New FV wannabe looking to crew

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jphoenix
Posts: 105
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 7:41 pm

New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

Hi everyone, I'm a formula car wannabe this year, working corners at Pacific Raceways and deciding what class I want to buy into. I'm drawn mightily to FV as I've no road racing experience and it appears to be, for all of the reasons mentioned in this forum and elsewhere, a good place to start and maybe stay, who knows. I have taken the SCCA PDX course in my Lotus Esprit, so I know for sure I want to race - but not the Esprit.

After flagging for three race weekends, Majors over Memorial Day, SOVREN a couple of weeks ago and now IRDC, I think I'd like to crew for an FV driver to get an idea of the various kinds of cars, setup, etc. I'm an aircraft mechanic and have restored many cars (and aircraft) in my past, have excellent fabrication skills, right at home behind a lathe or mill and lots of sheetmetal and composite experience, and I can weld thin wall 4130 gas or TIG. I'm 57 and spent the last thirty years flying (and restoring) competition sailplanes and have now decided to pursue my long-time passion of open wheel racing. I read Jim Schings book and talked with a few FV (and FF, FB, FM) drivers and I'd like to get some more exposure to the race car side of racing.

I'm available any race weekend in the PNW to help out in any way, haul fuel, make sandwiches, open beer bottles, walk the dog, load heavy objects, etc. I've got plenty of my own tools, etc. and would be happy to work on the car between race weekends to learn even more. I'm not ready to buy a car yet, still deciding which of the FV classes to jump into (FV, Vintage, FST). I plan to buy a car in dead of Seattle winter or early spring. Then do driving school in early spring, etc.

Any leads or advice greatly appreciated.

Jim Phoenix
jphoenix13@me.com
Bonney Lake, WA
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
brian
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Joined: June 26th, 2006, 12:31 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by brian »

Jim, I will be at the Ridge next weekend and you're more than welcome. Everyone will tell you that I'll talk your ear off. I love vees and will be happy to share.
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
jphoenix
Posts: 105
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

Sounds great Brian, thanks!
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
smsazzy
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Joined: June 24th, 2006, 5:56 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by smsazzy »

Jim,

I'm in the Redmond, WA area. If you are interested in learning more about FV, I'm happy to talk. Do you have a car yet?

You should come up to the Mission, B.C. race in a couple weeks. You can meet a lot of FV guys there.

Stephen Saslow
Stephen Saslow
FV 09 NWR
jphoenix
Posts: 105
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

smsazzy wrote:Jim,

I'm in the Redmond, WA area. If you are interested in learning more about FV, I'm happy to talk. Do you have a car yet?

You should come up to the Mission, B.C. race in a couple weeks. You can meet a lot of FV guys there.

Stephen Saslow
Steve, no car yet, but I did look at your Womer over Memorial Day, I'm quite interested, but not ready to buy yet, still have lots of research to do. I flagged yesterday with a bunch of Canadians (IRDC) and they gave me some good info on Mission. Gil Stuart (PV44 guy) told me it's a great track for FV.

I'm still trying to understand where the FV packs run, only one at IRDC yesterday, numerous vintage at SOVREN, six or so at PR over Memorial Day - and a few registered for the Ridge next weekend, probably because it's vintage as well. I like the idea of FST, but have seen zero in the PNW so far, maybe not looking in the right places. If FST was popular here, then it would be a natural step from a regular FV (Womer, Caracal, etc.) to an FST. A vintage vee probably would take more modification to FST, if possible at all - dunno, still learning. Converting an FV to FST would be easy for me, just add money.

The other thing I'm figuring out (I have a spreadsheet going) is that an inexpensive car can cost the same as an expensive car when they are all brought up to the same, race-ready condition. I'm going to spend less time on the corners now and more time talking to FV guys.

Thanks,

Jim
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
smsazzy
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by smsazzy »

The mission race coming up is an annual gathering. Should be 25 modern FV's there. Probably the biggest gathering of modern FV's outside of the runoffs, save the special events like birthday party.

Shoot me a note. Happy to help you get started. That offer is regardless of if you are interested in my Womer or not. :-)

I am happy to answer questions, give advice, etc. I got started in 2005. So I'm new enough to remember getting started, but I've been around long enough to hopefully be of value. :-)
Stephen Saslow
FV 09 NWR
Bob Posner
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by Bob Posner »

Buy Saslow's Womer. At his price you can't get hurt,and you'll have a car that can run in the lead if you can drive it.
smsazzy
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by smsazzy »

By the way, if you haven't already, call Jim at SR Racing and buy his "Getting Started in Formula Vee" book. - 866-521-4007

And YES, your assumption is correct, we don't seem to have any FST's in the Pacific Northwest. Once you race a few regionals and get a National License, you can come run with the rest of the pack. We routinely have 6-10 FV's at the nationals/majors, sometime a couple more. Plus the FV Invitational in Mission, BC with 25 cars or so. That gives you 6-7 well attended races per year. You can also run some conference races to get some track time. We usually see a handful of Vee's at those races at least a couple times per year.
Stephen Saslow
FV 09 NWR
jphoenix
Posts: 105
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

Bob Posner wrote:Buy Saslow's Womer. At his price you can't get hurt,and you'll have a car that can run in the lead if you can drive it.

Believe me when I say I am sorely tempted - it is a very nice looking car. I've been studying the photos, trying to understand what I'm looking at, but frankly - it would be hard to beat. Besides, it's close and it looks great!

Steve - I got Jim's book and read it already. Got a couple other books as well. Good stuff.

Thanks,

Jim
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
tiagosantos
Posts: 391
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by tiagosantos »

Stephen has my half built car in his garage.. You should have seen it BEFORE we took it apart, it was full of good examples of what not to do :)

With your background though, you'll have no trouble getting one of these cars sorted and going fast. I started racing FV in 2010, can't remember if I had ever even changed a flat tire before I bought the Vee! Looking back at some of the things that had me stumped and some of the mistakes I've made, it's crazy how much I've learned over the past 3 years.

Hope we meet in Mission in a couple weeks, I'll be there.. Racing or not, I wouldn't miss it! I'm a vegetarian, so you can have my part of the pig haha.
jphoenix
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

tiagosantos wrote:Stephen has my half built car in his garage.. You should have seen it BEFORE we took it apart, it was full of good examples of what not to do :)

With your background though, you'll have no trouble getting one of these cars sorted and going fast. I started racing FV in 2010, can't remember if I had ever even changed a flat tire before I bought the Vee! Looking back at some of the things that had me stumped and some of the mistakes I've made, it's crazy how much I've learned over the past 3 years.

Hope we meet in Mission in a couple weeks, I'll be there.. Racing or not, I wouldn't miss it! I'm a vegetarian, so you can have my part of the pig haha.
I really do enjoy working on cars and stuff, but I'll have the entire winter for that, hopefully I'll be in driver school in early spring. IRDC seems to have a well-developed novice program (I just joined the conference last week), not sure about SCCA program as they may not be racing next year in the NWR?

I won't be in Mission because I'm running the Lotus in Club Trials in Bremerton that weekend. Maybe I'll see some of you guys at the ridge this weekend?

Jim
Jim Phoenix
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smsazzy
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by smsazzy »

Who started a rumor that NWR wouldn't be racing next year. That is 100% false!

I do recommend the IRDC novice program though. Great way to get familiar with racing, flags, etc. They do a great job. I came up through that program as well.

You could also swing by my place and help me put Tiago's car back together. Took it down to frame, had it blasted and coated and am now in the process of rebuilding it. It will be ready for Mission August 3rd. :-)
Stephen Saslow
FV 09 NWR
joekarter
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by joekarter »

jphoenix wrote: only one at IRDC yesterday
Hi Jim! That was me in the Silver FV at Pacific. Grab a car and come out and play! I get tired of running all by myself!

I look forward to racing with you soon!

Troy Miller
Albany, Oregon
'84 Citation FV #361
jphoenix
Posts: 105
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

smsazzy wrote:Who started a rumor that NWR wouldn't be racing next year. That is 100% false!

I do recommend the IRDC novice program though. Great way to get familiar with racing, flags, etc. They do a great job. I came up through that program as well.

You could also swing by my place and help me put Tiago's car back together. Took it down to frame, had it blasted and coated and am now in the process of rebuilding it. It will be ready for Mission August 3rd. :-)
Steve, got an email from John Taylor on Friday, part of it copied here:

"Race has had a rough year with low turnouts. Without a major turnout at the Ridge we may have to cease racing as a region. It would be a tough call to make, but without the support of the drivers, we cannot keep going without higher attendance. We can always make excuses for why we don't attend, but in the end we are the ones that are responsible for keeping race going in the Northwest. Sign up today at MotorsportReg.com for the July 27-28 event. For those who have already signed up, thank you."

Maybe I misunderstood?

I'd be happy to help assemble Tiago's car, send me an e-mail with specifics, times, etc. I'll see when a good time to come by would be. jphoenix13@me.com
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
jphoenix
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

joekarter wrote:
jphoenix wrote: only one at IRDC yesterday
Hi Jim! That was me in the Silver FV at Pacific. Grab a car and come out and play! I get tired of running all by myself!

I look forward to racing with you soon!

Troy Miller
Albany, Oregon
'84 Citation FV #361
Hi Troy, I went looking for you at lunch on Saturday to chat, but we only had 30 minutes, then Sunday I could not attend. Problem with flagging is that after the race, most of the guys are packed up by the time we get in off the course. You got a couple of races in Saturday, looked like you were having some great fun. I was at turn 6, but I prefer 2b. Did have a chat with Skip Russell in the morning, he had some excellent advice. Seems FV is a nice group of folks!

Jim
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
tiagosantos
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by tiagosantos »

SCCA Regional racing in the NWR hasn't been strong for a while, FV in particular. That was mostly a consequence of IRDC being a much better deal for regional type racing! That said, Nationals usually seem to have good races.

That's an alarming email, but I expect next year we'll have a lot more cars at both Majors and Regionals, with the Runoffs being as close as they are :) It's up to us to keep the momentum going after that! The big resurgence up here in Mission all started with one event to celebrate Al Ores' racing career. Some people bought cheap cars specifically for that race, others rented, and they all got hooked. The resurgence in vees has brought the Formula Fords out of hiding as well, our open wheel groups have doubled in size over the last 3 years.. If you drive it, others will come ;)

Yes, yes, good idea about helping with my car! ;)
joekarter
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by joekarter »

Jim I am sorry I missed you. Yes, the five hour trip home for us means packing up and heading out as quickly as possible most of the time. And since we were the first event of the day, we were on the road really early.

I can tell you though, having just gone through the ICSCC novice program that it is a lot of fun, and very informative. I came from 28 years of karting and still learned quite a bit. All of the drivers have been very friendly and helpful when I had questions and would point me in the right direction when I was lost. Conference is really a nice place to race.

I finished my first area race on Sunday, and hope to gain my International license by the end of the season.

I have also found that the FV community is very helpful and that this forum is a wealth of knowledge. Many on here will answer your questions and give you feedback. It is too bad that there aren't a few more "club racers" here in the PNW, but maybe one day that will change.

Anyway, hopefully we will talk face to face one day and swap racing stories! If you need any help, let me know and I will tell you what I know about the process.

Tm
jphoenix
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

Yeah, I like the idea of FV, everyone I've talked to about it are very supportive and accommodating. Sure seems like a nice group out to have some fun and enjoy racing. I'd like to chat with you at dome point about your experience in the IRDC novice program.

Jim
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
jphoenix
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Re: New FV wannabe looking to crew

Post by jphoenix »

So, I spent almost all day Saturday at The Ridge hanging out in the VeeHive with Brian and Craig and Jeff and Steve Saslow came by as well. I learned a lot, asked hundreds of newbie questions and took lots of photos. Craig and Jeff fed me an excellent lunch (the vntage crowd put on a nice lunch sporead!!) and I got to watch Brian tinker with his amazing FV, it's quite unique and has many interesting mods and configurations, and I got a good education on zero-roll from Steve and Brian.

Everyone was very accommodating and tolerant and the friendly group of folks cemented my decision to pursue FV as a class. Now I have to decide vintage or FV - FST is out because there are none up here. The ridge is a beautiful track with some interesting corners.

Jeff let me sit in his Lynx and I can see that my long legs and wide shoulders may have me cutting and welding on whatever I decide to buy. There are a couple of cars for sale nearby that are attractive (Steve's Womer looks great, but I suspect he'll sell it at Mission next weekend). A couple of vintage cars are also nearby and I like the low cost idea of vintage, especially for the first couple of years while I learn to drive. Cheryl Gilbert has a very Nice Caracal D for sale that caught my eye as well.

The place to be next week is Mission with lots of vees up there, but I'm going to Bremerton with the Lotus to do Club Trials. Looking forward to the spring and driving my own FV in school!

Thanks to everyone for all of the hospitality and information, I'll be flagging corners for the remainder of the year, so wave when you go by.

Jim
Jim Phoenix
2016 Red Mercury FV 44
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