Minty Smash: The Best of Two into ONE! THE TEST (Part 5 of a Few)

The update I have been wanting to write, and the one you have been wanting to read.

One week before this entry takes place I get a call from my brother saying he will be heading home and then leaving in about a month to work in Japan…YAY! I am going to J-land in about a year…hopefully.

We left off with Minty Smash sitting pretty coming into the Monday before the event, but I still had a short list of things to do. The first priority was run the car, bleed the radiator and drive this beast. So out to the garage.

Monday, rolls along pretty good. I get the oil cooler bracketed up and locked down, which left me installing the front end. Front end installation takes 2 seconds and I am feeling pretty good, start filling fluids. Trans fluid – in, Oil – in, Coolant – in, Gas – 2 months old and shatty. Eh, Fire it up….tomorrow. Some stuff crops up like food shopping and bills… tomorrow Minty, tomorrow. Oh yeah, ordered two more MB Competitions and Federal 595s for drift spares….YAY!

Tuesday, super pumped, up early – 5am early. Kid wakes up on my way out the door, daaaaanng. Feed him and we hang out till 8am when my wife wakes up. We kiss, and I head out. Roll Minty out of the garage and connect the battery, disconnect the injectors and spark plugs. Crank, crank, crank…etc. Oil pressure up. Connect injectors and plugs. Crank, Fire, and Running…Holla. Dancing like a Kansas City _______.(Watch Blazing Saddles to complete that saying… too harsh). Checking gauges constantly especially coolant. Coolant is creeping, keep watching 175, 180, 190, 210, 220….Faaawwwk. Shut her down.  Walk off and mount battery while Minty cools down. Go back around front, not really sure how cool it is, so I cover the radiator cap with a rag. O fuck, fuck, shit, shit, fuck. Head inside with my face on fire. O yeah Minty was still super super hot, burned the crap out of my face. Coolant hit my eye but it must have been very indirect as it didn’t hurt too bad. Ok, well I can’t waste the day and the radiator cap is off now. 90 degree day and a burnt face…suuucks. Dump in coolant, close it up, start Minty. Temps on the rise again, burn myself again, start bleeding system, bleeding works, test drive? Ah, No. Head in for the day, make alignment appointment at Sears for Thursday.

Wednesday, I did stuff that I don’t remember in the morning and afternoon. The main high light was hacking up my perfectly good carbon fiber hood, to install my locking Aerocatch hood pins. I will spare the details and say install is a nightmare but it is straight forward. And they look gorgeous once on the car, and the room they free up by allowing me to get rid of the hood latch and bracing is invaluable.

Thursday, and deep into crunch time. My alignment is at 11am. I get out to the garage about 8am and square away some more small stuff and load up. Fire up Minty and roll out. I am taking it easy, as I have yet to set boost on the Truboost, and I have no idea how good my wiring is while in action. I get the boost up to 12lbs and then for whatever reason, Minty starts dying at stops. *seriously, NOW* I get the alignment (worked with guy to allow me to adjust alignment at the track… negative camber w/o jacking alignment up too bad) and on the way home start playing, trying to figure out the dying stuff. I get it nailed down to:  if I rev above 3000 and let it fall, the car will die. If I it revs below 3000 it will stay running, YAY!… kinda. Eh, whatever… it is the best I have.  Take to a local 240 owners house, we dick with the idle screw and band aide it a little more…More YAY!… kinda. I hate band-aides but I have no choice. I work Friday and the event is Saturday, this is as good as it gets. Wheels show up…Woot! Now just waiting on tires, run an errand(haircut), come back Fedex came by and left with my tires.   They require a Signature…Dumb. Wife will stay home tomorrow morning and sign for them…I love her.

Friday, work. 10am – Tires come in. 12:30pm – leave work, head home, pick up wheels and tires, run them to Sears, head back to work. 6pm – done with work a spec early, head to Sears. Pick up wheels and tires. 10pm – pick up bro from bus stop. He knows I still have stuff to do on the car and offers to help out. We take half a 5hr Energy each and get rolling. When the dust settles we have the car looking pretty good and loaded and ready to go.  One last thing we did was make a mini bash bar for the oil cooler, it was the smartest decision ever made. Shower and find my pillow – 4am.

Saturday, Up at 7am and out he door by 8am. Event starts at 2pm, but I would like to see my family that live in Topeka, so we leave early.  Minty drives awesome and has nice power.  My only complaint is the heat transfer from the exhaust and transmission, and that is with all the sound deadening and such.  Make it to Gma’s house and we have lunch and visit for a few.  At 1:45pm we head to the track, check in at the gate, and move to tech inspection area.  Get to tech area and meet up with Derek, Jimmy, and Brian(met them briefly before). We say hi, I get teched and I head to the paddock area, I look down and realize in my flurry I forgot to get gas…Shat!  Steve and I head to the nearest station and fill Minty, then head back to the track, and back to the paddock, and then unload, FINALLY – we made it. Steve unloads everything while I go to the driver’s meeting…thanks, broheim.

Driver’s meeting ends and we all line up for a parade lap, which will be followed by some hot laps.  It’s the first time I see the coarse in person and not online. It’s the first time Minty will be pushed to the limit.  It’s is going to be the first time I attemt drift since a freak accident when I pulled off a perfect drift on a rain day 5 years prior.  Long straight to large left sweeper, to decreasing radius, to switch back to shorter straight, right to left small radius, back to start. You do two laps and exit the coarse and hop back in line. Hot laps go good, Minty keeps her temps down around 200, which I realize will be more once I start beating on her and the track heats up more…. Back in line.

First big sweeper I can’t fully break traction even with full e-brake, get a little sideways on the switch back and a little more on the later left turn.  Two laps down, back in line, pow-wow with Steve.  We reach the conclusion my right foot must become heavier.  Next pair of laps go better, but still no e-brake and I continually set the wipers on since the steering wheel is so close to the switch.

Next set of laps Derek asks if he can drive, I oblige.  He proceeds to show me the discrepancy in our skill levels.  I need to work on getting the steering wheel initialization snap down. He agrees my ebrake is fubar and we head in to adjust it.  Eventually we get it tight enough.  I also adjust my from alignment as per Derek coaching to get more negative camber.

Back in line, More Camber, More Ebrake, trying to turn it up to 11, probably going to hit 3 or 4, if lucky.  Start rolling, mash throttle, ebrake, counter-steer, SPIN. HOLY SHIT!  Negative Camber is Awesome and Scary all at the same time.   It will take a lap to learn this.  Fire Minty back up, finish the first of two laps. Start lap two, coming in pretty decent speed, ebrake, counter-steer and rock the big sweeper, spin. Feeling purty good right now, haul ass down second straight, herky jerky it around last corner, and back in line.

Steve hops in for the next set. Start going and make the big sweeper, spin, head down second straight, coming in too fast, rip brake late…Oh No, Smoke-a-Tire…bounces right off the mini bash bar. I pull in to inspect thus forfeit last lap. Only lap Steve gets – LAAAAAMMMMEE. We start to notice a ticking coming from my manifold area – fawking exhaust leak, can’t find it.  Drive on.

My wife gets in this time.  It is her first interaction with motorsports beyond allowing me too much garage/shop time.  YAY!   I was really excited to get her out there.  We have a great time spinning out a lot, bounce a tire or two of the mini bash bar, and drifting a little.  We finish the laps and I ask what she thought:
“It was scary!”, she says.
“Roller coaster or ax murderer”, I look for clarification.
“Roller coaster!”

I take her out one last time telling my brother he will go next.  I come around the big sweeper and everything is solid – O Poop, I just sucked a 18×12″ tire under my car.  Steve and Jimmy roll out and jack Minty up and we get the tire out.  Bash bar total saves on the day: 9 to 10ish.   So we fire up and continue my run but my batter tie down lets loose on the final turn of the first lap and it ends the day. I have to run to O’reilly’s to get new battery cables and tie straps to make the trip home.

Minty did great for its first event ever.  I have a few things that need addressing and were not apparent until Minty was pushed to the limit.   I need to get a quick release or hub extension so I don’t hit the wiper/turn signal switches. Cooling needs to be addressed: ducting and electric fans.  I need a bucket seat and harnesses to hold me in place( I had a huge bruise on my right knee from my drift spin knob).  My ebrake needs better pads or I switch to the Z32 setup with hydro hand brake.  My brakes were super soft due to so much under hood heat from the top mount turbo: I may vent the hood, gold foil reservoir, relocate brake boost and reservoir to in cabin, etc.  I need to figure out why my car would spin, die and have difficulty starting, will be looking into:  improving spark, and possibly fuel pump relay issue. Get speed sensor to read properly (s13 cluster w/s14 sender = half the speed read).  Finally need to get the turbo bolted down tight with some way to lock up the bolts so they don’t back out (One bolt backed all the way out by the time I got back to Lincoln, and one was a thread away from falling).

I sadly have almost no pictures of Minty at the event. *tear* So you will have to settle for some aftermath shots:

Sitting pretty, zero damage:

You can’t tell in the picture but I am grinning like an idiot:

Initiation of the big sweeper:

Post event damage:

A little Summin’ summin’ I designed and had cut out of orange chrome vinyl to commemerate the event(they are available to anyone via by Fint or through me[garage hero greg]):

And then Steve bought this for me as a surprise. I have wanted a Uras hood vent for years, and now I really need one due to under hood temps:

O the stuff that needs to happen so I can have an even better built car.  That being said, How sad/bad/weird/abnormal is it that I have already started concocting my next build?  I think building cars is what I truly love…don’t get me wrong, I love driving them too, but there is just a sense of accomplishment when I see what I just built with my two hands.  I have begun detaching myself from Minty just in case a buyer comes along, but it will most likely be the car I drive for the next couple year being as how I have an infant son(future wrencher*hoping*) and a wife in PA school.

Minty and I must progress – faster – better – stronger.

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