All posts by Vic Nieves

Middleton H.S. Electrathon Race Is In The Books

Checkered Flagx

The first cool race day of the year is in the books.

12 cars took the green flag for both races on the 1/4 mile track with some of the closest finishes ever in the series.

Racing on a 1/4 mile track allowed the teams to really see how the cars would do in a true time trial setting. Aerodynamics, gear ratios, battery life/conservation, steady speed and steering all come into play.  Much more so than on a road course where the cars are constantly slowing down and speeding up.  In the High School class the winner was driving a car with the aerodynamics of a brick and was 26 laps behind the Open Class winner and 32 laps behind the EX battery winner.  All but the EX battery winner were using the same type batteries.  AERODYNAMICS was a BIG factor.

Robinson & USFxSimmons carx

In the 1st race of the High School Class, the Simmons #60 car and the Middleton #80 car had the same lap count with 80 laps on the 1/4 mile track.  Simmons took 1st by mere seconds.  In the second race Simmons beat Middleton again, this time by 2 laps.  TBT was late starting the race when they had a brake lock up on the way to the start line otherwise they would have been in the mix for 1st.

In the second race Simmons and TBT went at it with both cars finishing with 83 laps each.  Simmons took 1st again this time by 32 sec.

In the Open Class USF, driving their new car for the second race, missed 3rd place by 5 sec. to Rodney in the Tiger Racing #4 car.

In the first Open Class race, 1st and 2nd had a 2 sec. gap.  The Robinson Racing #13 and #94 cars drafted each other  for most of the race with the dad, in the 94 car, beating son in the #13.

In the second race the Robinson Racing #13 car took 1st again when the #94 car withdrew with it second blown tire of the race.  Tiger Racing took 3rd when he had to slow down towards the end of the race in order to preserve a tire that was looking like it wanted to come apart.  At the end of the race the tire looked like it was holding on by a thread or two.  That left the door open for USF to come in 2d in the race and second overall in the Open Class.  USF ran a strong, smooth and uneventful race which is just how it should go but rarely does.

In the Experimental Battery Class (EX) Cliff from ProEV #39 car out of Miami was unopposed and had a track high 195 laps for the day.  I think he scared off the other EX Battery Class cars.  There was a rumor that the other drivers had to work.  Work should never get in the way of racing.  Ha….

High School results for two races

Simmons 1st place x

1st Simmons #60 163 laps,  2nd Middleton #80 161 laps, 3rd  TBT # 242 156 laps, 4th Brandon #9 149 laps, 5th Wharton #58 138 laps, 6th Brandon #14 129 laps, 7th Middleton #133 125 laps.

Open Class results for two races

1st Robinson Racing #13 189 laps, 2nd USF #132 183 laps, 3rd Tiger Racing #4 181 laps, 4th Robinson Racing #94 127 laps

Thanks to the Middleton team for putting on a great race and for the food and goodies provided.  It made for a great day of racing.

Middleton Boysx

In the pits during the day teams were seen helping each other and loaning batteries and wheels etc.  True sportsmanship on display for this race and every race.

Cliffx Robinson Srx  Tiger2xMHS Boys teamx

Hope to see everyone and more at Simmons Career Center, 1202 Grant St in Plant City on December 12, 2015.

Vic Nieves

Drivers….Put on your Drafting Shoes…

One of the goals of Electrathon Racing is How Far Can You Go in One Hour on One Set Of Batteries.
On the 1/4 mile track is where you can find out. Aerodynamics come into play here more than on a road course. Gear ratios are the other big factor. Too high and you can kill the batteries. Too low and you cant keep up. The wear and tear on the cars is less but tires need to be 100%
ATTENTION TO DETAIL.. one problem or one oh …. and you are out of it. Make sure your mirrors are set up so you can see the car coming up on your 6.. You MUST be able to see cars coming up on BOTH sides. Min. of 8 sq. in. If you can see both sides with one mirror. Two are better.
The weather for this Sat is looking good. Not too hot and no rain.

See you Saturday.

 

Vic

Thoughts from the pits on race day.

Some observations while doing pre race inspections and between races in the pits.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL. ESPECIALLY THE LITTLE THINGS can be the difference between 1st and 5th or a DNF.

A bad connector on one of the batteries on the TBT car caused a very high resistance in the 1st race.  When you check voltage on the battery in the car go from battery post to battery post. Note the voltage, then check from the wing nut connector to wing nut connector and note the voltage. The readings should be Almost Identical.  If not fix it.

Proper wire size, connector size, insulation and a loose connection caused the HCC car to blow the controller. The cable ends going to the controller were/are way to big and not insulated. One came loose and shorted out the controller. That was the end of the day for HCC. The cable end should be JUST big enough to go over the copper conductor. Soldering them is even better. Check with any auto parts store and get HEAT SHRINK TUBING for your connectors. That way even if they come loose they should not short anything out. The right size connectors and proper insulation are way cheaper than a new controller or other pieces of equipment. Teams that have done these things have almost no electrical problems.

I know every team has a copy of the Electrathon America Handbook handy for all those questions on batteries, wiring, car design and safety. Every one should be up on everything it contains. If you don’t have a copy go to electrathonamerica.org and download a copy.

Check paragraphs 5.2, 5.3, 5.6, 11.2, 11.7, 11.8, 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, 13.12, 16.2, 16.3, 21.1, 26.3, 28.2 and page 24 has a generic wiring diagram for an Electrathon car.

On car design: On the wheel spacing, wider is better. If you can’t make the wheel spacing wider then camber adjustment can help. A low driver position is better than a more upright position. Low center of gravity is VERY Important. Weight distribution is critical. (Is that ballast going to come loose or move during the race or if you get in the grass or in a crash or when rubbing paint with another car?) If all of these items are correct the car is very stable and not prone to tipping, spinning out or going upside down. So take a close look at your car and keep the shiny side up.

The above items will help you keep the little things from jumping up and biting you in the butt once the green flag drops.

Vic Nieves

 

OFF AND RUNNING FOR 2015-2016

Bright, Sunny and HOT, HOT, HOT all day. Who left the sauna door open?

The first race of the new season saw a dozen cars take the green flag at 10:00 A.M. Teams in the High School and Open Classes starting the year were Brandon H.S. with 2 cars, Tampa Bay Tech (TBT) with 1, Middleton H.S. Girls team (The boys couldn’t get their car back together in time) Simmons Career Center (Their first race) HCC, USF, Robinson Racing (with one car) and Rodney with Tiger Racing.

In the experimental battery class was Cliff from ProEV in the 39 car and the Electrocutioners with Drew in the 72 car and Miss Electrocutioner Pony Gradert in the 8 car. Drew and Cliff battled hard in both races with Drew taking both races by one or two laps for a record total of 220 for both races. All the experimental battery cars had flawless races. In past races they have had problems making the tires last the whole race.

The HCC team gets kudos for sponsoring such a excellent race and providing drinks and snacks. They did have a problem with their motor controller, their second in two days, when the magic smoke escaped from it. Seems there was a problem with a loose battery connection to the controller causing sparks and other unneeded problems. Not having another controller handy, they were done for the day shortly after the start of the race.

There were other problems with loose or bad connections during the day. The gremlin bit the TBT team when one of the battery cable clamps was bad and caused battery problems during the first race causing a 5th place finish. In the second race they got it fixed and finished 1st.

Middleton finished a strong second in the first race but had the connector gremlin bite them in the second race causing them to lose a lot of battery power.

Simmons Career Center in their first race ever had a good outing in the first race with 80 laps before the batteries went down. The electrical gremlin caused problems for the second race. We look forward to seeing them at future races and are excited about them hosting a race in December.

Brandon set a record for busted wheels and busted forks with the 9 car having one wheel go bad and then another collapsing. The 14 car had a weld break on the steering fork and had to withdraw early in the second race. Both cars had successful demonstrations of the roll cages with some paint scratches the only visible signs. We are excited to see them back on the track this year.

Rodney was testing some new motors and verified that the first one was not up to the task. There was that burnt electrical wiring smell on the front straight as he went by late in the race. In the second race he used another motor and his lap count was way up without that burnt wiring smell.

Hope to see Wharton, Strawberry Crest, Foundation, Middleton (boys team), Killer Watts, the 3rd Electrocutioner and the 2nd Robinson cars racing at the October 17th race. We will be making the stat sheet bigger.

Check the schedule for future races. One note for the Middleton race, We will be on the 1/4 mile running track so get your drafting gear ready.

High School Class
1st Brandon Car 9, 146 laps
2nd Tampa Bay Tech Car 242, 135 laps
3rd Brandon Car 14, 107 laps
4th Middleton Car 133, 83 laps
5th Simmons Car 60, 80 laps

Open Class
1st Robinson and Son Car 94, 215 laps
2nd Tiger Racing Car 4, 114 laps
3rd USF Car 132, 110 laps
4th HCC Car 30, 2 laps

Experimental Battery Class
1st  Electrocutioner Car 72, 220 laps
2nd  Pro EV Car 39, 218 laps
3rd  Electrocutioner Car 8, 165 laps

Vic Nieves, Communications Director

Drivers Charge Your Electrons On Sept. 26 2015

The course at the HCC Brandon Campus is a familiar one.  It is the first parking lot you come to, the one by the ball field.  Teams will be in the infield of the track.  ALL others will be in the grass to the west side of the track or in the paved parking lot just to the east of the track.  We are going to cut down on the numbers of vehicles and people in the pits this year.

Teams should arrive early.  Since this is the first race of the season we will be doing an extensive inspection of the cars and drivers.  It will include drivers bailing out and brakes and steering.

Teams should go online to Electrathonamerica to download the Driver and Car Inspection forms and fill them out beforehand to save a lot of time

The track is a 1200′ plus rectangle and one of the smoothest we run on all year.  Just watch out for the water hazard on the north side of the track.

At the start of a new season there are a few questions floating around.

Who will take Bradys place as the lead driver for TBT?  Will Brandon be back as strong as they have been in the past?  Who will be the lead driver for Brandon?  Will the girls from Middleton be as strong as they were at the end of last year?  Who will be the new driver for Foundation Academy?  Will we see Strawberry Crest come back?  How will Wharton do this year?  Whats with the Electrocutioners getting a third car number?  How will the HCC team do on their home track?  Will Rodney be able to repeat?  I hear he has been making modifications to his car.   Will the experimental battery class get bigger this year?

hcc-course-bb-lot-course1

..

Bring your friends and come on out to the races.  No hearing protection required.

Vic Nieves

 

End Of Year Banquet and Awards Night.

The end of the year banquet will be held Sat. May 30 at 4 P.M. at the Frontier Steak House on Sligh Ave just west of U.S. 301.  We have the banquet room and dinner will be off of the regular menu.

We will be awarding trophies for the season and recognizing this racing seasons achievements.

We will also be bidding a fond farewell to our founder, Ken Fiallos, who is retiring after many years of untiring work for Electrathon racing in Florida.

We urge current and former racers, sponsors and fans to come out and celebrate the end of our season and the beginning of a new chapter for Electrathon Of Tampa Bay.

RSVP to v_nieves@yahoo.com

 

Vic Nieves

 

Run For The Peaches May 2nd.

With the last min. cancelation of our last race of the year at the Florida Solar Energy Center there is one other race you might consider

The Run For The Peaches at Brooks County High School in Quitman Ga. is one  race that is relatively close.  Quitman is just west of Valdosta and only about 240 mi. from Tampa.

Its close enough to leave after school on Friday and be back in Tampa late Sat afternoon.  First race is Sat at 10 A.M and the second race is 1:30 P.M.  Or leave at 0 dark thirty on Sat morning.

Electrathon and Maker Con. make a great pair.

Electrocutioners (2) Electrocutioners Excited MHS Girl Power MHS girls car TBT Team Tiger Trophy USF Team (2)The race at the Florida State Fairgrounds had a good turnout of cars and spectators.  The Makers Fair had a large turn out which translated into quite a crowd of spectators for our last race of the season.

The last Florida Electrathon race is next Sat at the Emerald Coast 120 put on by Gulf Power at Five Flags in Pensacola.

The Electrathon race at the Florida Solar Energy Center has been CANCELED.  More details will follow.

End Of Year Banquet Details will be posted soon.

At the Fairgrounds we had High School Class teams from TBT, Wharton, Foundation Christian Academy and Middleton High School with two cars..  Open Class teams were from HCC, USF, Tiger Racing out of Miami and the Electrocutioners with both of their Lithium Ion powered cars.

Girl power is starting to show up at our races with the Foundation driver continuing her strong driving performance.  Middleton High School showed up with their second car, the 133 car that used to be at USF before it was at TBT,  and had girls driving in both races.  They took a surprising second overall in the High School Class beating out TBT and the Middleton 80 car in the second race.

Wharton High School was running a strong first race right up to the time they got tangled up with another car and broke 8 spokes in the drive wheel.  They didn’t have a spare and were unable to start the second race.  If you tear up the drive wheel on these cars it is almost impossible to recover because of the time it takes to replace it and most teams don’t even have a spare due to the cost.

TBT continued their winning ways with a new driver in the second race and a whole bunch of  new pit crew members getting ready for next years season.

In the open class we were missing Robinson Racing and ProEV called in sick.  Tiger racing showed up from Miami 40 min. before the start of the first race.  Something about getting lost finding the Fairgrounds.

The Electrocutioners, both running Lithium Ion batteries had a bad day at black rock.  The 8 car tore up a drive wheel, see above, in the first race and didn’t make the second race.   The 90 car showed up as a completely new car.  It was set up to lean into the corners with a unique steering system.

It was the first race for the new 90 car and on the very tight and rough track it was a bad shakedown run.  There were problems in the first race with the steering and in the second race a broke early and hade to retire.  This is the second version of the 90 car that was a leaner and there are still bugs to work out.  On a longer track it should do well.

Tiger racing, who has already locked up the Open Class points title had an uneventful day and cruised to a 1st place overall.

HCC and USF ran a close race with HCC edging out USF for second in the Open Class.

On a non racing note we at Electrathon Of Tampa Bay want to take a moment to thank one of our founding members, Our Executive Director Ken Fiallos, who after 8 plus years of spearheading Electrathon racing in Florida is taking a well deserved retirement.  His energy and drive will be greatly missed.  His many duties will be taken up by the Board Of Directors and Electrathon of Tampa Bay will continue moving forward into the next chapter of Electrathon Racing in Florida.

 

Vic Nieves