Gadzooks Racing 1717 Race Report - MORE Chili Cookoff

Sparky

Well-Known Member
Race report from a co-driver perspective

The morning of Thursday Setpember 10th I walked into the garage and looked at my pre-runner (my YZ250F) sitting totally disassembled, waiting for the new piston and timing chain that was supposed to have arrived the previous Friday. My plan was to leave early Friday morning, stake out the pit location, then pre-run a lap or two before the rest of the team arrived. The parts finally arrived late in the afternoon, and it was just after 12AM when I pushed it out into the driveway and fired it up.

Friday morning delays got me on the road later than I wanted. I was at the grocery store contemplating the Chili Cookoff, and I decided to go ahead and compete again this year. I was already late getting out, so I decided to just let my schedule fall wherever for the day. Then my wife called asking if I wanted the sleeping bag that I left on the table, and she drove out of her way to bring it to me. She is awesome. I finally got out to the main pit just after 2PM, and Eric had just pulled in with the car. So much for my prerunning plans. We set up the pit and headed out for contingency and tech. Driving the car along the highway, the 220 degree engine temps had us a little concerned - it should have been running at 180. After tech, we start rebuilding cooling fans - new motors and blades and temps were right back down to where they needed to be. By this point it was dark, so we mounted up the light bar and Josh and I headed out to pre-run in the dark. We spent a lot of time marking hazards on our GPS, making notes about passing zones, and looking for the smoother lines around the course. Then I realized that I hadn't had lunch or dinner yet.

Saturday morning was a beautiful cool desert morning. The plan was for Josh to drive the first two laps and Eric to drive the 3rd and 4th lap, and I would co-drive for the entire 4 laps. We had 18 starters in our class, and we were slated to start 17th. But what about my chili? I had all the spices already measured out and I gave some quick instructions to Beverly and off we went to line up for the start.

We got the flag and off we went. The dust was brutal. There was no breeze and the dust was just hanging on the course. We started passing other Jeepspeeds before Mile 4. We were making great time and being patient and passing when we could. We were following another car for a while and just watching the back of their car bouncing violently. Josh piped up on the intercom, "They need some Bilsteins." Our car was working a lot better through that rough. As they were bouncing around, our Rubicon Express suspension and Bilstein Shocks just sucked it all up. Then we got up into some really heavy dust and came up on the back of another Jeepspeed. We worked for more than a mile at trying to get around, but the dust was so thick that we just couldn't see well enough to make a move. Then a course split came up and I saw the car in front of us and the column of dust move to the right, and I yelled to stay left. We broke out into clean air and passed 6 Jeepspeed cars all nose to tail. By the end of the first lap, we had worked our way up to 4th place with a lap time of 1:01:47. That gave us just under a 40mph average on the 40 mile course.

The second lap was less dusty and we concentrated on catching the 3 cars in front of us. We lost our GPS and the intercom on my helmet failed - Josh could hear me, but I could not hear him or the radio. Without all the dust, we were able to see all the nasty rough stuff that we had been racing through. Our new Goodyear MTR tires just took the abuse. We hit a few rocks that I was sure would take out a tire, but they just kept on rolling. We pulled into the pit at the end of our second lap with a time of 1:01:02, physically 4th on the course and running 3rd on overall time. We were in great shape.

A sub-2minute pit stop for fuel and a driver change and we were back on course. I still had intercom problems, but Eric was able to hear me. I shouted out the hazards and pointed him to the smoother lines and he was absolutely hauling. We were easily on the way to a sub-1hour lap. Then around MM26, the front of the car started reacting violently. Eric was pointing to the front of the car, but I could not hear. I flipped up my visor and heard him yell "we lost a shock!" We pulled over and I jumped out to find the lower shock bolt gone on the left side. The mount and the shock were perfect, the bolt was gone. A brand new grade 8 bolt, with a brand new grade 8 crimp nut that had been installed with Locktite. Just gone. I grabbed our bag of spares, found a bolt, and bolted everything back into place. Strapped back into the car and we were off and running. With the pit stop for the driver change and fuel, and the time with the shock issue, we still managed a 1:12 lap. The bolt cost us a few spots though, and we had dropped back to 5th. No problem, we caught them once, we can catch them again.

A quick 15 second pit stop at the beginning of lap 4 to recharge the shock (I had to bleed off the 150psi of nitrogen so I could compress the shock to get the bolt installed) and we were rolling again. We had our sights set on getting back up into 3rd for a podium finish. Suddenly around MM6, we started getting a banging noise at the back of the car. Everything felt OK, but we knew all was not well. We pulled into Pit 1 a few miles later and they confirmed - a broken rear leaf spring. Dang. We determined that we could get the car around for a finish in less time than it would take to get a replacement spring to us, so we decided to just press on at a slower speed. Our race strategy had suddenly changed from working for a podium finish, to one of just keeping out 100% finishing rate intact.

If you think racing at speed is tough, try going around the course at 80% speed. At full speed, you don't hit every bump or every hole - you skim over most of them. At slower speeds, you hit everything. You feel every bump, every rock, every hole. So we are cruising, then just past MM26, the front end starts its violent reactions again. Eric points to the right front of the car, and I hear him yell "shock gone." I yelled back to pull over and I'll check the bolt, and he said we were just going to keep going. That last 14 miles was hell. It was lonely too. I saw Eric on the transmit button for the radio, so I knew he was talking to the crew. I sat there hearing nothing on the intercom, listening to the chassis work through the course.

One hour and twenty five minutes after we started the lap, we crossed the finish line. We ended 9th in class. We got the finish. We kept our finishing record intact, and now have 19 consecutive finishes. Overall points we slid from 2nd to 3rd, but we are still in striking distance and the championship will come down to the final race in December.

A quick check of the car showed that we had lost the lower shock bolt on the right side. So in this one race, we somehow lost both lower shock bolts, even though they were brand new with new lock nuts and thread locking compound. A closer inspection revealed the problem, and the new chassis will have a modified design to eliminate this problem. It just took this nasty rocky course for the problem to reveal itself.

And we need to send an extra Thank You out to the engineers at Goodyear for the new design on their MTR tire. The broken rear leaf had been rubbing the inside of the tire, but the sidewall lugs kept the spring from digging through and popping the tire.

The combination of Rubicon Express suspension and Bilstein shocks is working great. We blasted through some absolutely ridiculous terrain, and the suspension just soaked it up.

Thank you to all of our sponsors - 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers, Goodyear Tires, Rubicon Express Suspension, Bilstein Shocks, and Thunder Express Trucking.

Almost forgot about the Chili Cookoff. We won.

See you all at Henderson in December!
 
Almost forgot about the Chili Cookoff. We won.
Help me out here, I thought Brandi's "Sexy Silli Chili" from the Coyote/Checkers pits won first place in the Chili Cook Off. I did see her in possession of a MORE check in the amount of $250.

JC asked me to do the story for Dusty Times and I'm just trying to get the facts.

Thanks in advance.
 

Sparky

Well-Known Member
Help me out here, I thought Brandi's "Sexy Silli Chili" from the Coyote/Checkers pits won first place in the Chili Cook Off. I did see her in possession of a MORE check in the amount of $250.

JC asked me to do the story for Dusty Times and I'm just trying to get the facts.

Thanks in advance.
They split off the JS Chili Cookoff separately. We won a free entry for our next MORE race.
 

Random Thoughts Racing

Well-Known Member
Great writeup, I should have the newnaughtyness shocks to go with your new leafs and bolts for the next race. I cant wait to meet up for some testing!
 

Sparky

Well-Known Member
Great writeup, I should have the newnaughtyness shocks to go with your new leafs and bolts for the next race. I cant wait to meet up for some testing!
Sweet. We didn't think we would have them in time for Henderson. I better light the candle under some butts to get the prep done.

And there are guys in our class that still think that speed comes from horsepower...;)
 
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