We’re #1!!

First, an update from the San Diego Grand Challenge. Back on 7/25 we once again we headed out to Barona drag strip on a hot Saturday morning to run embarrassingly slowly down the 1/8 mile track. Right when I got to the track, the car wouldn’t start without a push. This concerned me, as the car had no problem starting in the past, but I wrote it off as a dying battery or starter - both fairly easy to replace. But then I noticed the temp gauge was pegged all the way hot not long after the car was started. Uh-oh. Feeling the engine and watching the fan, I concluded that the engine wasn’t as hot as the gauge led me to believe. I was starting to get a bit worried, but decided to give it a run anyway.

I launched the car off the line and … nothing. The car stalled out and wouldn’t start again. It’d crank and the engine would catch for a second, but then die again. I took it into the pits, where it would run for about a minute and then die again. I tried to do some electrical diagnosis but couldn’t figure it out. Rather than risk pissing off the other racers by trying to run again, I called it a day and towed the car home.

Once I got it home, I mentally went over everything I had done to the car since the last race which could have caused the problem. It hit me…. a bad ground. Bad grounds can cause all sorts of weird issues. The weekend before I had replaced the oil pan gasket, and there’s a big ground cable attached to the pan. Sure enough, I checked the cable and the bolt holding it on was only finger tight. I cranked it down and problem solved! I felt kind of stupid for causing my own problem (and a DNF in the SDGC) but at least the solution was simple.

Now, fast forward to today. We were scheduled to run the next SDGC autocross until it was announced that there would be a second LeMons “Junkyard Scabenger Hunt” today. Long time readers (ha) may recall we came in 2nd place in the first scavenger hunt up in NorCal. Since the next LeMons race is in SoCal (sorta), this time Judge Jonny Lieberman headed up a junkyard scavenger hunt in L.A. My dad, my buddies Don, Andy, Dave, and I made the trek up there and barely got to the junkyard in time (I hate L.A. traffic). But the effort was worth it, because we beat out 5 or 6 other teams in collecting utensils, prescription drugs, air fresheners, dealer badges, hose clamps, homework, and other oddities from junkyard cars (including a box of synthetic urine and a pair of panties) and came in first place by a large margin! Our efforts were rewarded by receiving pole position in the race (which means jack squat in a 14 hour race, but hey, at least we’ll be in 1st place for a while!), and three “Get out of jail free” cards. This means 3 of our black flag penalties will be voided! In a perfect world, we would not get any black flags, but this is hardly a perfect race, so getting these jailbreak cards is HUGE! Big thanks to everyone who helped today.

The race is less than two weeks away, so in the next week I’ll be tying up all loose ends and hopefully will get the car into race shape. Of course you can never prepare for all possible scenarios, but I’ll do my best.

-Scott

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