Sunday, November 24, 2013

Charlotte Chump Race - Take 2 Results

Saturday morning, race day!  Everybody was up bright and early and at the track well ahead of the driver's meeting.  Except Duncan, who had an alarm malfunction possibly related to user error.  The CTS-V made some sonic boom noises heading up I85, and he barely rolled into CMS at 6:31.

We were out of the driver's meeting, in the car, staged on pit row, and ready to rock.  But c'mon, Charlotte Motor Speedway Chump Racing ain't racing without some drama.  Mother nature did not cooperate.  It was so foggy, the guys in the control tower couldn't even see the cars on pit row.

Thick fog delayed the November CMS Chump race
A 15 min delay turned into a 30 min delay, then 60.  Finally, a few minutes after 8am, the fog had lifted enough for the green flag to fly.  There were 52 cars in the lineup, and after 65 minutes of frustration, there were some happy drivers out there.

Because two of our five teammates did not get a chance to drive at the last race, we inverted our driving order this time.  Jason was the first up.

The course was set up strictly on the oval.  The CMS Christmas light thing was set up in the infield.  To keep non-NASCAR drivers awake, with both hands on the wheel, Chump set up a chicane on both the front straight and the back straight.  The chicane at the front was fairly wide and not particularly tricky.  The chicane at the back was the opposite.  It really wasn't wide enough to go in two wide, and the exit of the chicane was a little tricky.  So this prompted a few spins at the front chicane, and a WHOLE LOT of screw ups on the back chicane.

The Charlotte race used the entire oval, with a chicane added in each straight as marked in yellow

Jason settled into the car well, with frequent interruptions for yellow flags.  He reported the temperature of the car would stay reasonable as long as he didn't run it too hard.  Short shifting at 4k or 5k rpm seemed to hold things together.  The car was handling well, and the brakes were phenomenal.  Top speed was around 105mph, a bit of an improvement from the last race.  Jason completed about 80 laps before roaring into pit row.

After a quick addition of five gallons of gas, Brad was up next.  With plenty of open track in front of him, Brad scooted around half a lap before doing a great job of exploring the tire wall in the back chicane.  After sliding to a stop about 2" from it (2:37 in the vid below), he waited for a chance to reverse and get back into the mix.

Another 30 minutes went by, with Zip6Racing showing as high as 13th or 14th place.  Then Brad put the finishing touches on a strong passing maneuver down the front stretch by managing a lurid slide and a complete 360 going into Turn 1.  No harm, no foul, no impact or crunched body panels, but good for a bit of a pucker.

Alas, the vg30 was fading.  An oil pressure warning light, set to go off when oil pressure dropped below 10 psi, went from flickering occasionally under heavy braking and low rpm, to flickering frequently under hard cornering.  Engine temps would only stay down if the car was kept below 4k rpm.

Roughly 128 laps into the race, Brad accelerated out of a chicane and knew something was wrong.  The car seemed to lack power, and was reluctant to pull up to speed.  A few hundred yards later... BOOM!  She blew:

This twisted chunk is what's left of a connecting rod that went through the oil pan
A now well-ventilated VG block
We got a tow back to the garage, and mourned our dead engine.  Even if we had a spare with us, it's questionable whether we would've had time to swap it in and get back on the track before the end of the race.  We packed up and headed home.  We'll be back!  In the coming weeks, we'll decide which of the 2014 races we want to shoot for.

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