This is a blog post from: Ryan, an engineer at FRR

Better late than never?? Its been a busy last week and a half or so for me. Martinsvile > Washington > Detroit > London > Port Franks > London > Toronto > Denver > Richmond > Denver as I type.  And to Fort Worth tomorrow.  So let’s start at the beginning.

Aside: I just finished relistening to the Serial podcast so if this post sounds like a crime narrative at all, you know why.  Fortunately, my story has a bit more of an ending.  Well not really, it continues.

So the race in Martinsville.  It was cold, I had some work to do on the pit box that morning and I had to stop every 5 mins or so to thaw my hands, they were completely numb.  We started 3rd, which was very promising for us staying out of trouble.  That lasted about 30 laps I think, maybe less.  The car took off fine, we were running 3rd or 4th exactly as I had hoped.  Then Martin radio that the power steering felt weird.  Then there a bit of smoke out of the car, which was reported on tv.  Over the course of 20 laps, we completely lost power steering, which is very difficult at Martinsville, it’s a very physical track.  We fell back to about 9th, and then it stabilized.  We had a good car, and once the pace fell off enough Martin could hang on.  But not for another 440 laps.  So on the first caution, we had some work to do.  It took 3 pit stops total.  The first stop was to trouble shoot the problem, identify the pwoer steering leak, and what was required to fix it.  The second stop was a normal 4 tires and fuel stop.  The 3rd was to fix the problem, refill the power steering, and cross our fingers.  All of this went great, and we managed to pull it off without loosing a lap.  Our car chief Blake and lead mechanic Gary did a great job to fix the car.  The end result though, was that we restarted 39th.  And that’s where Martinsville bites you, you get run over, or caught up in someone elses accident.  Or just stuck in traffic and lapped.  But we got lucky, had a long enough run that everyone came in for tires, but not long enough that tires we needed.  So we stayed out.  Went from 30 something to the lead, and lead for about 20 laps.  Again, our car was good.  Eventually the fresh tires caught us, and I think we fell to about 4th by the end of that run.  But another caution, everyone stopped, and we had our track position and were back on sequence.  

The rest of the race we fluctuated from about 6th down as far as 18th or so, depending on the particular adjustments we made.  We got knocked out of the way a few times, and overall it was very stressful.  But towards the end Cole made some goo dsetup calls, and we got the car going the right way.  And the last two stops we made up spots in the pits!  So 9th on the final restart, and we ended up 6th.  Not too shabby at all, especially given the power steering issues.  Everyone left the track ecstatic!

I had flights to Washington and then Detroit booked, so I could get home to pack (finally) and move.  I met my parents at DTW and got back to London about 2:30 am Monday morning.  Long day.  So two and a half days of packing later, my U-Haul box was ready to go.  I even got a few days break at the cottage, which was the first relaxing I’ve had since Daytona.

I flew back on Sunday, my U-Haul box shipped today, all things going to plan.  Monday was a regular shop work day, so was Tuesday until we flew to Richmond at 3 pm for a test today.  Richmond is one of the tracks I was most looking forward to going to, and though it was only a test, it did not dissapoint.  I tink it will make for a couple very entertaining races.  It was grey and damp this morning, but by 11:30 we got running, and had a solid test day.  The data system behaved much better today which was a relief, and I felt the most comfortable that I have felt at any test so far.

We should land about 9:30 – 10 pm Denver time tonight.  We fly to Fort Worth at 9:30 tomorrow morning.  I am looking forward to Texas, appoarently its a great facility, the hotel is nice and there’s a really good BBQ place for team dinner.  It’s our first 2(.5) day weekend of the year, which means a Saturday night race.  Which would give me Sunday off!  The weather doesn’t look great though, sure hope it doesn’t rain out Saturday night…

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