Trying to race three cars wasn’t the best idea. We ended up going in too many directions. Since two of the cars were in the morning race we were up early getting Derek and Jeff started then we were off to pit #2 but we also needed people at the main pit to prep the 7200 truck, It worked out fine but some things were sacrificed.
Derek completed the race in 14th overall and 1st in class. The class 9 prep by Doug, Stewart, and Butch paid off. Derek drove at a conservative pace which paid off and still finished 14th. Jeff and the AMC Hornet were off to a bad start, leaking through a bad oil cooler behind the seats. I think they could have finished the race but would have probably finished the car. We weren’t aware of it but the motor was seizing. 1 ½ laps or 150 miles and they are out. The car lived to race another day.
At noon it was time to race the 7200 truck pre-stage behind the railroad tracks. We were set to race around 1:30 pm. It was a side by side start. Our truck locked up quickly by the 1st turn and we were out front by three truck lengths. As we made the last turn to go out into the desert we hit the soft sand and our 5700 lb truck turns into a bulldozer. 540 HP going to waste in a truck that is too heavy for this part of the course. We were passed up quickly.
Back on the hard pack we were picking up speed but something is different about the truck. What is this? At the top of every roller there is a sharp jolt going right through our backs. What is this? Never mind, just man up and race. Sort the same mentality as not asking for directions when you’re lost.
The truck is fast and we passed vehicles already while making our 5th pass in 20 miles. We clipped one of the trucks with the front end. It mostly filled the engine compartment with rocks because it rolled the power steering belt off the pulley and turned the belt inside out.
We needed to change the belts on a very hot engine including the alternator belt which was in the way. It took 30-45 minutes to fix then we are back up to speed again behind a white truck at 40-50 MPH. The truck in front of us clips a large rock and spun it under us taking out two tires only 10 minutes later. You can see where this day is going.
Changed two tires and were off. This was still lap one and three more to go. The truck tops out at about 115 MPH and the adjustment Stewart made to our cooling system is working great full throttle and we are hitting 210 degrees on lap two.
Something was still wrong with our set up and my back felt it. But I hadn’t figured it out. The rear end lets go on lap two. We snapped the locating arm bolt. To fix this under load we needed to lift the rear end of the truck off the ground. We stacked up two tires under the rear bumper and placed our jack under that to raise up the whole rear end and put in a new bolt. We were going to drive into pit one and fix it again. After asking everyone for parts fixed again with the right bolts and misaligned cams.
At this point Stewart was already done keeping this truck together, it’s becoming a full time job and without any finishes no one cares if we go.
We are off to the main pit to finish lap two and the rear end breaks again for the same reason. We rolled into the main pit and got out. We are done now, the arm is also almost through the fuel cell this time.
What did we change this race? The compression on all four corners too loosen up the suspension and use every inch of travel we have. It was the wrong choice for the track and both the truck and I paid the price- my back locked up on me and I couldn’t stand up straight for two days.
Why didn’t we stop and fix this during the race??
Our next race is the NORRA 1000 in Baja.
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