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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:39 PM   #3
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Back from the event. This event was the most frustrating event I had ever gone to. Got there Friday morning for practice and everything seemed great on the car. I broke my previous lap record that day and all seemed to be running well. The car was bottoming out in certain areas, but we were going to change to stiffer springs anyway.

THere was an issue with the front springs, so I ended up running the new rear springs with the old front combo.

Friday afternoon, my car dies on the track. I get towed in and we find out that the cam sensor came unplugged. Weird. Plugged it in and was ready to go.

Saturday, during the first practice session, on the warm up lap I start to hear a strange sound -- like cables bouncing against the car. Next thing I know the car just dies. Another tow in and this time the cam sensor was shattered. WTF! I have a belly pan, so how is anything hitting the cam sensor. We do some investigating and find that the harmonic balancer broke and was spitting out pieces of metal and bolts around in the engine capartment. It cut a hole in the timing cover and I was leaking oil. DOH!

Saturday my car spent its day on the lift while we pulled parts from another motor to get mine goine.

Sunday, the car was ready to go and my first lap out I get water gushing up on the windshield through the hood vents. Jesus! I pull in and we find that the screw that goes on the water hose was missing. Redsled lets me borrow his and as I am pulling his off, it falls out of my fingers and into his engine capartment to never be seen again. (head hung low.) We now both need the same part. Ugh. I miss practice.

We get the parts and in practice all seemed OK except for two things: 1) The car felt like it was running rough during anything less than full throttle -- something wrong with the plugs. I have special cold plugs that fit my heads and nobody at the track had any of these, so not much we could do there.

2) The car would vibrate like mad as I accelerated.

Came back in and determined that one of my wheels was slightly bent, cuasing the vibrations. Got that fixed mounted the new tires, and waited for the race. I didn't get much practice in, but let the fun begin.

Sunday race, we are called to the grid. As I am getting harnessed in, one of the harness belts does not want to clip in. We try it over and over, release everything, again... nothing. After a few minutes of dicking with it, it finally clips in. At this point I am a sweaty mess as I have my cool suit shirt and 3 layer racing suit on.

I pull into the pits and am gridded last (16th position.) We're doing radio checks and my radio guy can hear me, but I can't hear him. He comes down to the car. I flip on my coolsuit as I am getting really hot at this point. We're trying to figure out the radio and then there is a big puff of smoke that shoots out from behind my dash and I see a fire between the cracks! I'm out of the car in 2.2 seconds flat, hans device and all.

I am completely frustrated at this point. Al Bacera and his team look at my car real fast and determine it was a power wire for the cool suit or the radio that caught fire. I can run the race, just don't use either of those. The rest of the grid has just left the pits while I am getting harnessed back up. I catch up to the rest of the race group in the warm up lap and am wiping the sweat from my head. I am so thirsty and the race hasn't even started. Nothing like Murphy's law, eh?

I think in lap 2 or 3, I ended up locking up my breaks to avoid rear ending a big traffic jam through one of the turns. My front right tire was flat spotted real bad. In the car I was hoping I didn't flat spot it to the cords. From that point on, the car thumped (vibrated) as I accelerated so bad that the camera would lose focus of the track as I gained speed. I had never run a race on a flat spotted tire. I made sure to do easy braking for the rest of the race so I wouldn't keep locking up on that spot.

About half way through the race, I believe I had moved to 4th. A wicked fast Panoz was in 1st place, followed by Gunter and then Dannon in his comp coupe. Just previous to this, I passed the STAT comp coupe on the inside of turn one and in doing so ran over the burm and smacked the bottom of my car on it which ripped part of my belly pan. From this point on, there was a loud clacking sound as the piece of the belly pan would catch the wind and vibrate and smack on the car. I thought I had broke one of my front splitter cables and the splitter was scraping on one side. Since I had no radio, I couldnt ask anybody what was going on and figured I would keep racing until they black flagged me.

A couple laps after this, my clutch started to go. I left it in 4th gear for most of one lap and then as soon as I down shifted into 3rd, POOF, the clutch pedal went to the floor and never came back. My race was over.

So, there were a lot of mishaps, and it was a pricey event in the end. However, it was fun to get out there with my friends.

SCCA race in 3 weeks -- same track. I hope for smooth racing.
1996 Race Prepped Viper GTS
1:23 at Willow Springs International Raceway
1:34 at Laguna Seca
1:59 at Button Willow Raceway #1 Clock-Wise
1:57 at Button Willow Raceway #1 Counter Clock-Wise
1:44 at California Speedway Oval & Infield
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