I thought it was about time I added to our new team blog. Eddie has been doing such a great job of keeping everyone informed and entertained, thanks Ed.
So the dust has settled and the points added up. Saturday wasn't a great night for Team LaCross when the checkered flag flew.
We developed an overheating problem while stagging for the main. The overflow started boiling over while waiting to line up for the main. Our little crate motor is usually really well behaved and will idle for quite some time with no complaints. I noticed the steam escaping from our super-trick, Habich Development overflow nozzle. I looked down at the water temp gauge and it was a bit over 230 degrees. That's hotter than we would like the engine to run at.
We had never experienced cooling problems before. I shut the car off and watched the water continue to pour out all over the windshield and fender. Attempting to be optimistic about the situation I hoped that once we started turning laps that the airflow would cool the motor down and we'd be able to run the entire race.
We were called out for driver introductions and pulled the cars onto the front stretch. The flow of coolant didn't seem to be abating and I was starting to feel some anxiety. We finally received the command to start our engines and get under way. The water temp dropped a bit once moving and I tried to focus on the task at hand.
We started in the fifth row behind the #51 of John Zaretske. My plan was to follow John as long as possible and hope to pick up some positions as we were in the inside row. The cars' set-up is still a bit frisky and I tried my best to stay up with the fast guys and not wreck anyone. We ran a few laps and I looked down at the gauge again and it was close to 240 degrees. At this point you have two options, one, forge on and hope for the best, or two, pull off and attempt to remedy the situation. Since we're not running for a championship and a motor rebuild is not in our budget at this point I chose option 2 (against my racer instinct) Pulling off the racetrack with the sounds of the pack turning green flag laps without you is a lot like getting picked last in kickball.
When I got to our pit stall, Harrison was waiting for me. With the assistance of some friends from other teams, they pulled off the hood. About the only repair possible with the limited time available is to try to add water to the cooling system. Much easier said than done. There's a reason that most radiator caps have a warning label about removing them while hot. The cap itself is usually at least as hot as the water trying to escape and if you manage to get it off, there's a generous supply of said water to burn anyone in a 10 foot radius. Just ask Scott or Trevor. Both brave souls took one for the team and managed to get water in the car at the expense of personal injury. Thanks guys, you're awsome.
I returned to the track and rejoined the race. We were several laps down at this point. Hoping to finish the race and gain a few positions I drove a bit less than full throttle and with the assistance of my spotter, that's Eddie, did our best to stay out of the way. Unfortunately our little motor was not in a good mood and the temp started climbing again. I pulled off knowing that to continue would be an expensive choice. Our second exit from the track felt more like not getting picked for kickball at all.
The positives? The car looks great! No bodywork, paint or stickers this week. A special thanks to the guys at Speedway Autocraft, especially Trevor who's efforts are really appreciated. They painted our bodywork on short notice and Trevor layed some awsome color for us and he's only sixteen, wow! The team really did a great job putting in the extra hours to get everything fixed for Saturday. Thanks a ton Ed, H and Jeri. You guys make this all possible.
This week we'll focus on making the car handle better, finding our cooling problem, installing new brakes (thanks Jeff!) and appologizing to everyone I yelled at this week. I personally want to say a big "Thanks" to everyone that supports and encourages our race team. It really makes it all worth the effort.
We'll keep you posted on our progress.
See you at the track!