After Action Report – Road Atlanta

Overview: Another successful weekend, two podiums, qualified on the pole with the fastest laps all weekend! I was able to work with the incredible David Murry again, the work in iRacing really helped me pick up the track quickly.

Goals and objectives: My goal was to qualify in the top 5, then take what the track would give me, the weather conditions were going to play a big role in the outcomes for the weekend.

Analysis of outcomes: Road Atlanta is incredible, so much elevation change, a really fun flow track, my fastest, and favorite section was the S’s starting at turn 3. David Murry was able to help me find so much time through minor adjustments, he gave me some incredible advice, and feedback which really helped my confidence.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I flew into Atlanta on Wednesday, then drove out to Gainesville, GA which about 20 minutes from Road Atlanta. On Thursday it was open track with lots of short sessions, between each session I would debrief with David Murry, go over video, take notes, and come up with some new goals for the next session. On Friday we had the PCA practice sessions, and fun race. Saturday morning was qualifying, I was able to secure the pole position with the fastest lap running at a 1:33.0. I fell behind in race 1 after about 5-6 laps, but we caught up to the back of the field, which allowed me to take advantage, and get back into second position, unfortunately that is when I had a tire blow out on my left rear. Race 2 I started on the pole again, fell back again, really needed to focus on Turn 7, I dropped into 4th position after a miscue during a local yellow, that quickly turned full course caution.

Sunday morning it rained like crazy, which I love! Was able to get out, and warm-up on slicks in the rain!! After some thunderstorm warnings, race control, and the scrutineers decided to move the race from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. It started to dry out over the course of the race, and I was able to get on the podium in P3.

Summary: I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after the day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes. I learned Road Atlanta very quickly, and was able to compete at the top of my class with very seasoned drivers. A big part of the weekend was to work with the amazing Rick Curtin, Gradient Racing Crew Chief, he has been doing this for a long time, and had tons of advice, and an excellent perspective, and attitude.

Recommendations: We need to look at a different tire size for the rear on my car, which will require some setup changes to the car, will likely do that over the summer, prior to Road America.

If you know, you know – T12

After Action Report – COTA

Overview: Very successful weekend, two podiums, and a track record! Gradient Racing is making a big difference, I am able to focus on my learning.

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running at the top of the field.

Analysis of outcomes: Really happy to be at my home track, made me feel very relaxed. Armed with the Advanced AIM workshop materials , and the process-based approach to breaking down my goals, from the work with David Murry at Sebring, I was able to work achieve some excellent outcomes. I used my video to come up with areas of improvement, and then used a couple user profiles to quickly analyze my data, and understand what needed to change. This approach coupled with time spent in iRacing allowed me to develop a game plan for setting the track record.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: This weekend consisted of practice sessions, warm-up sessions, and dedicated qualifying sessions, along with two sprint races, and a 60-minute enduro. My tire strategy was to run the scrubs, during practices, and warm-ups, and then in practice session 3 run the stickers, to see where I was compared to the field. The starts were critical in the race, and I wanted to make sure I secured as high of a starting position as possible, this worked in both of the races, more so in race 2 where I got a really great run up the outside. The start in race 1 forced me to the inside, and put me over the turtle in Turn 1 which broke the mounts on my exhaust, where mid-race it fell off completely in Turn 2, it got VERY LOUD.

Sunday morning I felt very confident, and decided to use another set of stickers to try and get on pole for the Enduro, the warm-up session was a bit damp, and cold. In qualifying I felt determined, a 981-based GTB1 car took the 4 year-old record on Friday at 2:22.4. We tried a tire strategy, running with a bit more pressure to have them come in faster, I was able to get close with a 2:23, I then came in to take out a couple pounds, and ultimately was able to achieve a 2:22.1. Based on the data analysis, I knew that I was capable of this accomplishment.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals of getting on the podium, and setting the track record. My investment in my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) applying the process that I learned from working with David Murry, and the advanced data analysis techniques, and tools learned from Roger Caddell, really helped me to excel. Based on the learning from Sebring, I am stocking a fully spares kit, including rotors, pads, axle shafts, wheel studs, etc…

Recommendations: During practice, and warm-up we need to do multiple drive through timings to make sure we can execute our pit stops successfully, without penalty. I need to rework my braking technique slightly to help with the ice pedal/lock-up in the heavy braking zones, or potentially investigate a newer brake servo that doesn’t not suffer from this issue.

Continued Progress

As is always the case, I have a lot going on, here is the latest. I was able to get the trackNotes app into enough shape to do a quick pitch and demo, which resulted in some early interest. I am ready to get some more feedback, and will be opening it up for a couple Early Adopters, if you are interested, drop me a note in the comments, and will send you the details.

One of my other projects is based heavily on computer vision, I decided to have some fun with it, and test my skills. I now have all the bits to build a Donkey Car it should be a pretty fun little project where I can learn, set myself up for the next steps of doing more suspension analysis work. I am now doing an extensive amount of model training using distributed inception approach, leveraging multiple GPU’s with a pre-emptible Kubernetes node pool. Good cost/performance, and translates to all of the cloud providers: AWS, Google, and IBM.

I have been working really hard with Phil, and continue to work my way toward my health goals. I have achieved 125Lbs of weight lost since October of 2017. I decided to add OPTIFAST back into my diet as a post workout drink, the high protein works to increase muscle growth, and helps with the recovery from a hard workout.

On the funding front, I am exploring a couple equity free options, there is currently a contest open with Google Cloud, and SAP called Circular Economy which is focused on United Nations sustainable production, and consumption goals. I am working out the broader implications of my current research, and plan to apply. Another equity free option is the SBIR route, which I have discussed briefly before. I have received feedback on my application, and have decided to pursue one of the current open solicitations with the DOT.

After Action Report – Sebring

Overview: Sebring was incredible, the track is amazing, Gradient Racing is super professional, and David Murry went above, and beyond!

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running in the top 5.

Analysis of outcomes: I was so happy to have worked with David Murry during the Test, and Tune day. He helped me work through the track, strategy, and confidence. He checked in over the course of the weekend, to see how things were going, debriefed with me on Saturday, and sent me a nice note on Sunday evening, what a professional, above, and beyond. I look forward to working with him again at Road Atlanta.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I decided to run scrubbed tires for the practice sessions, which were about 2 seconds off the pace of the top 5, and around 4 seconds behind the top 2. The third practice session of the day served as qualifying, and my times set me up mid-pack, starting around P20. We decided to replace brake pads for the warm-up session, the replacement pads that I had in my spares kit, were a different manufacturer/compound (StopTech, rather than Pagid). We had a conversation about running stickers, or scrubs during the warm-up, and decided on just changing one thing at a time, going with just the new pads, and keeping the scrubs.

The car ran great during the warm-up session so we threw on the stickers for the first sprint race. At that point the car became erratic after the tires came in, I was not able to brake, or accelerate and the gearbox was not shifting correctly. I was able to finish but, lost 14 positions. Before the second sprint I checked with the experts Philip Surprenant and Andy Rivard (thank you both!) looked for Pagid pads that we replaced (sizes for the Trophy Kit were not available at the track), we cleaned off the wheel speed sensors, and torqued the center nuts. I ended up running the second race on scrubs, starting in P37. I was able to work my way up the field to P18, which put me into the top 10 in class.

We had a warmup before the Enduro on Sunday, and ran the new pads, with the new tires, and had no issues. I was able to put down the fastest lap overall during the warm-up session. For the Enduro the officials take the best lap time. between the two sprint races to set your position, I was able to start P18 overall. I immediately started working up the field, and ultimately ended up running P5, and 3rd in class. I was shunted in the right rear, which bent my outer, and broke 3 wheel studs.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals, of learning the track, my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) worked with a professional driver David Murry, and after some trouble in the sprint races, was able to achieve my goal of running in the top 5, during the Enduro.

Recommendations: Getting the right spares kit is crucial, changing pad manufacturer, and compound prior to the first sprint was a costly mistake, I need to stick with the same components throughout the weekend, and need to stock extra wheel studs with my spares. Post session work needs to include cleaning wheel speed sensors, and torque center nuts. Running stickers for the practice session will set me up to run in the front of the field.

Excited for Sebring

Crazy week coming up, have a work event in Las Vegas for two days, will then make my way from there to Sebring. I am really looking forward to working with David Murry, I’ve spent a bunch of time working through his webinar. iRacing, and Virtual Racing School have been invaluable for preparation. My experience with this approach for Road America, was that it helped me get comfortable more quickly, and focus on the detail of getting to consistence lap times. Thus far I have been able to get into the 2:09’s at Sebring, need to get a couple more seconds off aiming for 2:07’s which in the real world will probably be about 10 seconds slower. I hope all the travel goes smoothly, wish me luck!