Last July (2014) we traveled south to the absolutely awesome Oregon Raceway Park, known as ORP. This track is what you dream about when you think about racing. It is located out in the middle of no where in central Oregon in a very small town called Grass Valley. The name suits the location to a “t”, it is literally in a huge grass field. I am fairly certain the Windows home page photo was taken out there!
The last time we took the race bunny out to ORP, we had a great stroke of luck in the race and very nearly came home with our first overall group win. This track is perfectly suited to our car, there are no really long straights, it is very technical, and it favors a good handling car with a smooth driver.
We have been chasing a misfire in the car for the past 2 races, it showed its ugly head once again at this race in the first session. We scrambled to find the culprit, preparing a spare ecu even just in case. When Brad (driver/car owner) pulled out for the first qualifying sat afternoon, the car would barely move itself along coming out onto the track. He pulled in and we brought a fresh set of wires and plugs to throw at it. Luckily Hank from Advance Auto Fabrication in Spokane, Wa was on hand with his lazer temp gun. He shot the magic red dot on the header and immediately noted that our issue was in the #1 cylinder. I knew the car had been apart semi-recently and that the Bosch injector plugs can be hard to get clicked in on the 16v, so I investigated the #1 injector while a crew member swapped the #1 plug wire. A solid press with a screwdriver on the injector plug and BAM! Car purred like a kitten. Problem solved and he still had enough for 2 hard laps to put up a good qualifying time for Sundays race…phew!!
With the car running hard, we knew we had to put up a fast time to get up in the front of the group to make a hard charge for the overall again. Brad went out on the newest set of Hoosiers we had and set a blistering qualifying time, over 2 seconds faster than the previous best lap! We were sitting at a comfortable 3rd overall, just behind 2 insanely fast BMW E46’s. Knowing those 2 were nearly 4 seconds faster a lap, we switched back to a set of take-off’s for the race, little did we know that was a decision that likely cost us a shot at another chance to win the overall.
Pulling into pre-grid, we noticed 2 empty spots in the line up. The 2 BMW’s had pulled out, saving the cars for another race group. This meant the little orange bunny was starting on pole! With no chance of switching back to the fresh rubber, we went out on the worn out spares hoping for the best. The one car in second place would now be faster with our exhausted tires. Even with the fantastic start, the ground pounder with nearly 100 more horsepower was able to get a jump and take the lead. Brad pushed hard all race and made a pass for the lead about 10 laps into the race. Unfortunately that only lasted about half a lap, when they made the final corner onto the straight, the bit white ex-NASCAR chassis quickly made up for his lost time and snuck by before the first corner. There were several more solid attempts at a pass for the win, but the HP deficit combined with the worn tires made it almost impossible to make it stick. Ending the day mere 1/2 sec behind the leader was still a very solid effort and we were excited to have a class win and a overall 2nd to finish off the weekend.
Be sure to subscribe to Brad’s YouTube channel to see in- car videos from a few of our races!
Also check out our friend over at JRM Fabrication for all your custom/metal fabrication needs