Well in a last ditch thrash the car was completed Friday afternoon. We loaded everything up and headed towards Houston. In Huntsville, about an hour and a half north of Houston, we realized the trailer keys had been lost... This topped the day off, as nothing seemed to be going smoothly. Arby's was out of roast when we stopped to eat dinner... I mean, come on! Recounting all the drama would take too long but we made it to the hotel around 4am and the locksmith came about a half hour later to save the day.
After an hour of sleep we were off to the track. Once unloaded we took the car over to tech inspection. The judges instantly labelled us as cheaters sicne we brought a RX-7 and sent us off to impound. They thought we were "too organized", with matching RX-7.COM t-shirts, an itemized cost report and "an answer for everything." After being docked 2 laps, 1 because they were sure we were cheating but couldn't prove it and 1 because wet paint on the door ruined one inspectors jeans.
After about 20mins of yellow, they finally dropped the green flag and our first driver made their way through traffic. After the attrition kicked in, I jumped in for my stint. I managed to loop it coming out of turn one and promptly pulled into the penalty box. The judges decided they'd be seeing more of us and sent us on our way w/o the standard 30min penalty.
Unfortunately about 15min into my stint the car began to sputter terribly, losing power for extended periods of time only to come back into full power briefly. I ended my stint and we changed the fuel filters and prayed. For the rest of the day the car would drive great for 2-5laps at the beginning of a stint, then begin acting up. Instead of pulling in and trying to figure out the problem, we decided to just get our drivers out on track and rack up laps... even at a terribly slow pace. A lower water pipe that had a hole we JB welded when building the car leaked, the clutch for the radiator fan stopped working and the top tank of the radiator cracked. All were fixed in stunningly ghetto ways except for the radiator, which we had a spare thanks to the guys at RX-7.com
Saturday night, the Rotor-Heads team lent us a fuel pump, I cleaned the carb's jets and needles and the fuel filters were changed once again. We were simply too beat to work on the car for long Saturday night and decided to get some sleep before attacking the car in the morning. Sunday we woke up and replaced fuel pump, the entire feed line, bypassed the roll-over valve incase it was clogged. The radiator that cracked Saturday was JB welded incase the spare bit the dust. We also rigged a fuel filter in the engine bay to act as a surge tank. The fuel pump from Saturday must have been clogged, which didn't present itself during testing or during low rpm driving, but on track, with sustained high rpm use... it couldn't keep the carb's bowls full. So the car would sputter and break up until the bowls filled... then give full power until they drained... rinse and repeat.
We got out on track about an hour late on Sunday and the car was a rocket. There were only a few cars that we couldn't outpace. Infact, we set the 8th fastest laptime of the entire event. The car was fast and fun! One of our drivers locked up the brakes and went off course sending us to the penalty box. Locking up the front brakes was quite easy despite the rear drums leaking... and not functioning. This made for a wild drive. For punishment, a sheetmetal chicken was welded to the roof. Around noon, the People's Curse destroyed a cow themed Miata... little did we know its destruction would visit us.
I jumped in for my Sunday stint and after 40-45min, I managed to lose it in Turn 1 AGAIN!! The car got wicked sideways, I got it back pointed straight... but straight at the gravel trap. So after my trip to the beach, I visited the penalty box... where they decided our car needed to be more Mazda. Being a hardcore Mazda guy myself I was a bit confused until they grabbed a twisted fender torn off the cow Miata earlier in the day. It was welded to the hood and we were sent on our way.
The rest of the day was pretty smooth. We had to change back to the original radiator due to a leak in the spare and we began throwing alternator belts. We had a little contact due to other aggressive drivers and one of our drivers brushed the tire wall chicane. All in all, the car and all of our drivers had great pace and if we had brought a spare fuel pump to swap Saturday we would have placed much better. In the end, we finished 44th of 76. Not stellar but it was 12 positions up from Saturday...
The car unloaded and finished just in time to roll it to tech & BS inspection
The Paddock... a place the car spent too much time
Notice the body mods: Simple reminders of our stupidity