Monday, June 17, 2013

First race wrap-up

We came. We saw. We overheated.

After 5 hours of racing, Team Jake Rensen climbed to 19th (out of 37) in the standings before the car began to overheat beyond the ability to continue.

Our best guess is that a blown head gasket caused our coolant to dump into the combustion chamber instead of, you know, cooling the engine. Also, 3rd and 4th gear seemed to have stopped working. 

Unable to find a new head gasket at any reasonably close parts store, we attempted to slather the old one in hi-temp silicone in the vain hope it would last for day two. It did not.

Heroically "repairing" the head gasket and reassembling the engine overnight, the car did make it onto the track for two complete laps on day two. Halfway through the second lap, the temperature spiked again, signaling the end of our first race. We brought the car in, loaded up our gear, and headed to the spectators area for reflection.

While we didn't finish the race, and certainly never threatened the leaderboard, by almost every other measure our first race was a great success. No injuries, all four drivers drove, we mostly stayed on the track, we finished strong for a group of rookies, and had an awesome time.

Lessons learned: Cheat.

While Jake Rensen, by all accounts, is a man and an organization rooted in integrity, there are certainly moments when following the letter of the law isn't a item for strict adherence. For example: never driving over 65mph on the highway. Listing yourself as a "non-smoker" despite the occasional cigar. Checking the "I've never tried to violently overthrow the government" box on forms for official use.  

We're now adding "Following all Chump Car rules and regulations" to that list. It was pointed out by veterans of the racing league, the rules are merely guidelines more so than enforced rules.

While we'd prefer that all participants follow the written rules, the fact of the matter is that we simply don't have the ability to make that outcome a reality. And upon examining the other BMW's, Nissan 300zx's, Porsche's, Acura's, and, yes, even a Merkur, we realized we brought a knife to a gun fight. A mistake we do not intend to repeat. 

With several modifications already in process, Jake Rensen looks forward to their next race.

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