Countdown: The Last Checkered Flag

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hell Week 2: Electric Boogaloo

"If you can't beat the system...break it!"

I always thought that tag line meant stopping corporations from destroying local culture through the power of urban dance (or LeMons racing), but apparently, our team takes it to mean - if you can't figure-out a problem...make it worse! After another grueling week of working on the #7 "Raging Inferno" car every night, we arrived at Harris Hill Road for our second shake-down. After so much work, we arrived with confidence that the car would make a good showing. We had really put in the time.

The finished door bars, completed during Hell Week 2..

Ken jumped in the car for the first run. The car started and sounded great! He drove towards the track entrance and immediately did a U-turn and drove back. There was a clunking sound when he would apply the brakes. We put the car up on a jack and discovered that not only had we not bothered to tighten the brake caliper bolts (I see safety wire in our future), but we had also not bothered to bolt the steering rack to anything. C'mon guys.

The next couple of hours were spent taking the car out for a few laps at a time and then bringing it back in to try and fix the power problem. The car has a 7200 rpm limit, but it would not pull past 5500 rpm or so. The guys found a lot of things that were wrong (knock sensors wired backwards, bad coil wire), but nothing seemed to help the power. We swapped plug wires, ECU, and anything else we had in our spares box to try and help. The only things left to swap were the fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel injectors, which we would have to do back at the hangar.

Once we gave-up on fixing the power problem, we just ran the car around the track to see if we could get anything else to break. Despite the lack of power, the car did very well. I got a head start on Eric, who was driving the 1.6 Miata chase car (equipped with coilovers), and it took a very long time for him to reel me in. So, the 90 isn't slow, it just isn't fast.

Ryan holds-up the To-Do List for the week before the race.

We will be trying to find a fix for the power problem this week, but if we had to run the car as-is, we think it will be dependable and it should make a good showing, especially if we drive it flat-out. Because that is how we drive...flatout.

Speaking of that, one of the biggest stories to come out of Hell Week 2 was that there was another explosion. No, the car didn't explode again, the team did. The stress and pressure finally got to us and there was a blow-up in the hangar one night. Unfortunately, Stef was not there that night to capture it. So, I have recreated the incident here:

Okay, maybe that wasn't EXACTLY how it went down, but no matter, the incident blew over quickly, harmony was restored, and we got back to work. Good thing, because it's race week!


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