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Our Race Report


Eh! Team
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Hi Gang,

Still trying to catch up on sleep from the weekend. Great weekend. Lots of driving for us but well worth it.

Bob and his crew had a few flat tires on the tent trailer they were towing which added a few hours to their already gruelling drive from Kelowna BC. But we all made it safely and still managed to drink beers till 1:30 in the morning on Thursday night. We left Vancouver Island on the 9am ferry Wednesday and arrived in Lancaster CA at 10:30am on Thursday. Drove straight through with cat naps all the way. weather was great all the way down, clear & dry.

We set up our pit late Friday afternoon, after doing a little sight seeing in Rosamond. We tried to get into the museum at Edwards Air Force base but apparently you need to register ahead of time and make an appointment. Disappointing.

Our car was teched Friday night, no problems, we even got 3 bonus laps for being early.

Saturday morning was the usual pre-race activity, lots of confusion , we still had to have our gear inspected. That went well, the Chumpcar crew were very busy, but they still did a fine job of checking everyones gear promptly. 11 AM comes quickly, We did a final quick check, I suited up and got out onto the track. There were only 22 total entries, a couple didn't make it to the start on time. Doesn't really matter, you have plenty of time to make up laps.

We started to circulate for about 5 laps making sure everyones transponder is operating. We had purchased a new set of radios for car to pit communication. Worked much better than the ones we had in Portland. Next thing I hear is green green green!. race on.

The track was a busy one, tight corners and lot of them, narrow in places and difficult to see the entry in a few corners. I was driving very conservatively not reving the car past 5800 rpm. I wanted to make sure everyone gets at least one stint. We made it to the 1st safety break with no issues, everyone doing a great job of bringing the car back in one piece. We were running in 7th place going into the break, We decided to run our new sticky tires for the nighttime stint, they were also a little lower profile which helped with the bad split between 2nd & 3rd gear. A few adjustments, and we were ready to run through the night.

I started the nighttime stint, I was hoping there would still be a little daylight so I could see the new track configuration, (shorter) . No luck, as soon as I made it onto the track it was basically pitch black with the moon still about an hour away from rising. I got stuck behind a very slow car during the pace laps. the group was way ahead of us. I knew If I lost them I would have to find my way around here on my own, green flag drops and I pass the slow car and I'm on my own. It didn't take long for the leaders to come up behind me. I let them pass and tried to fall in behind them and pull off a few consistent laps and learn the track over again.

At one point I turned in too early and found myself disoriented and driving around another version of the track in the infield. I finally got into a rhythm and managed some consistent laps. Near the end of my stint I turned in too late for the last corner coming onto the main straight, ( like I said it was really dark) I found myself cruising down the hot pit lane. I stopped in front of our crew, they were all scratching their heads wondering what I was doing. That was it for me, John Rymarchuk took the wheel next.

John did a superb job driving consistent laps bringing the car back and letting Dave take the wheel. Again the car comes in and Bill takes over, Dave did a great job. At that point we noticed a lot of smoke coming from under the car. Crap! Big oil leak. We dump some extra oil in the engine and Bill takes off. The car left a huge smoke trail which was only visible as it past the start finish tower. We could see the starter pointing and his hand was getting itchy to grab the meatball flag. A few laps later we were flagged, drivers were complaining they couldn't see with all our oil splattered on the windshields.

We brought the car in jacked it up and hoping to find a leaky oil filter or something simple like that. Not so, the leak was coming from flywheel area which meant the transaxle will have to come out. It was about 11 pm at this time and getting quite chilly. I had brought a spare main seal, so we decided to pull the car apart and deal with it. Once we had it all apart, it was actually the oil pan gasket that had moved out of position and was leaking. We loosened the pan, cleaned the area applied lots of silicone and buttoned it up.

It was after 2am by the time the car was off the jack, Bill jumped in to finish his drive. At that point I went to go lay down in the tent trailer for a bit. ( no fancy motorhome for true crap-can racers!) I couldn't sleep but I managed to dose off and give my eyes a rest. At about 5am I was called to drive earlier than I was supposed too. Allen was feeling ill and needed to come in. I jumped into the car still feeling dozy and sleepy. I had taken my contacts out and was driving with my glasses. Big problem with my glasses fogging up and I was feeling extremely tired, my lap times were pitiful. I did about 6 or eight laps and came in. Bill or John took over, I can't remember. Something to be said for young eyes.

I stayed up and watched the cars circulated, John was driving as the sun came up, good consistent times. We made it to the morning break finally 7am. A few more adjustments and checks and off we go, Bob Rymarchuk taking the wheel and circulating consistently. Everyone was pushing the car harder today than Saturday with our lap times coming down significantly, the car was performing beautifully, really sticking.

My last stint was a real confidence booster, good times and really learning the track. I felt very comfortable with my performance. John R. brought the car to the checked flag, the last few laps he was having a great run with a Mazda Miata, running wheel to wheel. great job again.

Our final position was 11th out of 22 cars, not bad considering all the time we lost.

We even won a trophy for consistent something or other, not really sure, but we got something and a big cheer from our American friends who treated us like celebrities.

Big thanks to Keith Berglund, Pat Barry, spouses and their friends for driving six hours to come and watch the race. They camped out at the track for the entire race, Truly hard core race fans and we really appreciate the support. ( I haven't seen Pat or Keith since since about 1988 or 89! back in Winnipeg. Keith still had his Bowler trailer, I remember that.

Our crew worked hard together at the track, everyone put in many hours of hard driving, lots of wrenching and little sleep. Great fun!

Also thanks to the Chumpcar organizers and corner workers for putting on a great event. looking forward to doing more.

Pete

one of the Eh! Team

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