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View Full Version : Woody and my One Lap Report (long)



Neil
05-16-2007, 10:39 AM
90 cars started the event in South Bend. We were in the SSGT1-Small Bore class with 7 other cars including a much modified Noble, two E46 M3s, a supercharged M Roadster, an E36 M3, a Lotus Exige S (another Exige was misclassed and the organizers never bothered to change it), and a 944 Turbo. The Noble broke the first day due to overheating when the driver forgot to switch on his cooling fans at Autobahn Country Club. I was 6th on the wet skid pad, 33rd on the 1/4-mile, high-banked South Bend stock car oval, and Woody was 30th at Autobahn Country Club's South course. A pretty decent start for Team Mdorphn that had us in 17th place overall!

Saturday night driving across western Iowa we ran into awful thunderstorms and reports of tornados in the area. One team stopped at a gas station and when they went inside they found a dozen people sitting on the floor of the restroom. It was after dark so we wouldn't have seen them coming anyway. After checking into our hotel the tornado warning siren went off. That and wind, rain and thunder made it difficult to get to sleep.

The next morning we saw on TV that our area had 3 to 5 inches of rain and 25 reported tornados. This was the same storm system that wiped out the town of Greensburg, Kansas. The storm finally passed around 10 am and one of the two time trials at MidAmerica Motorplex was canceled due to the late start and 1,000 mile transit drive coming that evening. I drove way too conservatively on a wet but drying track with lots of standing water and finish 74th -- my worst result in any event during past 5 One Laps -- dropping to 34th overall and 3rd in class. (Last year I was 26th and 29th on the same track.) I was kicking myself hard on a long drive to Tooele, Utah that was only made interesting by the
hours-old snow on the pass over the Medicine Bow range. Thankfully the roads were clear, and we made out hotel by 2:15 am MT.

Miller Motorsports Park is an awesome facility. I've heard between $50 and $65 million is in it. Woody and I were gong to split the East course/West course trials, but found out we were to drive the East and Full (4.5 miles, 23 turns). I asked Woody to do both in lieu of our splitting Mid-Ohio. Woody was very pleased with his 26th and 29th place finishes and his effort gained us several spots to 30th overall. The 3,500 foot flat pit straight may have enabled him to drive faster than he ever have before, but he didn't look at the speedo.

Tuesday found us at Pueblo (Colorado) Motorsports Park, a track Woody had driven 3 years ago. He was 24th and 23rd and our standing is unchanged. BTW, each trial is 3-laps from a standing start. One recon lap leads to the starting line. Total time is what counts. A new M6 driven by an instructor from the BMW Performance Center who races one of the Automatic E46 M3s in the Koni Challenge series had a rear suspension upright fail in the morning event. They fabricated a new piece with hardware store parts and he completed the afternoon trial. Later they were able to buy the necessary parts off of a dealer's unsold M6. The first in our class red E46 M3 was unable to run the 2nd trial due to a busted power steering hose. Our drive from Pueblo, CO to Tulsa OK took us across NE New Mexico and the Oklahoma panhandle. The two lane roads were straight and empty and the scenery in NM outstanding. We ran at 110 mph for extended periods until heavy rains hit after dark.

Wednesday at Hallett Oklahoma, David Hobbs' favorite USA track and one that I had done on two previous One Laps. After my miserable showing at MidAmerica, I was determined to drive aggressively and finished 16th and 21st, good enough to move us from 30th to 25th overall! Our competition for 2nd in class, a black E46 M3, spun off in the first trial and ended up 71st and 36th. Hallett briefly moves to first in class.

Thursday at O'Reilly (formerly Indianapolis) Raceway Park - a fast bumpy 2.5 mile road course that uses a drag strip and the staging area in addition to a normal track. On Woody’s launch down the strip a low buzzing noise started with an up shift from 3rd to 4th. The gauges seemed normal so Woody continued on with concern. The buzzing noise seemed to have stopped after a lap or so, but shifting became stiff and the clutch started slipping. Then he noticed the digital water temp gauge had climbed to 233. On the
cool down lap the temp had climbed to 255 so Woody shut it down and was able to coast down pit lane to our paddock spot. Some coolant had sprayed about the engine compartment from the expansion tank bleed screw. Consulting with Lap Dog and friend Roy Hopkins we figured that a failed water pump caused the noise and overheating. Woody and I borrowed an official's car and were off to nearby Zionsville Autosport for a new pump, thermostat and coolant. While there Roy called to say he had started the Coupe and found a terrible clutch vibration and noise. He also determined that our cooling issue was due to nothing more than a massive air bubble.

Woody drove the afternoon session by accelerating gently up to fourth gear and leaving it there for the duration, and his time nonetheless improved by 1 second from the am! He scored 34th and 41st. I then ran a single run in the 1/4 mile ET event and did 13.900 despite a badly slipping clutch and very nasty drivetrain vibration. This was good enough for 37th. (The two fastest cars did 11.8s.) Our clutch problems slip us down to 27th overall and 3rd in class. TC Kline, who was competing in a Car and Driver entered Audi S6, generously suggested that we replace the clutch at his race shop outside of Columbus, 1/2-mile off our route to Mid-Ohio and Roy Hopkins offered to help. We had a civilized dinner while the car cooled and then TC and Roy – with modest assistance from Woody and me – efficiently replaced the broken pressure plate and installed a new flywheel. (My 6-puck clutch disc was still in good condition so we kept it.) Incidentally, that buzzing noise? A twelve inch long hole had been sawed in the bell housing by a broken torque strap. We were in our Lexington hotel by 12:30 am.

I have done schools at Mid-Ohio and ran a One Lap Team Mdorphn record track best 12th in the am (5:24.502). Shortly after lunch I convinced Woody to drive the pm trial. He ran strong, but 0.67 seconds slower than me (5:25.172), good enough for 20th. (Woody claims he would have beat me but for his difficulty finding 3rd gear entering the Keyhole on his last lap and the hotter, more humid conditions, but is still desparately seeking other excuses!) We move up to 24th overall and 2nd in class. After we returned to South Bend that night we vowed not to get smashed like last year. We sorta kept this promise and retired from the bar before midnight.

Saturday was only a dry skid pad competition. I pulled .992 (on now worn Michelin PS2 street tires), good for 11th. So we ended up 2nd in class to an exceptionally prepared and well-driven E46 M3 and 22nd overall. All in all, a very satisfying and not particularly tiring event. And yes, we’ll be doing it again next year!

Rafgar
05-16-2007, 11:38 AM
Neil,

Nice report and terrific job at the event.

So, when this report finds its way to the next dB, will there be lots of good pictures with it? I would love to see what happened to the bell housing as well as seeing "the sights" at the various venues you visited.