Hot, Wet and Dirty in New Jersey

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This season along with running Global Time Attack, NASA events and our normal schedule of Z and G specialty events through SOHO Motorsports we also have decided to run another series; The NARRA US Time Trial Series. NARRA runs all over the country and each race weekend is a double header with one race being Saturday and the other Sunday. Unfortunately our schedule has conflicted with running the NARRA series until now half way through the season at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

#44 Kevin Parlett Infiniti G35 NARRA USTT TT1 at NJMP 5

It would be the first time we raced at New Jersey Motorsports Park and the car was still relatively untested since we fixed the issues we had after Road Atlanta so I was inevitably anxious about the race. On top of the car concerns NARRA has a slightly different set of rules that doesn’t limit tire type for any of there classes and is mostly based on power to weight ratio. This was good for us as we had a perfect 6.25:1 ratio for the TT1 class but it was also bad because everyone was running on slicks whereas we would be on our sponsored Hankook Ventus TD 80 tread wear tires. We knew having success in NARRA would be difficult but to sweeten the deal and make the long trek worth while we also had a third race that same weekend with Real Time Attack running simultaneously on Saturday. With RTA the rules are much more similar to GTA’s rules and our car fit perfectly in the Modified RWD class. With three races in one weekend and a weather forecast full of rain we knew it would be an interesting weekend.

Along with a new track and new series it would also be the first time my parents would be at a race to watch. On my way north from NC I stopped at home in MD and we made the final leg of the journey to NJ in the terrible weather left over from a tropical storm moving through the region. If the insane rain on the way up was any indication of the weekend we knew we were in for a crazy one. From the moment we left to the time we woke up Saturday morning it was raining cats and dogs. Either way I was ready to race, my dad was ready to crew chief and I was just glad to have them there.
#44 Kevin Parlett Infiniti G35 NARRA USTT TT1 at NJMP 2
After the drivers meeting and by the time the first session of TT started the rain had gone from a downpour to a heavy drizzle but the damage from the rain had already left its mark on the race course. On our warm up lap it was obvious the NJMP Lightning course had some drainage issues and there were rivers of flowing water on nearly half of the turns and not a dry spot on the racing surface. My initial thought was; “Well i’m glad I don’t have slicks like everyone else”. My second thought was how awesome of a course this was and I couldn’t wait to get around it at speed no matter what the condition. With the first lap nearly over and everyone stacking up for the group start (yup NARRA makes us group up on the starts for some reason)  it became very obvious this was going to be an interesting few sessions of action.
The green flag quickly flew and some of the 25+ fastest time trial cars in the region ripped down the soaking front stretch and once we all got to turn 1 the trouble began. With the way all of the cars are  grouped up on the start and the conditions of the track immediately cars ran out of room and tires ran out of traction and from the first turn and two following laps there was nearly 4 spun cars and a few wrecks all over the track, not to mention horrible traffic for those of us starting in the middle of the pack. The session was quickly ended by race officials and the cars were cleaned off the track and in good time because my over heating issues from Road Atlanta seemed to be haunting me again. With a few quick pit fixes of the cooling system, tire pressure and sway bar adjustments we were ready for the second session and hoping the problem was fixed.
#44 Kevin Parlett Infiniti G35 Real Time Attack at NJMP 3

Carnage from the first session had everyone a little bit more patient and spaced out on the start of the second session but accidents due to the rain and traffic still remained an issue. Stuck behind some lower classed cars two wide by two wide it made it difficult to get a clean lap but the one we did only had a few turns were we were held up leaving us with not the best time but something decent for the weather. With the conditions I was happy to get anything I can, unfortunately after the first real lap we got in the #44 G35 the engine began to over heat to 220 again and much to my dismay another red flag on the track because of another accident in a precarious position.

Frustrated with the weather, traffic and possibility of damaging the engine I came in from the session and parked the car and began the long process of addressing the issues we had with the cooling system (but thats a whole story in itself). With issues on the car that could be catastrophic if gone unchecked we decided to call our weekend early and hope that the one semi-clean lap we had would be a decent enough result to get us on the podium some where. In NARRA USTT we came in 4th in TT1 for Saturday and in Real Time Attack we were lucky enough to have gotten 1st place in Modified RWD. Be sure to check out the photos and video from this event and be sure to read the follow up article about the solution to our overheating problems.

#44 Kevin Parlett Infiniti G35 NARRA USTT TT1 at NJMP 4
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