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Author Topic: Transition from BMW CCA racing to SM
RSchuster
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Hello guys, I am thinking the transition from racing a BMW to racing a miata. My car is absolutely incredible now with generally a 10 car class field being big but we all run pretty tight. The problem with that racing is that the motors are like grenades.

What I am looking to do is sell my car that I have now and have a top notch car built so all doubt after that is out of my mind and I can concentrate on the driving over a couple of years. I have a few questions for veterans if you don't mind me asking. With a general race weekend in SM what are operating costs, tires, fuel, entrance fees, and what not going to run me. Second, I feel I am capable of being up near the front with my background, what do I need to learn that will be different in this series. Any Tips, Advice, and pointers please fire away. With our car now it is a maintenanced car every weekend and a pain in the butt. I am frankly getting tired of being under the car more than in the drivers seat. Are miata's the same if they are built to the Enth degree? Thanks in advance guys..

Ryan

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Ryan Schuster

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quote:
Originally posted by RSchuster:
Hello guys, I am thinking the transition from racing a BMW to racing a miata. My car is absolutely incredible now with generally a 10 car class field being big but we all run pretty tight. The problem with that racing is that the motors are like grenades.

What I am looking to do is sell my car that I have now and have a top notch car built so all doubt after that is out of my mind and I can concentrate on the driving over a couple of years. I have a few questions for veterans if you don't mind me asking. With a general race weekend in SM what are operating costs, tires, fuel, entrance fees, and what not going to run me. Second, I feel I am capable of being up near the front with my background, what do I need to learn that will be different in this series. Any Tips, Advice, and pointers please fire away. With our car now it is a maintenanced car every weekend and a pain in the butt. I am frankly getting tired of being under the car more than in the drivers seat. Are miata's the same if they are built to the Enth degree? Thanks in advance guys..

Ryan

Tires - 600ish a set, probably 2 sets a weekend (one used set, one new) for a two day event w/ no test day.
Fuel - Whatever 87 costs at the pump [Smile]
Entry Fee - Can be anywhere from 300-500 depending on organization
Consumables - expect 300 easily in brakes and other little odds and ends.

Miata's aren't typically built to the nth degree, and are fairly reliable. Especially if you start with a pro built car that has all parts rebuilt or new.

The only advice I can give is don't be discouraged if you join in and aren't immediately at the front. I've seen plenty of people think they are going to show up and set the world on fire, but were sadly mistaken. Spec Miata is the toughest class in SCCA Club Racing, IMO. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

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Blake Clements

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RSchuster
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Thanks for the info. I don't expect to blaze the field away, I know its tough competition with large fields, thats the main reason I am planning on moving over. Notice I said near the front lol. I didn't mean that to be a bragging crap talk statement, What I meant I am experienced and what do I need to know about this series to be on the podium.

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Ryan Schuster

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Where will you be racing? What division + organization? That way you can go talk to the local vendors about car builds, competitive packages in the division, trackside support, etc.

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Blake Clements

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SM is all about maintaining momentum and not making any mistakes. There is very little torque to cover your bobbles. Learn the secret of the 2nd to 3rd shift, before you do a couple of missed shifts, where it goes into 1st at 7,200 rpm, revving to, say 12,500. This will prevent you needing to replace the engine on your 3rd race.
Brake waaaaaaaay deeper than you ever have before, or don't brake at all. And, when you brake later than you think possible, be ready for three or four cars going by you before they hit the brakes.
Those two tips should help you get started.
wheel

RSchuster
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@ Blake, I live in Ohio, but travel all over the place to go racing. My business goes with me so time off isn't a problem.

@ Wheel- That is basic advice, knowing how to downshift and upshift, including left foot braking, heel toe, all of those goodies should be mandatory. 3-2-3 shifts are pretty defined in my eyes. I guess we will see though.

Also, with SM im curious as to how the cars handle with bumpdrafting, when to do bumpdraft, and not. I have never been in that type of racing, just 13/13.

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Ryan Schuster

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quote:
Originally posted by RSchuster:

Also, with SM im curious as to how the cars handle with bumpdrafting, when to do bumpdraft, and not.

In SCCA never bumpdraft in front of flaggers and corner workers [Wink]

Bumpdraft anywhere else...common sense rules.

Tom

RSchuster
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Have to remember that for future reference.

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Ryan Schuster

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I have been racing since 1974 and I didn't know the secret of the SM shift. I blew the engine by the 3rd race. If you know the secret, fine, if not, you have been warned.
wheel

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quote:
Originally posted by Blake Clements:
Tires - 600ish a set, probably 2 sets a weekend (one used set, one new) for a two day event w/ no test day.

Are you saying that you burn through two sets of tires per race weekend, or that you BRING two sets of tires with you per weekend (assuming that the two sets last for multiple race weekends)?

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Cy:
Absolute top guys aside,(who change tires like our wives do purses),typically a set of 3/32nd RA'1's deliver 15+ heat cycles.
Typical race weeekend (less damange) runs about $1,000.
Rick
P.S. Be prepared to learn momnetum driving.

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quote:
Originally posted by Qik Nip:
Cy:
Absolute top guys aside,(who change tires like our wives do purses),typically a set of 3/32nd RA'1's deliver 15+ heat cycles.
Typical race weeekend (less damange) runs about $1,000.
Rick
P.S. Be prepared to learn momnetum driving.

My experience differs and I will share with the fear of opening up the argument over tire consumption once more.

In SOWDIV, our season is fully along with our first double national in Feb. I began the season using my last two sets of R-888s and then swapped to RA-1 as they were used up and the deadline to swap arrived.

In 5 National Races which with include Q/R for each "race" and three test days (about three 20 min sessions), I have used up both (two) sets of R-888s, and 1-1/2 sets of RA-1s. For our track surfaces and run duration, I with typically get 5-7 cycle's on 3/32" tires before they risk cording or loose some grip due to increased hardness from the heat cycling.

Regards

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What they are saying is you will find there is alot more work to do in the car than where you've come from and not under the car. Ive raced alot of BMW's (great cars) and SM is more work, even physically. The car will only have tire and fuel needs, unless you are interested in developing your set up for that weekend. (most guys at the front are busily working on that as well)
Your BMW should offer everything you might need to develop your in traffic skills, car set up etc.
Maybe what SM offers is the large community of guys helping support each other. At the track and here on this forum, where else can you get all that?

Mr Ball

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Most coming from BMW or PCA ( like 99%) can't believe how far off the pace they are. Don't get discouraged, that is the norm. You have to put in a season minimum, after the first year, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you will be.

I wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself 3 seconds off the pace, I was when I started and I thought I was pretty good [Frown]

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quote:
Originally posted by Drago:
I wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself 3 seconds off the pace, I was when I started and I thought I was pretty good [Frown]

When you started? Thought you still were! [Big Grin] [duck]

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RSchuster
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I would be happy with 3 seconds off pace for the first year I think. I guess I don't get the secret of the 3-2 downshift, Whats the difference if you are very good at rev matching while heel toeing in a miata than a BMW. One season is just the time to get acclimated and the next season is where I'd be hoping for some possible good finishes.

With RA-1's we have done a lot of data reads on those in the BMW so we are pretty familiar with them. I guess I need to try and read up on this 3-2-3 shifting in a miata, because there is apparently a big secret.

That and I see a bunch of you making all these unfamiliar hand signals....like a fist to slam into me and make me go faster lol. Good one to remember.

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Ryan Schuster

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It is the upshift from 2nd to 3rd which ends up in 1st or, if you are lucky 5th. You can't shift these by gripping the lever and ramming it toward 3rd, like you can with just about every other car I have raced.

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The BMW M3 2-3 shift is very similar. You can't force it and when going 2-3 its best to do with a open hand/palm.

Just takes practice.

Kyle

RSchuster
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http://www.shortshifter.com/techniques2.htm

That hand technique which is what I use should help prevent that up shift problem. Usually at worst it lands in 5.

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Ryan Schuster

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quote:
Originally posted by RSchuster:
Hello guys, I am thinking the transition from racing a BMW to racing a miata.

What I am looking to do is sell my car that I have now and have a top notch car built
Ryan

as you said above; if you have a "top notch car built" ...
don't worry about the 2-3 shift, that worry is only for orangutan drag race newbies ... or those with old junk non rebuilt trannys ...
3 sec a lap? dude, that's so far out of the ball park at places like Mid Ohio, the Glen, Road America, ... anywhere you show up with a "top notch build".
given your past experience and a "top notch build", (BTW, look in the classified here at this website), forget about wasting time and money on "the build" ... you should be 1 sec back at most places after your first year, or else ... well, nevermind.
Go to a race or two at Mid Ohio, ask questions,
Good luck,
[thumbsup]

RSchuster
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Yea in my mind 3 seconds is huge. Especially being familiar with tracks like mid ohio. Buying a car prebuilt was ultimately the plan but there is only one that interests me. Who knows maybe I will. We will see. I need to keep studying more details about SM and get everything planned out. Running a full season could be just as expensive as running like 3-4 races with the bmw expenditures, due to the bomb that gets slipped under the car every race lol.

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Ryan Schuster

RSchuster
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PS is there a SM race this weekend at Mid Ohio anyone is attending...I would love to get some insight. Let me know, and if there is shoot me a car number or what it looks like so I can recognize some faces with names on here.

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Ryan Schuster

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Ryan, another way to watch and learn is to wear white. Volunteer to work corners at an SCCA race a few times before diving in as a driver, it's something to do while you figure out what you are going to do with your car and you can learn a great deal about the various lines on the track. I don't know what BMW does for flagging/starts/field control but there will probably be some differences that will help the learning curve.

SM is a very good choice and will the new talent that comes in will be a good choice down the road. It's probably the race I most look forward too on any club racing weekend I work, glad to have you in the party.

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quote:
Originally posted by Drago:
Most coming from BMW or PCA ( like 99%) can't believe how far off the pace they are. Don't get discouraged, that is the norm. You have to put in a season minimum, after the first year, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you will be.

I wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself 3 seconds off the pace, I was when I started and I thought I was pretty good [Frown]

Really? [boggled]

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RSchuster
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Flagging/Starts/Field control is very similar. I have been to many SCCA and NASA events. There are some different flags meanings for sure though.

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Ryan Schuster

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Hey Ryan - glad you found your way onto the forum. Asking good questions!

I think pretty much everyone here on this thread will vouch for my car - take the plunge! [Smile] I'll give you some coaching....

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quote:
Originally posted by CP:
quote:
Originally posted by Blake Clements:
Tires - 600ish a set, probably 2 sets a weekend (one used set, one new) for a two day event w/ no test day.

Are you saying that you burn through two sets of tires per race weekend, or that you BRING two sets of tires with you per weekend (assuming that the two sets last for multiple race weekends)?
If I run a 3 day event - I use atleast 2 sets of tires. They may have a practice session or two left in them, but I don't count on that.

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With the 888's I would agree, but the RA1's of years past were lasting much longer. Still, on average with test day about a set a weekend to win. But then again prize money usually covered that.

--------------------
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Ryan-

Yes, NASA race is this weekend @ MidOhio. I'll be in Garage #3 in car #113, Qik Nip will be here somewhere as well. We currently have 28 cars registered. Stop by my garage if you come out & I'll introduce you to the fast guys. This is my third weekend, so I still have a ton to learn. Go to nasagreatlakes,com and view the event schedule. Looks like a super weekend. Hope to see you out there!

--------------------
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By the way, my car is a red 90 (like everyone else's) with eyes painted on the turn signal lenses.

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quote:
Originally posted by Todd Lamb:
With the 888's I would agree, but the RA1's of years past were lasting much longer. Still, on average with test day about a set a weekend to win. But then again prize money usually covered that.

Obviously depends on depth, but I didn't run the R888 that much (only at the ARRC, bad choice btw). I normally budget 2 sets of tires per 3 day weekend + 1 set of old ones from prior weekends. All started @ 3/32nds RA1s.

It definitely can be done on 1 set, but I don't let getting caught out on tire strategy (happened one too many times).

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Hey Todd! I hope you are doing well at Barber. I know your car is good and it is the 1 I was speaking of. For those of you that are going to be at mid ohio, I will be attending, I was supposed to be racing gts 3 in our car but had a slippey clutch due to a bad tranny leak. See you there and will look forward to meeting you.

As for taking the plunge... it will hopefully be sooner than later, really depends on how quickly I can sell my car. Is there any interest in high quality wheel studs with miatas that will rarely break. We sell BMW studs that have excellent history, A couple pro teams can vouch, and are looking for new business always.

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Ryan Schuster

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With our bmw we find the optimal shift point for the engine is between 6800-6900 rpm. due to it making its most power...How does that compare with the miata. I see some bouncing off the limiter, and others shifting just before 7.

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Ryan Schuster

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I can't help wondering, if Toyo is a 2 weekend tire at best, what was the argument against specing Hoosiers?

(bounching off rev limiter is a driver error, not a performance startegy)

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The problem with budgeting hoosiers more than a weekend is the fall off of the tire. In a spec class like this with such a significant drop off after a few heat cycles on hoosiers, it brings more money into the equation and would take a fresh set per day to stay competitive. That is what we run and there is a big time difference in new hoosiers to used. That would be silly to do in a spec class IMO. The RA1's are much more affordable besides. Hoosier rubber is no joke price wise.

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Ryan Schuster

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If you know where to buy them Hoosier SM tires are same price, or less than RA1s. In my experience the drop off on a SM is not as dramatic as you indicate.

If the front runners are buying new Toyos each weekend what's the difference.

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quote:
Originally posted by RSchuster:
The problem with budgeting hoosiers more than a weekend is the fall off of the tire. In a spec class like this with such a significant drop off after a few heat cycles on hoosiers, it brings more money into the equation and would take a fresh set per day to stay competitive. That is what we run and there is a big time difference in new hoosiers to used. That would be silly to do in a spec class IMO. The RA1's are much more affordable besides. Hoosier rubber is no joke price wise.

This experience is probably not applicable to the SM Hoosier. They are competatively priced and others indicate they are good throughout usefull life.

--------------------
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Thats interesting then. I obviously am just talking hoosier from a different perspective being in BMW we run the R6. Its very good but if you look at data read outs the more heat cycles there is definitely drop off in grip and feel each time you go out. Which in turn adds time each heat cycle to your laps. Doesn't hold too steady. Im surprised the SM tire is that much different..It was interesting to watch the SU corvettes and that this weekend at mid ohio. They were running the the hoosier Auto X tire, they get a race out of them and their toast from over heating but initial grip is huge I guess.

I like skidding our heavy car on RA1's every once in a while! Fun stuff.

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Ryan Schuster

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The Hoosier SM6 wears great and grips well throughout til it cords. Before cording, flip'em and get even more life out of them.

SMs are light weight, low horsepower and have well-balanced braking. Driven correctly with a good alignment, tires of any brand will wear pretty easy when compared to chunkier, HP-intensive cars that don't turn well.

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Bmw's are very fast through corners and very well balanced. That is what they are known for. Im just speaking of the rubber in general from my experiences with hoosier.

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Ryan Schuster

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Ryan; best advice you didn't ask for;
forget about the Hoosiers, tires in general ... ask yourself what your goals are;
do you need to run 'competetive' in order to enjoy yourself ? if so, scroll up and read what T. Lamb is offering. Going in on your own, no matter what car you buy or have built, it will take you at least one year (probably two) to get to the front. You will start out running in the 'kill zone' and you will tear up equipment in the process.
Your primary goal is to get out of the 'K Z' as soon as possible. Buying a well built, well set up car is the first part of a good decision. Then, having cell phone access to someone willing to provide their set up/prep knowledge and answer your gazillion questions is the second and maybe more important part. This accelerates the learning curve and gets you out of the 'K Z' and to the front much quicker, hence much cheaper, than if you go your own way unassisted.
Summary; buy the best you can afford and align yourself with someone who has demonstrated SM knowledge and experience. Costs more up front but costs less over the long haul. Guaranteed.
Bottom line, for anyone who has raced before in other classes and has some bucks, it is the only way to go.
Good luck.

RSchuster
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Great advice. I am looking to learn and be near the front if possible. I don't know about you guys but i definitely do not race to lose! I completely agree with what you are saying about equipment and setup. It is so important,

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Ryan Schuster

TR6
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Where is the kill zone? Mid pack? Back of the pack? As a newbie myself to SM racing, that term has me a little concerned...

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Greg H.
2002 red Miata #500
Denton, Texas

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Future Never Has Been

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quote:
Originally posted by TR6:
Where is the kill zone? Mid pack? Back of the pack? As a newbie myself to SM racing, that term has me a little concerned...

P5 and back.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Brian Cates
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Buy a proven car, but not worn out, from someone who has won often and understands the class and can help you with driver coaching.

That means buy Todd Lamb's car!!!

Of course that also means you won't have any excuses [thumbsup]

Oh and the TOYO's are really unlike any other race tire, they do not loose speed with heat cycles as much as most others. On some tracks we have found that corded tires are fastest.

Shave to 3/32". A new set every other weekend. Have fresh full tread rains and a second practice set.

Have fun!

RSchuster
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I know its the best on the market for sure. Plus Todd's input and coaching would be so valuable. Financially unless the other car goes todds car most likely will be gone by the time it does sell...

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Ryan Schuster

guest driver
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quote:
Originally posted by RSchuster:
Financially unless the other car goes todds car most likely will be gone by the time it does sell... [/QB]

"be creative, think outside the box" ...
is what my friends tell me, as i am in a similar situation as you, except i have to sell a few properties before i jump back in ...
Call the man up, i have not met him but am told he is a businessman and will listen to a reasonable proposal. eg; settle on a price, offer $6,000. cash up front, with $2,000 per month for up to 12 months ?? Do the math.
He keeps the car in storage until it is paid up. Tie the car down and open a racing relationship.
If you sell your car in 3-4 months and pay off Barney early, you get a price discount, maybe some spares.
Good luck to you,
[thumbsup]

RSchuster
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haha I love your idea, but as much as I would love to do that, IMO with the chance you take every time you take the car out on track of wrecking I will not be putting a non payed off car on the racing surface. Financially its just not smart, but that does sound like a great idea the more and more I think about it.

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Ryan Schuster

   

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