Woah. What a crazy weekend. On our practice run Thursday night we basically had a new car, completely untested. We blew oil all over the place because of some miscommunication which led to the transmission being WAY overfilled. After draining the excess fluid, we made an okay hit in Q1 Friday morning. It was good enough to qualify us #6 out of 15 cars, but something still wasn't right. In Q2 Friday night, we blew the tires off and we never do that, so we knew something was wrong. We went over everything mechanical and electrical and we didn't find a smoking gun, so we put the car away and brought it back out for Q3 Saturday morning. We had an issue in the staging lanes so we almost didn't make the hit, but we fixed it just in time to put it in the beams. Thank God we did, because the car moved three feet and grenaded first gear. #3850lbCarsBreakStuff
At that point, it was around noon on Saturday. Mark Mainiero came over and said "we still have a chance to win this. Do whatever it takes to fix the car today." Bill and I had often joked that if we ever hurt the trans or converter, we'd pack up and go home because it's a massive pain in the butt to access the motor or trans in that car. But when Mark says "do whatever it takes", you do whatever it takes! We went over to Walter Drakeford's pit and I was like, "dude... your shop is over here on the gulf coast. Do you know anyone who could fix a turbo 400 today?" He said yeah, Steve from Champion Racing Transmissions is here at the track! So we rushed over to Steve's pit and explained the situation. He said bring me the trans. Next Problem: removing the trans in that car is difficult on a lift... it would be a nightmare trying to do it on jack stands! Walter introduced us to Jason Spina and David from Blowin By Racing, and they told us we could use the lift inside their trailer! Bill and I had the trans out in record time and brought it to Steve. He pulled it apart and discovered that we'd broken A LOT of parts. He didn't have everything we'd need to fix it. Our friend Tommy Annunziata offered us his backup trans, but it had enough differences that it would not actually be a direct swap. We took Tommy's TH400 to Steve and asked him if he could combine the two trannies to build one good one. He pulled Tommy's tranny apart and told us he could combine them, but he'd have to run to his shop an hour away to pick up some parts and do the machine work.
Steve had the trans rebuilt around 9pm and we headed back to Spina's pit. These poor guys came out of their warm & cozy RV and jumped right in to help us put the tranny back in. With the four of us wrenching, we got the car back together and we were back in Bill's pit by 10:30pm. Bill's a nice guy, much nicer than me, and he didn't want to start the car that late and wake anyone up. #BlowahCah But I got William Lujan to back me up and he told Bill in a very colorful Cuban way that we had some racing to do and anybody who had a problem with that could just deal with it. So Bill fired it up and topped off the tranny fluid and it was ready for Sunday. By that time, I was tired and hungry, so I drove to Wawa, fueled up, bought some food, and ate dinner in the gas station parking lot around 11:30pm. I was home and in bed by 1:30am and woke up 4.5 hours later to come back to the track.
Sunday morning, we made an okay hit in Round 1 and got the win. But after that, everyone else we had to race was faster than us. We just can't keep up with these turbo and centrifugal cars after the NMRA penalized us for breaking the record last year. But Bill kept his cool and did his job behind the wheel. Round after round he kept turning on the Win light, basically just out lasting our opponents since we couldn't really run quicker than them. The track went away on Sunday so the faster cars had a harder time getting off the line than we did with our slower combo. By the end of the day, Bill put the Evil Pumpkin in the Winners Circle! This was a good way to start the season. We'll sure try to pull off another cinderella story in Atlanta. :)
We owe a huge thanks to the following companies & people!
LaRoccas Performance for the killer tune
MPR Racing Engines for the best engine in Limited Street
VMP Superchargers for the boost
TigVision for the best chassis in the class
Mickey Thompson for the TRACTION
MFP for keeping our crank in one piece
Ultimate Converter Concepts for one crazy efficient converter
Viking Performance for the dampers (the car is LEAVING!)
Strange Engineering for the bulletproof rear
DeatschWerks for the awesome injectors
PST for the STOUT driveshaft
Aerospace Components for the excellent brakes
Race Part Solutions for EVERYTHING plumbing
Weldon for massive amounts of fuel
Billet Pro Shop for lots of goodies on the car
Schoneck Composites for the hotness
Steve at Champion Racing Transmissions for saving the day
Jason & David at Blowin By Racing
BME Photography for the Winners Circle Photo