FD Pro2 St Louis, MO – ROUND 2 | August 10th
So after the first round in Atlanta there was plenty of work to be done on the car. I had to pull out the "temporary" motor, redo the cooling system and wire up new more powerful fans, redo the engine harness wiring, install an OS Giken differential into a 350z pumpkin for a taller final drive, install said pumpkin into the car, rebuild a new motor, get it tuned, and all the other little things in between to make a car work. With such a long laundry list of things to do I set out to work as soon as I got back. Since there was a 3 month break from round 1 to round 2 I had a good amount of time to get a lot of things finished up. But as always time flies by way faster than you think it will. After getting the car almost completely finished up my tuner noticed that my alternator was starting to die. I ordered a new high amp alternator that came the day before packing up and heading out to St. Louis. Unfortunately, this alternator came dead out of the box. I was so excited to slap it on only to see that it wasn't putting out any volts. Since we where about to leave and no one could get me a replacement before I had to head out, we packed up the car and figured we would try to figure it out on the drive to St. Louis. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a high amp aftermarket one in time but I found out that an OEM Pontiac GTO (04-06) alternator would bolt up with the correct spacing and put out the right amount of AMPs that the car would need, and only some minor wiring would be needed. We arrived to the track early and luckily enough there was a junk yard across the street from Gateway Motorsports Park. We didn't find an alternator, but lucky for us GM uses the same plugs for a lot of harnesses. As for the alternator, no parts store within a 100 mile radius had a replacement, but we had another stroke of luck as someone local on Craigslist was parting a GTO. GOLD! We grabbed the alternator and slapped it on!
The next day was practice followed by qualifying. I was excited to get out there and see how the car ran and handled. In FD it seems like practice is always the hardest on the car. There are at least 30-40 drivers that all want to get in as much practice as possible, meaning that you do one run, and then wait in a line of 30-40. So the car will heat up, and then sit and heat soak for about 15-20 min before running again. But the car's temp's held up ok because of the new fans, also all the rewiring for the harness proved itself, as the gauges and logging was working great. Next run out the serpentine belt snapped and I had to pull in. The new alternator had a slightly larger pulled, making the belt a super tight fit. We through on a spare that's a little longer, but unfortunately it was a bit too long, and we ended up loosing some boost since the belt started slipping. So with that we changed up some pullies to see if we can get the belt a bit tighter, which definitely helped a little. I was able to go out and get a few good runs and was getting more and more confident and then the car lost power and felt like it was running with some dead cylinders. With a massive pit in my stomach I limped the car back to our pit to do a compression test on the car. Luckily the compression check out. We changed out all the plugs, kicked it over, and it purred like new! Nothing but some foaled out plugs.
While working on the motor we noticed that our radiator had a pin hole leak coming from one of the welds. Unfortunately qualifying was starting and with so little time to address it we decided to throw some JB Weld onto it and hope it holds. My first run was super conservative so that I could put a score on the board. The team and I thought it was good enough to at least make the show but with more and more scores coming up we quickly realized we would be on the bubble. So lining up for the second run I knew I had to throw it in much harder. On initiation the slave cylinder failed and it threw off my line. With this being my second qualifying run I tried to make up this error on the last outside sweeper, I went in a little too fast and just barely put a wheel off the track. Since Gateway has grass off the track, if you touch it even a little, you're going off, and OFF I went. So my first score of 74 would be what we are betting on to get into the show. We watched our position drop slowly, and then with 3 runs to go, we where sitting at 16th. The anxiety was real. Unfortunately we got bumped down to 18th and just like that we where out.
We didn't make it into the show, but nothing major went wrong with the car, and the team did great under all the pressure. Texas is round 3 and we're looking to come out swinging!
See you soon guys there!