Category Archives: 1990 Miata ‘The White Car’

Miata Challenge 2012; NJMP

EMRA – Eastern Motor Racing Association

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012

New Jersey Motorsports Park, Lightning track, Millville, NJ


IMG_1091NJMP is close to home, and a great facility. Lightning is the shorter of the 2, and is well suited to the nimble (and very slow) Miata.

IMG_1171There were 3 timed sessions, I think 1 untimed session.  My best time for the day was 1:25.010.  The next fastest session was a 1:25.023; so I was pretty consistent.  These times were enough to get the Miata Challenge win.


IMG_1482Another day without the car breaking.  Awesome.  There was a C4 ‘vette that had an issue being passed by a little Miata.  He gave me some grief,  but the final word from the officials was: “was the Miata in your mirrors earlier in the lap?  No?  Is he in your mirrors now?  Yeah?  Well, that means he’s faster than you.”   LOL.  “Fernando is faster than you, Can you confirm you understood that message?”


Interesting Miata track record stats:

  • SM – Tosh Desai  1:17.511  10/19/08
  • SMT – Steve Rollo  1:20.182  6/29/14
  • SSM – Darrell Lapointe  1:17.879  10/18/08
  • SM2 – Jason Livingood  1:20.062  7/01/12

IMG_1172 (2)Again, my car is not a Spec Miata (I don’t have slicks, but I have wider wheels…),  and this is a cheapie suspension setup, but more seat time will get me closer to these numbers.


Another view from the ‘shake cam’.  This time the mount was held together with zip ties.  I wish I had bought my Ram mount earlier.  I don’t think I have my fastest lap recorded, so this’ll have to do.

Miata Challenge 2012; Watkins Glen

IMG_1128Monday, Jul 2 — Tuesday, Jul 3, 2012

Watkins Glen International , Watkins Glen, NY

EMRA – Eastern Motor Racing Association

IMG_1125‘The Glen’ is a bucket-list track of mine.  So happy I’ve been able to cross it off.  My father and I stayed at the historic Seneca Lodge and had a beer in the bar where legendary drivers once did.  Totally geeky/cool.


The car was flawless all weekend:  rolled it off the trailer, and checked pressures/ fuel between sessions.  Nothing broke, but I did blow through Turn 1 a couple of times.  Hurray for paved run-offs.watkins12garage



On Monday (who races on Monday?), we ran 4×20 min sessions.  My last session was fastest @ 2:35.074.  Good enough for the win in Miata Challenge.



IMG_2118I had a fantastic time running with the mk1 Toyota MR2 of Scott Webster – even though we were in different classes, we would run together and drag our lap times down.  Nice guy, and great fun.  In our fastest session, he bested me by 0.476s.


On Tuesday (who races on a Tuesday?), we ran 5×25 min sessions.  That was a lot of seat-time!  My last session, was again, my fastest @ 2:33.253.  Shaving 1.8 seconds off was good for a days work.  Annnnd, I beat Scott by 0.112s!  Hey, I’ll take it.   A wise man once said, ” It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.”  Too true, Dom.

Interesting Miata track record stats:

  • SM – Andrew Carbonell  0:02:15.507  7/6/2014
  • SM2 – Robert Karl Jr.  0:02:19.422  9/17/2011
  • SM5 – Chris Windsor  0:02:16.977  5/26/2012
  • SMT – Ronald Jesberger  0:02:25.351  9/19/2009
  • SSM – Tom Kearney  0:02:20.559  9/14/2013

My car is not a spec miata, but there is clearly some room for driver / car improvement here.


Here’s a video, shot from an iphone, on the shakiest home-made mount ever.  Youtube compresses the heck out of it, but it’s all we’ve got until I can figure out how to upload the good stuff from here….

Getting Ready for Miata Challenge

The car is freshly painted, and the new wheels/ tires just arrived.  225/45/15 Hankook R-S3’s on 15×9 TR Motorsports. The lips on my fenders are rolled smooth, and there’s a very slight pull on them.  The 15×9’s fit better than the 15×8’s due to a higher offset.  Too bad TireRack had to steal their offset info from Emilio @ 949Racing.  My sister is a TireRack dealer (, so I get their wheel/ tire combos for a song.  I feel like a traitor, though.  Emilio is a knowledgeable guy with a great business; I support him by buying many of my parts through him – but not my wheels at this time.  Maybe I’ll pick up a set of 6ULS someday, but for now, the cost-savings on the TRMotorsports is just too dear.

My father is a long-time racing guy; mostly into dirt-oval cars, but he seemed to take a real interest in the road course stuff after coming with me to NJMP.  He’s decided to make this a 2-person team by buying a trailer and driving us to the races.  The White Car is registered and insured as a street car, and I do drive it to work once in a while; but having a trailer will be awesome on 2 fronts:
1) If I ball this car up, I have a way to get it back home
2) my Dad and I get to hang out for the ride.  He thought that following me in his truck to NJMP was lame – and he wasn’t riding in my Miata

We brought the car to Lime Rock Park for the EMRA meet so I could test for my TT license.  I passed early and was able to spend the rest of the day lapping.  I couldn’t use a transponder today because I needed to get my license, so I just enjoyed the track and learned the line.

Check out the custom fix for when the mirror glass came out of the housing. Classy.

…and then the paint fell off.

When I bought the white car, I was happy that it was a 1 owner car, and that it was garage kept.   In the early 90’s they switched to waterbased paint and they didn’t get it right. The people on stated that ‘if you have a white 90 that the paint hasn’t come off of yet, you’ll be just fine’. Well, that didn’t happen.  The trunk and windshield surround paint came off in sheets.

I decided to give it a cheap, garage, single-stage paint job in bright white.  I sanded the car to bare metal and painted anything that was metal. No bumpers, mirrors or roof – that paint stuck just fine.  This also gave me a chance to fix the missing passenger rear quarter.  Instead of just welding it into place, I decided to use Lord Fusor metal to metal adhesive.  I’ve never used this stuff, but it seems like this might have been what they used (or should have used) when they built this part of the car.  There are 2 pieces of metal that are sandwiched together – if you weld it – the rust has to return; there’s no way to dress the back of the weld with paint or seam sealer.  Glue it was.

It worked well.  The panel has a seam where the body crease is and in the door jamb; I used some filler there.  I also used some filler where I welded up the antenna hole.  Other than that, I did no body work- just bare metal, primer and paint.  There’s a few dings here and there… but the car is going to be a track car – it’ll be good enough.

Finally on the track

I finally got the car onto the track.  A few track days at New Jersey Motorsports Park – Lightning circuit.  The car handled well – I was impressed on how easy it was to drive at speed. The tires are still the Yoko S-Drives, and although they are great street tires, they were making quite a racket when pushed.

It was a good time, with no car issues all.  It really held it’s own through the esses and the lightbulb… and was decimated on the front stretch by the R8s/ Corvettes/ Camaros.  LOL.

The car number was a nod to my Uncle John’s motorsport effort: the 747.  The 747 has been around since forever in different forms and usually wildly successful.  Currently, the Sprint Car is driven by Davey Sammons, and the Modifieds are driven by Ryan Godown.  These guys are fast, and the cars look fantastic.

I borrowed these pics from Here’s a link to their site: 3 Wide Picture Vault