Competing in the Open Track Challenge, Day 5
To finish first, you must first finish.
Some might think we've been taking things a little easy, packing up early and not taking advantage of every single minute of race time available. With two experienced endurance racers on the team, we know how important it can be to take care of the car. The Lotus Motorsport Elise has been untouchable on the track over the past few days. However, they're not even going to finish the event. Something fundamental let go in the engine and despite a big effort, the car cannot continue. This moves us into a solid second in the class behind the other Lotus. The factory Subaru car had to replace a transmission yesterday and were still trailing clouds of blue smoke, and the MINI Cooper S has had gearbox problems on top of the electrical gremlins of the past few days. The cars are looking rougher. The Track Dog? Well, we did replace the radiator cap and the lower shift boot today. Our tires are starting to show wear but we're in good shape.
On the track today, we put in two good sessions. We're still experiencing problems in putting down all the power to the ground which affected the ultimate lap times. The rear suspension seems to want a bit more travel. Longer springs may solve the problem, but not until after the event. In the meantime we're considering disconnecting the rear sway bar. Both of our drivers are back in full fighting shape - the final diagnosis was food poisoning. We've decided not to let them eat anything for the rest of the event.
Off the track, we had lots of visitors. After a long day, your faithful narrator has forgotten a few names but this will be fixed tomorrow. The level of support and a familiar track gave the team a real boost. We all had a lot of fun today.
We've been told that the Open Track Challenge website is not being updated with standings. Sorry folks, but we're busy enough keeping our own going and don't have a copy of all the results handy.
Dawn showed up with Rick's pet snake Ruby. No, seriously. Folks expect Rick to show up at the driver's meeting with some sort of unusual getup, but this one surprised a few people.
Mike Hagerla dropped by. He took some of the photos you're seeing today.
From left, John Anker, Gerry McFaull and Ron Petrich.
On the track, Rick gave the 340R some grief. Note the hardtop - we run it on the faster tracks and take it off for slower ones.
Rick passed the Lotus and showed it the way around the track.
Bill reviews the data log from the first lapping session. Things look pretty good. The cooling system is doing an excellent job.
Track Dog gets inspected.
Turbodog gets some company.
Yes, we're running with a spare tire in the race car. This is not required by the rules, it just really helps with the corner weighting. The towels are part of the laptop mounting for data logging.
...and people think we're kidding when we call the visitors parts cars. We needed a new lower shift boot, so we helped ourselves!
In the next lapping session, Rick fends off a fast 240Z.
The 240Z never did get past.
The first of Mike Hagerla's photos. This is big nose race car!
Dan Scolnick does his best Dukes of Hazzard imitation. The car was fine.
Registration and tech, Pahrump
Spring Mountain [Pahrump]
Streets of Willow Springs
Buttonwillow #1 [clockwise]
Buttonwillow #14 [counterclockwise]
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
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