Friday, March 5, 2010


Below is the car that the Devil drives. I hate this car. It is the car that knocked us out of the top 10....


We raced hard…car was faultless…we got up to 8th place out of 128 cars 2/3rds of the way into the race…108th car hit us….car damaged pretty heavily….fixed it…finished in 56th position after our clutch gave out with an hour left. But there is so much more to it than that…

Slaab at its finest:

Picture of mostly happy team after the race

Picture of our beat up Slaab. And I do mean beat up.

(all other photos are at the bottom of the post in a random order...this is a royal pain to get pictures in the right spot. Also - the formatting is all jacked up for some reason, and I am beginning to seriously hate Blogger.)


Like watching the Brit’s try to win Olympic medals…the build up to this race was strenuous, time consuming, and irritating…95% of which was work being done to make our Saab look like a proper Slaab. In other words, rolling on enamel paint, graphics, ground effects, and everything else that wasn’t related to actually racing well and reliably. There was a decent amount of risk that the car’s engine (a mostly unknown entity in terms of internal parts condition) would have all the teething / random burst hoses / leaking whatcha-ma-call-its that our last car had. Thus – we took the conservative approach to our goals for this race.

GOAL #1: Finish.
GOAL #2: Finish in the top 25 (some say top 25%, some say top 25. We’ll leave that gray.)

We think those goals were pretty radical, given that we’re made up of 4 retards who in various times over the past 2 years have run the car empty of gas but couldn’t figure out why it was no longer running, went to the parts store for spark plugs and returned with lawn mower spark plugs, one person who had never even seen the car before, and someone who got a spare wheel procured but realized too late it didn’t fit the car. Geniuses all around.


Fridays for us are typically dominated by setting up the International Slaab Racing Headquarters (also known as the truck) while other teams stand around and sneer at us from under their crooked, hole-ridden pop up tents. We all agreed (well, “agreed” is too strong of a word. How about “mandated’?) that we would each drive 4 laps in practice to learn the longer track layout being used for this race. Whereas our previous races had 70-80 cars in them and utilized a 1.2 mile track, this race had 128 cars and utilized a ~2.5 mile track.

Our practice sessions were absolutely trouble free. If you re-read our previous race reports, you’ll remember that our previous practice sessions were dominated by, oh lets see here….a car that was almost flipped in turn #1, a car that lost all its radiator fluid and cooked its motor (twice), 4 burst radiator hoses, a faulty fuel pump, and a partridge in a pear tree.

We each drove 4 laps (Nick defiantly drove 5 out of protest for not winning the argument over driving significantly more laps in practice), and kept looking around for things to do Friday. No issues at all. The only issue we had all day was getting the Playstation 3 / Gran Turismo 5 / Projector setup that night to play…and then subsequently pummeling the British owner in his own game repeatedly and with extreme prejudice. But alas…I digress. After two years of giving Nick the Brit grief about his inability to write a personal summary for the blog (or even typing coherently)…he’s finally relented and added some foreign colour to the Blog:

NICK – “After a 10 long weeks of fixing up the new super-duper Slaab, the level of excitement was at an all time high, mandated short stints didn’t go down well but set the right tone. Our motto was “Mo Power.” It was there and I was keen to make amends and start passing. First, though, there was set up…and despite age and fading memory, the work to setup of the truck came flooding back and team had the rig set up in what seemed like less than an hour… enough time for testing runs before tech and Phil’s limit of 4 laps - boooooo!!! Proved to be the right call and sufficient for learning the new extended course, experiment with the “hump”, and just enough of a taste of the new faster back stretch, which had a tricky braking point but fun to work on after the long straight. The lap strategy worked, no problems with the car, so we spent the evening practicing on the PS3 [notice he didn’t acknowledge getting whooped], eating curry and a sipping a few beers, appears that the only excuse I have is that not hearing the game means I crash a lot, or is it the beer?


We utilized a different strategy this year…we had Nick and Dad drive on Saturday (apart from the last 2 hours of the day), trading driving sessions back and forth. We put this strategy in place to deal with our Black-Flag-a-Palooza-thon from 2009, and unlike most dumb things we think of, it actually seemed to work.


For the third year in a row, Nick led our car out onto the track to begin the race. He had a pretty uneventful session, if you ignore all the spinning cars, flipping cars, and general carnage that seemed to be everywhere.

NICK – “Woke early to fog, no last minute work on the car [unlike last year] so I chef’d up bacon and eggs to get the ball [farts] rolling. Out first out on the track, the high pressure slot, making sure not to mess up. Within a few laps it was apparent that staying clean was going to be tough, there had been a couple of large smashes one involving 5 cars with one ending on its roof (, car was performing well apart from the niggling fuel pressure issue and some slight skittishness under heavy braking. After a couple of near misses with slower cars I settled into a pace, not fast but safe, minor misunderstanding saw me on track for 2hrs, long periods under yellow, but a good steady start. More than happy with the first stint.

Nick Session #1 Summary:
Started: 52nd place (basically – wherever he was in the long line of cars below)
Finished: 16th place
Laps: 41 laps
Duration: 2 hours
Other: 60% of his laps were under yellow.


Nick handed over to Dad (after a bungled pit stop that forced us to come through the pit lane twice), and quickly got Dad out onto the track. I gave Dad a lot of unnecessary grief last year about him “seeing the rear tires” a lot and driving too aggressively. That’s not saying he was driving poorly….just aggressively. This year, he listened to our calls for conservative driving. For 2 laps. Then he set our fastest lap over and over again…but did so cleanly and quickly. And to top it all off…he too managed to put some alphabetic letters together to summarize his driving session (unlike the last two races)!

DAD – “After about 10 successful laps, another driver gave me a hard tap in the rear. That got my attention since supposedly any contact with another car results in a 30 minute black flag penalty for both cars. Luckily nobody saw the incident. I have a nagging thought that the team leader would be very upset if I get a penalty [a mild understatement]. So I decided to back off a little bit. That lasted for about a lap.

Dad came in after 90 minutes with little gas in the car…so after putting another 15 gallons of fuel in, Nick took over again.

Dad Session #2 Summary:

Started: 34th place (lost 28 places in this pits)
Finished: 20th place
Laps: 31 laps
Duration: 1.5 hours


Nick’s goal for the session were to start picking up more spots…and push the car a bit more aggressively than the opening session.

NICK – “After a review of the lap times, I was determined for a “safe” drive with an improvement in lap time. I pushed it in two of the new parts of the track which led to a number of exhilarating passes, 105 mph at the end of the back straight and pushing 70+ around the large carrousel turn led to what we had been looking for – fun while driving on the edge. All looking good (so far) for the next race, definite that the 16V Turbo Slaab has what we need so no major rebuilds, apart from dent and front end alignment (see Day 2 below), wife will be happier.”

Nick Session #3 Summary:

Started 26th place (lost 6 places in this pits)
Finished: 17th place
Laps: 36 laps
Duration: 1.5 hours
Other: Lap times getting faster every hour…


Dad left the pits with the bit between his teeth, and immediately started setting faster lap times again (there goes our conservative strategy again).

DAD – “Started my second session in about 23rd place after the driver change. I am convinced that our car can keep up with the top ten cars on the track and that means continual passing of slower cars. It is much easier looking forward and working to pass cars than it is to continually worry about who is about to pass you and where they are on the track. After about 10 laps, I am heading into the “carousel” (a big sweeping left hand corner). The car is handling excellently in this corner and I am able to pass cars either on the inside or outside. There is a slower car heading into the middle of the road in this corner that I know I can pass. I moved to the inside and began to pass the other car. When we were side by side, the other car moved down the racetrack and we had a hard side to side collision. Now I was convinced that we would get a penalty and I would have to endure the wrath of the team Leader. So the next couple of laps I had to pay particular attention to the corner workers near the incident and the start finish line to see if there was a black flag. Again, no penalty. Ended the session in 11th position.

During the second session I had a BMW 2002 that was following me very closely. We drove together for about 10 laps and the BMW tried everything to get past me but could not do it. This BMW eventually finished in second or third position. The BMW driver was very courteous and professional as he tried to pass me. After the race, the driver came over to our pit and we discussed the thrill of driving two equally matched cars and testing our abilities to the max. This was the best experience of the race.

Also in my second session, I was passing a slower car on one of the straight sections. As I was passing I noticed that a faster car was passing both of us on the right and in fact was driving off the track in the dirt and grass. I thought to myself that this would probably not end well……… As I was thinking this, the driver cut back onto the track with disastrous results, he spun out in front of my car and took out two other cars to my left. Cars were spinning everywhere and all I could see was the side of one of the cars directly in front of me and I KNEW that our race day was over and the leader would be upset [he makes me sound militant]. Somehow, I missed the spinning car. Nothing to do after that except nail the throttle and go after more cars to pass!!!!

Dad Session #4 Summary:
Started: 23rd place (lost 6 places in this pits)
Finished: 11th place (almost top 10!)
Laps: 41 laps
Duration: 1.5 hours
Other: Dad had very little yellow flag racing during both of his sessions


I took over after Dad, and with a full tank of gas, a car full of Swedish anger, and 2 hours to go until the Day 1 checkered flag. I left the pits knowing we were way up in the rankings (top 10 was in sight), and that any silly errors (very likely), spins (always a threat), or accidents (hadn’t had one of those before!) would be devastating to moral, beer consumption, and my blasted position as team leader. During this long session, what stands out is how many spins occurred either behind me, in front of me, or next to me….and we snaked through each and every one of them without incident. There was a lot of sloppy driving, but also a lot of aggressive driving…but overall, it still seemed way better than previous races. About an hour into the session, I started driving too aggressively, and almost had a massive pileup in turn 1 when I locked up the brakes trying to make a stupid inside corner pass. Very Stupid. I cursed for the entire lap at myself about almost throwing it away on testosterone. I could just hear Dave and Nick shouting Swedish curse words from the grandstands. I finished the session trouble free, and we achieved a first for our bedeviled team: no mechanical issues / penalties / spins / black flags / or any massive stupidity. Exactly according to Master Dave’s plan.

Philip Session #5 Summary:

Started: 13th place (lost 2 places in this pits)
Finished: 8th place
Laps: 42 laps
Duration: 2 hours


Normally, Saturday night between the two race days is full of wrenching, bitching, duct taping parts, discarding used oil discreetly, and dreaming of what more could possibly go wrong. This year? We parked the car, checked the oil (not a drop burned), topped off the transmission, rotated tires, and then lounged around all night.



Sunday started off with an unexpected event – the organizers wanted the top 10 cars to lineup up front (normally it’s a first come first served approach to getting back on the track), do a parade lap, then start the race. Being the 8th place car, we were part of the parade lap.

Day 2 was going to be a moderately more aggressive driving plan for us…with only 6 hours to go until the finish. The cars in front of us were several laps ahead, so we needed mechanical issues for them for us to pass them in the standings (we were the slowest car in the top 10 based on our best lap time achieved). Dave started the session well, had some great lap times……..then…..

DAVE – “Why would that guy slam on his brakes on a straightaway? Wow, he put himself sideways. Gee he is pretty close to … f*@#, *@! dammit! (pounding the steering wheel a few times). Right, what’s the damage? Try to start car. Car starts, great! Engage the clutch, does not want to role… f*@#, *@! dammit! Wait for flatbed to show up.

Dave Session #6 Summary:

Started: 8th place
Crashed: 7th place
Laps: 11 laps
Duration: 45 minutes

I was eating some left over Chili (fuel for farting and driving in 60 minutes) when I got a phone call from Nick. Dave was off the track in the infield and the car isn’t moving. We all congregated to watch the horror in front of us, watched the flatbed drive up to the car (bad sign…normally the tow truck takes cars off the track), and then finally saw the car in the pits. Norwegian Trouble. The 108th place Celica (pictured below) hit the car hard in both the front and back of the car, and seriously bent the front suspension. While watching the car sit in the infield, Bruce and I were surrounded by the numnuts from the Celica team laugh and joke about the wreck….we were ready to give them a Swedish roundhouse to their fat heads. Anyway – we got the car back to the truck, and Bruce immediately went into hyper-repair mode with hydraulic jacks to push the bent suspension more or less into place, bend the fender away from the tires, and get Dave back on track. All in all, we lost 37 places in the race fixing the car.


Dave has the unenviable task of driving the car back onto the track….with a bent suspension that might fail at any moment from fatigue….in the rain….and in a bad mood. Dave does a huge job of driving a giant unknown, and gets 20 laps in before having to come back in due to the front tire rubbing on the damaged fender.

Dave - "Under yellow for a looooong time. Got going at speed and the tire was rubbing on the fender. Brought the car into the pits to avoid damaging the car further. Done."

Dave Session #7 Summary:
Started: 44th place
Finished: 37th place
Laps: 20 laps
Duration: 60 minutes

At this point – we quickly bang on the fender to reshape it again, and I get into the car. At this point, we have about 2 hours left in the race, and our goal of finishing in the top 25% is still viable (32nd place), but just barely.


It was still raining, still a wet track, car was bent, and the track was still full of idiots. I couldn’t believe how much spinning / bad driving / dumbass maneuvers were still being done on the track in VERY slick conditions. Our car…with a bent front end…was ridiculously bad in right hand wet corners. I had numerous near misses with cars on right handers. I also had the car completely sideways three laps in a row on the same exact corner (no spin though). In other words – it was tiring, a handful, and mentally we’re still expecting the suspension to fail. OH! And the front tire had to be put on backwards due to a monkey-mechanic mistake on our part…so the front bent suspension tire couldn’t deal with water because the tread pattern was going the wrong way. REAL FUN. I also had to come in for a quick pit stop to fill up the brake/clutch fluid (bad omen), as the warning light was telling me it was low. My plan was to drive for an hour, and hand it back over to Dave to get more driving time in the Bent Beast. I was 2 laps from coming in to switch drivers, and the clutch went totally dead. Instantly. Which sucks…because at that point in time….we were in 32nd place….TOP 25%!!!! I brought the car into the pits, and our day was done, an hour from the end. Our first mechanical issue…and might have been related to the accident.

Phil Session #8 Summary:

Started: 37th place
Finished: 32th place
Laps: 25 laps
Duration: 60 minutes

Ultimately, we finished in 56th place after sitting in the pits for the final hour. Were we disappointed? Yeah…but mostly at having a damaged car. We proved we could run a clean, good race….we proved that our Turbo Saab was strong, and handled incredibly well. Now we have to straighten out the bent car, fix some turbo boost issues, and then onto the next race (if you are reading this wives….the next one will be sooooo CHEAP!!! Yes, we blew our budget by 50% this race). Still lots of room for improvement!

Nick in the car in line for the start of Day #1

Bruce probably saying "the car looks great....from 10' away"

Relaxing Friday night...and beating Nick like a drum at his own game.

Car in the paddock Friday night

Car heading out to the first laps during practice on Friday. To say we're nervous is an understatement.

Car in pits. Again.

Unloading the trailer early Friday.

Damage from the wreck on Sunday,

Car is officially done for the weekend...1 hour from the finish.

Bruce and Tony attacking the bent suspension

Dave driving Sunday morning before the wreck

Dave in Corner 1/2

Still in the corner....

same corner

Car waiting to start Day #2 in 8th place.

An example of the cars ahead of us on Sunday...a very fast Golf.

Car ready to go Sunday

Dave...he's laughing now. Not later.

Car in pits after Day #1

A typical Slaab-like pit stop

Typical look on the track....under yellow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Race week is officially here. Basically, that means that:
  • We've run out of things to argue about, which for this build, has been numerous.
  • Like Aggies, we didn't lose, we've run out of time to make the car a winner.
  • We ran out of paint. And lets be honest, anything besides painting, we suck at (with no offense directed to the fab man Nick and his exquisite body work...and I'm not referring to his body, nor the front mesh job)
  • The neighbors are threatening to call the cops over too many late night testing sessions.
  • Our wives have disowned us and are dating authentic Swedes named Sven, Torkel, and Olaf.
Anyhow - the race is this weekend. Weather outlook is pretty good, car reliability outlook is cloudy with a chance for sunshine, and the fun outlook is very sunny. Hope to see you there this weekend. If you want to know how to find us in the paddock area...look for this, as it will be the only one there (you could also look for the cloud of white smoke and oil spills):

Here are the finished photos of the car...that is, finished as long as I am successful in beating back the dogs on the team who want more and more graphics on the car:

(By the way...."KILL" is not what we're trying to do to each other)

Just like a F18 cockpit, except with a Pac Man style boost gauge added. And holes in the floor boards.

Dual exhaust pipes...kind of. Like a Lexus IS-F....

Our motto. Show - No Go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


We've failed at keeping regular updates on the car build in 2010...which is not surprising since we suck at most things we do. But since we last posted on here...we now have a roll cage, racing-ish tires, a junk-yard spec racing body kit, an engine that runs (for now), and we're now midway done on the paintjob (which means we've gotten tired of working on reliability / engine related items). Some crappy BlackBerry photos at the bottom for your enjoyment / headshaking "those boys have issues" comments.

Before looking at the photos....the race is NEXT WEEKEND. We'd love if you came out to cheer for us, or to drink beer with us, or to laugh at us, or to find us engine parts:

When: February 20-21
Where: MSR Houston (
Time: Best to show up on Saturday around lunch. Sunday is good too, but we might be out by then.
How do I find you: Easy. Look for the HUGE white semi truck and trailer.


The last dance with the original 900 race car. Farewell crappy car.

Welding in the roll cage in Dallas:

Driving to Tony's for some maintenance work. This car is not exactly street legal, nor quiet. And it has a huge wing on the back.

Body work partially complete:

Super racy valve cover:

Notice the wall art (thats the roof from the original 900)

Paint job 50% complete as of last night: