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2020 Racing Radios Charlotte Motor Speedway 14-Hour race results


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Results
Excludes EChttps://speedhive.mylaps.com/Sessions/5787429
EChttps://speedhive.mylaps.com/Sessions/5787430

 

Images by Bill Strong. Some are in focus.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/314djM29CUha4NwU7

 

ChampCar.live replay - 

 


 

 

 

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Since we were one of the first cars officially out of the race it seems appropriate to be the first race report. 

 

We started the race in 8th. Our 1st driver had never been in the car before so we figured a lap or two on behind the pace car would help him feel things out and get a gauge on what things look like in the mirrors. After a lap or two under green he starts moving forward. After around 30 minutes we had moved up a few spots and were sitting in 4th place not counting 2 EC cars out front. He was driving fairly conservative, still quick, and we were happy so settle in for the long haul. 

 

Then the right front hub seizes in turn 1 and the car hits the wall driver's right. The car still drives so he gets it back to pit road and it honestly doesn't "look" bad. We pull the right front wheel off and figure out the hub is way hotter than it should be and the impact has damaged the tierod end. We go back to paddock and start digging into it only to find the impact bent the spindle. We didn't have a spare spindle with us and there wasn't one available anywhere nearby. Race over as we all agreed that putting the car back out with a cobbled together solution on the right front was not safe at Charlotte. 

 

Car drove onto the trailer so it could be worse. We got the car home and pulling off the trailer it developed a huge knocking noise that seems to be coming from the bellhousing area. Everything feels normal at the clutch pedal so we are guessing flywheel. It seems the car wasn't going to finish anyway.

 

I'm really bummed about this one. We worked really hard to get the car ready for Charlotte. It ran long stints in recent testing and everything seemed fine, at least go longer than 30 minutes fine. We really needed to go longer so we could do the math on fuel strategies. The good news is the car is fixable and we just have a little more work to do before VIR. 

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The race at Charlotte for Running Bulls was a very good run but we can't help but feel we came up short on this one. We started the race after the random order in P20 with Mike Merrill driving. A good opening stint working through the field and with about 7-8 caution laps we made the 2-hour mark we wanted to shoot for and pitted in P3, Our guest driver Ed Royal was in next and drove a good consistent and clean stint also able to make the 2 hours. During this stint through consistent laps and a couple cars into the pits, we took over P1. Andrew Sides in after the pitstop in P3 and moved the car back to P1. Michael Bulls driving stint #4 taking over and drove cleanly to keep us in P1 through the 8-hour mark of the race.

 

At this point, a few teams had solved some issues and began to show some speed but if we could hold our times and be trouble-free, we could earn a good finish. Ed drove stint #5 and this time we couldn't make the 2 hours, and when we checked wear to change a right side front tire, we found a bigger issue. A brake caliper bolt had backed out and the caliper was grinding on the wheel, the team jumped to it and fixed it on pit lane quickly but a 15 minute stop closed up the field as Michael Bulls went back in for stint 6.

 

Michael finished the next stint driving well and brought the car into the pit in P2. We still had a good margin to work with to stay in the top 3 at this point. Next in Mike Merrill as night was falling and then after some 25 minutes into the stint the car started to smoke badly and limped back into the pit while in P2. The team jumped in and found a bad and somewhat baffling problem, a hole in the casing of the transmission and the smoke was due to the fluid leak. We fabricated a fix to try to get back out using high temp epoxy putty. It seemed to work, we put fluid in and Mike Merrill did a couple test laps and it was holding so he would run to about the 13-hour mark and Andrew would finish. At this point we were in 4th position and just trying to save a top 5 spot but 1 lap into Andrew's final stint the fix must have given way and we didn't have time for an additional fix again to save the position and retired the car.

 

It was a very frustrating rollercoaster day to run so well and then have such a problem, but this is endurance racing, and these are the battles. We ended in P8 but the team sees more of what slipped through our grasp on this one.

Still a great weekend with the team, our second race with Ed Royal and our first with a great crewmen Casha Daniels who really helped us out and especially during the problem times jumping right in to help fix the car.

But as always, smiles and a beverage for a hard day at the track!

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Edited by jakks
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21 minutes ago, jakks said:

The race at Charlotte for Running Bulls was a very good run...

But as always, smiles and a beverage for a hard day at the track!

That's a real tough break. You guys were leading or holding a top 3 for a huge part of the race. @Snake and I were watching on Race Hero and Livecast during that battle for P1. 

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10 hours ago, jakks said:

Next in Mike Merrill as night was falling and then after some 25 minutes into the stint the car started to smoke badly and limped back into the pit while in P2. The team jumped in and found a bad and somewhat baffling problem, a hole in the casing of the transmission and the smoke was due to the fluid leak. We fabricated a fix to try to get back out using high temp epoxy putty. It seemed to work, we put fluid in and Mike Merrill did a couple test laps and it was holding so he would run to about the 11-hour mark and Andrew would finish.

 

That's wild - how does that even happen?  Something kicked up off the track?

 

Sucks that it took you guys out but awesome that some epoxy held together for a bit.  Going to add JB Weld to my list of repair parts...not sure why it's not there already.

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40 minutes ago, krispykritter said:

 

That's wild - how does that even happen?  Something kicked up off the track?

 

Sucks that it took you guys out but awesome that some epoxy held together for a bit.  Going to add JB Weld to my list of repair parts...not sure why it's not there already.

We tried The two part JB Weld first even with a piece of tin to cover the hole. The JB weld just turned to almost a liquid due to the heat. We then tried the JB Weld High heat epoxy and that’s what gave us the 10 or so extra laps. In hind sight we should have probably used the tin and the putty. 

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It was pretty interesting as the announcers talked about your problem as they weren't sure of all the details at first and then were thinking about whether it could have been due to something hitting from outside versus something from inside.  Probably the hardest part about trying your fix was getting that surface clean enough for the JP to actually stick to the surface.  That said, it was a great effort, and it sucks something like that happened in the first place, but also cool that you guys made some great attempts at keeping it out on the track as well.

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46 minutes ago, 67Mustang said:

It was pretty interesting as the announcers talked about your problem as they weren't sure of all the details at first and then were thinking about whether it could have been due to something hitting from outside versus something from inside.  Probably the hardest part about trying your fix was getting that surface clean enough for the JP to actually stick to the surface.  That said, it was a great effort, and it sucks something like that happened in the first place, but also cool that you guys made some great attempts at keeping it out on the track as well.

 

It's cool that Paul and I have operated as team mechanics, car builders, and I was a car/team owner. So I know I have had the same issues. And it's interesting trying to figure out what's wrong with a car from very limited info like you get from a drivers report over the radio, and then trying to diagnose it via a picture, or looking at it under the car. I still think that something came loose in the gearbox, which found a gear and was pushed outwards through the casing. It looks the size of a key that's used when you slide the gears, or syncros on the output shaft. It could also be a broken gear tooth.
I agree that using a round tin plate over the epoxy would have helped it last longer, and provided a larger area for the sealant to contain the fluid. But I heard that the output shaft seal was leaking on the final laps.

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Oh I definitely agree, it could be anything from the inside just as likely as from the outside.  I've broken teeth on both diff ring gears that didn't jam and chipped trans gears and made it home. I'm more familiar with the inside of a top load or T-10, usually when teeth break and jam in those when they are really being beaten on, the freakin case splits.  But that's usually when someone is trying to launch really hard or they miss a shift  really badly.  Maybe if some small part or a needle managed to get adrift during assembly and wasn't noticed, it could have eventually kicked around and gotten punted out by a tooth, I could see that happening as well. and Missing one needle wouldn't be an instant catastrophic failure. 

 

Now if you guys could drag good ole David Hobbs out of his South Fla home to come an commentate with you guys, man, that would be a riot and hella fun. :)  It would take something really good up another level!

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After ten races, Thr3ve Racing finally had a podium finish.

 

3rd overall and 2nd in class. 

 

We weren't the fastest but we were consistent, had good stops, had zero issues once the race started, and ran all 14 hours.  

 

BTW, our team name is pronounced "THREEVE".  😉

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NLS Racing Charlotte 14hr race report ----

The Charlotte race being delayed was the only positive side of this whole Covid crisis for us. There was no way we were going to make it to Charlotte in April after our engine let go at VIR South in March. After countless engine failures over the last year and a half, we had enough of junkyard engines. Rebuilt the bottom end with fresh rings and bearings, nothing fancy, store bought dingleberry hone and a little patience. Slapped it together, test drove it, all is well. The day before our entire team was scheduled to go on vacation for a week, the engine developed an issue. Spitting and sputtering, hard starting. Almost pulled the plug on this race but finally resolved the issue with a few days to go. Crank position sensor was out of adjustment. Never been an issue in 2+ years of the swap.

Fast forward to race day, we got our standard draw at the back of the field. No worries, plenty of time to catch up. By lap 2 our driver reported low power, engine missing. Came in, swapped 2 different Mass air flow sensors, no luck there. Back to the pits to play with the crank sensor and wouldn't ya know it, that was it. Back on track 10 laps down and pressing on. Set 2nd fastest lap of the day during our first stint(excluding EC cars). All is well, up to 5th by the end of our second stint. 3rd driver in and soon reported lack of power. WTF. Left him out there while we searched for a solution as his lap times hadn't fallen off too much. We continued on thru our 4th drivers stint as one team member ran to the parts store for a new crank sensor. Swapped it during a scheduled pitstop. Engine was better and worse at the same time, now instead of high RPM lack of power, it was lack of power anything under 5k. Oh well, nothing left to do but keep calm and carry on. Slowly gained on the front runners, eventually taking the lead and never looked back. Other than the sensor issues, it couldn't have gone better. Zero contact, everybody out there drove respectfully, at least those still running as this was a typical Charlotte race of attrition. 

After 5 long years of trying we finally brought home the victory. We are stoked! Shout out to the Running Bulls team, wish you guys could have survived to make it more interesting at the end. Congrats to all that finished, it was a hot one out there. Thanks Champcar for putting on the show amid these trying times. Thanks to everybody else that makes this happen and allowing us fulfill our racing passion. And a thanks to all our fellow racers that reached out to congratulate us. See ya at the 24.

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Edited by bigyellow
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5 hours ago, bigyellow said:

Shout out to the Running Bulls team, wish you guys could have survived to make it more interesting at the end.

Same to you guys at NLS, it was great fun racing with you and we had hoped to put as much pressure on you as possible, but we felt that 2nd was the best we could have hoped for. This would have been great for us though. You guys made a great charge through the field and fought off the racing demons to seal a win. Good job... 

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On 7/14/2020 at 7:36 AM, bigyellow said:

Never been an issue in 2+ years of the swap.

 

What engine do you guys run in that thing? 

 

Congrats on the win! Nice seeing a Nissan in P1.

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6 hours ago, Bremsen said:

 

What engine do you guys run in that thing? 

 

Congrats on the win! Nice seeing a Nissan in P1.

It's a 96 maxima 3.0.  Very cheap to buy and plenty of them around.  Although when it is switched to rwd you lose the factory location for the rear crank sensor  

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Well we got our first last place out of the way quickly. Ran pace laps, then on the first hot lap the temp was reading 240F. Spent the next 8 hours trying to rebleed the system, change the water pump and thermostat, and finally discover that the inline radiator cap that I bought off Amazon wasn’t sealing to the cap properly, so even at 150F it was just leaking all the water out of the system. So after 8 recorded laps no where near at speed we had to load up and head home. Hopefully we can solve that issue (and get a left side mirror) and be back for either AMP or VIR and actually see what our little Civic can do.

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44 minutes ago, AxelRipper said:

Well we got our first last place out of the way quickly. Ran pace laps, then on the first hot lap the temp was reading 240F. Spent the next 8 hours trying to rebleed the system, change the water pump and thermostat, and finally discover that the inline radiator cap that I bought off Amazon wasn’t sealing to the cap properly, so even at 150F it was just leaking all the water out of the system. So after 8 recorded laps no where near at speed we had to load up and head home. Hopefully we can solve that issue (and get a left side mirror) and be back for either AMP or VIR and actually see what our little Civic can do.

 

 

Hope you guys can make VIR. We have been looking forward to running it again since we first tried like 10 years ago. 

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