SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid Ohio 2010

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jake7140
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SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid Ohio 2010

Postby jake7140 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:35 am

Wow. I just had to make the race as Datsun was the featured marque. First race in over two years, and I was still preparing right up to the last moment. But I had conversed with Paul Kort and Dick Tillinger who were willing supporters, plus a bunch of WI roadsters were making the trek too, so I wouldn't be alone. A quick recap:
- A very hot weekend, lots of engine work, but an exciting Datsun Challenge race. Many obstacles overcome, a few not so much, but in the end it was good to get out in the thick of it again. Met many great Datsun fanatics, good food, good beer, great people, cool cars.

- 2009 spent rebuilding trick race motor as the stocker just wasn't quite fun. Sept 09 test lost the bottom end. Chalked up to reversed oil pump gasket.
- Winter 2009-Spring 2010, rebuild bottom end. Test day June 11, lose bottom end same way. Must be something in the block. More investigation required.
- June 19, obtain a "fresh" extra race motor, jerry-rig pilot bearing, install engine, find new pilot bearing, remove, replace bearing, re-install, test fire 9pm Wed June 22, 12am leave for Mid Ohio. Stop part way for the night.
-Thursday - pull into the track and up to tech at 5:01, but they pull the cone and tech me. They seem happy to see another Datsun for for the event.

Friday - 8:30 qualifying. Paul pulls up in his yellow KA24'd roadster. He digs right in and checks thing over, helps me get buckled in. Give the kids and wife a ride on the car to grid and get ready. Taking it slow for break-in, keeping under 5k. It's running hot, eventually notice loss of oil pressure and pull it off.

Pull the radiator, and dump out a bunch of brown/green crap with "stuff" in it. Looks like mouse junk, somebody breaks one of the pieces and says its seeds. Paul offers me his home garage to drop the pan and check the oil pump. Since he's having a roadster cookout that night, seems like the thing to do. Poke around the pits looking for a spare oil pump. No luck. Take the car to Paul's, pull the pan, check the pump, relief valve, bearings. All looks OK, run the pump in a pan of oil, seems OK. Reassemble, fire it up, seems good, then after 5 mins or so, oil pressure drops.

Soooo, have some supper, more Datsuns pull in, a jap ex-police Silvia, right-hand 2L, etc. Really neat. Pack up the car, back to the hotel.

Saturday - Thnking of just picking up, watching the races, etc. But there is one last roadster racer to find... Tillinger. Find him, and sure enough, AN EXTRA OIL PUMP. Here we go again, r&r, check bearings, test ride around the infield, good pressure (actually very high), running a bit warm, but running. Game on.

Sunday - 7:00 - To the track alone. Install stock rad I had brought along, flush sysetm as much as possible. Suiting up on the grid as I make 8:00 warmup, one lap. Seems OK, temp steady.

8:30 Enduro - Temp holding at a hot 230, but now steady, oil pressure still high 70-80. Lap 4 takes a turn. In the carousel, the '52 MG go waaay wide, I go inside as we go in. I'm even with him, but he starts coming in towards the apex. He keeps coming, I'm braking hard now, but no dice. His hub catches my fender right behind the front wheel, he spins sideways, both outside tires catch and he flips up into a sideways 360, lands hard on his outside wheels. Thank God, no people injury. I pull in for a check up and to settle down. Steward allows me to continue to race the weekend; 3 races on probation, attend or not.

1:00 - The Datsun Challenge. All ready this time. Again, give the kids a ride out, Emily makes a fine umbrella girl. Race going well, car holding steady, pick up three positions, including another 1600 roadster. Then I start getting smoke through the trans tunnel. I slow down, dreading the worst and ready to pull off, checking with corner workers as I go around, no concerns from them, gauges and everything seems in order. As I make my way around, I notice it only comes on right-handers. Oh, rocker cover leak. Back on it!! I pick up the 3 positions I gave away. But by then the next group had pulled away, and I could not catch them in the couple laps left. But I finished strong! I actually finished first of the 3 or 4 group 1 cars!

4:30 - Last Group 1 sprint race. Once again, not much between-race prep as all was in order (or so I thought). Storm approaching. Ahh, a little rain suits me just fine. Hop in the car and.... click, click, click. Dead battery. I neglected to factor in all the test starts during the weekend and actually plug in and use the battery charger I had brought. Late in the day with rain approaching, the track is virtually empty. Perhaps I could have done more to get it started, but I think I was just mentally and physically exhausted. We watched the race by Madness, and drooled as the few racers slid around on the normal line, neglecting the possible virtues of a rain line.

So a rather anti-climactic end to a hot, hard, yet mostly enjoyable weekend. Once again I met a lot of great people, enjoyed the interest in the car, and did more engine work than I ever thought possible in so few days. I didn't drive overly hard, kept it arond 6 most of the time, easy on the brakes, (which worked better than I seemed to recall) and learned to drive the welded rear. It's really not that bad, didn't notice overt under or over steer; I just set it a bit earlier than normal, than got on it. It chattered a bit in the keyhole, but I still made my favorite passes on the exit.

Can't wait to get out there again... much better prepped. Pictures and a couple exterior videos (one where you can hear the race call of a Tillinger battle) at http://jakenet.homeip.net/Roadster/2010 ... index.html

Datsun lives!
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Albert Gast
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Re: SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid Ohio 2010

Postby Albert Gast » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:25 pm

hey steve , good post . nothing like a race weekend to work out the bugs . sounds like you have a lot good backup . it will get better with more track time . you got a good start , work it out . lots of luck .
al gast

jake7140
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Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:45 pm
Location: Racine, WI
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Re: SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid Ohio 2010

Postby jake7140 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:53 pm

Albert Gast wrote:hey steve , good post . nothing like a race weekend to work out the bugs . sounds like you have a lot good backup . it will get better with more track time . you got a good start , work it out . lots of luck .
al gast


Thanks. I get a little wordy late at night.

YES!! I had LOTS of help and wish to extend a sincere thanks to all who helped me. Without them I'd be watching: Bill, Paul, Dick, Jim, Bob, Dairyland Datsuns, Art, and the family that puts up with me. AND anyone else who passed along a simple word of encouragement. That can mean so much at the right time, and get you over the hump. Now if only I can get my brain in gear, I'll do OK.

PS: I'm seriously considering the 2 brake upgrade Bill W. did. But with all this, it's a ways off now. TIA.

Bill Wessel
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Re: SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid Ohio 2010

Postby Bill Wessel » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Steve,

Great report, and all told, a good weekend (felt like a fortnight?!) of racing! I really admire your fortitude to get it to the track and pull it off the way you did. Awesome job!

It's never easy prepping and racing an old prod car (any make), but it will come easier with more events and time as you overcome the issues (it's always something!).

I look forward to sharing a beer and bench racing with you soon!

Bill


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