Vegas to Reno 2012

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We had already won the race on paper.  A great draw for second off the start line and 350 miles of flawless racing through the desert.  Eight years of learning and eight years of preparation, what could possibly go wrong?  The possibilities are endless.  After each successful mile the list gets shorter.  You might even begin to think of who you are going to thank at the finish line: General tires for another set of great tires, Summer Brothers Axles for the quick work on the new axles after breaking them at the “Firework 500”, Casey for putting on another great race, Ridged Lights and Robby Woolworth for a great set of LEDS that Robby installed Thursday afternoon, or the work and support of a great crew. We had our regular crew with Derek Dixon and Butch Burtness chasing in the F350 and Jeff Marciano and Jeff McCullough in the F550 keeping the truck fueled.

We were on pace for a great first place finish, we had maintained the lead for the majority of the race running 6 1/2  hours with only 3 hours left to go.  We were racing conservatively, pacing ourselves, Stewart had kept the RPM’s under 5000 the entire time.  We were waiting for the right time to bring it up to full throttle.  We had a 180 miles to the finish and we were leading 3 minutes in front of 2nd and 23minutes in front of third.  We had set a pace that was not damaging the truck and at the same time we were in first.  We were sitting pretty… then disappointment hit hard.  The truck seemed to shift into neutral and we drifted to the side of the track.  Stewart tried to switch gears, but nothing worked.  I am out and under the truck and the drive shaft is turning, but the rear end isn’t.  We had spun the differential, one of the worst possible scenario’s that could happen.   There is no chance to repair this, it had to be completely replaced.  Anyone have a spare “3000 dollar” differential? We were unfortunately finished with the race.

Now for the excuses, I mean post forensic spin.  Not being an expert yet on Ford 9″ rear ends, logically, the locknut on the side load fell off allowing the ring gear to flex.  The flexing caused the spool to break.  A portion of the spool rubbed against the adjustment for the whole rear end breaking the lock nut allowing the adjustment nut to back all the way out causing the pinion gear to break every tooth off.  This happened within seconds and we were stranded in the desert with the turtles.

 

Here’s my chance to thank my team.  We gave it our all for 350 miles, thank you all for helping us get that far.

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