Finally! The K9 Sport Modified made it out to the track. Although the expectations weren’t that high because the driver had a significant amount of track rust from a couple of seasons of inactivity, the car was seemingly ready.
Check our full recap of how we did at the track, as well as some of the highlights that it took to get there below. Would the K9 take the checkers on it’s first time out
If you’ve been following the K9 blogs, you’ll remember that the engine has been decked out with some premiere parts. The stock cast iron heads were beefed up with a valve train from Scorpion Racing Products. Every part is a full on race part. Period, end of sentence. You know what you get with Scorpion Race Products. Quality. I can live with that.
Same thing with our Mallory Ignition. We added the CT Pro Ignition system to our dirt dawg with the full knowledge that Mallory’s ignition had been running in every ARCA Re/Max car for the past four seasons without a single in-race failure.
I mean, How could we go wrong? We put top notch components in the car. We spent four days getting the chassis setup perfect. We talked to our friends at Intercomp about scaling the car and took the time to do it right. How could you fail with all this effort being expended? That question prompts us to remember the old proverb: Where there is a will, there is a way.
We got to the track very early on raceday. Racing starts right around 5:30 in the afternoon and we were in the pit area picking out a spot to park the beast at 10:00 in the morning. The pit gate wasn’t even open yet. We got the water truck driver to open the gate for us after promising that we would come back and pay the entry fee when the office opened. There is no doubt that we were very eager. Two hours later the pit gates opened and our fellow racers started showing up. An hour later and the tech pad opened up and we drove the K9 car through the tech area expecting a complete tear down of the car after the “How to cheat in Dirt Track Racing” article that we had written was published. Surprisingly, we were treated like every other driver and race team. One tech official did mention the article, making comment on the BB in the brake line trick. He said that he was going to try it when his car was ready for the track. We seemed to be off to a real good start.
We had a couple of more hours to kill before the driver’s meeting, so we checked all the fluids and pressures (several times), then brought out the lawn chairs to relax and tell lies with the other racers until we got the overhead announcement for the driver’s meeting. After the driver’s meeting is wheel pack. One division is usually picked to go run circles around the track to compact the track surface and work the freshly sprayed water into the clay. On this evening, the sprint cars were chosen to perform the wheel packing duties. I don’t think I like it when the sprint cars do wheel pack because they are so light and have so much horsepower that they usually polish up the corners more than compact the soil. It’s been my experience that they rut up the track too.
After several calls for the Sprint Cars to go out on the track and wheel pack, the decision was made to have the Sport Modifieds go out instead. This caught most of the sport modified teams by surprise and we all scrambled to get the cars out on the track. I’d like to say that we were the first one out there, but we weren’t. By the time our car made it out on the track, there were two other sport modifieds already packing. A little unsure at first, I started to goose the car in the corners a little bit at a time to see what kind of bite this new car and chassis set up had. Each corner started to feel more and more solid, and I stayed on the throttle a little harder each time until the official working the corner gave me the hairy eyeball and signaled for me to slow down. At that point the car felt really good. I was pretty sure that we were going to be hooked up and flying around the track.
Now, I’m not sure if it was our intention to sabotage our effort, but that’s what we did. Remember that proverb mentioned above? Where there is a will, there is a way. We found a way to sabotage ourselves. Way back in the garage, when we put the cooling system together, we cheated ourselves. The fan was a four blade stock fan that couldn’t pull air through a screen door never mind trying to pull it through a radiator. The fan was 6 inches or better away from the radiator and had no shroud. So the small amount of air that was actually going through the radiator was being blended in with all the air that was being sucked around the radiator. lastly, the pulley set up we used was a stock 1 to 1 ratio. For every one turn the crankshaft made, the water pump made a full turn. That speed had the velocity of the water through the radiator and the block up so high that it couldn’t cool or get cooled.
Doomed! Foiled again by a poorly designed cooling system. I’d have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that darn 1:1 ratio pulley on the crankshaft. This week my calls are going out to companies that manufacture radiators and cooling equipment. I need some serious education from these experts because it’s obvious that many of us Saturday night racers are missing some crucial information on designing a good cooling system.
To close this blog let me end with a couple key elements from the evening’s race. We put the K9 back out on the track even with cooling problems so that a fellow racer could take a couple of green flag laps and get last place points after his car had been rendered unusable during the heat races. K9’s alternator mount broke and the alternator grounded against the engine causing a minor flame up in the engine compartment. Very minor fire. Nothing to worry about. The driver got out safely, so it all ended well. The other notable item worth mentioning about the evening is that my friend (friend?) Theresa Timmerman thought enough of me to roll a handful of clay that she pulled off the car into a half inch diameter, foot long snake. She coiled this thing up so that it looked like a pile of dog feces and left it on the seat of the K9 car so that when I went to get into the car, I saw a very healthy looking pile of dog feces in the middle of my seat. Ha Ha, very funny. I know it was you and I will get you back!
Finally I want to answer the age old question that we addressed before. Applying the adage “where there is a will, there is a way” to our self destructive behavior, did we sabotage ourselves before we began? I don’t believe so. To think that something is achievable most often proves to be attainable. So we learn our lessons and move our goals higher each time. We learned from this experience, and that alone was worth the trip. See, an old K9 can learn new tricks.