So this past weekend the TSM Team and I rolled down to Bradenton FL for FL2K 2015!!!
If you guys haven’t been to this event you should really give it a shot. There is a great mixture of imports and crazy domestics and it really is a great time. This isn’t one of those events where you can underestimate the domestic guys! These guys are drag racers! Serious drag racers! In order to beat them you have to keep a cool head and be as consistent as the day is long. We all know that isn’t super easy to do with the GT-R. Running pass after pass within a couple tenths isn’t something that is easy but that is what must be done when you are running against true drag racers. The fastest time doesn’t win.. the guy who out drives, out smarts, and keeps his car together.. he wins!
We went down Thursday evening to get some testing but rain changed our plan. Then rain again Friday and Saturday morning which really sucked! But we persevered and all hung in there even through the downpour. The guys at Bradenton Motorsports Park and FL2K crew did a great job keeping the spirit up and the track ready to race on. I can’t say enough about how hard they all worked and how much the other racers and I appreciated it!
The event moved pretty quickly as soon as the rain cleared early Saturday afternoon which was nice! We ran the first pass at a higher power level than we have ever run before and found the limit of our triple 485 fuel pumps in the Fore Innovations basket. We will be addressing that issue now for sure as we have never run out of fuel pump before. However after that we turned the car back down to lower 40s for boost making around 1600whp.
We focused on the front half of the track getting better. We worked on the shock settings and tire pressure combinations to make sure our front half numbers were where they needed to be. Consistency in that area is 99% of winning at an event like this. Putting a big number on the board or making tons of power is great but the car must do the same thing over and over and over to WIN! I want to thank Ruben Pino who is a good friend of my machine shop owners for helping us with watching the car and turning knobs to keep the tire planted and the car as stable as it could be! The changes we made together were very noticeable from both outside and inside…as the driver I can tell you for sure! Thanks man!!!
If you guys watch the video it pretty much tells the story. The car ran 6 times during the event. First pass was when it hit fuel cut because it was simply making too much power. This is pretty exciting to me because it means that once I add a fuel pump I will be set to turn her back up and go back to the track!!! **Evil Grin** The second pass was an 8.0 while we were working on putting the power down at the track and learning what it would take on the front half. After that Rob and the team had learned the track and 7s were ours for the rest of the event.
The semi finals and finals is where it got interesting. Round after round of eliminations the 4.4 TSM Alpha16 was consistent over and over again! Coming down to the last two rounds was where it got fun! Trying to hang with a couple of true drag cars and drivers that do this every time they can get to the track is something that I only aspire to! My reaction times and driving are ok but nothing like some of these guys.
I can’t thank my engine builder Joe Irwin of FastForward Race Engines enough! He is at the line with me, keeping me focused and making sure I have nothing to think about but drive the damn car! The man sets me up to win round after round! I’m just told where to go, how to get there and when to do what… then all I do is slide my foot off the brake at the right time and hold the hell on!!! ….Ok maybe there is a little more to it than that, but I could not do what I do with a clear mind without him!
In the semi finals my reaction time was on point with the other car… we left at almost exactly the same time, but I knew we had the car to drive around him… which is exactly what happened. When I pulled around to get the slip I was still half celebrating the round win then turned the dome light on to look at the time… Holy crap!!! 7.86!!!! Heck Yes…new personal best and new Alpha16 Record!!! Not a bad way to take the win for sure! I pulled back to the trailer going crazy cause the team weren’t able to see the time…. I jumped out “We did it. We did it!!! Quickest Alpha16 record reset!!!” Lots of hugs and happiness!!! Thankfully my media guy was changing the battery on his camera during that time… so no one saw us acting a fool. lol!!!
The finals came around and I was racing an absolutely beautiful 8.0 second Mustang! This meant that I could not be sleeping at the line in order to hang with him or catch him as the cars capabilities were very similar. I stayed as focused as I could rolling into the staging lights… focused on the lights dropping… Well evidently the intimidation of the "lime green-wheeled GT-R running 7s most the day" got to the gentleman in the other lane because he left just a bit early causing a red light! I saw the light come on when we launched together but he stayed in it so I did too! Even with the red light we were able to drive around him at the 1/8th mile and pull several cars on him before the finish line! We WON!!!!
I could not be more proud of and happy with both my team and this car! My guys have done an absolutely amazing job putting this thing together and foreseeing things before they happen! Being consistent and winning events is not a simple thing! Renting a track privately and having it prepped just for you is one thing. While it is awesome setting records, it is just an added accomplishment for these guys that we do it during events at tracks all over the country. Not to mention I love, love the competition, comradery and excitement of lining up next to someone during competition! It’s a huge rush!!!
I want to thank all of my sponsors and supporters! We have a great team of people behind us and absolutely the best of the best parts bolted to the TSM Shop car because of our sponsors and the amazing relationships we have built with them! Thank you to everyone that has added to both this car and invested in TSM!!! I pray it will continue to be a wise, quality investment for you all!
Special thanks to two companies/people!! (no order of importance )
Our in house tuner Rob of RobTuned!!! His insight into what the car needs and will take is awesome! He is a joy to work with and without question can make a car put power to the ground with the best in the business! I am very proud of what he has been able to accomplish given the tools to make power and go fast!
My awesome friends Joe and his wife Gina owners of Fast Forward Race Engines who are the heart and soul behind all of our GT-Rs! They not only build the baddest ass GT-R engine in the entire industry, but also are a support at the race track that I never want to be without! The 4.4 in my shop car and others in customer's cars have taken a beating like you wouldn’t believe! The engine in the TSM Shop car has been in the car for event after event without refreshing… it just keeps taking a beating at crazy power levels and keeps going! I can’t say enough about them as an addition to our team at all!
Well so far it has been a pretty awesome year for the 4.4 Alpha16 Shop car… 210+ countless times in the standing half with WannaGoFAST, Runner up @ TX2K, Winner @ Buschur Shootout, Winner @ FL2K, Quickest Alpha16/37r in the world over and over and over!!!
Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for my team!
P.S. This is my favorite video we have ever done… take the time to watch it if you can…. I think you will all enjoy every bit of it.