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  • The Prescott Rally 2013 Story Racing isn’t always cut and dry: This is our 2013 Prescott story. Two engine short blocks and a new head were rolled into my garage the weekend before Prescott, so those ...
  • Rally Idaho – Plans and Preparation We’re excited to get back into rally competition and kick off our 2013 season with Rally Idaho. We ran it in 2008, and I helped crew for another team in ...
  • NEW LIVERY REVEALED AT PRESCOTT RALLY! Since shaking down the car at North Nevada, the rallynotes.com graphics package and body work have been applied. The cute Dodge Neon is transforming into an SRT-4 beast!

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2014 California Rally Series Rally School!

Countless champions have started in rally with the California Rally Series Rally School. This intense classroom day is broken up with instructor led driving & co-driving sessions. You will learn from top to bottom what it takes to compete and win in this challenging sport. From timecards to car-prep, stage notes to car control, this school is a foundation for everything you will do in rally. An awesome value for both the school and rallycross at $150.

The rallynotes team will be representing again this year: Christine Marciniak teaches co-driving and team management, and Kristopher Marciniak talks about car prep and what it takes to build a successful rally car! The rallynotes.com 2GN will be on display and of course rallycrossing on Sunday! Ride-alongs can be arranged – just ask!

The CRS Rally School is Saturday & Sunday, February 15 & 16, 2014
Head over to CRSrallyschool.com for more details and signup!

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The Mega Experiment: Part III – Got Root?

If you’ve ever had admin access to a server or rooted a phone, getting access to every single mode and operation of your engine feels exactly the same. First you go through some trick BS where you have to remove a battery and USB and networking cables are everywhere. Someone grants you access to the machine or you run a sketchy .bat from some internet shareware site, and next thing you know, you have total and complete control of your hardware. It feels great, but your euphoria quickly turns to panic as you start clicking dialogs and checkboxes. “You are about to change the permissions on sub-folders – are you sure?” “You are about to flash new firmware this may brick your device – are you sure?” “CAUTION! Anti-lag is very hard on your turbo and engine. Use at your own risk.” :P Then you start to forget that you dropped a script in /usr/bin that causes issues with a backup, or selected PID air-fuel correction and went off to tune the VE table. Completely the same – so be careful as you just rooted your car.


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The Mega Experiment: Part II – Executing the Plan

As the saying goes: Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. I loaded the .pdf for the MegaSquirt, the LC-1 Wideband, and the Dodge Shop Manual onto my tablet. I printed out the pin reference for all of the engine connectors, and I had various diagrams for the alternator, auto shutdown relay, and of course the MegaSquirt and MS3X.

I ordered an MS3 with the MS3X expansion board from SymTech Labs. If you go this route – I was a little confused as MegaSquirt also has a version 3.0 board. So you have a MegaSquirt 3 processor with a version 3.0 board and an MS3X – lots of M S and 3′s to confuse you. I initially thought the 3.0 board WAS the MS3X… (wrong) Then there is the MS3-Pro, which is basically an MS3 + MS3X + some extras – in a more compact case for more money. As of 2013 this is the newest version of MegaSquirt hardware you can buy.

The MS3X expansion board allows you to do all the cool stuff out of the box like launch control, boost, nitrous, sequential fueling, etc. Full sequential is where you can individually trigger the fuel injector on one cylinder for just that particular intake stroke. Common MegaSquirt setup does a “batch fire” where 2 injectors are opened at the same time. This is okay at full throttle as the time it takes for the fuel to travel down the head, it was already on the next intake stroke at 6,000-RPMs. At idle though you are just spraying fuel onto a closed valve every other time at 700-RPM. Not very good for economy and not that great for a steady idle. In order for it to work though, the MS3X needs to know where your camshaft is.

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The Mega Experiment: Part I – Skills & Starting

megasquirt_pcbStandalone Engine Management is not for the faint of heart. I’ve read a lot of forum posts where people become frustrated a few wires into their installation, fry stuff, and blame the people they bought it from. When in fact it was their own lack of understanding when it comes to automotive electrical and tuning. If I were selling and supporting these systems, I would almost have you answer a few questions before being allowed to purchase – but that’s me. :)

What should those basic questions should be?

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2013 Prescott Rally – Music

Prescott Rally highlights! The band is “3421” and the song is called “Sparks” – Enjoy!

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EVAP mystery hour.

Let me start by letting you know that this article is going to be very technically oriented towards fixing a 2003 Dodge Neon. I’m sure some of the info will be helpful for any car built in the 21st century, but you may want to skip over the gritty details. This article will also reveal the complicated way cars check for fuel leaks and explore some of the huge frustrations of modern emissions testing. Ready to unravel a mystery? I recently learned so much about the Chrysler EVAP system that I wanted to share – in plain English – what I went through, and what I learned.

You: “I have code P0440 – what should I do?”
Every car mechanic: “Replace your gas cap!” Continue reading

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The Prescott Rally 2013 Story

Racing isn’t always cut and dry: This is our 2013 Prescott story.

Two engine short blocks and a new head were rolled into my garage the weekend before Prescott, so those and the stand alone engine management that took too long for me to receive were going to have to wait until after the rally. Mildly disappointed with the situation I looked over the tires we had for the event. Two new Silverstone skins had been freshly mounted and I was picking over what was left of Rally Idaho spares. If I can’t have a hot motor, at least I have new tires.

Since we didn’t qualify for the NNRC in Idaho, our goal for the weekend was the California Rally Series CRS-2 championship. Our competition in class is a Porsche 911 driven by Jason Lightner. We raced together in Idaho, and at Gorman when we helped out with scoring I watched him beat a lot of teams and grab the Power Stage win – so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him at Prescott. We knew if we took first in CRS-2 we’d have the points. We also knew there would be a bunch of new teams in Subarus, and I delight in surprising people with the speed to which I can pedal a Dodge Neon down a stage. You must admit that all drivers have a few pounds of ego in the car. Mine is made up mostly of beating all wheel drive turbo cars. :)

We arrive at the rally and our best laid plans turn to shit immediately. Ray Hocker (NASA Rally Sport) hands us a start order list with a bunch of asterisks next to half of the names. “Congratulations! You are qualified for the NASA National Rally Championship.” he says to us. We excitedly thank Ray and this hasn’t even sunk in when a super clean Datsun 240Z driven by the past Prescott winning driver Brian Scott rolls by, and it’s built to the absolute limit of the class. Sure the 2.4L I-6 motor isn’t idling quite right, but I think it’s because it’s not at 6,000 RPM making 200HP. ;) I look at all the clean fittings on the car and I day dream of the ported and polished head that is sitting on the floor next to the laundry and the box labeled “plumbing” in my garage. I look down at my start list and I notice that Brian Scott is NOT qualified for the NNRC. His last minute unlikely co-driver is Michel Hoche-Mong (who happens to be the CRS director) will obviously get CRS points and could jeopardize the CRS-2 co-driver standings. We need max points and I already know what’s about to happen… and dammit I’m going to try and stop it.
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Fast on First View!

Here’s our finish of SS1 at the 2013 Prescott Rally. A fast driver and a hard charging co-driver make for a great team. We set 3rd fastest overall on this stage – not 3rd in class… 3rd overall (Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru WRX, Dodge Neon) :D

You can check out the entire stage here: 2013 Prescott Rally SS1 First View

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Prescott 1st Fri, 2nd Sat CRS2, 4th Overall, NASA Champions 2WD! #usrally #crsrally

Outstanding results from the 2013 Prescott Rally! Lots of stories and video soon!
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Prescott Rally 2013 – Follow us!

Want to keep up with the team this weekend? (Oct 4-5) We’ll be posting lots of pictures and updates to our Tumblelog! We’re also over on Twitter @rallynotes and of course the rallynotesteam on faceyspace. APRS tracking is GREAT at this event and maybe you can spot us doing triple digits on these fantastic dirt roads.

Rallydata.com will have scores up as usual. The scoring link has live text as well, so be sure to check that out.

This is our 9th year at Prescott and our 6th time competing. Always an amazing event! 2005 – 2008 (P-Car), 2009 – Zero Car (P-Car), 2010 – Scoring, 2011 – Zero Car (2GN), 2012 – 2013 (2GN). See you on the stages!

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