The NASA Texas Summer Shootout was held at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit on June 10-12, 2016. Hallett is located in Jennings, Oklahoma, about an hour west of Tulsa, and about 9 hours north of our home in The Woodlands, Texas. The drive up on Thursday, in a U-Haul pick-up truck with a friend's car in tow, was fairly uneventful other than some mid-afternoon traffic while passing through Dallas. I guess I wasn't the only one not working that afternoon!
The track has more elevation change than any of the locations I'd visited so far. After arriving on Thursday evening and unloading the cars, I headed out to walk the track. It quickly became apparent that there were some fun / scary turns here. The entry to Turn 2 is a downhill braking zone into a second gear corner, while Turn 7 / 8 should be flat out in fourth over a blind crest into Turn 9 where you're down to second gear again.
Like our stop in NOLA, I deliberately didn't install a laptimer or camera in the car on Friday or Saturday. Instead, I took time to learn the track and try different lines based on feel / exit speeds. Since I was "competing" in Time Trial, I did have a transponder installed and found that I was sitting in 3rd place in my classification on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, I ran out of brakes in the last session of the day and fell to 4th place going into Sunday.
On go new Carbotech pads with fresh rotors...
With fresh brakes on Sunday, it took some time to adapt to the extra stopping power. I was able to scrub another second off my time, but so did others, and I remained mid-pack in my TTE classification. Not bad for a rookie.
Below is a video of my fastest lap from the weekend.
While I'm not as far off the pace of the Spec Miata field as I once was, I still have a lot to learn. It was pointed out that I'm turning in too early for a number of corners - there's an initial turn-in, but that only serves to tighten the corner and I have to turn more and slow on the exit to stay on the track. I need to learn to be patient and trust that the car will grip when I need it.
We're on summer break until the next event here in Houston on Labor Day weekend. In the meantime, there's work to be done to get the car ready and build up my spare parts inventory (hubs, brake calipers, etc.).
We'll also be busy getting Mimi ready for Targa Newfoundland 2016! Please "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates between major events.
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Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.