Thursday, February 11, 2016

Barber 2016: Jackals, Hyenas, and Why We Like Them

O, Fate! She is the ever-sloping funnel. Like a singularity, it spaghettifies. Like spaghetti, it is delicious. Also like spaghetti, we few mortals, the Devotees of Downforce may still taunt Fate.

We may also taunt spaghetti. You're a jerk, spaghetti!



Just kidding, spaghetti. I was using you to make a point about taunting fate, because that is what we, the Disciples of The Wing, the Followers of the Flap, the Devotees of Downforce, did by appearing late of a Thursday eve with intention to run the Friday practice session at Barber Motorsports Park.

Worse than taunting Fate, we failed to properly worship Our Lady by leaving her Fullerian temple, the mighty Geodesic Dome under which we pay her proper respect, at home, for it be an epic pain in the exhaust port to construct, and no one feels like it. Our bad, Our Lady.

We packed up the cars and a significant pile of whatnot, and hit the road.



Friday practice

On Friday, the car made laps with nary a squeaky bushing or gnashing of gears, which is something of a surprise given that High Priest Brian did build the transmission himself after watching videos on YouTube. Well done, that man!

The facilities and track at Barber were every bit as amazing as we remembered them. Friday ended with most of the team on site, munching burrito bowls and wondering why they weren't already buttocks deep in an engine swap.

We welcomed old friends and new ones, including paddock neighbors Come Monday, Mock Grass, and newcomers The Greasy Beavers.

Our new driver attended the New Driver Meeting, along with a few of our seasoned drivers. Others mooched about the paddock, hoping for a homebrew beer. Both efforts were rewarded.



Behold! The new driver's meeting. As Jay pointed out, these are not the people about whom one has to worry. One has to look out for the drivers who have done a few races and think they know what they're doing. Hey, now, dammit, I resemble that remark.

Saturday: Pregnant with Hope

That's gross, Saturday. What have you been doing with Hope? I guess we know, don't we?


We took the green flag Saturday with Yours Truly at the wheel, and I managed to turn the Round Thing and step on the Foot Bits at somewhat appropriate times. As usual our carefully prepared race strategy was: Don't Blow It, and I'm proud to say that I managed to adhere.

Next in the car was Priestess Meghann, who lapped peacefully until a couple of cars got into her, once at the hairpin and once in the turns 1-3 complex. One team came by to apologize. The other did not.

But such is life. Sometimes things happen that are, shall we say, M-barassing.



We had a maintenance-free day, and the rest of the faithful put in quality stints without the indignant flapping of the Black Flag. This left time for Yours Truly to soliloquize about life as a Crapcan Racing Driver, which is known to have a powerful effect on the ladies.

video

Sunday: Champagne Dreams on a Beer Budget

On Sunday, the Faithful again lapped without event until the Quiet Hour, during which we all moaned appropriately toward the heavens. Moaning complete, someone checked Race Monitor, and learned that, not unlike a boar hog in a top hat, our team was inexplicably challenging for the lead of Class B.
We nodded at one another in grim determination. "Yes," we all agreed, "we can surely screw this up." 
But nay. We did not screw it up. Instead, Fate pounced on us, dropping out of the sky like an eagle's pee. I was at the wheel of Our Lady, and she was harder to steer than a blind ass on mezcal.

I brought Our Lady into the pits, and there I met our mortal enemies, our sworn nemeses, the worst pack of hyenas ever to fart about the landscape ... actually, some of them are okay. That's not true, they're all quite nice.

Truth be told, we like them a lot and they're a joy to race with. But anyway, they're Duff Beer. You bastards! We like you!



Mixed messages, I know.

As one, along the pit wall, the members of Duff Beer pointed two fingers at their helmet visors, then at me, letting me know that they'd recently seen an optometrist and their eyesight was plenty healthy.

In the paddock, it was determined that our driver's left radius rod was not as attached as one might like it to be, so it was reattached, and I circulated some more. I had one goal in mind: catch Duff Beer and regain the lead, while fending off those dang jackals (whom we also like and are proud to call friends) Terminally Confused.

The good news was I was catching up. The bad news was, so was Fate. Yes, that old hirsute bitch Fate was again gnawing our niblets, this time in the form of a CV axle that expelled its grease like a stomped-on chocolate eclair.


Without the grease, the axle got as hot as young Axl Rose, and then began to gyrate unpredictably, also like a young Axl Rose. Where do we go, now? Where do we go?  Where do we gooo ah unh ah ooh uh ah ah uh uhg? *cough*

Back to the paddock, that's where. High Priest Brian performed what must be the world's fastest CV axle change, we re-fueled, and Tom got into the car for the last stint. Tom made great laps, and the car performed well, but not well enough to absorb the time off track.

And so, another race closed, with our team having ripped defeat forcibly from the jaws of victory at the last moment. Sadly, the LeMons staff have not seen fit to distribute prizes four deep in class B, or twenty deep overall, so we left having got nothing except one hell of a fun weekend racing a winged heap alongside a bunch of enjoyable people.

We wish a hearty congrats to team LemondAid for the overall win, to Duff Beer for their honorable and most deserved Class B win, and to our sister team Turbo Schnitzel for pulling off a 10th place finish.

Most of all, congrats to this human for his IOE win in the hissing Jaguar with one painted rim. Good on you, Clabo!


And so, we pray:

Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy apex come, braking be done,
In worship we accelerate.
Give us this day our daily laps,
And forgive us our offs,
As we forgive the offs of others.
Lead us not into oversteer,
But deliver us from understeer.
For thine is the grip, the power, and the downforce.
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 'Shine Country Classic at Barber

by Jim Hodgson

If a plane landed on your car, it would be trouble. Your car would be damaged. The plane might also take a scuff. A quantity of paperwork would need to be filed, but not by you. No. By that point you’d have become a revolting and possibly flammable goo.
But for a split second between the instant the plane contacted your car and the liquification of your carcass, you would experience some serious downforce.
Yes, downforce. That is why we are here. It is our watchword. It is our token and our meme and our cause. We are the drivers, the devotees, of Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce. Let us sing you the song of our people.
Screeeeee!
What is Downforce?
A quick refresher: it sounds simple, and it is. Downforce is a force that pushes down. But it’s also much more than that.
A heavy car pushes down because its mass wants to be near the mass of the Earth, much as a fat child wants to be near a Slurpee. So sayeth our prophet, Sir Isaac Newton. But Newton also sayeth that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
A heavy car’s tires sing our song, but they do not turn. Without turning there is no lapping, without lapping there can be no racing, without racing Our Lady doth sob quite loudly at dinner, annoying everyone in earshot.
What if you could have the downforce of a lighter car being landed upon by a plane, without the liquification of the driver? You can. We can. We do. Praise Our Lady!
A Wing and a Prayer
I first beheld Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce two years ago; a glorious 88 civic with a section of a Cessna wing bolted to the top. I knew I had to become a pilot.
I approached the team members and babbled nonsense at them, hoping to be invited to become one of their number. Instead, I was looked at as one might look at a nonsense-babbling man who should probably stop drinking and go to sleep.
Months later, at the next race, I tried again. This time I employed the time-tested method of borrowing tools. Still no invite was forthcoming. I believe I was spotted using a pulley puller to open a can of beer, an obvious mistake. The beer was already open.
Months after that, I once again approached the Fullerian temple that is the OLPD home base. This time I employed a series of complicated dance moves meant to show that I understand the meaning – nay, the religion – of downforce. At last, I was accepted, under the condition that I never again perform this or any other dance.
To Barber!
The first race in which I piloted Our Lady was held on the swooping tarmac of Barber Motorsports Park, which is a gorgeous facility. Barber has such a reputation that it never admits 24 Hours of LeMons participants until late on a Friday evening, when it is less likely to be judged by other racetracks.
Once inside Barber Motorsports Park, we staked out room in the paddock, unloaded all manner of paraphernalia, and began slowly freezing to death.
In the morning, the living members of the team chiseled themselves free of the icy tomb of the trailer and began to prep Our Lady for worship.
Day One
Our Lady passed under the green flag with teammate Meghann at the helm. The car circulated without incident, unless you count a spin in turn five as an incident. Next, I took over.
Piloting Our Lady is everything I thought it might be. Because downforce, the pilot can navigate almost any line on the track. That is, unless the pilot falters in his or her worship by lifting off the accelerator. Yes, Our Lady is susceptible to liftoff oversteer. Oh, what, like you’re perfect? Back off already.
After my worship, Kevin took the helm. He performed a   pirouette through turn one that would have made Anna Pavlova hang up her toe shoes in a jealous rage. He then spent a few tranquil moments arranging gravel in one of the track’s artfully placed Zen rock gardens. He was tugged back onto the racing surface by track services.
Retirement Grease
Worship over, Kevin begat Mark. It was deep in the afternoon and well into Mark’s stint when Our Lady’s right CV axle forcefully shit its grease and seized up tighter than Dick’s hatband.
A group of the faithful were dispatched. That done, a second group were sent to the parts store to get a new CV axle. Upon their return, Brian put the parts into Our Lady while the rest of the team helpfully goggled at him. I helpfully ate Cheetos.
The day ended with the car back together, but just a few minutes of racing left. Mark was sent back on track for those few minutes, and was received back in the paddock after the close of racing with a ceremonial beer chug and a hearty “Huzzah!”


Wing's Eye View courtesy of Mark's GoPro

Day Two
Brian, high priest and owner of Our Lady, took the green on Sunday with high spirits and the grim look of a man who did all the wrenching yesterday while his team stood around like a bunch of louts. Nary an offer of Cheetos could placate him. Only the piloting of Our Lady could soothe his irritable bones.
Our Lady had other ideas. Her Holiness gobbled up the clutch like an asbestos Ritz and ceased any shifting. Sunday’s quiet hour was spent attempting to diagnose or remedy the problem, but shifting was not achieved except by way of foot to foot.
After a quick lesson on rev matching in Brian’s Honda CRV, Meghann again took to the track, this time piloting Our Lady without benefit of clutch.
Most members of the team improved upon their Saturday times without changing gears, using careful matching of revs to get the car into fourth and leaving it there. What is the name of such a miracle? You know it already, for it is downforce. Say it with me. Say it loud. Bark like a dog! Or don’t. That last part means nothing to Our Lady. It’s just funny to watch.
Results!
In the end, Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce delivered a solid midpack performance, finishing 34th of 76 entries overall and 19th of 30 entries in Class A. We completed 326 laps. Our best lap time was delivered by High Priest Brian (1:54.020).
By comparison, the winners completed 422 laps, which means we’d have needed 100 more laps to win. Time spent off track watching Brian fix Our Lady hurt us, but that’s racing.
Undoubtedly, with a sack of luck, we, the faithful, could win a 24 Hours of LeMons race with Our Lady. But we would have to use long stints, fewer drivers, and shouty, hurried driver changes. All of those are dumb. We press on as we are, heads high and hearts full with the knowledge of the true power of downforce.
Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy apex come, braking be done,
In worship we accelerate.
Give us this day our daily laps,
And forgive us our offs,
As we forgive the offs of others.
Lead us not into oversteer,
But deliver us from understeer.
For thine is the grip, the power, and the downforce.
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Southern Discomfort

While the original February time of the CMP race often lived up to the name, you really can't call May in South Carolina "Southern Discomfort". The weather was beautiful. Highs were in the 70's, nights in the 50's and besides some sprinkles on Friday, was sunny for the whole weekend.

Thursday

We got off to an inauspicious start. Pulling the car onto Todd's open trailer I gunned it a little to make sure it didn't hang up on the ramp. It didn't. It ripped the exhaust out from under the car like a fish getting gutted. On the way out the exhaust bent the shift linkage and knocked off the rear swaybar mount. Also hanging low before pulling onto the trailer (but not after) were the submarine belt mounts. There were big washers on the bottom to prevent them from pulling up though the floor, but nothing but the eyebolt head to keep it from being pulled through the bottom. The only bit of good fortune is that it happened right in front of the shop, so we had access to all of the tools to put it back together again. Needless to say we left for CMP about 4 hours later than planned. We arrived late Thursday, had a couple of beers with the Bees and the Tunachuckers and went to bed.

Friday

Friday was spent setting up the dome. We got it done in about 3 hours thanks to the new hardware. Turbo Schnitzel's biggest fan stopped by to throw her bra at the dome. Sabine had found a 911 bra cheap and brought it to use on the Turbo Schnitzel.  Craig's keeping it.


The new hardware allowed us to pre-build the hexes and pentagons that made up the dome on the ground and then quickly connect them at the corners. Taking it down on Sunday did not go as smoothly. Tech was smooth, though Jay did hassle us about our on-off switch. We will probably redo it when we rewire the car.


Saturday

We sent Kevin out first so that he could circulate under yellow before the race began in earnest. He managed to stay out of trouble during what can be a chaotic session with many formerly untested cars getting wrung out by new drivers. Craig went out next and turned in some solid laps, moving us up in the rankings to 11th place. I got into the car afterwards and after a very long yellow behind a very slow driver, I was presented with a clear track. Taking full advantage I set our fast lap...and then spun. Tracking out wide on the carousel the wheels got into the rumble strips. The car was a bit upset and refused to be placated until it was facing the wrong way. Phil sent me back out quickly, but as soon as the car was back out on the track the repaired exhaust popped off. One noisy lap later and the car was back in the pits for a 20 minute repair.


The rest of my stint went smoothly. I followed the Radioactive mustang for a dozen laps and they managed not to hit me when the car got a bit wobbly as I tried to pass at the kink. Todd took the car out next, but managed a black flag for passing under yellow and got a somewhat sterner lecture from Phil. He went back out again, but came in early with some vibration in the front. A quick inspection showed that a tie rod end was missing its cotter pin and was working its way loose. A quick repair.

Kevin hopped in for the last stint of the day. He had to dodge a pair of cars that were each trying to out-brake the other into the corner and ended up 4-off. Phil was characteristically unsympathetic as it was our third offence for the day, and gave him a scavenger hunt list of selfies to take.





Sunday

Craig took the long morning session. His duty was to make the fuel last the full two hours until the 11-noon quiet hour, which with the help of a large number of yellow flags he was able to pull off without breaking a sweat. He reported some engine roughness and had lost some gauges when the oil pressure gauge worked its way loose, so we spent quiet hour checking out the wiring.


The loose gauge had shorted the wiring and blew a fuse that was easily replaced. I took the opportunity to check the grounds and added a valve cover ground that had gone missing during the last engine swap. We also checked the cap and rotor to see if it had any contribution to the roughness, and somehow dropped a screw. We jacked up the car to look for it in the sandy floor of the dome. The jack slipped off the front subframe and managed to bend the radiator like a magician flexes a deck of cards. We were somewhat mortified to say the least.

The pressure tester showed that the radiator seemed to somehow not be leaking even though the plastic upper and lower housings were flexed about an inch. That's when we realized that the hood would no longer close. Two stacks of washers under the hood pins was our temporary fix.

I strapped into the car and rolled towards the track entrance. The car was about 100 feet away when Craig reminded me that it had no fuel. In all of the excitement over the radiator we had forgotten to put fuel in the car during the quiet hour. I made a circuit of the track and they met me at the fuel pumps on track. Mike was there fueling up cans for the 39 car and graciously allowed us to fuel up on his credit card so we didn't have to wait for the pump's credit card authorization modem to sync.

Finally getting out on track the car was doing well. The tie rod end being fixed gave me a bit more confidence going into the kink (it had felt weird over the hump on Saturday) and I was able to follow and eventually get a point-by from the Monza. Todd hopped in the car and almost made it to the end of his stint when he felt some wobble. Bringing the car in we found that the front passenger side shock had pulled through its grommet and was only casually connected to the car. It was probably repairable, but the rear wheels seemed to also have a fair amount of bearing play. With about a hour and a half to go in the race we called it and focused on tearing down the dome.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 'Shine Country Classic at Barber

Friday

We finished putting our suspension together and the car on the trailer at 4am on Friday morning.  Dick Anderson had found a set of beat up shock bodies that he was able to modify to fit in OLPD (Thanks Dick!).  We had the "new" shocks installed that were incredibly stiff and the upper a-arms that had been shortened by 3/4".  The car looked almost silly coming off the trailer with the wheels tucked up into the fenders and what we estimated to be 6 degrees of negative camber.  We unloaded it from the trailer at Barber Friday night and tried cruising around the paddock.  The steering was really wonky, as we realized that shortening the arms also affected the toe by almost 1-1/2".

After adjusting the ride height to something a little more reasonable, we decided that we should go back to the stock a-arms.  The stock arms gave us a much-more-reasonable 1 degree of negative camber.  Not the 2-3 that we would have preferred, but closer than the 6 or so that the shortened arms were giving us.  The toe also was shifted back to about 1/16" of toe out in the process, so we didn't need to adjust it.  We put a pair of the new RE11a's on the front and the partially worn Azeni's on the back.

Time not spent on the car was split between seeking shelter in the heated RV and assembling the dome.  My teammates then banished me to the trailer to sleep because of my snoring.

Saturday

Saturday started out well.  Mark went out first and racked up some extremely fast laps.  We were running second for a little while after the flag dropped until some of the faster cars started to catch us.  Mark got us a black flag with a spin, but we got a wave through since it was our first.

Britton went out next and managed to go 4-off about halfway through his stint.  Our penalty was singing "Sweet Home Alabama".  There was a news crew filming.  My apologies to anyone that dares listen.  We're at about 1:15 into the clip.


Chase and Nate fortunately had relatively uneventful stints in the car.  My turn was next, and after many laps of getting used the the track I was able to start putting some faster laps down.  I parried for several laps with the #150 Porsche, which we seemed evenly matched with.  The shifting had seemed difficult when I got in the car, and seemed to get progressively worse as I was on the track.  By the end of my stint I was running the track entirely in 4th to avoid shifting.

Barber is a very different experience than the handful of other tracks I've driven on.  The "line" seems much less rigidly defined, with lots of room for alternate approaches.  This makes passing easier as going off the line didn't seem to carry as big a penalty.  The track feels much more fluid.  You can carry significant speed through most of the corners.

Todd went in for our final stint of Saturday.  He'd been humbled a bit by getting a pair of black flags while driving the Turbo Schnitzel Integra earlier in day.  His turn in OLPD went smoothly.

We were fairly exhausted, since the car ran pretty well in 4th we figured we'd try bleeding the clutch and other troubleshooting in the morning.

Sunday

We tried bleeding the clutch to see if the shifting improved.  The pedal had week return, but it did seem to be pushing the clutch arm.  Mark went in the car and reported that the shifting problem remained.  The clutch was only partially disengaging and shifts required good rev matching to pull off.  There was some light rain which gave Mark a huge advantage over the other cars before the pavement began to dry out.  We had put on the 4 remaining New RE11a's for maximum rain advantage.

Here's some footage of us coming onto the track from the rear facing camera on the Diesel Chevette.  We show up about 2:30 into the clip:


We continued with the same driver order.  Britton finished the morning session before the 11-12 quiet hour.  Chase and Nate drove without incident, with Chase making good use of heel-toe to make smooth shifts.

It started to rain towards the end of my stint, which was fun before the windshield started fogging up.  After a few laps of following brake lights I brought the car in.  Todd hopped in along with a generous helping of Fog-X.  It didn't help too much as he made it to the checkered by wiping the windshield with his glove to see.

We ended up 18th in the final standings.  Relatively respectable for us.  No major downtime, but long and frequent pit stops were our liability.  We weren't aiming for a podium spot, so we switched drivers so that everyone got some seat time on each day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Preparing for Barber

The big change for the South region schedule for 2014 is the addition of Barber Motorsports Park.  I'm excited, as I've never been to Barber.

The car ran well at the last race.  We had no serious mechanical issues.  So for Barber we can focus on making improvements rather than repairs.

Shocks have been a sore point since the beginning.  We swapped the springs fairly early in OLPD's racing career, but the shocks are still original.  This is most evident in the way the car can hop sideways through certain turns.  We found a set of beat up shocks that we think we can repair/rebuild.  Hopefully we'll get a dispensation from the powers-that-be, but we'll face getting some penalty laps if we don't.

Also needing to be addressed is the aero "package".  In addition to the wing, we also have removed all of the glass, so drag the car sees on the straights is significant.  The open windows also tend to suck some of the exhaust into the car.  The guys that run the Magnum PU Prelude had enclosed their back in a hatch-like fashion using a sheet of 1/8" polycarbonate, some 1" square tubing and lots of rivets.  Vincent was kind enough to send me step-by-step photos of their process.


We are planning to follow their construction technique, but with one difference.  Because our rear window slope would be much more severe with a sedan, we are going to make it Kammback ala the CRX.


It's what all the cool hypermilers are doing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 Lemons South Fall - Sunday

Britton took the wheel of the newly repaired car for the 2 hour morning session before the Sunday 11-12 quiet hour.  A little more than an hour in he was black flagged for contact with the 124 Fiat.  He had been getting a bit too aggressive going into turn 1 and now our front bumper was left out on the track.

We made it over to the judging area before him and were waiting with Jay, Phil and Mary.  I cringed as I saw him come off the track and start to turn through the off-limits spectator area to get to judging.  "NO!, NO!, NO!" I screamed over the radio before he gave us a black flag double-whammy.  He froze and eventually figured out the correct path to navigate.  The judges were amused with our "self-policing" and let him back on the track with a promise of no more bad behavior.

At an hour and 45 minutes in, the car was sputtering as the gas ran out.  Britton came in and we weren't yet ready, so we sent him around the track once more.  The second time he drove right by us and went straight to the judging area.  He had ignored the blend line when he came back on the track and they had black flagged him.  They gave us a warning, he went around again, and we finally got to put fuel, and Dave, into the car.

Dave finished out the session and resumed it after the break.  He actually made the gas last for 2 hours... because a big chunk of it was spent under yellow.  Dave himself was almost wrapped up in one of them.  Here's the video that the Thing 112 car captured:


He managed to keep his tail intact, and I went into the car with ~2 hours to go.  The herd had thinned, and I was able to drive fast.  We had to make a stop to put a few more gallons in, but the car drove strong up to the end. We had packed up during the day, so there was little left to do once I hopped out of the car.  I was able to take a quick show, we loaded the car up and started the trek home.

Our overall standing was 18th place.  Not bad considering we had lost a chunk of time on Saturday and had accepted a 5 lap penalty (we would have been in 15th place without those laps).  No awards, but we did get a mention in the wrap up video:

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 Lemons South Fall - Saturday

After a snarky remark at the driver's meeting got us an assured last place start, I started out in the car.

Jay: "Black flags will be shown at 9 and 12"
Me: "What should we do 'til then?"
Jay: "We'll be throwing the green right behind these guys.  Whoever wants to be first should line up behind them"

While circulating under yellow there was some slight wobble in the front. Brought it in and we had some looseness in the drivers side front wheel. Removing the wheel we thought the problem might be a bad upper ball joint.  It seemed minor enough, but we would want to fix it if we could get the parts. Not wanting to miss hours of racing in the interim, the wheel went back on and I got back on track.  The green had flown a couple of laps before, but the whole track was under yellow as cars failed under the first few applications of full throttle.

It was only a couple of laps later when I was brought in for a black flag.  Phil informed me that I had passed under yellow.  Our usual policy is to immediately own up when we're in the wrong (which is pretty much always), but I was incredulous since all I had done is circulate in a line at 30mph for two laps under a full course yellow.  Phil believed me and sent me back out, but the next two hours were spent stewing over how I could have possibly gotten the flag.  The only car passed during that period was one that had pulled off line and slowed down with (presumably) a mechanical problem.  Perhaps it got back in line somewhere behind me and made it look like a pass to the corner workers.

The rest of the stint went better, and Britton was to get in the car next.  Unfortunately I got directed away from the hot pits around a stalled car and had to do an extra lap to get back to the hot pit area.  Other than that, the driver switch and the rest of his stint went pretty smoothly.

We brought the car into the pits to switch out Britton for Leslie.  Going from a 6+ foot driver to a 5 foot driver is a pretty big adjustment.  We had decided earlier that the seat moved enough that we might have to adjust the length of the anti-submarine belts.

Dave got in for the next stint.  He had contact with the 411 car almost immediately.  They had been passing pretty aggressively with Leslie taking slower laps in the car.  Dave was a bit more reluctant to give up his line and it cost them both a trip to the penalty box.  This was our first "real" offence, so they let him stay in the car.

I went back in the car with around 2 hours left in the day.  Fuel was running out with about 20-30 minutes left.  We put Britton in the car to finish out session, but he brought it straight back to the pit with a bad wobble in what felt like the front right wheel.

Jacking the car up, the passenger side wheel felt fine.  The driver's side wheel, however, virtually came off in my hands.  When the wheel was removed we saw why.  The end of the axle had broken off and the hub was working it's way out of the spindle.  We needed a new axle and hub bearing.  I set to work removing the spindle assembly while Dave and Mark located parts.  They set off to Columbia, where there was an O'Reily's that had the bearing in stock and a Harbor Freight in case we needed to buy a press.

Knowing they were also running Honda's, I lugged the spindle over to the Terminally Confused camp for insight.  Craig immediately knew what needed doing and how to do it.  He advised that a large hammer should be able to get the bearing races out of the spindle.  No press required.

In practice it was a bit more difficult.  We spent the next couple of hours using NSF's vice to try and pound out the bearing.  The first hour was trying to remove the snap ring, which was now wedged in pretty tightly.  I was ready to give up and head to the Pull-a-Part in the morning for a complete spindle, but Dick Anderson wouldn't let me.  A longtime racer and engineer, he had come to the race to watch the Turbo Schnitzels and relax, but he couldn't resist a problem that needed solving.  We eventually freed the ring, but the outer race wouldn't budge.

Craig came to the rescue again when he related a mechanic's trick he had heard about: lay a bead of weld around the inside of the race and let the cooling metal pull the bearing in.  It worked like a charm.  Meanwhile Britton and Dave swapped out the axle.  Unable to get it onto the splines of the intermediate shaft, they realized that the inner cup spline count was different on the new axle.  We swapped the cups and used safety wire to keep the boots on.  Our repairs wrapped up, we took a break to drink a couple of beers and watch Speedycop's Merrimac and Monitor cars fight an epic battle using roman candles.