Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! Gentlemen?
We'd been having trouble with the Monza's starter the whole weekend. It's been a problem with a few of the Chevy 350's I've played with. The engine bay gets hot, the starter gets really hot, and the starter solenoid core expands, jamming and preventing the car from starting. The solution? Never turn off the car. Damn good advice.
We'd had a problem the night before at the drag strip (and at the Taco Bell on the return trip), so we kinda knew what we were in for: a half hour wait and the occasional adjustment with an 8 pound hammer. All was well, though, as Sean and I paid our dues, signed the waiver, and got the car in line.
The Running of The Cones
This event was essentially a regular SCCA autocrossing event, with a bunch of the GRM people thrown in. An SCCA auto cross is basically an timed run through a small course consisting of cones laid out in a huge paved area (note the thumbnail sketch of the course to the left). GRM also had a professional driver on hand to try and prvide the best possible times on all the cars.
Sean's first run was fast, but DNF (did not finish). He went the wrond way around the second cone group. No worries, though, cause we gave it to the professional driver next for (hopefully) the best run of the day. The dirver stalled the car coming out of turn 3. Oops. Miraculously, he got it started again, and finished. Sean ran it back through the line, and we gave the driver another chance. He promptly returned it with a (), about the middle of the pack. Sean then gave the car to me, just as it started raining again.
Wait, What am I Doing Here?
Due to the rain, I had trouble maintaining traction in the launch (which is a nice way of saying I squealed out of the launch area). I felt pretty good going though the whole course, except for occasional traction problems. When I got to the end, I'd made it in 50.1 seconds, and hadn't touched a signle cone! I quickly returned the car to Sean, who turned in a 49.8 second run. The I did a 48.3 second run, and we would have contiuned this downward imporvment if Sean's next run didn't end so badly.
Remember it was wet? Sean came out of turn two, noticed he was a bit off course, and corrected too suddenly. The car obligingly spun three times and stalled out. Hearing no starter sound and seeing Sean get out of the car was enough to send me and several others out into the track to help push him off. The Monza's race day was over. Sean and I spent the rest of the day helping field cones.
Pizza, Beer, Car Talk, Awards
The autocross was shut down shortly thereafter, and the GRM populace retired to a local pizza place for pizza, beer, and the awards ceremony. Needless to say, there way much talk about cars. The Monza won no awards, but then again there wasn't a "Miss Personality" class. Sean and I stayed for an hour or so, and then left when Rob showed up. Me, Sean, Rob, and (other) Sean hit an ABC store (which, in Florida, is the name of a private chain, and doesn't stand for Alcohol Beverage Control. Neat trick), drove for far too long back to Orlando, got drunk ,and went to sleep.