Wake up snowbirds! While everyone on the east coast is digging their homes out of 100 inches of snow, the west coast is already back to racing. Actually, we never stop racing, except December because we are broke after spending money on presents for family we see once a year but that is a different conversation entirely. The NASA AZ season kicked off at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway running counter clockwise which everyone promised was much better than the opposite and they were right. The track in this direction flows much better and is a lot of fun.
We arrived Friday night just in time to freeze. East coast people, I don’t want to hear it. Anything under 70 and I am not a happy camper. The best part of the night was realizing about 20 miles from the track I had forgotten the keys to my car. Luckily, we have slacker friends who leave late and they were able to swoop them up on the way out of town. We unloaded cars and fired up the heated blankets hoping to stay somewhat warm during the night.
The weekend was filled with issues for us. With new aero still being tested, Travis’ splitter cable decided it was done holding on and snapped going onto track leaving his splitter acting more as a snow plow without the snow. This wasn’t much different than the supports for my splitter giving up a session later and becoming active aero with no control. We used the lunch break to bandaid the cars. Thanks to Russ Whelan and his mobile Harbor Ace Freight Hardware he carries in his truck, the cars were ready to go back out.
During this session Travis’ splitter chassis mount snapped leaving half the splitter hanging once again. At this point I had to ask if teaching myself to Tig weld starting with aluminum (granted I had never welded before) was a good idea last month. I then reminded myself that the splitter survived Buttonwillow at Super Lap so it must have been Travis’ fault it broke.
Sunday came and we were still freezing but ready to drive. Travis with no other options went splitterless. With all new suspension and aero on my car, I was becoming more confident in the car. So confident in fact, I thought a detour through the dirt would be the best way to a fast lap. In reality it only tore my splitter. It seems the FAT Snail cars were in sync during the weekend. Over the course of two days we had both of our splitters quit, and managed to pop intercooler couplers during the same sessions.
For time attack, I decided to try the splitterless approach, though my bumper doesn’t hold on as well as Travis’ without a splitter. After 2 hot laps the bumper was still there and Time Attack was over. Apparently the only thing that had kept my bumper on was air pressure. When I slowed to enter the hot pits the bumper fell to the ground being pushed and within a few seconds found the underside of my car, well half of the bumper did anyway. The other half torpedoed forward at the timing tower. Travis on the other hand, decided he didn’t need a splitter and ran a 1:52.017 good for 1st Place TA-C. My 2:00.791 was not at all what I was looking for, but enough for 3rd Place TA-C.
With the day over and everyone packing up, Travis decided he had a session left in him and he was going to take 1st Place TT-U. He strapped into the car and went out to stomp another 1:52 time for the win. This most likely came as a surprise to the previous TT-U time leader as Travis found 4 seconds off his other times of the day to swoop to the podium.
This week the cars are being repaired and prepped for Firebird West with NASA AZ along with IFO/Trial By Fire at Firebird International Raceway. Enjoy those frosty windshields east coast driver’s, the Snail team is going racing. By the Way, if you are wondering why Markos was not mentioned in this write up, his car did not make the trip due to a catastrophic… axle seal? If anyone wants to give him a hard time about that, come see us this weekend at Firebird!
Want to thank all of our 2013 Sponsors for a great start to the 2013 Racing Season:
Turbosmart USA, Whiteline US, Turbo by Garrett, LIC Motorsports, Wheeldude.com, Turbos Direct, and Mothers
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