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Central Kentucky Region SCCA • View topic - 24hrs "Longest Day" at Nelson Ledges...Take 2
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:59 pm 
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Whew! What a weekend! I'm finally catching up on the sleep I lost from being up for 40hrs straight!

The Good:

We all had an incredible time, and had an awsome race...until....

The Bad:

We didn't finish...

I arrived at the track Friday morning and began looking over the car carefully before the practice and qualifying sessions started. Everyone was excited to get going, and we started getting our pit area set up. Randy Walker brings an incredible amount of equipment to a race, and you never want for anything. This was so helpful. We set up the scaffolding and pit lights again, and I have to say our area was better set up than anyone else's, even the Car & Driver team that came.

There were 2 other Spec Miata's registered, and we qualified ahead of both of them, and something like 13th overall. We were chasing a strange vibration in fast right handers, and after checking all the usual suspects (including the wheel bearings), we were baffled. The decision was made late Friday night to swap out the diff, driveshaft and halfshafts... So, sometime after midnight, Jim Schings gets in the car, takes it out on the back road near the track, and the vibration was still there.... The driver's had come to terms with it, and we decided to just drive around it until it got worse...

We started the race pretty well, and quickly got into a rhythm with the pit stops. We learned something from last year regarding how long we could go on a tank of gas. This year, we would run about 75 laps, and wait for the engine to stumble in a corner before we came in. This worked beautifully. Our pit stops were also quicker than anyone's, about 3 minutes VS. 5-8 minutes. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry during the pit stops and we couldn't understand why. Same thing last year. I guess they figured it was a 24hr race, but hey, we were picking up between 1 and 2 laps on everyone everytime we stopped!

Then the first disaster happened. Dr. Ricker was coming down the back straight at 120mph and went for the brakes. The front left wheel bearing decided to fail at that point, and the massive wobble at that speed prevented the caliper from clamping down on the rotor, which meant he had no brakes! He put it into an intentional spin to slow it down, and ended up only about 10ft of track, and right around the corner from pit entry. He brought it in, and I grabbed the wheel and could shake it back and forth about 3 inches either way!!! We took the car to the tech shed, and I began working frantically to get the whole corner off the car, while another group of folks went to the spare car to get its parts for replacement. We only lost 40 minutes from the time we pitted until we rejoined the race, but that was enough to put us down almost 30 laps...

We spent the next 12 hours overnight pounding out consistent laps and making pit stops as fast as we could to regain time. Somewhere around the 15th hour, we were back in the lead in SM, and something like 10th overall. We had made a big uphill climb, and our competitors said they could see us coming, and knew they had nothing for us!

3 hours later, we had a 7 lap lead over 2nd place in SM, 11 laps over 3rd, and we were running 6th overall! We were smoking! The sun had just come up around 6 AM, and the drivers slowed the pace a little to save the car. It was almost time for Greg Schings to come in for fuel, and we were all geared up at the pit wall ready for service. He called in and reported the engine was sputtering and he thought he was out of fuel. Except, what actually happened was the water pump had failed, and the engine was overheated, head gasket blown...

Hey, that's endurance racing, and though we haven't finished a 24hr race yet, we always have an incredible time with incredible folks, and I hope we do it again next year!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Location: Lexington, KY
That's intense, good job. I *need* a competition license.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:48 pm 
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Location: Lexington, KY
Pics from this weekend

http://fotomojo.us/g/LD08


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:41 pm 
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This is something that I 100% want to be a part of some day (next year, if it happens again that is). I really wanted to get in on it this year, but it just didn't work out.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:12 pm 
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Man...I've got to make this event next year.
I hear you guys put on a pit stop clinic.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:14 am 
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Pit stop video....

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:34 pm 
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Location: Lexington, KY

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