Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! The Snail Performance crew certainly did. Thursday the team headed to Payson to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with Markos’ Grandmother. We ate up some delicious turkey, all the trimmings and then had pumpkin pie. On Black Friday I headed down to Salazar Subaru to get some Hankook Z214 C91 race tires mounted up on the car and to get Taylor’s RS-3 put back on his wheels after letting me borrow them. While I was down there I went ahead and swapped out the front wheel bearings on the Snail Racer as they were getting tired. With all that done we loaded up the car and headed down to the track to drop off the car and trailer for the weekend.
Saturday was the NASA AZ Turkey Day Enduro Weekend. I wasn’t racing but I went down to Phoenix International Raceway to see everyone and what all was going on at the track. Later that afternoon Taylor and Markos got to the track to get a head start on prepping their cars for the track tomorrow. That night the team headed to the NASA BBQ for some steak, chicken and some drinks. Big thanks to everyone that cooked up an awesome meal. O yeah let’s not forget Tony’s car getting tased. I cannot confirm or deny if Snail Performance had anything to do with this. LOL
Sunday morning drivers meeting Markos, Taylor, and Jerome head off to the DE4 break out. However, for me it was a different story. At the BBQ Tage “NASA Director” asked me why I was still running in DE4 so I told him “I was just having fun running with the rest of the team.” Tage told me to show up for Time Trial ”TT” on Sunday no if ands or buts. So I did… First session out in TT was awesome! I was asking myself why I didn’t do this a long time ago. Needless to say I will be running TT next year for good. Back to the rest of the team: Taylor ran into some engine trouble first session out which didn’t surprise us much. The motor is completely stock and he has been running it all year at the track on a very aggressive race gas tune. We don’t know what happened with the motor yet; we will be pulling it out of the car soon. Markos and Jerome’s cars were running well on track every session out. They were working on getting the best line for the UMS Tuning Time Attack.
Later that afternoon it was time for the UMS Tuning Time Attack final event. Points were tight in most of the classes with this event being really important to a lot of the competitors because of the double points. I was up first so I hit the track eager to run my best time at PIR. I had been running 1:09.xx all day in TT and I knew my car had more in it. First lap out the Aimsports flashed best lap showing I ran a 1:07.115 not bad I was happy with the time. Second lap I gave the car all I had and crossed the start/finish with a lap time of a 1:06.764. This locked me in for 1st place in TA-C and 3rd place Overall. Jerome was up next; he went out and ran one of his best times at PIR also with a 1:12.274. However, he didn’t get to place as he missed a few events due to some Air Force training. But next year he will be back with a completely different setup on his car. Jerome was also nice enough to let Taylor run his car in TA to try and get some points to stay in the running for a podium finish. Taylor ran a 1:13.38 but it wasn’t good enough to stay on the podium. Taylor says he was holding back because it wasn’t his car better to be safe than sorry. Taylor will be back next year with his car rebuilt and ready for TA. Last up was Markos he has been fighting a battle with Honda’s all year and of course Jon Via. But he did it with a time of 1:16.327 allowing him to hold on to the 2nd place spot in TA-A. Not a bad year for the Snail Performance team, we are already looking forward to see what 2011 will have in store for us.
Travis Barnes 1st Place Winner in TA-C & 3rd Place Winner Overall in TA all classes combined
Markos Mylonas 2nd Place Winner in TA-A
With only two weeks into the month of November, it has proven to be a very busy month for the Snail Performance team. Just weeks after Subiefest wrapped up; we pulled the motor out of the Snail Racer due to leaky head gaskets. Time was running out to have the racer ready for Super Lap Battle as SEMA was quickly approaching. With days to spare, the motor was back in the car and ready to be buttoned up, however a quick trip to Las Vegas put a hold on completion. SEMA proved to be quite the event with the guys from LIC Motorsports, DB Tuned, and many many others, however that’s another story.
Snail Performance returned to Phoenix just three days before the departure for Super Lap Battle. Following a last minute phone call, Snail driver Travis Barnes was invited to participate in the Import Tuner Magazine Evo vs. STI shootout. This was very exciting for the team, not only because of the participation, but also because this day would be used as a shakedown for the Snail Racer. The final touches were put on the Snail Racer with just enough time to fire it up and load it into the trailer for the 9 hour drive to Buttonwillow Raceway.
Monday night rolled around the Snail Team was heading west to Buttonwillow Raceway. Having decided to drive through the night, arrival occurred early Tuesday morning. After camping out for the rest of the night, we awoke just in time to see the gates open at Buttonwillow Raceway. The trailer was unpacked and we were ready for the Import Tuner Magazine Evo vs. STI shootout. With street classing being a must for the event, the Snail Racer was equipped with 265/35/18 Continental Tire provided Extreme Contact DW tires. With only a few laps under his belt, driver Travis Barnes quickly found a groove on track and started to turn it on, pushing the car to the limits of the tires. This proved to be successful as the Subaru STI’s ended victorious over the Mitsubishi Evo drivers taking the overall shootout win.
Early Tuesday morning, the Snail Team was awoken by fellow Arizona driver Tage Evanson making laps around the Snail Performance trailer. With tech having been completed the previous day at the shootout, the Snail Racer was ready to compete against the other cars in the Super Lap Battle Limited AWD class. It was a beautiful day at the raceway, perfect for a turbo car looking to stretch its legs. The Continental Tires were swapped out for a stickier set of 275/35/18 Nitto NT-01 tires and it was time to race. With the added grip, the 479 AWHP of the 2003 Subaru WRX Snail Racer came to life. Now with some experience on the Buttonwillow Raceway 13CW configuration, driver Travis Barnes was able to show the potential of the Snail Racer. With each lap, consistency of both driver and car were proven.
In the end Snail Performance finished in 4th place Limited AWD, and 25th out of a 42 car pack, turning a fast lap of 1:59.652. Having never competed at Buttonwillow, Travis was pleased with his time; however ideas are already in the works to shave seconds off this time. With the last out of town race of the year complete, the Snail Team focuses its efforts on the season finale of the UMS Time Attack Series at Phoenix International Raceway. With each driver still in the running for podium contention, hopes are high for a successful event.
The Snail Performance Team would also like congratulate Sierra-Sierra Enterprises for shattering the Buttonwillow Raceway track record by running a 1:41.046. UMS Tuning for finishing 3rd in Unlimited AWD with a 1:53.086. Tage Evanson for his 1st place finish in Unlimited FF with a 1:51.653. Phil Robles aka "K Sport Cowboy" took 3rd in the K Sport Integra Type-R in Unlimited FF with a 2:00.146. Gabe Ortega finish 3rd in Limited FF with a 2:03.633.