So, I know I said I was going to update this thing daily, and it's been a good while since I've posted.
The main reason, I'm on my third motor.
Yes, you read that right. THIRD. As in three. As in I can probably take apart my racecar with my eyes closed. I no longer have to ask for tools, I know exactly what I need to take off whatever it is. It's a really sad fact though.
So, the back story… We left Friday from Texas and headed up to Missouri. My dad drove the entire time, until we got to Springfield, Missouri, where I took over. The plan was to drive to Rolla and spend the night.
We got just about halfway between Springfield and Lebanon on I-44 when one of the trailer tires blew. We changed it on the side of the road and stopped in Lebanon for the night. We had had enough.
The next day, Dad drove the rest of the way. I felt bad, but at the same time, I wouldn't have let me drive either. Not that I did anything wrong, but it was still one of those bad luck things.
We made it to Road America, and got all squared away Saturday afternoon. We checked into our sweet house at the Victorian Village Resort in Elkhart Lake, and crashed for the night.
The next morning, Austin went out, but was having some clutch problems. He's since fixed those, although there was a fair bit of drama and frustration for a few days.
Brian, our engine builder, drove through the night and fixed the new motor. One of the fuel injection port plugs was missing. So, yeah, fixed that.
I spend most of the day going around with Michael on his scooter and James, Dan Helman and Scott McQueen on a golf cart looking at the track. Everyone has been really helpful showing me the line and helping out with figuring the track out.
Then came Monday. The first day I'd like to never relive again. I went out in the first session and was doing fine. The track was pretty easy, technically, but I knew I was leaving a lot on the table. I was braking so early it was pathetic. Then, I screwed up. Royally.
I money shifted the new motor and blew it going into the carousel. I was hoping it was just a head gasket, but sure enough, Syd done blowed that mother up.
We thrashed and got the new motor (now dubbed “the bullet”) out and the back up motor (now dubbed “old trusty”) put back in in about 4 hours. I mean we were hauling butt the last hour, and I made my afternoon practice session.
The motor was OK, but it started bogging down toward the end, so I just came in, and we changed jets for the next morning's qualifying. Overall, we were pretty pleased with ourselves.
Everyone was amazed we got everything done in time, and only forgetting to change the jets.
Well, the next morning, we went out for Qualifying 1. I made it all the way to Canada Corner of the cool down lap before “old trusty” blew. Apparently, we were running it too lean, and number four went bye-bye.
As I pulled off the road, I screamed in frustration. Cause deep down I knew it blew up, but this time I didn't know why. I didn't over rev the motor, it just bogged down and ran away.
I came in and lost it. I'm a girl. I tend to get emotional about things. And boy, did I get emotional. Michael came and hugged me, then took me to their trailer to calm down. It took me a while to quit shaking and breathe normally again.
I was so completely defeated at that moment. I felt like a total failure. I knew that everyone around me was probably thinking, “Holy crap, how can someone blow up two motors in two days!?!”
He came and told me this one wasn't my fault, but it still didn't make me feel much better. I mean, I blew up my backup.
Daddy came over and said, “Do you wanna go home?” I replied with, “No, not really.” He said, “Neither do I, so go down to Mazda and see if they have a crate motor.”
They didn't but I called California and got one overnighted. We spent the rest of the day pulling the motor out, and getting everything ready for the next day. The idea being as soon as it arrived, all we'd have to do, is put everything back on and put it back in.
So Wednesday, we wait. And wait. And wait. The motor finally got to the track at 3 p.m., so it was too late to get everything back on it and make the 5 p.m., qualifying session. I went to the front straight and watched everyone else. It was a little depressing, but I had my motor.
I went to dinner that night with my boys. It was good to laugh for once. I was insanely tired, but dinner, drinks and laughter brighten my spirits.
Thursday morning, we got to the track to start the motor. Everything didn't go quite as smoothly as we had anticipated. At first, we couldn't get any oil pressure in the motor.
I was ready to give up. I mean, I was fighting back tears. Who has this kind of bad luck? Seriously! But, we finally got pressure, and we started the motor.
I made the qualifying session, although I was now 10 seconds slower than Tuesday. We have some plans on getting a little more horsepower out of the car by changing back to the cams we had on the other motor, so hopefully that will work. We've got two days to get everything squared away.
The main thing: I finished an entire session. And I'm qualified for the Runoffs. It's been a few long, emotionally-draining days, but I'm looking at things from the bright side.
Tomorrow is the beginning of racing. I'll be out taking photos for SportsCar Magazine, my second favorite thing to do. If I can't be in a car, I wanna be taking photos of them.
That being said, I wanna wish all my competitors and fellow racers good luck. Here's to some awesome racing the next few days.
With that, I'll leave yall. Gotta get ready for the MazdaSpeed Banquet.
I'll update yall with how the rest of the Texas boys do tomorrow. Until then, here's to a little more GOOD luck, a lot of laughs, and 13 good laps.
Asst. RE Club Racing, Houston Region SCCA
SOWDIV Columnist, SportsCar Magazine