Rat Race at ORP 9/5/11

(Grass Valley, OR) – Team GI SHO takes 3rd place in the inagural “Rat Race” at Oregon Raceway Park yesterday.

It was a beautiful sunny day at ORP in Grass Valley Oregon. 20 cars started the race at 9 AM yesterday morning. Kurt was our first driver out and quickly started knocking down the laps. The transmission temp topped 220 and we tested the new cooling system which worked better than we had expected and it was back down to 180 withing a few short minutes. I think we were in the top 5 when Kurt came in and we stayed there all day.

I climbed in for the second stint. The starter had quit working on pre-grid and we had to push-start the car for the remainder of the day. This was my first time at ORP and it is now my all time favorite track by a long margin. My stint was incident free until 1:45 through the run when I got 4 wheels off chasing down a really fast BMW.
I got back on track quickly but got the dreaded black flag (my first ever) the next time I passed the tower. I came in and received my warning and got the OK to go back out. With only 15 minutes left for this stint I decided to go ahead and get out of the car and cool down. (I was having way too much fun). Before the off-track incident we were in 2nd place.

Duane was our 3rd driver out. In our haste to get Duane belted in and the car fueled and check all the fluids, we forgot to plug in his radio headset. We were about to have him flagged in but he came in when he realized we had no como with him. 45 minutes later he radioed in that the battery warning lamp had come on.

The car was running fine and all the other gages looked good so we decided to leave him out there and we started to prepare to change a belt or the battery if needed. Duane ran his full 2 hours and brought the car in for the final pit stop. The alternator belt was intact and everything looked good.

I got back in for the last hour of the race and pushed the old girl for everything it would give. The car began to loose power about 10 minutes into this run so I called the pit and told them to get ready to change the battery. 5 minutes to change it and I was back on track again even faster than before. I tangled with a really fast MR2 and a 5.0 mustang which were 1st & 2nd place in front of us. The Mustang was in front of me and the MR2 behind. It was like a “GI SHO Sandwich”. I could turn better than the Mustang but he had more power. I got past him once on a tight turn and he took it back on the next straight.

Meanwhile the MR2 was behind me looking for his opportunity to pass. He could turn a bit better than me but I was able to get some distance on the straight runs. Finally the trans temp reached 230 with the cooler on and I had to back off and let the MR2 by. If not for the 5 minutes it took to swap out the battery, we could have made a good run for the win.