May 28, 2013

Well after a non-race weekend at the Indy Divisional event ( because we could not make the rain date nothing we did there counted) we headed off to the Norwalk Ohio Divisional with two engines and high hopes. Our long time tuner Les Mellows and team owner Paul Noakes had decided it was best for all concerned to part company so with a little more nervous tension we prepared to do battle with some of the best TAFC cars in the country.  Tim Rice along with Paul were handling the tune up and the rest of us took on new jobs along with finishing the engine install at the track.

First round qualifying took place a little later than planned which made conditions very similar to the last two events we were at so the setup was very straight forward. The plan was to run a low 5.60 et and be comfortably in the field. So much for plan, the car got to about the 800 ft. mark when the blower exploded and sent early fireworks into the sky. We looked like a Nitro car which is never good even if you are a Nitro car. So much for our first pass without Les. The only good thing about it was it was over. Now it was time to get things corrected and try again Saturday.

The car need more work than was expected and with that the crew worked until 4:30 am. building a new motor and installing it in the chassis. After a couple hours of sleep we were back at it again finishing the engine and body repairs with the next qualifying session set for 4pm. That came and went while we were still thrashing on the car now hoping we would get it done in time for the last effort at 8pm. We made the call and with the largest crowd on hand the track had had for any event we laid down a solid 5.66 second pass that was good enough for #3 spot in eliminations on Sunday. Tim and I felt very good, the car ran straight with very little shake and the pass looked great. Little did we know that the crowd had drowned out the sound of yet another blower explosion and the prospect of yet another sleepless night. More body repairs along with a sleeve,  two pistons and valves and we were ready for Sunday’s race.

Well I do not know how Paul stood the beating he took at this event, at this point two explosions and only run on a new block along with many new parts required to get the car race ready even a crazy person would have called it over.  A wise racer once said to me “if it was easy everyone would be doing it” and that became our mantra for the event. Round one looked very good with us having lane choice and the conditions again within our experience range. Everyone was either getting comfortable with their new responsibilities or too tired to care when we approached the starting line. Paul did his job and got a starting line advantage that he held until the car exploded yet again at the 800 ft. mark and our weekend was done. Back home it was discovered the fuel pump was the cause of our weekend of destruction, the blocks are out for repair, the body is being rebuilt and with a little rest we will be ready to do it again in Chicago next weekend. This team has the depth and drive to be champions all we need is a few breaks and some luck. Stay tuned.