MINI Wins Milwaukee

Update by Per Schroeder to the Mini Cooper project car
Jul 4, 2006

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The trip up to Milwaukee was pretty uneventful, except for some heinous traffic in Chicago. We got up to Gurnee, IL the first day (incidentally, this is where Per used to live before he ran off to join the circus) and did the remaining hour on Friday morning.

Per took several runs on the practice course on Friday afternoon, getting used to the Stadium parking lot’s very strong levels of grip. After we dialed in our tire pressure (about 44 front, 55 rear), we changed back to street tires and picked up Kim at the nearby airport. When we got back, we walked the .7 mile course a few times. The Jeff Cashmore-designed course was much like a plus-sized model, big and beautiful.

Saturday morning, we walked the course a few more times and while Kim worked Station 1, Per was the announcer for the first heat. That was a little more stressful than announcing at a local event. Lots of things going on, three cars on course and a whole level of professionalism that you don’t really want to let down.

We ran the third heat and after the first day, Per was in second by .14 and Kim was trailing behind in seventh. Kim was fairly unhappy with her performance, as she felt like she was driving, “like I didn’t know how to drive.” Adding to this was a phantom cone that was called on her best run. We didn’t see it from the sideline and there were actually dozens of cones being knocked over by the high (40mph gusts) winds.

With no where to go but up, we walked the Sunday course after the Saturday’s competition runs were over. The course was essentially Saturday’s course run in reverse. We then changed back to our street tires and went out to find some grub. Brookfield, WI has a Chipotle. Mmmm.

Sunday went much better, although Per’s first run was pretty cautious and was probably only good for fifth or sixth. He kicked it up a notch or two on his second run, pulling 1.2 seconds off for the win in the 9-car H Stock field. There was no improvement on his third run and Steve Kettlestrings, Saturday’s leader, also didn’t improve, leaving him just .016 back for second place. Steve’s co-driver (and car owner) Jim Harn took the third and final trophy spot. Kim felt much better about her runs, turning in the sixth fastest times of the class, although Saturday’s problems kept her in seventh.

The MINI worked very well on the Kumhos (we were the only car in the top five not on Hoosier A6s) and the Koni FSD shocks once again made our MINI extremely easy to drive.

Now, we’ve got to wait two months until Nationals! Luckily, we’ve got a host of local events to go to, including an event in a few weeks in Brooksville, followed a week later by an event in nearby DeLand.

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