So Scotto finally gets down to brass tacks and sends in his first track report from the Cannonball… Read more Read more It's Sunday. We're broken down in the top of Massachusetts Illinois looking for a hotel room. The show race is off. Shit's pretty heavy.
-Jawbreaker " Tour Song" intro
The safety crew hooks a long yellow tow strap to the STi's front stress-bar mount and tows it off-track and back to the paddock. A few remaining spectators welcome Ken with racer sympathy. "Dude, I know this track, and I will tell you, you were one of the only to nail that first set of turns right," says Dylan Petersen, a track local. "It's a shame you didn't get to finish." Ken looks defeated. Though a compliment, it's like being told that you could have had knocked the dust off your high school prom queen if only you had just asked.
The STi is starting back up, but doesn't seem to wanna build any boost. Our first guess is the new mapping for the ECU has gone nutty since no leaks can be found in the piping. Checking this, I burn my thumb on the hot side of a GT32. Twisting the clich and
literally adding injury to insult. Dylan, aside from being a track local, happens to run DS1 Motorports, a Subaru tuning shop 30 minutes away. If this was a Disney film, he would have a glowing light surround him. Suspecting fouled plugs, our guardian angel heads to his shop to grab some NGK Iridium IXs and tools since obviously VT SportsCar didn't trust Ken or I with anything more complicated than the equipment needed to hang a painting. Actually when I asked Clint, the team manager; "What about tools?" he shot me an ever-so-friendly Vermont look that said "Please, don't touch my fucking car...Thanks!" C'mon, I can wield a spanner just as well as a pen. Anyway, while waiting for Dylan, we make friends with the only person left at the track. The dude's name escapes me, but the tasty ribs he feeds us will have the mouth watering for days.
Foul ball... Er, I mean fouled plugs? Nope. Worse yet, bits of aluminum are found. Verifying our fears, Dylan pulls the dipstick and it glistens like glitter. Okay, for anyone whose knowledge of motors stops with where to put the oil, this is bad, it's the automotive equivalent of shitting or pissing blood. To compound the situation, the motor is knocking...also very bad. But what can be expected from an engine flogged on the 2005 Gumball 3000 Rally?
Ken walks away for the conversation he is about to have with VT Sportscar owner Lance Smith. Dylan and I huddle trying to scheme how we can have a new motor in the bay by morning. Ken returns and suggests we sleep on it, but he is afraid we may be out of the race. We go to find a hotel and I suggest we press on regardless. It doesn't take much for Ken to agree and we devise a plan.
By the time I rise from much-needed slumber on Sunday morning, VT SportsCar has already found an engine donor—the black camo Gumball STi. The motor is on its way here, along with two mechanics. We have about 18 hours to do nothing. We both stay glued to our PowerBooks, desperately trying to get an entire week's work done in a day. I fail miserably. Dylan, on the other hand, pulls the motor out of the STi and preps the car for a heart transplant. During the process he finds pieces of a rod bearing in the oil pan. Awesome!
At 7 a.m. we are woken up with good news, the guys showed up early and the car is running; we should be good to head out in an hour. We have to be in Savannah, GA tomorrow morning. That's 1000 miles away, and except for a 100 mile stretch between Tennessee and North Carolina that I was lucky enough to pilot , they are all straight and boring.
Two hours before midnight—our expected ETA at the hotel, a South Carolina Trooper bags Ken doing 102 in a 60. We get off we a reduced summons using the "Yeah, so we are doing this Charity race..."
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