(Last) Weekly Roundup: It’s Just Another Manic Mustang Edition

Sometimes you make your own problems. I didn’t make the right call for rear tire pressure before the start of this race, so for the first three or four laps the back end of the car was on rollerskates until I got enough heat for them to stick. As a consequence, it took me a few laps and a couple of close calls, shown above, to make it to the front of my starting group. If you like V-shaped Honda engines, you’ll want to crank up the sound.

In the end, it didn’t matter. I was the overall Honda Challenge winner, setting a new lap record of 1:39.137 for Mid-Ohio’s Club Course in the process. I caught all but four of the cars in the start groups ahead of me, moving up 23 spots to finish fifth overall. Of the thirteen laps I drove in the race, seven were good enough for fast lap of the race and my last lap was record-setter. I now lead the Honda Challenge standings with 5 wins in 5 starts.

None of this could have happened without help. I had a four-person crew this weekend: Josh and Reese took time out from their own driving and classroom schedules to do everything from loading the trailer to fixing an electrical problem that was causing Spike The Accord to cut out on right-hand turns. The infamous Danger Girl set a 1:50.26 in her stock 2014 MX5 Club around the Pro layout on Saturday and a 1:51.84 around Club on Sunday but she also handled all the logistics, meals, and grown-up decisions along the way. Last but not least, my son pitched in on Sunday to do things like return transponders, carry tools, and encourage his dad to set yet another track record in America’s last muscle car. He wouldn’t want me to tell you, but he set a track record of his own last week, running a 41.602 at GPK in Columbus and beating the next-fastest junior driver by a scarcely credible 2.9 seconds. This weekend he met our regional director, who explained to him that with a sufficient karting resume he could be replacing me in the Accord in April of 2022, when he turns 13.

We will have to ballast the car.

If you’ve enjoyed my Harkonnen-fist domination of Honda Challenge racing this year, why not help me pay for it by reading the stories I wrote last week?


At TTAC, I showed some respect to a Toyota that has made a bigger difference in the automotive landscape than most of us would like to admit.

For R&T, I gave you the lowdown on how brakes work and talked about how to expand the capability of your sedan.

As always, thank you for reading!

26 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: It’s Just Another Manic Mustang Edition”

  1. -Nate

    Intoxicating sound track on the terrific video ! .

    I wish I could drive like that .

    Kudos on John’s progress .

    I’m off the read the links .

    -Nate

    Reply
  2. -Nate

    BTW : I did crank up the sounds and woke up my Sweet who asked me what the hell all the noise was ? ..

    “Porno of course my love ” .

    She got up on one elbow to look, sighed ‘oh, cars again’ and went back to sleep .

    -Nate

    Reply
  3. PaulyG

    My thoughts while watching this were:

    1. Some nice drivin’ there, Mr. Baruth!
    2. Awesome sound
    3. Why did I sell my 951 track car?
    4. I need to get back on the track again

    Reply
  4. ScottS

    That Honda has some speed! Good driving too! Are you available for private driving instruction?

    The R&T bit on expanding the capability of a sedan, well, I’m not onboard. Those racks are awkward and you have to stow them somewhere win you’re not hauling bikes. I can see apartment dwellers lugging that thing up flights of stairs or in an elevator. The rack is also very narrow purpose. I think the vehicle you need is, God help me, the Honda Ridgeline. No matter what chit you’re hauling, like a proper pickup it’s ready. That truck thing in the rear is pretty impressive too, and it carries a full-size spare. Unlike the sedan, you can venture a bit farther than the parking lot if the situation presents itself. The Ridgeline isn’t really a pickup truck and I think it’s wrong to compare it to the F150 and other full-size, traditional pickups, but I may be the ultimate lifestyle vehicle.s

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve always been fascinated by the Ridgeline. It’s like a Honda El Camino with considerable added functionality but without any style whatsoever. With that said, the range of use cases where the Ridgeline would not be outdone by the mechanically identical Odyssey is probably limited to… hauling mulch?

      Reply
  5. Ryan C

    Regarding hitch racks, as mentioned in your R&T article on sedans, one of the tidiest setups I’ve seen (and I run bike races, so I see plenty) was my buddy’s 1-Up Quik rack. It’s a tray rack, but super low-profile when not in use, so much that he keeps a single tray permanently attached to his BMW wagon. Folded up, it doesn’t quite disappear, but it’s not in the way at all. (Additional trays bolt on to the base tray, if you need, but then the folded-up configuration usually blocks the license plate or other stuff).

    Appears the Quik is specified as fitting 16” wheels, so BMX should be good to go.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      If I didn’t have a kid, that 1-Up Quik would be the next thing I bought. 23 pounds, compact, made in the USA. Utterly brilliant.

      Reply
  6. Aoletsgo

    Yep I have my truck and it gets driven a fair share for fun and function.
    But it is my little Focus hatch with a mini hitch that has hauled bicycles to Florida, the East Coast, the UP and soon out West.
    One of my buddies has a new F-150 Crew Cab with a 1UP for four bikes, guess who has to drive to races?

    Reply
  7. Eric L.

    1. What are those weird half indy car/half dragster things you’re passing?
    2. Was the Mustang deliberately preventing you from passing, because American V8 vs import tuner car, or just not aware of how much faster the Accord is? It looked like you were having to brake to avoid T-boning him. Scary.
    3. What did the previous owners do to that Earth Dream to have it keep up with the 5.0? Does it run on 100 octane with the wildest possible cams? Or is it fairly normal bolt-ons, but the stripping for racing has cut enough pork out? (I have no idea how much the cage and other safety equipment weighs, but I assume it’s still less than a full interior)

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      1. They are Thunder Roadsters (http://www.thunderroadsterseries.com/)… basically a spec car with a Hayabusa engine.

      2. I think he was in a little bit of denial about our relative pace. I could have forced the issue a lot sooner… if I’d had something more than Civics behind me I would have had to.

      3. The car has lost about 250 pounds and gained about 50 horsepower… it is on a 100 octane tune and it’s breathing through a big throttle body.

      Reply
  8. tyates

    I read “the Machine that Changed the World” in business school around ’02 and it definitely had an impact on me. It wasn’t required reading – I just picked it up on a professor’s recommendation. My program had a single class – yep just one – on operations, and I think I was the only student there that found it interesting.

    Of course I knew the minute I read it that it had nothing to do with software production, as should any intelligent person. Those techniques only work on repeated and identical processes, not distinct and dissimilar projects.

    And for the record, the best business book I’ve read so far is “High Output Management”, by Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel. It was written in 1983.

    Reply
    • Eric L.

      I liked The Goal a whole lot more than HOM. The Phoenix Project, though specifically taking the theory of constraints and applying them to an IT setting, was not as useful for me (our tech startup doesn’t have separate IT and development divisions, for instance) as Mr. Goldratt’s brain-aching (in a good way!) treatise on bottlenecks. It’s like the breakfast factory part of HOM, only much, much deeper.

      I decided I’m not smart enough to figure out how to apply the knowledge Mr. Grove relays in his book. 🙁

      Reply
    • Eric L.

      Oh, ha. I didn’t have a chance to read the TTAC piece to connect this comment to the source material. Our engineering standups are limited to ~2 minutes per person. The goal is to not only share what you worked on yesterday, what you’re working on today, and anything that blocks you, but also to learn something new, however small. If you can’t succeed in creating a standup that people _want_ to attend, then you’re just ticking the box you found in a checklist at the back of a business book.

      I was highly influenced by the Pragmatic Programmer’s book, “Ship It.” They how to can wring value out of the daily standup, since everything else should be tracked in the likes of GitHub (we use GitPrime to monitor performance) and Jira.

      The theory of constraints, kanban/leanness, kaizen… All of those models absolutely can be applied to business, but it’s obviously very different when it’s applied to a small consultancy vs a TCS.

      Reply
  9. Rye-cakes

    You deserve a huge congrats for your achievements so far within the Honda Challenge, unfortunately, we expect nothing less.
    The JB Clan is making some big waves in racing and it’s exciting to watch the progression. Each family member setting new personal bests and/or track records within 1 week, is phenomenal. Cheers to you all.

    I have dutifully read the articles mentioned.
    Great info on brakes- I had no clue about the characteristics of brake fluid and why people were bleeding their brakes all the time at the track!
    Bike racks and car trailer hitches- nice to hear you can still learn things, too.
    I read the RX article last week with trepidation, but understood (and agree) with your overall statement. However, for the briefly mentioned gravel roads and possible off-roading Ohio (or any state) has to offer, I encourage readers to consider the early GX or a first gen Tacoma, instead.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      An early GX is hard to beat. A friend of mine is about to clear 200k on his. It looks new.

      Reply
    • Athos

      That GX looks like a fancy Toyota Prado. Maybe because it is. The car is BOF and built for off road use.

      Dime a dozen down here, the Prado that is.

      Reply
        • Athos

          Holy smokes – Vee OCHO! I reckon that engine could be dropped in a Hilux.

          Right you are, it’s either 4.0 V6 or Diesel here. People mostly goes diesel. The spare wheel is usually tailgate mounted.

          Reply
  10. G. Wallace

    Tremendous driving. Very very smooth and clearly taking care of the car along the way. No abusive shifting. Was that a Coyote Mustang you spanked?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      They are Spec Iron Mustangs… I’m not sure if they are the three-valvers or the 5.0 breathing through a restrictor. It’s apparently very popular to do the 2011 bodywork with a 2010 engine. You can see that he has a little bit of motor on me but not enough to seal the deal!

      Reply
      • G. Wallace

        Okay that makes sense. Those Coyote engines are 400+ HP and you would have had more trouble running away from him on the straightaways (though you were killing it in the corners to be sure).

        Reply

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