Sunday May 7Story and Photos by David Sugg
Sunday was, as they say, "a bad day in Black Rock". The Superformance contingent did not fare as well as we had hoped.
First, Dennis became aware of a miss in the brand new engine of the Superformance Coupe and upon closer inspection found a piston missing in the number 1 hole. Needless to say, this spoiled their day and he and Mark Ray packed up and headed to Charlotte with the intention of installing a new engine and meeting us in Sebring or VIR. As of Monday morning, there was some question of whether that would happen as they found a problem with the front brakes as well. With no development time, these are problems that come as no surprise.
David Sugg and Doug Reed continue to run although David hit course marker cones in both the Gingerman and MIS events and incurred a 10 second penalty in each instance. This moved the car from a top 15th position to a 24th place position. However, they are more confident in the coming events as David was never on either the Gingerman or MIS race tracks. He has been on all the rest and feels as if they can do well on those courses.
As of Monday morning, Barry Kline and Jim Roxbury are in the 39th overall position and Clay Gould and Barry Nacquin are in the 57th place. This is the first time that Clay has been at all the tracks, so he is doing a great job keeping the car on course (most of the time) and staying out of trouble.
Now, a little ruminating on the overall event. One wonders why grown men and women would subject themselves to a week of sleep deprivation, discomfort, constant driving, and all the other associated hassles. It finally hit me. This is an "Outward Bound" for motorheads. Where else can you and your trusty steed venture off into the uncharted Wilderness with only what you can carry and your wits to finish an event. Add to this the stress of competition events on both man and machine and you have a really satisfying experience at the end. I guess it is like running. It feels so good when it is over and you have done it.
As of this time, we have just completed the first of two events at Road Atlanta. Hopefully, I can get an update to you tomorrow.
1994 Dodge Ram 1500
Ron Adee - Gilberts, IL
Mark Reuter - Crystal Lake, IL
1994 RennTech Mercedes-Benz SL600
Dan Kary, DO, Greene, ME
Paul Gerrard, Boulder, CO
1996 TNT King Snake Viper
Kim Crumb, Bloomington, MN
David Muyres, Dusseldorf, Germany
Results and Commentary by Mike Stenhouse
Bob Olthoff and Geoff Blandford packed up Saturday afternoon after practice for the drive back to Charlotte (Mt. Ulla, actually). They planned to stop somewhere in Kentucky and sleep when they got tired. What do you think the chances of finding a motel room in Kentucky on Kentucky Derby weekend are? Not so good. By 3 AM they gave up and drove on to North Carolina. And they were tired when they got there.
On Sunday morning, Dennis felt the engine in the Superformance Coupe go away on the first lap of the first event. It was not repairable in the field, so he called the shop and they began work on "Plan B". Dennis packed up the car and headed back to the shop in Mt. Ulla. He arrived at 11 PM Sunday night. Everyone was too exhausted to continue that evening, so they turned in and started in again early Monday morning.
"Plan B" is a 427 CID stroker 351W cast iron engine with TFS heads and a Ford Motorsport A351 cam. It "only" puts out 455 horsepower. By 4 PM Monday, the engine was in the car and Dennis had left to rejoin the One Lap at the Carolina Rod Shop, a required checkpoint in Greenville, South Carolina. From there, everyone will be heading to Sebring for the next round.
The problem with the engine turned out to be a broken piston. The 408 stroker crank, rods, and pistons are a kit from Eagle, the folks who make the well known Eagle rods. Increasing the stroke without shortening the connecting rod requires moving the pin up in the piston. This pushes the ring package up in the piston closer to the crown. In this particular case, the notch for valve clearance in the piston crown was cut too close to the ring package. The piston cracked in this area and the corner of the piston above the ring land broke off causing the ring to break. BANG - busted engine. This should not have happened. At first, it was thought to be either a design, materials, or manufacturing problem. Further analysis of the failed piston after teardown indicated it was most likely caused by detonation - a batch of bad gas.
The Superformance Coupe has missed Michigan and Atlanta. This is too many points to give up to still be in the hunt for the big trophy at the end. But it is a brand new car with next to zero development time. Racing is hard on new cars. Bob and Dennis and the rest of the crew are hanging tough. I hope we get to see what the car is capable of in upcoming events.
Gingerman 2 was cancelled because the schedule to get to Michigan was too tight. The highway patrol was out in force to see that speeding to Michigan was not the solution of choice.
Gingerman 1 Results
|1||8||1998 Dodge Viper Venom 650R||SSGT1||6:21.458||565|
|2||10||1999 Dodge Viper||SSGT1||6:21.926||560|
|3||16||1996 TNT King Snake Viper||SSGT1||6:25.491||555|
|4||7||1997 Mallett Chevrolet Corvette 435 C-5||SSGT1||6:28.717||550|
|5||17||1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1||SSGT1||6:30.464||545|
|6||6||1994 RennTech Mercedes-Benz SL600||SSGT1||6:30.967||540|
|7||19||1997 Dodge Viper||SSGT1||6:32.023||535|
|8||4||1993 Mazda RX-7||SSGT2||6:32.226||530|
|9||28||2000 Lingenfelter Chevrolet Corvette||SSGT1||6:32.419||525|
|10||25||1995 Pontiac Firebird||SSGT2||6:32.983||520|
|24||3||1964 Superformance Coupe (Olthoff/Ray)||Vint Amer||6:48.345||450|
|26||5||1965 Superformance Mk III (Reed/Sugg)||Vint Amer||6:51.560||440|
|45||72||1965 Superformance Mk III (Kline/Roxbury)||Vint Amer||7:06.779||345|
|46||70||1966 Superformance Mk III (Gould/Naquin)||Vint Amer||7:07.199||340|
On to Michigan...