Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FINALLY, Race Weekend

The Lemons South event was fantastic! The facilities, operations, organizers, and other participants all came together to create an excellent experience for all (except maybe the #25 BMW Salazaar Racing Team). The weekend began for us on Thursday on a very ominous note, our tow vehicle was out of commission. After attempting some quick troubleshooting, we came to the conclusion that alternative plans had to be developed. We rented a truck from Penske but realized the hitch ball was the wrong size. We had to ditch the car trailer for a dolly set up, but we were able to get everything packed in order to head to the track on Friday morning. The trip up was uneventful. The balance of Friday was spent unpacking and running the car through tech inspection and judging. The car breezed through tech and the judges took little convincing that the car was worth less than $500.

Saturday was an overcast day with rain off and on during the afternoon. The rain made the track slick and many spinouts occured. The # 13 Wile E. Coyote Special did not spin out, though. We stayed on the track despite the slippery conditions. Our first problem had nothing to do with the weather, car, or even our drivers. Our first problem occurred a little over two hours into the race when our transponder quit working. The transponder is the electronic device that communicates with the track's timing and scoring equipment. As a result of this problem we lost a little over an hour's worth of laps. This dropped us back to mid-pack where we remained the remainder of the race. Later in the day we started experiencing fuel filter plugging. 25 years worth of sediment in the fuel tank and the sloshing back and forth caused by the road course caused us to replace several filters. Special thanks to Leezard's dad for running to the parts store for us!!

Sunday turned out to be sunny and HOT! The track was much faster and racing much more enjoyable. About 2 hours into Sunday's run we started getting a vibration. This turned out to be loose lug nuts on the driver's side front wheel. After tightening, we went back out on the track. A couple hours later the vibration came back. This time one of the 4 lugs turned out to be stripped and could not be tightened. Facing a terminal condition, Crash would take Dottie out for what turned out to be her final run. Crash literally drove the wheel off the car. When he pulled backinto the pits, the wheel was wobbling like a cartoon vehicle. It looked like on of the wheels on the "Family Truckster" from the National Lampoon movie "Vacation". The only thing holding the wheel on was the stripped lug. The 3 that had been retightened were completely missing. We turned in out transponder with 2 hours remaining in the race.

Officially, we finished in 56th position out of 76 cars. When factoring the hours worth of lost laps, we actually finished in about 46th place. This is certainly a solid effort for a bunch of rookies. In our nextrace, if ther is one for us we will definitely have a more competitive car. The Datsun looked good. It was easily one of the two best looking cars at the track. From a performance stanpoint, though the Datsun just didn't have the performance to keep up with the field. We did learn some lessons for next time though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tribute to Court

In the May race at Altamont, Court Summerield passed away while driving. It's suspected that he may have had a heart attack, but to our knowledge it has not been confirmed. While we did not know Court personally, we feel a connection to his kindred spirit. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family. We believe that all of the people participating in these LeMons events share a common sense of adventure and desire to break away from the mold that is everyday life. As a tribute to Court Summerfield, the Hard Luck Racing Wiley Coyote Special is proud to display the colors and number of his final ride. RIP, Court.

T minus 18 days...

That’s right, in less than three weeks we’ll be running around Carolina Motorsports Park. We’ve made arrangements for one of the covered garage spaces for the event. If it’s sunny, we’ll have shade. If it’s raining, we’ll be dry. If it’s neither of these, it will be a bloody miracle. The car is receiving final preparations. Everyone has gotten a little seat time at our private test track, Paulding International Raceway, also known as a temporarily abandoned sub-division around the corner from The Wrench’s house. It’s big enough to shake out the bugs, or at least that’s what we’re counting on. No major surprises so far. The car runs well, better than we expected back in January. We did find a small problem with fuel delivery, but a $5 restriction valve in the return line boosted the fuel pressure to the carbs to give us consistent performance. We’ll be installing our own version of a driver cooling system this week (a little back yard engineering utilizing a cooler, bilge pump, and some tubing). It’s not fancy, but it was cheap enough and it’ll be better than nothing. This system combined with camel packs and short driving stints should get us through. As we get close to the actual event, we pause to review our objectives. 1) Build a car and get accepted – DONE. 2) Have the car last long enough for everyone to get the opportunity to drive. 3) Not lose any fingers or toes (notice the priorities here – hair and skin have already been sacrificed to the garage gods, but that is another story, or two) 4) Avoid any photographic or videographic evidence of embarrassing or incriminating behavior. 5) Have enough stories (embellished or not) to share with our friends, families, acquaintances, and slow-moving strangers until their ears bleed. It's a challenging set of goals. Most teams have one goal - win. We have 5!! This means we're 5 times as ambitious as they are. And we may just be crazy enough to pull it off!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This is what happens...

when you start building your car too early! With budget constraints preventing us from doing anything actually productive, we resorted to this. We're sure to get some looks driving this around the block. As if the wing, missing glass and the big#13 on the side weren't enough, nobody's going to miss us with this thing on the hood. We can hope that the cops will be too busy laughing their asses off to hassle us. We've also been practicing driver changes and emergency exits. Just to be clear... speed is the important factor in an emergency exit - not grace!