Its spring in oregon. Nearly every river in the state is flooding. What should we do? Go racing! If its good enough for the ducks that moved into the lawn here at Portland International Raceway, its good enough for me! (See if you can find the ducks swimming in the lawn)
I showed up early to help out with tech.
Luckily the cops weren’t doing their normal thing and we got to setup direct in the pits early friday.
I got a chance to catch up with some good friends. Here is our race steward and our tech director heading out to inspect the weather hazards out on track. Updenkelders seem to have an early developing talent for driving.
Friday went well. We didn’t bother to setup anything in the pits over night. We figured it would be nice and dry in the trailer overnight. We started early on saturday.
Did I mention it was wet? Very wet. The early setup went well until two of our headlights stopped working!
Chris took some time to try to troubleshoot them. We eventually wired around the relay setup with a new fuse holder, directly to the kill switch. They would be stuck on but its important to be visible in the rain with all that spray.
We gave the car a quick splash of fuel before sending Stepan out first.
Don’t worry micah, cones are made to be hit with cars. It’s why they are brought into existence.
Stepan reported that it was really “slippery” and pretty “wet”. Our manta this weekend was “let the idiots be dump, all we need to do is put laps in and we will do very well”. Sure enough less than 4 minutes into the race, RED FLAG. Now red flags are rare. I think in my 3 years of racing now I have seen one, maybe two? Red flags are thrown to stop the race. They command the cars to immediately stop on track due to a major safety issue. In that hand full of minutes we had 4+ cars off track and a major wall hit. Pure insanity. The cars were stopped and brought into a grid formation on the front straight and a second mandatory driver’s meeting.
We were told the race could not continue and another incident like this and they would be forced to stop the race for the day. We reaffirmed our plan to just stay alive and put stepan back out. We also got permission to remove the rear hatch since it seemed to be making windshield fogging worse.
Some of our more senior readers will remember my personal history with PIR. I lost my first FD here on a rain track day. On turn 8 the back end came around and I spun right into the wall. You will also remember our first chumpcar, spun in turn 8 at a rainy PIR race right into the wall. Bent to death…
a bit like.. (read: almost exactly like)
Yeah, we hit the wall again. This was only about an hour into day 1. This time the car was actually able to roll on its own. Stepan made it in and we pulled him into the cold pits getting ready for some major repairs. It really wasn’t that bad.
That poor tow hook. The fender was pushed back in and the bumper popped back out. The brake duct was even still attached! Stepan felt good and was able to go back out to finish his stint.
Chris was cold and wet. He found a way to get warm.
Micah was next up. He was facing another long, wet, slow stint.
The first part of his stint was rough. Lots of contact. He came in a couple times after hitting and being hit by other cars to inspect for damage. Nothing major. You could barely even see it. Eventually he was able to let it go and settle in for a good stint. With the wall hit and extra hit stops during micah’s stint we were well down the field. Pretty much out of competition 12 laps behind the lead. Micah reported that the track was starting to dry and the speeds were picking up. We had another red flag incident. Micah had over half and hour on the front straight waiting sitting in the car with nothing but sandwich lust to keep him company.
Due to pit land traffic (the ENTIRE race pitted as soon as the red was lifted), micah had to do a couple laps before coming in.
I was next up and sure enough the track was really drying. I had another red flag wait. This time only 15 minutes or so but all of it under open sunshine. Beautiful track drying sunshine.
… then the race started. What a great stint. Easily in my top 6 race stints of all time. Great conditions. The car was running awesome. The driving on track was awesome. So much good passing. Chris was next up and in for a treat.
With about 2 hours left in the race, we found our selves in a close battle for 17th with our neighbors and fellow eugenians, the soccer moms!
They put their ringer in, and we put stepan in for a real battle. They were slowly catching up with us. We only had about a lap of lead. After a long wet stint, stepan managed to keep them at bay and secured 17th for us!
Sunday was a new race. This time, only 6 hours. We would have three stints (Micah, Leo, then Chris).
It wasn’t dry but it wasn’t soaking wet either. Micah ended up getting some nice dry laps and a good stint in. I was next. Unfortunately, my pants had sag before I tried to jump the wall to get in the car and destroyed my pants. I just simply could not go back out.
Chris had to get dressed and ready to get in the car while we were in the pits! That made for an extra long pit stop. It started raining again as well. Stepan ended up getting a stint to bring us home. About an hour before the end of the race, we got our real wall hit.
That push the wall back four inches! We missed the SLS lights by inches.
But the important parts look ok. It doesn’t look like the motor took much of a hit. Also, the strut towers look totally intact.
We loaded up and pushed her in the trailer.
So all in all, a mixed bag for the weekend. Some great stints. A good solid finish on saturday but mixed with some big damage. Fingers crossed, we think we can fix it. Stay tuned for repair updates!