Things to consider when looking at helmets.

First off, Thanks to for the employment. Best job ever. Check them out for gear. Full disclosure I work at OG Racing. this was written in Dec of 2016 please be aware that FIA and SFI standards might have changed since this was published. please check with your motorsports representative.

"$100 helmet for a $100 head" is commonly muttered in the pits. It doesn't explain why you would want an expensive helmet, does it? Let's take a look at a few aspects of helmets. Who knows, you might actually have a $100 head.  

Autor- Johnny Cichowski with a Bell vador. 

First thing.... pass tech

Every driver's worst fear, failing tech. :( 
NASA's rules can be found here 

Above is a snippet taken from the 2017 NASA CCR and it regards road racing requirements.  Basically, it states that you need a minimum SA2010  or better helmet. Why do we have is with these ratings? 

Above is 3 ratings one is for a motorcycle two and for auto racing. the "s" in SA and SM stands for "Snell".  Snell is the foundation that sets helmet standards in America. FIA does the same but is accepted Internationally. Every 5 years snell releases new standards and a new sticker, the sa2010 should be sold out by now. FIA has two ratings FIA8859 and FIA8860. 

let's start off with what no to do. Looking at SM or M rating. M stands for "motorcycle". We do not want M in a car. There are several reasons, the biggest has to do with fire protection.  

in an effort to keep you cool on a ride"M" helmet padding is made with plastic. The problem with plastic is that it burns/melts @200*. Melting burning plastic is not the best thing to cover your face with. Riding bikes you do not have a large fire risk, for this use plastic is OK. In a car, however, we do have to protect ourselves from the fire. It's advisable to not use an "M" rated helmet. 

SM2015- Vs- FIA8859 -Vs- FIA 8860. 
Snell is an American regulation as FIA is an International regulation. With the advent of The SA2015 rating, SA and FIA 8859 ratings offer very similar protection. However, if you plan to race outside of the USA make sure you have an FIA rated helmet. There is a chance that Canada's, Mexico's or any other fine track outside of the USA won't allow a Snell.  

FIA 8860 helmets. 
 The Daddy, the big cheese, superman's offspring. This rating was brought around after Felipe Massa's 2009 impact with a spring at 180mph. 

Cliff notes 8860 is an F1 requirement, 100% carbon fiber, the helmet is the strongest on the market. They offer the best protection and are quite expensive. 

Enough with ratings, let us talk lids. 

Let us take a step back and look at the big picture. 
What are you going to use the helmet for?
Drag racing- 
Road racing- 
^ do you have a windshield? 
Riding shotgun twice a year- 

We need to think of Safety equipment working at the worst possible case. In an autocross worst case is going to be hitting a curb at 45. despite your newfound "viral fail fame", impact loads should be limited.  An inexpensive or an open face helmet might not be a bad option.  If you are in a road race car then the threat of fire and impact at 100+ mph becomes real. If you are in a car without a windshield then we need to be looking at the superman FIA8860 rated helmet. Without a windshield, you no longer have a defense from flying objects. moreal of the story is it's up to the Driver to think of what he/she does when buying a helmet.      

Sorting by price.  We'll take a look at the helmets from cheap to downright expensive. Let us explain why they cost what they do. 

Helmets are like suits, they use diffrent weight Nomex and features.

>$200 Helmets
Cheap Nomex is cheap Nomex. Much like Nomex suits, low dollar racing helmets can be heavy, hot, uncomfortable for extended periods of time. To keep the price down manufacturers need to use low-cost materials. This means that the quality will suffer, it might be scratchy, or it might deteriorate a faster than something up the price bracket. on a good note if you use the helmet only a few times a year then longevity is not a problem. 

- Cheap
- If you're going to race >2 events a year. go for it!
- Great for Autocross  
- Sa2015 rated   
- The inexpensive material can be scratchy
- Not last as long or fall apart faster. 
- Being hot is a real possibility.
- Can look like "dale"   

$200-349 Helmets
SA2015 has brought out hundreds of helmets in this price range. These helmets offer a "good" quality of material, slightly lower weight but almost no features. These are excellent choices for Road Racers, lemon-ers, chump-ers.  Again let us look up if you're going to be racing almost 5 events a year, this is the helmet to go for. 
-"Good" material is used,  
- with mild use 5-10 events a year it can last until the expiration date.  
- Sa2015
- Vented for keeping cool

- No forced air, 
- no bells 
- whistles. 
- style can be left desireable 

$350-800 helmets
A huge gap in price. These helmets are all on a level playing field when it comes to quality. The material used is top notch will be very hardy. This is where the FIA8859 helmets live. What swings the price are the bells and whistles. Examples: improved aerodynamics, forced air, chin spoilers, removable padding, radios, carbon fiber, and cooling. If you are going to be participating in more than +5 road racing events a year this is where you should be looking. You are going to spend time this helmet it's best to be comfortable

- Fia 8859 ratings live here, race wold wide. 
- Finest material (can last past expiration date) 
- Bells
- Whistles
- Some carbon fiber
- Price is creeping
- Extras cost extra
- A balaclava should be worn to stop the thing from growing legs after 10 years of use. 
-Facing facts that you are a track rat.

+$800 helmets, 
We are beyond cost vs quality and now you are paying for more protection. at this point, it's all carbon composite and carbon fiber. Frankly, if you have an open cockpit car this is where you should be, The carbon shells are stronger then yeh traditional fiberglass. that helps prevent damage from impacts. 

- This is where FIA 8860 starts 
- Carbon is stronger than fiberglass, helps distribute impact load.  
- Light weight reduces the impact on the neck and spinal cord during impacts. 

- You're doing well for yourself or you live at a track. 
- These cost some cheddar.
- They expire   

If anyone has comments you can reatch me at or drop a comment below. thank you for taking the time. 


Race Update. Nasa Toy Run at Road Atlanta with video.

Race update: 
Nasa Toy run is a charity race as well as the season-ending event. 

It started on Thursday, with a Run to target for toys. OG Racing Donated and NLR matched the donation. The kids will love it. Side note if you go to target and tell them your buying for a charity they will cut you a discount. as you can see we bought multiples of the same items so Target knew it was for a charity. 


Entering this event we were 340 points up over Frank Calhun and his 5.0L mustang. The championship was captured at the Previous CMP race.   

Frank does a wonderful job of avoiding the internet, we cannot find a picture of his mustang anywhere. for a substitute I drew a picture of it, as you can see it's a monster. 

being that the TTU championship was going to be a nice early Christmas gift. We set my sights on Former teammate Devin's Gridlife time of 1:35.1. that would be a new Personal best for me by over 3 seconds. On a personal level, I didn't think I had that time in me, although I knew the car did.   

the RUN. 

The results. The AiM lap timer and transponder will not read the same time. the transponder is actually in the back of my car, the AIM is dead set in the front 1/3. 

We got the 1:35.1 we were looking for but we missed Devin's time by .02 of a second. We'll call that a Tie :D 

The surprise of the weekend was from Cameran Lane. 

This Old school Z car packs an LS1 engine. 

our cars were evenly matched, 
His motor was stock power as mine has heads and a cam.
 He had big ass 275mm tires, compared to my 245mm tires.

On the straights, I would catch him, but on the corners, he would walk away.

IT was one hell of a great fight. the first time out I bested his time by .084 of a second. the second run we weren't able to top him as we ran the best time of the day (1:35.160) but he ran his best of a (1:34.904) a split of  0.25 seconds.  It was one hell of a battle, we'll get him next time 

On to the awards for TTU 
*If you hold things closer to the camera it looks bigger.*

Then it got a little crazy

yep, that propane heater was running. if you haven't partied with NASA-Se ... have you even partied? 

Looking back on 2016. 
 I didn't do it alone. Wehn I say "we" I am referring to those who I am forever grateful. Huge Thank You goes out to the team, fellow racers and support. Andrea Cichowski, Joel Morrison, Jacob MoslerJohn McElroy, Alex Gallardo, my parents Dave Gregoria, Wendy Gregoria, to my partners Maxxis Tires, Grams Performance & DesignHolley Performance Products, OG Racing, Performance Friction Brakes, and to V8 Roadsters LLC

Looking forward to 2017

Goals for next year, 2017 we aren't going focus on the TTU run so hard. Instead, let's go for those tracks that have been out of reach. lets hit the bucket list tracks like Sebring and COTA. 
Let's push to the Miata to be more reliable, and let's clean it up a little. We are the heaviest campaigned V8 racing Miata ever. We need to capture the Road Atlanta V8 Miata lap record set by Danny George of 1.32.548 . keep an eye here for those updates.  

 A huge thank you to everyone who follows. 

Hold that pressure on a budget: The cheap way to Dry Sump your GM LS engine.

Full disclosure: I am not sponsored by any company listed below. this is just the easiest way I found to go dry sump. 

It's well known that the Achilles' Heel of road-racing LS engines is oil pressure during hard turns.

A quick explanation of what the problem is:
During hard turns, the oil in the pan is kicked away from the oil pickup.The oil pickup is unable to bring in oil, and brings in air instead, resulting in a loss of oil pressure.

Above is the result of low oil pressure.

What should we see? Recommended oil pressure from John Bouchard Racing Engines is 10 PSI per 1000 rpm. So at 5000 rpm you should have a minimum of  50 PSI; at 1000 rpm we need at least 10 PSI.

Before we start the project, let's cover some common oil starvation myths with LS engines.

"Oil starvation is only a problem with LS3 engines."
Nope! Our little LS1 was seeing 20 PSI at 4500 rpm, which is 25 PSI less then what we need. This was while pulling 1.4 Gs at Turn 12 of Road Atlanta.

"A bat wing will fix everything." This is the myth that early C5 corvettes didn't have oil starvation issues due to their "bat wing" oil pan.
Nopes! Vengeance Road Racing reported on their bat wing-equipped C5. They had 7 PSI on some corners at Barber Motorsports Park.

For those that don't know, this is what a bat wing oil pan looks like. It came on early C5 Corvettes.

"It's OK I have an Accusump."
Kinda. The Vengeance C5 and our car both ran oil accumulators. The Accusump did keep some pressure, but not enough. If we did not have Accusumps, the engine would have failed much sooner.

If you're looking for a Band-Aid, this is a good one, but it's still a Band-Aid.

ALRIGHT!! On to the build. This is how we did it. 

Step 1: The tank.

Tanks are chassis dependent. If you have a lot of room, get a big tank. If you have less room, get a smaller tank. I'm testing an 8-quart Z06 tank in my car. This tank is a bit small, and nobody should go smaller. We will report back if we run low on pressure.

If you run the LS7 tank, get yourself a set of these fittings. They adapt the factory fittings to an AN-12. You can buy them here:

We found the LS7 tank for 300 bucks. If you have room for a larger tank, go for it. We also found used NASCAR tanks on ebay for the same money. Search for "nascar drysump."

Step 2: The pump.

We went with an Aviaid LS-A pump. We did this for a few reasons.

  1. It's considered a "Stage 1" dry sump setup. It uses the internal OEM oil pump for pressure. This is fine for LS engines running under 6000 rpm like our car. The pump itself is a two-stage  scavenge pump (meaning there are two places where oil can be drawn in) that mounts to the cylinder head.
  2. It came from Aviaid for with everything we needed for $852 and does not need any special crank pulley.
  3. If this setup ever fails, we can just bypass the dry-sump scavenge pump and run it home on the OEM pump.

This is the mounting point for the LS-A Aviaid kits. It sits way up high.

Here is the pump mounted to the main serpentine belt. All of these pieces are included with the Aviaid kit.

Step 3: The pan. 

In our car the oil pan is critical. Our chassis is very small. We could buy a pan from ARE but it wouldn't clear the steering rack, so our only choice is to modify ours. That was also the cheapest option.

We took our pan over to Vengence Road Racing for some modification. It cost around $300 in labor plus $140 for two Peterson aluminum pickups.  

They did an excellent job adding in two pickups and a baffle that will push the oil to each pickup dependent if we are braking, accelerating, or turning left and right. 

Step 4: The install.

The next thing we need to do is get the oil from the tank, through the pan and to the main pickup. Vengeance welded the pickup tubes to take an AN-12 line, We ran Earl's caps to a flared piece of 3/4" aluminum tube we bought on Amazon.  

We ran all that tubing to a 90-degree AN-12 bulkhead out of the side of the block. 

Aviaid recommends screens on the oil pick up. This is in case a large object gets into the pan (think trunnion bearings) that those items won’t screw up your nice fancy little pump. We got ours from Earl's. These are part number 23012ERL

You can see how the filters are hooked up to the pan’s scavenge ports. 

Then we built the lines using Earl's AN-12 hose. It’s important to use AN-12 to get adequate flow. Some Trans Am teams told us to run this size, let’s not fight them. 

To finish the plumbing we followed a diagram much like this one.


Here Is the pay off video. It holds steady pressure. We will report back after the first race weekend. 

Total Costs
AVIAD pump, brackets, bets and fittings ----825
Vengeance modifying a V8 Roadsters pan -- 300
Earl's lines assorted ----------------------------- 200
LS7 oil tank and fittings ----------------------- 400
Grand total    $1,725

Up Date 10/17/2016

Oil Starvation is gone. now we can push the car to the limit without worrying about Premature engine failure.