Optima at Barber Motorsports Park


Short Guy
TurboBuick.Com Supporter!
Jun 18, 2001
I ran this past weekend at Barber. Saturday went well enough, I placed mid-field in the autocross and did really well at D&E. Sunday was a frustrating and disappointing day, but I did finish the event. I'm getting videos sorted and telemetry overlaid now, but to whet your appetites, enjoy this little excursion:

Ok, here's my best autocross run. Look at the car pull 1.9g+ in the banked section!

And here's my best track lap from Sunday, which was oddly my first lap. Transmission overheated at the end of the session combined with melted MAP lines and a blown gasket at the turbo-to-header flange ended my day after this session.

To my knowledge and ability to search the interwebs, I now hold the Barber Track Record for a Buick Grand National. Not sure that's a thing, but I'm claiming it right now. 1:56.963
Sweet! I was waiting for you to catch and pass the other cars. Hahaha
Barbers has an incredible museum.
Not sure start that means but it sounds sad indeed.
In track day etiquette, and this particular track event, a point by is required before a pass. The slower driver must point out the window which direction they want you to go by them. This ensures the car getting passed knows where the passing car is. The rules for this run group were: point by required, passing only on the front straight.

I could have passed them, but they were obviously not looking in their mirrors, and passing somebody that's not aware you're there on a track is a recipe for a crash.
Thanks for the explanation.
Car looks and handles amazing.
Did you do any brace welding to the "wet noodle stock frame?
Brace welding is adding weight with no gain.

Proper body bushings fix the noodle issue. The frame was designed to work with the body and soft bushings compromise that. Get rid of the mushy rubber and the car is tight as a drum.
Yup, that's me from last year at NJMP. That was almost a breakthrough event until the engine went kablewie.

Tried to make it into the Optima invitational this year, but the car just hasn't been reliable enough to score as well as it needed to. Flashes of brilliance, yes, but I just couldn't put a complete event together this year. I needed a 400 point event at Barber and only scored 307 due to the transmission overheating during the first road course session. After the first session, I was in the top half of road course times (after having never been on course before). But while everybody was out there getting more laps and going faster, I was cleaning up a mess and loading it to go home.

Hopefully I get my transmission back soon and the new suspension installed in time for the inaugural SCCA Time Trial Nationals at the end of September, and I'm wait listed for the final Optima Event at Road America. On the odd chance I make it off the waitlist and the car doesn't break again, I have a shot. If I make it into the event... and it doesn't break again.
Har! Or Oops? Or DAMNIT

Even with my pretty horrible weekend at Barber, I've done well enough to be on the bubble for a Vegas invite:


I'm on the wait-list for the last event. Hopefully I get in and nail down a high-300 or low 400 point event.

But if not, I'm not going to be too disappointed. I'm in the hunt despite breaking something at all three events that limited my ability to earn points.

NOLA: Charge hoses and exhaust leaks severely limited power, which screwed my road course and speed stop runs
NCM: Transmission overheated, restricting track time on Sunday and cutting speed stop short again
Barber: Transmission gave up, which killed my track time and speed stop runs again.

As of right now, everything is fixed on the car. The local autocross this past weekend had me moving way up against the local CAM-C crowd. What had been a two second gap shrank to just one against modern Mustangs and Camaro ZL1s (with good drivers). I was only 1.6s slower than the CAM-S winning (and two time National Chamption) Corvette on a 32 second course.

My weakest element by far has been Speed Stop, and it's 100% due to the mechanical issues. This has been a very educational season in terms of developing the car. My attempts to run in 2016 and 2017 all resulted in the car coming home broken, with the New Jersey Event leaving me with a shattered engine.

But 2018? I have completed every single event and scored well enough to be in the conversation for a Vegas invite, despite some lingering mechanical difficulties. That's impressive, especially for a Buick.

I have an autocross Sunday and the SCCA Time Trials Nationals next weekend to uncover whatever bugs are left. Then I get to hope for a shot at Road America.

Fingers crossed, folks.
I was just digging through my footage from this year and noticed this gem during my autocross run at Barber:

View attachment 333370


WOW! Dude that’s quite impressive!! Your car gives a whole new meaning to the term, “G-Body”, doesn’t it??? Lol!!

Seriously though, love following your progress and always amazed at the innovative ways that you solve stuff. Keep doing what you do and thanks for sharing! It’s an inspiration to all who follow!!!

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WOW! Dude that’s quite impressive!! Your car gives a whole new meaning to the term, “G-Body”, doesn’t it??? Lol!!

Explains why my neck hurt at the end of that day. That section was banked nearly 30 degrees, so it's a bit of cheater number. Max I've been able to pull on level pavement is in the 1.3-1.4 range.

But still, the tires held and the wheel bearings didn't fail.