Sunday, June 12th:
With just a few things left to complete before heading to Colorado, I get to Alamo early. Besides trying to beat the heat, I want to get home so I can visit with Mom and get my things packed before it gets late. I’m hoping to head out early Monday morning. I get the last of the sponsor decals applied to the car and do a quick clean and shine job so I can snap a few photos.
Back at my folks’ house early in the afternoon, I get my laundry run through and am able to spend the remainder of my evening visiting with my mother. Her Chemo is going well and other than being tired most of the time, the medication seems to have few ill effects on her daily routine. The conversations with her have been frequent this week and I find myself talking more than usual.
Monday, June 13th:
Travel day. I get all my things loaded into the truck and hitch up the trailer at my folks’ house. I always feel like I’m forgetting something and this trip is no different. This week I have already realized that I forgot my tire pressure gauge, angle finder and Motul hat in California. Those items, along with some sponsor decals also forgotten, are being shipped to me in Colorado by my beautiful wife, Jen. I roll away from my folks and get as far as the freeway, when I realize that I’ve left my air tank and cooler on the back porch. I turn around and retrieve the forgotten items.
At Alamo I get the Pink car loaded, on the now lower trailer with its fancy new extended ramps. While it still takes a few small tricks to get the car on trailer, it is significantly easier than before. The next two hours are spent organizing my junk and getting the truck and trailer loaded, and ready to hit the road. The bed of the truck is full, as is the interior and the trailer box. The truck is groaning under the heavy weight and we haven’t even left yet.
Finally on the road just after noon. I still expect to drive straight through to Denver, where I’ll meet Dave Carapetyan at Grid 1, where the last few prep items will be completed before testing and finally race week. I’m making good progress on the road and even getting better gas mileage than I expected. I get in touch with Anthony Perez, my volunteer Crew Chief in Colorado and he lets me know that Raton Pass, which is on my planned route has been closed, due to wild fires in the area. I know another route and expect to lose little time. The new route takes me straight up 287 through the panhandle of Texas and into and through the panhandle of Oklahoma. As the sun begins to set, I can see the massive smoke cloud on the horizon, from the fires burning out of control near the New Mexico/Colorado border. Also on the horizon to my North and West, I can see huge thunderclouds forming. I give a quick call to Dave and ask about the weather in Denver. I don’t really have much that can be damaged by water, but I’d still rather not drive through a heavy thunderstorm. I double-check the radar and the storms are due to cross the highway I’m travelling, so I slow down a bit and then decide to stop for dinner while they pass. 200 miles to go and I’m ready for the drive to be over. I’ve done it a hundred times, at least, in the past twenty-three years and it isn’t any more exciting now than it has been.
Just after 1am, I reach Denver and meet the guys at Don Walker’s home where I’ll stay for the night. I am tired and ready for bed, but it turns out Don is an avid slot car collector and even has a very large 4-lane track in his basement. That, along with over 300 cars to choose from, and we’re up most of the night playing. Tuesday will be a long day.
Tuesday, June 14th:
As advertised…a very long day. I have several tasks to complete on the Pink car, and Dave’s unlimited Evo still has its own laundry list of things to be completed, as well. I work a good portion of the day on my car and in the evening, begin helping on the project 959 Evo. We’re able to get a good bit done, but are still having trouble with the ECU. We were expecting to fire the car tonight but it just wasn’t meant to be. A lot of the things Dave is going through right now, are similar to what we were faced with two years ago when we first built the Pink car. Well after 4am and we decide to call it a night. Extreme fatigue has replaced productivity.
Wednesday, June 15th:
Another long day ahead. I get to work on the Pink car as the rest of the team resumes work on the Evo. Along with that, there are a few things that need to be handled on the Subaru, Dave has rented to Spanish driver, Carlos Martinez de Campos, for the AWD Time Attack Division. I still need to corner balance my car and get a few other tasks completed, but with time running short I decide to help on the Evo instead. I can get my stuff done pretty quickly, and time for the Evo is running out quickly. Still having trouble with the ECU, the decision is finally made to scratch the current ECU and replace it with one that is known to be operable. Along with that comes the monumental task of building a completely new wiring harness for the car. This is getting interesting. Don doesn’t waste any time getting started on the new harness, but we’re short a few components to get it finished tonight. Work goes on well past midnight before we retire. Dave is flying back to Texas in the morning to retrieve the rest of the team and the RV. He’ll be back on Friday or Saturday. I decide we should get a hotel for the night. Don’s wife is back in town so we’ve lost our low rent digs at his place.
Thursday, June 16th:
We get up early and get Dave to the airport. Race Engineer, Josh Chang, and I get back over to the shop and find Don elbows deep in wiring for the new harness. That, along with other work progresses smoothly as the day progresses and we’re now hoping to have the car fired this evening. After a short dinner break, we are back at the shop getting the finishing touches put on the new harness and installing it into the car. Everything connected now, we are back to where we were Tuesday. Flip the switch, and just like Tuesday, nothing. Troubleshooting ensues, sans hilarity. Something is missing and Don and Josh are methodical, in their search for the answer. An hour passes and they think they’ve found the culprit. At exactly 12 midnight, the 959 Evo comes to life for the first time.
Friday, June 17th:
I need to divorce myself from the Evo for some time and head down to PPIR for the Global Rallycross event. I’ll spend Friday and Saturday here. Check out my coverage of these events in other posts.
Saturday, June 18th:
I get back late from the GRC event and find that the Evo progress is not where I expected. I dig back into the fray and we end up working on the car until five Sunday morning. I need to get a few things done on my car still and get it down to the Springs, so I shut down and get a few hours sleep before beginning the rest of my Sunday.
Next: Race Week.