So many of you have been asking... "what is this FB thing all about?" Today, your question will be answered!
1999 - A year of Mechanical nightmares. The year that made us say goodbye to the Mouse and hello to the Mule by the end of the season.
We lost 6 or 7 motors that year. Well, to say we lost the motors is a little strong, more like we spun bearings that many times. Apparently the manufacturer who made the bearings changed something in thier composition without telling anyone and as they had always performed well in the past, The Wizzard kept using them until he figured out it was a manufacturing error. By that time though, everyone had had enough with pulling the motor out every other race. the 1600cc Mouse motor was a high revving screamer to be sure, but it was getting just too expensive to run.
When we could keep the motor together though, we were starting to become kind of racy. Top 5 runs were becoming more frequent and our confidence grew weekly. We were never ones to want to do much of the "smart guy" work on the car, so we did what turned out to be the smartest thing we ever have done... We started taking the car to Roger Habich. Roger knows racing like the back of his hand and is quite possibly one of the smartest guys I know. With Roger working with us on chassis and set-up and the Wizzard building motors, it was only a matter of time before we get that first win.
Which leads me to the cliffhanger... Scott is out there driving his butt off and finds himself in the lead for the first time in our racing career. The 98 track champion and current points leader was behind him, giving him all the pressure he could handle, but he was cool as a cucumber out there, driving it like he had led a million laps before. They go into turn 1 nose to tail when suddenly in the middle of the turn, the car takes a violent turn to the left and comes to rest sideways in the grass. They display the black flag to the other driver and put him to the rear of the field as the tow truck comes out and pulls us back to the pits. I ask Scott what is wrong as there is no damage to the car and he says that it just wont start.
So they bring him back and we lift the hood and see nothing really amiss until we remove the air cleaner... On a standard racecar, there are many parts which make it run, but few are as important to the mix as the Carburetor. The standard carb required by the class back them was the Holley 350 2bbl. Classic in its design, it has been used for decades on vehicles of all kinds.
Now, on the carb are a few important items, one of them is the metering block, the other is the... ::::Drum roll please::: Float Bowl. The Float Bowl and metering block attach to the main body of the Carb via 4 bolts. Now, as a racecar vibrates, things tend to become loose and when screws get loose, parts fall off. Upon removal of the air cleaner, we see the carb body, the metering block (miraculously still fastened to the body) but no Float Bowl. Going into turn one, the screws finally had enough and removed themselves from thier threads. this allowed the Float Bowl to fall off and of course, stopped delivering fuel to the motor. Well, as you can imagine, once the car used up the fuel that was left in the metering block, it died. There was nothing the guy behind us could do but run into our bumper and spin us around. As it clanked around the fuel line broke and it made its way out of the engine compartment. To be honest, I was more than a little shocked we didnt have a fire with all that fuel shooting out into open air.
From that day forward, EVERY nut and bolt on the car got a wrench put on it Every week. It's a practice we continue to this day, just as any other good race team does. We finished 9th in points that year, but it was to be the lowest finish we would ever have again...
Next up, 2000... Close, but no cigar... yet...
P.S. We never did find that Float Bowl... we even walked the corner to see if it was there... maybe the track ate it!