Dateline - 08/27 and 08/28 2016 - Didn't work on the car this weekend because I spent the weekend racing! You may remember that I drive with Team Odin back in April (http://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2016/04/worked-on-another-car-this-weekend.html ) and believe it or not, they invited me back! So this weekend I got to get some serious time behind the wheel of a race car and we had a great run to boot! We did the entire weekend without removing the hood or coming in for mechanical issues except for one black flag for a fuel leak (more on that below).
We did have a rocky start though. First, there were over 70 cars signed up to race and LeMons didn't do much in the way of organization in the paddock area so by the time Chris got there (around 1:00 pm) the entire paddock area was completely full, so we had to park way out in the dirt!
Next was car tech inspection. Two things failed. We needed a passenger door roll bar cross member (new to 2015 rules and only needed for LeMons) and the fuel cell vent needed to end below the bottom of the tank. Ours was terminated in the fender above the tank. The argument was that if the car rolls over and the vent valve does not close, fuel will drain into the car. It's a fair cop, but LeMons is the only one with this rule and the car ran for five years as it was. But you have to fix what they tell you to or you don't race!
So Friday we went running around trying to find a piece of non-seam 1-3/4" roll bar stock that we could weld into the car. After purchasing a piece at the junk yard, and finding a good piece from someone in the paddock, Derek
spent a couple hours cutting and welding the pipe in place into a very cramped space, in 90 degree heat!
The fuel cell vent was pretty easy to fix. We just ran the hose down the fender and through a rust hole that was already there, but needed a little widening with a pair of pliers. Tech inspection the next morning went fine and both items passed.
Because we had a "very special car," we got to line up to be first on the track Saturday and actually lead a couple of laps (picture below of Chris sitting in the paddock ready to go out) but very early in the run, we got black flagged for a fuel leak. Apparently our re-routed vent hose was siphoning fuel out of the tank when we took a hard right turn. We were told, "Fix it and fix it right. If we black flag you again for fuel leaks you are done for the weekend." So we re-routed it back where it was before at the top of the fender and added a bunch of fuel line from there back to the hole at the bottom of the fender. No more fuel leaks.
|Car 54 - Team Odin getting ready to launch on Saturday|
|A look at the cars behind us at the start|
The rest of Saturday was pretty uneventful until the last hour of the race. We had four drivers, Chris, Jeromy (new), me (almost new) and Derek
driving in that order. We each got a chance to drive twice for one hour except for Derek
who's last run was 30 minutes and he took the checker. About 20 minutes before the end of my run, we lost the brake booster and all of the sudden the car wouldn't stop. In the process, because I was still driving hot, I cooked the brakes and so by the time Derek
got to drive, there was very little stopping left in the car, but we did get to the finish in one piece. The funny thing was that when Derek
got out of the car, he said, "You told me that the brakes were bad. WHAT BRAKES!"
We brought the car in, changed the brakes on all four corners and rotated the tires, and were good to go for the next day. We didn't have a spare brake booster with us so we knew Sunday was going to require a lot more shifting and right leg work.
Sunday we started off early and had a very solid run. Car ran fine, speeds were pretty good and the weather didn't get hot enough for us to put on the Cool Shirts. Chris drove for an hour, Jeromy drive for a hour, I drove for a hour, Derek
drove for a hour. Then, because it was a shorter race, Chris and
sat out their turns, letting Jeromy and me drive for the last 1.5 hours. I got the chance to take checker, which was surprisingly more fun and exciting than I thought it was going to be!
By the end of the day, we were really clicking as a team. We had timing down, driver changes down, no black flags (except for the first one) and we didn't hit anyone (but there were some serious close calls!)
So, some stats:
- Total Laps: 298
- Total Miles: 750
- Place overall: 37 out of 67
- Place in C-Class: 3rd out of 14 and only 2 laps down from 2nd. The car in 1st place had ~15 laps on 2nd, so there was no catching up.
Milestones for the team:
- Most number of laps run in one race
- First race that didn't require major (hood off) mechanical repairs
- First race that didn't require tire changes (Did 3 race days on the same set of Cooper Zeon tires and they were really sticky!)
Milestones for me:
- 3:45 hours of racing.
- First Checker flag
- Full one hour stints behind the wheel
- Didn't go off track!
- My fastest lap time - 2:30
- And feeling much more comfortable flogging a car around the track and really taking it to the edge at times.
The next race is in October, again at The Ridge, but this time with Lucky Dog, like the April race. Unfortunately, I have a fishing trip planned for the same weekend (21/22) so I will not be able to race. So this may have been the last race for me this year.