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2018-runoffs-recap


Runoffs

BHR finishes 4th and 9th at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs

SCROLL DOWN

2018-runoffs-recap


Runoffs

BHR finishes 4th and 9th at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs

2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RACE BROADCAST VIDEO

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RACE IN CAR VIDEO FROM BRAD HAYES CAR #74

The SCCA Runoffs brings the nation’s best amateur racers together for a weeklong contest to determine the national champion in 28 classes. This year marked the 55th Runoffs, and nearly 500 drivers converged on Sonoma Raceway to chase a championship. The Formula F class had a strong field of 22 entries, including several past national champions.

After being picked by SportsCar magazine as the favorite to win the Runoffs in Formula F, Nicky Hays decided to skip the Runoffs to focus on preparing for his future 2019 opportunities. But the seat of the 2014 Piper DL7 did not stay empty for long. Bob Perona had originally planned to tow his Piper DF3 from Indianapolis to Sonoma, but instead took the opportunity to step in to our BHR Piper DL7. After battling in the lead pack, and finishing 5th in the 2017 Runoffs at Indy, Bob was looking to improve on that finish in 2018.

Brad Hayes was also looking to improve on his results from 2017 in Indy. Last year, he checked off a bucket list item, by racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the final result of 16th position was a bit disappointing. For 2018, Brad was looking for a top 10 finish.

As always, BHR’s Runoffs efforts were made possible by the excellent support from Fast Forward. And for the Runoffs, the BHR drivers would join Fast Forward teammates Doug Learned Jr and Manual Leonardo. All four cars were expertly prepped by the Learned’s, sporting some new bits that had been developed over the course of the season and pre-Runoffs testing. Most notably, all four cars now sported new rear undertrays, which in testing proved to provide a bit of downforce and grip in the high speed sections of Sonoma Raceway, in particular turns 6 and 10.

Testing

While official Runoffs testing ran from Saturday through Monday, the team decided to only run the Monday test sessions. We had previously tested at Sonoma a couple of times during the weeks leading up to the Runoffs. So the Monday test was just a chance to confirm a few final setup changes and insure all cars were ready for qualifying. We had a total of three sessions on Monday, and by the final session results were promising. Bob Perona ended the day 2nd while Brad Hayes was 5th. Not all FF drivers were running on Monday, so we knew that competition would heat up when Qualifying started on Tuesday.

FF Runoffs Starting Grid

qualifying

Three qualifying sessions were spread from Tuesday through Thursday. The entire FF field was chasing Jonathon Kotyk in every session. He was a step ahead in every session. Wednesday’s session would prove fastest for most drivers. Bob set his best time in the Wednesday session at 1:42.359, and that would put Bob 3rd on the grid for the race. Brad went a tick faster each session, and his Thursday time of 1:44.550 would put him in 9th starting position for the race.

A day off

With qualifying wrapping up on Thursday, and the Formula F race scheduled for Saturday, we had a day off on Friday. Local Formula F racer Dave Jalen organized a class luncheon at a nearby winery. It was a great opportunity for the racers, wives, and crews to get away from the track. While I’m not a huge wine connoisseur, I sure did enjoy that beef brisket. Big thanks go out to Dave for organizing! After lunch, it was back to the track to put the final touches on the cars for Saturday’s race.

 FF Runoffs race results

FF Runoffs race results

Race DAY

Saturday October 20 was race day for the Formula F class. Bob Perona was feeling confident that he could turn his 3rd starting position in to a podium finish. As the green flag dropped Bob would hold 3rd position and pressure second place Chuck Horn for the first several laps. Bob’s race took a turn for the worse on lap 6 when Tim Kautz dove to the inside in turn 11. Contact between the two cars sent Bob towards the outside wall. Bob was able to keep the car off the wall. But he would lose several positions dropping back to 7th. Over the next several laps, Bob would fight his way back up to finish in 4th position.

Brad Hayes would also have a solid start, holding 9th position on the start. On lap 7, Brad would catch a lapped F500 car in the esses and would then lose a position to Joe Hopkins heading to turn 11. Brad followed Joe for several laps until catching a fading Skip Streets who was struggling with a shifting issue in his car. Brad and Joe would clear Skip on lap 17. From then on Brad and Joe were nose to tail to the finish. Be sure to watch the in car video, it was great clean racing. Brad tried to pass Joe in turns 7 and 11 but could never pull it off. The two would take the checkered flag separated by less than two tenths of a second with Joe holding on for 8th, and Brad finishing in 9th.

Overall it was another awesome week at the racetrack. Bob Perona was a great addition to the team, with his coaching expertise guiding everyone to elevate their driving, and his feedback helping get the most from the cars. Doug Learned and Doug Learned Jr gave us fantastic cars, and Fast Forward teammate Manual Leonardo successfully competed in his first Runoffs.

Now on to 2019…

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SonomaMajor-2018-recap


Sonoma Major

Race report from Sonoma Major Races June 29 - July 1, 2018

 

SonomaMajor-2018-recap


Sonoma Major

Race report from Sonoma Major Races June 29 - July 1, 2018

 

Nicky Hays scores 2 poles, and 1 win!

June 29 - July 1, 2018

Nicky explains how he is so fast, while his dad Rich, Brad, and Doug Jr listen in.

The Sonoma Major brought  a strong field of cars, as this was the only chance to tackle the tricky Sonoma Raceway prior to this year's Runoffs. A total of 19 Formula F cars were on the entry list, including former IndyCar winner Alex Barron. 

Thursday testing gave everyone a chance to shake down cars and learn the track. But the large grouping of cars for the test sessions meant no one was able to turn great lap times. And since timing and scoring was not up and running, it was difficult to judge our pace against the competition.

Friday morning would bring the first official session, so we would see how we stacked up against the competition. Nicky Hays would finish the session in P1, followed by Chuck Horn and Alex Barron rounding out the top three positions. Piper DL7 designer Doug Learned, Jr would put his new car in P7, while Brad Hayes would clock in the 10th best time. 

Friday afternoon brought a lot of heat with temps in the 90's. We decided not to run new sticker tires in this session as the high temps would likely impact ultimate performance. Many of the other front running teams did decide to run sticker tires. Alex Barron would finish the first qualifying session in P1, Chuck Horn was second, and Nicky Hays ended up third. Not a bad result. And we had confidence going in to the cooler Saturday morning qualifying session, knowing we still had sticker tires waiting to be used.

Saturday morning's second qualifying session would take place in much cooler conditions. All of the Fast Forward prep'd cars would opt for new sticker tires. Doug Learned would also make some damper adjustments to take full advantage of the tires in the cooler conditions. Nicky would take full advantage, and clock a lap of 1:42.799. Nicky would end up being the only FF driver to dip in to the 1:42 second range all weekend. So the time was good enough to put him on the pole for both of the weekend's races. Alex Barron would end up second with a lap of 1:43.285. Chuck Horn, Skip Streets, and Eric Little would round out the top 5. Brad Hayes would move up from 10th in Q1 to end up 6th in Q2.

 Alex Barron's signature on the bent wheel that resulted from contact between Alex and Nicky in Race 1.

Alex Barron's signature on the bent wheel that resulted from contact between Alex and Nicky in Race 1.

Race 1

Saturday afternoon would bring Race 1 for the weekend. Nicky would take the lead on the start. But Alex Barron took advantage of a missed shift by Nicky to take the lead going in to turn 1 on the second lap. Later that lap, things would get a little dicey. Nicky made a move to the inside of Alex entering Turn 7. By the middle of the turn they were side by side and touched tires. Unfortunately Alex's car suffered some damage and he would retire. Nicky would go on to lead the remainder of the race, turning the fast lap of the race, and taking the win! All with a bent toe link, and a slightly bent front left wheel. Skip Streets would finish second in his Piper DF5.

Further back in the pack, Brad also had a good race. Mixing it up with John Brandstad for much of the race. In the end, John would hold off Brad to claim the final podium position in 3rd, and Brad would finish a close 4th.

After the race, Nicky and Alex talked about the incident, and agreed there were no hard feelings. Alex even left Nicky with a memorable souvenir, when he autographed the bent wheel that resulted from the contact. This is part of what FF racing is all about, young drivers getting a chance to mix it up with much more experienced racers....in the end it is a great learning experience. 

Race 2

For Sunday's race, Nicky Hays would once again take advantage of his pole starting position, leading the first ten laps of the race holding off pressure from Alex Barron, Chuck Horn, and Skip Streets. On lap 10, Nicky and Skip would touch in the turn 6 carousel. Alex took advantage, jumped from 3rd to 1st, and would lead the remainder of the race to take the Race 2 win. Nicky would finish second, and Skip third. 

Brad was again in his own battles a bit further back in the pack. Throughout the race he was swapping positions back and forth with Rick Payne, John Brandstad, Eric Little, and Ed Erlandson. Late in the race, Brad tried to get a run on John Brandstad for 5th position coming out of the tight turn 11. But Brad would spin on the exit of the corner, losing a few positions. He would recover but end up finishing 8th in FF.

It is also worth mentioning the great run that Jeff Jorgenson had in his F500 class car in race 2. He moved through the FF field, and took the overall win for the combined FF, FV, F500 race group.

Overall it was great weekend of FF racing. A big field, fierce competition, and great preparation for the upcoming SCCA Runoffs National Championships. The Fast Forward crew of Doug Learned Sr and Doug Learned Jr have the cars well tuned for the Sonoma track. Nicky has provem that he has the pace to run with anyone. With more seat time and testing to come over the rest of the summer, we are looking forward to battling at the front of the pack when we return to Sonoma in October. 

Full results from the weekend can be found on Race Hero.

Check back soon for in car videos from the Sonoma races....

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LagunaSeca-May2018-recap


Laguna Seca

Race report from the SFR Regional Races May 31 - June 3, 2018

 

LagunaSeca-May2018-recap


Laguna Seca

Race report from the SFR Regional Races May 31 - June 3, 2018

 

4 Days and 4 Pipers at Laguna Seca

May 31 - June 3, 2018

Four Piper DL7's staged and ready for the weekend. #7 Brad Hayes, #4 Courtney Crone, #17 Doug Learned Jr, #52 Manuel Leonardo.

This past weekend saw the Fast Forward crew supporting a total of four Piper DL7s at the SFR Double Regional races at Laguna Seca. The two BHR cars were also joined by the cars of Doug Learned Jr and Manuel Leonardo. Thursday started off with three test sessions. All went to plan in Thursday testing, with Courtney Crone getting acclimated to the FF class cars for the first time. And Brad picked up where he left off at the previous Laguna Seca event posting his personal best lap times.

Friday practice did not start off as well as we had hoped, as Scott Waracka and Courtney Crone would touch wheels in Turn 11. Courtney would end up with minimal damage. Unfortunately Scott's car would suffer significant damage, sidelining him for the rest of the weekend. We were glad to see that Scott walked away uninjured, and we hope to see him back at the track soon. 

Friday's final session would be the first qualifying for Race 1. Courtney would end up P2 with a fast lap of 1:35.4, just a few tenths off of pole sitter Chuck Horn's lap of 1:35.1. Denny Renfrow would put his Piper in P3, and Brad Hayes would follow in P4 with a lap of 1:36.6.

Race 1

Saturday morning would bring Race 1 for the weekend. Chuck Horn and Denny Renfrow would hook up and pull a gap from the rest of the field. BHR team cars would settle in running in the third and fourth positions. At the checkered flag, it was Chuck Horn in his Spectrum taking the win, followed by Denny Renfrow second, Courtney Crone third, and Brad Hayes fourth.

Race 2

For Sunday's race, Race 1 winner Chuck Horn would be starting from the back of the pack after a sound limit violation in qualifying for Race 2. That would shuffle the grid, with Denny Renfrow on the pole. Courtney would start again in second position. Brad Hayes would move up to start third, followed by Doug Learned Jr in fourth. Four Piper DL7s locking out the front two rows. 

At the green flag, Denny would take advantage of the inside line in to turn 2 and take the lead. Courtney slotted in to second while Brad held third position at the start. As Chuck Horn would make his charge from the back of the pack, Courtney was pressuring Denny for the lead. With a strong run through turn 4, Courtney made a move to the inside of Denny entering turn 5 to take the lead. Denny tried to get back to the inside of Courtney on the corner exit, but couldn't hold the line and would spin. Brad would take slow to avoid hitting the spinning car, allowing David Jalen to sneak by. Brad would get back past Jalen, and then end up locked in a battle with Steve Meyer for most of the race. As the race settled in, things got messy as several cars would be black flagged for sound violations. The cars of Courtney Crone, Denny Renfrow, Doug Learned Jr, and David Jalen were all penalized for sound, effectively ending their races. As the penalties took several players out of the game, Brad Hayes and Steve Meyer managed to avoid any sound penalties and continued to battle for the remainder of the race. Steve was faster through turn 10, and he took advantage to make a pass on Brad in to turn 11. But on the same lap, Brad was able to retake the position in turn 2. Steve pressured Brad for several laps, before a small mistake by Brad exiting turn 2 would allow Steve to take the position in to turn 3. The two would continue to run nose to tail for the remainder of the race. On the final lap, Brad made a move to the inside of Steve in turn 5 (trying to copy Courtney's pass for the lead from earlier in the race). But Steve was able to carry momentum around the outside and up to turn 6 to hold his position. At the finish, Chuck Horn would take his second checkered flag of the weekend. Steve Meyer was second with Brad Hayes in third just 0.3 seconds behind. 

It was a great weekend of FF racing at Laguna Seca with a total of eleven FF cars on the entry list. Now the BHR team turns it's focus to Sonoma. The upcoming Sonoma Major race will be a crucial test leading up to the Runoffs at Sonoma in October. We are expecting a big entry of Runoffs contenders. Nicky Hays will be back in the #4 car for his first run at Sonoma. 

Full results from the Laguna Seca weekend can be found on Race Hero.

Race 2 highlight from Courtney's in car cam below...


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LagunaSeca-May2018


Laguna Seca

Preview of the SFR Regional Races May 31 - June 3, 2018

 

LagunaSeca-May2018


Laguna Seca

Preview of the SFR Regional Races May 31 - June 3, 2018

 

back to laguna seca

After six weeks off since the Thunderhill Major, things will heat back up again May 31 to June 3 at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. BHR will bring both Piper DL7s. Brad Hayes will be behind the wheel of the #7 car. Courtney Crone will step in to the #4 car normally driven by Nicky Hays. Nicky will be back behind the wheel for the Sonoma Major at the end of June. While this will be Courtney's first taste of FF1600 racing, she comes with a bunch of experience in everything from sprint cars on dirt ovals to Formula Speed cars on the west coast road courses.

The entry list for this event is strong, with ten FFs on the pre-entry list. Regular front runners Chuck Horn and Denny Renfrow will likely be the guys to beat, and Steve Meyer is always a threat in his Porter prepared Swift DB6. Several local SFR drivers are getting up to speed with new equipment. Dave Jalen has been getting faster and faster in his Mygale. Mike Bernstein has jumped in to a Piper DF5 after suffering significant damage to his DB6 at Thunderhill. Manuel Leonardo will be in his new Piper DL7. And Piper DL7 designer Doug Learned Jr will be piloting his new DL7, while also helping support the BHR cars. Scott Waracka makes the trek from Hawaii to join the field in his Swift DB1. While most racers are focused on the SCCA Majors to qualify for the Runoffs at Sonoma, it is great to see such a strong bunch of FF racers also running in the SFR regional races.

The weekend will get an early start with a full test day scheduled for Thursday. Expect most of the FF drivers to take part in testing. Brad, Courtney, and Doug Jr will all be working together to get the most out of Thursday testing. Each will have slightly different goals for the initial day. Brad is looking to improve on his performance from the March regional races. Turns 5 and 9 will be focus points for Brad. Courtney will use the test day to get acclimated to the lack of downforce, and lower horsepower (compared to her normal Formula Speed car). Doug will start out by shaking down his newly built DL7. But even with the different goals for the first day, all three drivers will be leaning on each other to maximize performance in their Piper DL7s. 

Friday will start with official practice in the morning, and the first qualifying session in the afternoon. The double races will take place on Saturday and Sunday. The weather should be fantastic with sunny skies and high temperatures in the 60's in the forecast. It is sure to be an excellent weekend of racing at one of America's greatest road courses!

Follow Courtney Crone at http://courtneycroneracing.com/ and on Instagram @courtneycrone

Follow updates from Brad and the team on Instagram @bradhayes74

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Thunderhill Recap


Thunderhill Recap

Race report from the Thunderhill Majors April 6-8, 2018

 

Thunderhill Recap


Thunderhill Recap

Race report from the Thunderhill Majors April 6-8, 2018

 

close racing the name of the game at thunderhill major

April 6-8, 2018

The weekend started off wet at Thunderhill Raceway Park. But the rainy start to the weekend did not deter the west coast's best from turning out, as a total of fourteen Formula F class cars would take part in the weekend event. 

With heavy rain on the Friday test day, and dry conditions forecast for the rest of the weekend, the team decided not to run in the wet conditions Friday. That meant that Saturday morning's qualifying session would be the first laps at the tricky circuit for Nicky Hays. While much time was spent reviewing data and video prior to his first laps, it still takes some seat time to get acclimated to the many blind corners at Thunderhill. Once on track, Nicky made steady progress and with the session shortened by a yellow flag, he still managed to clock the 7th fastest time in the #4 Piper DL7. 

The Saturday qualifying session did not go as well for Brad Hayes in the #7 car. An issue with the throttle cable would prevent him from getting any solid laps in during the session. Brad would qualify in the 14th position.

 The mangled radiator from Nicky's #4 car after significant contact....luckily it still held water for the remainder of the race 1.

The mangled radiator from Nicky's #4 car after significant contact....luckily it still held water for the remainder of the race 1.

The Saturday race would prove eventful for both drivers. Nicky would get a great start, jumping from 7th to 3rd by turn two on the first lap. He would spend the whole race battling with Denny Renfrow, Skip Streets, and Chuck Horn at the front of the field. Two laps from the finish, contact in turn 14 would drop Nicky back to 4th position. Then on the final lap, a mad scramble through turns 9-10 would see Nicky jump from 4th to 2nd. At the checkered Chuck Horn would take the win, followed by Nicky Hays in 2nd. In his first race on his track with minimal laps in qualifying, Nicky proved a quick learner. He ran with the front pack the whole race, and turned a best lap of 1:55.297, bested only by Skip Streets fast lap of 1:55.196. 

Brad started Saturday's race well too, jumping from 14th to 10th by the end of the first lap. Brad would have a race long battle with Mark Keller. On the next to last lap Brad would pass Mark to move in to 8th position and close in on Steve Meyer who was running 7th. But before the end of the lap, Brad and Mark would make contact in turn 14. After climbing a tire, and catching some air, Brad's car would land on all fours and continue on. Slight damage to the car would cost a couple of positions, but Brad was able to limp to the checkered flag finishing a disappointing 10th.

 Tire marks on the side of Brad's #7 car...evidence of a rough race 1.

Tire marks on the side of Brad's #7 car...evidence of a rough race 1.

With significant contact to both cars during the Saturday race, the team would spend a busy evening in the paddock repairing the damage and preparing the cars for Sunday morning's qualifying session. Doug Learned Sr went to work replacing a mangled radiator and repairing the sidepod on Nicky's #4 car. Meanwhile, Doug Learned Jr would have Brad's #7 car on the setup pad getting everything pointed back in the right direction. Remarkably, the only only damage to the #7 car was some cosmetic damage to the right side of the car, and a bent rod end on the left rear pushrod. By dinner time, the cars were back together and ready for Sunday.

The Sunday morning qualifying session would come early with an 8:25am start time. Nicky picked up right where he left on on Saturday, qualifying in 2nd position, only .03 seconds off of Chuck Horn's pole time. Brad would also improve from Saturday's pace, and would qualify in 7th position. In the post session debrief, both drivers were commenting on understeering conditions in the early morning qualifying session. So the crew went to work with some slight adjustments for the afternoon race.

For Sunday's feature race, Nicky Hays would start on the outside front row. A fast starting Rick Payne would get past dropping Nicky to 3rd on the opening lap. From that point on, it was an intense wheel to wheel battle involving a pack of five cars. Rick Payne, Chuck Horn, Nicky Hays, Skip Streets, and Denny Renfrow would run wheel to wheel for much of the race. Mid way through the race, Rick Payne would drop back and Chuck Horn would pull a small gap over the rest of the field. Skip and Nicky would trade positions for 2nd and 3rd several times as the closed the gap to the leading Chuck Horn. Things were shaping up nicely for Nicky, until a miscue in turn 9 would let Denny Renfrow by and the top 3 would then pull away. Skip Streets would go on to catch and pass Chuck Horn, taking the win.

Back in the middle of the pack, Brad Hayes would spend the race battling with Steve Meyer and Stephen Temple. By the end of the race, Brad was able to capitalize on errors by Steve and Stephen, finishing the race in 6th position. 

While the team did not walk away with the checkered flags, it was still a great weekend of racing. Nicky was competitive all weekend battling with the leaders in both races. Brad made steady progress, but was ultimately disappointed to not find the same pace he showed at this race last year. He will look to rebound when he next hits the track at Laguna Seca in May. Nicky's busy season will continue, as he jumps back in the kart on April 14-15 at the Rok Challenge of the Americas race at Sonoma.

Video from Nicky's car for Sunday's race is now posted to the Video Page.

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Thunderhill Preview


Thunderhill

Preview of the Thunderhill Majors April 6-8, 2018

 

Thunderhill Preview


Thunderhill

Preview of the Thunderhill Majors April 6-8, 2018

 

BHR returns to the scca majors tour next weekend at thunderhill

The 2018 drive towards the Runoffs picks back up April 6-8 at Thunderhill Raceway Park. It was at this race last year that things looked to be going well for Brad Hayes, until a hard crash in Race 2 would abruptly end the weekend, and also create challenges over the remainder of the 2017 season. 

 Last year's Thunderhill Major ended with lots of broken parts after a big crash in the Sunday race.

Last year's Thunderhill Major ended with lots of broken parts after a big crash in the Sunday race.

Now fast forward to 2018, and the team looks forward to returning to Thunderhill after a strong start to the season. A stout field of 14 FF's are entered for Thunderhill, making it one of the largest and most competitive fields seen on the west coast since the Runoffs last visited the west coast in 2014. Nicky Hays will be back in the #4 car after taking the Majors win at Fontana last time he sat in the Piper DL7. Since Fontana, Nicky has been back in karts for Phil Giebler Racing, scoring a convincing win at the Rok Cup USA Challenge of the Americas race in Phoenix. He will look to continue the winning ways when he takes to the challenging Thunderhill circuit for the first time. Detailed study of video, data, and team notes, as well as a full day of testing on Friday will insure Nicky is prepared for the challenge. 

Brad Hayes will be behind the wheel of the #7 car. His season has also started well. While not yet finding victory lane, the pace continues to improve. Extra seat time gained at the March Laguna Seca Regional races has confirmed that Brad is getting back in form....confidence is high heading to Thunderhill.

 Detailed data analysis, and some new software tools have helped maximize the learning from running two cars this season. Reviewing data from different intake/engine cover combinations has revealed some valuable info.

Detailed data analysis, and some new software tools have helped maximize the learning from running two cars this season. Reviewing data from different intake/engine cover combinations has revealed some valuable info.

The team has also started using some new software tools. Track Attack software has allowed quick and efficient comparison of synchronized data and video from different sessions, drivers, and cars. With two cars in the stable this year, there is the opportunity to learn much more than would typically be possible. This has already started to pay off. The team started the season with two different air intake/engine cover designs on the two cars at Fontana. This was done to analyze the tradeoffs between air intake pressures and aerodynamic frontal area. Comparing data from not only Fontana, but also last season, it is now clear which combo is preferred. To find out that answer, watch to see which design is on both cars at Thunderhill. This data-centric approach not only helps maximize performance of the cars, but is also used to tune the team's drivers. Nicky is a natural talent behind the wheel, but is taking his first laps in an FF car as he makes the transition from karts to cars. Brad has had more seat time in these cars, but relies less on natural talent and more on his methodical approach in taking steps to improve at each race. Sharing data from both drivers in equally prepared cars gives each the chance to compare, contrast, and identify areas for improvement.

As Brad and Nicky spend the final days leading up to race weekend doing the mental prep, Doug Learned and Doug Learned Jr are putting the final touches on the cars. This includes everything from fitting the proper gear ratios, inspecting and cleaning everything after the recent Laguna Seca regional, and putting the final setup on the cars. As usual, the cars will be meticulously prepared when they arrive at the track Thursday night, ready for Friday testing.

The weekend's schedule starts off Friday morning, with a total of five test sessions planned for the day. The weather forecast is currently predicting a 90% chance of rain for Friday. While a dry track would be preferred, if it does rain on Friday it will be a chance to prepare for potential wet race on Saturday, as the rain is predicted to hang around through Saturday morning. The Saturday schedule brings a morning qualifying session, followed by a 20 minute sprint race in the afternoon. Better wether is in the forecast for Sunday. Sunday morning starts with another qualifying session. Then the 35 minute/16 lap feature race will conclude the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

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Laguna Seca


Laguna Seca

Brad Hayes takes pole and 2nd place finish

 

Laguna Seca


Laguna Seca

Brad Hayes takes pole and 2nd place finish

 

mixed weather and mixed results at SFR Laguna seca regional

March 16-18, 2018

BHR brought two Piper DL7s to the San Francisco regional races at Laguna Seca. Brad Hayes was behind the wheel of the #7 car, while Daniel Guenther took his first FF laps in the #4 car. 

Friday saw heavy rain, and the #7 car spent the day staying dry in the Laguna Seca garages. Daniel took the #4 car out for some initial familiarization laps. But the rainy weather limited any significant learning. Of the six FF class cars entered for the weekend, only three turned laps on Friday.

First up on Saturday was Race #1. Prior to the race, the rain had stopped and much of the track had dried. But as the field took to grid, the rain returned. With everyone on slick tires, and portions of the track ranging from dry, to damp, to standing water, Race 1 was a challenge for everyone. In the ever changing conditions, Ethan Shippert would drive away from the field and take an impressive win. Brad finished second, and Daniel third in the two BHR Pipers.

Later Saturday afternoon, the rain had once again stopped, and the field took to the track to qualify for Race #2. Track conditions had improved, but there was still significant water standing on sections of the track. Ethan Shippert went out and set a fast lap of 1:41.995 early in the session. As the session wound down, Brad Hayes chipped away at Ethan's P1 time. On the final lap of the session, Brad just nipped Ethan with a lap of 1:41.836 to take pole position for Sunday's Race #2. 

Sunday morning brought clear sunny skies and cool temperatures. The track was dry, except for the lingering water in Turn 3. As the green flag fell, Brad Hayes got a good start from the pole. But under braking for Turn 2, Ethan Shippert was able to charge to the outside, putting him in the lead as they raced to the wet and slippery Turn 3. Ethan and Brad would stay close as both drivers turned similar lap times throughout the race. Then on the next to last lap, Brad made a mistake braking a bit too late in Turn 2, and losing any chance at pressuring Ethan for the win. Ethan would go on to take his second win of the weekend, while Brad finished second, followed by Paul Richins, Daniel Guenther, and Manuel Leonardo rounding out the top 5. 

Helmet cam video from Sunday's Race #2 is now posted on the Video page.

While BHR did not bring home the wins this weekend, the team still performed well. Brad Hayes was able to turn personal best lap times, even with the mixed track conditions. And after the challenges of Friday and Saturday, Daniel was able to put the coaching of Doug Learned to use, and make significant strides toward competitive lap times by the end of the weekend. The team has also made some small changes to the cars since the Fontana Major. Even though the final results may not show it, a deeper review of data from the weekend shows that Doug and Doug Jr have the cars performing better than ever. 

We now turn our focus to the upcoming Thunderhill Major in April. Nicky Hays will be back in the #4 car, and Brad Hayes will be in the #7 at Thunderhill.

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Fontana Recap


Fontana Recap

BHR team driver Nicky Hays wins SCCA Major

 

Fontana Recap


Fontana Recap

BHR team driver Nicky Hays wins SCCA Major

 

great results for bhr at auto club speedway

January 12-14, 2018

The first race weekend of the season was a good one for the BHR/Piper/Fast Forward team. With a strong field of the west coasts fastest FF drivers on hand for the first SCCA Major in the Western Conference, everyone was excited to get the season started. In Friday testing, Nicky Hays jumped to the top of the time charts, and then backed that up by qualifying on pole position for Saturday's race. In the Saturday race, Nicky finished second behind Skip Streets, and Brad found his way to the podium with a 3rd place finish. The result was a sweep of the podium positions for Piper Race Cars.

Sunday's race start was similar to Saturday, with both BHR cars losing ground on the first lap. But this time, Nicky quickly recovered to take the lead on lap 4, and then pull away for the victory in his first race weekend. Meanwhile Brad recovered from 7th to finish in 4th position. 

Overall it was a great start to the season for the team, and an awesome first race weekend for Nicky.

Photos from the weekend are posted on the Gallery page.

In car videos from the weekend are posted on the Video page.

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Fontana Preview


Fontana Preview

Nicky Hays to join BHR for season opener at Auto Club Speedway

 

Fontana Preview


Fontana Preview

Nicky Hays to join BHR for season opener at Auto Club Speedway

 

nicky hays to join bhr for season opener at auto club speedway

After a successful December test session at Laguna Seca, Nicky Hays returns to the seat of a BHR Piper DL7 as the 2018 SCCA Majors season kicks off at Auto Club Speedway on January 12-14, 2018. Nicky has proven his racing talent by winning six championships in the highly competitive California karting scene. Now he will get the chance to transition his talents from karts to cars. Once the final plans came in to place, Nicky responded, "I cannot put into words how much an opportunity like this means to a young driver such as myself who started with a dream, that is slowly becoming a reality. I cannot wait to hit the track in Fontana." 

Brad Hayes will be in the seat of the team's second Piper DL7. For Brad, the 2017 season ended by crossing an item off the bucket list...racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now the 2018 season starts with much excitement as the team expands to two cars, and the partnership with Doug Learned Sr and Doug Learned Jr looks to put their Piper DL7 race cars at the front of the pack.

Over the winter, Doug Learned Sr and Doug Learned Jr have done an impeccable job of preparing the teams cars. Both cars are ready to go for what is sure to be an exciting season. 

The Fontana race weekend will begin with Friday testing. Three morning test sessions will allow Nicky to continue where he left off at Laguna Seca, and to get even more comfortable in the same Piper DL7 that he tested a month earlier. Meanwhile, Brad will turn his first laps in the team's new car during the morning test sessions.

Saturday will begin with a morning qualifying session. This will set the grid for the weekend's first race on Saturday afternoon. The second race of the weekend will take place on Sunday.

The full schedule for the race weekend can be found HERE.

Be sure to follow both drivers on Instagram for updates throughout the season.

@bradhayes74

@nicky_hays

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Winter Testing


Winter Testing

Karting champ Nicky Hays steps in to the BHR Piper to test at Laguna Seca

 

Winter Testing


Winter Testing

Karting champ Nicky Hays steps in to the BHR Piper to test at Laguna Seca

 

nicky hays aces his first f1600 test at laguna seca

It was at Auto Club Speedway back in October of 2016 where a talented kart racer, Nicky Hays and his dad, Rich Hays were exploring around the pits. They stopped, struck up a conversation, inquiring about a Piper DL7 owned by local club racer Brad Hayes. Just over a year later, Nicky Hays has now won six karting championships, including the SKUSA California ProKart Challenge X30 Sr. championship in 2016 and 2017. In addition, Brad Hayes has expanded his racing efforts through a partnership between BHR and Piper Race Cars. After some extended conversations, with Piper and BHR, Nicky made the decision to test out the team's Piper DL7.  The results look to be a perfect fit.

On the morning of the test, a damp and cool Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca presented challenging conditions. The initial focus was on Nicky's familiarization with the car and track. As the track conditions improved under sunny skies, the goal was for Nicky to steadily increase his pace around the 2.2 mile road course. Between sessions, Doug Learned made small changes to the car's setup to capitalize on Nicky's increasing performance in the car. Brad and Nicky reviewed data and video to see where additional improvements could be made. With Nicky on the track, Doug was coaching over the radio sharing his vast knowledge of the technical and challenging track. Nicky was quickly able to implement Doug's direction and guidance, and the lap times improved with each lap. By mid-afternoon Nicky was fully utilizing the track curbs, his shifting had become smooth and precise, the car setup had evolved, and the lap times had dipped in to the 1:35 range. These were some of the fastest laps turned with a current spec F1600 car at Laguna Seca, and were fast approaching the track record lap of 1:34.6 from earlier in the season.

As the day finished, with the setting sun quickly cooling track, the team completed the test day feeling impressed and confident. All components of the team performed as expected, and the cumulative results are evident in the video, data, and lap times. The focus now shifts to what happens off the track. All the facets of what makes a race team work are being engineered to give Nicky Hays and the Piper DL7 a chance to chase the SCCA Runoffs National Championship in 2018. Stay tuned...

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What's Next?


What's next?

For 2018, BHR will be providing opportunity to aspiring racers...

 

What's Next?


What's next?

For 2018, BHR will be providing opportunity to aspiring racers...

 

BHR Providing opportunity to aspiring racers

Brad Hayes Racing (BHR) is partnering with Piper Race Cars to run two Piper DL7-Hondas in the SCCA Formula F class for 2018. BHR is seeking drivers who are passionate, focused, and have a desire to be an integral part of a team with championship potential. The Piper factory is completing the build of the team’s brand new DL7. Testing for prospective drivers begins in November. The 2018 race season begins in January at the SCCA Majors at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA and will culminate at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway in October.

The SCCA Runoffs return to the west coast in 2018, offering an opportunity for west coast based drivers to start climbing the open wheel ladder. The Formula F / F1600 class has been the first step towards success for legends such as Ayrton Senna and modern day champion Josef Newgarden. Recent Formula F Runoffs champions have gone on to continue climbing the open wheel ladder in the US and Europe. BHR looks to provide that first step for a new generation of racing champions. 

After a competitive 2017 season which included a victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Brad Hayes will shift his focus from the driver’s seat to the management of the team. Outside of racing, Brad has been managing engineering teams at Firestone and Tesla over the past 15 years, and will apply the same success-oriented principles to the newly expanded BHR. Doug Learned Sr and Doug Learned Jr will continue to build and prep the team’s cars to their impeccable standard. Doug Learned Sr has 40 years of experience designing and manufacturing precision components for everything from Formula Fords to F1 cars. DL7 designer Doug Learned Jr brings his detailed engineering approach to the design and build of the team’s cars. 

Drivers can contact Brad Hayes to inquire about participating in upcoming tests with the team.

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Runoffs recap


Runoffs

2017 season finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

Runoffs recap


Runoffs

2017 season finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

SCCA national championship runoffs recap

Our 2017 race season finished by running at the SCCA Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This race would turn out to be the largest and possibly greatest Runoffs that he SCCA has ever put on. And for a guy originally from Indiana, I was honored to participate at this historic event. 

On track activity started with 3 days of testing. With the long main straightaway at Indy, we quickly realized that we were down on power to some of the front runners. We knew that our Honda engine was strong, but for some reason we were not seeing the top speeds needed to be competitive. After reviewing some changes we had made to the car, and digging through data from the early test sessions, we realized that the engine air intake pressures were simply too low. The engine was not getting enough air to produce the power needed at higher revs. We had made some changes to reduce aerodynamic drag, but the resulting smaller air intake was simply not sufficient. Overnight we were able to make a prototype airbox, which solved the intake pressure issues, while still maintaining the reduced aero drag. In the next test session, our airbox changes were validated when we saw top speeds on the man straight increase by over 5 mph from the earlier test sessions. 

Qualifying started on Monday. For qualifying sessions we were grouped with F500 cars, meaning we had over 70 cars on track. Even with the challenging traffic, we were able to get a couple of clean laps in Q1 putting us in 17th position. I struggled to find the same clear track in the remaining qualifying sessions. So even though we had made the car better and I felt like I was driving better, I was not able to improve on my Q1 time. So after four qualifying sessions, I would grid for the race from 20th position in a strong 36 car field of FF cars. Not where we wanted to start, but still thrilled to be a part of this race.

Friday was race day. The full BHR fan club was in attendance. It was wonderful to see so many friends and family coming out to support me at the track. And my wife Nan had the whole crew outfitted in new BHR/Piper/Fast Forward t-shirts. For the race, I had my dad on the radio spotting from the south end of the track, and Jeff Kitchen spotting from the north end. As Jeff called the green flag in my ear, I was able to get a decent start and move from my outside staring position down to the inside line for T1. Everyone was well behaved at the start, and we made it through T1 clean. After running steady for the first few laps and holding in P19, I then missed a shift on the critical run on to the front straightaway. That allowed a number of cars to get by down the straight, dropping me to P23 on lap 8. From there my race improved, I was able to re-pass some of the cars that had taken advantage of my missed shift. And I benefitted from some attrition ahead of me. In the end I was able to improve to finish in 16th position. 

So in the end, I did not finish as high as I had hoped for. But for the first year back in the car, and running in the strongest FF field in several years, I'll take it. We learned a lot throughout the season. And I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream by competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Collectively, we have created a solid foundation to build upon for 2018. And as the >>> in our logo indicates, we are looking ahead and moving forward for next season. 

Special thanks to my Runoffs crew: Doug Learned Sr, Doug Learned Jr, John Hayes, Jeff Kitchen

Pictures are now posted in the Gallery page.

My in car video of the race is now posted in the Video page.

The CBS Sports race broadcast can now be viewed here: https://www.scca.com/videos/2033589

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LagunaSeca-July


Victory

 

We got our first win of the year on Saturday July 29 at Laguna Seca!

LagunaSeca-July


Victory

 

We got our first win of the year on Saturday July 29 at Laguna Seca!

The July 28 - 30 weekend marked my second visit to Laguna Seca. During Friday practice and qualifying, I struggled to make any improvement from my previous visit to the track. I was struggling to really push the car towards the limit....maybe a mental block from the big crash earlier in the season. While I had qualified in a respectable 3rd position for the Saturday race, my 1:39 second lap time was well off the times I had hoped to achieve. For Saturday, Doug Learned Jr and Sr turned some wrenches to make the car a bit more comfortable for me. Doug Sr also gave the driver a bit of a pep talk....basically I needed to get my head out of my ass, and go show the pace we had started to show prior to my accident at Thunderhill. Early in the Saturday race I dropped back to 4th position, but after a few laps I was starting to get more comfortable. By the middle of the race, I had worked my way down in to the 1:37 second lap times. Still running in 4th position, but at least running more competitive lap times. Then things took a positive turn....a full course caution would allow me to close the gap with the leaders. The front of the FF group was now all running nose to tail. With several faster class cars in front of us, and the time limit for the race closing in, the restart would be critical. As the pace car lights turned out, and we were coming through turn 10, I started to anticipate the restart. Then as we approached turn 11, I hear Doug Sr come over the radio and call GREEN GREEN GREEN! So i get a great jump heading to Turn 11 and on to the front straightaway. By the time we get to turn 2, I'M IN THE LEAD, and had put a lapped car between myself and previous leader Steve Meyer. I put my head down and carried the lead through turn 5 before peaking in the mirrors. At that point I could see that the super-fast Scott Huffaker had moved in to 2nd, and had me in his sights. By the time I made it to the corkscrew, Doug was back on the radio telling me this was going to be our final lap. At that point, I knew a good run through turn 10 and 11 would be needed to keep Scott at bay. We exit turn 11, and Scott had closed the gap, but was not close enough to challenge for the lead. I look down the straight and see that checkered flag waving...I had won for the first time this season! Yeah it took a little luck, and yeah it was just a regional race, and yeah some of the fast guys were not here, but I'll still take it. It felt pretty good to get a win, no matter what the circumstances were. Thanks to the Doug's for the awesome car, and to Doug Sr for calling the green on that restart, and to the rest of the Learned family for cheering me on, and to my wonderful wife Nan for all of her support, and to my son Logan, my new good luck charm. The only bad thing about that day....my normally trusty video camera decided not to record any of the race.

The Sunday race did not have the same storybook ending. I had some trouble with different class cars, people spinning in front of me, people passing me under yellow, and an inability to overcome the defensive driving of one of my close competitors. I finished 4th on Sunday. I did improve my lap times further though, getting down in to the low 1:37s. Running the second fastest lap of the race behind winner Scott Huffaker. Video from the Sunday race is now posted on the Video page.

So overall it was a good weekend. I feel like I've finally put the accident behind me. I broke through some mental barriers at a technically challenging track. And along the way I have moved in to 1st place in FF points for both the SCCA San Francisco region and the larger North Pacific division.

Now we move on to final prep for the Indy Runoffs!

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Sonoma


Sonoma

 

June 29 - July 2, SCCA Regional Races at Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma


Sonoma

 

June 29 - July 2, SCCA Regional Races at Sonoma Raceway

June 29 - July 2 we were racing in the San Francisco Regional races at Sonoma Raceway. The weekend started with a Test day on Thursday, which was a good chance to get better acclimated to this technically challenging track. I steadily progressed through the first part of the weekend, getting quicker with each sessions. But then Saturday, an old nemesis showed up. Several years ago I had some spinal issues that severely compressed a nerve and caused numbness and loss of strength in my left leg. And in Saturday's race, that problem popped back up. So I struggled through the rest of the weekend with a numb left leg and foot. Not ideal, considering I left foot brake in the race car. Not a good situation to not have full control of the foot that is responsible for the brake pedal. But once I realized what was happening, I was able to manage it by being more conservative in the braking zones. While my ultimate lap times were not as quick as they needed to be, I was still able to get more comfortable with the tougher sections of the track. I was pretty quick up through the fast turn 1. And got better and better through the esses. I finished 4th in the Sunday race, and rolled the car back on the trailer to fight another day. Now it's time to see the doctor, and see if I can get this nerve issue under control. Hoping to be back on track in just four weeks at Laguna Seca.

Video from Sunday's race can been seen on the Video page.

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LagunaSeca


Laguna Seca

 

Turning my first laps at Laguna Seca during the SFR SCCA Regionals

LagunaSeca


Laguna Seca

 

Turning my first laps at Laguna Seca during the SFR SCCA Regionals

My first trip to Laguna Seca was a learning experience. The good....after Doug Learned Jr and Sr basically had to build a complete car after my Thunderhill crash, the "new" car performed flawlessly. As always there car prep was superb. The bad....I struggled to get comfortable in some of the more technical sections of the track. I was never comfortable enough to carry max speed through Turn 9. And I never carried enough speed through Turn 5 to have a good run through 6 and up the hill to the Corkscrew. End the end I finished 2nd in both races. And we rolled a clean car back on the trailer at the end of the day. But I was well off the track record setting pace of Chuck Horn. I did have some fun wheel to wheel racing with Mike Bernstein both days, finishing just ahead of him on Saturday, and just behind him on Sunday. Looking forward to returning to Laguna Seca in July, and taming those demons that haunted me this weekend. Pictures from the weekend are posted in the Gallery. In-car video is posted to the Video page.

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The Rebuild


The Rebuild

After a big impact at Thunderhill in April, we are working on a complete rebuild to get back on track.

 

The Rebuild


The Rebuild

After a big impact at Thunderhill in April, we are working on a complete rebuild to get back on track.

 

The rebuild

The SCCA Majors at Thunderhill ended with a big impact for me. There was significant damage to my car. Both front corners were destroyed and nearly every piece of bodywork was damaged. That stuff is all bolt on, so not a huge deal. But worst of all there was some damage to the frame. While the frame damage is certainly repairable, the time to do so was working against me as I still need to complete another race to even get qualified for this year's Runoffs. So to save some time, Doug Learned offered to work a deal where I could swap my engine, gearbox, etc... over on to another frame they had in the shop. But that other frame was currently built as an F2000 car. So the Zetec engine came out, and my Honda went in. While basically building a complete car, we are also taking the opportunity to try some changes that we hope will show up on the track. We will be installing slightly larger radiators to keep the Honda running cooler. And we will also be switching to the F2000 style engine cover without the large air intake to reduce aero drag a bit. This will be important once we get to that long front straightaway at Indy. Doug Jr and Doug Sr have been making good progress on the rebuild. A large portion of the work is now done. And we are targeting to get the car completed in time for the SCCA Regionals at Laguna Seca on June 1 - 4. Now it's time to get on the simulator to learn Laguna Seca before I turn my first real laps there in a couple of weeks.

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Thunderhill


Thunderhill Major

Last weekend's race starts strong, but ends with a bang!

 

Thunderhill


Thunderhill Major

Last weekend's race starts strong, but ends with a bang!

 

Thunderhill SCCA US MajorS tour review

March 31 - April 2, we returned to Thunderhill for the SCCA Majors. Since the last race weekend, I had spent a lot of time studying data and video to focus on improving my driving. We also made some setup changes to the car to help me gain more confidence in some of the higher speed corners. Throughout the weekend we main steady progress. In Saturday's race, I was able to hang with the leaders, but not quite fast enough to challenge them. For Sunday's race, Doug Learned had made a couple of more changes to the car, and I was feeling confident with my pace. I started Sunday's race in 5th position overall, fourth in my class. At the start, the three lead FF cars (Chuck Horn, Skip Streets, Rick Payne) got around the polesitting F500 class car of Jeff Jorgenson. Unfortunately, I did not make it clear of the F500 car, and had to settle in behind Jeff through turn 1. While I spent the next few laps looking for a way around Jeff, the three FF leaders started to pull away. I was able to finally pass Jeff as he went wide in turn 1, and now I was chasing down the leaders. At this point, I had set fast lap of the race. I was able catch the lead pack, and had a front row seat to watch Chuck, Skip, and Rick battle for the lead. But this is where things turned bad. Rick had moved to the front, and Chuck and Skip were battling for second when they touched wheels exiting the high speed turn 1. They spin, and I had no where to go. Skip and Rick would continue on, with Skip eventually taking the win. So now it's time to regroup, see how quickly we can get back in a car to continue my quest towards the Runoffs at Indy. Click over to the video page for some great in-car footage from this race.

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Indy Intro


Racing to Indy

The road to the 2017 SCCA Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

Indy Intro


Racing to Indy

The road to the 2017 SCCA Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

Welcome to the home of Brad Hayes Racing. After a 6 year break from racing, I'm finally getting back on track. My focus this year is to get back up to speed in the competitive SCCA Formula F class. I'll be racing primarily at tracks along the west coast this season as I attempt to qualify for the 2017 SCCA Runoffs National Championships. Along the way, I might also jump in to some other cars to get seat time, and just have some fun. Be sure to check back often as I'll be posting updates, photos, and video along the way.