So yesterday brought you part I of our first ever racecar build for the 24 Hours of Lemons, and it ended with us sailing thru tech and BS inspections as the darling of Judges Phil and Jay.
The next day was race day, but first we had to survive the night. Everyone else on the team had made the smart move and gotten a hotel room. I on the other hand had decided to rough it. I figured I had borrowed this nice truck with a shell from my neighbors Old Man Markley, with a sleeping bag rated for below freezing I ought to be fine. I wasn’t fine. Even wearing my clothes, under 2 sleeping bags, with my feet in socks and a winter hat I couldn’t feel my toes by 4am.
This is what the top of the truck looked like in the morning.
Anyway there was a driver’s meeting, then we all went back to the pits and got all ready to go. I rolled onto the track about quarter to 10 for a 10am green flag. After a few slow laps under yellow the green flag flew and we were racing.
In actuality, most of the other teams were racing, we were just getting passed. Turns out we had one of the slowest cars out there. But the good news was that besides a lack of acceleration and a pitiful terminal speed, everything else seemed to work fine. The chassis turned and seemed balanced. The brakes worked just fine. The motor was not loosing oil pressure or overheating. It looked like we could maybe slowly but surely drive this thing all weekend.
I did a 30 minute stint then handed it off to Michael Schaedel. It was at this stop that we realized how inadequate California EPA complaint 5 gallon gas cans were going to be for refueling. 10 gallons of gas took more than 15 minutes to pour into the car. This was another rookie mistake. Michael finished his stint and came in with the only real mechanical issue we had all weekend: A sticking throttle caused by the throttle stop screw backing out and hanging up on the choke. We didn’t have a single 10-32 thread nut, and couldn’t find one in a surrounding pits, so I made a new throttle stop screw with a 8-32 and used a jam nut on either side of the linkage.
This was also the stop where we learned the rear seal on the tranny was leaking directly onto the catalytic converter. At every stop some nice person pointed out that our car was on fire. It wasn’t. I started dumping a bucket of water on it to wash off the oil and cool off the cat at every stop. Although one time it all splashed back and got me and Michael soaking wet.
This is a good place to say that each subsequent driver bested the last. Michael got in the car and beat my best lap time on his second lap. Jeff Stuart, national ranked driver that he is, set the fastest time of the day with something like a 2:40 lap in his fist 30 minutes in the car. Steve Strand, and Jason Schock would both get in to the 2:40s by the end of the weekend, and Jeff would get down to a 2:30 something.
Jason got us a penalty for speeding in the pits which lead to a 1 hour time out because he mouthed off to Judge Johnny. It was almost 2 hours, but Judge Phil took pity on us, and really liked our car. So we broke for lunch.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. There was a second black flag by Michael for going 2 wheels off track, but it was just a stop and go penalty.
We finished the day feeling pretty damn good about ourselves. We were in the top 100 and in the top 10 in our class (C – The Ugly).
Photo galleries of the event can be found here: