Sunday, June 24, 2012

Windham DI Car Show 2012

This opportunity came up pretty quick.

I guess this car show has been going on for a few years now in support of the Destination Imagination program here in Windham.  A friend of my son is in this program as are a number of his classmates so I like to support them when I can.

Seeing the signs earlier in the week for the car show I figured this would be a nice, low impact way to get the NISMO Stuff Racing, Frontier out there in the public eye.

While the threat of rain kept some entrants away, it was still a cool show with lots of unusual vehicles and attendees. The Frontier came in 2nd in its 1990-present class and took home a trophy. Kind of a robbery though as it lost to a plain jane, 1995 Monte Carlo SS. Looking as if it came straight off the showroom floor, it was in good condition...but really?? A virtually unmodified 1995 Monte Carlo?? I didn't know I lived in big time NASCAR country but I guess I do...

Still, it was a good day, great weather and a beautiful 240Z and 370Z were there as well. Can't beat that...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hyperfest 2012: The Results!

First off I want to thank who is my first paying sponsor (and hopefully not my last!)

The emergency knife I picked up from the Granite State Police Supply retail store (a division of, located in Windham, NH) is well within reach should I ever need it to cut out of my harnesses but fortunately I had no use for it this weekend.

We (my codriver Ben Nadeau and myself) left for the event on early Friday morning and arrived some 1/2 a day later at about 6PM after stopping at Staples for some notepaper for stage notes and a new pencil to write them with.

Dinner consisted of a well over two pound burrito that the restaurant we went to would give you a tshirt for and take your picture for its website.  I was unable to finish mine but Ben and two other guys at our table were able to finish the challenge--though were only told after the fact that unfortunately the restaurant had no tshirts, promptly gave them like 10% off their meal and took their photo.  From the sound of things later, the meager discount was not worth the pain!  A few beers later and it was off to bed in our tents.

The morning started around 7 AM with a wakeup serenade over the facility's PA system.  By around 10AM we were beginning to give out demo rides to Hyperfest attendees.  I took the first few rides and likely drove far too aggressively for what was just a glorified practice session.  After lunch I handed the reigns over to my codriver Ben Nadeau to do the driving figuring that since the truck was not his vehicle he would likely be more careful with it than I would.  Ben did most of the afternoon rides and finished up in fine fashion.

The evening's festivities were solid.  The end of the Drift competition--not very exciting except for a few brief moments and then the Daisy Dukes contest which was a vast disappointment.  It was very brief interspersed with a U2 cover band and the women involved were 50% Wal Mart material and 50% fairly attractive.  Regardless it was soon overwith and we went back to drinking, during which my co-driver was ejected from the bed of the big truck we were driving around in when the driver unexpectedly hit the gas.  Roadrashed and bruised he soldiered on and downed some Advil and went to bed.

Sunday was raceday.  Hyperfest is a decidedly laid back affair and the racing didn't really start till about  11AM.  The course was done in loops of 1.2 miles per lap at 3 laps per session for the most part.  The course was very tight and very twisty and I more or less drove around it redlined in first gear with brief moments of second gear.  This was NOT the best course for the Nissan Frontier to excel at given its lack of cornering and lack of power coming out of the numerous turns.

Still, the Frontier's best aspect came through--its reliability.  Out of the 23 original entrants, only 13 finished with 10 DNFs.  While the NISMO Stuff Frontier backed by finished 12th in the event and perhaps could have been better had I driven better in the early stages of the event, I'll take the finish gladly.

The 12th place finish overall puts the team in 2nd place overall for the year in the Atlantic Rally Cup 2WD standings behind the very fast Ford Focus of Andrew Frick with three events to go.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hyperfest 2012: Deer Vs. Corvette Z06

Hopefully I'll have more videos and pictures and such from this weekend's Hyperfest 2012 in short order...but to start bout the deer taking on a high end Vette.  Driver was OK.  Deer was not.  This delayed the Daisy Dukes contest by a half hour while the track crews cleaned things up...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Braid Wheels Installed!!

So it took a bit....and it took a bit of wrangling...but they are on.

Changes needed included extended ARP hub bolts all around and a tad bit of expanding the holes in the aluminum spacers in the rear to fit the slightly large knurl of the Lexus IS300 standard hub bolts that needed to be used there.

As always with a customized vehicle, nothing is simple or easy.  But, the job is done and the wheels are on and look fantastic in my opinion.  They will see the dirt for the first time this weekend at Hyperfest '12 in West Virginia at the Rally Sprint there.

The Nissan Frontier will be trying to move up from its 4th place position in the 2012 Atlantic Rally Cup standings for 2WD.  The truck should be able to cut corners better than other vehicles but beyond that it will be a tough weekend on what looks to be a tight and technical layout in these more abbreviated events.

Ben Nadeau is my codriver for this event and will likely get practice in writing his own stage notes as I highly doubt any notes will be provided!

Regardless, we'll be back on Sunday night, Monday morning.  Look for results then and in the meantime, check out for items such as pepper spray, binoculars, knives, holsters and more!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Production Version of NISMO Juke

When shown in Japan last year the NISMO Juke was just a concept.  Now it is a complete, production ready vehicle to be introduced initially in Europe and then here in the US.

I'm still not sure I like the extra graphics and I can't see the top of the vehicle to see if the matte black stripe at the top of the windshield extends down the middle of the whole roof.  Regardless it appears NISMO is really stepping up to push their performance oriented history and capability.

With the NISMO Juke you will get improved engine performance with more boost from its turbo (though no figures have been yet released) as well as an improved (stiffer) suspension, a special torque vectoring system and functional aerokit and a host of aesthetic trimmings both inside and out.  No price yet but this seems to make what was a great little sport-SUV even better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Go Work At SpaceX...

SpaceX, fresh off its success of delivering a vehicle to the ISS and returning it to Earth nary a hiccup it looks like it is on a hiring binge.  Given its multibillion dollar contracts with NASA and expressed interest to one day put people on Mars, the company is no fly-by-night joke.

Its current openings cross a wide range of engineering positions (unfortunately not much finance or else I'd be submitting my resume as well).  So, given the heavy duty engineering bent of the stage rally community and other motorsports enthusiasts I would hope that if you are reading this and have the skills needed, you will submit your own resume to them for consideration.  The jobs are mostly in California and Texas--two of the best areas on the country for wide open public spaces suitable for motorsports recreation.

The world needs engineers and other hard science practitioners to push the human race forward.  Instead of working on CAD models of some widget to go into the newest version of a printing press or government funded road resurfacing project, take your skills to somewhere they will make a difference in perhaps the outcome of the human race...If I had those skills, I know I would.

SpaceX Careers...

Monday, June 11, 2012

LOORRS CBS Ratings From 6/10

Solid performance this past weekend from the LOORRS broadcast.

Not only did the broadcast generate a 0.5 rating equating to some 580,000  households that were tuned in to the broadcast and an estimate 638,000 viewers at home watching.  Quite respectable, particularly when you figure it picked UP viewership from the show that preceded it and outranked or equaled the ratings of five other weekend sports broadcasts of various kinds and wasn't really that far behind the ratings of the F1 Race in Montreal that was broadcast live.

French Open: Men's Semifinal 6/8 NBC 11:00am-2:00pm 1.0
"Ball Boys" (sports memorabilia reality show) 6/9 ABC 3:00-:30pm .3
"Ball Boys" (sports memorabilia reality show) 6/9 ABC 3:30-4:00pm .4
"ESPN Sports Saturday" 6/9 ABC 4:00-6:00pm 0.5
High School Slam Dunk, 3-Point Championship (taped) 6/9 CBS 1:30-3:00pm .4
PGA Tour: FedEx St. Jude Classic: Third Round 6/9 CBS 3:00-6:00pm 1.4
MLB: (regional) 6/9 Fox 7:15-10:30pm 2.6
French Open: Women's Final: Maria Sharapova-Sara Errani 6/9 NBC 9:00am-2:00pm 1.7
Gymnastics: Visa Championships 6/9 NBC 1:00-3:00pm 1.0
Track & Field: adidas Grand Prix 6/9 NBC 3:00-4:30pm 1.6
Belmont Stakes (pre-race) 6/9 NBC 4:30-5:00pm 2.1
Belmont Stakes (pre-race) 6/9 NBC 5:00-6:15pm 3.1
Belmont Stakes (race segment) 6/9 NBC 6:15-7:00pm 5.4
Belmont Stakes (total telecast) 6/9 NBC 4:30-7:00pm 4.0
NHL Stanley Cup Final: Kings-Devils: Game Five 6/9 NBC 8:00-11:00pm 2.6
"Ball Boys" (sports memorabilia reality show) 6/10 ABC 5:00-5:30pm 0.6
"Ball Boys" (sports memorabilia reality show) 6/10 ABC 5:30-6:00pm 0.8
"Kings of the Court" (taped) 6/10 CBS 1:00-2:00pm 0.4
Lucas Oil Off Road Pro 2 (taped) 6/10 CBS 2:00-3:00pm 0.5
PGA Tour: FedEx St. Jude Classic: Final Round 6/10 CBS 3:00-6:00pm 2.0
F1: Grand Prix of Canada 6/10 Fox 2:00-4:00pm 0.8
French Open: Men's Final: Nadal-Djokovic* 6/10 NBC 9:00am-2:15pm 2.0
Gymnastics: Visa Championships : Ladies' Final 6/10 NBC 4:00-6:00pm 1.6

2013 Nissan Sentra Upgrades!

So the next generation 2013 Nissan Sentra has yet to be revealed here in the US (coming soon), but if you want to get a headstart on tuning your Sentra, the aftermarket is already churning away.

In reality these items are designed for the Nissan Sylphy but should have no issues being installed on the Sentra as they are identical except for the LHD vs. RHD aspects and other very minor asthetic differences.

Impul, from Japan, has released its series of stainless steel exhaust, spoiler, aero kit, upgraded suspension and 17" wheels.  I want to see if Nissan makes a Spec-V version of our Sentra but I guess for those wanting the more sporty look and some of the performance without waiting for the Spec-V, this is a way to go.

Doran Racing Top Ten!

The Nissan 370Z of Doran Racing finally had a good weekend of racing.

Driven by Bryan Heitkotter and BJ Zacharias the team not only qualified for the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course but finished in the top ten (8th overall).

For what is essentially a new team working with a new platform and new drivers this result is remarkable and hopefully a sign of things to come.


Event Recap...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hyperfest--Here We Come!

OK, sitting in 4th place in the 2012 2WD NASA Rally Atlantic Cup standings, it has come time for the second race of the year.

Earlier this year, myself and co-driver David Dennis finished 7th overall and 4th in 2WD at the Sandblast Rally in Cheraw, SC out of 24 automotive competitors.

The second event of the 2012 season will be on the upcoming weekend of 6/16-17.  Dubbed "Hyperfest" it is an allout motorsport smorgasbord with drifting, rollover contests, high performance driving sessions, road racing, stunt shows, car shows and on and on and on.

My interest here will initially be the Demo rides we give on Saturday the 16th to paying (not to us, to the NASA organization) customers.  Not only will it be a great way to get a day's worth of low pressure driving experience but it gets you a couple of points towards the season championship.

Then on Sunday comes the true competitive event, the Hyperfest Rallysprint.  Run over the dirt roads of the Summit Point motorsport facility there is little chance of severe damage to the vehicle and will again be a great learning experience.  With 21 entries listed so far it should be a very competitive event.

Codriving for me (4th different codriver in my first four events!) will be Ben Nadeau.  Ben has been Anthony Burden's codriver in a number of stage rally and hill climb events in the past two years and I first made his acquaintance last summer.  I am confident Ben will make a fantastic addition to the team and help bring us home near the top of the 2WD standings.  With more than 10,000 attendees it creates the largest opportunity for personal exposure in United States stage rally.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Trading Cards!

I needed something relatively cheap that I could hand out to "fans" at the upcoming race at Hyperfest in Summit Point, WV.  With over 10,000 attendees there might be a need to perhaps sign autographs for little kids (as I've been asked before) or to give fans a little something to remember their demo ride in the truck with.  So, for 50 cents a piece I decided on these.  No, they're nothing fancy but, they will likely get the job done.  Can't wait to begin handing them out!  As always, please visit the website for all your tactical, CCW and personal safety needs!!

Jon Lee Anderson: Newest Blog Post

Jon Lee Anderson, one of my favorite non-fiction authors currently working (Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan, etc.) still writes quite frequently for the New Yorker and is quite interested in the ongoing conflict in Syria.  His most recent blog post can be found here: Jon Lee Anderson Syria Post...

His interest in the conflict demands attention as he is one of the most honest writers regarding modern conflicts that I know of.  Just read his post.  No one remains unscathed.  Even in reaching back to compare the conflict to that of those in Central America in the 80's he is brutally honest in describing both the killings perpetrated by the US backed governments there as well as calling the leftist guerrillas there "terrorists" who wanted to turn their countries into Soviet outposts.  It is a willingness to risk offending all his readers no matter what their political bent that makes Anderson a must read.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Found On The Roads of Windham, NH

Figured I'd steal this type of post from Jalopnik's old "found on the streets of Alemeda, California" posts as Windham, NH has some pretty good cars wandering around its streets as well.

Here we have the first Scion FR-S I have seen on the streets.  Still with dealer plates but looking really sharp and far more expensive than it actually is.  The attention to detail with this car seems excellent as there is even a rubber seal on the front of the hood to mate with the front fascia, creating a very solid appearance and likely deadening engine sound while improving airflow around the front of the vehicle.

Below is a beautiful VW Karmann Ghia 2+2 coupe.  Though the internals of this car are your standard VW Beetle, it is the exterior that makes the car special. Produced from '55 to '74 the Ghia had a long shelf life but surprisingly I see don't see many today.