Well as the 2008 season comes to a close its time to remember the roller coaster it was. Staring the year out with a brand new unsorted race car is never easy but I made the transition without too many problems. Time Attack was also switching into high gear, as PTuning’s Time Attack tC Verion 2.0 was debuted in Nashville. I also had a busy schedule instructing with various clubs and attending clinics. Its a shame to see the fellow track rats return to their garages and work on their cars for next year. I’ve heard all sort of plans for the winter, ranging between more power, a better setup, and the big one this year has been aerodynamics. But lets not get ahead of myself. A little more than a year ago i was saying goodbye to my, Rookie of the year chariot, 944 and began looking for my next race car.
Finding an ad for my corvette on the most unlikely place, craigslist, I embarked on a very long journey to pickup the car, and modify it from SCCA T1 specs, to Nasa ST2. I managed to make the second race of the season and do rather well for myself in the rain, on slicks! I learned a lot about the car and both the car and I came home in one piece. During this time I signed up for the Pfadt Racing team, which provided contingency money base on finishing position. This provided me access to much needed setup data and long time corvette racers. However, while instructing I threw a belt and the corvette over heated. That sealed the fate of the heads and the gaskets resulting in a tear down. Months later the car was reborn cooler than ever, literally! The next race was one for the history books, racing neck and neck with a good friend. The battle of the vettes raged both days and our lap times were within tenths of each other. We nearly broke the lap record both days untimely missing it by .3 seconds. It was a race I’ll always remember.
While the racing season closed for me with a solid top 10 finish it closed on a low note. A good friend passed away due to an accident on track. A fellow track rat, and friend, Cale Kastanek was injured doing something he loved. He will be missed for sure, as everyone that knew him liked him. I missed this event but its impact is still with the community, and his spirit will live on with all of us.
On a brighter note I met Cale at my first time attack over two years ago and I’ve yet to miss an east coast event. After driving the PTuning award winning show car in 2007 to a class victory at Summit Point, the stakes were raised. PTuning ruined a perfectly good show car, creating a truly remarkable Time Attack beast. The car underwent a complete transformation, from subs to a cage, from a sound system to a custom turbo kit, and from ok suspension to prototype racing coilovers. The owners of PTuning entrusted me to jump in the hot seat for 2008 and continue to set fast laps and gain podium finishes. The cars maiden event at Nashville Motorspeedway went very well, earning us our first class win of the season.
Many more followed, but again nothing is every smooth in racing. During the Summit Point Time AttackI bit off more than I could chew at a bad section of track. The result was a huge setback to the PTuning racing program, with months of work laying near a tire wall. Pictures like this went out in mass as the event was know to be the destroyer of cars. The Scion community was shattered to see their representative on the US time attack stage come back on a flat bed. However, just a short 6 weeks later and the car was back out on track setting the pace. At the 2008 Redline Time Att
ack Season finale we once again came out with a class win which also brought PTuning the first ever season champion.
Flyers went out at sema, they were included in the RTA season breif as well as posted in many places on the web. Suddenly PTuning and I were known not only throughout the scion community, but also the time attack community as well. Progress Technology donated the month of May in the grassroots motorsports calendar to the PTuning car. With this many of my friends started posting online, and writing saying they saw my picture. I had the pleasure of being the judge for a scion show/dyno day at PTuning last weekend, and many of the entries had Chris Rado’s signature on their cars. Once I introduced myself I had an offer to sign a dash myself. I discovered 2 things, one being I have a horrible signature and second that I had finally become “famous.” I was stunned when i was asked, but I signed the dash and had a smile on my face from ear to ear. It was amazing to have a fan, that keeps track of how the team does, and is genually interested in the sport.
So with a year like that, where do I go in 2009? Back to the track is the correct answer, but its a lot more than that. I never ended up testing for a Koni Challenge team and with the economy in its current state I’ll have to wait even longer. As with all race cars, the corvette is geting a few parts, maybe a HP gain as well, and i hope to be right at the weight limit next year. The tC is already making 50 more hp than at its last event, and though be making more before we take it out next year. 2009 Should prove to be a lot of fun, and well see what happens.