Sold: The Best Fiesta ST Ever

In 2017 I attempted to participate in both autocrossing and road racing in the same season.

That didn’t work out too well. The constant preparation for this event or another was enough to put my back/lumbar region out of commission for over a year. I tried chiropractic, physical therapy, lidocaine injections, heat, cold, icy-hot, TENS, massage, and finally acupuncture.

So in 2018 I concentrated on road racing, which involves a lot less physical work in a single day. I can prepare the race car and have everything ready to go a week ahead of time, as opposed to autocross, where a single day goes like this:

  • Load tires into car

  • Unload tires from car

  • Change all four tires

  • Drive four minutes

  • Change all four tires

  • Load tires into car

  • Unload tires from car

By August of 2018, my back was finally starting to feel better. But I hadn’t driven the Fiesta much at all since I bought my BMW i3 all-electric car. So it was just sitting around.

I tried selling it on Craigslist and in the classifieds at work, but the only people interested in the car were kids with no money to buy it. So I bit the bullet and sold it to CarMax in December 2018.

I’ll miss that car. It was good to me, even if it wasn’t all that good to my back. It never broke down, and it performed nearly flawlessly for over a hundred autocrosses and track events.

I hope it gets some love from its future owner. And I hope that future owner has a strong back.

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#1 in PAX at WDCR SCCA Championship Event #2 !!!

Sunday was Washington DC Region SCCA's Championship Autocross Event #2, and it was wet pretty much all day. There were some breaks in the rain, but the course pretty much stayed wet all the time.

It was my co-driver Marshall's turn to go first, but when it's wet, you never know whose advantage that will work to. Marshall started off with some smooth driving (as always) and laid down a great time (70.399). I couldn't beat it on my first run (70.584). Then he turned up the pressure again (68.615), and again, I couldn't match the time (68.890).

On Marshall's third run, he put down a 67.659, which I thought would be impossible to beat. I went out and came in with a 67.198, which I was just amazed by. I was really happy with the drive.

Marshall had one more run to beat my time, but he was just off his own best. He thinks he pushed too hard and started to power-understeer in a few places, which took too long to recover from before he could get back on the power.

So I had the win, and a free fourth run just to see what the car could do. We figured a 66-second run would get us into the top-10 of the PAX index (where times are multiplied by a factor to compare different classes of cars).

I pulled off a nice aggressive drive and somehow kept it clean. I felt like I overdrove the last couple turns, but they had lots of runout and it must not have hurt me much. In fact, it may have well been a better line, since I was able to keep up my speed while still applying power.

H-Street results

H-Street results

With the rain letting off, the last heat of drivers are heavy in the PAX index below. But I still had to drive the car through the course, I still had to drive it well, and I still had to miss all the cones. So I'll take it. This is my first #1 in PAX... the best I've ever finished at an SCCA event before was 13th.

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Thanks to Marshall for co-driving. I really think we push each other and we do better for it. That's four events this season, (practice, #1, ProSolo, and #2) and four times we've finished 1-2. I think if I had been driving alone, I wouldn't have been as proactive or as motivated to do my very best. Marshall is a great driver and instructor, and it's not a question of whether he'll beat me, it's just a matter of when. But we're definitely both better for the competition we've got going on here.

Thanks again!

2016 DC ProSolo WIN!

On Sunday a lot of drivers were able to improve their times, including my co-driver, Marshall Cone. He picked up about 0.6 seconds, which is a lot of time. I drove faster too, as long as you don't count the time I sat at the line...

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

I wasn't able to gain any time, because my reaction times all weekend seemed to just get worse and worse. I guess two red-lights the first day kind of spooked me. Here's a picture of Carson Garfield totally getting the jump on me off the line:

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Still, my times from Saturday held, and I managed to win H-Street class and qualify for Sunday afternoon's Super Challenge, which is a bracket competition of the top 32 finishers in the event. Unfortunately, Marshall was the 34th top finisher and didn't make the cutoff - just a tenth of a second out of the group.

This was my first head-to-head competition, and I am really happy with my driving, but again, I wasn't as happy with my starts. I must have done well in the first round, because I did hang on to make it into the second round: the round of 16. Here's a picture of the lineup of my first round victory:

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

My next competitor in the brackets was Sam Strano in his SSR Corvette. All I can say is that I drove clean, no cones. But my >1 second reaction times on both sides kind of killed me. I lost by just .25 seconds. Sam went on to the semifinals.

I had a fantastic weekend, full of surprises and challenges. And I can't wait to do it again with this experience under my belt. And with about 20 more practice starts, hopefully!

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Photo by Alejandro Aviles

Thanks to AJ Aviles for taking photos all weekend. They were fantastic!

2016 Tire Rack Washington DC Pro Solo: DAY 1

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I used to complain that I was the only Fiesta driver at the events I attended. But it appears the car has caught on. Today there were three white ones present, along with a couple Mini's and a Civic, all competing in the H-Street class.

Click HERE to learn about ProSolo

Today was just the first day of competition, but it was a blast. The weather held for all the runs in our class, and competition was fierce. Yesterday my co-driver Marshall and I did four practice starts each, and I felt a little like I personally could have used 20. But it was a good thing we practiced, because we learned a lot about the car in that short time.

One learning moment was that the hill-brake-assist function will not hold the car on a hill if you hit the accelerator. I thought it would hold until the car sensed it was moving forward, but it simply releases, so you can't rev the engine without rolling backwards. Since the drag start is on a hill, you have to hold the e-brake to keep you still until your launch. The four practice starts were enough for me to realize I needed a LOT more practice launching the car.

Saturday Results

Marshall's starts were consistently better than mine, but he drove somewhat conservatively, with consistent times, no Red-Lights, no DNF's, no cones. I drove a bit wildly, but fortunately I managed a clean run on each course, so it paid off. As of Saturday evening, I'm sitting in first, which was a huge shock to me. So we are currently 1st and 2nd in class, which is neat. Everyone in the class is running nice sticky Bridgestone RE-71R tires, which is the "tire du jour". I just didn't really imagine I'd pull this kind of result off among this group.

The 2016 Tire Rack Washington DC Pro Solo is being held at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland

The 2016 Tire Rack Washington DC Pro Solo is being held at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland

 

Sunday is a New Day

Tomorrow will be dry, but cold and windy. The Bridgestones should perform well in the cold temps, but we'll see if the group can improve on today's times. If the others can, I only hope I can as well.

Sunday also features the Super Challenge, and I honestly don't really understand how it works. From what I gather, it's some set of complicated rules that reward consistent driving (which is not my strong suit). If I qualify for the Super Challenge, I'll line up where they tell me to and drive as well as I can, I guess. This is my first ProSolo in at least 15 years or so, and they didn't have Super Challenge way back then.

 

 

 

Numbers

Yesterday, a fellow driver asked me where I bought the numbers on my car.

 

On my white Fiesta, I've been using numbers cut out of black magnetic material that I purchased in a big roll. Well, that doesn't show up too well on my black 944.  But the silver paw vinyl does...

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So last year I used some of the silver "repositionable adhesive vinyl" left over on the roll from the dogpark livery. I've been cutting out different fonts for each event. My last event was kind of art-deco:

At the VIR event I did a futuristic, hastily done font:

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At my first event I used the Porsche font which might have been used for the numbers "911" and "GT3":

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This year I bought some golden yellow vinyl which matches the yellow track wheels I have. This font is called "Clockwork Orange".

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Numbers are so simple to make, I don't know why more people don't make them. They certainly look cooler than painter's tape, and they don't cost much more. Here are links to the products I picked up on Amazon:

It's really simple to pick a font, and print out each number as big as it will be printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. Transfer the outline to the vinyl either by scribbling the back side with pencil or by using extra pressure to make an imprint on the vinyl. Then just cut it out.

It's actually one of the more fun and relaxing things I do to prepare for a track weekend, particularly if I'm not rushed.

Making Tire Caddys from Salvaged Medical Equipment

My neighbors are doctors, and they had a couple anesthesia machines that they intended to leave out for scrap. I thought the wheels on them might make perfect dollies for my new-to-me Porsche wheels and tires.

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The equipment was heavier than I expected, which was good, because those wheels really seemed to be built for the task. They also rolled really easily across asphalt, all the way from my neighbor's driveway to mine.

It took me a while to figure out how it was put together, but once I had one of them taken apart, I found that four nuts and a single cut of a metal brace would free my wheels from the whole apparatus:

I cut out some scrap plywood into circles to distribute the load on the tire. I wouldn't want to damage the sidewalls by storing them stacked four-high on four square inches of surface.

They roll around so nicely in my garage and driveway now. Way better than any Harbor Freight piece of crap could. I'm pretty happy with this little project. Eventually I'll attach the plywood to the cast aluminum frames with four carriage bolts, but for now they just sit on top. Which is what they do most of the time anyway!

Here they are in action, handily carrying the two sets of "phone dials". My garage is beginning to look like a Tire Rack warehouse.

Here they are in action, handily carrying the two sets of "phone dials". My garage is beginning to look like a Tire Rack warehouse.


My Fiesta ST Mods

People always ask me at events, "What have you done to your car?" Well, it's kind of hard to explain in a short amount of time. I tend to rattle off the short version:

  • Wheels & Tires
  • Shocks
  • Drop-in K&N air filter
  • Seat harness (for autocross only)
  • Brake pads (for the track)
  • Brake ducts (for the track)

And that's about it.

But some of those mods were pretty involved, I've documented them pretty well on a couple websites. But it was hard to tell people how to find those links.

So it's really nice to be able to say, "just look on my website, www.dogparkracing.com!"

Autocross Build

My "2014 Fiesta ST G-Street Autocrosser" Build Thread on GrassrootsMotorsports.com.

- Includes wheels, tires, shocks, harness, graphics, and a trailer hitch.

Brake Ducts for the Track Build

My Brake Ducts Build on FiestaST.net.

Brake Pads for the Track

My Hawk StreetRace Brake Pad Review on FiestaST.net.

My Hawk DTC-60 Brake Pad Review on FiestaST.net.

Modifying the rear shock tower mount to accept a shock that was made for a VW Beetle.

Modifying the rear shock tower mount to accept a shock that was made for a VW Beetle.

I'll probably just do the rest of my mods here and link to them from other websites, unless I do a massive car project. I like doing the build threads on GRM because it's such a great resource. I get feedback from a lot of experienced gearheads.

VIDEO: Autocrossers, Inc.

Here's a run from an early event at Blue Crabs Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland.

I think I drove it pretty well, considering I was so rusty after nearly a decade of a break.

This is just a straight video of a run. No special editing or fancy music here.