It all started about three weeks
before the Texas mile. Jason Heffner, Ray Hofman, and I were at an event
in Michigan when one of us mentioned that
it would be neat to go try the Texas mile. If we were to participate,
Ray would take his twin turbo Ford GT, and I would take my twin turbo
Viper GTS (Big Red). After we all got home after the Michigan event,
we had to decide if we could get these two cars together in three weeks.
After some investigating, I knew that we had quite a bit of work to
do if we wanted to go.
The Viper needed a roll bar installed (to pass
tech), and we had to get a taller set of tires as well as deal with
a gearing issue if we wanted to have any shot at running the speed we
thought the car was capable of hitting. We also had a brake issue to
sort out. The line lock failed and was leaking brake fluid. When Jason
looked at it, he found that it had come loose where the two pieces are
connected from the factory. He suggested taking the line lock out for
the event to eliminate one potential problem. That sounded like a good
idea to me so off it came. We also ordered an adjustable Penski suspension
system to fine tune the car for high speed stability. The GT needed
a 5-point harness to pass tech as well. We also had to tune it on good
gas (it had been running on pump gas up to that point). Jason felt pretty
confident that we could get all of those things done in the less than
three weeks time frame we had to work with, so we decided to move forward
with our plans to make the race.
Getting To Jason's Shop:
The Texas mile was on a Saturday and Sunday (October 6th &
7th, 2007). Ray lives in Texas, I live in Georgia, and Jason's shop
is in Florida. Ray decided to drive his three car stacker from his house
to Jason's shop to pick up the cars. I told him that there was no way
I was letting him make the trip back to Texas by himself, so we decided
it was time for a roadtrip. On Wednesday (the 4th), Perla (my fiance)
and I drove down to Jason's shop. Jason had finished Big Red, but still
needed to tune the GT on good gas, as well as prep another T-Viper (Kelly
Martin's SRT) that we were transporting to the mile. Also, Ray was only
a few hours away with the rig. Our plan was to have all three cars ready
to load by the time Ray got there (about 11pm Wednesday night) so that
we could take our time on the 20 hour drive back to Texas from Florida.
We quickly found out that the cars were not going to cooperate with
The 11th Hour:
Kelly's car was having boost controller
issues, and the GT still hadn't been tuned on good gas by the time Ray
showed up with the rig. It was pretty obvious that we weren't hitting
the road until the next day, so we closed up shop around 1am Wednesday
night to start fresh the next day. Perla and I stayed on rig with Ray
at the shop that night to be woken up by a street sweeper at 5am Thursday
morning. I tossed and turned thinking of all of the things we were going
to have to do to get on the road until around 8am, when Jason and crew
arrived at the shop. By lunch time, Kelly's boost controller issue had
been tracked down to a loose vacuum line, and Ray's GT was on the dyno
ready to be tuned. We decided to break for lunch.
When we got back to the shop, at around 2pm,
I decided to test the brakes on Big Red while Jason tuned the GT. I
took the car out on the road to find the ABS light on and the pedal
very firm. This was obviously a concern to me considering the speeds
we planned to run at the event. I came back to the shop to report my
findings to Jason. He figured that the line lock failure tripped a code
with the ABS system, and that we would get to the bottom of it.
Around 4pm, Ray's car was tuned and ready to
load, so we shifted our attention to my brakes. We cleared the codes
with the scanner and tested the brakes. At first, the brakes felt great.
The ABS was working, and they felt good. I decided to take the car out
on the interstate to get it up to speed for some brake testing. Unfortunately,
the ABS light came on again, and the pedal was hard. We brought the
car back to the shop and tried to troubleshoot the problem. After replacing
several components and re-bleeding the system, we took the car out for
another test session. At first, things looked promising, but we quickly
found out that we had not fixed the problem. We were quickly running
out of time.
It was around 9pm on Thursday night. We were
facing a 20 hour drive to Texas, with about 30 hours until the race
started. I was close to leaving Big Red at the shop, but Jason suggested
taking the car with us and maybe we would have some time to try and
correct the issue in Texas. That sounded like a good idea to me so we
loaded up the last car and hit the road around 1am Friday morning.
I would be doing you a serious
disservice if I didn't tell you all about Ray's "Rig", so
we are going to pause the story for a minute to give you the tour. I'll
let Ray tell you all about it now.
Starting at the heart and soul of any
mobile home is the Series 60 Detroit Diesel and 12 speed autoshift transmission.
Pushing 515 horsepower and 1650 LB-FT torque at a mighty 7 mpg it rotates
down the highway almost effortlessly. The 12 speed automatic paddle
shift transmission works so nicely that almost anyone can drive it,
shifting and downshifting so smoothly making you look like a pro while
racing side by side with the Wal-Mart 18 wheeler trying to make it to
the next exit first.
The MotorCoach was born in 2006 using a Freightliner
Columbia Chassis produced by NRC Modifications (www.nrcmod.com). Starting
in 1993, NRC was one of the first companies to bring luxury
to heavy hauling and was the first choice to build this coach. I wanted
the 36 foot living area to provide a lot of living space, both for track
excursions on race day and for family vacations with my wife and three
boys. It fit the bill for both better than expected.
The Cab is finished very nicely for a heavy truck,
the best part being the lazy boy quality recliners for the driver and
passenger. Featuring air ride seats allowing you to float down the highway
over the roughest bumps, even a 10 hour stint without stopping is possible
without having a sore back. On the dash is one of the most important
controls on the whole unit, the power slide divider to the main cabin.
Feeling very star-trekish, this sliding glass door is a God-send for
the family vacations as it has been tested to withstand the voices of
3 very loud and rambunctious boys hooting and hollering along to a very
loud rendition of High School Musical. Sanity on the road could
not be maintained without this door as it is virtually sound proof.
Entering into the main cabin from either the
cab or the outside entrance immediately displays an air of rock star
quality, the pimp daddy lights along the top edges of the ceiling and
the appearance of ever reaching skylights with the LCD touches. The
super soft Italian leather couches beckon you to sit down and relax
while listening to your favorite music over the Bose surround sound
system. While opening a bottle of 1998 Dom Perignon out of the wine
fridge to celebrate your latest victory, the 42" Plasma easily
blasts Talladega Nights teaching the ins and outs of stock car racing
at it's best. The main control panel also allows guests to watch their
choice of satellite, Tv Tuner, DVD, Aux input or game console in the
over cab bunk (for the kids as the entry door is small), the back master
bedroom, or outside on the 42" Plasma beside the grill. You can
sit at the granite kitchen table and check your email while mooching
off the nearest available WiFi point at your favorite Flying J truck
stop, or enjoy a nice meal cooked in the full kitchen, or my favorite,
on the stainless grill outside.
Another thing we discovered is possible, is to
take a hot shower while driving down the road in the full glass shower
which easily fits my 6'4" carcass with room to spare. With 200
gallons of fresh water capacity and a water pump with enough pressure
to blast the chrome off a 2" ball, it was an incredible luxury
to be able to clean up at the track, especially in the hot
humid climate of South Texas. We discovered that this gave us enough
water to live on comfortably, even washing the cars, for 2+ days which
was more than ample. Even the full house sized porcelain toilet was
nice as it really removed any thoughts of "roughing it".
In the back is the master bedroom, with a full
queen sized bed and cedar closets, it also has the pimp lights around
the room for the perfect mood. The 27" plasma on the wall allows
you to watch movies while drifting to sleep and the separate vanity
and sink was one of my wife's favorite options allowing her to get ready
comfortably without tying up the bathroom.
Normally while traveling across country and trying
to make time, it is easy to pull over for a couple of hours at a rest
stop, lean back the seat in the Dodge hotel and catch an hour or so
nap. By that time, every part of your body is cramped and numb making
it easy to get up and start making time down the highway again. What
I found in the rig was laying down on the queen sized bed for a quick
nap was not so easy, 5 or 6 hours slipping away easily. Drifting off
to sleep at first while traveling down the interstate at 85 mph is a
different story at first however as every sway and movement seems to
be intensified. Once you got used to this however, cross country trips
were a breeze with a couple of drivers as you could definitely rest
The trailer is a perfect match for the coach,
in matching white and 13' 6" tall it is a 2007 36' long Performax
trailer. With an internal lift and full work station with enough cabinets
and tool boxes to store everything to rebuild a Winston Cup car trackside.
The trailer has a 20KW generator with enough power to run 2 trailers
and the coach there is definitely power on
tap. The trailer also has sliding glass doors to keep the air conditioned
cool air inside, while being able to see what is going on outside. The
internal lift also allows the ability to haul around 3 of your favorite
cars if needed, one above the work area, one on the lift, and one below.
You can also put the golf cart or rhino up front in the work area as
well. The trailer also has a full observation deck up top for premium
viewing of the important trackside scenery.
The awning stretches the full length of the trailer
and extends 14 foot which allows full cover of the cars from the hot
sun during the day, and full cover lighting of the area at night. With
a full internal air compressor, and multiple hatches with air,
electrical, and water on reels, it was the perfect addition at the track.
The stereo with interior and exterior speakers also make it nice to
listen to the track broadcasts while prepping the cars. With a combined
length of 90 foot going down the interstate, and a loaded weight of
over 80,000 lbs, it makes you feel like the king of the highway...
Ok, now that we have that out
of the way, we can get back to our story. We are on the road at 1am
Friday morning. Ray and I spent the first few hours up front in the
cab while Perla fell asleep in the back (typical woman). After Driving
for a few hours, it was time for a fuel-up. I could tell that Ray was
absolutely beat (because you have to remember that he just drove the
rig 26 hours to Florida all the way from Texas), so I offered to drive.
He showed me the ropes and we were on our way. After a couple of hours
of teaching me, Ray decided to go get some sleep. It was just me and
the open road for three hours. I pictured myself wearing one of those
tall mesh back ball caps, chewing on a toothpick, talking on the CB
about naked women with other truckers. It was great! I was definitely
king of the road. I had all 80,000lbs barrelling down the road at speeds
of up to 85mph. Every so often, we would stop for gas and switch out
driving so that the other could get some rest. For me, this was one
of the most enjoyable parts of the trip. It was really neat travelling
in such a nice rig with such great company. Ray and I would take turns
driving, and Perla would be in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of
goodies (my woman can cook like nobody's business).
Walmart Parking Lot:
At around 10pm Friday night, we arrived in a little
town called Victoria that was about 30 minutes from Goliad (the Texas
Mile). We needed all sorts of stuff, so it was time to make a Walmart
stop. We parked the rig in the lot out away from the store and went
redneck shopping. When we got back to the rig, I decided to pull Big
Red out of the rig and give her a quick wash since she got rained on
back in florida as I was testing the brakes. We fired up the generators,
lights, water pump, and it looked like we were operating a mobile car
wash right there in the Walmart parking lot. Ray gave me a hand cleaning
up the car, and she looked good as new. By this time, we had attracted
a crowd of car guys (and girls). People started to come over and ask
all kinds of questions about the cars and what we were doing. It was
fun to watch people's reactions when I told them to take a look in the
trailer at the other two cars we had with us. Everyone really loved
the cars, and we had a great time standing around talking with people.
Parents would bring their kids over and I could tell that it really
made their day to be able to check out the cars. That was cool.
As I was drying my car, Ray and Perla started
dinner. It doesn't get much better than cooking out in the Walmart parking
lot at midnight! About that time, the manager comes walking out asking
what we were doing. I figured we were in trouble, but he told us that
we were welcome to camp there for the night and that there were several
cameras pointed in our diretion, so he would make sure to have security
keep an eye on things throughout the night. That was very nice of him.
We had burgers and hotdogs. Ray has the burger seasoning down to a science,
let me tell you. We sat outside eating dinner, watching a movie, and
talking to the friendly folks of Victoria about the cars until around
2am, when we finally packed everything up and got ready for the next
day - Race Day. That sure was a great evening!
The plan was to get up around 6am Saturday morning
so that we could make the 30 minute drive to Goliad and get everything
setup before the driver's meeting at 9:30am. Well, 8:30 rolls around
and I realize that we overslept, so we scramble to get on the road and
head towards the track. We show up just in time to park the rig and
walk down to the meeting. After the meeting, while other racers were
getting in line, ready to race, we are changing tires, getting the work
area set up, and prepping the cars. We also missed the chance to do
a slow speed drive down the track, because we were too busy signing
in at the last minute, so my first experience on the track would have
to be during my first pass. As noon rolls around, we were finally ready
to make the first pass of the day.
The GT's 1st Pass:
We decided that it would be best to start the day off in the
GT, since the viper was having issues. We put the car on a low boost
setting to go make the shake down run. I got in the car and went to
the staging lanes. I was surprised at how long it took to get through
the line. There were a bunch of folks out there and it was HOT. After
40 minutes or so, it was time to suit up and get ready. After putting
a little heat in the tires, I staged the car and the starter gave me
the signal. I brought the revs up to 4500 or so and sidestepped the
clutch. It wasn't enough, and the car bogged. A moment later the car
came into boost and we were off. I have been over 230 in this same car
at another event, so I had no concerns about high speed stability. It
was simply a matter of making the shifts and holding it steady.
I completed the pass without incident and everything
felt good. I pulled around to get my speedslip and was pleasantly surprised
to find that we clicked off a 215.xx mph shake down run on low boost.
That was a great start. One thing that we were concerned about was the
shutdown area. We had less than three weeks to prepare for the event,
and unfortunately, getting a chute on both vehicles did not fit into
the schedule. As I slowed the GT from the 215mph pass, it became very
clear that the shutdown area was going to be tight without a chute.
Big Red's First Pass:
After lunch, we decided to see how the brakes were going to perform
with the ABS malfunction. I staged the car and made the starter aware
of our issue. I decided to ease the car up to speed through the 1/4
mile marker and get on the brakes pretty hard to see how she would stop.
To my dissappointment, the pedal was very stiff, and I did not have
much confidence in the car's stopping ability. I rolled back into the
power around the 1/2 mile and eased her up to making a little speed.
After passing the mile marker, I got on the brakes and practically had
to stand on the pedal to bleed off speed. I was relieved to find that
I stopped with plenty of room left. As I picked up Big Red's first speedslip
of the day, I was pretty happy to see 205.xx mph considering the conditions
of the run.
I pulled around to the pits and made Jason aware
of what I experienced during the run. After talking about all of the
possible causes, we decided that the best thing to do at that point
would be to focus on a second pass in the GT, and work on the brake
issue all night if need be.
The GT's Second Pass:
We turned up the boost controller
a little and headed for the staging lanes. It was getting dark and we
were running out of time. Luckily, we were able to make our pass before
they shut it down for the evening. We discussed the pass and decided
not to put any heat in the tires. This was a bad call. I launched the
car and experienced some wheel spin. I have found that the TT-GT is
a bit of a tricky car to launch because if it starts to spin, and you
let out, it will fall out of boost and bog quite a bit. I tried to stay
in it, but I couldn't tell how fast I was going with the tires spinning,
and I made the mistake of shifting into 2nd too soon. That short shift
made the car bog terribly, but after a moment or two, the car came back
into boost and we were moving again. I could feel the extra power. The
car was moving out pretty well. Considering the miserable 1st and 2nd
gears, I was pretty pleased to read the speedslip saying 222.24 mph.
We were really pushing the limits of the shutdown area on that pass.
I started to wonder just how much more power we would be able to put
into it and still have room to stop without a chute.
We needed to get to the bottom
of the brake issue with the viper if we were going to lay down a serious
number. We didn't have everything we needed, so once again, we headed
off to Walmart! On the way Ray got pulled over for doing 98 in a 55
and talked his way out of it. I still can't believe that one. We get
to Walmart and buy all of the stuff we need to troubleshoot the brakes
and cook dinner. We get back to the rig around 11pm Saturday night.
I started to organize the work area while Perla and Ray fixed steaks
on the grill. We ate dinner around midnight, and were ready to get to
work on Big Red around 1am. We bled the brakes, checked
all of the components, and replaced the check valve. At around 3am,
we performed a top secret mission consisting of sneaking out on the
runway to make a couple of test stops. I really didn't get her up to
speed, but the pedal felt better and we had done all that we could think
to do. We would just have to wait until the morning to see if the problem
had been corrected. We got in the rig and started to wind down for the
night. It was 5am Sunday morning and we definetly needed to get to bed
for the next day's racing.
I set my alarm to go off at 7am. I knew we would have good
air first thing and I wanted to be one of the first cars in line. I
woke up and tried to get everyone going, but they weren't having it.
I decided to go outside and prep the car for getting in line. I pulled
the cameras off of the chargers and got them mounted in the car again.
I got my suit and safety equipment in the car so we wouldn't forget
that since our brains were not working well on 2 hours of sleep. After
bugging the rest of the crew for a half hour, they finally got up. Ray
and I took the car down to the starting line. We were second in line.
We turned the boost up a little more and got ready to try and knock
it out of the park. We went back to the rig and had a nice breakfast
that Perla prepared for us.
We had to wait for the fog to lift before they would allow
us to start running. There was dew on the track and I was concerned
about traction, but the guy who was ahead of us seemed to get out of
the hole pretty well so I pushed that concern to the back of my head.
I suited up and got the cameras rolling. Before staging the car, I decided
to heat the tires this time. This was it. I knew we had good air, and
we had more boost in the car. This had the potential to be a great pass.
I was concerned about running the car all out considering how tight
the shutdown area was on the last pass. I decided to put that out of
my mind and put it all on the line. With a little luck, we would be
able to shut her down without running out of airstrip. I brought the
car up to 4500rpms and sidestepped the clutch. The car dead hooked and
pulled very well. I knew it was a great launch. I grabbed second and
to my surprise, I experienced moderate wheelspin. A combination of more
power and a slightly damp track caused traction issues. I remember thinking
that the car was spinning the tires, but it was still pulling very hard.
I have had quite a bit of seat time in this car and I felt pretty confident
that if we could just power through second and shift to third then the
car would dead hook and we would make a killer pass. I guess I didn't
take the damp painted stripe into account.
Off to the left was a painted stripe. I lined
up pretty close to that because they had us running a little off of
the runway's center to the right side. I was trying to stay as close
to the center of the runway as possible, so that meant getting close
to the stripe. That was all fine and dandy until the car got loose in
second. When the back end hung out to the left, the left tire drove
over that stripe and started to spin while the right tire was hooking,
sending me sharply to the left. As soon as the rear right tire hit the
stripe it spun and the left tire hooked sending me sharply to the right.
I got trapped in this sharp back and forth motion until the car was
finally spit out to the right at about 130mph.
That's when the slow motion effect came into
play. Everything slowed down to a crawl and I had this long drawn out
conversation with myself. I tried to keep the car in line for as long
as I could, but when it really bit to the right, I knew that no amount
of steering input would correct it and I was just along for the ride
at that point. The car was heading for the grass, and I mean fast! As
the car was about to leave the pavement, I noticed that I was sliding
almost perfectly sideways. I told myself that there was a good chance
that I was going to go into a pretty nasty roll and I better get ready,
because it was going to hurt. I gripped the steering wheel as tightly
as I could and pulled my arms in as much as possible to keep them from
being forced out of the window by the centrifugal force of a high speed
roll. I decided that it was out of my hands, and hopefully someone was
looking over me.
To my surprise, the car simply slid through the
grass. It felt like I was sliding sideways forever. Once I realized
I wasn't going to die, or destroy the car, it was actually kind of cool.
I felt like I was doing a big rally style drift around some big sweeping
turn. Once the car started to slow to a reasonable speed, I decided
I better get back on the gas if I didn't want to get stuck out in the
wet grass, so I picked my ego up off the floor and drove the car back
on the track. As I pulled back to the rig, I was shocked to see zero
damage to the car. That was great news. We quickly cleaned the car up.
I started to tell Ray that I was sorry for leaving the track in his
extremely expensive car, but he stopped me mid sentence and told me
to forget about it. This is how racing goes from time to time and we
all know it. He went on to tell me that he wasn't concerned about the
car for one second, and that he was glad I was OK. That made me feel
Getting Back In The Saddle:
Ray and Jason asked me how I was
feeling about everything. Surprisingly enough, I was ready to make another
pass. To be honest, the spin didn't really shake me at all. It didn't
really seem to shake the rest of the team either. That was cool. When
I told Jason and Ray I was fine with everything, they immediately began
prepping the car for another pass. Ten minutes after the spin, we were
back in the staging lanes ready to give it another go. I thought I would
catch a bunch of grief about the last run, but to my surprise, all of
the guys up there complimented me on how I handled the car. That was
After waiting in line for fourty five minutes,
I staged the car. We pulled quite a bit of boost out of it on this pass
since the track was still a little moist and we just left the pavement
at a buck thirty. The starter gave me the go ahead and it was time to
get back in the saddle. I have to admit I was a little nervous after
the last pass, but as soon as I sidestepped the clutch, that all went
away. It was all business. I rowed through the gears with the throttle
flat footed for the entire run. I made sure to keep an eye on that pesky
white stripe and wound up with a nice clean pass. I was happy to see
another 222.xx speedslip. It wasn't a record run but it sure meant a
lot to me to be able to put the last pass behind us and get back in
the game, and I think we did that in grand fashion.
Big Red's Second Pass:
We worked on the viper brakes
until 5am the night before and it was finally time to put her to the
test. It was around 2pm Sunday afternoon and I staged the car. I decided
to run her up to 140mph or so and stab the brakes. I came to a complete
stop just after the 1/4 mile marker. To my disappointment, the pedal
still felt hard and the ABS light came on again. I decided to see what
she would do in a little less than 3/4 of a mile. We had the car conservatively
tuned to ramp up to about 19psi of boost in 5th gear. That's only good
for about 1300rw, so I felt that I would be able to shut her down even
with the brake situation. I eased the car through 1st and 2nd. Once
I got her into third, I really squeezed into the throttle. As I shifted
into fifth, I felt true power. It was very nice. I had no reservations
about pushing the car. It felt calm and collected. Fifth gear on that
pull was one of the best parts of the whole trip.
I was able to shut her down with a decent amount
of runway left. I remember thinking that is a pretty good chance I could
run 225 or maybe 230 and still have enough brakes to stop. I pulled
around to collect my speedslip and I was pretty excited to learn I just
clicked off a 212.xx mph pass in a little less than 3/4 of a mile on
that tune. It really made me realize what this car could be capable
of if we could make a full pass.
Our Last Stand:
We forgot our scan tool to clear
the ABS codes. David Weaver (From A.R.T. in Austin 2 hours away) was
kind enough to loan us his scanner, so we hired a courier service (that
ain't cheap on a Sunday) to pick it up from his shop and bring it to
us. The scanner showed up just after the 212mph pass. We brought the
car into the pit and started to read the code. It told us that there
was a front right wheel sensor code. We had another viper there, so
we quickly jumped to action trying to borrow a sensor off of that car
to use on Big Red. As soon as that was switched out, we did a low speed
brake test on the return road to see what was what. We were excited
to see that the ABS was working and the pedal felt better.
We were quickly running out of time. The last
run was going to be at 4:30 and it was about 3:45. I asked Ray what
he wanted to do. I knew he didn't have the number out of the GT that
he wanted yet, and the Supra guys had just knocked it out of the park
with a 228.xx mph pass. He told me that since we had a respectable number
out of his car and nothing out of Big Red yet. He said let's get a respectable
number out of the viper. We agreed and headed towards the staging lanes.
Big Red's Last Test Run:
I went to the event organizer and let him know that we thought
that we solved the ABS problem and that we narowed it down to a bad
sensor that has now been replaced. I asked if I could run it out to
the 1/4, stop hard to make sure everything was working properly and
turn at the first turn off to come make a full pass. They graciously
agreed. I staged the car and ran her up to about 150mph. I slammed on
the brakes and unfortunately, the ABS light came back on and all of
the same symptoms were back again. I pulled off at the first return
lane and came back to the staging lanes. I was really bummed. I realized
that we were out of time. I was not willing to make a full pass with
a brake malfunction.
As I was sitting in the staging lanes, I decided to try to
make one last effort to make a good showing for the viper community.
I decided to putt the car out to the 1/4 mile marker. We had the car
set on kill for this pass so I felt like the car might be able to build
enough speed in that distance to rival the supra's speed. I knew I was
probably pushing too hard considering my brake issues, but I decided
to put it all on the line. It was 4:30 and this was our last chance.
I slowly walked the car down to the 1/4 mile marker. I thought it through
one last time and hoped for the best. I slowly started to roll into
the throttle in third when all of a sudden the pedal popped and went
to the floor. I had no pedal. It was stuck to the floor. The car was
idling, and I had already passed the first turn off. I had to idle the
car all the way down the mile at 17mph in 3rd gear. I pulled into the
pits as one of my competitors came over to ask what happened. I showed
him the pedal as I was getting out of the car. We found a little throttle
cable retaining clip that had broken as I was rolling into it.
This car has 800 miles on it and I have gone
full throttle plenty of times. For that clip to break at that moment
was downright spooky. I was pushing so hard to get a good number, we
hadn't had a decent night's sleep in days, and our brakes were questionable
at best. I think this was someone's way of telling me that pass was
not meant to be.
The Final Results:
We came a long way and put a lot of effort into
trying to make a good showing. Ultimately, the cars performed well,
I made it through in one piece (barely), and we learned a hell of a
lot about going 1 mile racing. I would have loved to see what Big Red
had in her, but there will be another time and place for that. For now,
Ray's TT-GT has an official 1 mile record of 222.24 mph making it the
fastest GT in the world. Big Red ran 212.xx mph in 3/4 of a mile making
it pretty damn fast. We plan on putting chutes on both cars for the
March 2008 Texas Mile to see what these cars are really capable of.
None of this would have been possible
without having an incredibly solid team.
Jason Heffner busted his butt to get these cars
ready at the last minute for us to go racing. He spent late nights at
the shop, away from his family. He came out to the event to support
his customers. He was there every step of the way. Without him, none
of this would have been possible.
Ray Hofman went so far above and beyond to help
us get the cars to the event and was incredibly gracious to invite us
into his stunning rig during the trip. I quickly found out that he is
one of the most genuine, good hearted people I have ever met. I can
honestly say that I am truly fortunate to now have Ray as a friend!
I was concerned about bringing Perla to the race,
because I wasn't sure how she would like being on the road and at the
track. I have to say that she quickly became a vital part of the team.
I was so proud of the way she really stepped up to the plate and helped
out. From keeping things nice and organized, to helping us wash the
cars, to making sure eveyone had a hot meal in front of them, she sure
played a significant part on the team. I love you babe, and I sure appreciate
everything you did.
We also had Keith, who was a huge help around
the rig, and Keith's son Zach, who was great with a camera considering
he was only 11 years old. Ricky was a big help getting everything setup.
It took us some time and we probably looked like numbskulls trying to
figure out how to get that awning up for an hour and a half, but we
finally got it.
Oh yeah, and then there is me, who managed to
turn a 1/4 million dollar car into the world's most expensive lawn mower.
I guess I played a role in all of this also.
The Notorious Brake Problem:
On the way back to Ray's home town, we stopped
by A.R.T. in Austin to have David Weaver take a look at the throttle
cable and the ABS problem. Weaver is a viper tech that Ray is good friends
with, and Ray told me that the guy really knows his stuff. After putting
the car on the lift and taking a little time to track down the issue,
they found a pinched ABS sensor wire that was grounding to the frame.
They also happened to have a viper throttle cable handy and got that
fixed right away. I was very impressed with their professionalism and
helpful attitude. As soon as that wire was replaced, the ABS issue was