Going into Formula D Round 4 at Wall, NJ I was not too psyched. Last year, Wall was probably our worst round of the season. We struggled with the car so much just trying to get it to go around the track, and I was not looking forward to a repeat, but we learned from our mistakes and came much more prepared this time around.
Right off the trailer on Thursday, first run of practice, the car was ripping! Better gearing and the new super responsive GT4094r Garrett turbo had this thing shredding that steep bank! I was so pumped, and all my doubts went right out the window. Now we could focus on minor adjustments and getting everything dialed.
More after the jump
Towards the end of the day on Thursday during practice, I don’t know why, but I hesitated on a 3rd gear shift and messed up the 3rd gear dog rings in the transmission. I knew right when that happened that we might be screwed, and sure enough the next couple runs the transmission did not want to shift but I could gorilla it into gear. Then it eventually popped out of gear, and before I even drove off track I radio’d my dad telling him we were going to be pulling the transmission out.
I drove straight to our pit, and we got to work pulling the transmission out. After removing the transmission, we built a makeshift workbench out of some scrap wood atop some stacked wheels and tires. My dad went to work dissembling the transmission while I cleaned parts for reassembly. The damage was just as we suspected, but the real problem was the lack of spare parts! I spent some time roaming the pits looking for parts, but my transmission is a little older than what all the fancy cars run. It turns out that Matt Field runs the same trans, and being the rad dude he is, he gave me free reign over any spare parts that he had, but they weren’t much better than what I was taking out. So I did some googling, and the transmission manufacturer was only 150 miles from the track! So my dad being the best dad ever, woke up at 4:30am the next day to make the 3hr drive into PA to pick up the parts! We weren’t even sure they were going to have the parts in stock because it was too late too call, but luckily they had everything we needed. Then while I was in the Friday morning driver’s meeting, my dad reassembled the transmission, and as soon as I was done in the driver’s meeting we were under the car putting it back in. We got everything done just in time to make a few practice runs. Everything went perfect and I was really looking forward to qualifying!
Here we are dissembling the transmission on our sweet makeshift workbench.
Pretty much every run that I attempted to make with a rear bumper ended with no rear bumper, so we left it off for most of practice. The transition from the banking to the infield is so abrupt at this track that my body kit would bottom out and tear off. My sideskirts would come loose EVERY run, and my dad would keep talking about how we need to raise my car up. Haha
My first qualifying run started off great. I did a nice flick into the bank, rode the high line on the guardrail all the way around, transitioned nice and smooth into the infield and BAM the engine instantly went to the rev-limiter. I could tell that no power was being transmitted to the rear wheels, but I was still kind of skidding along, so I immediately started trying other gears in case it was a transmission problem, but no luck… I was coasting. There was a loud clunking coming from the rear of the car, so I figured the differential just blew up, and I waited to get towed off the track.
We had maybe an hour until our next qualifying run, so we had to get this thing fixed quick! We started tearing into it and found that both axles were broken, but one side was broken at the splines inside the diff, and we could not get the broken pieces out. So we had to change the entire diff and axles. My dad, my spotter Brent, and myself still in my suit, were all underneath my car working feverishly. Kevin Wells, a Formula D official, was at our pit watching closely as it got closer and closer for our time to qualify. He was letting us know how many cars were ahead of me in line, and it seriously got down to the last one when we finally finished. I was in the car and belting myself in before the car was off the jackstands, and as soon as the wheels hit the ground I was headed to the line. I couldn’t believe we did it, I wanted to cry and puke at the same time! I pulled up to the designated tire warming area, popped the clutch to do a doughnut, and womp womp… One of the axles we just installed was faulty and fell apart! We used our competition time-out to try and get something together, but we just couldn’t make it. I could not believe it!
Broken parts, shattered dreams.
My mom who lives in Vermont and has never seen me drive, made the trip down to Wall, but got there right after my first qualifying run. So she has still never seen me drive! So bummed about that!
Even though we spent more time getting greasy laying on the ground underneath the car than out on the track, I’m still pumped on the runs I did make, and it was step in the right direction from last season.
THANK YOU! Enjuku Racing, SMASHED Clothing, BC Racing, Turbo By Garrett, Falken Tire, Lowe’s Automotive Service, my dad, my newest crew member Brent Kunz, my awesome girlfriend Katie, my mom and stepdad for making it out to their first drift event ever, everyone who continues to show support and encouragement, and OMGDrift for letting me do these awesome blog posts!
See you guys in Texas!