Yeah, I messed up. Ben and I texted back and forth Thursday night about fitting the car with a defogging system. My plan was to rig up 1 of those 3" dia. bilge fans with a hose directed at the windshield - one of the final things I needed to do to get the car ready. Oh, and install the roll bar padding (the good SFI 45 stuff - who said this was a low dollar car?) that we put on just before driving the car to Tech Friday night. So Thursday night I'm all set to go pick up the bilge fan, but I've got new Hawk Blues up front that I have to bed in. Having never done this before, it's like, no big deal right? I go out to my local test track (haha) and make the 6-8 moderate stops, and I'm, thinking, wow, these things feel really good. (First time on the sticky 225/45/17 Rivals too! This used to be my son's street car.) So after about the 4th "race speed" stop, as the instructions on the box said to do, the chili dogs and (only 1 ) beer I had for dinner a few hours earlier were telling me they weren't really in the mood for this carnival ride. So I might have made 6-8 hard stops, maybe not. But I felt well enough when I got home to at least sprawl down on the living room floor to chill for a couple hours. Damn, there went installing the blower, along with the rest of my last minute preparation plans! At least I was really encouraged by knowing I was physically and mentally ready to race against some great teams in some really great conditions. Yeah right - dream on, my son Danny and I were just a little bit nervous, about the conditions, competition level, and lack of recent seat time for either of us. So anyway, back to the race. Can I tell our race story? This IS the thread right? Sorry, I tend to be long winded, but here goes... Our team basically consists of my son and I. Some friends turned me on to Chumpcar a few years back when I built a rollcage for "The Tools" Merkur. We also built a previous Focus SVT that we ran a few times. But those guys have all kind of dropped out for family and other reasons. For 2 years, we've been slowly building our low budget car (it's true, because that's all we could afford was investing slowly.) I've been lucky enough to work with some professional and amateur race teams, and have built some cars previously, but this car has been our first chance to do something of our own since I was sand drag racing or motocrossing in my teens and 20's. I started the conversations with Ben about buying his Pitt entry back in August when the Z's engine let go. I also knew I need a 3rd or 4th driver, but was extremely apprehensive about reliability (wheel bearings & hubs), and the fact that we were a new, inexperienced & very small team. After suffering race ending problems in the old focus, and having tension among teammates, my mind set is that we're not entering a race without having spares for things that we know may be Achilles heels, or wear items. I don't know who was more apprehensive, Ben or I. But he must have had some sort of confidence - my forum BS skills, or pit marshal conversations maybe , that he decided to drive with us, without ever SEEING the car until Friday morning when he came by with his truck and trailer to pick it up. So, after the fogging problem bit us Saturday morning, we basically started the race 12 laps down, including the 2 we took for being a 510 point car (oil cooler, poly bushings, front coilovers). We knew the FWD was going to help in the rain, and the rain also relieved some of my wheel bearing/hub failure fears. (We're running this car much lower, with more rubber than the old one.) We talked about trying to get some rear grip for the rain, and took our best guess at setting up the car to keep the rear from stepping out in the wet. I finally got Race Monitor up on my phone to see that we were in 48th place, and other teams were having similar fog issues. When I switched over to see how we were doing time wise, I don't know if I was more shocked or pleased - Ben was running 6th fastest at the time! We were able to click off 2 hour stints and decent pit stops for 3 guys on Saturday, but more importantly, Danny and I were able to do our stints without hurting the car too badly. Right after i got out, Danny had a minor spin and brushed a wall. Ben pulled out the right side fenders and he went back out. As the track dried, Danny was running some respectable times, especially for a noob. On Ben's final stint Saturday, we got caught up with a few other teams that were deemed to have pitted after 3:45, and we were impounded and lost another 7 laps. More importantly, after Ben settled down, he reported some handling issues. We saw the issue was a slightly bent right side tie rod, causing about 3/4" toe out. Sunday morning, Ben made the 1 yellow flag lap and pulled in. Danny and I orchestrated our pit stop to: refuel, remove helmets, rotate left side tires, rotate right side tires, and leave off the right front so I could adjust the toe. Got it right on the 2nd stab at it, and off Ben went. I was anxious to see if he could improve on his 2:21 Saturday in the somewhat dry, and was once again ecstatic to see him immediately ripping off 2:13's and eventually getting down to 2:10's! We had a scare at the end of that stint. As Ben parked the car, he said "Left front wheel bearings" and my heart sunk. We jacked up the wheel and felt it wobbling around. We noticed the wheel was loose and after re-torque'ing it, it never came loose again the rest of the day. Relief! Our small fuel tank kept us from making 2 hour stints in the dry, so we had an extra stop. It was interesting and exciting to see how this went from a test session for a new car, to seeing Ben starting to work pit strategy to get us the best finish we could. I hurt our effort a bit on Sunday, as our plan was to leave Ben in the car as long as possible, since as Rob WVUMTNBKR put it "that car was bad fast when the seasoned driver was in it" LOL. (Thanks Rob, appreciate the kind words and it was great meeting you too!) I held out the pit board to indicate P11 to Ben, and as i put the board down, i looked at Danny and said "does that look like it says "Pit?" Sure enough, Ben was in the next lap, and we weren't ready. I told him to go back out and he said let's change, he already undid the belts. So I went out for the last hour and a half, just trying to focus on bringing the car home, and not doing anything heroic. I guess Ben and Danny were nervously motioning for me to step it up, but I was in a zone. With a little luck, we got some help form someone dropping out late, and somehow ended up with a 10th place finish! Heck, i was just happy the car never broke, and was pleased to see that a lot of hard work and time paid off to provide us with one of the best weekends of my life! i hope to see you guys and do many more starting next season. Thanks to Ben for his confidence, willingness to take a risk, and his wealth of experience. There's no way we could have pulled this off without his help. Thanks also to all the friends, well wishers, and constructive conversations on this forum that have helped to get us this far. My sincere gratitude from the bottom of my heart. Go chumps!