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6/17/2011: Ups and Downs

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We started late in the afternoon to get to Buttonwillow for the Chumpcar 14-Hour race, but we got there on time to setup our pit, make tech, do a coursewalk (first-time ever for most of us though we are familiar with Buttonwillow), had fun with it and to test our Audi-Lemans-inspired LED headlights.  Everyone was accounted for for the first wave of our team: Emilio, William, Jerry, John, Manny and I.  Alex and Erik from 2nd Chance Roadster were soon to arrive during the evening as we are going for dinner after testing our headlights.  At least that was.the plan anyway, but like most plans, they mostly always never go exactly as planned…

As we got done with testing the headlights, fuses started blowing as we had a few drivers drive around the pits to get familiar with the lights and controls.  Also the car started overheating, made a terrible knocking noise and started losing taillights.  Immediately, we hit the kill switch and proceeded to feverishly fix he car.  After staying calm despite jumping to many conclusions, we found out they were just a bunch of small problems all fixed in a matter of minutes. The overheating was caused by a blown fuse in the fans, something that was not taking care of before we got the track and the knocking noise was a wobbling water pump pulley and easily fixed with just tightening the bolts and applying some loctite.  The car was happy again after that, then we went to sleep with a good bottle of beer.

This morning was great.  Car was running strong, ready to go.  Geri was first to go.  However, disaster happened.  After a short unexpected stop 20 minutes in the pits to fix a radio problem and clutch slipping problem, the crew noticed a big oil puddle under the car after it left the pits.  It was clear and cut; the car was wounded with a blown rear main seal.

So we are down, BUT WE ARE NOT OUT YET!!  As I type now, after William made a phone call to a good friend, Gordon, part of the crew is now driving to nearby San Luis Obisbo to grab William’s old black “Hello Kitty” Spec Miata as our back up car.

The point is that I don’t care about finishing well; that wasn’t the point of this event anyway.  It is actually to get experience for the team to experience night stints and cut my teeth with good and honest, real full-on racing.

So, time now to wait for the backup car.  It should be here at 2pm, leaving us with about 7-8 hours of racing.  Plenty of time, or rather infinitely many times more time compared to my total wheel-to-wheel.

I don’t care.  I want to drive.  I want to race.  Bring it on!!  Wish me luck. I will need it with the luck we are having now.

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  1. Pingback: 6/19/2011: Full Report – Chumpcar 14-Hour @ Buttonwillow « The Drive to Race - June 26, 2011

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