Dread Nought Racing - Race Car Build, Prep & Service
SCCA Road Racing(30+ yrs)
Welcome to the homepage of Dread Nought Racing.
We participate in Sports Car Club of America and NASA events around the Southeast.
Our competition vehicles are fully race prepared Mazda MX5 Miatas which compete in the Spec Miata, Improved Touring and Production car classifications.
The scope of our services range from complete auto build to track side support; including-
Track Side Support (Crew)
Whatever else it takes to get you on the track!
Contact at us at (864) 947-9989 to discuss your specific needs.
Our shop is in the HPMotors Building at 7009
Hwy 29 North, near Pelzer SC 29669. email at
October/9-11/2015: SAARC Invitational Championship at RRR
The final race of the season, with Dread Nought Racing and driver Henry Payne in the points lead by a narrow 2 point margin. Exciting stuff, huh?
The team arrived on Friday and began testing and tuning. The car showed good speed throughout the day, and the times reflected it. With steady time drops, things looked promising.
Unfortunately, during the last test session, Henry pulled in early with complaints of the car not pulling as strongly down the straights as it had earlier and that he felt a strong miss. Investigation found that the spark plug in cylinder 4 had failed. The tip of the spark plug had burned/fell off into the combustion chamber. A compression test showed the cylinder had lost some compression from the incident, but compression was still fair. Fresh plugs were put in the motor, and it ran as well as could be expected. The team would just have to wait for the Saturday qualifying and hope for the best.
Qualifying came with heavy morning rains, and no one raining quickly during the early sessions. Henry was unable to truly push the car until the afternoon when things had dried out. Unfortunately, his times were slower than previous practice sessions and he came in with complaints of the motor feeling a little soft. This meant he qualified 3rd in class.
For the Sunday race, Henry's times showed steady improvement throughout the race. By the end of the race, the car was turning the fastest times it had all weekend. Unfortunately, by starting further down on the grid than hoped, he was unable to catch the 1st place car in his class, and claimed 2nd.
A strong second place in class for the race meant a strong second place in class for the season. While it was not the season championship win that Dread Nought Racing hoped for, the results are still very solid and we are proud of Henry. Nice Driving!
Investigation of the motor after the race weekend found that the failed spark plug had badly damaged the number four piston surface in two separate places. It's an unfortunate situation, but that just means it's finally time to build the new FProd car we have been planning.
A huge thank you goes out to Mary Payne, George Cummings, Ashton Bourbonnais, and everyone else who has crewed for us off and on throughout the season. Hopefully next year we can bring home the win for you!
August/27-30/2015: Double SAARC at BMP
After the events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dread Nought Racing's road racing efforts would take them to Barber Motorsports Park for a Double SAARC hosted by the Tennessee Valley Region of the SCCA.
Before the race, Henry's FProd Miata went to finally get some much needed dyno tuning after the engine build. Decent additional power was found at the dyno, which was promising for the upcoming race.
Upon arriving at the track, the Dread Nought Racing tow vehicle decided it no longer needed to drive in the forward gears! So, being two states away from home, the team had no choice but to watch the truck slowly disappear in the distance behind a tow truck on it's way to a mystery shop.
Fortunately, the rest of the race weekend went well, with Henry and the number 7 Miata claiming two first place victories at the track, and finally putting him in points lead for the 2015 SAARC season with only once race weekend left. It is only a two point lead, and the next race will decide the winner for the whole season.
Wish us luck!
August/22/2015: Salute to Boat Knight Autocross at ZMaxx Dragstrip/CMS
For this event, Nate Wimbrow campaigned the the #93 Spec Miata at the Salute to Boat Knight autocross. This event was run by the Central Carolina Regions chapter of the SCCA at the ZMaxx/CMS compound.
While the car runs in Spec Miata for wheel-to-wheel competitions and SOLO 1 events, this time it ran in Super Street Modified (SSM) for this SOLO 2 event.
Nate had a great performance, leading the group all day. The car felt solid, and the times showed. However on the last run of the day, one of the competitors ran some nice fresh tires and nabbed the win. Nice driving by the winner. When you have fast, strong competition second place is definitely a good spot to be in. Congratulations Nate on finishing # 2 on the podium!
August/14-16/2015: Daylight to Dark Double SAARC at CMS
The next event was at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). For our racing, this track uses the very well known oval and also the lesser known infield. This creates a road-coarse configuration referred to as a "Roval". Road Course + Oval = "Roval".
Due to the engine failure/throttle screw ingestion at the previous event, Henry's #7 FProd Miata was taken to the track a day early in order to break-in the new motor during the test day events on Friday. Due to a delay in parts, the motor was completed right before the race. We had to simply hope for the best. While the car felt reasonable, it did not feel as strong as it had in the past. Still, other than losing a rear tire on the high-speed banking, the day went smoothly and the car ran reliably. The tire blow-out appeared to be a flaw in the tire as no other reason could be found, and no other tires were lost all weekend. The break-in oil was drained from the motor and everything else was set for the next day.
On Saturday, Henry would have a qualifying session, a race, and another qualifying session in advance of the race on Sunday. In the first session it became apparent that the car was indeed a little down on power. This meant top speed carried around the oval portion of the track was lacking compared to other cars in the class. Losing top speed around the oval makes it very hard to run competitive times.
For the race, the car ran reliably but still remained under-powered. Henry still drove to a second place finish against his competition, but when you know you can go faster, it is still frustrating.
The second qualifying session met with worse results as the modified throttlebody (modified after the most recent failure which resulted in the engine failure from the last race) failed again. This meant Henry qualified last due to never getting a chance to get a clean lap before part failure.
Fortunately the changes made to the throttlebody meant that although it broke again, the part breaking didn't lead to the motor also getting damaged. Small improvements all add up. It was found that even though the new throttlebody had the right idea, it wasn't soldered together properly. A local friend of the the team, Rick Hartsell, was able to solder the part back together properly. If you're ever in the Charlotte area and need car work done, it's hard to find a better, more honest garage than Hovis Radiator, Rick's shop. Thanks again Rick!
With the car fixed, Sunday's race looked like a repeat of Saturday's. The car ran reliably, handled well in the infield, but was simply not fast around the oval. However, two-thirds of the way through the race the leading car in Henry's class came in early with electrical problems, leaving Henry the chance to take the class win. It wasn't the ideal way to win, but being reliable is part of being fast.
Following the race, the car was taken to the dyno again to be retuned for the new motor. A fair amount of power was found through tuning, and it looks like the car stands a much better chance of being competitively fast at the next event.
A big thank you goes out to George Cummings, Rick Hartsell, Nancy Hartsell Jamie Brown, Denise Brown for coming out to crew, support, and spectate. See you at the next one!
April/24-26/2015: Jim Stark Memorial Double SAARC at RRR
With a good strong finish at the last event, Henry's FProd seemed to be developing good power. However, contact from the last event meant that the suspension would need some going over. The tweaked components that were compromised had been replaced, and it was time to head to Roebling Road Raceway (RRR) for the Jim Stark Memorial hosted by the Buccaneer Region of the SCCA.
The car was brought down early for the Friday test day, and felt good all morning. However, on the fourth test session the car suddenly died heading into turn one. Trackside diagnosis found that the throttlebody had failed. This failure sent a screw into the motor which proceeded to collapse the valves in cylinder four. It is unfortunate, but the motor will be rebuilt better than ever. Sometimes that's racing.
March/27-29/2015: Buck Muse Memorial at CMP
After the poor results of the previous event, the source of the running issue in Henry Payne's FProd Miata was eventually traced back to a failure in the vehicle's ECU. Henry built a completely new computer for the car, and both it and Joe Bryan Payne's ITA Miata were brought out for the very, very cold event at Carolina Motorsports Park.
The Friday test day proved to be a wise precaution, as the FProd provided a few more teething issues in the form have rain tire fitment problems and the development of a wiring short in the cranking circuit that resulted in a new starter and new power supply wire.
Saturday qualifying went well for the ITA car, as Joe Bryan placed third in class. However, different tires were used during the race. Due to their age, the tires performed very poorly leaving Joe Bryan well off his pace set during qualifying. Eventually the front left tire developed a flat, and he retired early.
Saturday qualifying went well for Henry, but the new computer would only allow the engine to rev to around 6,500 rpm. This hurt Henry's qualifying performance, as the car is meant to be shifted at 8,000 rpm, so he was leaving plenty of power on the shelf. Before the race, the new ECU was removed and the hardware adjusted to allow the internal sensors to maintain/register the RPM signal up to the car's 8,000 rpm limit. With his car finally running well, Henry set a good pace and was working his way through the field when there was contact with a slower car he was passing. Both vehicle's received moderate suspension damage and finished the race off the pace.
The crew worked hard in the evening to replace the front brakes on the ITA car, and repair the suspension damage to the FProd.
For Sunday qualifying, the ITA car needed to bed in it's brand new brakes, but still managed to qualify a respectable 2nd. Joe Bryan had a great start to the race, and managed to catch the 1st place car in his field within the opening laps. From there, he drove it home for the class win.
Henry's FProd still had some minor alignment issues after the previous day's contact, and his qualifying time's were slower than desired. Adjustments were made to the car before the race, and the results showed. Henry set a good strong pace, and brought home the class win.
Unfortunately, the only video of the weekend is of the Saturday ITA qualifying session. Most of the time was spent heat cycling the tires, but you can still see the track. A big thank you goes out to Ashton Bourbonnais, George Cummings, and Schuyler Hidde, our invaluable crew for the event. They kept us on track, focused, and helped record valuable information in cold weather the whole weekend.
March/6-8/2015: March Into Spring at VIR
Following the momentum of winning at the ARRC, Dread Nought Racing chose to continue focusing on Henry Payne's FProd Miata for it's first even of the new year. The car had received more development during the off months, and came to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) running strong courtesy of a new, superior ignition system and fresh dyno tune.
However, it was not meant to be. While running strong all week during testing, the car developed running issues during the first qualifying session that could not be resolved. This resulted in two "Did Not Start" placings, and a quiet trip back home. The issue was later traced back to a component failure in the vehicle's ECU. That's racing.