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Bill Strong

2018 Lifeline 24-Hour Classic at VIR Race Recap

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1 hour ago, Drvred said:

That was the tracks lone black duck, he lost his mate and been hanging with the geese all year.  😥

Well, there's definitely motive there for a suicide.  In the video it looked like he had a change of heart just before the end.  Hopefully he re-joined his mate on/in the great lake in the sky.

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On 8/13/2018 at 1:56 PM, chip said:

It was all the coaching that I provided...

But agree that @Burningham is a pleasure to be around- hope you made it home without incident.

Hey Ro"D"ger is my driver...don't get to many ideas Pinkies OUT!

Edited by Hurljohn

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That was a crazy weekend for us. As @KSRD pointed out, we weren't even there and we had major issues. We managed to get everything figured out and eventually made it home yesterday morning. As for the track, what a fantastic facility - my first time there and I got to do the 7-9 into darkness stint and WOW that was a crazy stint for a noob. I stayed clean and on track, and I just hope that I was predictable enough for you experienced guys that were able to get around me.  Certainly a new experience on many levels, and I can't wait to try it again.

 

Thanks to the ChampCar and VIR staff and volunteers for hosting a great event.

Edited by engsr
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12 hours ago, Burningham said:

Seriously, when I went into turn 1, into the esses, and into the roller coaster your words were echoing in my head how to drive those spots so indeed it was the coaching.  

 

Perfect- I'm in your head now.  You'll never be the same...

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27 minutes ago, Hurljohn said:

Hey Roger is my driver...don't get to many ideas Pinkies OUT!

we'll see about that as my mind meld seems to be working

 

tumblr_nmeeh6DbZ71svmnqco4_400.gif

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40 minutes ago, Hurljohn said:

Hey Roger is my driver...don't get to many ideas Pinkies OUT!

You should at least spell his name right then...

 

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4 minutes ago, Racer28173 said:

I saw what looked to me like some pretty expensive camera gear there.  Were the guys from the TV show back?

 

Yes someone doing a documentary? @Doc and @TAlexander interviewed him, but I'm sure Doc won't remember too much - being pretty much sleep-deprived. Hell I can't remember much and I'm not sleep-deprived, just old. 

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45 minutes ago, Hurljohn said:

Hey Roger is my driver...don't get to many ideas Pinkies OUT!

Hey now, I offered you and chance the opportunity, can’t help it if your too chicken or busy doing some other poop like defending freedom or whatever.  

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1 minute ago, FlorahDorah said:

 

Yes someone doing a documentary? @Doc and @TAlexander interviewed him, but I'm sure Doc won't remember too much - being pretty much sleep-deprived. Hell I can't remember much and I'm not sleep-deprived, just old. 

Yes, he was doing a piece on the Racebar team. He has a video series on FB called "What We Do"

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4 minutes ago, Doc said:

Yes, he was doing a piece on the Racebar team. He has a video series on FB called "What We Do"

 

You did remember! 

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Did anyone have any issue with the rear window decal on the Tic Tac car?  I found it almost unsafe when following very closely as you could not see thru the car.  I would have to pull to one side or the other when setting up to pass to check for traffic ahead of us.

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7 minutes ago, FlorahDorah said:

 

You did remember! 

I take notes. A man has to know his weaknesses.

 

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1 minute ago, chip said:

Did anyone have any issue with the rear window decal on the Tic Tac car?  I found it almost unsafe when following very closely as you could not see thru the car.  I would have to pull to one side or the other when setting up to pass to check for traffic ahead of us.

Chip...You have far more issues than that my friend...😅

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1 minute ago, Doc said:

Chip...You have far more issues than that my friend...😅

well that may be true, but this one a doctor/drugs/booze can't fix...

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34 minutes ago, chip said:

Did anyone have any issue with the rear window decal on the Tic Tac car?  I found it almost unsafe when following very closely as you could not see thru the car.  I would have to pull to one side or the other when setting up to pass to check for traffic ahead of us.

  I'm hearing ya ,not the only thing that will change on that car .  Not in the rule book but as a saftey issue it will be addressed.. 

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Man...what an experience, not the one we were looking for but we looked adversity in the face and kick it in the junk like a bunch of bad mother...you know what I'm talking about.

 

Our trip started on loadout day when the running lights on the trailer decided not to work.  Attempted to troubleshoot but no joy.  Still,  we got the trailer loaded up Wednesday night so we could leave out earlier than we planned Thursday so we could spend the night in ATL.  Got up Thursday and headed for VIR.  Arrived around 3:30pm, met up with the renters and got our game plan together.  Got the trailer unloaded, and it was then when I realized our garage number was 13...and one of our pit lane rooms was number 13....but we press on.  Grab a bite at the Oak Tree Tavern and head back down to the paddock which was jamming.  Props to Racebar guys, you put on a hell of a show.  I dont know who the RV with the sound system was in the back of the paddock but you guys were jammin out as well.  Great atmosphere for sure.  Most of us went to bed early while visions of top 15 danced in our heads....

 

Wake up at 6am and get started moving into pits and getting the car ready for practice.   Had plans to get our 3 renters in the car so they could feel it out.  We spent the time between daytona and now rebuilding the motor and diff.  We also had to change both front brakes a few days before the race as they were pretty much locked up.  So we sent our crew chef/head honcho Jack out to test the car.  He comes in complaining of a womp womp womp noise and thinks its driveline related.  I don't find anything making noise but I did burn the crap out of my arm.  I also find a very large oil leak off the front of the motor.  We change the vanos line and send out the next renter.  Black flag after 3 laps and renter comes back in.  Oil still leaking, cam position seal is just not there.  We also put a new seal on the PCV off the valve cover.  Both of those seem to fix our oil leak issue.  Everything else seems to be great.  Our ringer renter says the car feels great and feels much faster than his previous stints in the car (Previous motor had ZERO compression on cylinder 3).  Practice ends and we head to the drivers meeting ready to start our race.  I felt really good about finding the leaks and getting them under control before the race.  Mike picks pretty close to the worst number for pole and we are starting 88th.  Cant win them all I guess.

 

We get our ringer renter in the car and send him out to start.  Green drops and he starts making up spot after spot.  Throws down a 2:22 and we are pumped.   Top 15 for sure!!  We get comfy in our chairs and start thinking about strategy and how we can keep this going. At lap 8 we've moved up to 32nd and we are still climbing.  After 10 laps of racing we get the call you never want to get..."motor is down on power and making a terrible noise".  He brings it into the pits and we pop the hood, no new vents are in the block, everything looks as it should.  Oil seems a bit thin...real thin actually.  Tell him to start it and drive it back to the garage...it wont start and it sounds like marbles being shaken in a can.  We got it pushed back to the garage and start pulling the valve cover off.  Everything looks good that we can see.  Drain the oil....has a little bit of magic dust in it and the smallest layer of water on top.  Seems the headgasket failed and let some water into the oil and we had a main or rod bearing failure.  We start pulling plugs and we find out that one of the valve cover washers has fallen right on top of one of the spark plugs and its the perfect fit to keep you from getting the plug out.  Takes us an hour to finally get it out and it was about at that time we were just about to call it quits and drink every beer we had.

 

One of our renters, who is from Charlotte, mentions off hand he has a m50 at his house on a stand.  We were told the motor had 230,000 miles on it, the original head gasket, but it ran when it was pulled.  I see that crazy look in Jack's eye and I know whats about to happen.  We send one owner and two renters to retrieve the motor/stand/and hoist while jack, myself and one renter stay back to get the car ready for the transplant.  Just the drive is a 3 hour round trip and they also have to stop for other items we need such as oil and a pilot bearing puller.  its probably close to 2:30-3pm when we get started pulling the front end off the car.  We have the old motor ready to come out in less than an hour.  We start prepping everything else for the transfer.  They show up with the motor at 8:30pm and we get it unloaded and start pulling the bad motor out.  Get everything swapped over and have the new motor in and ready to start at 11:45pm.  Fires up the first crank and that glimmer of hope is back.  We were garaged with the Chandler school teams and they were great.  Those kids were asking great questions and telling even better stories.  I had to apologize a few times for our terrible language but they were very understanding and I think they cheered louder than we did when the motor started.  We send the renters upstairs to get ready and we button up the rest of the motor and get it ready to rock.  We ended up back on track at 12:28am in 96th place and we kept our fingers crossed.  

 

We start ticking off laps and the motor runs like a top.  Burns a little oil but hell, its running.  We make it through the night with no major issues.  One of our renters was so tired he forgot what fog looked like and kept calling in talking about dust in certain parts of the track.  One renter ended up getting a little too hot and had to cut his stint short.  Our third renter did great and was nice enough to let us know every time he passed the cobalt in his stint.  Our pit stops were pretty relaxed and we just took our time.  Tried to stay out of the way of the really fast guys and not mess up anyone's race.

 

I got in the car sometime around 7:45am and I was really tired.  The first few laps I felt kinda of lost but I pulled it together and had a great time.  Hated to see the SRI car take that hard hit at south bend.  That felt like the longest yellow ever.  @Rapido Had a great time playing lead/follow with the hugh jass miata until his brakes gave up a bit.  @Snake @MoparBoyy@Snorman Also had a good time playing with the Inactive car as well later in my stint.  Saw a lot of good driving, saw some bad stuff but its to be expected after 22 hours of racing.  I had a few clean laps and put down a respectable time.  I was 4 seconds faster than last year so I felt really good about that.  We put our last owner in and told him to take us to the finish.  At the end, we had clawed back up to 70th place and it felt great.  We put in a ton of work and got everyone seat time.  That post race beer never tasted better.  

 

All it all, it was a great trip and a great event.  We still have yet to fully complete a 24 so congrats to those who have, it is most def very hard to do.  We had a great team of renters who rocked out and rolled with the punches.  Im really glad we decided to keep the rooms til Monday, no way we could of loaded up and driven back.  We ate lunch/dinner and crashed out before I woke up and drank some beers and talked poop with @pintodave while we got to see all the sweet IMSA cars rolling in.  @Huggy I'll bring more beer next time or you can just come down to Barber and we'll swap some more.  

 

Thanks for a great event guys! See ya at Barber!!

 

TLDR: Motor exploded, We Replaced it, We Rock

 

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Edited by Jab31169
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5 minutes ago, Ray Franck said:

  I'm hearing ya ,not the only thing that will change on that car .  Not in the rule book but as a saftey issue it will be addressed.. 

 

I may or may not have given that car the number 1 sign after it dive bombed me into 1 and came close to not making it.  I saw ya, would of let ya get around pretty easy.

Edited by Jab31169

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@Jab31169

We swapped out an engine from a Jetta in the paddock of Chuckwalla using our gas jug wagon and blocks of wood to raise the engine. Fortunately you can pull the front sub-frame free of the rest of the car. Still don't know why that Harbor Freight wagon didn't collapse under the weight of the engine. 

 

Adversity!!

Edited by FlorahDorah
Ack! Don't quote long posts... people read it the first time...
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2 minutes ago, Klenk said:

IMG_4321.thumb.jpg.570e98ce10eb78a3e72e519fa6402f2d.jpg

RIP duck. If only I had known when I saw him on Friday. 

 Yeah brother you never know ,cherish the time .

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#307 Not Banned Yet Recap:

As some of y'all may have heard, we were ready to roll and were doing some testing 2 weeks before the race at Summit Point Shenandoah. An element under the car was set incorrectly and dragged in the carousel, punting us off into the wall. It was a low speed impact into the wire wall at 26mph and into the concrete at 13mph yet the driver walked away with a concussion. The drivers head did not appear to bounce on the frame and the g forces were low.  

 

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Our guys pulled together to get the car back in one piece for the race and we made it to the race.

 

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@Wyatt was able to push ahead to get an early lead for us.  We had a wing brace failure as some of our guys who didn't know any better repaired an older brace with plastic sleeved cable.  We should have replaced it before this race but didn't and it cost us some time.  We had another alternator go. Heat, oil exposure, & vibration killed this one and we'll be crafting solutions to those issues. Our quickest mechanic was in the car at the time and it took almost 20 minutes to get all the parts, tools, etc together and fully affect repairs.

Our drivers were having some trouble modulating the brakes as we were running longer lasting brakes and tires than typical for this 24hr event. The result was excessive flat-spotting by some drivers. The last driver in the car flat spotted them to extinction with a full blowout. These tires are normally good for 40hrs of racing, so the issue was pretty severe.

 

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We also had complaints of noise and fumes as our muffler was spewing it's packing material. We didn't take this seriously enough and found that our fuel rail had cracked. It appears it cracked due to a cantilevered fuel pressure sensor & block undergoing above spec vibration and fuel line weight. The leak sprayed onto the manifold, into the valley of our engine and then dripped back down the transmission. It then traveled across the exhaust with non-flammable lava rock based wrap which probably saved us from a major fire.
 

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We had just purchased a second hand pit box and had gone through much of our spares to get rid of obsolete items, etc. One of our guys removed the 2 spare fuel rails we have taken to every race because fuel rails don't fail ;) . We took our lack of flammability as good fortune and called the rest of the race after 10.5hrs.

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We finally made it home! Rolled in @ 4:30am this morning, finally hit a pillow @ 5am… the last 45 minutes was literally painful to finish, but I was determined to finish at least one of the races. Had Stacey and Mike talking to me to keep me going.

 

I don’t even know where to start on the race re-cap. So much awesome and struggle to re-cap.

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with the Champcar staff and the VIR staff. Champcar staff put on an awesome & well organized event. Dan Diggs was making phone calls trying to help us with tech support on the truck. I’m not sure we’ve been to a track that is actually somewhat organized and run that well as a whole as VIR is. From the strict security guard in the South Paddock (trying to remember what movie character he reminds me of…) running a tight ship on getting trailers in and out, to the hotel staff, to the staff at the Oak Tree Tavern – just super helpful and friendly. In fact, Sunday evening we were still dead in the water with respect to anything with a motor (actually – the genny still ran). It was raining so we couldn’t work on the truck and we really wanted to go ‘act normal’ for a few hours and sit down to eat. VIR security team gave us a ride over there since it was raining. First class hospitality, they didn't have to do that. The grounds are gorgeous, the Oak Tree Tavern has that warm historic feel to it – drinking a beer on the front porch with a light rain is about as good as it gets boys. What a time to be alive and experiencing all of this.

 

This was the most drivers (6) we have run at an event and it worked out awesome, will probably do that should we run any more 24’s (to anyone on the fence about a 24 or VIR, this is THE 24 to attend…). Had a couple of guest drivers that the timing finally worked out to race with us. It was a great pleasure to have @CWag of Team Jacky Ickx fame and JR of @TurboFox join us this weekend. Also, our buddy Greg Voth finally got some seat time in the Camaro as well. @CWag was the only person on the roster with VIR full course experience, JR had some on the smaller configs. The rest of us – complete noobs.

 

Getting there early and not being in a rush was great – this weekend was the most people I’ve met off of the forum at a single event. Great to put some faces with names and swap stories and have some beers. Shout out to @scottyk and @Chrisflamion for the beer delivery. The Race Bar party was super fun too. The @Hugh Jass team was awesome to meet and pit with, super fun group and they looked like they had their act together for race prep and operations. Big shout out to @Huggy for coming through 15 minutes before green flag with some ¼-20 locknuts! Next race we will definitely drink a beer. We had to add a second expansion tank to our vent line to keep fuel from puking out, not the cheapest solution but what the hell do you do 45 minutes before green flag??? Many beers deep and definitely approaching sleep deprivation Sunday evening, finally got to have a couple beers with @Jab31169. I was almost in zombie mode, hopefully I didn’t spill the beans on too much of our cheaty parts :lol:

 

The race:

What a blast. Easy to get familiar with, TOUGH to master. A lot of the sections and corners you feel like you are only hitting at 75%, so you brake 2’ deeper or back to throttle 2’ sooner and all of a sudden whoa! you are at 110% and over your head real quick. Definitely the most off’s we’ve had as a team at a single event. Fortunately, nothing too destructive (another race, another splitter is our mantra…). I made a lot of mistakes. I damn near money shifted my first stint – a first for me, and I can’t help but think if that contributed to our oil pressure issue. The o.p. issue didn’t show up immediately after that, so I don’t know... 

 

Collectively, the entire team did a great job approaching the event with “it’s a 24 hour race" mentality. I’ll update the brake rotor thread, but for 21 hours of track time, this is the best the brakes have ever looked and felt post-race. I can't wait to measure the pads and post up rotor pics. Everyone did a great job not over-doing it and running a conservative pace. For the first 45 min, I was definitely relying on pure hustle and fake-it-til-you-make-it. What a track to have to figure out in a hurry. Even with lots of track mapping, video watching, and iracing practice, it is a ton to absorb. Not sure when in my stint, probably the first half, but I found myself running with the Mercedes. The first couple of laps I was “racing”, then it hit me – “hey you knucklehead, those guys are always fast and probably have that pro guy in there, stop racing and follow him.” Thanks for the on track mentorship   :D  shortly thereafter I managed to get a 19 out of it while still not knowing what the hell I was doing and trying to keep a conservative pace in mind. Super encouraging – with not babying the throttle and oil pressure issues, improved braking zones and seat time I know we could turn it loose and run mid-teens easy.

 

Around 8-ish is when the first rocker popped, the only reason we were off track so long was a bunch of dirt got knocked into the head when getting the vale cover off. Like, a lot of dirt. I almost said screw it pack it up, but we pulled all the rockers off the right bank, cleaned it up as best we could and reset all of them. I tried talking @CWag into driving after and he wisely didn’t want to be first behind the wheel in case something wasn’t right, so I hopped in around 10pm. Holy poop. Took me a few laps to get my eyes adjusted and comfortable, what a riot at night. I did lots of following, then started getting some good visual marks for reference in the dark. Got hooked up racing with @Burningham in the @Huggy machine, that was some intense racing, definitely on the top list of my fun & memorable Champ experiences. Once again, I learned a lot from racing around the other fast cars so thanks for that. Not sure when I did it, but I had a pretty big off in hog pen, I just over-cooked the first right hander (the whole 75% -> 110% thing…). It started as a 2 off that felt like it was going to end really bad if I tried to save it, so I helped the VIR staff with some grass mowing :D clutch in, a few 360’s and away I went lol.

 

One of our guys had contact we believe around 4-6am, there is a mark on the LR of our car - not sure what happened, if it was our fault and chopped down on someone, sorry, if someone got into us, no harm no foul. Just putting it out there that I saw the damage, have not done a full race review with my other drivers on what might have happened. 

 

So, I’m just going to throw this out there, the only almost-real bad incident I had was a very near miss with the Leviathan mr2. Could totally me a misperception on my part, so this is either an apology from me or a what-the-hell were you thinking on your part. Not sure. I follow them up through the uphill esses, I got a really good run exiting south bend, present myself inside, which would be track left approaching Oak Tree. He stays mid track, giving me what looks like room to the outside and presumably not wanting to give me the middle to low line to prevent a dive bomb from me entering oak tree. Not a problem, makes sense. So I am now coming with a full head of steam outside and my nose is pretty far up, at least to his tire if not door. I’m not even with him, but I am very much present with a reasonable speed differential. As we get to the brake markers, he tracks over hard left to set up for Oak. I have to nose it on the brakes HARD to not go 2 off and/or not take him out. It was close, like extremely close, to trashing 2 cars. If someone behind us has video, I’d like to see that for some clarity. I have no problem with someone putting a car somewhere to hold off a pass, but c’mon man. Like I said, maybe I was being too aggressive, but I feel like he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. You can’t protect the dive bomb and then take away the opposite line. If I couldn't have cleared him, he still would have had the preferred line entering T11. Whenever someone was coming at me with some steam entering a corner, inside or out, I always left them SOME sort of room even if they couldn't complete the pass, it’s a 24 hour race. I gave him a big 1 finger salute on the back straight and promptly missed a shift  <_<

 

Popped a rocker in the left bank at some point early morning, had it back together pretty quick - 30 minutes or less like Domino's baby. Being a 24 we were able to battle back for the class lead, but around 830 am, something bound up in the shift forks or a slider, unfortunately it was in neutral and not in 3rd or 4th gear so we couldn't even limp it home. Congrats to the Mustang on the class win.

 

So, 2 second recap on the truck - we get the steering working good enough to get on the road, just for the trans temp sensor to fail before even leaving the VIR property, putting the trans in limp mode. Talk about feeling defeated. Maybe the truck just didn't want to leave VIR. We limped to the Ford dealership, got our $20 sensor and went to the closest local garage we could find - the Super Walmart parking lot :D

 

This is long enough, but I will post up some pictures for sure.

 

 

 

Edited by pintodave
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