Archive for June, 2009

DIY or Outsource?

Driving to Grattan a few months ago, I decided that 60-65mph in an 18-foot-long extended-bed-1997 Ford F-250 towing a 28-foot enclosed trailer (total length with tongue is 18 + 3 + 28 = 49′. A semi trailer is 53′) is not a fun way to start a weekend.  Also, it is even more undesirable to end the tiring weekend to drive the thing home.
…And all that is if things go perfect – I won’t discuss tire-blow-outs, my lack of backing-up skills, having the car roll out of the trailer and into traffic (don’t ask), and so on…

If you’ve read the previous posts, at this point you are probably expecting most of my posts on this here blog to be a bad-luck filled weekend of inexperience and poor planning.  Which, might be accurate if you didn’t know that I’ve decided to let a professional help me out with this hobby.

After the Grattan race, which overall went well for me, I sat down and planned out the rest of my year.  I have a ton going on with work (I’m writing this after dinner in a hotel bar in West Virigina on a Friday night, drinking water so I can wake up at 5:30am to get to the office tomorrow, if that tells you anything), I hate driving the truck and trailer, don’t have all the tools to properly fix the car, and presently have two sports-cars too many in a two-car garage for a racecar.  My options for the rest of the year included skimping on the maintenance for the truck, trailer and Hawke, paying someone local to work on the racecar, cutting the long distance tracks (run MidOhio and Bluegrass only), and just not racing (egad!).

I spent a few minutes pondering the pros and cons, and some other tidbits about having a team/prep-shop/someone-else provide trackside support versus DIY.  In no particular order of importance, I weighed:

  1. Quality of the racecar/finishing races
  2. Stress at the track
  3. Time spent
  4. Cost
  5. Getting to the track
  6. Registration ease/showing up late

And, in afterthought I also threw in “going fast”.  I realized that I’ve read some books, driven a few fast cars, watching a little bit of racing until the ADD kicked in, and had two seasons of limited track time….but, other than that, I know nothing about actually tuning a car or coaching myself to go faster.

So, enter Lindstrand Motorsports.  If you’ve read the prior blog posts (if you haven’t, well, why are you reading this crap and not the fun stuff?) you’re aware that they have helped me out on a few occasions – the first time, in this order:

  1. parts – “here you go, a new throwout bearing from our trailer”
  2. advice – “well, it takes about 4 hours in the shop to replace that little part that happens to be in between the transmission and good luck doing it tonight at 9pm after a day of racing, night of drinking, and no experience.. and, our satellite TV in the trailer says it will be 39 degrees tonight”
  3. feedback – “well, it is impressive you replaced the bearing and it works, but you put it in backwards and you still look silly push starting your car every session”

And thereafter we had a good relationship – I’d ask stupid questions, and someone from the Lindstrand camp would answer it in sarcasm.  At least I thought they were being sarcastic.
Oh well; my favorites include myself walking over to Nick at Grattan, when it was about to rain, and asking “Are you guys goin’ out on rain tires?”, then I looked to the sky, hoping to imply it might rain (it really was), and hearing her response “Well, we go out on rain tires when it rains.”.  I walked back to my trailer thinking that was pretty damn profound.  It never rained the entire weekend, for the record.

Sooo….in July, when I returned from being in Europe for almost 2 weeks and realized I had no time or energy to do anything with the car – the car took a trailer-ride courtesy of my dad from Dayton to Lindstrands’ shop in Darien, WI, to prep and bring to the Formula Ford 40th Anniversary @ Road America next month.

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