Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Track Day! Wow what a blast!! Plus - Lake Michigan!

We skipped breakfast this morning, all the activity is taking a toll and so we just slept in a little.
Getting out in time to join the Tour of the old track was easy, since it was set to start at 10AM.
50 (or so) little British cars took off and drove around the old track, over surface streets not having to stop due to Police support at the intersections.
Cars and drivers ended up at gate 6 to enter Road America.
We all drove out to the track and lined up, then the track official came and gave us "the talk".
Basically the rules, not driving over 70mph etc etc.
At this point I thought about the fact that I had not gone and filled my gas tank since arriving on Monday.
I talked to my friend BillM about this and he said confidently "It'll be fine..."
The great thing was that Peter would be allowed to come out with me on the track.
Peter was apprehensive at first, then he heard that there was a speed limit and I told him we had gone more than 70 mph on the freeway. Then he was fine with it.

The driving was spirited, to say the least. There was a little bit of a competitive edge to the thing since we were allowed to pass each other. So there was a good deal of that going on.
Peter took lots of pictures and a few videos out on the track. I don't think he was prepared for how hot we would be going into the corners.

And hot was the word, not only was it an even 100 degrees outside today but driving seemed to soften up our tires and make us very sticky on the road surface. With the competitive driving especially around corners I didn't even feel the outside temperature.

Our car performed perfectly, even with worn shock absorbers up front and needing new bushings we managed to more than hold our own. This was due more to the great running gear under the hood of the Frogeye Midget than to any technical know how on my part. This was my first time ever doing anything like this.
I was very happy that Peter got the chance to have this experience, and that the car performed so well.

Now - back to the fuel question I raised earlier...
Halfway through the last lap what happens?
That familiar feeling when you mash the right pedal and the car goes "Huh???" - "You want what???"
I told Peter, well I think we're out of gas.
The car still had momentum, so I turned the key back to turn off the engine.
Then I turned the key back to the on position so the electric fuel pump came on, then I rocked the steering wheel left and right to slosh any remaining gas around in the tank while the pump was attempting to fill the float bowls on the twin HIF4 carburetors.
This worked and so I compression started the car and drove on,
Having to repeat this process twice more to get it to the end of the lap Peter and I were relieved we didn't have to call for help out on the track.
When we got parked I noticed that the treads on all my tires were filled with black tar and quite a bit of gravel was sticking to it.
Next was lunch, we assembled in the control tower and had lunch. Well most of us did, apparently there was a bit of a SNAFU having to do with the number of lunches delivered. Peter and I waited a while and then the food arrived. When it did it was very good and hit the spot.
Dave Woerpol led us over to the gas pumps, after BillM pumped out a pint or two from his own car to make sure we would make it. The race fuel was 98 octane and cost $8.90 per gallon. We put in two gallons, more than enough to get us to a gas station outside.
At this point Peter wanted to go back to the hotel, and not stand around in the heat and watch the Autocross.
At least I convinced him to go swimming in one of the resorts pools. At first he didn't want to, then after he had been playing in the water for a while he didn't want to get out.
Having missed the opportunity to go back to the track for our dinner we set out for Sheboygan.
We went into a large-mart to get oil and coolant and a few snacks. Then I asked an employee how to get to Lake Michigan. He didn't know. I asked a second, she didn't know. I said, "isn't it just to the east a little ways?" - finally a third employee told me a few directions and we were off and found the lake, it truly looks like a sea and I'm glad I took Peter to see it. We found a park and went down and got out feet wet before returning to the car.
Pictures of it all are uploading to Picasa as I write this, hopefully you will be able to play the videos and see the pictures and it will all make some sense. Peter took most of the pictures again today, and the video as well. I know that he should have held the camera up a bit higher during video and some of the angles might look a bit funny, but just realize that his dad was putting him through a few G forces that he wasn't really used to.

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