Well, after 2 long weeks of work, we finally got the car started and running… only to be defeated by the typical new car problems and lack of time for testing. After getting it started Tuesday night in the shop, we finally called it a night and got back up at it Wednesday morning to finish putting the final touches on the car. Parachutes needed to be packed, the windshield needed to go back in place, the sheetmetal around the Lenco needed to be fastened… nothing too severe. I stayed up until 2 am working through the engine management program, thinking I had a closer grasp on the motor. But when we unloaded the car at Phenix City to get in some much needed passes on the car, it went down hill from there.
The mechanical fuel pump had lost its prime, so we spent about 20 minutes trying to get it running. The timing was off, and once it finally lit, it wouldn’t stay running. The starter kept kicking back, and each time it did, it ground against the flexplate. John Gullett helped me finally get it running and keep it running, and set the timing correctly. It was idling great and sounded much better. When we shut it off, everything looked okay. But the next time we went to crank it, the flexplate/starter had so much wear that they would not engage, and the test session was over before it began. Although I could have replacement parts by Friday, I could not risk taking such an untested car to Orlando and try to run it through the quarter mile completely untested.
On the bright side, the car is finally together and running. We have a private test session scheduled next weekend to get the bugs sorted out, and can possibly enter the Pro Modified open race in Phenix City the following Sunday.
On the down side, I was really looking forward to debuting the car in my hometown of Orlando in front of my family and friends. I’m still headed down there, but it will be another few months before I’ll have another race in Orlando with my car. (March 2006 FFW) That was the real let down of the news, along with the fact that we all worked so hard for the last few weeks to get the car there, to have something this silly set us back. I won’t be discouraged though, and will use the extra time to really get the car sorted out before the next race… an ORSCA Pro Modified event at Commerce in November.