The end of this season was a nail-biter for us. We blew the diff in our last race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August, and weren’t able to get it put back together in time for the second to last round at Palmer Motorsports Park in September. This left us second in the points championship, and meant we had to finish in front of the points leader in at least 2 of the races of the championship weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
We had been dealing with cooling issues at the test day leading up to the event, but thought it was caused by some new hose clamps we had put in when changing the radiator prior to the event. Unfortunately, the first qualifying session of the race weekend proved we hadn’t found the issue. The coolant was still overflowing and now we were facing pretty bad overheating issues as well. At this point, we were pretty sure it was a head gasket but had to still make it out for the first race that afternoon to make up valuable points.
I tried to take it easy with the car, but with the water temp climbing quickly each lap, I ended up having to pull over halfway through the race. As I was sitting waiting for the points leader to go by, I noticed after a few minutes that he wasn’t out there. Crazy enough, his car had blown a head gasket the same race and he had dropped out several laps prior which meant we technically finished ahead of him.
While that was a relief, our team had a long night ahead and our crew worked tirelessly through the night to pull the motor and swap the head gasket. (A big shout out to Auto Fair Honda for getting us the head gasket at the last minute!)
Luckily there was no major damage from the head gasket, and we were able to get back out for the next race Saturday morning. The points leader’s team had a long night as well swapping their motor with another spare, which meant they were also still in the running. With a fresh head gasket though, our car had never felt better, and not only were we able to win the last two races but also set the track record.
It was a long weekend (and season) but thanks to the support of our sponsors, friends and family, we were able to take home the ITR championship!
Thank you again to our 2017 sponsors!
Auto Fair Honda
Harold duh Painter
JRZ Suspension Engineering