Saturday, September 24, 2011

2011 Where the Elite Meet to Cheat - Saturday

William made us a mexican breakfast ans I spend the morning cursing that the ContourHD that I had brought was fried.

It had rained and the track was wet.  I drove the first shift in OLPD.  I tried too hard.  I passed lots of cars in the wet (22nd to 4th in<30 laps), but blew the braking zone at the end of the main straight.  Fortunately I was able to snake through the cones and onto the Pit Out to make it look like it might have been on purpose.  After waiting a few minutes for an audience with Jay I confessed my sins.  He let me back out on track with a warning since the corner workers hadn't flagged me.  My luck didn't last long.  It wasn't 5 laps later that I managed to get a black flag for passing under yellow.  I still don't know where it occurred, but I suspect it was due to the "invisible" flagger that was silhouetted by a yellow wall.

Seth got in the car next and started setting some faster laps as the track dried out.  He was followed by Dave, who performed pretty well considering that he had never been in the car before.

While they were out in OLPD, I drove the Turbo Schnitzel.  Despite Craig's warnings and my abundance of caution I spun it on the first lap.  I got a pass from Phil, who was sympathetic to the highly non-linear power curve that the Merkur possessed.  I became extra-extra cautious as I explored the many handling limitations.  Downshift not perfectly rev matched? Spin. Trail braking into the turn? Spin.  Accelerating out of a turn? Spin. Fortunately the car had so much torque that I didn't need to shift out of 4th except at the end of the long straight.  The car had a preposterous amount of power, and along any given straight I could out-accelerate anything on the track by a factor of 2.  It was at the end of said straight where the pucker begins.  The car was starting to overheat a little and I brought it in.  As I rolled out the gates to our pit area I watched the temp climb from 190 to 230 in about 100 feet.  Fortunately nothing seemed to have gotten fried and after some cooldown and radiator refilling the Schnitzel was able to get back out on the track.

Craig's shift in OLPD was a little more eventful.  The battery had come loose and under braking had thrown itself to the front of the car and knocked the lid off of the cool suit.  Then under acceleration it ended up back in the trunk where it began to weld itself to the car.  The drain killed the engine and the smoke prompted Craig to hop out of the car, stopping the race.  The car got towed in.  The damage was fortunately only a melted terminal, but we realized that we needed a better battery mount before we put the car back on the track.  A trip to Walmart provided the parts and Craig got back out to finish his stint.

Seth took the last stint in OLPD and I took another run in the Merkur.  The track was dryer and the car was a bit less harrowing to drive.  Unfortunately my stint ended with sheared axle shaft bolts and I got towed in.

Even the tow was eventful.  I was on the end of a 40ft strap running to the cab of a flat bed wrecker.  As he turned the corner the strap fell off the bed and was about to rake across a parked non-lemon Volvo.  I flailed for a non-existent horn and then instinctively jabbed at the brake.  It was not the right choice.  The tow strap tore loose and slingshotted itself into the Volvo's trunk.  It left a pretty nasty dent.

So I ended the racing day with a broken camera, two black flags, and a dented Volvo.  Not my best showing.

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