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Rough Weekend for OH/IN Regulars

Mount Meridian, IN - May 19-20 was the second event for the OH/IN Region of FFR racers. The weather was about the only perfect thing this weekend. On Sunday after the race, Gary McDaniel (Kansas City, MO) was heard saying, ďWe started with 24 cylinders and ended with 7!Ē What he meant was that all three cars started on eight cylinders and by the end of Sundayís race; he had the only car still running and only on 7 cylinders at that.

Brian Sanders (Cincinnati, OH) arrived on Friday afternoon to drop off his trailer and help Ed Boothman (Naples, FL) with a couple issues on his car. Ed had gone a day early to run with Winning Formula at a test and tune. When Brian arrived, Ed was on track. After his session, Ed pulled into the paddock at his trailer and informed Brian he was having problems with the transmission. After doing a quick assessment, it was decided the tranny was shot. Luckily, Brian had rebuilt the tranny he broke at Mid-Ohio a month earlier and had it with him. It was decided to swap Edís tranny with Brianís spare. Most of the swap was completed before the track had to be vacated Friday evening.

Saturday morning started out cool with tons of sun. Brian and Ed immediately went to work to finish the tranny swap. Ed finished buttoning things up as Brian went to prepare his car for the morning warm-up session. For Brian and Ed, this session was only used to feel the car out as Ed tried a fresh tranny and Brian bedded a new set of brake pads. However, Gary went out and set a very respectable time of 1:21:331. This time was faster than anyone had run last year on the Kumho V710ís.

In qualifying Gary was able to keep up the pace capturing the pole with a 1:21.626. Brian picked up the pace and turned his fastest lap at 1:21.872. And Ed, now with a strong tranny, was noticing something else was not right with car. We spent the afternoon trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong. Ed tried many things from suspension set up to engine diagnostics.

Finally it was race time. As all the cars rolled off grid or I should say most, we start our pace lap only to be red flagged at the starter stand. Due to grid release problems, cars have been placed out of order and due to a combined rolling and standing start, this wasnít going to work out. So during the red flag, cars were put into the correct positions and sent off on another pace lap. This time the green flag flies and the race is on. Gary jumps to the early lead and would continue to lead until lap six when Brian gets a run off turn 10 and completes the pass down the front straight. From that point on Brian ran consistently faster laps than Gary and went on to his first win of the season with Gary and second and Ed in third, still having engine problems. The longer race session in the hot part of the day pointed to Edís engine running hot. This may be why Ed appeared down on power.

Sunday morning, the racers awoke to bright sunshine and a noticeably higher temperature. Satisfied with yesterdays win but not satisfied with his lap times, Brian took a different approach to the morning warm-up and qualifying. And this new attitude paid off. Brian ran the morning fast time and new track record at a 1:21.074, almost a full second faster than his previous. Gary was able to run a high 1:21. Ed took the morning off while he changed tires and worked on the car.

Still flying high off his morning run, Brian went out in qualifying to prove it wasnít a fluke. Mission accomplished! Brian was able to run consistently low 1:21ís and let it all hang out on his last lap and snapped off a 1:20.152, again setting the new track record almost a full second faster. Ed was able to improve on his previous dayís times but Gary saw a drastic fall in his. After the session, he said the car would not climb above 4500 rpm. We started looking at Garyís car and found that the number 1 cylinder was dead. Gary spent all afternoon trying to correct the problem. The plug and wire was changed. No help. Swapped out the injector. Nada. Ran engine diagnostics, still nothing. In the end, we found no solution so Gary decided to run the race on 7 cylinders.

Sundayís race got under way without a hitch. At least through the first two turns. Approaching turn three, cars started checking up. Brian was closely following an AI Mustang when the Mustang made an evasive move leaving Brian staring at the front end of another Mustang. With no where to go, both Brian and the first Mustang were taken out by the spun car. For Brian, it was a head on impact to the front corner of the Mustang. Brianís front end was virtually destroyed with severe body damage, radiator gone, tire cut down and bent A-arms at a minimum. This was to be Brianís only second DNF in over 75 races.

Both Gary and Ed made it through the mess and went on to finish the race with Ed capturing the win and Gary in second. However, while sitting at impound Ed was unable to start his car and had to be towed back to his trailer.

If you were keeping count, remembering Garyís opening statement, thatís Gary on 7 cylinders, Brian, 0, due to incident and Ed, 0, after impound. All in all it was a weekend full of highs and lows.

Next stop for the OH/IN racers will be Grattan in Michigan on June 9-10. All three drivers will be very busy between now and then repairing their cars.

-- Brian Sanders

   OH/IN FFR Challenge Series Director


Page last updated: 07/02/2008

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