I'm currently typing up the issue, but the end result was 9th. Here is what Brian had to say about the experience:
I havent seen the "results" issue yet but its not sounding good.
To be honest I never really thought I would even be picked for this competition. On the other hand Matt, and Ryan seemed pretty confident based on the pics and mod list of the car I sent them. These guys were very confident from the beginning which gave me hope and worried me at the same time. Not only is this competition brutal, so is the 2+ months leading up to it. Matt told me "your work will suffer" boy was he ever right.
After finding out that I was picked I started petitioning potential sponsors. There were some sponsors such as Kurt at Elmhurst Toyota (thanks a ton Curt), Todd at TMEngineering (R2 suspension bushings), Rob at RPS, and Jeff Brauch (Colorado Performance) who had product/cash out to me IMMEDIATELY, then others that insisted on having product delivered to my house with less than 12 hours before I had to load up the car for the competition. I was already a nervous wreck, this just made matters worse. A month before the competition I had every single suspension piece out of the car drilling/burning out rubber bushings, and trying to get my coilovers overhauled (one of them was leaking) by a company reluctant to stand behind their product, among other things.
I waited to order tires for the event till a week before only to find that the Kumho V700's I wanted to use were on nationwide backorder, great, so I made a change to Michelin Pilot Sport Cups at the last minute, thanks to Michelin for helping me out on these even though the discounts werent huge. I was lucky enough to have made it to Cali with enough time to do a track day at Streets of Willow. Despite the intense pressure from Matt to drive the piss out of the car, I used restraint fearing that I would break the car before even making it to the competition itself.
When we got to Riverside, right after grabbing an IN N OUT Burger we went searching for a place to tune the car for the local conditions. I had tuned the car at 24psi conservatively at 11.5:1, this had netted me about 601hp in my home town about 2 months previous. We headed out of the hotel to the photo shoot with Henry only to find the right front tire flat, I wonder if it had anything to do with the berm I hit at Streets a couple of days before? The tire wouldnt even last through the photo shoot without going flat (in the "contenders" issue, the small pic of the rear of the car notice the right front tire). That night I took the wheel off to find the inside of the wheel bent, I tightened the bolts holding the halves together which helped slow the leak.
I showed up in front of K+N early and unloaded the car out front. We headed out just to take the car for a spin, at an intersection at the end of the street I hit a dip in the road, heard a crack, and saw 1/3 of my Seibon front lip getting run over by a semi. I returned to the trailer in order to remove the other 2/3's of the destroyed front lip. The lip lasted 5 days on the car and scraping only 1 driveway plus the dip in the road. Besides that I now had a check engine light for whatever reason, more on that later. So I rolled into the parking lot to meet the competition with no front lip, my brake cooling ducts hanging from my front bumper by zip ties, and a CEL. Matt is right and I said it to my now wife Jessica, "Wow, Iam way out of my league here." With all these problems I actually thought about giving up right then and there.
I think first up for me was the guru panel. If you go through the pics Ryan posted a link to you will find one where a guru judge has his leg up on the front bumper of my car as he's peering into the engine bay. I immediately lost respect for any "judging" this panel might come up with. I went through every aspect of the car with them anyways, from end to end, in explicit detail unlike others had in past competitions. Then Steve Ruiz started in on me, "why dont you have upgraded front brakes? You custom made this hood out of an OEM hood? These vents are all in the wrong spots for evacuating heat? I dont see how they would do any good. You want a great deal on Stoptech brakes?" sheesh! I actually expected to do better in the guru panel.
After this was the dyno, the problem Matt was refferring to was the fact that the K+N guys put the wideband "sniffer" in the exhaust pipe, what we didnt realize till after 3 runs, them telling me Iam running lean, and me adding a bunch of fuel accross the full rpm range was that since I was running a cutout the sniffer wasnt getting a good reading on the exhaust or any exhaust for that matter. SCC was nice enough to let me take a few more runs, against the wishes of some of the other competitiors, but it would have taken a full retune to get the map back. I couldnt believe the results, and I knew something was wrong with the car anyways as the spool was really slow and the FJO wouldnt let me tune, everytime I tried to log a run it would revert to "sensor warming" as if I had just started the car and wouldnt let me log . After returning from the competition I found the CEL was code 14, crank angle sensor, but the car ran fine so I didnt mess with it.
At an autocross the next weekend the car was missing really bad, and setting up a false rev limiter at 5800 or so. I later found that my crankshaft trigger wheel had spun on the crankshaft timing pulley (yes broke the tooth off and spun on the pulley, didnt fall off) retarding the timing.The trigger wheel is now firmly welded to the pulley much like you see a lot of members doing now, I highly recomment it. I realized that this must have started either the night before the competition or the morning of. So here comes the domino effect, low dyno #'s, slow spool, bad timing hurts emissions and most likely fuel milage, low power #'s hurt at the drags, roadcourse, etc. A CEL isnt even good for the driveability test obviously. Would I have rather the motor blow instead? NO, but it might have made for a better story.
I honestly thought that I deserved more in the car show portion, and I feel the car show panel wasnt really very stoked about seeing another Supra. I was trying to get those guys excited about the custom OEM hood, and to take a look at the custom airbag guage panel but they just werent interested let alone everything else I had done to the car. Maybe if I had some ill fitting carbon fiber hood and some Axis wheels I would have done better in the car show. I feel that SCC should remove all judges that own companies that produce products that might or might not be on the cars in the competition but I dont have a solution for who judges the cars by any means.
This competiton is brutal to say the least. On the first day I believe we filled up the tank of the last car in the fuel milage test at like 9 or 10pm which means that days competition went for over 13 hours. Then we had to have dinner. I think I made it to bed at 1am or so only to get back up at 6:30 to make it out for the second day of events which ended at sundown. When these guys talk about spending big $$$$ on the competition they arent kidding, I think Iam still paying off debts from it. The reason why I felt out of my league was due to the fact that there were teams there that had full semi truck and trailer support vehicles loaded with spare parts, full pit crews some with 5 or 6 mechanics, and hired professional drivers. Here Iam with my fiancee as my pit crew, a car that seems to have deceided to fall apart on me all of a sudden, and me, a "wannabe" pro driver.
Dont get me wrong I wouldnt have had it any other way, except maybe the car falling apart portion. Hell even Kim (Skyline owner) said after the awards banquet that he was jealous of me because I had a girlfried that was willing to hang out with me at the competition all day, both days, and that he would give up all the trophys he won for that. Who knows, maybe he was being sarcastic too, doesnt matter. I was happy that someone saw potential in my entry and allowed me to be a part of this competition, I met some really cool people, Josh, Jared, and the whole SCC gang. The other competitiors all were really cool and there were never any attitudes from the drivers or crews that I detected. Plus I got to check out some really badass cars.