Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sleep? Who needs sleep? It's race day!
Up early for an 8:30am drivers meeting, the rest of the team gathered around the car to do final inspections. Leo and Dennis screwed with their data acquisition systems, Dad got ready to head out on the track and I was double checking our braking system. T-minus 30 minutes until the start.
Dad decided to go out first to get a handle for the track. Leo, Dennis and I had all seen the track in video games our whole lives... did it help? Probably not.
In theory, our car would be measuring telemtry through two on-board MaxQData systems and recording video on 4 webcams placed throughout the car. We had never really gotten them to work, but were determined for this race!
Dad goes out and the rest of the team huddles in the grandstands to watch. With only about 27 cars on the track at race-start.. there was going to be LOTS of open track after the first hour or so.
1 hour and 45 minutes later, Dad came in with the biggest $hit eating grin on his face i've ever witnessed. "How was the track Dad?" "****ing fantastic!". Hell yeah! Historicly, I have tagged along to my dad's hunting and fishing events with all of his friends. I have a GREAT time, but racing is really the first activity that I've roped my Dad into... I like to think he has a good time at these things
Dad in, Leo out. Leo took a few slow laps to get used to the track format and started to put on the gas. At this point we were sitting at about 7th place with 5 hours of driving left to go. Lots of time for lots to happen. Entering turn 1, Leo decides it's a great idea to dive in late and suddenly realizes he is NOT going to make the chicane. He does the right thing by going off track, but the car stalled out and would not start. Bad battery? Bad starter? Who knows.. get him in the pits and push start his a$$. Back on the track!
Leo in, Matt (me) out. Turn 1 coming out of the pit lane was REALLY steep... sure I knew you could take it at a pretty good clip from the Gran Tourismo laps... but I was not prepared for the ridiculous incline. I shifted to 3rd up the hill and the car just fell on it's face. Note to self... keep it above 4500 rpms. I was out for about an hour and a half and managed to climb us a couple positions, even with our crap DZ 101 tires.
view from the grand stands at the base of T1
Matt in, Dennis out. Poor Dennis.. it turns out that Dennis would be the butt of all of our jokes for the next 48 hours. You see, if you follow my blog... you know that in Portland our brakes caught on fire with about 40 minutes left to go. Dennis was driving and refused to get out of the car when I told him the front brakes were ON FIRE. He simply looked at me and said "well put it out, I want to go back on track". Remember this? Yeah, that's Joe putting out a fire and me trying to get Dennis out of the car.
Dennis lasts about 2 laps before bringing the car back in with a broken CV. I hear the following over the radio "Uhh, I think I just blew up the motor". F*#@. Back in the garage, Dad and I worked together to get the replacement CV in the car. 22 minutes later, we were pushing the car out of the garage and Dennis was to go back out on the track. PUSH! No battery, no starter... it worked last time! 15 minutes later, we could not get the car started... we tried pushing, we tried jumping it, we tried bypassing the starter cylinoid. Nada. We were done for the day :(
Upon further inspection, we figured out that when the CV exploded it wrapped itself around the O2 sensor wiring and pulled the wires clean out of the harness. With no O2 sensor, our ECU was running an open loop and DUMPING fuel into the combustion chamber. No wonder it wouldnt start, we were running pig rich.
New battery, starter, o2 sensor (90 bucks!), and a quick alternator test and we were back on the road to the track. Did I mention we got more beer?