Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Southern Discomfort Day 2

We slept in.

Thinking the car was toast, the day ahead seemed like it would be a relaxed nirvana of drinking beer and watching cars go off in turn 1.

I had slept a bit better than my compatriots. During our last trip to civilization I purchased a second sleeping bag to double my insulation in the freezing weather. The previous night I talked to a couple of the Duff Beer guys who had agreed to check out the damage to the Civic if I tore off enough pieces for them to get a good look. I got started.

The damage was pretty apparent when I got the oil pan off. The bottom of the pan was a hearty stew of tar and metal shavings and the oil intake was stuffed with what looked like lathe turnings. The damage seemed to be contained to the #2 lower conrod bearing. It had been completely consumed and the rod was just rattling around on the crank.

Having expected only to see mass carnage, this was some great news. It meant we might actually be able to put in one of the bearings Nick and I had picked up at the Pull-A-Part and get the Civic back on the track. Craig and I set to work grinding the conrod bearing surface smooth and getting the bottom end back together while Mark and Nick removed the excess metal from the oil pan and pickup.

We got her back together, dumped in a gallon of oil and started her up. The horrendous racket we had heard earlier was gone. We sent Mark out to see how she did. He came back in after a few laps to check the oil. It seemed OK so we sent him back out. At this point it was already past 2pm. The plan was for each of us to take one of the three remaining hours in the race.

I gave Craig the next stint knowing that the car's odds of making it to my stint were low. I wanted to drive the car at the checker and I also knew that I wouldn't be able to resist winding it out a little bit more than the 5000 RPM we were trying to limit ourselves to. When Mark came in we could hear that the gnome's little brother had moved in and had started pounding the inside of the engine with his own little hammer.

Craig drove a short series of successively slower laps, barely making it into the pit before the engine quit.

We watched the remainder of the race, happy that we had gotten her back on the track even if it was for only a couple of hours.

Hanging out near the judging station we happened to be around when the awards were being decided, so we had a little advance knowledge that we were likely to get the Dangerous Homemade Tech award. I'm not sure that we had too much competition this race, but it still made our day.

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