So, You've Been To The Shootout EH?!

norwalk.gif (16805 bytes) Attending were: Mark, Andy, Boro, Chris, Bob, Naz, Joe, Jordin, Lionel, Elaine, Doug, Doug's SO, Ed, Jim, Jim's SO, and probably a few others we've forgotten.

What else can be said.
If you weren't there, try and make it for next year.
Make the commitment to yourself now.

The Run-Down of Events, in probably far too much detail.

Thursday July 9th, 1998

Most of us went in the Ferry Caravan... the rest arrived later in the day and met up with us either for dinner or at the hotel.

We met early (damn, very early) in the morning, at the Tim Hortons on the West side of Toronto. Coffee all around, and we headed West down the 401. Joe and his son had made the extra trek from Ottawa, so they were even more excited to be alive. In Cambridge, we stopped and met up with Andrew at the McDonalds. Breakfast was had, and we carried on, a single line of cars, that I'm quite sure drew a bit of attention from passing motorists.

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We made it to the Ferry in Leamington, Ontario, at around 9:30am, just in time. We had encountered an extra stop and some construction, or else we might have been earlier. We paid our fees, and watched them load our cars onto the Ferry for the lake crossing... it was a careful job of not only getting our low-riders up the ramps and onto the ferry, but getting as many vehicles parked on their deck as they did... but the guys working there seemed to do a good job.

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The crossing of the lake itself, was quite a joy... some slept in the air-conditioned cabin, while others enjoyed the sun on the top deck. We played cards, had a snack from the little snack-bar on board, and messed around with Mark's notebook computer games, and truly confirmed that we didn't know Jack. It was truly the best way to go, and I suggest we do it again next year.

Upon arrival at the docks in Sandusky, we were greeted by a less than perfect unloading ramp, and a pair of US customs officials that nearly strip-searched Ed. In the end we all got off the boat, got inspected, and got the cars off without incident... except perhaps the McDrug spoon, right Doug?  But as it turns out, a certain percentage of US customs officials are also apparently car enthusiasts, so we were in friendly hands, even if they were armed with automatic weapons.

We headed for Norwalk from there, a 20 minute drive. Grabbed some gas and Arby's along the way, and enhanced the career of some employees in the service industry with our picky Canadian tastes. Upon arrival at the hotel, we discovered to our delight, that the EconoBox motel, actually had a pool! So, after a quick un-pack, we were soaking away the heat in the cool waters... watching other fellows who had brought their girlfriends/wives along. <sigh>

[ A side note: to those guys who did bring their SO's, how about a course in just what it takes to get your wife/girlfriend interested in coming along on such a trip, hmmmm? ]

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The evening was rounded out with most of us spending time washing and waxing our cars, and generally getting them ready for Friday. Most of the road trip guys arrived, during the evening, or during the night. We also met a lot of the guys from other places as they arrived, and swamped this poor little, overpriced, under-quality, motel. Are we bitter? No. But it certainly wasn't worth the $90 US a night they were charging... but at least the pizza guy could find us, and that's what is important.

Friday July 10th, 1998

We got up, bright and early, and it looks to be a beautiful day. Loaded up a few things into the car, grabbed our cheapo included breakfast, and headed off for the track. During the night, a few others that had driven down, joined us at the hotel, so we dragged them out of bed and they went with us.

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What a sight... the line-up of DSMs was quite the picture. We got in very quickly, and picked out a spot. People who were racing, prepped their cars, and waited for the word as to when the staging lanes were open. Once they were, open time trials commenced.

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It was amazing, seeing all these DSMs lined up, row upon row, and not to mention hearing them racing down the track. Dave Buschur made a pass or two in the 4-Banger, and did some respectable times, but they couldn't get the RWD to run well. It seemed to just keep mis-firing, and sputtering.

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There was also this Honda unit... this thing was a nitrous burning thing, that also couldn't get running right. It wasn't a DSM, but Dave let it do some trials, so it would be ready for Sunday. We heard later that night, that it had proceded to blow it's engine.

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The facilities in Norwalk, are second to none. Huge brand new aluminum bleachers, buildings, etc, were an accent on an excellent track. There were food stands, washrooms, and all the normal things you might expect, but that we don't have at our tracks here. The people were good too.

Vendors included Buschur Racing, Archer, HKS, and a few others. They all had a lot of stock available, and there were some good deals to be had all around.

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As to Racing results, we all had fun. Mark ran some low 13's, and entered into the bracket racing, but got beat out. Boro was in the high 12's. Everyone else that ran, did so more for fun, and a good time was had by all, even if the results of the day weren't what we hoped for. Naz encountered some technical problems throughout the day, that we shall just refer to as "satanisms". We hope he made it home ok...

In the end, the top time for the day was an 11.08 run in the eliminator class.

Afterwards, we headed out to get some dinner at the BK next to the hotel. After dinner, was the awards ceremony and the Tech seminar out at the local conservation club. It was most interesting to see Dave Buschur, Sean Glazer, John Archer, Mike F, and a few others, all standing together at the front of the room, taking questions on just about any topic, in a very friendly and open manner. Dave also supplied the beer, so there were a few shiny happy people... all in all, it was a good sharing of information, and a nice social diversion to the usually hectic pace of racing.

On the way back, we stopped in at the track, to see how the layout for the next day's Auto-X had turned out, and where the car show would be. We walked the Auto-X course with Ed (the expert), and generally unwound, before we went back to the hotel, for a beer and a nap.

Saturday July 11th, 1998

Once again, up bright and early, to grab some breakfast, and head for the track.

People arrived with us, and the number steadily grew throughout the morning. There were two events happening at the track, on different parts of the back field. One was the car show that was run by our very own Mark PPG Scheitzbach. The other was the Auto-Cross event that was being run by Chad Grey.

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The Auto-X was really quite good. The course was apparently longer than most Auto-X courses, but it was a blast. Many of us had never tried it before, and we learned quickly why so many enjoy this type of racing. To explain, auto-x (Auto-Cross or Solo II) is a pre-set course on a flat surface (parking lot or the like) where they set out cones that you have to go around, or between, and you run against the clock.

Well, a few of us ran in it, and a few helped out running it. All in all, we had a blast, and it went on well into the evening.

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Ed (our resident auto-x expert) made some awesome passes, and was really in the groove, but couldn't quite capture 1st place in his class... which of course frustrated him that much more, when he later ran 3 seconds faster than the leader, during some fun runs after the competition.

At the same time, Mark ran the car show on the other side of the field. This event was well attended and grew to a great many cars and spectators by the middle of the day. Mark took the Best of Show (based on independent votes) in the show. It was wild to see all the different things that people had done to their DSM's to spruce them up a bit. (pictures to be added when available)

Mark also had some of the magazine guys come by and snap some pictures of his car, both at the show, and the next day at the track... awesome.

In the evening, after a much needed meal from the local Bob Evans, we hung out at the hotel, took a quick dip in the pool, and watched one of the most amazing sights you will ever see... the CCDSM guys, on the other side of the hotel, with multiple cars taken apart. One was doing a transfer case replacement, another was adding an upgraded intercooler, another had a gearbox stripped down and laid out across the parking lot... truly, we are a weird bunch, and it was a sight to see...

As we unwound, Ed packed up, and changed his tires back to street tires, as he had to leave to watch the Cart races in Cleveland the next day.

Sunday July 12th, 1998

The rising from bed this morning, was a bit staggered... most made it out to the track right away, to get ready for the Import Shootout.

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Both Boro and Mark were running, so they did their warm-up runs. During the night, Johnson and his posse had shown up in his Toyota 4-Runner, so Lionel decided they should race it too... it ran some consistent times, so they entered it in the bracket class dialled in at 15.99s.

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The turn-out for racing, from all camps concerned, wasn't as great as many would have hoped. The DSM's definitely dominated the day, both on the track, and in the parking lot. But there were a few odd-balls out there too, and some VW Bugs that hauled ass down the track pretty well.

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Dave Buschur managed finally to get a decent 11.6 second run out of the RWD, and it appeared as though the problems with it had been solved. He ran once more, and pulled a 10.6s run with everyone cheering and clapping, and was just now beginning to get the feel of driving the car at speed... ie: more time should come off that easily. At one point, they finally lined up Dave Shih's nitrous Honda (that they spent all day and night putting a new engine in) against the RWD, and the Honda just wouldn't go... but the RWD pulled another 10.6s timeslip.

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The big highlight of the day for Mark, was when he pulled a 12.57s @ 104mph timeslip out of his PP Laser... while he couldn't back it up with another 10.5s run, it's just a matter of time.

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The Extreme team was there with their 10.7 second Talon, but they managed to throw a rod through the block in the morning, so they were out for the day.

When all was said and done, by about 4pm, everyone was pretty tired and they got packed up... we got gas, headed for the highway, (with the occasional stop for certain drivers that forgot to put air back in their tires), and drove for home. Along the way, we learned that you don't expect a gourmet meal at the Ponderosa, and that for a steak place, their chicken was better.

Got home around 11pm... and collapsed into bed. Joe and Jordin still had to get to Ottawa, so they carried on into the night...

What a blast...

We're also still hosting the theme music CD for Shootout 1998, and will be making some more (they all sold at the Shootout) so go to the Shootout 1998 CD page and learn more about it.

And the one final piece of information, that has just come our way, is that Shootout 1999 will be the same weekend, next year! July 9-11, 1999. So, put a big red X through July 8-11, 1999 on your planning calendar, right now, do it, go and mark it... I swear you won't regret it!

Hope to see you next year!!!!!