MAPerformance's 2010 Shootout Saga
Posted on 24 August 2010
Thursday August 12th, 2010Trying to field two race cars for an event like the DSM shootout can be explained in just one word, nightmare. Earlier in the week a damper failure took out the crankshaft and flexplate adapter in the FDSM leading to the yet another engine overhaul just days before the event. To make matters worse the Evo was still suffering from drivetrain gremlins that were preventing us from shifting under load and high RPM. We had tried replacing the shifter and the under hood cable brackets to no avail, so Shep recommended replacing the shifter base on top of the transmission in a last ditch effort. Not only did replacing the shifter base not fix the shifting issues, the Billet 76mm PTE turbocharger decided to suck in and consume a vacuum line during the test drive completely destroying the compressor wheel! Needless to say we aren't the type to go down without a fight and we quickly realized that Precision Turbo is in Indiana just a few miles off the interstate we would be taking to Ohio and Shep Racing is only about 90 miles southeast of Norwalk. Shortly after that realization the decision was made to stop by both facilities in a last ditch effort to rectify these issues and make a pass on Sunday.
Friday August 13th, 2010We reached the Chicago area around 4:30am on Friday morning and everything seemed to be going well with our new transporter which was laden with three vehicles and additional supplies. Just outside of Elgin, however, the journey took a turn for the worse as one of three passenger side trailer tires exploded into a burst of sparks and rubber. Luckily we were able to pull onto the shoulder and safely bring the rig to a stop. We fired up the generator and halogen lights that just so happen to be on the passenger side and got to installing the spare trailer tire. (Side note: I would recommend not jumping out of an enclosed trailer onto the side of the road with a heavy automotive jack, bodily injury will occur **cough** Kevin **cough**) Unfortunately, the convenience of the generator and lights didn't last long as the generator ran out of gas with some of the worst timing I could have possibly imagined. As all of our vehicles run on either E98 or E85 there wasn't any spare pump gas to fire it back up either We pressed on with lighting from a few small flashlights and got the spare tire in place, at which time we realized that it was low on air, and again we had no generator to power our air compressor. At this point in time the decision was made to limp the rig to the next exit to fill the tire, unfortunately, it was about 5:30am at this point and rush hour was in full effect! A short time later we arrived at the nearest gas station to fill up the spare tire that had just been installed. As we were filling it up we realized that the forward most tire had a tear in the sidewall as well, likely from the additional load it saw when the rearmost tire exploded. Unfortunately, and I realize I'm using that word often here, it was only 6am and no one locally was available to change a tire until 7am so we headed down the road a few miles to wait for someone to arrive. We decided that this was as good a time as any to remove the damaged turbocharger on the Evo so we unloaded and got to work. Apparently Firestone tire shops won't work on trailers so we yet again found ourselves removing the tires so that replacements could be mounted and balanced. The first tire went smoothly, and then the technician informed us that one of the other two wheels had a crack along the outer flange, awesome. Of course they don't have the appropriate wheel in stock so I took off in my Evo (I felt pretty good about my decision to follow the trailer rather than let them fend for themselves at this point) to the nearest discount tire that happened to have one, yes only one, of the appropriate sized wheels in stock. They didn't open until 8am of course, so yet again I waited for someone to arrive. Shortly thereafter I returned with the wheel, got the last tire mounted and balanced and around 9am, 4.5 hours after the initial blowout, we were back on the road. We arrived at Precision Turbo just after noon on Friday. At this point we had been in transit for about 16 hours and had been awake (for the most part) for about 28 hours and I can't imagine the thoughts that went through the minds of the PTE staff when we arrived, I'm sure we looked pretty rough lol. Fortunately, the staff at PTE welcomed us with open arms and got our turbocharger rebuilt and ready to rock in about a half hour! I couldn't have asked for better customer service, Precision Turbo really came through when we needed them! Although it should have only taken about 6 hours to get to Shep Racing, we somehow managed to take our sweet time and ended up arriving at 8:30pm, hours after the time we had conveyed to John earlier in the day. Luckily, he was working on getting his 1g up and running (what an amazing machine by the way) and he had an open lift waiting for us! We quickly got the turbocharger reinstalled and after some diagnosis by the master it was decided that the transmission did in fact need to come out for further diagnosis. Having been up for almost 36 hours at this point it took Kyle and Kevin a little bit longer than normal to remove an Evo transmission, but by midnight it was out and in the hands of one of the best Evo transmission builders in the country. I would like to take a quick moment to thank John Shepherd, Jeremy aka Fathouse, Ben, and everyone else hanging out that evening for your hospitality. I can't say enough about the character of this great group of people.
Saturday August 14th, 2010It only took Scott about two hours to get the transmission back together, and I can't thank him enough for performing this work for us in the middle of a Friday night! We had some significant synchro / hub damage and a few locating tabs on a synchro managed to break off, the reasoning for which is still unknown. Burned out and frustrated Kyle and Kevin installed the transmission to a point in which the car would roll and we loaded it into the trailer around 3:30am for the 90mile drive back to the hotel in Sandusky. We arrived at the hotel just after 5am which put us at 33 hours in transit and 45 hours with little to no sleep. Needless the say the last thing I needed was a fiasco during check-in, but that's exactly what I got lol. It took 15 minutes for the attendant to realize that I had paid for all of the rooms and give me keys so that we could finally get some rest. For a minute there she was going to have security escort me to the rooms and wake up the rest of our group that was inside sleeping! I doubt that I was the most courteous person given the circumstances, but I felt with a little common sense we could have avoided this entire situation! After having finally gotten to sleep around 6am the inevitable happened the following day around noon as we started to receive a barrage of test messages and phone calls from the other members of our group that weren't aware of the adventure we had experienced the nights before. Regardless, 6 hours of sleep felt like a miracle and we were quickly back on our feet and ready to prepare for Buschur's dyno day. Unfortunately there was just too much left to be completed on the Evo and we weren't able to get it back up and running until about 3pm at which time people in attendance informed us that we had pretty much missed our opportunity at Buschur's At least we would have some R&R Saturday evening though! The Kalahari waterpark was a blast (with the exception of people daring enough to ride waterslides without knowing how to swim and almost drowning the lifeguards!) and our yearly trip to Steak and Shake was as good as I had remembered it to be! Nighttime rolled around and for us there is only one logical thing to do the day before the shootout, drive our registered street / race cars slowly around town to check out the Best Western and Econolodge parking lots! Kyle even went through the Taco Bell drive through in our 1053whp Evo with three lucky passengers! We certainly got a few looks from the local police, but being that we were basically idling down the street they let us enjoy our evening! We had a great time putting some faces to screen names and just hanging out in the midst of so many 4g63 enthusiasts, this is something I will continue to look forward to every year!
Sunday August 15th, 2010Race day was actually the least eventful day of our journey lol. It was clear early on that the Evo's shifting problems had not been rectified with the transmission rebuild, as such we weren't able to make a clean pass all day. The FDSM on the other hand was running very well early on as we ran an 8.44 and an 8.22 in Quick 16 qualifying making us the #1 qualifier In the first round of eliminations we went even faster with an 8.14 @ 171mph which I believe was the fastest pass of the day by almost a half second, so close to our goal of breaking into the 7 second club! That run, however, would be our last opportunity to get into the 7's and our last successful run in the Quick 16 class as our head gasket let go during the burnout of the following run which led to our disqualification Looking at the upside that 8.14 run was our quickest to date and the 171mph trap speed beat our previous best by 5mph!
Looking back I wish I had more time to meet and greet some of our colleagues and customers throughout the day. I spent most of my time in the staging lanes as it takes me a solid 5 minuted to get suited up and into the car to make a pass, the last thing I wanted to do was hold up the show! lol I did get to talk with David Buschur briefly and thank him for holding the event, it was also great to hear from one of the greats that our car was "flying" down the track Although we will have to wait until another day to break into the 7 second club, we had a blast and will most certainly be attending for years to come!