Race countdown: 4…

4 weeks until the next race. It’s a 24 Hours of Lemons event at Thunderhill. Every race has something different planned, and this is no exception. The big change is…

I’m not driving

For only the second time in my “career” I’m going as dedicated crew. The last time I did this was with a trio of mad hombres, (no, not the Three Amigos) who played pit crew for XX Racing, an all female racing team driving our Miata. It was really fun focusing on taking care of the drivers and the car rather than thinking about the race, so I’m looking forward to it again.

I’m not sure how much racing I’m going to be doing in the future. I don’t really need to race anymore. I like driving on track, of course, but the part of me that needs to shame faster cars is feeling sated.

Modifications and Fixes

So what’s new with the car? We’re going to race under the Toyota Kazoo Racing name again. I aim to put some rally-inspired thematic decorations here and there, like a roof vent and mud flaps.

At the end of the last race, the battery broke. It’s one of those insanely expensive Lithium batteries that weighs 5 pounds. The plastic literally broke, exposing circuit boards. I’m not buying another one of those, so we’re going back to the original lead-acid battery, but this time it will be located in the back.  I removed the tow hitch, meaning the overall weight will go down a little and the front-rear balance will be a little better. I doubt it will be noticeable, but in theory it’s better.

At the end of the race, the front right top hat pulled through the hole. Not sure how that happened. I’ve replaced rubber with some solid metal mounts I had purchased but never installed. They’re supposed to sharpen the steering.

As I mentioned previously, we’ll be using radios for the crew, but communication to/from the driver will be via Discord. I can’t wait to see how that works out.

Drivers

Let’s meet our drivers.

  • “Crazy” Mike Kimball – Mike has been in Lemons a long time. He races Beetles, Minis (the original ones), Volvos, and whatever else you put in front of him. He’s sort of the chief mechanic these days. His better half, Amanda, serves a lot of great food at Lemons events.
  • Danny Hart – A few years ago I contributed a “come race with us” item for a charity auction.  Danny was the high bidder and he joined us for a Lucky Dog race at Laguna Seca. The next race was a full 24 hour race at Buttonwillow. If you can race in the dark, on a track you’ve never been to, not crash, and help the team to a 3rd overall place, you have spot on my team.
  • Daniel Melters – Daniel used to be a graduate student in my lab. He was one of the original team members and returns from time to time to generate more great memories. He holds the current record for longest stint in the Yaris at 2:43. Pretty amazing considering the car holds 10.5 gallons.
  • David DeFlyer – David has raced with us several times, but has been out of racing for a few years. David is equally at home behind the wheel or under the car. He’s weirdly faster on shitty tires than good ones. No, that doesn’t make any sense, but the rest of him does.
  • Tiernan Armstrong-Ingram – While Tiernan is the newest member, he’s been to enough events that he’s become a regular. He lives a few streets over, so he frequently helps out on the car. He’s one of the lead writers for Donut Media, but don’t hold that against him! A guy’s gotta eat.

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