Race Report – NASA AIX Outlaw AMC Javelin AMX – Buttonwillow April 21, 2012

Fresh off my test day with Dave Brown I had less than a week to get ready for Buttonwillow. I decided last minute to try and get a little more downforce at the front to try to help the push Dave said was holding the car back. I had previously cut out a pair of lexan front spoiler extenders but never installed them. I really wanted to try something, so 2 nights before I had to leave I started figuring out how I was going to mount them. I spent an hour or so the first night and finished up the night before I left for the race (Thursday). The real pain with this is that it had to be something I could take off and re-install at the track because I wouldn’t be able to load the car on the trailer with it mounted. So I drilled a bunch of holes and made four half-assed struts to keep the spoiler from deflecting. It looked promising…

Friday I got up and got loaded and headed for the track. Got there around 4pm and found the Outlaw guys and pitted near them. It was hot and we already knew the weekend was going to be a scorcher. I unloaded the truck and put all my totes on the trailer and got my tool cart setup. then I got my “bed” set up in the back of the truck.

Saturday I headed out for the warmup session at 9am. Got 6 laps and a best of 2:14.x The rest of the AIX Outlaw group was running 1:57 – 2:04. So I was 10 seconds behind the slowest car in the group. I couldn’t tell if the front spoiler addition was helping or hurting. In qualifying I only got 1 lap before my damn oil light came on again. I shaved a second off and got down to 2:13.2… everyone else improved a couple of seconds so I actually lost ground.

I’ve been losing oil from somewhere for a while but couldn’t figure out where. Finally I got Ryan Walton to take a look. He’s a tech at a Toyota dealership and last years Outlaw champ. He poked around for a minute and suggested it was coming from the fuel pump… I had never thought about oil coming from there so I had never checked those bolts. They weren’t really loose but I was definitely able to cinch them down a bit. When I came in after the race things looked basically dry. Not 100% as I still have a little drop here and there but MUCH less that was leaking. Thanks Ryan!

The first lap of Saturdays race was pretty hairy. I think there were 3 times where someone put a wheel off and kicked up a dust cloud which leaves you COMPLETELY blind for a second or two! anyway, I survived the race and improved to a best lap of 2:10.8…

Let me take a moment to say it was really HOT! Knowing it was going to be a scorcher of a weekend I went looking for Derek Tsinger who had offered to sell me a used cool shirt setup at Infineon back in February. I didn’t buy it then but I was wanting it now. He had it and sold it to me. I ALMOST got it installed before the Saturday race but needed about 15 more minutes. In addition to the heat my back started to hurt at the end of the 30 minute race. I realized that although my seat holds my rib cage pretty snug my skinny butt actually moves around in the seat. It makes me use my lower back muscles to keep from moving and in the longer race sessions my muscles tire out and it really starts to hurt. of course that affects my concentration level. I need to try some foam or something to fill the voids so my butt can’t move around.

After the main races were done for the day an Endurance race started that went till 10pm at night. Pretty interesting to be sleeping in the back of my truck with cars still racing on track. I slept “ok” but one mildly annoying thing is that I parked my truck in a way that it was slightly tilted to one side…

Anyway, Sunday warmup was at 9am again. 6 laps and wasn’t able to improve my best time. at least my cool shirt was working (sort of). Not sure why but by the end of the session it wasn’t really cooling anymore. I had just wired it with an on/off toggle switch that Ron Klamecki gave me. I found out that Corey Weber has a timer switch that cycles the pump on/off. Only bummer is these “switches” are $150+ bucks. I’m buying a cycle timer kit for $30 bucks and am going to see if I can get that to work…

After looking at the track pictures from Van Happ and talking to some people it seemed like the nose/hood was still really lifting at speed. Talked to Corey about it more and he said maybe the front spoiler extensions were actually hurting in that they might be directing MORE air up through the grill and into the engine compartment. So, before qualifying I pulled the spoiler extensions off… Sunday Qualifying I did 7 laps and got back down to a 2:10.8 so I didn’t really see any difference with or without the spoiler…

Sunday’s race was quite an experience. It was my first standing start race. We came around and got lined up at start finish. I put the clutch in and the car was about to stall! I quickly gave it some revs and when the flag dropped I did the lamest lurching start ever… I did about 5 laps and then it happened. I missed a shift (went 3 -> 2 instead of 3 -> 4) and spun the motor sky high 🙁 it was strange because it didn’t lock up the rear and I didn’t realize how bad I had over rev’d the motor… I continued that lap and the next time I came onto the straight, at the top of 4th gear, the motor just went POOF!!! and died instantly… I pulled off between turns 1 and 2 waited out the race. Got towed back to my paddock spot, loaded up my junk and got back on the road for the 5 hour drive home.

Got home after dark and had to deal with getting the car back in the garage. I live on a hill and my drive way has an incline to it. That means I can only get the car in/out if I DRIVE it. well that wasn’t happening so what I tried to do to get it in was to let it roll down hill a little and then back it into my drive way. We’ll I didn’t cut the wheel early enough so I had to put on the brakes. I managed to beach it on the exhaust flange. what a pain. Had to get my wife to help me man handle the car over the hump and into the garage…

ugh… so there you have it. 3 races and my first blown motor. I can’t say this was totally unexpected. I knew it was a possibility that I was going to have something like this happen. I was just hoping it was later rather than sooner… I’m not going to touch the car for a couple of days. Just need to recover from the weekend.

here’s a video of Saturdays race. Unfortunately Sundays race wasn’t recorded… lame. I had done a great job all weekend making sure the camera and lap timer were working and on but for Sundays race I forgot to actually start recording. So when I finally got back to the paddock I turned the camera “off” but was actually turning it on… got 2+ hours of the car on the trailer driving home… luckily Bryan Rogers of Agent 47 was running the Drift cameras on all the cars so there should be footage of my race and the motor blowing. I’ll try to get it from Bryan and get it posted soon…

1974 Javelin-road race, American Iron, Racing, video

3 comments


  1. Steven

    Bummer on the motor, Asif. I hope you can get back on track quickly. For the record I’m still envious of your position though…you have everything in place to get faster that’s really cool. Good luck!

  2. Jonathan Feltis

    Sorry to hear about the engine Asif, have you had a chance to look at it? I hope it didn’t get damaged to bad.

    Jon

  3. Thanks guys. Damage report is in… could have been worse I guess but I’m bummed that I’m missing Willow Springs. Never been to that track and really wanted to try it…

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