Saturday, May 28, 2011

20th Place!

Short version: coulda been top ten, but an electrical short shut down our ignition for a couple of hours.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 'Shine Country Classic - Sunday

I had the car for the morning 9-11AM stint. At 11AM they start the "quiet hour" out of respect for the local churches. It's also when they crush the winner of the people's curse. We'd been getting about an hour and 45 minutes out of the car on a full load of fuel. The car still has a couple of gallons left in the tank at that point, but the sloshing in the turns makes it unavailable to the fuel pump.
Driving was fun. I had fresh brakes, new tires and working clutch. The car was behaving well. I made some feeble attempts at conserving fuel at Nicks insistence that I could not come in for more gas. I spent some time behind the 777 car, not trying too hard to pass, but making an occasional stab at it when there was an opportunity. There were a couple of long yellows that helped our fuel timing end up perfect. I was just starting to get some serious starvation on the turns when the checker came out. I had managed to climb a couple of positions to 10th place. For the first time we'd be able to line up with the leaders!
The rest of our afternoon did not go as smoothly. Only about 20 laps into Craig's stint the car died. I assumed the igniter was the problem, and immediately began scrounging for a distributor I could borrow. The bee Civic had an extra motor, but being a D series, the distributor would not bolt up. Fortunately we discovered that the only real difference was in the castings, and that the guts could be swapped.
After swapping the igniter and coil we put he distributor in and ... nothing. Disheartened, we kept looking for answers in the wiring. It was hot and we moved slow. Nick noticed a fuse that had been blown in the ABS circuit. We had tapped a lot of our hot wiring off that circuit, and so it could have been the cuplrit. We swapped the fuse and the car started right up!

Craig made about 1 lap before the ignition quit in the same spot one the track. Once the car was towed in we tried wiggling every connection to see what shorting out. Unable to find a definitive answer, we just started cutting every unnecessary electrical circuit out of the car (headlights, flap, etc). We sent Craig back out with our fingers crossed. He managed to make it until the end of the race, but we ended up in 20th place overall.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 'Shine Country Classic - Saturday

The mysterious slipping clutch problem that we've had the last few races showed itself again. When the car has been out on the track a while it seems like the clutch spring is too week to reengage. In the past a quick bleed fixed the problem, but it would reappear at the next race.
After a few laps out Craig reported that the clutch was slipping. We brought him in and did a quick bleed. That seemed to fix the problem somewhat, but both Nick and Mark could feel the soft pedal in their stints.
While their stints had been uneventful besides the clutch issues, I managed to spice things up with our exhaust falling off and a black flag.
Our eBay cat broke at its weld while I was driving. The noise level in our car went from 80dB to about 120 instantly. At first I thought my ears had popped like the atmospheric pressure had changed. Then I thought I was getting passed by a sidepiped big block. I finally realize what had happened and brought the car in. Since we weren't pointing the exhaust anywhere dangerous and I wasn't breathing the fumes we took it back out.
It was loud. It was hot. The cool seat only seemed to last for the first 45 minute of our 2 hour stints, but it was still better than nothing.
I had been running back and forth with the Sta-Puft Marshmellow car, a huge Mercedes luxo-barge. After several laps we ended up heading into turn one with me on the inside. I locked up the brakes and slid into his door. It was a pretty decent hit, but we both kept it pointed down track. Had my target not been twice my mass he might have spun.
They let us slide by with a driver change since it was a first offense. We ended up not needing the get out of jail free card Mark and I earned by helping Phil figure out the headlight switch failure issue on his borrowed Beemer.
We bled the clutch once more, and Craig, Nick, and Mark got another stint in before the end of the day. We made a parts run to Camden and picked up a new cat as well as a new clutch master and slave. The entire clutch assembly needed to be removed to swap the master and we took the opportunity to remove the balancing spring that was left over from the cable clutch. (Astute readers will remember that this generation of Civic typically had a cable clutch) I also welded (badly) a piece of steel to help reinforce the frankenpedal. We had harvested the hydraulic system from the original donor Integra and made our own hydraulic clutch pedal.

Bleeding proved to be a pain in the ass. The check valve in the master was too stiff to allow fluid to be pulled through with just pumping the pedal. We needed to force fluid in by using the vacuum pump in reverse. Finally having taken care of the critical issues we did what we thought would be a prefunctory inspection of the oil, water and brakes. This is what we found:

Fortunately we had an extra set of pads and rotors, but we still didn't get to bed until 2AM.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 'Shine Country Classic - Friday

We rolled into CMP latish on Thursday. I was doing most of the drinking while Craig and Mark set up. I had worked on the car more and deserved a break - or so I told myself. The TunaChuckers were already there and we checked out their "new" LTD.

Our tech inspection was pretty uneventful. A side effect of Our Lady having been through 5 or 6 times now.

One of my favorite things about this race is the parade. One of the downtown Camden restaurant owners is involved with the track and has successfully lobbied the city counsel to allow the BS inspections to happen downtown.

We get to parade the cars through town and then assemble in the downtown area where they've blocked off the streets and set up a band. The BS inspections happen at close quarters, so you get to see exactly who your racing with and all the work they've put into their themes.

The Squidbillies car was pretty fantastic. They actually started the race with Jr. on the roof.

These guys were my next favorite. They actually stayed up all night on Saturday erasing all record of the rapture from their car. "Rapture? That must have been some other car. Maybe an E30."

I went to bed early Friday night, and evidently missed quote a few of the shenanigans that went on after the various home brew 'shines got sampled.