I realize I am behind a bit, but there was no Verizon service available at the track today - Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) in Kershaw, SC.
One word is coming in to play today and in the 2011 One Lap - ATTRITION!!!!!!
We arrived early last evening by One Lap standards (10:00 pm) at our lovely lodgings in Kershaw. The well appointed Executive Inn was our choice. There is nothing executive about it! When we tried to check in they had put down the incorrect arrival dates for us. Appears we should have been arriving next week. Oh well said the huge man behind the counter. They still had a room and Woody and I were going to have our very first spooning event. I couldn't wait. Fortunately, Chris DeYoung who is teamed with Mike Renner from the BMW Performance Center had a room with two king beds and was flying solo. We completed the old key switch-a-roo and we were in business. I'll take Woody up on spooning another night.
The results for the second session at Summit Point were posted and Woody was 23rd fastest. Amazingly, he was roughly 5 seconds faster overall than I was in the morning session (my time being 21st fastest), but other teams picked up the pace as well. That's how the One Lap works. To quote Van Morrison, "What you gain on the hobby horses you lose on the swings". At the end of the day, we had positioned ourselves in 31st overall after being 69th after the first event!!!!
As we are standing on the balcony and talking to some friends working on their car (more on this later) another One Lapper (let's call him Don because that is his name) tells everyone to switch on CNN as President O'Bama is going to speak. It appears the wicked witch of the east has been killed. This is great news - so can we now please bring all the boys home from Oz!!! That's as far as I will go with my political rants.
The alarm comes at 6 am again which is earlier than we really need to be at the track, but not trying to worry Suze, we had a brake warning light come on right after leaving Summit Point yesterday. As we are headed down the highway about 2 miles from Summit Point and discussing the light I finally say to Woody - may be we should touch the brakes and see if we have them??? Woody in his calm, cool voice says...good point (we both laugh) . He does and we do. Good news. Arriving at our garage space we jack up the car and pull all the wheels and look the situation over. Everything appears in good order. We head out for a track walk and a little exercise....2+ miles worth.
While walking I bump in to Ben Shaut. As Ben and his father Dan run an E90 M3 and are very mechanically inclined I ask about what our problem might be. I describe everything in detail and say the good news is we still have brakes. Ben proceeds to ask if it is a yellow or red warning light? I say red. He says.....OH....it sounded bad when he said it too. We walk back to the garage and the Shaut's are paddocked right next to us. We walk through the issues with Ben and Dan. We complete some more investigative work. Brake fluid level - OK. Jack up the car again and put rear on jack stands to check rotation of wheels and parking brake - OK. Dan's OBD code reader....nothing comes up. Nothing else we can check for now. Dan's solution until we can have a dealer look at it....place black tape over the warning light and put it out of your mind. I am all smiles at the thought of that.
It is soon time for Woody to grid up as he has won the toss to drive the first session. First test on recon lap is to check the brakes. He stops at the starting line after his recon lap so I assume everything is still a go for launch. He finishes quickly and later we find he is 32nd fastest. It is good enough to move us up to 30th overall. Why, because a Mitsubishi lost a turbo oil line and the car caught on fire headed in to turn one. By the time he made turn two the driver was looking for a spot to pull off track and exit the car - rapidly. The fire teams arrived quickly and the problem extinguished. The car....no pun intended....toast. Attrition.
At some point in the first session a Porsche 911 dumps coolant on the track. Coolant is slicker than pig snot and the session is stopped so the track crew can clean up. This puts finishing the first session behind by close to 45 minutes. It is going to be a long day. Attrition.
Woody and I are strolling the paddock and come upon the sick Porsche. Andy Hennessy who supports the Dubler Chocolate team of HHR's
It is finally time for me to take a run at CMP. I do and it is over in short order. Brakes are still working obviously. I place 24th overall.
During the second session the Mazda 2 has an issue as it towed off. Our guess is that the turbos let go or over-boosted the motor/head gaskets and the car is finished for the event, but we won't know really until tomorrow in Daytona. Attrition.
Now to the saddest story. Let's back up to our friends working on their car last night in the motel parking lot. The ones we were watching from the balcony and helping as we could. Appears when the team arrived and parked at the reception drop off the parking brake was set, but not fully. The drop off area leads directly to a steep slow that flows in to the parking lot. As the team was checking in, the car decided to take a stroll on its own. It went down the hill and struck a large Harley Davidson motorcycle, proceeded to jump the small sidewalk curb, and eventually strike the exterior wall of room #126 placing a 24" x 24" hole in the plaster. The bike had serious enough issues that it could not be ridden. The exterior motel wall never looked better. The car had a dented hood, right front bumper damage which appeared mostly cosmetic. The team's plan is to skip the CMP events held today and get the car to a dealer in Columbia for a look over. Hopefully we see that at the BMW Performance Center in the afternoon.
Next....the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC.