I know, you’ll tell me to start at the beginning. But this story, you see, has no beginning. Not that I can think of, at least.
It’s been a crazy week. That at least I know. Monday, of last week, I left my cosy little floating casa in Mexico to join my husband in lovely Iowa. Sigh. Double long sigh. He was racing, the year’s biggest race ever was coming up (The Knoxville 410 Nationals) and they needed my help. So I flew out there and helped the boys out.
The Nationals are a 4-night racing extravaganza. Something like 110 cars show up to compete. The 2 first nights split the field in two for qualifying nights. Basically on both these nights it’s like a full program with qualifying laps, heats and then prelim divisions leading to an A main. I’ll spare you the details to let you know that we did everything we could to make the driver fail miserably, but he won.
In the heat, he was leading for the entire 12 laps, with less than one lap to go the motor dies. He finished in the necessary top 4th to secure his spot in the A main. We were thrilled, yet we knew we needed to change the motor. On any given night, the team works right out of the 53′ trailer directly in the pits. On this night, the night of nights, the biggest race of the year: the teams are forced to unload.
Unloading. This term is equivalent to root canal for sprint car racers. You must unload all your gear, parts, tires, wheels, spare motor, and the kitchen sink into the pits. All trailers must leave the area by 5 pm. It’s also known as clusterfuck.
The first thing we did when we knew what had gone wrong was hunt down a tow-truck. We needed something to hoist the 300-pound broken pile of smoking aluminum out of the frame so we could then lift a better and healthier version into the empty spot.
The crew chief was prepping the new motor when somebody (my husband) looked at the motor, and said “This won’t fit.” Can I throw you another sidebar? I love sidebars!
The motor has its established motor mounts. This bolts into the motor plate in front of the driver. The motor plate needs holes where the motor mounts are located. One would think that each motor has the same motor mounts. One who thinks that would be wrong. The spare motor had an entirely different pattern. It would not, indeed, fit into the car.
With our friendly tow truck guys, and lady (she rocked) the crew chief raced off to the outside parking area to obtain a motor that would fit. Are you aware of the stress level at these events? And then inflate said stress level for the biggest race of the year (not sure if I’ve mentioned it or not, that this was that biggest thing?)
Blah blah blah, he miraculously makes it back in time, we bolt the new motor in the car, and fire it off to make sure it’s all cool. Or hot. Or whatever. Luckily there were enough cars for a C main, and then a B main before our A main. Guess what happened with less than one lap to go? We ran out of fuel due to the many re-starts. And then we won. Yay. We crawled on the front stretch and puttered under the checkered, but thanks to the distance he’d maintained with the 2nd, 3rd (and so on) cars he was first to cross that flag!
That put us pretty high in points for the final night. We started 7th. Among the 110 or so teams that is pretty sweet. And then do you know what happened? With less than 2 laps into the BIGGEST RACE of the year, our motor (the new one, or kinda new) broke. It broke!
Hero to zero.
And now? During all these crazy sweat filled days of turning wrenches I was invited to a JOB INTERVIEW! Sunday, the day after that big race thing, I flew out to San Diego. Did the interview Monday morning, and now I wait.
p.s. Our driver is now forced to sit out some races, he’s ill. Hope he didn’t catch what’s running through his motors!