distance ahead of us on the
first lap. Well, there was this dude in a replica cobra who was being a
dick. He had gotten Joe yelled at for passing on the guy's left when Joe
had been pointed to the right (but the guy was up against the curbing to
the right!) Anyway, the guy got bumped down a group into ours. As we
were lining up, Deryk's car was blocking this guy's garage spot. So the
guy started verbally assaulting Deryk... big mistake! Mark told me he
wanted to go out and harass the Cobra owner. As we were let out into the
hot pit, I was directly behind the cobra and him and all the people ahead
of him did 0-100 down the hot pit! So I followed them. Lemme tell you,
that first lap was in no way yellow! We were all going flat-out (well,
the cars in front of me) The SE-Rs behind me were somewhat keeping up...
being a little smarter on cold tires! Anyway, after they threw the green
flag, I started harassing the hell out of this cobra owner. He was being
held up but he was still going kind of slow. I was getting right up on
his bumper more than normal and getting almost alongside him (ok,
alongside him) in turns just trying to fill his mirrors enough to realize
he had a problem on his hands. Took about 3 or 4 corners before he was
more than happy to let me by. An Imprezza 3.5RS (or whatever) was in
front of him and this guy always thinks he's the fastest car out there and
never lets anyone by. First turn I got by him. After that, I didn't see
the rest of the SE-R guys unfortunately. I was going to wait but I saw
some faster cars ahead (the Gran Sport from the Limerock video and a
Delorrean (sp?)) and I was slowly catching them each lap so I kept
pushing. The car felt *SO* much better with the lower tire pressures.
I'll bet I picked up a second or two just by adjusting those pressures. I
had so much more confidence with the increased grip.

At the end of the day, I got the ultimate compliment. An older guy who I
had passed in the second and fourth sessions who was driving a Boxster
came up and told me "I hope I wasn't holding you up too much out there" I
love it! Everyone always wants to know "what you got in that car!?!"
Usually the answer is "the driver" I'm learning more and more that the
driver is the biggest variable. I'd *LOVE* to drive a car with more than
150HP!!! But for now, I'll be content kicking the crap out of vettes, porsches, and other cars in my econobox!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
barnoun said:
Nice report dude...sounds like a great time. This was just a lapping day, right?
Correct... but I always turn it into a personal race ;) If there's a higher HP car out there, I want to pass it!
 
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