Well you know we didn’t finish.  Here is what happened.

I took the first drive.  I started in 72nd and moved up steadily into 34th over about 2 hours.  Much of that was under yellow and much of the moving up was due to other cars being in the pits or causing the yellows by crashing or otherwise failing on the track.  My fastest lap was a 4:06.133

minnow front thill 2016

It was great fun.  The BFG Force Rivals are really noisy tires.  I felt like it was handling great and had more pull than I remember.  It seemed like I was passing cars that I wasn’t used to passing.  I passed several Bimmers and Miatas. I came in during a longish yellow.  The team told me that my brake lights were on all the time.  We struggled and tried to get it working but it was clear that the switch was toast.  So we put Dennis in the car and sent him out.  Ewan and I drove into Willows to try to by a brake light switch.  We failed at the Napa but succeeded at the Autozone.  They didn’t even bat any eye when I came in with my race suit still on.  We got back and decided to let Dennis finish his stint. Dennis started in 87th and finished in 50th.  His fastest lap was a 4:01.199.

When he came in though he couldn’t get it in gear.  He made it all the way to the paddock entrance before it failed.  He got some guys to push him to our spot.  We troubleshot it for a while and decided that yes the transmission was toast but the clutch was okay.  I looked up the Chico PicknPull inventory and they had a prelude with a manual transmission that would have fit and might have worked, but that would have meant me and Tedd going there to get it out, coming back, getting our ruined tranny out, putting the new one in and getting it all back together.  I wasn’t hopeful about our success so we packed up and went home. The guys, Dennis, Derek, and Tedd agreed to put the money in to make it go again.  We’re going to do it right.  I said I’d research honda transmissions with lower gears and a limited slip differential.  Tedd said he’d look into a clutch and light flywheel.


Sunday Ewan and I started on the tranny pull.  I printed out the section of the honda shop manual for removing the transmission and we started down the list.

The brakes were about 1/4 worn.  So with our spare set we have enough for the next race.  The oil in the transmission was the worst burnt oil I’ve ever smelled.

Our race is over

I got to drive the first stint.   Dennis took the second.   On his last lap the car got a little slower.  As he entered the pit lane he couldn’t get it in 2nd.  He had to get pushed to our paddock.  The tranny was dead.  We thought about driving to the Chico pick n pull to yank a transmission and try to install it and maybe get back out there tomorrow.   We decided instead to get a good transmission,  take our time, and do all the stuff that needs doing while the engine and tranny are out.

We’re on our way home.   Ewan and I stopped for pizza.  I feel really bad the Derek didn’t get to drive.  His second race ever was a bust.   You get your pick next race Derek.  You want first? Run the tank dry.

I’ll post the full details of the day later.  We were actually doing well.

Crazy Announcements

The track loud speakers have been making the funniest announcements all day.

“Do not ride on the top of your race car”
“Do not tow bicycles with your car”
“Do not tow wheel chairs with your car”
“Under no circumstances may any one tow anything bike,  skate board, wheelchair!”
“Canopies must not be anchored with fuel jugs.   If your canopy is anchored with one or more fuel jugs you must disconnect them immediately. ”

Seriously.  It’s like clueless day or something.

Arrived Thursday afternoon


I got the car up to Thinderhill on Thursday at about 4:30.  There were already scores of teams waiting for the gate to open at 5:30. 
Lucky most of the were teams with motor homes that wanted hookups.   So I still got a shady,  covered spot.