murphy's law in racing

2y ago


The origin of Murphy's Law is a bit unclear, but it easily could have been thought up by someone trying to endurance race a 26 year old Acura. Every race that Poor Life Choices Racing has entered has had at least one unexpected failure. Well, unexpected to us, I suppose we're still learning.

Our first race at Watkins Glen, we ended with no third gear, and brake pads worn to almost nothing. But the failure we didn't anticipate was someone (dammit Tom) forgetting to put our gas cap back on after a fuel stop. After I got a meatball flag for spewing gas all over the track, we had to find a new cap. We had most of an entire spare car with us, minus a gas cap. One mad dash to the local (surprisingly well stocked) parts store, and we were back on the track.

Here's how we eliminated the issue of lost gas caps.

EBC Yellows after a weekend of racing. We upgraded before the next race.

This year at Watkins Glen, we discovered the importance of quality hood pins. The hard way. Turns out cheap ones have a habit of rattling loose.

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Some quality aerocatches solved that issue. Well, plus a new windshield. And a new hood. Well, a "new" hood.

Things rattling loose seems to be a common issue, as evidenced by our speedometer sensor later that weekend. Or rather, as evidenced by the open hole in our transmission where a speed sensor used to be.

Yup, that's a distributor rotor. In our transmission. We know what we're doing.

Our next race was at Calabogie. Everything went smoothly until two minutes before the end of day one. Then we blew a rod out the bottom of the block. That's not entirely surprising, blown engines happen in racing. However, our newly vented oil pan dumped oil on the hot header, which went about as well as expected.

Medium well.

Yay fire! And yes, that's still a distributor rotor plugging our speedo hole, what of it?

So after that fun adventure, we packed up our trailer and headed home. And 75% of our trailer's wheels made it home with us. Our recently purchased trailer with "new axles" (turns out one was replaced in '05, and the other was original from '95) was not quite as road ready as we were hoping.

Grease your trailer bearings, people. Now. I'll wait.

At VIR, our transmission case shattered when one of our drivers put it in reverse. The nut on the output shaft had backed off against the case, and the shock of putting it in reverse was too much for the aluminum. I don't have any pictures of this, because shortly after it happened, I passed out under the car. I have a distinct memory of standing next to the spot where Tom put it in reverse to back in next to our trailer, and seeing a pile of aluminum chunks at the beginning of a trail of gear oil leading to our car. It took far too long for my heat-stroked brain to put the whole thing together. Who thought a 24 hour race in Virginia in August was a good idea?

I'm from Buffalo, NY. I'm not used to that kind of heat.

Our last race this season was at Pittsburgh International. At some point on the last day, our alternator went rogue. Our car has a decent size battery in it, but with no more electricity being produced, it had to run out eventually. 8 volts is about the cutoff for what a 1990 Integra will run on. So with 20 minutes left in the race, the car puttered to an undignified stop.

The broken bracket in the foreground is for the alternator. About a foot below that, wedged against the steering rack, is the alternator. Not pictured is the belt, which went MIA.

So what will break next? Don't know, but I'll try to get pictures when it happens.

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