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Old 03-21-2014, 10:06 PM   #1
TBone
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Lightbulb Prepping your car for HPDE and the Road Course.

So you have decided to try a HPDE event but do not know where to start?

Well, this post will hopefully instill in you the importance of safety of being on a RACE TRACK with your STREET CAR. The first thing you need to know, and say it with me, “This is not a race”. You will become very familiar with that phrase because just about every HPDE company stresses it at the morning drivers meeting - and it’s true. You are NOT out there trying to race the guy next to you or set a course record or any other silly notion and, if you are, get that $hit out of your head right now. You are there to learn how to drive your car better, thus the HPDE, which stands for High Performance Drivers Education. Notice the word race is nowhere in there.

So, what do you need? Well, a car would be nice. Notice I did not say a fast car because that is not really necessary. A well handling one would be nice but we can get around that. A helmet, one that is certified for the track which means it must meet SA2010 standards at a minimum. DOT or Motorcycle helmets will not work here. That is about it.

THIS IS NOT A RACE

But, you say, that can’t be it. Well, it is not really because you have to get your car ready for the RACE TRACK because your car is a STREET CAR. Now, I keep emphasizing those few words because of the following reason, BRAKES. STREET CARS use STREET BRAKES. RACE CARS use TRACK BRAKES. Two VERY different things and should never be confused. Ideally, you want to use STREET BRAKES on the STREET and TRACK BRAKES on the TRACK, make sense? Good. The other things you will need are stainless steel brake lines and Dot 4 fluid. But why, do you ask and I reply, because racecar. OK, not really but street brake lines are made of rubber and can flex when you really stomp on them which you will be doing over, and over, and over on the track. So you do not want flex on the track. The second, Dot 4 fluid, boils at a higher temperature. Now, you are freaking out saying, WHAT??!!??? Ok, look, brakes work by dissipating heat to slow you down. If your fluid is not rated for a higher boiling point when you are halfway through your epic run, you are going to go to hit the brakes and they will fail because you did not listen and you are going to hit the wall. This will happen if you take any STREET stuff to a RACE TRACK.

So let’s review:
Dot 4 fluid
Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Track Pads for the Race Track
These are just the Basics to take a STREET CAR onto a RACE TRACK.

THIS IS NOT A RACE

A couple of other things you will need to do before getting on the track so you might as well do this while you are preparing your brakes. Take the center caps off of your wheels. If you do not do this, when they get hot, they will fly off somewhere on the track and you will never see them again. If your valve stems have those nifty chrome, metal caps or covers, take them off. Even if they are plastic take them off prior to getting on the track. Hopefully, I do not have to explain the metal parts and the plastic ones can melt if they get hot enough. Plus, it makes it easier to check your tires PSI when you come off track which you should be doing each and every time. While you are checking your tires, take a look at your brakes. You will also want to tape down your battery posts. Do this now because it is kind of tough after you have packed for the track and all your crap is in the trunk on top of the battery.

Say it loud and say it proud….. THIS IS NOT A RACE!!!!!!!

So, if you are to take anything away from this at all please remember two things: One, THIS IS NOT A RACE and Two, BRAKES, BRAKES, BRAKES. The speeds you will be traveling on the race track are going to be much faster than what you see on the street. What goes up must come down, what goes fast must slow down. I and everyone that is sharing the track with you want you to be safe and go home at the end of the day, in one piece. So do yourself and those around you a favor and upgrade your brakes before you get onto the track.

T.


(This was originally written in the off season and done mostly by memory. I will edit it as needed)
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"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:07 PM   #2
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What to take to the track with you.

What else should you take with you to the track? A Jack, at least one Jack Stand, Torque Wrench, appropriate socket for your Torque Wrench, a tire gauge, a Cooler with water, other Non-Alcoholic refreshments ( ALL tracks ban Alcohol)and small snacks , a folding chair for you and whoever is with you and a toolbox with the basics. Now the jack can be as simple as a bottle jack, just something to get under your car if you need to, but an aluminum floor jack is much easier to use and transport so look into one of those. The jack stand is there because most tracks require one to be put under the car when it is jacked up, plus safety and all. The Torque Wrench is so you can check your lug nuts before you go out each session so you do not lose a wheel or it wobbles, etc. The tire gauge is for when you come off track to check your tire pressure HOT to see if they are over/under inflated. This is also a good time to inspect them to see how they are wearing to gauge over/under inflation.

My toolbox (no not my wife) and tools I bring to the track with me every time, although she can be one at times but I love her anyway. (Yes she saw this as she proofreads all my stuff. I got slugged but she chuckled too.) I am going to list things that will be beneficial to have but I usually have additional things as well.

Hammer (If I need to explain this please go away or hit yourself with one, HARD)
Ratchet and sockets (Various sizes) but must have 18mm, 14mm because brakes
Wrenches (various sizes) 11mm to bleed brakes
Drift Pin (to knock out brake pad pins)
Clear Hose to Clear Bottle (To bleed brakes if necessary)
Pliers
Screwdrivers
Pint of Brake Fluid
Quart of Motor Oil
Rags
Turkey baster type thingy to suck brake fluid
Pry bars (Various sizes)
Blue Painters tape as well as Racing tape
Glass Cleaner
Funnel
Zip ties
Gloves
Small first aid kit with cold compress (for when you smack yourself with the hammer)
Drivers Log (This helps you keep track of track temp, wind, tires PSI setting’s, Coilover settings, etc.)
Loctite Blue and Red (small tubes)
Anti-seize (again small but also the big tub of the high temp Purple stuff too)
Pen and Sharpie
Plastic Tarp
Large garbage bags (These last two are in case it starts to rain at the last minute)

Other stuff not in toolbox:
Moving pad (wrapped around jack and jack stand in trunk for ride to track and also used so I do not have to lie on the ground when getting under the car)
Cordless Impact wrench (makes tire change much quicker)
Goop towels
Paper towels
Medium Tarp (Only if rain is forecast)


Now, do you need all of these things - no. I mention them as someone who has been doing this for a few years and has come to realize those Oh $hit moments when you can never be too prepared and try to have a few things on hand so I can get through the day if something happens. I don't have the answer for everything but in those cases I run over to the guys that have a trailer. They usually have it and are more apt to lend someone something if they see you at least tried than if you brought nothing at all. I also have this down to a science and can have this loaded or unloaded into the car in less than 5 minutes and it all fits in the trunk.

If you have suggestions please mention them and I will add them to this post.

T.
__________________
"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!

Last edited by TBone; 03-22-2014 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:07 PM   #3
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How to pick out, work with your Coach.

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"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:50 AM   #4
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Great idea for a thread and a good start! We're starting to get a collection of proper threads with good info now.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:02 AM   #5
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I mean if this really is from level 0...cleaning interior, removing carpet and other loose items, seat placement, hand placement, mirror placement, windshield cleaning, wheel/tire inspections, brake inspections, suspension inspections, fluid inspections, new fluid change rates. Discussion of flags, rules, unwritten rules, etiquette etc...

Nothing i dislike more than people who are in advanced wheel to wheel classes and dont know the ****ing flags

I think your first write up had a you will hit the wall and you will die line that made me giggle like a little girl.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:12 AM   #6
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Now that you mentioned this, I wonder how the cheaper TSW Nurburgrings holds on the track with all that heat at the center of the rim.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:22 AM   #7
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Killer write up... I instantly subscribed I'll follow and learn. Thanks man.

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Old 03-22-2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:26 AM   #9
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These videos by Jeff Bucknam are helpful also for HPDE.

Jeff's Tips on Proper Seat Adjustments for the Track
http://youtu.be/QhwZIob1Qkg

Jeff's Tips on Heel and Toe Shifting
http://youtu.be/hSHSQ3MzJBY

Jeff's Tips on Downshifting
http://youtu.be/H7m-yBsn7eE
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Last edited by RLHMARINES; 03-24-2014 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:59 PM   #10
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Here's a list of items I take to the track. I bought some plastic totes with clamp on lids to keep things organized.

1. air pressure gage
2. Torque wrench (good idea to check torque after getting things heated up)
3. Lightweight floor jack (harbor freight aluminum works good)
4. Glass cleaner
5. Blue painters tape (good for adding numbers)
6. Folding lawn chair
7. Small cooler with lots of bottled water and snacks/lunch.
8. Portable air tank if your track does not have air.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPCBA View Post
I mean if this really is from level 0...cleaning interior, removing carpet and other loose items, seat placement, hand placement, mirror placement, windshield cleaning, wheel/tire inspections, brake inspections, suspension inspections, fluid inspections, new fluid change rates. Discussion of flags, rules, unwritten rules, etiquette etc...

Nothing i dislike more than people who are in advanced wheel to wheel classes and dont know the ****ing flags

I think your first write up had a you will hit the wall and you will die line that made me giggle like a little girl.
Yes , this is from zero and more about getting the car ready before even getting to the track. I will look into this and see if I can't add another paragraph including some of those things. It is kinda hard to remember what it is like to be a noob to this and think of all the things you need to think about that we take for granted.

I ABSOLUTELY agree with you about flags. Passing etiquette is also one of my pet peeves. Just because you own a Ferrari does not mean you own the track so GTFOOTW!!! LOL!

Thanks for the comedy compliment, you know what they say about the blind squirrel.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by EarlyApex View Post
Here's a list of items I take to the track. I bought some plastic totes with clamp on lids to keep things organized.

1. air pressure gage
2. Torque wrench (good idea to check torque after getting things heated up)
3. Lightweight floor jack (harbor freight aluminum works good)
4. Glass cleaner
5. Blue painters tape (good for adding numbers)
6. Folding lawn chair
7. Small cooler with lots of bottled water and snacks/lunch.
8. Portable air tank if your track does not have air.
A lot of these are actually included in my second post. I am just waiting for my proof reader to get to it and I will get it up.

I am hoping we can make this a sticky so that some of the folks who are new to this can find it easily and get the advice they need quickly.

T.
__________________
"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:34 PM   #12
ZWA SS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarlyApex View Post
Here's a list of items I take to the track. I bought some plastic totes with clamp on lids to keep things organized.

1. air pressure gage
2. Torque wrench (good idea to check torque after getting things heated up)
3. Lightweight floor jack (harbor freight aluminum works good)
4. Glass cleaner
5. Blue painters tape (good for adding numbers)
6. Folding lawn chair
7. Small cooler with lots of bottled water and snacks/lunch.
8. Portable air tank if your track does not have air.
Our Camaro have tire inflation kit with the air pump.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZWA SS View Post
Our Camaro have tire inflation kit with the air pump.
Yea it does but it needs to be removed for you to be on track. I removed mine years ago and have NO IDEA where the heck it is anymore, probably in the attic. I think when you use it you also have to be careful not to get any of the green tire sealant in your track tires because it will get them out of balance.

All of the tracks I have been to have had air but I suppose some of the smaller ones don't.

BTW, updated the 2nd posting.

T.
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"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:44 PM   #14
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:02 PM   #15
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This is a good start for the flags.

If Mg chimes in here, he will agree he is glad I had my tire plug kit....
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:59 PM   #16
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Exclamation LEARN AND KNOW YOUR FLAGS

I found this which is geared towards HPDE.

This is something everyone should know if you are going to be on a RACETRACK. If you do not know these then study them and learn. There is almost nothing worst than not knowing the flags.
Name:  Flags.JPG
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Size:  161.0 KB

Name:  Flags2.JPG
Views: 978
Size:  71.7 KB


The worst thing is not paying attention to your mirrors because you think no one should be passing you and this is something your coach should instill in you if they are any good.

That is where the following comes in.

Name:  HandSignals.JPG
Views: 967
Size:  45.4 KB

T.
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"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:08 AM   #17
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First off, I would like to thank TBone and the other experienced drivers for taking the time to provide us noobs this info.
As a noob and only having one track day behind me I have a few items that would have helped me:

Item to bring- coveralls I for one always seem to get grease, oil, dirt and grime on my clothes when ever I work on something.

Make and use a checklist for prepping the car before you leave and for items to bring. I forgot the brake fluid and needed it. Prep and pack as much as possible the day before so you are not rushing the morning of.

Get plenty of rest the night before.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:50 AM   #18
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Great thread TBone!

Best regards,

Tyler
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBone View Post
Yes , this is from zero and more about getting the car ready before even getting to the track. I will look into this and see if I can't add another paragraph including some of those things. It is kinda hard to remember what it is like to be a noob to this and think of all the things you need to think about that we take for granted.

I ABSOLUTELY agree with you about flags. Passing etiquette is also one of my pet peeves. Just because you own a Ferrari does not mean you own the track so GTFOOTW!!! LOL!

Thanks for the comedy compliment, you know what they say about the blind squirrel.....



A lot of these are actually included in my second post. I am just waiting for my proof reader to get to it and I will get it up.

I am hoping we can make this a sticky so that some of the folks who are new to this can find it easily and get the advice they need quickly.

T.
Sorry, I typed that before you entered the second post. I think you covered the subject quite well. good job.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danvillekidd View Post
First off, I would like to thank TBone and the other experienced drivers for taking the time to provide us noobs this info.
As a noob and only having one track day behind me I have a few items that would have helped me:

Item to bring- coveralls I for one always seem to get grease, oil, dirt and grime on my clothes when ever I work on something.

Make and use a checklist for prepping the car before you leave and for items to bring. I forgot the brake fluid and needed it. Prep and pack as much as possible the day before so you are not rushing the morning of.

Get plenty of rest the night before.
Well here is one tip you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else but if you wash your grease, oil, etc. stained clothes with a can of Coke in with your wash it will get rid of those stains. I used to wash my Army coveralls this way a long time ago and it worked quite well.

Checklists are always a good idea if you are that type of person and yea I always pack the night before I leave.

Rest, ah yes. Most noobs do not realize how much this type of driving will take out of them until the night after they have done one of these events. I see them at dinner nodding off or head bobbing, it is quite funny. There are even times I have been known to take a nap during the day so yes, rest is very important.

Folks, if you have ideas, suggestions or general comments please add them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDP Tyler View Post
Great thread TBone!

Best regards,

Tyler
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Thanks Tyler

Quote:
Originally Posted by EarlyApex View Post
Sorry, I typed that before you entered the second post. I think you covered the subject quite well. good job.
Not really. I actually edited the second post after that earlier post and inserted all that info using some of your input so thanks.

T.
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"Horsepower is something that looks great in a Magazine article, but suspension is what actually gets you around the track fast.." Jack Olsen
The drag strip is like sniffing glue, it's cheap, it's a decent buzz, it doesn't last long and they are all the same.
Road racing is like China White Heroin, the buzz is stronger, the high lasts for hours, it's extremely addictive and they are all different.
I can't wait for my next
Track fix.
DA HAWKS used to OWN DA CUP!!!!!
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:04 AM   #21
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Sorry, should have made it more clear on what the intent of the coveralls were. The idea behind the coveralls isn't to protect the clothes as much as keeping the grime off the seats the next time you get into the car after working on it. I for one don't want to try to clean stains off the seats or other parts of the interior if I can avoid getting something there in the first place.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:22 AM   #22
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A few short lengths of 1 x 1 pressure treated wood, maybe 3' long. They'll keep your stuff off the ground in case it either has rained overnight or will rain during the day.

Thanks for the list - I'm in the midst of putting together my own checklist file, which I'll reprint for each track event. Maybe a checklist itself is another thing to add to the thread's list. The back of the list could be used for event-specific notes from the drivers' meeting or following debriefing, etc.

I may find a few things on the autocross checklist I'd been using as a template that aren't here yet . . . rain gear and sunscreen come to mind.

At NJMP it is a track requirement that you use a sheet of plywood underneath any jacks or jackstands. Even where they may not actually be required, it would still be considerate to the track to use them.


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Old 03-26-2014, 09:36 AM   #23
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Use a torque wrench on the lugs (wheel nuts) before each event - especially if you had your wheels off. I know a couple of people that have lost wheels during a race. (not Camaros) One car's wheel studs failed after "re torquing" their lugs the night before without a torque wrench and the damage was significant.

Bring towels if there is a chance of rain.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
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Use a torque wrench on the lugs (wheel nuts)
This ↑↑↑ , always (other than if you're stuck having to change out a flat tire on the highway).

I'm thinking about a spray bottle of quick detailer or similar, for use on your doors so your numbers won't have any grit underneath them. Painter's tape will help keep the leading edges of the thicker number materials from lifting at speed.


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Old 03-26-2014, 10:23 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
sunscreen
Haha great add. Long weekend at track can give some bad bad bad sunburns....especially when you take tbones advice and take a few naps in your truck bed.
Haha that got really specific.
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