Well not exactly the race I had hoped for, but not all bad either. It started at Hastings Motorsports Park (MPH) on Wednesday. I unloaded the car, took a warm up lap then on my first full RPM up shift to 3rd the clutch went to the floor. Once I got back into the pits I discovered the fitting which holds the fluid line to the slave cylinder (I'm sure it has a name) was not conected to the slave cylinder. I slid it back on and it seemed to click and be tight. I was not pleased with my mechanic but thought no harm. So I quickly filled the master cylinder and went back out on track. I gave it one more lap to make sure all was well then it happened again, same spot same gear. No clutch! I was glad I hadn't called my mechanic to tell him he was fired because it was obviously not his fault. I pulled the spring clip off and bent around a bit to make it fit tighter and I was convinced it would not pop off again. by this point I had lost a lot of brake fluid so I cleaned everything with brake cleaner, filled the master cylinder again and decided to hit the track again. I was very careful and took a couple of laps to get up to speed and everything seemed to be working fine. Then I started to notice the clutch slipping and I wasn't smelling clutch and it only happened at high rpms. Into the pits again! I looked everything over and I noticed it was still dripping brake fluid and it was coming out of the bottom of the bell housing. I was sure this was not a good sign. Apparently some of the brake fluid had found it's way down into the clutch. I sprayed some brake clean into the bellhousing with the car running and working the clutch. After it all cooled and dried I went back on track. It seemed to ok for a couple of laps but when I began torun harder the clutch was definitely slipping.
So to make a long story short we tried to clean it again but it didn't get better.I came very close to loading the Contour and driving home to get the Trans am but decided I didn't want to drive 15 hours. So I did not run the one mile shootout and dropped down from the 115 class to the 100 class for the road race. I decided why not, it needs a clutch any way so I ran it. The car sucessfully ran the 100mph class with a badly slipping clutch. I didn't get very close to my time, ended up 3 seconds off my target time. These races have gotten so competitive that unless you are under one second you have no chance, I finished 10th. A navigator would have helped, even driving the slower class it's tough to drive and run your stop watch because the road is very technical.
It was a great weekend, I got to drive some very fast cars (friends with money), only two cars left the road and no body got hurt, the car sounds great and ran great (except for the above) and that is racing!!
Now it is time for a new clutch, a few minor additions per the Bonneville rule book, four new skinny tires and off to the salt.
Here are a couple of pictures of the car all cleaned up with no stickers. You can see the new exhaust coming out the right side. I took a drive around KC today (the car is still street legal) but it would not be a good daily driver. It is fun to drive on the streets but I get tired of every kid thinking they want to race. They think since I'm driving around at 5000 rpms I want to race, but it barely runs if your not above 5000. I was a good boy and did not embarras them.
I'm leaving early wednesday morning so will have some updates in about a week.
Here is a copy of my dyno runs before the new headers. The runs we did this week were missing sections and had spikes all through the RPM range. There were problems with the software so I didn't even print them. It look like I gained some midrange torque but it hard to tell, but the car sounded great and seemed to run just as good. I got the alignment set yesterday, more of a road race setup, -1.5 Camber front with a little toe out, -1 camber rear with alittle toe in. I put the Forgelines back on and It looks like a road race car again. This weekend I'll do a nut and bolt, shine it up then go drive it like I stole it. dyno 2010.pdf
I may give Dom a call again, I wish he was closer to KC.
Two weeks until I leave for Nebraska here is a quick update.
The car is back together except for the headers, they look great but I'm not sure we are going to have time to coat them. I may just put a coat of paint on them. Now I wish I went with stainless steel. They will be done by the weekend which will leave next week for break-in and dyno. Here is a picture of the front tubes.
I've had a few people ask about my front spoiler so here are a few pictures of it. All I did was mount a 1" alum strip around the front valance and then attach a flat piece with dzus fasteners. Very simple but it works great. It needed redone because some of the pictures taken at speed I noticed it appeared to be folding back a bit., and it lives a hard life. Now it is much stronger and has fresh paint. Nebraska has grass hoppers the size of birds so it may only last one race.
Next update will be dyno numbers!!!?????
I know everyone is going to challenge the title, how about "World's Fastest 2.5 NA Contour"?
I thought I would start a blog about my run up to Bonneville. I will be attending the World Finals the first weekend in October. I'm thrilled to have some interest in the Contour because honestly, even my wife says I should have a different race car. It is true, an easier option would be to run a car with better performance aftermarket support, but that is exactly why I run the Contour. Plus it's a great car and there is no turning back now, I'm in way to deep.
My next race is the SORC in Arnold Nebraska on August 11th-15th. I do this race every year because of the variety of events and the hospitality of Western Nebraska. We start on Wednesday with a track day at MPH (Motorsports Park Hastings). George runs the track and we have a blast running our cars around for the better part of the day. Most of us tend to take it easy because we other events to run so George pulls out the track car. The car is a supercharged Chevy Cobalt with a block of wood under the gas pedal. We all get one lap (no practice) to see who is the fastest. This can be very competitive and I'm sure the floor board has a bulging dent under the gas pedal. Then we breakout the Karts, which on a 2.15 mile road course and 45mph top speed you learn to draft quickly. After a blast and hopefully no broken cars we head northwest to Arnold for a welcome party.
Thursday is tech day. Depending on how late the party goes the night before, tech inspection begins around 9am. Since I've been so many years tech is usually goes quick for the Contour. They check all safety items per the rules for the class you chose to run. One of the most important items for this type of racing is the tires, most accidents involve some type of tire failure. I always run a high quality street tire that is no more than two years old, race tires are not ment to be run on county roads and are more prone to puncture because of their light weight design. The road is a Nebraska county road with gravel, holes, dips and a varity of wild life, but it is paved!
After tech inspection I usually go drive the road a few times. The race road is the county road on the north end of Arnold and runs north 30 miles to hwy 2. I run the road looking for any rough spots (which there are many) and verify my check points then make changes to my course notes. It is a very difficult road compared to other open road races, not just flatout for miles and miles. This makes it much more difficult to manage your time because you are constantly in a turn or setting up for one. I prefer running with a navigator (if you can find a good one) because then I can focus on the road. A good navigator can win a race for you but it is not an easy task! My wife has not yet been convinced to ride with me, I think she will when the kid get older but we will have to start slow.
Friday is the one mile shootout. We drive to a remote road about an hour south of Arnold near Calloway to a perfect stretch where several hundred people show up to watch. Keep in mind this is a two lane county road with little or no shoulder and ditches to slow any off road excursion. Most other one mile runs take place on airport runways. The other factor which seems to somewhat limit speeds is the altitude is almost 4000ft. I usually don't run the Contour in the one mile (have more fun riding with a buddy or watching) but this year I can't wait. With all the changes I'm anxious to see how it will run. My goal is around 145 which is about what a stock c5 corvette can run. This will also be help for Bonneville, I will know how long it take to get up to speed.
Then Saturday is raceday.
This may sound like and advertisement for the race, I guess it is, but if you are a car guy this is a dream weekend! One of the great things about these races is any car can run, there are classes from 85mph up to unlimited. Because of this it is very popular and difficult to get a spot in the race, check out the web site www.sorcrace.com.
Now about the car:
The transmission and axles are back from Terry and being installed today. The rear suspension was rebuild to allow for additional camber and toe adjustments. The wild card is the new headers, he is building them and they look fantastic but may not be done until next week. That only leaves me two weeks for break-in (new coating on the FD), dyno, alignment and nut and bolt check. If I can figure it out I will post some video from the dyno and maybe some pictures. I also purchased a set of camber plates from Ground Control and they look great but decided we didn't have the time to rebuild the front strut towers before I go to Nebraska so that will have to wait. They are not bolt-in and I need to do them right!!
Thanks and any feedback is appreciated.