Today we showed up at the track and I had some last minute stuff to do to the car before the tech Nazi would let us go out on track. Before we knew it, it was time to get the car to pre-grid for our first practice.
Rich, team owner and driver, took the car out first and after several hot laps turned the car over to hot shoe Ken Dobson while I made some tire pressure adjustments then we were off to some fast laps. While Ken was out lapping something caught my eye to the right and as I looked up I saw a black Pontiac going much faster than the pit lane speed limit, did I mention he was sliding sideways?!?! He slid into a GTI that had a mechanic adjusting tire pressures on the car and that mechanic looked as if he had just drank 3 Red Bulls as he soared through the air. Luckily he was fine and walked away, however the Pontiac was not ok. It had really bad damage. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not really sure how bad the GTI was but I think it went back out that session. Not long after that incident Ken radioed in that he thought we had an engine problem.
This is where I need to fill you in on our engine program. Our engines are built by the great Hasselgren Engineering and they have been developing this program for over a year now. The engine is managed by a Bosch computer somewhere in the price range of a brand new fully loaded sedan. In the past year of development we have had three different computers in the car, with three different wiring harnesses, with two different sets of cams, oh and did I mention the piston that practically shot through the hood?!?!
To say the least, our recent dyno runs showed that we have come a long way, so to hear that we now had an engine problem made me feel like I just got that letter that she left me and took my truck, dog, kids, and all the money. After Hasselgren engineers looked at our computer data we determined it was a minor issue.
We have a very cool cam phasing system very similar to Hondas VTEC. The computer will fully advance the cars at low end to give us grunt off the corner, then the cam fully retards to get the high end power we need to keep up with the 400 plus horsepower Mustangs in our class.
We determined that the cam phasing sensors were bad and replaced them and had a much smoother running car through practice two. Larry Webster from Car and Driver was handy in that session to do some hot laps.
Before we knew it we were waving Ken off for his qualifying session. Right as the green flag flew for the qualifying session it started to rain!!! With everyone on dry tires the field pitted after only one fast lap and put the cars away for the night. It is going to make for a hell of a start tomorrow with the cars all mixed up with no real qualifying session.
We will start somewhere in the middle of a 96 car field, minus a black PontiacÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
After our work was done of course it stopped raining for the DP/GT night practice session that I enjoyed watching before leaving the track for the night.
Tonight we talked about race strategy for tomorrow and have a good idea of how it should goÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Hopefully!
I got a chance to see some buddies like Tommy Byrne the Irish former F1 driver and Bob Varsha from SPEED Channel.
The last thing I heard when I was walking through the paddock to the car was that Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest car on track.
Race day is upon usÃ¢â‚¬Â¦